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Dark Original Version of Classic Fairytale: The Girl Without Hands: The Weeping of Mutilated Girl

This fairytale has many variants. The story is known with different tittles in different countries. However the main line of the story remains the same, a maiden’s hand is chopped by member of her own family.

Who is the maiden, why her family wants to cut her hands?

In the modern version written by Brother Grimms, the poor maiden is the daughter of a poor miller. The devil offers wealth to him in exchange of his beautiful daughter. After three years, the time comes for the devil to take the daughter away. The devil can only take sinful maiden and because the miller‘s daughter keep her hands clean, which is a symbol of being sinless, the devil is unable to take her. Angrily the devil asks the miler to chop her daughter’s clean hands; otherwise he will take him instead. The miler does so.

Image credit

Looks like the above version is gruesome enough, but in the earlier versions the story is even more dreadful. In an old African version, the father chops the maiden’s arm and breast because she refuses the father’s sexual advances. In its Italian version written by Giambattista Basile, the maiden, Penta, is a princess. His brother falls in love with her beautiful hands and wants to marry her. She refuses the incestuous marriage and she cut off her own arms.

In the Russian version written by Alexander Afanasyev, the maiden is an orphaned girl who lived with his brother. His brother’s wife is so jealous of her husband attention on his sister, so she cut the head of her own baby off and tells her husband that the maiden did it. The angry brother then cut the maiden’s hands. Horrible!

Giambatista Basile. Image via Wikipedia

Why hands? Why not chopping her head instead? Some folklorists believe that taking the hands is a symbol of taking the maiden’s independence because losing hands means inability to take up any activity in life.

The maiden marries a prince, is it a happy ending?



In the modern Grimm’s version, after the devil fails to take her, she set out into the world and marries a prince who is impressed by her kindness. The prince even made her hands of silver. The Italian version says the maiden is thrown into sea by his brother. She was rescued by a fisherman but the fisherman’s wife, Nuccia throws her again into the sea out of jealousy. This time she was rescued by a prince who then marries her. In other earlier versions, other than the Italian, the maiden one way or another is finally saved by and married to a prince.

So all versions now says she marries a prince. Is it a happy ending? Well, not yet. It is still a long long way to happiness for the maiden.

The final ending


Image credit

Soon after the marriage, the maiden gives birth to a son when the prince is away on a battle. The antagonist (the devil in modern version and the jealous wife or other jealous female characters in earlier versions) are not happy seeing the maiden and the prince together. So using tricks they accused the maiden had given birth to a deformed child.

The maiden and her son fled the castle. In the modern version she is rescued by an angel, meanwhile in the earlier version a witch protects her until the prince find them and they all live happily ever after, finally.


Girl without hand is one of dark fairytales that still convey good moral message though it is brutally presented. It is a story of a girl who with her persistence, courage and strengths beats her grief and fear and finally triumphs.


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User Comments
  1. learnandearn

    On January 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    interesting article

  2. mikky webs

    On January 5, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Hi, thanks for sharing what a wonderful article.

  3. leo604

    On January 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    nice post

  4. OhSugar

    On January 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Very sad fairy tale, I don’t think I have heard any version of it. Thanks

  5. Ima Vee

    On January 5, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Haven’t heard of it but I think it’s nice.
    Thanks for sharing. :D

  6. Vincent Eggleston Jr

    On January 5, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    very interesting read

  7. N. Sun

    On January 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    This is very sad.

  8. lapasan

    On January 5, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    A sad fairytale.

  9. LCM Linda

    On January 5, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    First time I hear this fairytale. No matter which version, it is a sad one. It seems that there is no 100% happiness in life.

  10. PSingh1990

    On January 6, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Nice Share.


  11. The Quail 1957

    On January 6, 2011 at 12:21 am

    A very dark and truly grim tale. Awesome write and awesome article.

  12. SharifaMcFarlane

    On January 6, 2011 at 12:29 am

    These fairytales serve to remind children that people can be horrible.

  13. SharifaMcFarlane

    On January 6, 2011 at 12:30 am

    I like your lesson at the end though, even if people are horrible to you, press on anyway and you will overcome.

  14. Vivek Ratan

    On January 6, 2011 at 1:38 am

    How terrible is your story
    Maiden without hands
    Stays in memory
    Her courage,persistence and strength are
    Worth glory
    Silence of maiden
    Put her in our eyes as holy
    To her, we here salute
    Yovita, you highlighted her
    What a wonderful tribute

    God bless you.

  15. gaby7

    On January 6, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Your story spurred me to write a similar version of the story in our local legend! Watch out for it! I liked this a lot, thanks Yovita

  16. Anj M

    On January 6, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Horrible story to be told!

  17. anndavey650

    On January 6, 2011 at 6:01 am

    It’s amazing where these stories originate. Fascinating!

  18. SowmyaT

    On January 6, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Interesting, Thanks for sharing.

  19. Betty Carew

    On January 6, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Yovita you have finally found a fairytale that I have not heard of. A very interesting tale it is. Great post Yovita I’m loving this series.

  20. juniatop

    On January 6, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Great article.

  21. Michal Dorcak

    On January 6, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Interesting article/story. I must admit that this is the first time I heard of this story.

  22. UncleSammy

    On January 6, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Really interesting , thanks for sharing and see you around


    On January 6, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Great review and it sounds interesting according to your description.

  24. john smither

    On January 6, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Good account of the many versions of this fairy tale.

  25. Raene Kaleinani

    On January 6, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Oh my, shame on the father… poor girl. This tale really got me involved.

  26. vijayanths

    On January 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Great share.

  27. Shirley Shuler

    On January 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    This is the first time I heard this fairy tale, Yovita. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  28. Tulan

    On January 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I thought I was familiar with all of Grimm’s Fairy tales, but I had never heard of this one. More horrible than most.

  29. JaneAusten

    On January 6, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Very interesting story! I really got hooked reading it! Thanks for the info.. : )

  30. Starpisces

    On January 7, 2011 at 10:57 am

    great story, though this is just a story, but the thought of the hands been chopped, I feel the pain for the girl, and for the father, the pain should be more deeper.

  31. Stable

    On January 10, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I didn’t realise there were so many variants, really interesting post

  32. yes me

    On January 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Another good share cheers

  33. crisdiwata

    On January 18, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Haven’t heard of this story but these versions are really dark and brutal.

  34. Agasthya

    On January 26, 2011 at 4:58 am

    This is really a very sad fairy tale. I have never heard or read about it before.

  35. rejarol

    On February 10, 2011 at 1:11 am

    I liked the way you presented it… artistic!

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