The Wonderful Hair - The Story of a Poor Man Who Dreamed of an Angel
There was once a poor man who had so many children that he was at his wit's end how to feed them all and clothe them.
"Unless something turns up soon," he thought to himself, "we shall all starve to death. Poor youngsters—I'm almost tempted to kill them with my own hands to save them from suffering the pangs of hunger!"
That night before he went to sleep he prayed God to give him help. God heard his prayer and sent an angel to him in a dream.
The angel said to him:
"To-morrow morning when you wake, put your hand under your pillow and you will find a mirror, a red handkerchief, and an embroidered scarf. Without saying a word to any one hide these things in your shirt and go out to the woods that lie beyond the third hill from the village. There you will find a brook. Follow it until you come to a beautiful maiden who is bathing in its waters. You will know her from the great masses of golden hair that fall down over her shoulders. She will speak to you but do you be careful not to answer. If you say a word to her she will be able to bewitch you. She will hold out a comb to you and ask you to comb her hair. Take the comb and do as she asks. Then part her back hair carefully and you will see one hair that is coarser than the others and as red as blood. Wrap this firmly around one of your fingers and jerk it out. Then flee as fast as you can. She will pursue you and each time as she is about to overtake you drop first the embroidered scarf, then the red handkerchief, and last the mirror. If you reach the hill nearest your own village you are safe for she can pursue you no farther. Take good care of the single hair for it great value and you can sell it for many golden ducats."
In the morning when the poor man awoke and put his hand under his pillow he found the mirror and the handkerchief and the scarf just as the angel had said he would. So he hid them carefully in his shirt and without telling any one where he was going he went to the woods beyond the third hill from the village.