The Rejected Cake

The footpath from Wilhelmsdorf to Dobian leads past a lonely cliff which is called “die Eisengruben” (“the Iron Pits”). A piece of farmland lies nearby. Once, a farmhand from Wilhelmsdorf plowed there. He suddenly heard the murmuring of delicate voices which seemed to emanate from the cliff face. The farmhand looked around, but did not see any living thing. But the talking continued, and, as he listened very carefully, he noticed that two little forest women discussed cakes with each other. One of them wanted to bake Vorbacken (a type of bread pudding), and the other one cheesecake.

Then the farmhand shouted loudly and brazenly: “Hey! Give me a piece when you have finished baking!”, whereupon the conversation within the rock fell silent. After the farmhand had held his noon rest and approached his plow in order to continue his work, two pieces of the two varieties of cake were lying on the plow.

The man startled, assumed the cake to be some kind of infernal haunting, and threw the pieces off the plow. Immediately, both pieces were on top of it once more. Then he took them and threw them as far from himself as he was able, whereupon an angry scream arose from the cliff face. Dread overcame the plowman. He returned home exhausted and tired, laid down, developed a fever, and died.

Source: Bechstein, L. Thüringer Sagenbuch. Zweiter Band. 1858, p. 192f.

Notes and commentary: Baking with the Forest Women