Jorinda and Joringel - Fairy-Tale Witches and Mother Goose

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

Jorinda and Joringel
Fairy-Tale Witches and Mother Goose

This story could be subtitled “In Praise of Menstrual Magic.” It combines a magic-friendly narrative with a wicked witch who lives in an old enchanted castle inside a great, dense forest. During the day the witch transforms into a cat or owl but at night she takes human form. Her crimes are listed as follows:

Image She catches birds and game, kills them, and then boils or roasts them, although why it is a crime for her to do what any hunter does is unexplained.

Image She has cast a spell so that anyone coming within a hundred steps of her castle is frozen in their tracks until she chooses to release them with another spell.

Image Should one of those frozen souls be an “innocent girl,” rather than releasing her the witch transforms the girl into a bird and shuts her in a wicker cage. Why she does this or what she is planning to do with these girls is unclear but the story advises that she has seven thousand of these rare birds, all locked up.

Jorinda and Joringel, a young betrothed couple seeking some privacy, wander into the wood. Joringel warns Jorinda not to get too near the castle. However, they get lost and discover themselves near the castle walls. Joringel is frozen; Jorinda is transformed into a nightingale. The witch appears as both an owl and as a woman: as a woman she has big, red eyes and a crooked nose, so long that the end touches her chin.

Joringel eventually saves his beloved, not by force but through magical means. The solution appears in his dreams: a blood-red flower with a large pearl within. In his dream, whatever he touches with this flower is freed from enchantment. Joringel doesn’t dismiss his dream but searches tirelessly through the forest for the flower, finding it only on the ninth day.

His dream come true, the flower antidotes spells and serves as his key to the enchanted castle, where he discovers the witch feeding her seven thousand birds. She is unable to get near him because of the flower. All the women are rescued and nothing violent befalls the witch: Joringel touches her with his blood-red flower and the worst that happens is that she loses her power to work magic.

See ANIMALS: Cats, Owls; BOTANICALS: Opium Poppy; WORMWOOD: Dangers of Witchcraft: Menstrual Power.