The Shepherd and the Forest Woman

Near the village of Knau, in the Ziegenrück area, a shepherd chose a forest woman as his lover. He always herded his sheep at the same location. The master shepherd thought to himself: “How can they graze for enough food at this spot?” and snuck after the shepherd. There, the whole herd was lying in the thickets, and the shepherd and the forest woman held each other’s heads in loving union. But suddenly, the forest woman jumped up and shook feed for the whole herd out of her apron. The whole herd ate, and each animal looked healthy and well-fed. The master shepherd was content, and snuck away again.

In the winter, the forest woman even moved into the sheep shelter with the shepherd, and kept the entire herd well-fed in the same manner. However, once the shepherd bought a new frock out of vanity. Then she spoke: “If you are ashamed of me, then I am ashamed of you”, and was not seen again since that time.

Source: Bechstein, L. Thüringer Sagenbuch. Zweiter Band. 1858, p. 157f.

Notes & commentary: The Forest People