If you’re not familiar with the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale, The Skillful Huntsman, I recommend clicking here to read the story before proceeding to my commentary.
We’re not surprised to discover that the Grimm brothers tell story after story of princesses living happily ever after (though we haven’t seen that word for word ending as of yet) in wedded bliss. The Skillful Huntsman is another such tale. But what makes it stand out from the others? What makes it different? The huntsman.
The story of a bridegroom and his bride always finds it’s origin in Christ and the Church. In this story we’re shown a certain side of Christ, as displayed in the huntsman. Christ is a giant slayer. Yes, a giant slayer, armed and dangerous.
If you recall, when we looked at The Giant and the Tailor we discovered that the giant in that tale had attributes that describe God. Remember?
The giant is described as “all powerful” (Luke 1:37; Job 11:7-11) and speaks “with a voice as if it were thundering on every side” (Exodus 19:19). He says to the tailor, “thou mayst have a place with me” (Deut. 33:27; John 12:26; John 14:3). The giant is God!
In this tale the skillful huntsman shoots the meat of an ox (an animal offered in sacrifice to God – Deuteronomy 17:1) out of a giant’s mouth. Is this an allusion to the One true God depriving sustenance from the false gods of this world, removing the meat offerings from their hands, from their mouths? The three giants (false gods) are deprived food as the huntsman (Christ) begins the process of destroying their wickedness altogether. Take note of how the Grimm’s Christ figure attacks these giants. He uses his air-gun. Air? Yes. An air-gun with a special ability. It always hit its mark. The use of this air-gun prompts the giant to say,
Well, really… if the wind has not blown the bit out of my hand!
Air and wind. O, how clever our storytellers were. A huntsman and an air-gun. Christ and the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). The Greek word for spirit in that Ephesians passage – as in the Holy Spirit – carries with it meanings such as wind and breath (air on a small scale). The Holy Spirit of God always hits the mark. The “air-gun” of God doesn’t miss (Isaiah 55:11).
The use of the air-gun, a type of sword of the spirit, leads to the huntsman using an actual sword. A sword that can kill everything that opposes its bearer. This sword, a further allusion to the Spirit, has upon it the word of the King, his name.
And take… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God… (Eph. 6:17)
Air and a word bearing sword. It’s all right there, craftily implemented into a fairy tale that is captivating and engaging in its own right, but with a connection to truth for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
With this sword the huntsman cuts off the head of the “wild giants, who [had] evil in their minds,” the false gods.
He was well pleased that he had freed the beautiful maiden [the Church] from her enemies [false gods], and he cut out their tongues and put them in his knapsack. Then thought he, ‘I will go home to my father and let him see what I have already done, and afterwards I will travel about the world.
Not only has Christ defeated the false gods of this world, the devil and his demons, but He’s also made them mute. He cut out their tongues on the cross, and then went home to His Father in heaven, from where He will come again to be with His people in the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:1). For as Scripture says, “the dwelling place of God is with man” (Rev. 21:3).
Does this mean that evil won’t still impact us in the days before our Lord returns? No. Liars will rise up and try to claim the feats of Christ as their own. Anti-christs will deceive and attempt to take for themselves the bride who belongs to Jesus, just as the King’s captain lied and tried to wed the maiden whose hand rightfully belonged to the huntsman. However, these anti-christs will meet an end similar to the false gods (giants). They’ll be destroyed. Ironically, their tongues will speak the very words of their death sentence, for their deceitful mouths are what give voice and the appearance of life to the evil of the silenced and dead giants (false gods).
The next Finding Truth in The Story will be on Allerleirauh. Click here to read the fairy tale in advance.
I’m reading the fairly tales from the Fall River Press publication, Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Click here to purchase a copy for yourself.
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