Dark Night of the Soul

The Handless Maiden: Healing a Dark Night of the Soul

The Handless Maiden is a myth that speaks powerfully to our dark and confusing times. It’s a fairy tale that was collected by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, but its roots are much older. The story is about a maiden whose father sells her to the devil in exchange for wealth and convenience. Her hands… Continue reading The Handless Maiden: Healing a Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul

The Handless Maiden (complete story)

There are many versions of The Handless Maiden from around the world. It’s a fairy tale that was collected by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, but its roots are much older. This telling is my adaptation of the tale with gratitude to Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Read the introduction to this series here or follow the… Continue reading The Handless Maiden (complete story)

Dark Night of the Soul

The Handless Maiden part 1: Deal with the Devil

Once there was a miller who had fallen into poverty. His mill was broken so he had to go to the forest to chop wood. One day, when he was hacking at a tree stump, an old man appeared and said, “I’ll make you rich if you give me what stands behind your mill.” The… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 1: Deal with the Devil

Dark Night of the Soul

The Handless Maiden part 2: Dismemberment

Our story continues: the deal has been made and three years have passed… At last, the dreadful day arrived when the devil would come to claim his payment: the maiden. That morning, the girl washed and drew a circle around herself with chalk. The devil appeared, but couldn’t come near her. Furious, he demanded she… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 2: Dismemberment

Dark Night of the Soul

The Handless Maiden part 3: Entering the Forest

Our story continues: the deal has been made and the maiden has lost her hands… The devil retreated to the forest and the maiden’s parents did their best to care for their daughter. Her father begged her to stay, promising to provide everything she could ever want or need, but she refused. She had her… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 3: Entering the Forest

Dark Night of the Soul

The Handless Maiden part 4: Love in the Underworld

Our story continues: the maiden has found her way to the king’s orchard… The next day, the king was walking in his garden, counting his pears, for he knew exactly how many were on each tree, when he realised that one was missing. He called the gardener and questioned him. The gardener explained to the… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 4: Love in the Underworld

Dark Night of the Soul

The Handless Maiden part 5: The Devil Returns

Our story continues: the maiden has become a queen with silver hands… The queen stayed in the castle and the king lavished her with love and care. But in time, he had to leave to wage war in a distant land. Before he left, the king asked his mother to take care of the queen,… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 5: The Devil Returns