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Crack the Nutshell; Enter the Lime Tree

illustration of Allerleirauh by Arthur Rackham This blog is named after the magic nutshell found in the German tale of Allerleirauh. According to some sources, it was given to her by a fairy godmother; in other versions of the tale, it is just something she has--no explanation given. Inside the magic nutshell are feminine objects of supernatural beauty--ball gowns that shine like celestial bodies, golden jewelry and tools designed to make clothing. In some versions, Allerleirauh's father has given her these things as incestuous wedding gifts--in the first version recorded by the Grimm brothers, it was her fiancee in another kingdom. In every version and variant, she uses these items to control her own fate. I love the magic nutshell because of all the symbolic power it holds in its small, simple form. It symbolizes femaleness, fertility, and the seed of life. The meat inside is precious food. Crack the shell in half, and you see a heart inside. Take off the green hull,