I've been spending time lately with Jacob and Wilhelm (Grimm, that is) and I want to share a surprising tale called "The Golden Key."
"In the winter time, when deep snow lay on the ground, a poor boy was forced to go out on a sledge to fetch wood. When he had gathered it together, and packed it, he wished, as he was frozen with cold, not to go home at once, but to light a fire and warm himself a little. So he scraped away the snow, and as he was thus clearing the ground, he found a tiny, golden key. Hereupon he thought that where the key was, the lock must be also, and dug in the ground and found an iron chest. 'If the key does but fit it!' thought he; 'no doubt there are precious things in that little box.'
"He searched, but no keyhole was there. At last he discovered one, but so small that it was hardly visible. He tried it, and the key fitted it exactly. Then he turned it once round, and now we must wait until he has quite unlocked it and opened the lid, and then we shall learn what wonderful things were lying in that box."
And that's the end!
Since the early editions of the collected Grimm fairy tales, this story has been the last one - number 200. Jacob and Wilhelm chose this placement purposely. Interesting. "The Golden Key" is a story with a DIY ending.
Why did they chose this story to conclude their collection? I have a couple of ideas. What about you?