The waiting-maid is the main antagonist of The Goose Girl, a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.
The maid is an attractive young woman who works for the princess. She is jealous of the princess' beauty and thus betrays her so she can take her place. She is rather cruel and vindictive, and seems to not care about animals, as evident with her orders for Falada to be killed.
Role in the story
When the princess sets out to meet the prince she is arranged to marry, she brings her waiting-maid with her. When they stop to rest, the maid decides to no longer serve the princess. She breaks the princess' goblet and tricks the princess into dropping her charm in the water. She then swaps clothes with the princess and threatens to kill her if she objects. When the two arrive at the palace, the maid poses as the princess and the real princess is forced to work tending geese. The maid then orders the princess' talking horse Falada to be killed, and his head is nailed to the wall.
The maid gets away with it until the princess is forced to tell her story. She reveals that she is a princess and that she was forced to swap places with the maid. The king is informed of the truth, and he tries to think of a punishment for the wrongdoer. The maid suggests that she should be thrown naked into a cask with sharp nails and dragged through the streets by four horses. The king gives this punishment to the maid, thus killing her, while the princess gets to marry the prince.