A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 8 – The Three Little Men in the Wood to Whuppity Stoorie


Of course, lest not forget other fairy tale collectors and writers. As I said in my last post, there were plenty of them who predate the Grimms. Yet, there were others who came around their time and after. Naturally, you may remember the Danish Hans Christen Andersen who mostly wrote his own, including The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen, The Ugly Duckling, and The Red Shoes. Then there’s the Norwegian fairy tale collectors Asbjørnsen and Moe and Russian Alexander Afanasyev who collected fairy tales in their respective countries. And during the Victorian era we have English collector Joseph Jacobs. Anyway, for this installment, I bring you another 10 forgotten fairy tales for your reading pleasure. First, we have some Grimm tales revolving around 3 forest-dwelling dwarves, a dozen dancing princesses and twin heroes. Second, are Russian tales involving a firebird, a wizard, a white duck, and a fairy godmother witch you really don’t want to mess with. Third, is a Norwegian story about brotherly deception. After that, is a Danish story revolving around a white dove that has nothing to do with Hans Christen Andersen. Lastly, we have a Scottish legend pertaining to a green witch.

71. The Three Little Men in the Wood


The Three Little Men in the Wood is a Grimm fairy tale about a young woman driven into the forest by an evil stepmother. There, she meets 3 dwarves who ask what happened to her as well as to share her food and sweep their main entrance. She complies.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, obviously.
Synopsis: A widow with a daughter persuades a widower’s daughter to convince her dad to marry her. Once the honeymoon’s over, she oppresses her. Finally, the stepmother sends the girl into the woods to gather strawberries. There, she meets 3 little men asking what happened to her, to share her food, and sweep their front step. When she goes, they decide that she’ll grow more beautiful by the day, have gold fall from her mouth every time she talked, and marry a king. Also, she finds strawberries. Next time, her arrogant stepsister insists on going after the strawberries. She’s rude to the little men and refuses to share her food. The little men curse her to grow uglier, have toads drop from her mouth, and die a miserable death. And she never finds the strawberries.

Furious, the stepmother sends her stepdaughter to rinse yarn in a frozen river (in hopes she’ll die). A king sees her and takes her off to his castle. They marry and have a baby. The stepmother and her daughter come to the castle, throws the queen out the window, and puts her daughter in her place. The stepmother refuses to let the king see her and blames the toads on her illness. However, a scullion sees a duck swim up and asks what happened at the castle. She then becomes a woman again and nurses the baby. On her third visit, she tells the scullion to tell the king to swing his sword 3 times over her while on the threshold. This brings her back to life. At the baby’s christening, the king asks the stepmother what punishment should be fitting for someone who threw a person into the water. She replies, “The wretch deserves nothing better than to be taken and put in a barrel stuck full of nails, and rolled down hill into the water.” So the king has it done to her and her daughter.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Red Fairy Book as “The Three Dwarfs” and Ruth Manning’s A Book of Dwarfs.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I’m not exactly sure. Maybe because benevolent dwarves remind people too much of Snow White.
Trivia: N/A

72. Tsarevitch Ivan, the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf


Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf is a Russian fairy tale about a young prince who’s sent to capture the elusive firebird. Along the way, he meets a helpful gray wolf, a magic flying horse, and the lovely Helena the Beautiful.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: Well, the Afanasyev version of course.
Synopsis: Hearing that a Firebird’s eating his precious fruit every night, a tsar tells his sons that whoever brings it in will be his heir. The sons each take turns to stand watch the next few nights. But only the youngest remains awake to drive the bird and win a feather from it. The older brothers set out to retrieve it, find a stone warning about the danger ahead and decide to stay where they are. Ivan follows them and chooses a path. On it, a wolf eats his horse and offers him help, giving him directions on how to steal the Firebird. But Ivan disobeys. So he gets captured and sent off to steal a magic flying horse for the tsar he tried to rob. The wolf gives him directions on how to get the horse. But again, Ivan disobeys, gets caught, and is sent to kidnap Helena the Beautiful. With the wolf’s help, he brings her and the magic horse to the tsar who demanded them. Only to steal the girl and the horse along with the Firebird before leaving. Ivan’s brothers find him sleeping on his return. They kill him and walk off with the Firebird, the horse, and Helena the Beautiful. The wolf resurrects Ivan. Helena tells everyone what happened. While the brothers get thrown into prison as Ivan and Helena marry.


Here Tsarevitch Ivan nearly captures the firebird. Yet, at least he gets a feather.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Inspired the Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, “The Firebird.” Also adapted into a 2011 animated film.
Why Forgotten: I’m not exactly sure. But most people remember the “Firebird.” But it’s better known as a “phoenix.”
Trivia: N/A

73. Tsarevitch Petr and the Wizard


Tsarevitch Petr and the Wizard is about a prince who must venture to find his mother who was kidnapped by a powerful sorcerer. But before he gets there, he must take instruction from an old man in the forest.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: Well, the Afanasyev version of course.
Synopsis: A Tsar and his Tsaritsa have 3 sons: Alexei, Dimitri, and Petr. One day, the Tsaritsa goes on a walk and vanishes. The Tsar’s advisers conclude that the most powerful of all wizards, Koshchei abducted her and recommend that he marry again. Since it’s no use getting her back anyway. Instead, he offers anyone who sets off after her anything they need. After many heroes try and fail, the Tsar tells his sons that they must go. Alexei takes gold and a troop of soldiers. Only to lose all his men one by one until he’s left with just 10. He then meets an old man, telling him he won’t reach Koshchei’s castle because there are 3 rivers and the ferrymen’s tolls aren’t cheap. Alexei assures he’s got enough money. However, the first ferryman frightens off Alexei’s remaining men and demands his right hand. He allows it but when he reaches the second ferryman, he panics and returns home. Dimitri goes after him and even gets to the second ferryman who demands his left foot. But he panics at the third ferryman.

However, Petr only goes with a horse and sword. Yet, what he lacks in supplies, he makes up for in thorough planning. He chooses the sword by testing all the swords for a month. While he picks the horse by driving all the horses into the sea and selecting the one swimming the farthest and wrestling with the waves. He rides off. He’s polite to the old man who thinks he might reach it. In turn, the old man tells him how to get in. When he meets the ferrymen, he demands that each one ferry him before getting the price and then kills them on the other side. As the old man advised, he climbs the mountain with iron claws. There, he finds a copper castle with a stolen princess who can only direct him onward to a silver castle. There, another princess sends him onward to a golden castle. A princess there sends him to a fourth castle, of pearl where his mother is.

The Tsaritsa tries to trick Koshchei to extract knowledge of where his heart is. After lying to her, claiming it was in a broom and hedge, he tells her, “Know that my life is in neither the broom nor the hedge, but is in an egg. The egg is in a duck, and the duck is in a hare, and the hare nests in a great hollow log that floats in a pond in a forest of the island Bouyan.” Petr sets out backwards to find it, rescuing a salmon, hawk, and bear along the way. With their help, he deals with the animals and returns with the egg and kills Koshchei with it. He then brings back his mom with the princesses, marrying the gold castle princess while the other 2 wed his brothers.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, it doesn’t seem to have its own Wikipedia entry. Also, princes usually have to rescue princesses not their mothers.
Trivia: N/A

74. True and Untrue
From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christian Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe.
Best Known Version: The Asbjørnsen and Moe version, obviously.
Synopsis: True and Untrue are brothers. One day, their widowed mom sends them away to earn a living. Untrue persuades True to share his food before jeering him for wanting his brother to share his. True points out that Untrue’s being a jerk. But Untrue gouges his eyes out. Now blind and unemployable, True gropes about to find a large tree. He decides to climb it for fear of animals since he’ll know it’s morning by the birdsong. A bear, fox, wolf, and rabbit gather there to celebrate St. John’s Day. As each recounts about a cure for the King of England’s ills, including eyesight restoration. True uses it on his own eyes and can see. He then takes a job with the king. When the king complains about his health problems, True fixes them one by one. His last assignment is curing the princess, which wins him her hand in marriage. Untrue comes to the wedding to beg bread. True gives him a little food and sends him off to the tree where he had learned these things the previous year. Untrue climbs it but the animals show up. The bear announces the someone obviously eavesdrop last year so they won’t talk now.

Other Versions: One Russian and 2 French variants exist. In one version, True is blinded so he and Untrue can make more money begging.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Involves eye gouging.
Trivia: N/A

75. The Twelve Dancing Princesses

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Said to be no earlier than the 17th century. Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, obviously.
Synopsis: 12 princesses sleep in 12 beds in the same room. Despite their bedroom doors being securely locked, their shoes always appear worn as if they went dancing all night by morning. Despite the castle’s cobbler hitting the jackpot, the king promises his kingdom and daughter to any man who could discover the princesses’ secret within 3 days and 3 nights. Those who fail to within 72 hours are put to death. Following the many who failed so the executioner can enjoy a nice vacation in the Bahamas, an old soldier comes to try his hand at the task. Traveling through the woods, he comes across an old woman who gives him an invisibility cloak as well as instructs him not ingest anything the princesses might give him when they come to him during the evening. She also tells him to pretend being fast asleep after the princesses leave. He follows the advice, only pretending to drink the wine one of the princesses gives him after reaching the castle and pretending to fall asleep.


When they’re sure the soldier is asleep, the princesses don their finery and go out into the woods. The soldier follows them.

Sure the soldier was asleep, the princesses dress themselves in fine clothes and escape from their room via a trapdoor on the floor. Seeing this, the soldier dons his invisibility cloak and follows them down. The passageway leads to 3 groves of trees: one of silver, one of gold, and one of diamonds. The soldier breaks off a twig from each as evidence. They walk on until coming onto a great lake as 12 boats with 12 princes ferry the princesses to the other side. The soldier stows away hiding in the youngest princess’ boat. A castle appears on the other side, into which the princesses dance the night away until their shoes wear out and they have to leave. This continues on the second and third night. On the third night, the soldier carries away a golden cup as a token of where he’d been. When it comes time to reveal the princesses’ secret, he goes to the king with the 3 branches and the golden cup and tells him all he’s seen. The princesses see there’s no use to deny the truth and confess. The soldier takes the oldest princess as his bride and becomes the king’s heir.


Here we see the princesses dancing with their partners under the moon and the stars. Will only be a matter of time until their shoes wear out.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Red Fairy Book. There’s a French version collected by Charles Deulin in his 1874 Contes du Roi Cambinus. Alexander Afanasyev collected a Russian variant, “The Secret Ball”, in Narodnye Russkie Skazki. Some versions have the men the princesses dance with under a spell. While many variants have the princesses under a curse as well. Sometimes the soldier chooses the youngest princess whom he closely follows and sometimes he doesn’t marry a princess at all. Nonetheless, numerous countries appear to have their own version.
Adaptations: This one has numerous adaptations, including a Hindi Bollywood film in 2011.
Why Forgotten: I’m not sure why this isn’t as mainstream as Snow White or Cinderella.
Trivia: Also known as “The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes” or “The Shoes that were Danced to Pieces.”

76. The Two Brothers


The Two Brothers is a Grimm fairy tale about 2 fortunate poor boys who go off on adventures together. Though one of them slays a dragon and marries a princess.

From: Germany and Lithuania
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers. Has 2 distinct sections which may have originally been 2 separate tales. They mention in an afterword having also collected stories that resemble the first section with a different ending or the second section with a different beginning. Andrew Lang collected a story resembling the second section called “The Three Princes and Their Beasts” for The Violet Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version.
Synopsis: There are 2 brothers. One is a rich and wicked goldsmith. The other is a poor humble broom maker. The broom maker discovers a rare golden bird which the goldsmith buys off him. Since it’s magical, whoever cooks and eats its heart and liver will find a gold coin under their pillows each morning. The goldsmith has his wife cook the bird, but due to a mishap, the broom maker’s starving twin boys eat the heart and liver. When the boys start finding gold coins under their pillows, the astonished broom maker seeks advice from his brother. The goldsmith vindictively claims they’ve fallen to the devil and must be driven out. A huntsman takes the 2 kids in and raises them as his own sons.

The boys grow up and become young men who set out to seek their fortunes. First, they travel together, acquire a matching set of animal companions and go on some adventures before going their separate ways. The younger brother saves a princess from a dragon and wins her hand. They live happily for awhile until he goes out hunting in a mysterious forest and a witch turns him into stone. Receiving word that his sibling is in trouble, the older brother comes visiting and gets mistaken for his twin. He lets the mistake stand so he can borrow his brother’s authority to find out what’s going on before going into the forest and rescuing his younger brother from the witch. Though grateful to be reunited with his sibling, the younger brother experiences an attack of jealousy when he learns his older brother has been living his life. Until he gets home and the princess asks him why he’s been behaving strangely distant and sleeping on the couch the last few days.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I’m not sure why. Maybe the fact princess asks her husband why he hasn’t been sleeping in their bed the past few days.
Trivia: N/A

77. Vasilissa the Beautiful


Vasilissa the Beautiful is a Russian fairy tale about a young woman sent to Baba Yaga by her evil stepmother. Baba Yaga has her do a series of impossible tasks which she succeeds.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: The Afanasyev version, obviously.
Synopsis: Vasilissa is the youngest and a stepdaughter. Her stepmother and stepsisters have her do chores. She manages with her dead mom’s blessing and the doll she gave her. When she comes of age, all young men want to marry her, rather than her older sisters, which her stepmother forbids. After her into the woods in hopes she’d run into Baba Yaga who’d eat her, the stepmother sends Vasilissa directly to the witch for fire after deliberately extinguishing all the other ones. Vasilissa finds Baba Yaga at in her hut on chicken leg stilts surrounded by skulls that glow at night. Baba Yaga has Vasilissa do some impossible tasks. Yet, when she finds the girl succeeds with her mom’s blessing, she evicts Vasilissa but not without giving her a skull lantern. Because no one with a blessing can stay with her.


Here’s the witch Baba Yaga. Notice that she’s anything but a benevolent fairy godmother.

When Vasilissa returns, she finds out her stepmother and stepsisters have been unable to light a fire while she was gone. The skull lantern quickly sets the whole house on fire to the ground with the stepmother and stepsisters inside. Vasilissa seeks shelter with an old woman and begins to spin flax and weave the thread. When the old woman brings it to market, she takes it to the Tsar who can’t find seamstresses who can sew it. The piece is sent back to Vasilissa who can. Whereupon the Tsar insists on seeing her, falls in love, and marries her.

Other Versions: Some versions just have Vasilissa live peacefully with her dad after Baba Yaga’s house fire.
Adaptations: Made into a 1939 film and a 1977 animated feature.
Why Forgotten: Well, Baba Yaga’s the kind of fairy godmother who’s not going to pretty you up for a fancy dress ball so you can catch a prince after losing your shoe one night. No, she’ll basically give you a skull lantern and set your house on fire to burn your awful stepmom and stepsisters to a crisp.
Trivia: N/A

78. The White Dove
From: Denmark
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in The Pink Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: Obviously, the Lang version.
Synopsis: A witch rescues 2 princes during a storm at sea on the condition of receiving their younger (not yet born) brother. Years later, she claims him and he goes with her as promised. She has him sort feathers. When he does, a whirlwind mixes them up again. A white dove taps on the window and offers to help, sorting all the feathers. The next day, he has to chop wood but the pile keeps growing the longer he works. Again, the dove helps, splitting all the wood. The prince thanks her and kisses her. She turns into a lovely woman who reveals she’s a kidnapped princess. He must ask for her as the princess as she keeps flying as a dove, and recognizes her despite shapeshifting by the red thread she’ll bear on her foot.

In turn, the witch tries offering a broken down donkey and an old hag. The prince accepts them since they’re the princess. To keep her promise, the witch lets them marry. But the princess warns they must flee because she’s fulfilled it and need to do no more for that. They leave 2 enchanted wood pieces behind to speak for them while they take some water and a flower pot. When the witch tries to kill them in the morning, she finds the wood and chases. First the throw the flower pot which turns into wood. Getting through that, they throw down the water, which turns into a lake and compels the witch to go back for her dough trough to cross it. They then reach the prince’s castle. The princess blows her breath outward, causing hundreds of white doves to attack the witch who turns to flint in her anger. The prince’s brothers confess what they’ve done and say he should be their father’s heir.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, it involves 2 older brothers selling out to a witch out of a desperate situation. Also a princess impersonates a hag and donkey.
Trivia: N/A

79. The White Duck
From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye Russkie Skazki.
Best Known Version: The Afanasyev version, I guess.
Synopsis: A king leaves his new wife on a journey and warns her to be careful in his absence. A woman lures the queen into a garden and into a pool before turning her into a white duck and. She then takes the queen’s form and place and the king returns to an impostor. The duck soon lays 3 eggs comprising of 2 ducklings and an ugly drake hatched from them. The duck warns the 3 of the witch and to avoid her. One day, the witch manages to lure the 3 inside. But she waits for the ducklings to fall asleep before slaying them. The drake stays awake and escapes. The white duck finds the bodies and laments the deaths. The king discovers this, the duck returning to her queenly form in his presence. The returned queen tells him what happened and he seeks the magical aid of water to revive the killed ducklings and turn them along with the drake into human children. The king then condemns the witch and has her executed through dismemberment.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Yellow Fairy Book.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not exactly sure.
Trivia: N/A

80. Whuppity Stoorie


Whuppity Stoorie is a Scottish fairy tale about a poor woman who needs her pregnant sow alive or else everything will go to shit. The green woman cures the sow but demands the baby.

From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Robert Chambers in Popular Rhymes of Scotland. It’s like Rumplestiltskin with chicks.
Best Known Version: The Chambers version of course.
Synopsis: A man leaves his wife and baby. The woman is desperately poor but hopes her sow will have many piglets when it farrows. One day, the sow is clearly dying. A green gentlewoman offers to cure it and the woman’s willing to do anything for it. She does and demands the baby. However, by their law, she can’t take the baby for 3 days. And if the woman can correctly guess her name, she can’t do it at all. The woman goes for a walk in the woods and happens to catch the green gentlewoman singing about her name. The next day, the green gentlewoman comes for the kid and the woman has some fun playing at begging and pleading before she reveals, “In troth, fair madam. I might have had the wit to know that the likes of me is not fit to tie the worst shoestrings of the high and mighty princess, Whuppity Stoorie.”

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, this tale isn’t very long and it pertains to a poor wife who needs to keep her pigs alive instead of a single miller’s daughter rumored to spin straw into gold.
Trivia: N/A

A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 7 – The Six Swans to The Three Aunts


We all know the Grimm brothers collected fairy tales that the compiled in books during the 1800s. But they weren’t the only fairy tale collectors. Nor were they the first. The first notable European fairy tale collector was an Italian named Gianfrancesco Straparola who lived during the 1500s. The first sole fairy tale collection, Il Pentamerone, was by another Italian named Giambattista Basile who wrote it during the 1630s. Though he’s better known for his date rape Sleeping Beauty story. In the late 1600s, we have Charles Perrault for his Tales of Mother Goose which include early versions of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. Another is Madame d’Aulnoy who coined the term “fairy tale” in her Les Contes des Fées. Anyway, in this installment, I give you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, we look into Grimm stories about swan princes, two sisters, and a young man who spends the night in a haunted house. Second, we have Italian variants of Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty. Third, we have some tales from Norway about a castle resided by trolls with multiple heads, an unconventional princess, and 3 “aunts.” Next, is a story from Iceland about a Viking king with a mysterious past. And finally, a Scottish legend about a young man who’s kidnapped by fairies.

61. The Six Swans


The Six Swans is a Grimm fairy tale about 6 princes turned into swans by an evil stepmother. But the heroine is a princess who must make nettle shirts without speaking.

From: Germany and Denmark
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: Hans Christen Andersen’s “The Wild Swans” might be the best known version.
Synopsis: A witch forces her way into a king’s life with help by her evil mother and a fellow witch. Targeting 6 brothers from her new husband’s first marriage by transforming them into swans who can only assume their human form for 15 minutes a night. Fortunately, there’s still hope for them for their little sister hasn’t been enchanted. So they tell her that she must make 6 nettle shirts and can’t make a sound for 7 years or the spell won’t be broken. The girl accepts this and hides in a hunter’s hut, focusing only on her mission.


Here the queen has just completed the shirts for her brothers and she’s about to put them on. Yet, she’s tied and about to be burned at the stake.

Sometime later a young foreign king meets the girl in the forest, is quite taken by her beauty, and marries her despite his mother’s objections over her son marrying a non-noble Queen Consort or how her new daughter-in-law keeps working on the shirts in her spare time. When the now queen gives birth to her first child, her wicked mother-in-law takes the kid away and accuses her of killing and eating him. Due to her vow of silence, the new queen can’t properly defend herself. The evil Dowager Queen does this 2 subsequent times. Her husband defends his wife as much as he can but the third time’s the limit. And the girl won’t stop knitting and sewing. On execution day, the queen has finished making the shirts for her brothers. Well, almost since the last one’s missing a left arm. When she’s brought to the stake, she takes the shirts with her. When she’s about to be burned, the 7 years are up and the 6 swans come flying through the air. She throws the shirts over her brothers and they regain their human for (though the last guy will have to deal with a left wing for the rest of his life). Now free to speak, the queen can freely defend herself against the fraudulent accusations. She and her brothers then tell the king and everyone else what’s going on. The evil mother-in-law returns the 3 babies she stole and is burned at the stake. From then on, he royal family and the brothers live their lives in happiness and peace.

Other Versions: Has variants by Hans Christen Andersen as “The Wild Swans” and one by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe called “The Wild Ducks.” There’s even a North African version called “Udea and Her Brothers.” Some versions raise the number of siblings from 7 to 12. Sometimes the princess could be the oldest.
Adaptations: Retold as Daughter of the Forest and Anne Hunter’s Moonlight. Featured in the Japanese Grimm’s Fairytale Classics and animated film The Wild Swans: Princess of the Swans.
Why Forgotten: Despite it being adapted several times, much of the original Grimm story is adapted out for various reasons.
Trivia: N/A

62. Snow-White and Rose-Red


The Grimm fairy tale Snow White and Rose Red is about 2 sisters who go on various adventures. One of them includes a bear who turns into a handsome prince.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Written by Caroline Stahl as “The Ungrateful Dwarf.”
Best Known Version: The Grimm Brothers’ version is the best known.
Synopsis: A poor peasant woman lives in a cabin in the woods. She grows 2 rose trees in front of her house, one with white roses and one with red. When the flowers bloom, she has 2 daughters who she names after the trees: Snow-White and Rose-Red. They have an adventure involving an evil dwarf, a bear that turns out to be an enchanted prince, the enchanted prince’s enchanted brother, and of course, live happily ever after.


Snow White and Rose Red are sisters who are as different as night and day. One likes being in the house. The other prefers the outdoors.

Other Versions: Many versions include expansions.
Adaptations: Adapted into a comic and was featured in the Japanese Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics.
Why Forgotten: If the title includes “Snow White” but doesn’t include 7 dwarves who can’t do housework, a beauty-obsessed homicidal witch queen, a magic mirror causing self-esteem issues, an innocent brunette princess whose singing voice can summon the woodland creatures into spring cleaning, a poisoned apple, and a prince who commits sexual assault, it will not be remembered.
Trivia: N/A

63. Snow-White-Fire-Red
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Thomas Crane. Bears a better resemblance to Rapunzel than Snow White.
Best Known Version: The Crane version, obviously.
Synopsis: A small prince breaks a pitcher wherein an ogress had carefully caught the last of an oil fountain (built in honor of his birth). She curses him so he can’t marry anyone but Snow-White-Fire-Red. When he grows up, he remembers it and goes looking for her. He finds a tower where an ogress arrives and calls Snow-White-Fire-Red to let down her hair. As soon as the ogress leaves, he does the same and woos the girl. She hides him when the ogress returns, whom she calls her mother. She then asks her how she could escape. Believing the girl’s just curious, the ogress explains. Next, the girl enchants all the furniture to answer for the ogress so she runs off with the prince. The ogress keeps calling up the tower and the furniture answer. Until she figures it out and chases after them. The girl throws down balls of yarn she took, each which transform into an obstacle until the last one drowns the ogress. But not before she curses Snow-White-Fire-Red to have the prince forget her as soon as his mother kisses him. The prince goes to fetch clothes for her to appear in, his mother kisses him. And Snow-White-Fire-Red has to enchant 2 doves to go to the prince to jog his memory loose.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Probably because we don’t think of Snow White as having long red hair or being proactive in any way but staging a home invasion and summoning woodland creatures for housework assistance.
Trivia: N/A

64. Soria Moria Castle


In the Norwegian Soria Moria Castle, a guy named Halvor stumbles on a castle. Inside, there’s a princess who warns him of multi-headed trolls.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jorgen Moe.
Best Known Version: The Asbjørnsen and Moe version, obviously.
Synopsis: A couple had a useless son named Halvor who’d just grope about in the ashes. When they bound him out, they think he’d only last a day or two. Then a skipper invites him on board and off he goes. A storm carries them to a faraway land where Halvor goes looking about. Finally, he reaches a castle where a princess warns him of a troll but feeds him, has him try a sword on a wall, and gives him the potion the troll used when he lifted the sword. When the troll comes, Halvor cuts off all 3 of its heads. She asks him to help her sisters and he does so, though they’re prisoners of trolls with 6 and 9 heads. He chooses the youngest of them as his bride. After a time Halvor wants to see his parents.


Here Halvor slays a multi-headed troll. Still, you’d think he’d quit on the head-slicing thing by now.

The sisters give him a magic ring to wish himself there and back. But they warn him not to mention them. He goes back and brags of them and they appear before them all. So they take the ring and leave without He sets out to find the castle again. He meets with an old woman who keeps the Moon’s house, and unbeknownst to the Moon, trades boots “with which you can take twenty miles at each stride” and sends him off with the West Wind, leading him to the castle where the princess was marrying again. He uses the ring the princess left him to reveal himself. The princess marries him and not the new bridegroom.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Red Fairy Book.
Adaptations: Has been adapted into a song, poem, and novel.
Why Forgotten: It’s actually one of the best-known Norwegian fairy tales. It’s just that it’s not very well known outside Norway.
Trivia: Inspired a painting by Theodor Kittelsen.

65. The Story of King Odd
From: Iceland
Earliest Appearance: Printed in 1862 by Jón Árnason in Icelandic Folktales and Fairy Tales.
Best Known Version: Probably the one by Arnason.
Synopsis: Despite being popular, an old king is still single and childless (not good). Suddenly, a Viking horde lands in the realm and its leader, Odd challenges the king to battle. King bites the dust and Odd declares himself the new king. Despite his violent takeover, Odd becomes a popular ruler despite that nobody knows where he came from or who his parents are. The fall after Odd’s conquest, a wandering man arrives to the palace and pleads to be taken as a winter guest. The king agrees on the condition that the stranger must disclose as secret of his, Odd’s origins and identity the first day of summer. If he can’t, he’ll be executed. The man agrees. Summer comes and the winter guest has no idea what’s the king’s secret is. He gets the axe. Next autumn another traveler asks for a winter stay. Odd agrees on the same condition as before. Like his predecessor, he can’t unearth a clue about Odd’s past. So on to the executioner he goes. So do more winter guests during the next 4 subsequent years. In the king’s 7th year, yet another wanderer asks he’ll accept if he can sleep in the king’s own bedroom. The king agrees.

All winter, the guest keeps a close watch on the king but nothing happens until Christmas night when Odd, believing the guest is asleep, sneaks out of the bedroom. But the guest is wide awake and follows him stealthily to a lake in a bog. When Odd dives in, the guest follows him and finds himself on a beautiful meadow. It’s the Netherworld. It turns out that Odd is actually an elf queen who’s been banished to the Upper World with a curse. And the only way to lift it was to discover Odd’s true identity without any help. Now that the curse is lifted, Odd leaves to the Netherworld and makes the guest her successor.

Other Versions: Can’t think of any.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I tried doing a Google search for this tale but I couldn’t find any entries in English.
Trivia: N/A

66. The Story of Youth Who Went Forth to Know What Fear Was


The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was is a Grimm fairy tale about a young man who spends a few nights in a haunted house to get scared to death. It fails spectacularly.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm’s second version.
Synopsis: A young man is unaware what fear is. A sexton tries helping him by having the guy ring the church bell at midnight, while he scares him dressed as a ghost. The youngster isn’t scared at all and pushes the sexton down the stairs, breaking his leg. Ashamed and horrified, his father sends him out into the wide world. The young man takes this as an opportunity to try and learn what fear is (though he would’ve accomplished that quick if he just attended a Trump rally). A stranger advises him to spend a night beneath the gallows where 7 dead men hung. He follows that advice, sets a fire for the night, and even cuts down the bodies to sit them next to him around the camp blaze. When the corpses’ clothes catch fire, the youngster gets annoyed at their carelessness and hangs them back up.


Here the young man spends a night beneath the gallows. But the guy just uses the corpses as company near a campfire.

When arriving at an inn one day, the innkeeper tells the young man that if wants to know how to shudder, he should visit a nearby haunted castle. Nobody ever survived spending one night there, because they all died of fear. But if he managed to stay there, he’ll earn all the castle’s rich treasures and marry the king’s daughter. The young man decides to take on the challenge and goes to the king who tells him that he can carry 3 things to the castle. The young man chooses a fire, a lathe, and a cutting board with a knife. The first night, 2 black cats confront him complaining about the cold. The young man invites them to join him near the fire. The cats then propose a card game, but the young man cuts their nails with the cutting board knife. A huge fight breaks loose with all kinds of cats and dogs trying to attack him. Then, a bed appears out of nowhere. The young man hops in but the bed moves and drives him around the entire castle. Still unafraid, he urges it to go faster. The bed turns upside down on him. But he just tosses the bed aside and sleeps next to the fire until morning.


During the first night, the young man has to contend with demon cats. He cuts their nails with a knife.

During the second night, a half of a man falls down the chimney. Again unafraid, the young man shouts at the chimney that he needs the other half. Hearing him, the other half falls from the chimney and reunites with the rest. More men followed with human skulls and dead men’s legs with which to play 9-pins. The amused young man sharpened the skulls into better balls with his lathe and joined them men until midnight, when they vanish into thin air. On his third and final night in the castle, the young man hears a strange noise. 6 men enter his room, carrying a coffin. Unafraid but distraught, the boy believed the body to be his own cousin. Trying to warm the body, it reanimates. Confused, it threatens to strangle him. Angry at his ingratitude, the young man closed the coffin on top of the man again. An old man then appears bragging he could knock an anvil straight to the ground. He brings the young man to the basement, while showing the young man his trick, the youngster splits the anvil and traps the old man, beating him with an iron rod afterwards. Desperate for mercy, the man shows him all the castle’s treasures. The next morning, the king tells the young man that he could win his lovely daughter. He agrees despite not still not having learned how to shudder. One night, his wife tosses freezing water with gudgeons onto her husband while he’s sleeping. He wakes up shuddering, exclaiming while he finally learned how to do that, he still doesn’t know what true fear is.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Has numerous literary and TV adaptations.
Why Forgotten: Well, it’s hardly forgotten but it’s not nearly as mainstream as Cinderella. Still, this fairy tale needs its own Tim Burton movie adaptation since it’s humorous macabre just suits him.
Trivia: Frequently compiled into books featuring the “best” fairy tales of all time.

67. Sun, Moon, and Talia
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Giambattista Basile in Il Pentamerone in 1636. It’s basically Sleeping Beauty with date rape and Game of Thrones. Thought to have influenced Charles Perrault’s “Sleeping Beauty.”
Best Known Version: Basile’s of course.
Synopsis: On his daughter’s birth, a king asks all the wise men and seers to tell her future. They determine that she’ll be exposed to great danger from a flax splinter. So to prevent any such accident, the king orders that no flax or hemp should ever come to the castle. But one day when Talia had grown up, she sees an old woman spinning pass by her window. Since she had never seen anything like that before, Talia “was therefore delighted with the dancing of the spindle.” Curious, she takes the distaff and begins drawing out the thread. A hemp splinter, “got under her fingernail and she immediately fell dead upon the ground.” The king leaves his lifeless daughter seated on a velvet chair in the palace, locks the door, and departs forever to obliterate his memory of sorrow. Instead of like, you know, maybe trying to break the curse.

Sometime later, another king goes out hunting. His falcon flies into an empty castle window and doesn’t return. Trying to find the falcon, the king wanders through the castle. He finds Talia as if asleep but nothing could rouse her. Falling in love with her beauty, you’d think he’d kiss her at this point, which would still be sexual assault but far less disturbing. But, no, he rapes her before leaving and forgetting the whole thing. 9 months later, Talia gives birth to twins, all this time still in a magical coma. They nurse from her breast. Until one day, one of the babies wanted to suck but couldn’t find the teat. So instead it sucks on the finger that had been pricked. The baby sucks so hard on the splinter that it drew the piece out so hard that Talia rouses from her deep sleep, finding out that she’s been raped and is now a mother of 2. You can guess she has a lot of questions at this point.

One day, the king remembers his adventure and goes to see Talia again, presumably to rape her once more. He finds her awake and after confessing his paternity to the children, they go off to have a long weekend sex marathon in the hay. Despite that she has almost absolutely no idea who he is. Then he brings her and the kids to his castle but is careful to hide them from his wife (Oh, did I forget to mention King Creepypants is married? What an adulterous charmer). Once the queen discovers his secret and on sends for the 2 babies in the king’s name on the sly. She orders them cooked and served to her husband. The cook hides the children in his home and prepares 2 goat kids instead, which the queen serves the king. Later the queen sends for Talia, planning to have her thrown into the fire for causing the king’s infidelity (despite that the king, you know, raped her). The king arrives at the last minute, has his wife thrown into the fire, marries Talia, and is happy to find his kids whom the cook had saved.

Other Versions: One English translation tried sanitizing the story by changing the queen to be the king’s stepmother, rather than wife, and stupidly kept the line about him blaming her for not having children. Another translation removed the children by rape element. Instead, 2 kids randomly walk into the castle (with the narrator stating not to know where they came from) and try to wake Talia. The little girl puts Talia’s finger into her mouth and tries biting her awake, but instead accidentally sucks out the object keeping her comatose.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: For Christ’s sake, it involves date rape and the princess is willing to get together with him afterwards (creepy as fuck, I know, especially since she woke up finding herself as a mother of 2). And the king is married, by the way. But it’s okay, his wife’s totally evil and crazy (all right that’s very sexist but that’s how the story put it).
Trivia: N/A

68. Tam Lin


Based on a Scottish ballad from the 16th century, Tam Lin involves a one-night stand between the title character and Janet. After she’s knocked up, Janet finds out that Tam Lin is held hostage by the Queen of the Fairies.

From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Oldest known version was printed in 1549.
Best Known Version: Child Ballad #39 that’s collected by Francis Child.
Synopsis: Headstrong young Janet hears that the mysterious Tam Lin has forbidden all maidens to go into the forest called Carterhaugh (a real place in Scotland near Selkirk) on pain of uh, not really being maidens. Still, against her better judgement, she declares that she’ll check out Carterhaugh to see what all the fuss is about. But she no sooner picks a rose that Tam Lin himself shows up. Whether he rapes or they engage in consensual sex depends on the version. Anyway, sometime later, one of the knights for Janet’s dad remarks that his boss’ daughter looks knocked up. Janet agrees but says that she wasn’t messing around with any of her dad’s knights. So she returns to Carterhaugh to speak with Tam Lin.

Once there, Tam Lin tells Janet that he was once mortal, but the Queen of the Fairies captured him. And since the fairies make a sacrifice to Hell every 7 years, he’s afraid he’ll be the next offer. Yet, Janet can save him if she waits by Miles Cross on Halloween until midnight. Since that’s when the fairies will ride by and Tam Lin will be on a white horse. She must pull him down from the horse and hold onto him throughout his transformations. Janet does this. The Queen of the Fairies is obliged to let Tam Lin go. Later, Tam Lin and Janet marry.

Other Versions: Joseph Jacobs rewrote the ballad into a prose fairy tale, “Tamlane” in his 1894 More English Fairy Tales. In this version Burd Janet and Tamlane are lovers and engaged to begin with. But Tamlane gets kidnapped by elves before the wedding (thus, getting rid of the whole knocking-up business).
Adaptations: Has numerous adaptations, most famously a 1970 movie starring Roddy McDowall and Ava Gardner.
Why Forgotten: Well, the fact Tam Lin knocks up Burd Janet at some point might have something to with it.
Trivia: It’s one of the most popular ballads, both as a song and as a source of literature. Covered numerous times. Also, the name “Tomlin” comes from the title.

69. Tatterhood


The Norwegian fairy tale, Tatterhood is about an unconventional princess who dresses in rags, rides on a goat, and uses a ladle as a weapon. But goblins, trolls, and witches must not mess with her or her sister.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe.
Best Known Version: The Asbjørnsen and Moe version, obviously.
Synopsis: A beggar woman tells a queen that she will have children if she eats one of these 2 flowers (though the king and queen adopt a girl who’s friends with the beggar woman’s girl to begin with). But she warns her that since one is ugly and the other is pretty, only eat the pretty one. The queen eats both. Later, she gives birth to fraternal twin girls. One is beautiful and good (but is kind of a ditz). The other is, well, different. Of course, the girl earns the nickname Tatterhood for her tattered clothes. She also carries a wooden ladle and rides on a goat. But while she’s no beauty, she’s got her redeeming qualities as a stone-cold badass who takes the law in her own hands where goblins, trolls, and witches are concerned, even running outside during their terrifying celebration and bopping them on the head with her ladle. Unfortunately, her maids aren’t nearly as brave and a witch turns the beautiful princess into a calf. Tatterhood decides that this won’t do, takes her sister on a long sea voyage, eventually breaking into the witch’s castle and fighting all the goblins, trolls, and witches off in order to turn her sister back into a human. Afterwards, the sisters travel at sea until they come across a faraway kingdom where the beautiful princess marries the 40+ year-old king while Tatterhood marries the son (as part of pact that if the Tatterhood doesn’t get hitched, she won’t either). But on the wedding day, Tatterhood turns herself beautiful for the occasion to get back at her fiancé who’s really not looking forward to it. Confused the prince asks why, Tatterhood states that she can pretty herself but she just prefers to remain ugly for the sheer hell of it.


One sister dresses in rags and seems like she belongs in an insane asylum. But she’s a stone cold badass. The other is a perfect princess in every way but dumb.

Other Versions: Some versions just simply give the king 2 sons instead of having the pretty sister marry the king and Tatterhold marry his adult son. Also, some versions either make the princesses’ adopted older sister their cousin or don’t include her at all.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I guess Disney doesn’t care much for ugly princesses, no matter how badass. Nonetheless, Tatterhood is the princess Disney needs since she bucks the trend on what we conventionally expect from princesses, fairytale heroines, or women in general. Tatterhood doesn’t need to be beautiful and doesn’t care what people think of her. She’s her own person. Then again, we do have Arya Stark who comes close with being a vengeful assassin.
Trivia: N/A

70. The Three Aunts


The Norwegian tale The Three Aunts is about a young woman who boasts of her nonexistent clothmaking skills. So 3 old ladies help her in exchange they pose as her relatives at her wedding.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jorgen Moe. A more benign version of Rumplestiltskin since all these women want are offical recognition for their efforts.
Best Known Version: The Asbjørnsen and Moe version, I guess.
Synopsis: A girl has to go into service, where the queen likes her so much that the envious other servants claim the girl bragged about spinning a pound of flax per day. The queen insists she actually do it despite that the girl can’t even spin. An old woman comes in and does it for her in exchange for being an honorary aunt on her wedding. The servants claim the girl could weave linen in a day with the queen insisting. So another woman helps her. The servants claim the girl could sew in a day with the queen insisting again. Another old woman helps. Pleased with the girl’s skill, the queen has her marry the prince because she wouldn’t need to hire women to do such work. The 3 old ladies come to the wedding feast and are hideously ugly during the day. But the girl called each of them Auntie and they got to sit at the feast. The prince asks why such a pretty girl has such ugly aunts. They reply that they had been pretty once but endless spinning, weaving, and sewing had ruined their looks. The prince promptly forbids his new wife from doing any of that ever again.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Made into a 1921 film in Germany.
Why Forgotten: Well, doing favors and asking for one’s firstborn child from the recipient is much more terrifying and memorable than doing favors and asking for some official recognition and a good time.
Trivia: N/A