Maid Maleen

Picture Book by Max Teschemacher

Maleen was a princess who was in love with a prince of another kingdom. He loved her too but her father didn't like him and rejected the possibility of marriage. When Maleen said she didn't want anybody else, her father ordered building a tower where his daughter and her waiting woman were imprisoned with food and drink for seven years.


Prince who loved Maleen tried to get at least some info about her but the walls of the tower were thick and she couldn't hear him. Seven years have passed and both women in the tower ran out of supplies. Nobody came to let them out so they used a kitchen knife to loose a few stones and after a few days, they came out.

The kingdom was destroyed and there was no sign of their home.


They were wandering around for some time looking for a chance to get a job and earn some food. They found a job in the kitchen of the castle where the prince who wanted to marry Maleen lived.

The prince was just about to get married to another girl. She was rich but ugly. She was so ugly that Maleen had to bring her food from the kitchen into her room so nobody could see her ugliness.

The bride got an idea to be replaced with Maleen at the wedding ceremony so people would not see her look. Maleen didn't want to participate in such a plot but after a life threat, she obeyed.


The prince was delighted with the beauty of his bride. She reminded him of his beloved Maleen. He noticed she was behaving strangely though.

On the way to the altar, Maleen was talking to a nettle plant, a foot-plank, and a church door which made him curious but he didn't say a thing. At the ceremony, he gave her a golden necklace.


The wedding night came and the ugly bride was ready for action. She planned to enter the royal bedroom with a veil over her face to deceive the prince.


But the prince was suspicious. He asked her what she said to the nettle plant.

Of course, the ugly woman had no idea.


She had to ask Maleen so she could tell the right answer to the prince. Then he asked another question and one more after that.


Eventually, the prince discovered that his bride was not the one he expected. She was ugly and she didn't have his golden necklace.


The ugly princess was infuriated. She ordered to kill the Maleen. Maleen screamed and the prince heard her.


He rescued Maleen and ordered the ugly princess to be executed just like she wanted for Maleen - by cutting her head off.


The prince finally recognized Maleen as his long lost love.


They had a lot to make up.


They say the tower where Malen was imprisoned for seven years still stands.

Please note:

This fairy tale is almost forgotten today. We won't look for reasons but can at least expose some similarities to other, much moe popular fairy tales written by the same author and published in the same collection:

  • The imprisonment in the tower as this ultimate act of isolation from society is best-known from The Rapunzel. In both case s the girl has to find a way out on her own.
  • Hiding in the kitchen, unrevealing the true identity, is a popular theme in classic fairy tales (check Iron John, for instance). Even more in common we can find in All-Kinds-of-Fur, where the princess hides in the kitchen, goes through three tests until her true identity is finally revealed by a golden jewelry given by the suior.
  • Changed identity of the brides is another popular theme. The most similar is probably the situation from The Goose Girl, where the false bride is also revealed by the royalty and punished according to her own wishes - by death, of coarse.
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