The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales |
This collection of "classics" certainly is a departure from the Disney versions. The tales are mostly very dark and pessimistic, as originally recorded by the Brothers. For the more "colourful" children's stories it is better to buy the specific tales from the bookstore instead of a collective book.
This story is available in the following languages
Clytie was not always a sunflower, turning on her stem to watch the journeying sun.
Long ago she was a water nymph and lived in a cave at the bottom of the sea. The walls
of the cave were covered with pearls and lovely pink sea shells. The floor was made of
amber, with soft, mossy cushions.
On each side of the cave opening was a forest of coral and sea fans. Behind the cave
were Clytie's gardens. Here she spent long hours taking care of her sea anemones, her
star lilies, or in planting rare kinds of seaweed. Clytie kept her favorite horses in the
garden grotto. These were the swift-darting goldfish and the slow moving turtles.
For a long time she was very happy and contented. The sea nymphs loved Clytie, and
wove for her dresses of the softest of green sea lace. They told her all of their best
stories. One day they took her to the mermaid's rock to hear the mermaid sing. Clytie
liked one song best of all. It told of a glorious light which shone on the top of the water.
After Clytie heard this song, she could think of nothing else, but longed day and night to
see the wonderful light. But no ocean nymph dared take her to it, and she grew very
unhappy. Soon she neglected her garden and all her sea creatures.
In vain the other nymphs begged her to forget the enchanting light. They told her no
sea nymph had ever seen it, or ever could hope to see it. But Clytie would not listen, and
to escape them she spent more and more of her time in her shell carriage, riding far away
from her cave. In this way, she could dream, undisturbed, of the glorious light which the
mermaid called the "sun".
Now it happened that late one summer night, when the sea was warm and the turtles
were going very slowly, Clytie fell asleep. Unguided, the turtles went on and on and up
and up, through the green waters, until they came out at last close to a wooded island.
As the waves dashed the carriage against the shore, Clytie awoke. Trembling and
filled with wonder, she climbed out of the shell and sat down upon a rock.
It was early dawn, and the waking world was very beautiful. Clytie had never seen
the trees and the flowers. She had never heard the birds chirping, or the forest wind
rustling through the leaves. She had never smelled the fragrance of the meadows, or seen
the morning dew upon the grass.
She was dazed by all these wonders, and thought she must be dreaming, but soon she
forgot all about them, for the eastern sky blazed suddenly with light. Great purple
curtains were lifted, and slowly a great ball of dazzling fire appeared, blinding her eyes
with its beauty. She held her breath and stretched out her arms toward it, for she knew at
once that this was the glorious light she had dreamed about and longed for. This was the
sun. In the midst of the light was a golden chariot, drawn by four fiery steeds, and in the
chariot sat a wonderful, smiling King, with seven rays of light playing around his crown.
As the steeds mounted higher and higher in their path, the birds began to sing, the plants
opened their buds, and even the old sea looked happy.
Clytie sat all day upon the rock, her eyes fixed upon the sun with a great love and
longing in her heart. She wept when the chariot disappeared in the West and darkness
came over the earth. The next day from sunrise to sunset she gazed upon the sun, and at
night she refused to go home. For nine days and nights she sat with her golden hair
unbound, tasting neither food nor drink, only longing more and more for the smile of the
glorious King. She called to him and stretched out her arms, yet she had no hope that he
would ever notice her or know of her great love.
On the tenth morning, when she leaned over the water, she was amazed, for instead of
her own face, a beautiful flower looked up at her from the sea. Her yellow hair had
become golden petals, her green dress had turned into leaves and stems, and her little feet
had become roots which fastened her to the ground. Clytie had become a small image of
the sun. The next morning, when she lifted her face to the beautiful light, it was so
radiant with happiness that the great King himself seemed to smile back kindly at the
And so, Clytie began her life upon the earth, and she became the mother of a large
family of flowers with bright faces like her own. Her children are called sunflowers, and
you may find them scattered all over the country, even in the dry and dusty places where
other flowers will not grow. And if you care to, you may find out for yourselves whether
or not it is true that all the sunflowers in the world turn upon their stalks, from sunrise to
sunset, so that they may always keep their faces toward the sun.