A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 13 – The Bold Knight, the Apples of Youth, and the Water of Life to The Child Who Came from an Egg

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In fairy tales, you’re bound to come across some magical creatures. Some may be benevolent talking animals like birds, foxes, and what not. Some may be cursed princes and princesses who don’t appear as ideal mates (because most of us aren’t into bestiality). Some may be creatures. And if they’re dragons, ogres, or giants, they’re antagonists who want to kill or eat you. Anyway, in this installment, I give you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, we have a Russian tale about a bold knight, apples of youth, and water of life. Second, are 3 Grimm stories about a lamb and fish, a glass coffin, and a golden bird. Third, we come to a Finnish tale of a magic birch tree. Then, we come to a Romanian story of a golden stag followed by a Norwegian tale about a bushy bride, an Irish Cinderella story, a savvy French princess, and an Estonian story of a princess coming from an egg.

121. The Bold Knight, the Apples of Youth, and the Water of Life

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The Bold Knight, the Apples of Youth, and the Water of Life is a Russian fairy tale about a prince sets out to find apples that can restore youth and water that can restore one’s eyesight. Let’s just say it’s a bumpy ride.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: The Afanasyev version, obviously.
Synopsis: An old king with failing sight hears of a garden with apples that could restore youth and water that could restore his eyesight. His oldest son sets out and comes to a pillar saying that on one road, his horse would be full but he’d go hungry, on the second he’ll lose his life, and on the third, he’d be full but his horse hungry. He takes the third and comes to a house where a widow welcomes him and offers him to spend the night with her daughter Dunia. He accepts and Dunia makes him fall into the cellar. The second son sets out and meets the same fate. Finally, despite his dad’s reluctance, the youngest son sets out. Though widow gives him the same offer, but says he must freshen up at the bath house first. Dunia leads him to it. The young prince beats her until she reveals his brothers. He frees them but the men are ashamed to return home. The youngest prince rides on and finds a pretty maiden weaving. She can’t direct him to the garden but sends him to her second sister instead. The second sister asks to leave his horse with her and send him to the third sister with a 2-winged horse. The third sister gives the prince a 4-winged horse and tells him to ensure that it jumps over the garden’s wall in a single bound or it makes bells ring and wake the witch guarding it. He tries obeying her, but the horse’s hoof just grazes the wall despite the sound being too soft to wake the witch. But in the morning, she chases after the prince on her 6-winged horse, only catching him when he’s near his own land and didn’t fear her. She curses him, saying nothing will save him from his brothers.

The prince finds his brothers sleeping and naps by them. They steal his apples and throw him over a cliff, falling to a dark kingdom. There, a dragon demands a beautiful maiden every year. This year, the lot falls on the princess. The knight says he’d save her if the king promises to do as he asks. The king not only agrees but also offers to marry him to the princess as well. They go where the dragon’s approaching and he falls asleep, telling the princess to wake him. The dragon arrives, she can’t wake the knight and begins to cry. A tear falls on his face waking him. He cuts off the dragon’s heads, puts them under a rock, and throws his body in the sea. Unfortunately, another man sneaks up behind the knight and cuts off his head and threatens to kill the princess if she didn’t say he killed the dragon. The king arranges the marriage, but the princess goes to sea with the fishermen. Each time they catch a fish, she has them throw it back. But finally, their nets catch the knight’s body and head, which she puts together with the water of life. He comforts her and sends her home, assuring he’ll come and make her situation right. When he comes to the king, he asks whether the alleged dragon slayer could find the dragon’s heads. The impostor can’t but the knight could. The knight then asks if he could return to his own country, not to marry the princess, but she doesn’t want to leave his side. She knows of a spoonbill that could carry them, as long as you feed it. They go off with a full ox but it wasn’t enough so the princess has to cut off part of her thigh. The bird carries them all the way and even comments on the last meat’s sweetness. She shows what she’s done and the bird spits the piece right out. The knight uses the water of life to restore the princess’ thigh. He goes back to his dad and tells him what his brothers have done. The brothers jump in a river while the knight marries the princess.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The fact the widow procures her daughter to visiting young men might have something to do with it. Also, a male protagonist uses Jack Bauer interrogation techniques on that daughter. Not to mention, features a lot of decapitation, some body mutilation, and suicide.
Trivia: N/A

122. The Lambkin and the Little Fish

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The Grimms’ fairy tale, The Lambkin and the Little Fish is about a stepmother who turns her stepkids into these animals and tries to serve them for dinner. And no, I’m not making this up.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A brother and sister have a stepmother who hates them. One day, they’re playing a counting-out game by a pool. Their stepmother turns the boy into a fish and the girl into a lamb. The guests come. The stepmother orders the cook to serve the lamb. The lamb and fish lament their fates to each other. The cook serves another animal and gives the lamb to the girl’s former nurse. Suspecting who the lamb is, she brings it to a wise woman who pronounces a blessing over the lamb and fish restoring their human forms. She then gives them a hut in the woods where the kids live happily ever after.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The kids are turned into a fish and lamb with the lamb on the menu.
Trivia: N/A

123. The Wonderful Birch

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The Wonderful Birch is a Finnish and Russian fairy tale that pretty much runs like Cinderella. Except that the girl’s fairy godmother is a tree.

From: Finland and Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in The Red Fairy Book. It’s a Russian version of Cinderella with shapeshifting. Also, it has a magic tree instead of a fairy godmother while the wicked stepmother is a real witch.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, of course.
Synopsis: A peasant woman meets a witch who threatens to transform her if she does something. She doesn’t do it but gets turned into a sheep anyway. The witch then assumes the peasant woman’s form and returns to her husband. After a time, she him a daughter she pampers while mistreating her stepdaughter by the peasant’s sheep-wife. The witch-stepmother orders her husband to slaughter the sheep before it runs away. He agrees, but the stepdaughter runs to the sheep crying. Her mom tells her not to eat anything from her body and bury her bones. She does and a birch tree grows on the grave. One day, a king gives a festival inviting everyone. The witch sends off her husband with her younger daughter, throws a potful of barleycorns in the hearth, and tells the older stepdaughter that if she doesn’t pick the barleycorns from ashes, it’ll be worse for her. The birch tells her to strike the hearth with one of her branches which sorts them, and then magically bathes and dresses her. It then tells her to go to the fields and whistle, for a horse, partly gold, partly silver, and the third partly something more precious will appear to take her to the castle. The girl then goes to the festival. The prince falls in love with her and has her sit beside him. But the witch’s daughter gnaws bones under the table. Thinking she’s a dog, the prince gives her such a kick, breaking her arm. He has the door latch smeared with tar, which catches the stepdaughter’s copper ring when she leaves. When the witch returns home, she tells her stepdaughter that the prince has fallen in love with her daughter and carries her about, only he had dropped her and broke her arm.

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Whenever the king holds a great event, the witch stepmother pretties up her own daughter. And in the meantime, she gives the stepdaughter a chore to keep her busy so she won’t come.

The king holds another festival. The witch tries keeping her stepdaughter busy by throwing hemp-seed on the hearth. But with the birch’s aid, the stepdaughter goes to the festival as before. This time, the prince breaks the witch daughter’s leg. Again, he has the doorpost smeared with tar catching the stepdaughter’s silver circlet. The king holds a third festival. The witch tries keeping the stepdaughter busy by throwing milk on the hearth. But with the birch’s aid, the stepdaughter goes to the festival as before. This time, the prince kicks out the witch daughter’s eye. One again, he has the doorpost smeared with tar, catching one of the stepdaughter’s gold slippers. With the ring, circlet, and slipper, the prince sets out to discover who the maiden is. When he’s about to try them on the stepdaughter, the witch intervenes and gets them on her daughter. The prince takes both the daughter and stepdaughter. When they come to the river, the stepdaughter whispers to the prince not to rob her of her silver and gold. He throws the witch’s daughter over the river to serve as a bridge. The prince and the stepdaughter cross it and he takes her for his bride. They next visit the magical birch tree and receive treasures and gifts. While stretching as a bridge in her grief, the younger sister wishes that a hollow stalk grow out of her navel so her mom would recognize her. Immediately, a golden stalk grows out of the bridge.

In time, the older stepsister gives birth to a son while the prince’s dad dies. Hearing of this and believing the princess is her daughter, the witch goes to the castle. But on the way, she sees a golden stalk and is about to cut it until her daughter cries out not to cut out her navel and that she’s a bridge. The witch hurries to the castle and turns the older stepdaughter into a reindeer while her daughter replaces her. An old woman tells the young king that his wife’s in the forest in the shape of a reindeer and that the woman beside him is the witch’s daughter he once abused. He asks how he could get her back. The widow tells him to take their son into the forest. When she goes for the child, the witch objects. But the king insists on the widow taking the baby. In the forest, the widow sings to the reindeer, which comes and suckles the child and tells the woman to bring it again the next day. The next day, the witch objects again, but the widow takes the kid to the reindeer as before. The child becomes quite cute and his dad asks the widow if it’s possible for his wife could regain her human shape. Though she doesn’t know, the widow tells him to go into the forest and when the reindeer throws off her skin, he’s to burn it while she’s searching for his wife’s head. All this is done and the reindeer assumes her human form. But not wanting to appear naked, he turns into a spinning wheel, a washing-vat, and spindle. Her husband destroys all of it until she becomes human again. On their return to the castle, the king orders a huge fire made under a bath with tar and its approached covered with brown and blue cloth. He then invites the witch’s daughter to take a bath. She and her mom, in stepping over the cloth, fall a depth of 3 fathoms into the fire and tar to their death with the witch cursing all mankind.

Other Versions: In the Lang version, after the stepdaughter returns to human form and after being asked that she won’t be eaten up, the witch and her daughter run away and grow to a ripe old age if they didn’t stop. The prince, the older stepdaughter, and their son live happily ever after.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Let’s just say the prince doesn’t treat the witch’s daughter very well at all. Also, the prince lures the witch and her daughter into fire and tar pit where they suffer a most horrifying death.
Trivia: N/A

124. The Golden Stag
From: Romania
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Petre Ispirescu in Legende sau basmele românilor.
Best Known Version: The Ispirescu version naturally.
Synopsis: An old woman tells her husband to lose the kids from his first marriage, a son and a daughter. The first time, the boy’s playing in the ashes and the children come back. But the old man succeeds the second time. They can’t find water anywhere until they come to fox tracks where water’s welling. But the sister warns her brother that drinking it will turn him into a fox. At the bear’s tracks, she warns him again. And though she warns him once more at the stag’s tracks, the brother is too thirsty and drinks. He turns into a golden stag and carries off his sister in cradle in his antlers, makes a nest for her up a tree where she grows up. One day, a prince sees her and falls in love and promises a fortune to whoever wooed that girl for him. An old woman sees the golden stag and doesn’t know how to address it. So she lures the girl down by pretending to be foolish with her cook fire and carries her off to the prince. When the stag follows, the sister claims he’s her brother and the prince gives him a fine stable with plenty to eat. Everyone’s happy except a gypsy girl who had previously been the prince’s favorite. She lures the sister into the forest where she falls asleep before dressing up as the prince’s wife and disguising her face. But the stag’s not fooled. The prince and his followers retrieve the girl and has the gypsy girl stoned to death.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why. Perhaps the bad depiction of a gypsy and her being stoned to death.
Trivia: N/A

125. The Glass Coffin

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The Glass Coffin is a Grimm fairy tale about a tailor’s apprentice who stumbles upon a castle. He finds a princess encased in a glass coffin who want him to free her.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, of course.
Synopsis: A tailor’s apprentice becomes lost in a forest. When night falls, he sees a shining light and follows it to a hut. An old man lives there, and after the tailor begs, allows him to stay for the night. The next morning, the tailor wakes up and witnesses a fight between a great stag and a bull. After the stag wins, it bounds up to him and carries him off in its antlers before setting him down near a stone wall and pushing him against a door within it, which opens. Inside the door, he’s told to stand on a stone which would bring him good fortune. He does and it sinks down into a great hall, where a voice directs him to a glass chest containing a beautiful maiden asking him to open it and free her, which he does. The maiden then tells her story. A daughter of a rich count, she was raised by her brother after her parents died. One day, a traveler stays over and tries using his magic to get her in the night and asks her to marry him. But she finds his magical ways repellent and rejects him. In revenge, the magician turns her brother into a stag, imprisons her in a coffin, and enchants all the lands around them. The tailor and the maiden emerge from the enchanted hall and find that the stag has been transformed back into her brother. The bull he had killed had been the magician. The tailor and the maiden marry.

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Here the tailor enters the mysterious castle. And it seems he comes across the woman right away. But unlike in Snow White, the girl is totally conscious.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Green Fairy Book as The Crystal Coffin.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

126. The Golden Bird

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The Golden Bird is a Grimm fairy tale pertains to a gardener’s son trying to catch a golden bird for the king. He’s aided by a fox but doesn’t seem to take adequate direction from him.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: Every year, a king’s apple tree is robbed of one golden apple during the night. He sets his gardener’s sons to watch. The first 2 fall asleep but youngest sees that the thief is a golden bird. He tries shooting it, but knocks a feather off. The feather is so valuable that the king declares he must have it. He sends the gardener’s sons to capture the priceless golden bird. They each meet a talking fox who gives them advice for their quest: to choose the bad inn over a brightly lit and merry one. The first 2 sons ignore the advice, and in the pleasant in, they abandon their quest. But the third son obeys the fox who advises him to take the bird in its wooden cage from the castle where it lives, instead of putting it into the golden cage next to it. But he disobeys and the golden bird rouses the castle, resulting in his capture. He’s sent after a golden horse as a condition for sparing his life. The fox advises him to use the leather saddle over a golden one, but he fails again. He’s then sent after the princess in the golden castle. The fox advises him not to let her say goodbye to her parents, but the gardener’s son fails. And her dad orders him to remove a hill as the price of his life.

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Over the course of the story, the gardener’s son obtains the golden bird, a horse, and a princess at the fox’s guidance. But he pays a steep price freeing his brothers from the gallows since they stab him in the back

The fox removes it. Then, as they set out, he advises the new prince how to keep all the things he’s won. It then asks the prince to shoot it and cut off its head. When the prince refuses, it warns against buying gallows’ flesh and sitting on the edge of rivers. Later, he finds that his carousing and sinful brothers are to be hanged on the gallows and he buys their liberty. When they find out what he’s done, the push him in the water while he’s sitting on the river’s edge. Next, they take his things and the princess and take them to their dad. However, the bird, the horse, and the princess all grieve for the youngest son so the fox rescues him. When he returns to his dad’s castle dressed in beggar clothes, the bird, the horse, and the princess all recognize him as the man who won them. His brothers are put to death and he marries the princess. Finally, the third son cuts off the fox’s head and feet at its request. He’s revealed to be a man, the princess’ brother.

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Here we see the golden bird take a golden apple. And the king wants it badly.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Green Fairy Book. Has a French version collected by Paul Sébillot as The Golden Blackbird and a French-Canadian version collected by Marius Barbeau as The Golden Phoenix.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why. Maybe because it treats the princess as a prize to be won for some reason.
Trivia: N/A

127. Bushy Bride

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In the Norwegian Bushy Bride, a girl washes 3 heads from the well and receives a fortune. But her stepsister who’s rude to them and is turned ugly.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe.
Best Known Version: The Asbjørnsen and Moe version, obviously.
Synopsis: A widower with a son and daughter marries a widow with a daughter. The stepmother mistreats the kids until the boy leaves home. One day, the stepmother sends the stepdaughter to the pool for water, 3 heads pop up to demand, in turn, that she wash, brush, and kiss them. When she does this, they talk among themselves and decree that she would be the most beautiful woman in the world, while gold would drop from her hair when she brushes it and from her mouth while she speaks. When the stepsister sees this, she wants to go as well. But she’s rude to the 3 heads and they decree that her nose will be 4 ells long, she would sport snout 3 ells long and a pine bush from her forehead, and ashes would drop as she speaks. Meanwhile, the stepson works as a groom for the king. Every day, he takes out a picture of his sister and prays for her. The other grooms tell the king who insists on seeing and declaring that no woman could be so beautiful and resolves to marry her. The brother comes to fetch her. The stepmother and her daughter come as well. At sea, her brother calls down as the journey goes on, and the stepmother persuades the sister to throw overboard the casket and a dog her mom had left her before jumping in herself.

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Here the girl combs her hair to let the coins out to prove she’s the king’s intended bride. And there’s even a dog to catch some of them.

Not surprisingly, the king is outraged by the sight of the stepsister, thinking she was his promised bride. Though he keeps his word and marry her, he throws the brother into a snake pit. At the same time, a lovely woman comes into the kitchen who produces gold every time she brushes her hair and sings of the Bushy Bride’s wickedness. And she says she’ll come twice more. A kitchen maid tells the king, but the Bushy Bride sings him to sleep the next night. On the third night, he sends 2 men to keep him awake but they can’t do so. When the woman turns to leave, saying she’ll never come again, they put a knife in his hand and guide it to cut her finger. This frees her and wakes the king who takes her brother from the snake pit virtually unscathed and throws in the stepmother and the Bushy Bride. He then marries the true bride.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Guess throwing people in a snake pit might have something to do with it.
Trivia: N/A

128. Fair, Brown, and Trembling

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The Irish fairy tale, Fair, Brown, and Trembling revolves around 3 princesses. Here we have Trembling show up at the church to catch a neighboring prince’s eye.

From: Ireland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Jeremiah Curtain in Myths and Folklore of Ireland and Joseph Jacobs in Celtic Fairy Tales. Basically, Irish Cinderella.
Best Known Version: Guess the Jacobs version.
Synopsis: King Hugh Cùrucha has 3 daughters: Fair, Brown, and Trembling. Since Trembling is the prettiest, her older sisters make her stay home, for fear she would marry before them. After 7 years, the son of the king of Emania falls in love with Fair. A henwife tells trembling that she go to church. When she objects on account of having no suitable dress, the henwife gives her one, a horse, a honey-finger, and a honey-bird and tells her to leave as soon as Mass is done. She obeys and gets away before any man comes near her. After 2 more times, the son of the king of Emania forgets about Fair for the woman who comes to church and runs after her, managing to get her shoe when she rides off. The prince looks for the woman whose foot the shoe fits. Although the other king’s sons warn him that he’d have to fight for her. They search all over and when they come to the house, they insist on trying Trembling as well. The prince at once says that she’s the woman. Trembling goes off and reappears in her church clothes and everyone else agrees. The other princes fight for her, but the hero prince defeats them all while the Irish king’s son declare that they won’t fight one of their own. The prince and Trembling marry and have a son. Her husband sends for Fair to help her. One day, when they walk along the seashore, Fair pushes Trembling in. A whale swallows her and Fair passes herself off as her sister. But the prince puts a sword in bed between them, declaring if she was his wife, it would grow warm. If not, it would grow cold. In the morning, it’s cold.

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When Fair comes to visit, she pushes Trembling into the sea. Thankfully, Trempling gets swallowed by a whale and spat out on the shore.

A cowherd witnesses Fair push Trembling and sees the whale swallow her. The next day, he sees the whale spit her back up. She tells him that the whale would swallow and spit her out 3 times and she can’t leave the beach. Unless her husband rescues her by shooting the whale in a spot on its back, she wouldn’t go free. Her sister gives the cowherd that makes him forget the first time, but on the second, he tells the prince. The prince shoots the whale. They send word to her dad who says they can execute Fair if they want to. They tell him he can do as he pleased. So the king abandons the oldest sister on the sea in a barrel, with provisions. Their next child is a daughter who they marry off to the cowherd.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Perhaps leaving someone in a barrel at sea has something to do with it.
Trivia: N/A

129. Finette Cendron

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The French fairy tale Finette Cendron is about a princess who’s a cross between Cinderella and Arya Stark. I mean she kills 2 ogres and goes to a fancy dress ball.

From: France
Earliest Appearance: Written by Madame d’Aulnoy. It’s basically Cinderella meets Game of Thrones.
Best Known Version: Well, the d’Aulnoy version, of course.
Synopsis: A king and queen lose their kingdom and have to sell everything they bring with them until they are poor. The queen resolves to make nets with which the king can use to catch birds and fish to support themselves. As for the 3 daughters, they’re useless. So the king should take them somewhere and leave them. The youngest, Finette, hears this and goes to her fairy godmother. She gets tired on the way and sits down to cry. A jennet appears before her and she begs it to carry her to her fairy godmother who gives her a ball of thread that, if she tie it to the house door, would lead her back and a bag of gold and silver dresses.

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Here Finette and her sisters encounter an ogress at the castle. Looks more like Count Dracula than ogre Fiona from Shrek.

The next day, their mom leads them off and urges them to sleep in the meadow. Then she leaves. Though her sisters treat her like shit, Finette wakes them. The sisters promise her many things if she would lead them and they make their way back. The mom pretends she left to get something else. The sisters blame Finette, give her nothing they promised, and beat her. The queen resolves to lead them away even further so Finette visits her fairy godmother again, who instructs her to bring a sack of ashes and use it to make footprints. But she shouldn’t bring her sisters back and would never see her fairy godmother again if she does. The queen leads them off. The older sisters bewail their fate and Finette pities them. The king and queen plot a third time. The middle sister suggests they should create a trail of peas. But Finette brings her jewelry and clothing instead. When the queen abandons them, the pigeons eat the peas and they can’t go home again. Finette finds an acorn and refuses to let them eat it. Instead, they plant it. They eat cabbage and lettuce. The acorn grows into a tree which Finette climbs it. One day, her sisters look into her bag and find her jewelry, which they steal and put stones in their place. After this, Finette eventually sees a dazzling castle from a tree. Her sisters steal her jewelry and clothes which they replace with rags when they go to it. A hideous old woman tells them it’s an ogre’s castle and that she’ll let them live a few days. They try to flee but she catches them. The ogre returns and she hides them so she could eat the girls herself. He smells them and she persuades him to keep them and look after the castle so she could devour the sisters while he’s gone. While they’re at work, Finette tricks the ogre into an oven and burns him into cinders. She then persuades the ogress that if she let them dress and do their hair, she’d soon find a noble husband. While doing her own hair, she cuts off the ogre’s head.

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Here is Finette with her sisters. She does all the work. Her sisters treat her like crap despite it.

The older sisters dress themselves in the castle’s treasures so they could find husbands, go off and show themselves off in the nearest town, and threaten to beat Finette if she doesn’t keep the castle perfect. They return with tales of dancing with a prince and keep going and leaving her behind. One day, Finette finds an old key that proves gold that opens a chest full of beautiful clothes. When the sisters leave, she dresses herself and follows them to the ball, calling herself Cendron and everyone pays court to her. This goes on for many days while the chest always produces new clothes. But once day, Finette leaves in a hurry since she had to get back to her sisters, leaving behind a red velvet slipper embroidered with pearls. The king’s oldest son finds it and falls ill and no doctor can cure him. Because he had fallen in love whose shoe it was. So they order all the women to appear and try it on. Her sisters go but Finette doesn’t know the way. She dresses herself and finds a jennet at her door again. She rides past her ungrateful sisters, splashing them with mud. When she puts on the slipper, the prince wants to marry her. But Finette insists the king (who conquered her parents’ kingdom) restore he parents’ former domain to them first. He agrees. She marries off her sisters and sends them back to the jennet with gifts for her fairy godmother.

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Once the ogres are gone, Finette and her sisters move into the castle. But Finette gets stuck with doing all the chores.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Finette burning one ogre and decapitating another sure won’t earn a place among the Disney Princess canon. Game of Thrones, maybe.
Trivia: N/A

130. The Child Who Came From an Egg

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The Estonian fairy tale, the Child Who Came from an Egg revolves around a princess named Dotterine. Hatched from an egg, she finds herself displaced after her mother dies and a war descends upon her dad’s kingdom.

From: Estonia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by collected by Dr. Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald in Eestirahwa Ennemuistesed jutud.
Best Known Version: The one in Andrew Lang’s The Violet Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A queen tells an old woman 2 griefs. First, her husband is at war. Second, they don’t have any kids. She gives her a basket with an egg and instructs the queen to put it some place warm. 3 months later, it would and let out a doll, which the queen is supposed to leave alone and it would become a baby girl. She’d even have a baby of her own, and she is supposed to put the girl with him and show them to the king. After that, the queen could raise her son by herself but entrust a daughter to a nurse. Furthermore, she must invite the old woman to the christening by throwing a wild goose feather up in the air. The queen obeys exactly. When the baptism arrives, a dazzlingly beautiful woman comes in a cream-colored carriage, and is dressed like the sun who decrees that the girl be named Dotterine. The kids grow up. Dotterine’s nurse loves her, but knows that a beautiful woman leans over her. She confides this to the queen and they decide to keep it secret. Unfortunately, when the twins are 2, the queen takes ill, confides the basket to the nurse for when Dotterine is 10, and dies.

Due to his ambition, the king remarries and his new wife hates the twins. One day, the stepmother beats Dotterine that she runs away to cry. She discovers a basket. Thinking she might find something that might amuse her, she only finds a feather that she throws out the window. A beautiful woman appears and reveals herself as the girl’s godmother. She talks to Dotterine, tells her how to use the basket to feed herself, and says that she only needs to throw a goose wing out the window to summon her. That time would come when the city is besieged and the beautiful woman carries Dotterine away. Meanwhile the king and his men get captured, the stepmother gets speared, and the prince miraculously escapes in confusion.

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After the war, the new king holds a ball to choose a wife. And despite the fact they were raised together, Dotterine becomes his queen. But don’t worry, they’re not related by blood so it’s okay.

The lady disguises Dotterine as a peasant. The girl uses the basket to feed herself but takes a service peasant job for shelter. One day, a lady sees her and takes her into service. She hears the prince had raised an army and threw out the usurper who took the city, but the king had died in captivity. The new king holds a ball to choose his wife. Her godmother tells her to prepare her mistresses. But once they’re gone look into the basket. She finds all she needs and goes to the ball. All the women claim she’s the lost princess. At midnight, a dark cloud blinds them and Dotterine’s godmother appears. She tells the king that Dotterine isn’t related to him by birth but a princess from a neighboring kingdom entrusted to his mom to raise to protect her from an evil wizard. She vanishes and so does the basket. But Dotterine lives happily ever after with the king.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Contains some variant of incest. But it’s okay, since they’re not exactly blood relatives, but it’s kind of a cop-out.
Trivia: Also called, “The Egg-Born Princess.”

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A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 12 – The Enchanted Pig to Prâslea the Brave and the Golden Apples

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In some fairy tales, you’ll find a Beauty and the Beast or Frog Prince setup. Of course, the many of these tales exist is because of arranged marriages, especially among the upper classes. After all, back in the day, most people didn’t marry for love like we do today. So many of these tales were devised to get people used to the idea. And while we’re used to the beast figure, the beast in question can even be an animal who helps the beauty’s dad out and only demands a daughter for his services. By the way, these stories usually have a female beauty and a male beast dynamic. Anyway, in this installment, I give you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, are Romanian story of an enchanted pig and a prince and golden apples. Second, are 5 Grimm tales about a unique lark, two princes, a raven, 3 dogs, and a blue light. Third, is an Italian story of 3 sisters. Then we come to a Scottish tale of 3 princesses. And finally, we look into a Norwegian fairy tale of 3 princesses of Whiteland.

111. The Enchanted Pig

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The Enchanted Pig is a Romania fairy tale in which a princess is wed to a pig to her dismay. He’s not bad but he’s actually a handsome man under a curse. And he could’ve been fine if she didn’t screw things up.

From: Romania
Earliest Appearance: Collected in Rumanische Märchen and by Petre Ispirescu in Legende sau basmele românilor
Best Known Version: The Marchen and Ispirescu version, obviously.
Synopsis: Before going to war, a king tells his daughters that they may go anywhere in the castle except one room. One day, they disobey and find an open book in it, saying that the oldest will marry a prince from the east, the second a prince from the west, and the youngest a pig from the north. Naturally, the youngest is horrified, but her sisters manage to convince her that it’s impossible. When the king returns and discovers what he had done from the youngest daughter’s unhappiness and resolves to face it the best he can. After her older sisters get married, the youngest becomes more distressed. A pig comes to woo her and when the king would’ve refused his consent, the city fills with pigs. The king tells his daughter there’s something strange about this pig and think magic’s at work. And if she agrees to marry the pig, it might be broken.

As part of the plan, she marries the pig and goes off with him. Fortunately, he’s a nice guy and turns into a man at night to avert any bestiality situations that he wins the princess’ heart. Eventually, she asks a witch what happened to her new husband. But the witch tells her to tie a thread to his foot to free him. When the young wife does so, her husband and tells her that the spell would’ve expired in 3 days but thanks to her, he must remain in this shape. And that she won’t find him without wearing out 3 pairs of iron shoes and blunting a steel staff. She sets out. She gets herself 3 pairs of iron shoes and a steel staff. She wanders far until she comes to the house of the Moon. The Moon’s mother lets her in and gives birth to a son during her stay. Unfortunately, the Moon doesn’t know where her husband is but she can go to the Sun. But the Moon’s mom gives her a chicken and instructs her to use all the bones. After pitching the first worn pair of iron shoes, the princess puts on another and goes to the Sun. The same things happens minus the childbirth and that the Sun’s mom sends her to the Wind. And at the Winds house, his mom tells her she lives in a wood where no axe can cut through it. She then gives her a chicken, tells her to save the bones, and sends her on her way. The princess goes on the Milky Way where she finds the castle where the pig lives and the bones stick together forming a ladder to let her in. When she’s one bone short, she cuts off her pinky. Her husband returns and the spell is broken. He reveals himself as a prince, that he killed the dragon and his witch mom who tied the string to keep him a pig. They set out for his dad’s kingdom and return to her dad’s place.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Red Fairy Book.
Adaptations: Made into an opera by Jonathan Dove.
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

112. The Singing, Springing Lark

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The Singing, Springing Lark is a Grimm fairy tale about a guy and servant who try to catch a lark for his daughter. But once a lion threatens to kill them over it, the guy agrees to give him the daughter who requested it.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers. It’s basically the German version of Beauty and the Beast with lions and possibly acid.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: Before a man leaves on a journey, he asks each of his 3 daughters what they’d like him to bring back. The oldest wants diamonds, the second pearls, and the youngest a singing, springing lark. Though he finds the diamonds and pearls, he can’t locate the lark. On the way home, the man sees a lark in a tall tree and orders his servant to catch it. A lion springs out threatening to kill them both. In exchange for their lives and the lark, the lion demands that the man bring him the first thing to meet him when he returns home. The man fears it might be his daughter but his servant is like, “well, what are you going to do? Might as well go with the lion.” Unfortunately, once he gets home, his youngest daughter greets him first. When her dad reveals his promise, she consoles him and sets out the next morning to meet the lion. At the lions’ castle, other lions greet her, only to turn human at night. She marries the lion who gave her dad the lark and lives with him, sleeping by day. One night, the lion tells his wife that her oldest sister is getting married and offers to send her with his lions. She goes and her family’s happy to see her. When she returns, the lion tells her that her second sister’s marrying and says he must go with her and their kid. But lets her know that if any candlelight falls on him, he’ll turn into a dove for 7 years. The youngest daughter has a room built to protect him but she makes the mistake of including a green wood door which warps and makes a crack. So when her sister’s wedding procession goes by, candlelight falls on him, and the lion turns into a dove. He then tells his wife that every 7 steps she takes he’ll drop a feather and a drop of blood. Perhaps she can track him by that and he flies off.

When the 7 years are nearly up, the youngest daughter loses the trail. She climbs up to the Sun and asks of the white dove. It doesn’t know but gives her a casket. She asks the Moon who doesn’t know either but gives her an egg. She asks the Night Wind, but he can’t help but tells her to wait for the others. The East and West Wind can’t either. But the South Wind says that the dove is a lion again and is now fighting an enchanted princess dragon in the Red Sea. The Night Wind advises her to strike the lion and dragon with a certain reed to allow the former win and both creatures to regain their true form and then escape on a griffin’s back. It then gives her a nut that will grow a nut tree in the sea for the griffin to rest. The youngest daughter stops the fight but the princess also regains her true form, abducts the former lion, and stows away on the griffin (not cool). The daughter follows until she finds a castle where the princess and her husband are to be married. She opens the casket and finds a dazzling dress inside which she brings to the castle. The princess buys it from her in exchange she could spend the night in her husband’s bedroom. But it’s to no avail since the princess roofies him with a sleeping draught. Though the daughter pleads with him, the guy just thinks it’s the whistling wind. The next day, she opens the egg holding a chicken with 6 golden chicks. The princess buys them at the same price. But this time the husband asks the page of last night’s wind and the page confesses to the draught. He doesn’t drink the second night. So he and his wife flee on the griffin back home.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Adapted into a musical. Retold by Patricia McKillip as “The Lion and the Lark” and as a picture story by Elle Skinner in Erstwhile.
Why Forgotten: The second half of this tale gets really weird.
Trivia: N/A

113. The Three Sisters

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The Three Sisters is an Italian fairy tale of a young woman who marries a prince who she has to see in secret. Yet, once her sisters find out, they try to sabotage the girl’s happiness.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Giambattista Basile in the Pentamerone in 1634.
Best Known Version: The Basile version, naturally.
Synopsis: A woman has 3 daughters. Two are very unlucky but the youngest, Nella is quite fortunate. Except she marries a prince who has to hide her away from his wicked mom and visit her in secret when she throws powder in the fire, which turns into a crystal road. Her sisters discover this and break the road, fatally injuring the prince coming to her. His dad proclaims that whoever cures him will either marry him or get half the kingdom depending on gender. Nella hears this and sets out. Hiding in a tree, she hears an ogre discuss the illness with his wife and how only the fat from their bodies could cure the prince. Nelle climbs down and presents herself at the door as a beggar. Greedy of her flesh, the ogre persuades his wife to let her stay. But when they sleep, Nella kills them and takes their fat. She brings it to the king and cures the prince. However, the prince claims he can’t marry her because he already has a wife. Nella asks whether he’d want to marry the person responsible and the prince blames her sisters. Nella reveals herself as his wife. The sisters get thrown into the oven.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, it involves a princess killing 2 ogres and 2 women get thrown in an oven. So this isn’t Disney material.
Trivia: N/A

114. The Two Kings’ Children

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The Two Kings’ Children is about a prince who ends up in another kingdom during a hunting trip. The king then has him complete a series of impossible tasks. If he does, he’ll get to marry a princess. If he doesn’t he’ll lose his head.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: Once long ago, it’s foretold a king’s son will be killed by a stag at 16. When the prince reaches that age, he goes hunting and chases a stag. A great king sees this, carries the teenage prince off, and sets him to watch his 3 daughters: one each night. The king tells the boy he’d call on the prince each hour, he could marry his daughter. If not, he’d be killed (wait, I thought this king is supposed to be a great man). Fortunately, each princess enchants a statue of St. Christopher to answer in the prince’s place. Thus, saving him from getting killed. The king says that in order to marry one of his daughters, he has to cut down a whole forest in a day with a glass ax, a glass mallet, and a glass wedge. As expected, the tools break as soon as the prince arrives in the forest. The prince breaks down crying knowing he’ll get the ax any minute. Finally, feeling that he finally outwitted the prince, King Future-Father-In-Law From Hell asks his daughters to bring him some food. The youngest does and asks to let her comb his hair. After the king falls asleep, she conjures up Earth-workers to fell the forest. Astonished at what the prince seemingly done, the king orders him to clear a muddy pond and fill it with fish in a day. The prince tries but his hoe and shovel get stuck in the mud and break. Again, the youngest daughter uses the same set up to save the teenage prince’s ass. Next, the king orders the prince to clear a mountain of briars and put a castle on it. The prince’s glass hatchet breaks and the youngest princess saves his ass yet again.

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On each task, the prince gets overwhelmed at their impossibility that youngest princess comes to aid him. Yet, when the tasks are done, the king declares that his youngest daughter can’t marry until her older sisters find husbands. So the couple decides to elope.

Finally, the king declares that his youngest daughter can’t marry until her older sisters are hitched. Hearing this, the couple run off into the night. Along the way, the princess hears her dad behind them. She turns herself into a rose and the prince into a briar. King returns home only for the queen to tell him that the kids were the briar and the rose. King chases after them again. Princess turns herself into a priest and the prince into a church where she preached the homily, which the king listens to. Only to get yelled at by the queen when he gets back that the priest and the church were the children. Tired of her husband, the queen goes after the couple. Knowing this, the princess changes into a duck and turns the prince into a pond. The queen tries drinking from the pool but falls ill and tells her daughter she could come back. The daughter does and the queen gives 3 walnuts to aid her.

The couple goes on. The prince has the princess stay while he goes out to get her a carriage to bring her back in due state. But his mom kisses him and he forgets about the girl entirely. So the princess has to work as a miller. One day a queen seeks a bride for her son. The princess cracks the first walnut and finds a splendid dress inside that she wears to the wedding. The bride declares that she won’t marry without a dress as fine. The princess refuses to give it up unless she spends a night outside the prince’s bedroom. The bride agrees but she has the servants give the prince a sleeping potion. She laments all night long but the prince is too knocked out to hear. But the servants do. In the morning the bride takes the dress and goes to the church with the prince. However, the princess cracks the second walnut which holds a more splendid dress. Once again, bride refuses to marry without one as fine and buys it for the same price. Bride agrees and gives the servants the same order. But the servant gets wind of it and gives the prince something to keep the guy awake. He hears the princess’ laments and is troubled by them. Yet, his mom had locked the door. In the morning, the prince begs her pardon. The princess cracks the third walnut and finds a still more splendid dress, which she wears as her wedding gown. The false bride and her mom get driven off.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Makes Meet the Parents seem mild in comparison. Then again, you can say a lot of fairy tales are like this. Also, gets pretty weird as the story goes on.
Trivia: N/A

115. The Raven

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The Raven is Grimm fairy tale about a young man who finds a raven princess in the forest. After he couldn’t fall asleep that night, the raven takes off, leaving a ring, provisions, and a letter telling the guy to meet her in a golden castle.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A queen wishes her naughty daughter turn into a raven and fly away so she could have some peace. She gets her wish and the princess flies away into the forest. There, a man hears a raven tell him she’s an enchanted princess he could save if he goes to a certain nearby cottage and accepts no food from the old woman living there. The raven would drive by in a cage every day for 3 days. If he stayed awake, he’d break the spell. However, the old woman has him sip this drink. So by the time the raven shows up, he’s overcome by weariness and falls fast asleep. On the last day, the raven leaves him a bottle of wine, a loaf, and a piece of meat, all of which were inexhaustible and puts a gold ring with her name on his finger. She also gives him a letter informing him of another way to save her: by coming to the golden castle of Stromberg.

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Here the man encounters a talking raven in the forest. He should be lucky she says more than “Nevermore.”

The man wanders searching for the castle and finds a giant threatening to devour him. But the man feeds him with his magical provisions. The giant brings out his map displaying all the towns, villages, and houses in the land but not the castle. He asks the man to wait until his brother came home who’s able to find the castle on an older map but it’s thousands of miles away. Fortunately, the brother agrees to carry the man within 100 leagues of the castle. The man walks the rest. As the man approaches the glass mountain on which the golden castle stands, he could see the princess drive her carriage around the castle and go in. But the glass hill is too slippery to climb. So he spends a year living at the mountain’s foot for a year. One day he meets 3 robbers fighting over 3 magical items: a door opening stick, an invisibility mantle, and a horse that could ride up the glass mountain. The man offers them a mysterious reward in exchange for these items but insists on first trying them out to see if they work as promised. After he mounts the horse, takes the stick, and puts on the invisibility cloak. He hits the robbers with the stick and rides up the glass mountain. He uses the stick and the mantle to get into the castle and throws his ring into the princess’ cup. Despite searching all over the castle, she couldn’t find her rescuer. Until the man finally reveals himself by throwing off his cloak. They later marry.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: Not to be confused with the Edgar Allan Poe poem.

116. The Three Dogs
From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Allegedly collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: Andrew Lang’s version in The Green Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A dying peasant tells his son and daughter that he had only his house to leave them. They could divide the assets as they wish but must not fight about it (that won’t happen). The brother asks his sister what she wanted and she picks the house. He tells her he’d take the sheep and seek his fortune. He meets a stranger offering to trade 3 dogs for his sheep: Salt, who’d bring him food, Pepper, who’d tear attackers to pieces, and Mustard, whose teeth can bite through iron and steel. The brother agrees and once the trade’s done, he asks Salt for food. Salt abides. He goes and finds a town draped in black. There, he learns of a dragon demanding a maiden every year. And this year’s designated human sacrifice victim is the princess. He goes where she’s left out and sets Pepper on the dragon who swallows it all except the teeth which the man pockets. The princess proposes marriage. But the man opts to spend 3 years traveling the world. When driven back, the coachman tells her that her rescuer’s gone and that he’d kill her if she didn’t admit he killed the dragon and she swears by it. The king declares he’ll marry her to him but puts off the marriage a year since she’s too young, anyway. She then begs him to put it off for a couple more years and a wedding date is set.

The man returns. But when he says he killed the dragon, he’s thrown into prison. He calls Mustard who eats through the bars. He sends Salt for food. Salt goes to the castle. The princess recognizes it, gives it food, and her royal handkerchief. She tells her dad the truth. The king sends a servant to follow the dog. The man produces the dragon’s teeth to prove the story. The coachman is thrown into prison. The man marries the princess. After some time, the man remembers his sister and sends for her. The dogs appear before him and tell him they’d been waiting to see if he remembered her. In turn, they turn into birds and fly up to heaven.

Other Versions: Included in Ruth Manning-Sanders’ A Book of Dragons.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Perhaps threatening to kill one’s girlfriend if she didn’t say he killed the dragon might be part of it.
Trivia: N/A

117. The Blue Light

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In the Grimm fairy tale, The Blue Light, a soldier falls into a well where he finds a dwarf willing to fulfill his desires. It’s basically a variant of Aladdin.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A soldier gets discharged from the king’s service due to his wounds. He leaves the castle and as night falls, he needs a place to stay. Stumbling upon a witch’s house, he asks for lodging. The witch agrees on the condition he spade her garden the next day. The soldier does but the job takes too long that he must stay another night. In return, she asks him to chop wood. Again, he abides and must stay another night. The following day, the witch requests the soldier go into a well and retrieve her a blue light. When he’s in the process of doing so, but eventually realizes the witch’s tricking him and trying to trap him into the well as soon as he gives it to her. So he keeps the light for himself, not knowing what he is. Yet, she leaves him in the well. The soldier then decides to use the blue light for one last smoke with his pipe. Fortunately, a dwarf comes to grant him whatever he wants. He firsts asks to get out of the well and for the witch to be jailed and hanged.

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Indeed, the dwarf appears from the blue light every time a guy takes a smoke. Still, the main character in this fairy tale isn’t necessarily a nice guy.

Still upset about the king, the soldier asks the dwarf bring the princess so he could sleep with her (oh, God) just to anger his majesty. When she wakes up, the princess tells her mom of her strange “dream,” which the queen believes could’ve actually happened. She has the princess fill her pocket with peas and put a small hole in it so that if she gets abducted, they’ll be able to follow her path. However, the dwarf notices and spreads peas all over the city leading everywhere, making it impossible to pin any potential kidnapping on the soldier. The next night, the princess plans on hiding a shoe in the place she’s taken. The dwarf warns the soldier of this, but he doesn’t listen. The next day, the princess’ shoe is found in the soldier’s quarters and he’s put in jail. He sends his friend to fetch the blue light as a final request for a last smoke in his pipe. The dwarf appears and kills the henchmen. The soldier demands the king’s life but spares him when the guy pleads for mercy. He also marries the princess and takes the throne.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The fact that a dwarf appears the moment the soldier decides to use the blue light for one last smoke might make you wonder what the hell was in that pipe. I’m sure it’s supposed to be tobacco. Also, the soldier wishes to have a witch be jailed and hanged. To be fair, she treated him like shit and was going to kill him, but still. Then there’s the soldier wishing the dwarf to bring the princess so he could sleep with her in an act of revenge against the king. Nonetheless, the protagonist in this tale is incredibly terrible, especially since he basically kidnaps a princess against her wishes.
Trivia: May have inspired Hans Christen Andersen’s “The Tinderbox.”

118. The King of Lochlin’s Three Daughters

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The King of Lochlin’s Three Daughters is a Scottish fairy tale about a widow’s son who saves 3 princesses from 3 giants by recruiting special guys in his entourage. Though he spends quite a bit of time with the third giant and has to prove he killed the guys at the end.

From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by John Francis Campbell in Popular Tales of the Western Highlands.
Best Known Version: The Campbell version, obviously.
Synopsis: 3 giants carry off the king’s 3 daughters. According to the shenachy, the only way to get them is through a ship that could travel over sea and land. A widow’s oldest son asks her to bake him a bannock and roast a cock because he’d go cut the wood to build the ship. She offers him a small bannock with her blessing or a large one without it. He takes the large one but refuses to share some with a urusig. When he reaches the trees, every one he cuts down would reattach itself to its roots. His middle brother does the same with the same results. But the youngest took the smaller bannock and gives some to the urusig who tells him to go home but return within a year and a day. When he does, the boat’s floating there with a grew and gentlemen ready to marry the princesses. They meet a man drinking by the river and the youngest son brings him on board. He does the same with the man eating stots in the park and intending to devour them all, and a man who could hear the grass grow. The listener listens and claims this is the place where they keep the princesses. They descend on the creel. The first giant says that they shouldn’t have the king’s daughter until they send a man who can drink as much as he could. The drinker goes against him and the giant bursts before he’s full. The second giant says they shouldn’t have the king’s daughter until they send a man who can eat as much as he could. The stot eater goes up against him and that giant bursts before he’s full. The third giant says they shouldn’t have the king’s daughter until the youngest son agrees to spend a year and a day as his slave. The guy does and sends the servants, gentlemen, and the daughters back. The gentlemen takes them to the king and claim to have rescued them.

At the end of his servants, the giant gives the youngest son an eagle to fly out and meat to feed it. But the meat isn’t enough and the eagle turns back. The giant demands another year and a day. After that, he gives him the eagle and more meat but it’s still not enough. After a third year and a day, the giant sends him off with still more meat that’s still not enough. But the youngest son cuts some meat off with his thigh and the eagle completes its flight and gives him a whistle to summon it. The son goes to work for a smith as a gillie. The princesses demand that he make them crowns like they had as the giants’ prisoners. The smith doesn’t know what such crowns were. But the son has the eagle fetch them. The princesses are astounded and the king wants to know where he learned to learned to make such crowns. The smith confesses that his gillie had made them and the king sends for him. The smith’s gillies roughly throw the guy into the carriage, the youngest son blows the whistle, and has the eagle take him off and fill the carriage with stones so that the king is nearly crushed by their fall and those gillies are hanged. Another set comes who are just as rude and deliver a coach full of dirt. The king’s confidential servant goes, tells the son that the king sends for him and he should wash, and then puts him in the carriage. He blows the whistle to have the eagle fetch him gold and silver clothing from the giant’s castle. There, he tells the king his story. The gentlemen seeking to marry the princesses are hanged. The son marries the oldest daughter.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I’m not sure why. Maybe because it has so many parts to it.
Trivia: N/A

119. The Three Princesses of Whiteland

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In the Norwegian The Three Princesses of Whiteland, a fisherman’s son is transported to a magical land where he finds 3 princesses who are buried up to their necks in sand. To free them, he must let 3 trolls beat the living crap out of him with aid of a magic sword and ointment.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe.
Best Known Version: The Asbjørnsen and Moe naturally.
Synopsis: After a fisherman spends an unproductive day, a head pops up from the water to bargain with him: fish for what his wife carries under her girdle. When he comes home, his wife announces she’s pregnant. So he offers the baby. The king hears of their story and offers to raise his son when he’s born for protection. But when the boy’s grown, he asks to go fishing with his dad for one day. And as soon as he sets foot on the boat, the vessel gets dragged off to a far-off land. He meets an old man telling him he had come to Whiteland. If he walks down to the shore, he’d come up to 3 princesses buried up to their necks in sand. If he passes by the first 2 and speaks to the third, the youngest, he’ll have good luck. He does. The youngest princess tells him that 3 trolls had imprisoned them there. If he goes up to the castle by the shore and let each troll beat him up, the princesses would be free. An ointment flask by the bed would cure all injuries he suffers and a sword would cut off all the trolls’ heads. The first troll has 3 heads and 3 rods. When he falls, the princesses stand in the sand up to their waists. The second has 6 heads and 6 rods. When he gets it, the princesses stand up to their knees. The third has 9 heads and 9 rods and beats the guy so severely that he couldn’t reach for the ointment. The troll throws him against a wall and flask breaks, spilling ointment all over him and he kills it, freeing the princesses entirely.

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Armed with a sword and ointment, the fisherman’s son proceeds up to the castle to kill the giants. And it seems he’s traveling on cross country skis.

The young man marries the youngest and they live happily for several years. But eventually he wants to visit his parents. His wife initially agrees but tells him he must do whatever his dad asks, not what his mom wishes, and gives him a ring that would grant him 2 wishes, one to go home and one to return. He goes. His mom wants to show him to the king while his dad doesn’t. But in the end, his mom has her way. And while at the castle, he wishes his wife was there to compare to the king’s. Boom! His wife appears, takes the ring, knots it with her name on it in his hair, and wishes herself home again. The man decides to see if he could reach Whiteland again on his own and sets out. He comes to the king of all animals and asks if he knows the way. He doesn’t. Neither do all the animals he summons. So he lends the man a pair of snowshoes to reach his brother, the king of all the birds. That king doesn’t know either and neither do his birds but lends him a pair of snowshoes to reach his other brother, the king of all the fish. The king doesn’t know but an old pike, the last fish to arrive, does and that his wife is about to remarry the next day. The king sends him to a field where 3 brothers had fought for 100 years over a magical hat, cloak, and a pair of boots that would make the wearer invisible. He tricks the brothers into letting him try them and sets out to the Whiteland. He meets the North Wind along the way and it promises to storm the castle as if to blow it down when it reaches land after him. He arrives, the North Wind carries off the potential new bridegroom, and his wife recognizes him by the ring in his hair.

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After some years with the youngest princess, the fisherman’s son wants to visit his parents. But he somehow summons his wife on the wishing ring. So he has to get home through the winds. When he gets home, his wife recognizes him with the ring she put in his hair.

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

120. Prâslea the Brave and the Golden Apples
From: Romania
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Petre Ispirescu in Legende sau basmele românilor.
Best Known Version: Well, the Ispirescu version of course.
Synopsis: A king has a magnificent tree bearing golden apples. But he could never enjoy them since they’d get stolen as soon as they ripened every year. None of his guards could catch the thief. His 2 oldest sons try but they fall asleep before midnight. The next year, the youngest son, Prâslea, tries by setting up 2 stakes to prick him should he begin leaning during his sleep. At midnight, he hears a rustling and shoots an arrow that the next morning, a trail of blood leads away and the apples are ripe. This news pleases the king but Prâslea wants to track the thief. He and his brothers follow the blood into a ditch. The older 2 brothers try have the others lower each one of them, freak out, and come back up. Prâslea has them lower him and he finds a copper castle. There, a lovely maiden tells him she’s a princess and that the ogres (Zmeu) had kidnapped her and her sisters and want to marry them. But the sisters put them off with their demands. He fights with the resident ogre and kills him. He then goes to second castle made of silver and kills the resident ogre there and then the third made of gold, which is where the ogre thief lives. However, though Prâslea wrestles with him like the other 2, it’s a longer fight. Prâslea calls on a raven to drop some tallow on him in return for the 3 corpses. This strengthens him and he fights on. Then, both Prâslea and the ogre call on the princess for water. She gives it to Prâslea and he kills the ogre. The princesses show him the magic whip that makes the golden apples and they each take one. Prâslea brings the princesses back and sends them up. The older 2 tell the brothers they’d marry them. Then Prâslea sends up a stone with his cap. The older princes try to kill him by dropping it and marry the 2 older sisters.

Prâslea saves some eaglets and their mother from a dragon. In gratitude, they carry him to the other world. There, he found the youngest princess being pressed to accept a suitor. But she declares that she’ll accept only if she gets a golden self-spinning distaff and spindle since the ogre gave her one. Prâslea goes working for a silversmith tasked with the job and using the golden apple, brings out the one the ogre gave her. The princess then demands a golden hen with a golden chick. When he produces it, she insists he be brought before her because he had to have the golden apple. They recognize Prâslea. He and his brothers go outside and shoot arrows into the air. The brothers’ arrows hit and kill them. But Prâslea’s merely hits the ground.

Other Versions: A similar tale exists in Azerbaijani folklore.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not exactly sure why. Possibly the violence.
Trivia: N/A

A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 11 – The Dragon and His Grandmother to The Black Bull of Norroway

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You may recognize that in many of these fairy tales have close relatives trying to sabotage the protagonist’s goals. If the protagonist is a woman, it’ll be her mother, stepmother, stepsisters, sisters, or mother-in-law. Let’s just say, if you’re a woman who lives through fairy tales, you might have very bad ideas about female relatives. If the protagonist is male, it’ll be his older and less successful brothers who turn on him and try to kill him. Anyway, in this long-awaited for installment, I give you 10 more forgotten fairy tales. First, is a Grimm fairy tale about a dragon and his grandmother. Second, is an English story about a small-toothed dog. Third, are 4 Scottish tales about a princess of the skies, a crafty dad who’d do anything for his kids, a blue falcon, and a black bull. Then we come to a couple Italian tales revolving around a canary prince and an enchanted snake. After that, we come to a story on a greenish bird. And finally, is a Danish tale of a green knight.

101. The Dragon and His Grandmother

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In the Grimms’ The Dragon and His Grandmother, a dragon carries off 3 AWOL soldiers to serve him for 7 years. But if they want to be released by that time, they’ll have to guess a certain riddle. One sees the dragon’s grandma to find the answer.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version of course.
Synopsis: 3 underpaid soldiers decide to go AWOL by hiding in a cornfield. But when the army doesn’t march away, they’re stuck between starving or the noose. However, a dragon flies by at this time and offers to save the 3 deserters in exchange for 7 years of service. Desperate, they agree and the dragon carries them off. But the dragon is actually the Devil. He gives them whips they could use for making money but warns them that when their 7 years are up, they were his. Unless they could guess a riddle.
When the 7 years are up, two of the soldiers dread thinking about their fate. An old woman advises them to go down to a cottage for help. Meanwhile, the third soldier ventures to that cottage and meets the Devil’s grandmother where he makes a favorable first impression. Pleased, the grandmother hides him under the cellar, she questions the Devil when he comes as the soldier learns the answers. When the Devil finds the men at their 7-year expiration date, he invites them for dinner in Hell, where they had to guess the meat, the silver spoon, and the wineglass used. The soldiers correctly answer with: a dead sea-cat in the North Sea, a whale rib, and an old horse’s hoof. Thanks to the whip they get to keep and no longer being in the Devil’s power, the soldiers live happily ever after.

Other Versions: Included in The Yellow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang and in A Book of Dragons by Ruth Manning-Sanders.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Maybe because it features 3 guys who go AWOL at the beginning. To be fair, they’re way underpaid, but still.
Trivia: Also known as “The Devil and His Grandmother.” Inspired a Hellboy comic storyline.

102. The Small-Tooth Dog

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In the English tale, The Small-Tooth Dog, a dog save’s a merchant’s life in exchange for his daughter. The girl isn’t exactly thrilled with the idea but goes through it anyway.

From: England
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Sidney Oldall Addy in Household Tales and Other Traditional Remains. It’s the English version of Beauty and the Beast.
Best Known Version: The Addy version, naturally.
Synopsis: While attacked by robbers, a dog comes to a merchant’s aid and brings him home to recover. The merchant offers him many marvels in exchange. But the dog wants his daughter to the guy’s dismay. The merchant reluctantly agrees and goes home. A week later, the dog appears, has the girl get on his back, and takes her to his home. A month later, the girl misses her dad and requests to see him. The dog only allows her a 3-day visit but asks what she’d call him there. She replies with “A great, foul, small-tooth dog,” and he refuses to take her. So she begs that she’ll call him, “Sweet-as-a-Honeycomb.” So they set out. But when they come to a stile along the way, the girl breaks her promise at the first stile and the dog carries her back. They set out a week later. The girl makes good at the first stile but reverts to her old nickname at the second stile. Back to the doghouse she goes. The next week they set out a third time. The girl uses the “Sweet-as-a-Honeycomb” nickname at the first 2 stiles. But when they reach the merchant’s house, the dog asks again, she beings with, “A great-” but thinks about how he’d been to her “Sweeter-than-a-Honeycomb.” The dog stands up on its hind legs, sheds his coat, and becomes a handsome man. The two marry.

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When the girl goes with the Small-Tooth Dog, she goes on his back. And she has to call him “Sweet-as-a-Honeycomb.”

Other Versions: Included in Ruth Manning-Sanders’ A Book of Magic Animals.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Resembles too much of Beauty and the Beast. Also the name stuff.
Trivia: N/A

103. The Daughter of the Skies
From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by John Francis Campbell in Popular Tales of the West Highlands.
Best Known Version: The Campbell version obviously.
Synopsis: A man has daughters along with many cattle and sheep before they suddenly vanish and he can’t find them. Fortunately, a man offers to locate them in exchange for one of his daughters. Since fairy tales don’t seem to treat female offspring as freaking human beings or desperation, the dad agrees if the daughter consents (okay, he’s probably better than most fairy tale dads). He asks each of his girls and the youngest agrees. They marry, he takes her home, and turns out to be a decent husband. However, 9 months later, the woman asks to see her dad. The husband agrees as long as she doesn’t stay there until their child is born. She agrees but stays too long that one night, music puts everyone to sleep and a man kidnaps the woman’s child. This happens 2 more times. The last time, the woman’s husband that she’d have more difficulty at first and, after her dad threatens her, if she doesn‘t say what she did to the kids. The woman tries returning to her husband but her magical horse doesn’t show up so she decides to walk instead. But her mother-in-law informs her that he left. The woman sets out again and reaches a house where a housewife tells her that her husband’s set to marry the King of the Skies’ daughter, lets her bunk for the night, gives her self-cutting shears, and sends her on to the middle sister. The middle sister gives her a self-sewing needle, and sends her to the youngest who gives her self-threading thread and sends her into town.

Once there, the woman finds a place to stay and asks a henwife for something to sew. Although the princess is set to marry the next day and no one’s working but the wedding staff. The shears, needle, and thread get to work. A royal maid sees this and tells the princess who asks the price. The woman requests to sleep in her bedroom. The princess agrees but roofies her bridegroom with a sleeping draught and throws the woman out in the morning. The next night, she exchanges the needle, the sleeping draught works the same as before, but the oldest prince hears her tell the sleeping man that she’s his kids’ mother. On the third night, the woman exchanges the thread but the man throws out the sleeping drink and they talk. When the princess returns in an attempt to throw the woman out, the guy says he could go back up since she’s his wife.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The fact the princess doesn’t get the guy in this one may be part of it.
Trivia: N/A

104. Conall Cra Bhuidhe

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The Scottish Conall Cra Bhuidhe focuses on a father who goes out of his way to save his sons with one story at a time. Of course, they end up in that situation by trying to steal a horse.

From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by John Francis Campbell in Popular Tales of the West Highlands.
Best Known Version: The Campbell version, naturally.
Synopsis: Conall Cra Bhuidhe is a royal tenant with 3 or 4 sons. One day, his sons get in a fight with some princes and the biggest one gets killed. The king tells Conall that he could save his sons if he stole the King of Lochlann’s brown horse. Conall agrees to please the king even if his kids weren’t in danger. While his wife laments that he’d rather not let the king kill their sons than endanger himself. So Conall sets off with his sons to Lochlann and tells them to seek the king’s miller. They stay with him and Conall bribes the guy to put him and his sons into in bran sacks and deliver them to the king. In the stables, Conall has his sons make hiding holes before they try stealing the horse. When they try, the horse keeps making such a noise that servants would come. They would hide. But soon the king gets wind of it that Conall and his boys eventually get caught. Conall explains his situation and because he couldn’t get out of stealing it, the king decides to hang his sons and spare his life. Yet, he tells Conall that if he shares a store when he’s in a worse situation than his sons, he’d spare his sons one by one starting with the youngest. Conall entertains the king with each subsequent tale with each putting him in a worse situation than the previous one. However, the king’s mother overhears Conall’s story about a woman trying to kill her baby and the giant. She then confides that she was the woman and the king had been the baby. So since Conall had saved his life, the king gives him the horse, the gold, and all his sons’ lives.

Other Versions: Included in Joseph Jacobs’ Celtic Fairy Tales and Andrew Lang’s The Blue Fairy Book.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The kings kind of remind you of rulers from Game of Thrones.
Trivia: Also known as “Conall Yellowclaw.”

105. How Ian Direach Got the Blue Falcon

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How Ian Direach Got the Blue Falcon is a Scottish fairy tale about a prince sent to capture a large blue bird of prey. And he goes on quite the journey to accomplish it.

From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by John Francis Campbell in Popular Tales of the West Highlands.
Best Known Version: The Campbell version, naturally.
Synopsis: A king and queen have a son named Ian. When Ian’s in his teens, his mom dies and his dad remarries. One day, Ian goes hunting and shoots a blue falcon, knocking off a feather. His stepmother curses him until he finds her the falcon. He curses her to stand with one foot on the great hall and the other on the castle and always facing the wind until he returns. He leaves. On his journey, Ian meets with Gille Mairtean the fox who tells him that the blue falcon is kept by the Giant with Five Heads, Five Necks, and Five Humps. To seek advice, he must tend the animals there. He kindly treats the birds and the giant lets him care for the blue falcon and that he can steal it. As long as Ian doesn’t let any of its feathers touch anything in the house. The giant trusts him in time. But the falcon starts by the doorpost. The feather touching the post made it scream and brings back the giant who tells him that he may have the falcon if he brings back the White Sword of Light from the owned by the Big Women of Dhiurradh.

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Ian and Gille kidnap the princess. But though she’s angry at being carried off on the ship, she’d rather stay with Ian. So Gille impersonates her.

Gille Mairtean transforms into a boat and carries Ian to the island of Dhiurradh and tells him to get a job there as a polisher, which will let him eventually steal the sword as long as he doesn’t let the sheath touch anything in the house. This succeeds until the sheath’s tip touches the door and shrieks. The Big Women tell Ian that he could have the sword if he brings the King of Erin’s bay colt. Once again, Gille Mairtean turns into a boat and transports Ian to the castle where he serves until he has the chance of stealing the colt which swishes against the door. The king tells him he can have the horse if he can bring him the King of the Franks’ daughter. Yet again, Gille Mairtean turns into a boat and takes Ian to France but runs himself into a cleft rock and sends Ian to say he’s been shipwrecked. When the royal court comes out to see the boat, music comes out of it. The princess says she must see the harp playing such music. Ian and Gille Mairtean carry her off. Pissed, the princess asks why. But after Ian explains, she proclaims she’d rather be with him. They return to the king and Gille turns himself into a beautiful woman and has Ian give him instead. After Ian receives the bay colt, Gille bites the king, knocks him unconscious, and escapes. When they return to the Big Women, Gille turns himself into a bay colt. Ian receives the sword, throws it at all the Big Women, and kills them. Reaching the Giant, Gille turns into a sword and once Ian gets the falcon, cuts the giant’s heads. Gille warns Ian how to carry what he brings back to the castle to keep his stepmom from turning him into a pile of sticks. He obeys and his stepmom gets turned into a stick pile instead. He burns her, marries the princess, and lives happily ever after.

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Throughout the story, Ian has to find a blue falcon, a magic sword, a colt, and a princess. And his stepmom’s reduced to a pile of sticks.

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

106. The Canary Prince

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The Canary Prince is an Italian fairy tale about a prince who meets his princess in a tower. Until her evil stepmother puts pins on her windows sill.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Italo Calvino in Italian Folk Tales.
Best Known Version: The Calvino version, obviously.
Synopsis: A jealous queenly stepmother persuades her kingly husband to lock up his daughter in a forest castle tower. One day, a prince passes by the place while hunting and is astounded to see the seemingly abandoned castle in use. He sees the princess but they can’t talk to each other except through gestures. To help them, a witch tricks the ladies-in-waiting into giving the princess a book. When she ruffles the pages forward, her boyfriend turns into a canary. When she ruffles them back, he changes back to human form. After some time, the queen arrives seeing the young prince at the window so she puts pins on the sill, stabbing him in his canary form. Even when the princess restores him, the prince lies on the floor bleeding. So his companions must bring him back to his dad for medical attention. The princess cuts sheets and creates a makeshift rope to escape while overhearing witches discussing how to heal him. She does so and asks for a coat-of-arms, his standard, and his vest as her reward. The prince goes hunting, the princess turns him into a canary. When he flies into the room, she turns him back. He reproaches her for his injury. She produces her reward proving she saved him and lets him know her stepmother did it. They marry, and the princess reveals that despite locking her up in an abandoned tower, he dad’s not as bad as he seems. He’s just a coward who can’t stand up to his wife.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Calvino is a modern fairy tale collector so it’s not a big stretch as to why it’s been forgotten. Also, involves a guy getting real bloodied up.
Trivia: N/A

107. The Enchanted Snake

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The Enchanted Snake is an Italian fairy tale of a snake wooing a princess. He also changes into a handsome young man and a bunch of other animals until a curse is broken.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected Giambattista Basile in the Pentamerone
Best Known Version: The Basile version, naturally.
Synopsis: A poor woman longs for a child that she and her husband adopt a talking snake. When it grows up, the snake wants to marry, but not just any snake. But a princess. His dad goes to ask and the king allows it if the snake could turn all the orchard fruit into gold. The snake tells his dad to gather the pits and sow them in the orchard. When they spring up, the fruits are gold. The king next demands that his palace walls and paths be turned into precious stones. The snake has his dad gather broken crockery and throw it on the walls and paths, transforming them in to glittery and colorful gems. Then the king demands that the castle be turned into gold. The snake asks his dad rub the castle walls with an herb, transforming them.

The king tells his daughter, Grannonia that he tried to put off this reptilian suitor but failed. The princess agrees to obey him. The snake comes in a golden elephant-drawn cart, surprisingly freaking everyone out for some reason but Grannonia. The snake takes her in a room, sheds his skin, and becomes a handsome young man. Fearing his daughter being eaten, the king looks through the keyhole. He then sees the skin and burns it. The young man calls the king a fool, turns into a dove, and flies off. Grannonia sets out looking for him. She meets and tags along with a fox. When she remarks upon wondrous birdsongs, the fox replies if she knew what the birds say: that a prince had been cursed into a snake’s form for 7 years and that near the end, he fell in love and married a princess. But the snake skin had been burned and struck his head while fleeing. So he’s in the care of doctors. The fox then tells her that the birds’ blood will cure him and catches them for her. He then tells her that his blood was necessary so Grannonia persuades him to go with her and kills him. She goes to her father-in-law, promises to cure the prince if he’d marry her and the king agrees. She cures him. The prince refuses since he already pledged himself to another woman. But Grannonia claims she was the woman and they marry.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Green Fairy Book.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: For the love of God, it features a snake as the main character.
Trivia: N/A

108. The Greenish Bird
From: Mexico
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Joel Gomez in La Encantada from a 74-year-old woman in Texas named Mrs. P.E.
Best Known Version: The Encantada version.
Synopsis: While her 2 older sisters hang out in bars, only Luisa sews. A princely greenish bird comes and woos her. Her sisters find out and put knives in the window injuring him. But he tells her that he lives in crystal towers on the plains of Merlin. After buying a pair of iron shoes, Luisa sets out. She finds the Sun’s horse where his mother warns that he’ll eat her. She hides until the Sun’s mother calms her son down. He doesn’t know the way but sends her to the Moon. Same thing happens with the Moon and then the Wind who can’t send her anywhere. She then finds a hermit who can summon animals and an elderly eagle who says that the Greenish Bird is engaged, except that he’s sick. And he could take her if she kills a cow. When they fly, he asks for meat, she gives him another leg. When she’s out Luisa offers to cut her own leg. But the eagle tells her it’s a test. At the prince’s she works as a kitchen maid and part-time guitarist, curing the prince. The prince says that every woman must make a cup of cocoa and he’ll marry who makes the one he drinks. Not caring whether it was bitter, he drinks Luisa’s and they marry.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I’m not sure why. Maybe the knives on the window sill thing.
Trivia: N/A

109. The Green Knight
From: Denmark
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Svend Grundtvig in Danish Fairy Tales and by Evald Tang Kristensen in Eventyr fra Jylland in 1881.
Best Known Version: Andrew Lang’s English translation of Kristensen’s version in The Olive Fairy Book is the best known.
Synopsis: Dying of cancer, a queen asks her to do whatever his daughter requests of him. A widowed countess and her daughter do everything to win the princess over. Only to tell the princess that she couldn’t stay unless she marry the king. The princess implores the king to do it despite his objections. As soon as the countess becomes her stepmother, bring on the abuse. Seeing this, the king sends the princess to a summer palace. While the king is there to bid his daughter farewell before departing for a tournament. The princess tells him to greet her to the Green Knight. But he doesn’t meet a Green Knight at the tournament. On the way home, he goes through the forest where he meets as swineherd. Asking about the pigs, he’s told they’re the Green Knight’s. He goes on to find a magnificent castle where the handsome young Green Knight lives. The king gives him his daughter’s greetings. But the Green Knight hasn’t heard of her. Nonetheless, he welcomes the king and bestows him a gift (either a book or casket with his portrait).

The king returns home. Depending on variant, one of 2 things happen. But the Green Knight starts secretly visiting the princess to avoid her stepmother. But she finds out and conspires to injure him and he stops visiting the princess. Not knowing why, the princess overhears 2 birds talking of his illness and that a snake with 9 young snakes in her dad’s stables could cure him. She gets the snakes, goes to the Green Knight’s castle, and gets a job in the kitchen. She persuades them to let her cook soup for him. For 3 days, she feeds him soup made from 3 of the young snakes and he recovers. They marry.

Other Versions: Some variants have the widowed countess and her daughter persuade the princess to let them stay in the castle. Some have the king build a summer palace for the princess. While others have the Green Knight claim the princess must’ve thought about the graveyard green. In one variant the king gives her a book which when she goes through the pages, he flies in as a bird and courts her. When the stepmother learns of it, she puts poisoned scissors in the window. In another variant, the king gives the princess a casket with the Green Knight’s portrait, she recognizes him as her dream guy and he comes to court her. But when the stepmother finds out, she puts a poisoned nail in the oar he uses to row out. In some versions, he either recognizes her or she asks to marry him and initially refuses until the princess cleans herself up.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why. Maybe the bloodshed.
Trivia: Not to be confused with the King Arthur story.

110. The Black Bull of Norroway

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The Black Bull of Norroway is a Scottish fairy tale of a woman who goes off with a black bull who’s surprisingly kind and gentle. But she must wait for him until he takes care of a few things.

From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Robert Chambers in Popular Rhymes of Scotland in 1870.
Best Known Version: The Chambers version, naturally.
Synopsis: A washerwoman’s 3 daughters ask her to cook some food to take on their journeys to seek their fortunes, consulting a witch on how to seek one along the way. The woman advised them to look out the back door. On the third day, the oldest sees a coach and 6 come for her and delightedly leaves with it. The second daughter a coach and 4 and leaves. While the youngest finds a black bull that the witch tells her she must accompany. Terrified, the daughter goes off with the bull, who’s surprisingly kind and gentle. When she’s hungry, he tells her to eat out of his right ear and drink out of his left. On their first 3 nights, they arrive at the bull’s brothers’ castles where she receives a fruit that she’s instructed not to use until the great needs in her life. Eventually, she and the bull arrive at a valley of glass. Afterwards, the girl and the bull arrive to a valley of glass. The bull tells her to wait and keep still as he fights the devil ruling the valley so they could leave. If the sky is blue, he’s won. If red, he’s lost. He leaves the girl. After some time, the sky turns blue. But the girl gets too excited that she slightly shifts her position and the bull doesn’t return.

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Unable to climb a glass hill, the girl works for a blacksmith for 7 years. In exchange she gets iron shoes to climb it in order to get to her black bull.

Unable to climb out of the valley by herself, the girl wanders alone before finding a blacksmith who tells her that if she serves him for 7 years, he’ll make her a pair of shoes. When her time’s up, the girl receives a pair of iron shoes and nails them to her feet. She’s able to climb out of the valley. The young woman eventually wanders back to the witch’s house. The witch offers her shelter if she’ll wash some bloody shirts that she and her daughter couldn’t clean. If she does, she could marry the gallant young knight staying with them. Since the shirts are his. The girl agrees and the bloodstains vanish as soon as they touch the soap while her feet heal as if they’ve never been bloodied or injured. Delighted, the witch brings in the knight’s shirts and convinces him that her own daughter cleaned them. So the knight and the witch’s daughter get engaged.

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The girl finds out that her knight is engaged to be married to another woman. Here she uses the fruits in the great need in her life.

Desperate, the young woman realizes that she’s in a great need of her life. For 3 nights, she opens one of the fruits, which contain rich jewelry inside which she gives the witch’s daughter in exchange for being allowed to sing outside the knight’s room. But the witch gives her daughter a sleeping draught for the knight so she couldn’t wake him. So she sobs and sings: “Seven long years I served for thee/The glassy hill I clamb for thee,/Thy bloody clothes I wrang for thee;/And wilt thou not waken and turn to me?” On the third night, the knight accidentally knocks over the sleeping draught the witch’s daughter gives him. So he’s awake to hear the truth. The young woman marries the knight who’s been the bull all along. He has the witch and her daughter burned. And they all live happily ever after.

Other Versions: Included in Joseph Jacobs’ More English Fairy Tales. Included in Andrew Lang’s The Blue Fairy Book and in Ruth Manning Sanders’ Scottish Folktales.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Might have something to do with the witch and her daughter getting burned up.
Trivia: Cited by J.R.R. Tolkien in his essay “On Fairy Stories.”