The Willful Child
Once upon a time there was a child who was wilful and would not do what her mother wished. For this reason, God had no pleasure in her, and let her become ill. No doctor could do her any good, and in a short time the child lay on her deathbed. When she had been lowered into her grave, and the earth was spread over her, all at once her little arm came out again and reached upward. And when they had pushed it back in the ground and spread fresh earth over it, it was all to no purpose, for the arm always came out again. Then the mother herself was obliged to go to the grave and strike the arm with a rod. When she had done that, the arm was drawn in, and at last the child had to rest beneath the ground. And everything went back to normal.
In their first edition, the girl merely became ill; that God made her ill was added in later ones.
The original German text uses a neuter noun, das Kind, for the child; the gender of the child cannot be determined.
- Jacob and Wilheim Grimm, Household Tales, The Wilful Child
- D. L. Ashliman, The Hand from the Grave: folk legends from Germany, Poland, and Switzerland of Aarne-Thompson type 779
- D.L. Ashliman, "The Grimm Brothers' Children's and Household Tales (Grimms' Fairy Tales)"
- The Hand from the Grave: folk legends from Germany, Poland, and Switzerland of Aarne-Thompson type 779