IN THE BLACK WOMAN’S CASTLE Interpretation of a Fairy Tale THROUGH THEIR SEARCH WORK of C. G. Jung, the discipline concerned with the meaning of myths and fairy tales acquired an empirical, scientific basis for the first time.1 As a result it became possible to understand mythologems not only in the terms of intellectual history or through poetic interpretations, but scientifically: that is, to understand them in a relatively objective fashion in their functional aspect as vital phenomena of the unconscious psyche. In the framework of the present study, Jung’s views and working hypotheses are of course presumed;2 however, to begin with I would like to present a few general considerations, which have arisen for me in the course of practical interpretive work and which I believe are not unimportant for the psychological interpretation of myths and fairy tales. One of these considerations concerns the figure of the hero or heroine, that is, in general the main figure in a myth or fairy tale, with whom the hearer or reader of the tale usually tends to identify emotionally. In the dreams of single individuals this figure corresponds to the dream ego. In almost every dream, the dreamer experiences events or images as an ego (active, passive, or just watching); and even when he dreams he is somebody else, he still always feels himself to be an “I.” By contrast, though the figure that replaces the dream ego in myths and fairy tales appears as an ego, at the same time it has features that essentially distinguish it from the ego of an individual human being.3 To single out just one principal element, the main figure of a myth or fairy tale lacks individual uniqueness,4 which is often evinced through the absence of even a personal name. As Max Lüthi accurately points out,5 fairy-tale heroes and heroines especially are “pure vehicles of the action,” figures of abstract isolation, drawn in the simplest, yet highly colorful and definite, lines.6 Therefore Lüthi also rightly speaks of the “onedimensionality” of the fairy tale. What he means by this is that the hero is part of the same transcendent, abstract realm as all the other figures of the tale. Translated into the language of Jungian psychology, this means that the hero himself is also an archetypal image, and therefore, like all the other fairy-tale contents, symbolizes a content of the collective unconscious.