There’s echoes of the Baba Yaga tale, Vasilissa the Beautiful, with the visitations of three differently coloured men. But Frau Trude’s an unusual fairy tale villain. And it’s very much Frau Trude’s story – the little girl isn’t even named. She’s unstoppably wicked: no children can outwit her; no huntsman can slay her. She doesn’t want children to cook and clean for her; she doesn’t want them to spin gold for her; she doesn’t even want to eat them. She’s just been waiting for this little girl to throw her into the fire so it burns brighter for once.
It’s a very short tale and actually pretty slight in terms of story, yet it’s full of great images that I find hard to shake off. One of the most lasting images for me, is the sight of Frau Trude through the window with her head of fire.