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occurs through which everything turns to good. Only the old queen—an evidently untransformable aspect of evil—is burned, whereas the black woman becomes entirely white. She is redeemed and disappears into the unknown. She gives her former castle to the girl, who on this account now commands two domains at once—at court she is the queen and in the forest she is the mistress of the castle. In other words, the girl becomes a symbol in which the realm of collective consciousness and the depths of the collective unconscious are vitally connected.93 But all this happens in the version before us because the girl denies her deed to the end—a strange motif, worthy of closer examination. In the numerous Christianity-tinged versions, like “Mary’s Child” and the Russian version mentioned above, as well as others, the motif has been turned around, that is, the denial brings the suffering, and an eventual confession brings the redemption. Evidently, the motif of redemption resulting from consistent denial was found repugnant, against the grain of Christian ethical sensibility. In our version, too, the motif is somewhat deflected in that the black woman seems to be making a hair-splitting distinction between whether the girl only looked in or had actually been inside the room. But the variants enumerated in Bolte-Polivka94 in which unadulterated denials leads to redemption are so numerous that we are compelled to take them seriously as a valid version of the story. This deed can hardly be considered merely a childishly cowardly or wily lie, for the conscious sacrifice of the children is completely out of proportion to this. Therefore there must be a secret hinted at in this behavior that is not so easy to understand. As we consider this initially, here too, a certain parallel destiny between this girl and the biblical figure of Job strikes us; for as Job is confronted with the inner divine opposites (Yahweh-Satan) and through his insight into Yahveh’s suffering arrives at a critical point, so here the queen is plagued by the black woman and her shadow, the old queen, but is still not supposed to know anything of the goddess’s ambivalence. Thus the girl’s silence can be compared to the wise gesture of Job when he said, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer thee? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further” (Job 40:4–5).95 It seems to me that this girl also shows something of the wisdom and self-discipline of Job.96 Clearly, however, there is the difference from Job that, whereas he rightly felt completely innocent, the heroine of the fairy tale actually did commit a transgression, though it

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

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