Die Kleine Hexe: Chapters 16-20

Here’s the final post from my Summer in Other Languages readalong, Die Kleine Hexe by Otfried Preußler, with a summary in German, an English translation, and some last thoughts on the conclusion of the book. If’ you’ve been following along, thanks for being with me on this journey! I’ve really enjoyed it and I hope you have too.

Nach Fastnacht feiern im Dorf, will die kleine Hexe im Walde Fastnacht feiern. Sie lädt die Tiere ein, die nicht andere Tiere fressen: zum beispiel Eichhörnchen, Rehe, Hasen und Mäusen. Sie können sich nicht als Chinesen oder Türken erkleidern, aber mit Zaubern können sie anders sein als sie sonst sind! Die kleine Hexe macht es so: den Hasen hext sie Hirschgeweihe, den Hirschen hext sie Hasen ohren, usw. Der Rabe Abraxas bekommt einen Eichhörnchenschwanz!

Wann ein Fuchs kommt und will auch Fastnacht feiern, die Tiere Angst haben. Aber dass ist kein Problem: die kleine Hexe einfach hext ihm einen Entenschnabel.

Die kleine Hexe hilft eine Frau, deren Mann zu viel Geld für Kegelbahn ausgibt, und den Bruder und die Schwägerin von Abraxas, wann zwei Jungern suchen ihre Eier weg zu nehmen. Diese Geschichten wären zu lange alle zu erzählen, aber sie sind lustig. Der Mann und die Kinder werden sicher nicht im Zukunft so böse Dinge machen.

Endlich kommt der Prüfung für die kleine Hexe vor dem Hexenrat. Sie hat kein Problem, weil die jetzt das Hexenbuch in-und auswendig kennt! Aber Rumpumpel macht Ärger, natürlich. Sie erzählt alle die gute Taten die die kleine Hexe getan hat. Und die andere Hexen sind nicht glücklich. Eine gute Hexe darf nur böse Taten tun! Sie ist eine schlechte Hexe!

Sie wollen sie strafen, aber die kleine Hexe lacht zuletzt. Sie hext alle die Besenstielen und Hexenbücher den Walpurgisnachtfeuer zu machen, und hext den großen Hexen das Hexen ab. Nun kann nicht eine von ihnen mehr hexen! Sie fliegt ganz alleine rund dem Feuer, und jauchzt mit Freude, “Heia, Walpurgisnacht!”

After celebrating Fastnacht in the village, the little witch wants to celebrate Fastnacht in the forest. She invites the animals who don’t eat other animals, for example squirrels, deer, rabbits, and mice. They can’t dress themselves up as Chinamen or Turks, but with magic they can be other than they usually are! The little witch makes it so: the rabbits get deer antlers, the deer get rabbit ears, etc. The raven Abraxas gets a squirrel tail!

When a fox comes and also wants to celebrate Fastnacht, the animals are afraid. But that is no problem: the little witch simply gives him a duck’s beak.

The little witch helps a woman whose husband is playing too much at bowling, and the brother and sister in law of Abraxas, when two boys try to take the eggs away. These stories would be too long to tell everything, but they are very funny. The man and the children will certainly not do such bad things in future.

Finally comes the test of the little witch before the witch council. She has no problem, because she knows the witch’s book forward and backward now! But Rumpumpel makes trouble, of course. She tells all the good deeds the little witch has done. And the other witches are not happy. A good witch has to do only bad things! She is a terrible witch!

They want to punish her, but the little witch laughs last. She magics all the broomsticks and witchcraft books for a big Walpurgisnacht fire, and magics the big witches’ magic away. Not one of them can do magic now! She flies all alone around the fire, and shouts, “Heia, Walpurgisnacht!”

With this section we spent more time in the natural world. Fastnacht in the forest was an imaginative extension of the human celebration. The little witch had clever ideas both for giving the animals a chance to be other than they usually are, and for keeping them safe. Of course they also got good things to eat, as with any good party.

The section about Abraxas’s family also had some sly humor. Abraxas is a confirmed bachelor and he makes sure to visit his relatives after their previous brood of chicks has flown and before the next ones have hatched. That way he doesn’t have to help with childcare!

I had been wondering whether the definition of a “good witch” would turn out to be one who did good things (as Abraxas thought) or rather one who did bad things … so I wasn’t surprised that the little witch got in trouble at the end for all her good deeds. However, I was a little taken aback by the severity of her response. I suppose if all the witches were really bad, it was best to take away their magic … but it seemed like a lonely triumph. It would have been nice if at least one or two had turned out to be on her side.

However, I’m glad I finished this little book and found that I was able to read it without too much trouble. The sentences were simple enough to comprehend, without too many unknown words for comfort, and the story was entertaining and imaginative enough to hold my interest. I’m ready for more German adventures, so if you have any suggestions please let me know.

Heia, Walpurgisnacht!

Join the Enchanted Circle

The Enchanted Circle newsletter offers subscriber-only content about my writing and reading life. You'll also receive a separate monthly blog post summary (unsubscribe any time). And I'll send a free gift!

Unsubscribe anytime.

4 thoughts on “Die Kleine Hexe: Chapters 16-20

  1. Apologies for falling off the face of the web lately; I had an emergency at work.

    Anyway, I’m glad you liked this! A logical follow-up would be my other two favorites by Preußler, “Das kleine Gespenst” (which is all about not fearing the unknown and the seemingly frightening) and “Krabat” (which is about overcoming evil forces that seem to be much more powerful than you).

    As for books by other authors, how confident are you about moving on to another level?

    I remember distinctly how much I loved the ending of “The Little Witch” when I first read it as a kid — like to most German children, witches to me were the epitome of evil; the witches I knew were those of German folklore, e.g., “Hänsel und Gretel”, i.e., creatures who would eat little children as a matter of course. So I pretty much took it for granted that none of the other witches would stand by The Little Witch anyway, and they would all gang up against her, and it was thus not merely a matter of absolute triumph but also a matter of great wisdom and caution for her to take away their magic — she just couldn’t afford risking to leave even a single other witch’s powers intact. At heart, it’s a similar theme as that of “Krabat” — of beating the odds, and of overcoming adverse forces seemingly much stronger than you are, just because you believe in yourself and you use your knowledge and intelligence to best effect. And that resonated with me incredibly strongly. (As for the solo dance, well, I’m an introvert, so that part didn’t bother me in the least! 🙂 )

    1. Your childhood response to the ending makes sense; it’s usually only in adulthood that we want to temper justice with mercy, knowing how mixed-up and impure our own motivations have become. 😀

      I read Krabat in English some years ago and loved it. I actually have the German edition so that would be a good candidate for a next read. I think it’s already a step up from Hotzenplotz and Die Kleine Hexe, but I am open to other suggestions that would be a little more advanced.

      Sorry you’ve had trouble with work, hope that is cleared up or soon to be. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I always appreciate it.

  2. I loved “Die kleine Hexe” as a child, I also had the story on cassette. I can’t count the times I’ve listened to it.
    You might try “Momo” from Michael Ende. I love the story, and I watched the movie several times.
    Far more advanced is “Die unendliche Geschichte”, also from Michael Ende.

    One of my favorite German children’s stories are the “Bienmann-Saga”, four books chronicling characters from a family, starting with the 19th century. They are by Willi Fährmann, who is was actually once a teacher of my mother.
    The first book is “Der lange Weg des Lukas B.”. However, these books are realistic, and not fantastical. Also, they are not always easy to read. The third one for example, “Das Jahr der Wölfe”, deals with WWII, and they are some harrowing scenes. As a child, the story always mingled with the stories my grandmother told me.
    The stories can be read independently, the first one chronologally was published later on.

    1. Thanks so much for these suggestions. I know the two by Michael Ende very well in English but I’d like to read them in German too. The Bienmann Saga sounds wonderful.

Comments are closed.