|"Jacob, have you heard the one|
about the dirty old man
and the girl in the glass mountain?"
"Do tell, Wilhelm!"
Once upon a time, "there was a king who had a daughter, and this king had a glass mountain built, and said that whoever could climb over the mountain without falling" would win the princess for a prize. That's when "a man who loved" the princess came in and said that he would try. Then the king told him that if he slipped and fell, the penalty would be to get his head chopped off and mounted on a pole. Now the princess said that she would climb the glass mountain right alongside her love, and the two of them set off. But suddenly, the girl slipped and fell. With a crash, she tumbled down the mountain, breaking the glass. It "opened and closed so that she became locked inside" The young man did not see her go down inside the mountain; all he knew was that his love had disappeared. Meanwhile, the princess landed into the depths of the earth where "an old fellow with a very long gray beard had then come over to her" and began ordering her about. He threatened that if she would not serve him as he demanded, he would kill her. So she did the work. making his bed and cooking his dinner and washing the dishes for many years. At last, she was as old and gray as he. Now this old man was called Rinkrank, and he had given his servant girl the name of "Mother Mansrot". And one, when old Rinkrank had taken his treasure of silver and gold and climbed his ladder to the earth's surface, as he had done for so many years. Mother Mansrot decided that she had had enough. She calmly did the washing, and swept the floor and made the beds and cooked the dinner and washed the dishes. And then she closed all of the windows and all of the doors, except one window. This she left open a crack, with one end of a long rope tied to it, and the other held in her hand. And then she sat down to wait for Rinkrank to come back. When he did, he called, "Mother Mansrot, open the door for me!" And she replied, "No, I won't open the door for you old Rinkrank." Then he called, "Here I stand, poor Rinkrank, seventeen feet long I stand on planks...Mother Mansrot, wash my dishes." She retorted that she had. So he sang again," Here I stand, poor Rinkrank, seventeen feet long I stand on planks, on my tired-out feet. Mother Mansrot, make my bed." She said that she had. So he chanted, "Here I stand, poor Rinkrank, seventeen feet long I stand on planks...Mother Mansrot, open the door for me!" But she wouldn't. So he ran around the house and found the tiny window that was open a crack, and got suspicious, and peeked in. Seeing nothing but the empty room, he began to climb through, lowering his great, long beard down first. As soon as he had pushed the whole hairy length of it through, Mother Mansrot yanked the rope and slammed the window shut. Old Rinkrank was trapped tight by his beard. And though he howled and yelled with all his might and main, Mother Mansrot would not let him go until he told her where he had hidden his silver and gold, and the ladder to climb back to the earth's surface. First he said that he would not, and she told him that she would leave him to starve, or cut off his beard. At last, he gave in and told her the hiding place. As soon as she had taken out the sacks of gold and silver, and leaned them against the ladder, and pushed it up against the wall, she began to climb. When she was halfway up she stopped, and tied another long rope to the first. Then she did not stop climbing until she reached the earth's surface. She gave a tug, then, and let old Rinkrank out of the window. Then she went to her father "and told him all that had happened to her. The king was very glad and her bridegroom was still there." So she led them back to the ladder, and they climbed down and got the money, and killed old Rinkrank because he was evil. "And the king's daughter was still able to marry her bridegroom and they lived quite happily thereafter in splendor and joy."
From The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (Ed. Zipes,2003)
Notes: Kids, don't climb glass mountains! It is not safe. You could slip, fall, crash through the glass and find yourself trapped with an abusive old man with a dirty old beard.
Montessori Elementary Connection: Geology/Composition of the Earth
1. Read this story and consider the layers of the earth: inner core, outer core, mantle, crust.
2. Think about what each layer is composed of, and whether it might be possible to fall through the crust.
3. Question:Could there really be a little old man liiving deep inside the earth? Answer: Sure, if he lived in a cave.
4. Learn more about the earth:The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth (Magic School Bus) or Geology Rocks!: 50 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Earth (Kaleidoscope Kids) or The Usborne Book of Batteries & Magnets (How to Make)