Brother and Sister

Model: Steph Pez

Tired of the cruel mistreatment they endure from their wicked stepmother, who is also a witch, a brother and sister run away from home one day. They wander off into the countryside and spend the night in the woods. By morning the boy is thirsty, and so the children go looking for a spring of clear water. But their stepmother has already discovered their escape, and has bewitched all the springs in the forest. The boy is about to drink from one, when his sister hears how its rushing sound says “Whoever drinks from me will become a tiger”.

Desperately, the girl begs her brother not to drink from the spring, lest he transform into a tiger and tear her to pieces. So they continue on their way, but when they come to the second spring the girl hears it say, “Whoever drinks from me will become a wolf”. Again, she desperately tries to prevent her brother from drinking from it. Reluctantly, he eventually agrees to her pleas but insists he drink from the next spring they encounter. And so they arrive at the third spring, and the girl overhears the rushing water cry, “Whoever drinks from me will become a deer”. But it is too late, because her brother has already drunk from it, and changes into a deer.

When I was little, this was a story book that I had, that had been my mother’s before. The tale itself is dark and twisty, but there was something about the art style of the illustrations that made the book haunt my dreams. I actually spent time searching online to see if I could find an example, but sadly could not. It is my strong believe that this book, along with The Three Little Horses, strongly set my love of dark and wrong tales. My mom said that she also found the book unsettling as a child and wasn’t sure why she had given it to me. I guessing it was to pass the trauma along.