In a bizarre tale that the Brothers Grimm seemingly stitched together with whimsy and a dash of irony, a poor man sends his son into the world, where the lad astonishingly ends up a hero and marries a beautiful but bizarre princess. This princess, with her eccentric vow, insists that her spouse must be willing to be buried alive with her if she perishes first (and vice versa). One might wonder why it never occurred to the Grimms that the story’s logic is somewhat... fractured.
As fate would have it, the princess falls ill and dies, leaving our hero reluctantly entombed alive beside her with a meager supply of bread, wine, and candles. Here, the narrative takes a serpentine twist. A snake slithers towards the deceased princess, only to be promptly sliced into three by the vigilant husband. Another snake appears, bearing three magical leaves that miraculously piece the first snake back together. The husband, struck by inspiration (or perhaps desperation), applies the leaves to his dead wife, reviving her instantly.
However, resurrection apparently alters one's affections, for the princess emerges with her love for her husband extinguished. During a sea voyage, she and the ship's skipper, in a fit of treachery, toss the sleeping king into the ocean. But fear not! The king is saved and revived (again) by a loyal servant and the power of the snake leaves.
The tale concludes with the unfaithful princess and the skipper receiving their just deserts, meeting a watery end in a leaky ship. And the reader is left to ponder the curious absence of logic, the whimsical turns, and the strange oversight by the Brothers Grimm regarding the number of snake leaves and wounds. For in a tale where a snake is cut into three, surely there should be but two wounds, not three magical leaves needed for healing. But who are we to question the peculiar arithmetic of fairy tales?