Version 1 – Loreley
Once upon a time there was a girl. Her name was Loreley. She was beautiful. She had long, curly hair. Loreley lived at the top of a high cliff on a great river. The river was called the Rhine.
Every evening, she sat at the top of the high cliff and combed her long, curly, shiny, golden hair. And she sang a song. Loreley’s voice was so beautiful – it was magical.
Sailors came in their ships and heard Loreley’s songs. Her voice was so beautiful that the sailors just had to listen. The looked up and hoped to catch a glimpse of Loreley. But they did not pay attention to the river. And sometimes the ships crashed into the cliff and were destroyed.
But Loreley was not often seen. She was very shy. She was usually alone. Sometimes she went to the fishermen on the banks of the river Rhine. Then she showed the fishermen where the best fish could be caught. The fishermen were very grateful. But they could not keep her secret to themselves. They told everyone about the beautiful Loreley with her magical voice.
In that land there was a Count. His son heard of the beautiful Loreley and just had to see her. The Count did not like the idea. He thought, “Maybe Loreley is an evil witch?!” But the son went to the riverbank and looked for Loreley. He heard her voice. He was completely enchanted by the beautiful voice. He did not pay attention to the rocks. He slid on a slippery stone and sank into the river.
The son did not come home. His father, the Count, was very worried. Then he became very angry. He declared, “This is Loreley’s fault!”
He went with his soldiers to the riverbank. He wanted to capture Loreley. Loreley saw the Count and his soldiers coming. She called out, “Father of the River! Help me! Send your waves!”
The Rhine began to bubble up. The noise was so loud! Two giant foaming waves took Loreley and carried her under the water. She disappeared – smiling – into the river.
The Count then understood that Loreley was not an evil witch. She was a good mermaid and was the daughter of the powerful Rhine.
The Count was sad and went back to his castle. When he arrived, his eyes grew big with surprise! His son stood before him! He explained, “I lay on the bottom of the river. Then a gentle wave brought me to land.”
Many believed it was Loreley who saved the Count’s son. But the good mermaid was never seen again.
Version 2 – Lorelei
Lorelei was a beautiful young girl with long, golden, curly hair. She lived with her parents on a farm next to the Rhine river.
The Count’s son sometimes came riding through her parents’ land. One day, he caught a glimpse of Lorelei and he was enchanted by her beauty. After that, he came to visit her nearly every day. The Count’s son was handsome and he made Lorelei laugh. She soon fell deeply in love with him. They went for walks along the cliffs next to the Rhine. Lorelei would sing songs for her lover. She had a beautiful voice.
“One day, I will be Count and you can live with me in my castle!” he told her. “Sometimes I will have to go away, but if you sing for me on this cliff, I will always return to you.”
One day, however, the Count’s son stopped coming to visit.
“Perhaps, he went away,” she thought. She went to the cliff and sang a song for him. Still, he did not return.
Lorelei was worried, so she went to visit him at his castle. It was closed and she couldn’t get in. She waited until the next festival day. On that day, the castle doors opened and the Count came out. He made a speech. “I am happy to announce the marriage of my son!” he said. Behind him, Lorelei’s lover was walking arm in arm with another young lady. He was smiling and looked so happy.
Lorelei was so shocked. When his new wife went inside, she ran up to him. “You said you loved me!” she cried.
“How foolish you are!” replied the count’s son.
The count came up and asked him, “Who is this?”
“Oh, just a singer I knew…” said his son.
Lorelei heart broke. She became dead to the world. She returned to the cliff above the Rhine and jumped. Although her body died, her spirit stayed in this world.
Sometimes, she appeared at the top of the cliff, singing a beautiful song. Men travelling on the river could hear it. They became enchanted with the song and the beautiful girl with long, golden, curly hair at the top of the cliff. They were so enchanted that they forgot about the rocks at the bottom of the cliff. Their boats crashed into the rocks and were destroyed.
“How foolish they are!” thought Lorelei.