"The Singing, Springing Lark" (German: "Das singende springende Löweneckerchen"; also translated into English as "The Singing, Soaring Lark", "The Lady and the Lion" and "Lily and the Lion") is a German fairy tale. It is included in the 1815 second volume of Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales), the collection of German folktales compiled by the Brothers Grimm, and all subsequent editions of the complete anthology. "The Singing, Springing Lark" has some similarities to the French literary fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. For that reason, the story has occasionally been published in English under the title "Beauty and the Beast" or published with a subtitle such as "a Beauty and the Beast story from the Brothers Grimm".
The story concerns a young woman who has to go to live in a castle with a lion. She does this as a result of a deal that her father makes in order to save his life. The lion is soon revealed to be an enchanted prince. He only takes on the form of a lion in the daytime and becomes a man again at night. He and the young woman marry. Unfortunately, the prince falls under another spell that makes him turn into a bird and fly away. The woman has to spend several years traveling far and has to overcome several hardships before she is finally reunited with her husband again.
Although "The Singing, Springing Lark" is not among the best-known of Grimms' fairy tales in the English-speaking world, the story has been adapted to other media multiple times in Germany.
A man and his servant have to go away on a long journey. Before he leaves, the man asks his three daughters what presents they would like him to bring back for them. One asks for pearls. Another asks for diamonds. The youngest daughter, who is the man's favorite child, asks for a singing, springing lark. The man has no difficulty getting diamonds and pearls but he cannot find a singing, springing lark. On his way home, the man sees a castle. In a tree in the castle's gardens is a singing, springing lark. The man asks his servant to climb the tree and get the bird. A lion suddenly appears from behind the tree. The lion says that he will eat the man for trying to take his lark. The man pleads for his life. He says that the lion can hold him to ransom for a large amount of money instead of eating him. The lion says that the man's life can be spared and his daughter can keep the lark on one condition. The man must give the first living creature that comes to greet him when he returns home to the lion. The man does not want to agree to this because he is certain that the first living creature that will come to greet him will be his daughter. The servant, however, tells the man that a dog or a cat may come to greet him first instead. The man agrees to the lion's deal.
As he feared, the first living creature that comes to greet the man when he returns home is his youngest daughter. He tells her about the bargain he made with the lion. She bravely and dutifully leaves in the direction of the lion's castle. Soon after arriving at the castle, the woman finds out that the lion is really an enchanted prince. He only takes on the form of a lion by day and becomes human again at night. He has several courtiers who are also lions in the daytime and human at night as a result of the same spell. The young woman and the prince are soon married.
After some time, the young woman finds out that her eldest sister is going to get married. She returns home to attend the wedding. The prince does not go with the woman but he gets some of his lion courtiers to accompany her on the journey. The young woman's relatives are delighted to see her again because they had all assumed she had been eaten by the lion.
Soon afterwards, the young woman wants to return home again to attend the wedding of her other sister. This time, she wants the prince to come with her. The prince explains that he will be in danger if he leaves his castle. If the light from a torch or a candle touches his forehead, he will turn into a dove and will have to fly away with the other doves for seven years. The woman tells the prince that she will make sure that no such light touches his forehead and he agrees to go with her. Unfortunately, there is a very thin crack in the door of the room where the prince and the young woman sleep. After the wedding ceremony, guests carrying candles and torches pass by the door. The light comes through the crack in the door, touches the prince on the forehead and turns him into a dove. Before he flies away, the prince tells his wife that he will periodically pluck out one of his feathers and peck himself. That will create a trail of white feathers and blood spots that the young woman can follow that will eventually lead her back to her husband.
For many years, the woman follows the trail of white feathers and blood spots. Then the trail suddenly stops. The woman climbs up to the sun and asks him if he has seen her husband. The sun says that he has not but he gives the woman a casket. He tells her to open it if she is ever in dire need. The woman climbs up to see the moon and asks her if she has seen the prince. The moon says that she has not but she gives the woman an egg that she can crack if she is ever in dire need. The woman asks the north wind if he has seen her husband. He answers that he has not but says that he will ask the other winds. The north wind finds out that the south wind has seen the prince. The seven years have now come to an end. The prince is no longer a dove but has become a lion again. He is at the Red Sea and is fighting a dragon. The dragon is really an enchanted princess. The north wind tells the woman that she should pluck a reed and strike the dragon with it. The lion will then defeat the dragon in the fight and they will both become human again. A griffin will then appear that will carry the woman and the prince home. The north wind warns the woman that the griffin will only carry them home if it can rest for a while on a tree in the Red Sea. The wind gives the woman a nut and tells her to drop it in the sea. That will cause a tree that the griffin can rest in to magically and immediately grown in the sea.
The woman goes to the Red Sea and does as the wind told her to do. Unfortunately, when the enchanted prince and the enchanted princess become human again, they both climb on the griffin's back and fly off, leaving the woman behind. After a long journey, the woman eventually comes to the castle where the prince and the princess are. The princess is the daughter of a sorcerer. A spell has been cast on the prince that has caused him to forget about his wife. He and the princess are now about to be married.
The woman opens the casket that the sun gave her. She finds a beautiful dress that is as bright as the sun. She puts it on and goes inside the castle. The princess offers to buy the dress from the woman. The woman says she will give it to the princess if she is allowed to spend one night with the prince in his bed chamber. The princess agrees to this. First, however, she gets a servant to drug the prince. By the time that the woman goes into his bed chamber, the prince is already unconscious. The woman talks to the prince about her long search for him. In his unconscious state, the woman's words sound like a murmuring wind to the prince.
The following day, the woman cracks open the egg that the moon gave her. A golden hen and twelve golden chicks come out of it. The princess asks to buy the golden birds from the woman. The woman says that she will give them to the princess if she is allowed to spend another night with the prince in his bed chamber. The princess agrees, intending to drug the prince again. The prince, however, has spoken to a servant about the sound of the murmuring wind that he heard the previous night. The servant admits to the prince that he drugged him and that a woman was in his bed chamber. The servant agrees not to drug the prince that night.
When the woman comes into the prince's bed chamber, he immediately recognizes his wife. The spell that had been cast on him causing him to forget her has been lifted. The woman and the prince both hurry off to the griffin as quickly as possible so that they can fly away at once. When passing over the Red Sea, the woman drops the nut into it. A tree magically grows in which the griffin can rest for a while before it takes the woman and the prince home.
The American author Patricia A. McKillip adapted "The Singing, Spring Lark" as the short story "The Lion and the Lark" that was first published in the 1995 anthology The Armless Maiden: And Other Tales of Childhood's Survivors (ISBN 0312852347)
The Austrian author Gertrud Fussenegger and her daughter the illustrator Ricarda Dietz adapted "The Singing, Springing Lark" as the picture book Das Zauberschloss ("The Magic Castle"; ISBN 3784430694) that was first published in 2006.
An adaptation of "The Singing, Springing Lark" appears in Kei Ishigama's 2009 German-language graphic novel Grimms Manga 02 (ISBN 9783867194815).
Der Prinz hinter den sieben Meeren (literally: "The Prince Behind the Seven Seas") an East German live-action film based on "The Singing, Spring Lark", was released in 1982.
"The Singing, Springing Lark" was adapted as the twenty-fifth episode of the third season of the German animated series Simsala Grimm. The episode was first shown on the channel Kindercanal in Germany on December 30, 2010.
A stage play based on "The Singing, Spring Lark" was first performed in Hanau, Germany in 2004.
- ↑ In the 1912 English adaptation of the story by Marion Edwardes, the youngest daughter is given the name Lily. She is unnamed in the original German-language text of the Brothers Grimm.
- ↑ In the 1876 English translation of the story by Edgar Taylor and its 1912 revision by Marion Edwardes, the youngest daughter asks for a rose instead of a lark. This change may have been made in order to make the story more closely resemble Beauty and the Beast
- Versions of "The Singing, Springing Lark" in German and English on Wikisource.
- Fan-made audiobook of "The Singing, Springing Lark" in German on YouTube.
- Public domain audiobook of "The Singing, Springing Lark" in English on YouTube.