A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 15 – The Months to The Bird “Grip”

untitled

You might’ve noticed but a lot of these fairy tales seem rather similar to each other. Well, experts have also taken notice and that’s why they created the Aarne-Thompson classification system. This is an index used by folkorists to organize, classify, and analyze folklore narratives. Though it’s mainly based on folklore from Europe and western Asia. Now the Aarne-Thompson Index divides these fairy tales into sections with an AT number for each entry. It’s complicated. Anyway, in this installment, I bring you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, are Italian tales about months and 3 fairies. Second, is a Russian story about a frosty old man. Third, we come to a French tale of 2 sisters followed by a Romanian one of a girl in a tree. Then we look at Grimm tales about the Virgin Mother’s adopted daughter, 12 brothers, and water of life. After that, is a Danish tale of a young man going against giants and Swedish story of a prince searching for a bird name “Grip.”

141. The Months
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Giambattista Basile in his 1634 Pentamerone.
Best Known Version: Guess the Basile version.
Synopsis: Cianne and Lise are brothers. Cianne is rich while Lise is poor. Lise sets out to wander the world. He meets 12 youths welcoming and asking him about the months. Lise replies that they each have their place and purpose and that people must be arrogant to want to rearrange them. One tells him the month of March is very burdensome since it advances to spring. The youth who’s the month of March gives Lise a casket granting wishes. With it, he has an easy journey and becomes prosperous. Naturally, Cianne is jealous of him. Lise tells him of an inn and the 12 youths, but not how they talked. Cianne goes there and receives a whip. When he tries using it, it whips him until his brother comes and uses the casket to stop him. Lise then shares his good fortune with Cianne.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Perhaps the magic whip. I don’t know.
Trivia: N/A

142. Father Frost

Father-Frost-fairy-tale-9

In the Russian fairy tale, Father Frost, a girl is driven into the frozen cold. When Father Frost shows up, she is polite and kind to her and he gives her a golden box full of wonderful things.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: The Afanasyev version, naturally.
Synopsis: A woman has a daughter she loves and a stepdaughter she hates. One day she orders her husband to take her stepdaughter out into the winter fields and leave her to die. He obeys. Morozko finds her there. She’s polite and kind for him. So he gives her a chest of beautiful things and fine garments. After awhile, the stepmother sends her husband for the girl’s body for burial. He obeys. But later, the family dog says, the girl’s coming back, and that’ she’s beautiful and happy. When the stepmother sees what the stepdaughter’s brought back, she orders her husband to take out her own daughter into the fields. Unlike before, this girl is rude to Morozko and he freezes her to death. When the husband goes out to bring her back, the family dog says the girl will be buried. When the dad brings back the body, the woman weeps.

Father-Frost-fairy-tale-3

Here’s the girl left out of her home to die thanks to her evil stepmother. Apparently, she seems at peace for some reason.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Yellow Fairy Book as “The Story of King Frost.” Also, in the Grimm version, the first girl is coated with gold and silver coins while the rude girl is coated with cement, flour, and tar.
Adaptations: Made into a movie Morozko in 1964.
Why Forgotten: Depicts a girl freezing to death for simply being rude. Still, it’s well known in Russia.
Trivia: N/A

143. The Three Fairies
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Giambattista Basile for his 1634 Pentamerone.
Best Known Version: The Basile version, of course.
Synopsis: An envious widow, Caradonia has an ugly daughter, Grannizia. She marries a rich landowner with a lovely daughter, Cicella and jealously torments her stepdaughter. She badly dresses her, gives her poor food, and makes her work. One day, Cicella drops a basket over a cliff. Below, she sees a hideous ogre. She politely asks him to help her. He replies that if she climbed down, she’d get it. Cicella climbs down and finds 3 beautiful fairies at the cliff’s bottom. She’s politely with them, combs their hair, and claims to find rubies and pearls along with lice. They take her to their castle and show Cicella their treasures. She admires them but isn’t bedazzled. Finally, they shower her with rich clothes and ask her to choose a dress. Cicella opts for the cheap one. They ask how she wants to leave. Cicella replies that the stable door is good enough for her. They give her a splendid gown, dress her hair, and bring her to a golden door, telling her to look up when she goes through it. A star falls on her forehead.

Grannizia goes to the same place and is rude, complaining about the lice in the fairies’ hair. They bring her to the wardrobe and she grabs the fanciest dress. They don’t give it to her. But they send her out the stable door where a donkey testicle falls on Grannizia’s forehead. Fortunately for her, her angry mom takes Cicella’s clothes and gives it to her and sends Cicella to tend pigs. There, a nobleman named Cuosemo sees her and asks the stepmother for leave to marry her. Caradonia agrees, seals Cicella up in a barrel, and presents Grannizia as the bride instead. After the wedding night, he goes back to the house where a tabby cat tells him that Cicella’s in a barrel. He lets her out, puts Grannizia in her place, and flees with Cicella. Caradonia returns with wood, creates a fire, and boils water to scald Cicella to death. She then pours it in the barrel and Grannizia dies. Caradonia opens the barrel, sees her own daughter, and drowns herself in a well.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Think scalding someone to death might have something to do with it. Not to mention suicide.
Trivia: N/A

144. Auore and Aimee
From: France
Earliest Appearance: Written by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, best known for Beauty and the Beast.
Best Known Version: The Beaumont version, obviously.
Synopsis: A lady has 2 beautiful daughters: the older and good Auore and the younger and bad Aimee. When Auore is 16 and Aimee is 12, the lady starts losing her looks. Not wanting anyone to know she could have teenagers, she moves to another city, sends Auore to the country and claims that Aimee’s only 10 and that she had her at 15. Fearing that someone would discover the deception, the mom sends Auore to another country. But the person going with her abandons the girl in the forest. Auore hunts for a way out and finally finds a shepherdess’ cottage. She laments her fate and blames God. But the shepherdess urges that God permits misfortune only to benefit the unfortunate person, and offers to act like her mom. After some discussion on Auore’s fashionable but dull life, the shepherdess points out that age makes it less pleasant and that she herself could teach Auore to live without boredom. Auore agrees. The shepherdess sets her to a life divided into prayer, work, reading, and walks. Auore finds this life agreeable because it’s not dull.

One day, Prince Ingenu goes hunting. He’s a good guy but his brother King Fourbin is evil. Ingenu falls in love and woos Auore and she, properly, sends him to the shepherdess. He begs her to tell him whether it would make her unhappy if the shepherdess consents. The shepherdess praises the prince’s virtue and says that a daughter can’t be unhappy with a good husband. So she gives Auore her blessing, knowing Prince Ingenu would be a good husband before he leaves to return in 3 days. During that time, Auore falls into a thicket while gathering the sheep, resulting in her face dreadfully scratched. She laments this, but the shepherdess reminds her that God doubtlessly means it for good. But Auore reflects that if Ingenu rejects her over her looks being gone, he wouldn’t have made her happy.

Meanwhile, Ingenu tells his brother of his bride. Angry that his kid brother would marry without his permission, King Fourbin threatens to marry Auore himself if she’s as pretty as Ingenu claims. He comes with him. Seeing Auore’s marred face, Fourbin orders Ingenu to marry the girl at once and forbids the couple to come to court. But Ingenu’s perfectly fine with it and still wants to marry Auore. After Fourbin leaves, the shepherdess cures Auore’s injuries with special water. Back at court, Fourbin orders portraits of beautiful women brought to him. Enchanted by one of Aimee’s, he marries her.

A year later, Auore has a son, Beaujour. But one day, he disappears and she cries about it. But the shepherdess reminds her that everything happens for her own good. The next day, Fourbin’s soldiers arrive on orders to kill the king’s nephew. Not finding him, they put Auore, Ingenu, and the shepherdess on a boat to sea. They sail to a kingdom where a king is at war. Ingenu offers to fight for him, kills his enemies’ commander, and makes the army flee. Since the king is childless, he adopts Ingenu as his son. 4 years later, Fourbin dies of grief because of his wife’s wickedness. His people drive Aimee away and send for Ingenu to be king. They are shipwrecked on their way there. But this time, Auore holds. On the land, she finds a woman with her son, Beaujour. The woman explains herself as a pirate’s wife and that her husband abducted the boy. But they’ve been shipwrecked, too. Ships come looking for their bodies, bringing back Auore, Ingenu, and Beaujour back to the kingdom. And Auore never complains of any misfortune, knowing misfortunes often cause happiness.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The message that misfortune occurs for a reason and can lead to happiness hasn’t aged well these days. Indeed, we all deal with our share of misfortune, but not in regards to shipwrecks, attempted murder, and child abduction.
Trivia: N/A

145. Little Wildrose

little-wildrose-romanian-fairy-tale-illustration-by-h.j.-ford

Little Wildrose is about a girl who grows up in an eagle’s nest. Yet, a prince wants her to climb down her tree.

From: Romania
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Crimson Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, naturally.
Synopsis: An old man goes in search of a child so someone would inherit his home. He finds a hermit in the dark woods. The hermit gives him an apple, telling him to eat half and give the other half to his wife. The old man gets thirst on the way home. And since there’s no water, he eats the whole apple. He then finds a beautiful baby girl and carries her home, laying her in a pail to call his wife nearby. An eagle carries the child for its eaglets to eat, but they nestle up to her instead. A lindworm comes to eat them but something kills it. So the eagle raises the girl with her chicks. One day, an emperor’s son sees her. But he can’t lure her down and grows sick of love. His dad asks him what’s wrong and, hearing of it, sends about for word of the maiden. An old woman promises to get them the girl. She starts a fire beneath the tree and does everything wrong. Little Wildrose tries telling her how to do it, but the old lady doesn’t take a hint. So Little Wildrose comes down to show her and the old woman carries her off. The emperor’s son marries her.

474ee4855ecc87b4e8c8619cf214b7e5

You have to wonder how a woman can manage to grow up in a tree for so long. Seriously, trees aren’t usually that strong to hold that much weight.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The plot basically revolves around staging a kidnapping, and no one seems to see anything wrong with it.
Trivia: N/A

146. Mary’s Child

Marienkind_1_Herrfurth

Mary’s Child is a Grimm fairy tale where the Virgin Mary takes in a little girl. Though I find her parenting techniques questionable in this one.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm brothers.
Best Known Version: Why the Grimm version.
Synopsis: A poor woodcutter has a 3-year-old daughter and can’t feed her. The Virgin Mary appears and promises to take care of the girl. She happily grows up in Heaven. One day, the Virgin has to go on a trip and gives the girl the keys, telling her she could open 12 doors but not the 13th. She opens the first 12 and finds the Apostles behind them. Then she opens the 13th door. Behind it is the Trinity, staining her finger with gold. She tries hiding it, lying 3 times, and the Virgin Mary says she can no longer remain for her disobedience and lying. The girl falls asleep and wakes up finding herself in the forest. Whining over her shitty circumstances, the girl lives in a hollow tree, eats wild plants, and tears all her clothes until she’s naked. One day, a king finds her looking beautiful but incapable of speech. So he takes her home and marries her. A year later, the queen has a son. The Virgin Mary appears and demands she confess to opening the door. Again, she lies so the Virgin takes her son while people whisper that the queen killed and ate her child. The next year, the queen has another son, and it goes the same as before. The third year, she has a daughter. The Virgin Mary takes her to Heaven and shows the queen her sons, but she wouldn’t confess. This time, the king can’t restrain his councilors who condemn the queen to death. When she’s brought to the stake, the queen relents and wishes she could confess before she dies. The Virgin Mary brings back her children, restores her power of speech, and gives her happiness for the rest of her life.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The plot revolves around the Virgin Mary though the child in question is adopted. But it also has the Virgin Mother put her adopted daughter through a lot of shit after she refuses to confess her minor sins (which is typical childlike behavior). Now as a Catholic I believe that the Virgin Mary was immaculately conceived without sin, and let’s just say some of her actions in this story might qualify as sins like kidnapping and taking away speech, which almost leads to her burned at the stake. That’s not the Virgin Mary I know. Though to be fair, I don’t think this story is meant to offend Catholics. In fact, I think German Catholic parents told this story to get their kids to behave.
Trivia: N/A

147. The Twelve Brothers

Grimm_Os_doze_irmãos

The Twelve Brothers is a Grimm fairy tale about 12 princes turned into ravens. While the heroine is their little sister with a star on her head who seeks to find them.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A king wants to kill his 12 sons so if his 13th child is a girl, she could inherit the kingdom in one piece. The queen tells this to the youngest son, Benjamin and that she’ll give them a warning with a flag. After 12 days of waiting in the forest, the sons see a red flag, indicating a death sentence. Angry at their dad’s cruel betrayal, the boys swear revenge on every girl and move to an enchanted cottage deep in the forest, where they feed on animals. In the meantime, the queen gives birth to a beautiful baby girl with a star on her forehead. 10 years after hearing about their existence from her mom, the princess leaves to find them where the queen hid them for precaution. She first finds a now older Benjamin happily greeting her and then introduces her to the other brothers, convincing them to stop their revenge on girls. Together the siblings live in harmony. Sometime later, the sister rips out 12 white lilies out of ignorance, her brothers turn into ravens and fly away. At the behest of an old woman witnessing this, the girl decides not to speak or laugh for 7 years, in order to save her brothers.

zpage280

To free her brothers, the princess decides not to speak for 7 years. Though she gets married to a king, she almost ends up burned at the stake for her silence. Luckily, her brothers save her in the nick of time.

A hunting king finds the princess and marries her. However, his mom slanders the girl’s silence and tries getting the king to burn her as a witch. The young king is torn as he loves his wife but ultimately gives in with tears in his eyes like a coward. As the pyre is lit, the 7 years pass and the 12 ravens arrive, recovering their human forms as soon as they touch the ground. They then put out the flames and free their sister so she’s now free to talk and explains to her husband what the hell’s going on. All live happily together save the cruel mother-in-law who’s put in a barrel with boiling oil and poisonous snakes.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Red Fairy Book.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Someone’s put in a barrel with boiling oil and poisonous snakes.
Trivia: N/A

148. The Water of Life

The_fairy_tales_of_the_Brothers_Grimm_(1916)_(14596242367)

The Grimm fairy tale, The Water of Life revolves around a prince searching for the water of life to save his dying dad. All he needs to do is follow the dwarf’s directions.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A dying old king tells his sons that the water of life would save him. Each one sets out in turn. Setting out hopes of being their dad’s heir, the older ones are rude to the dwarf on the way and get trapped in ravines. When the youngest son goes, the dwarf asks him where he’s going and the prince tells him. The dwarf tells him it’s in a castle and gives him an iron wand to open the gates and 2 loaves of bread to feed the lions inside (excuse me?). Then he has to get the water before the clock strikes 12 when the gates would shut again. The prince opens the gate with the iron wand and feeds the bread loaves to the lions. He then comes to a hall where there are sleeping princes. He takes rings from their fingers as well as some bread and a sword from the table. He goes on and finds a beautiful princess who kisses him, tells him he’s freed her, and promises to marry him if he returns within a year. Then she lets him know where the spring is. The prince goes on. But he sees a bed and lies down to sleep. When he wakes up, it’s a quarter to 12. He springs up, gets the water, and escapes, with the closing gate taking off his boot heel.

water-life_16544_lg

Here’s the dying king with his 3 sons. Still, I think it would be easier if they just let the old man die.

The prince meets the dwarf telling him what happened to his brothers and at his imploring frees them, warning they have evil hearts. They come to a kingdom plagued with war and famine. The prince kills their foes with a sword and feeds them the loaf. They then come to 2 more kingdoms in the same situation, and they do the same. Next, they go to a ship to cross the sea and return home. The older brothers steal the water of life and fill the youngest prince’s bottle with sea water, which sickens the king. The older brothers accuse the youngest of trying to poison him and give him the water of life. The king decides to have his youngest son secretly killed by sending the huntsman with him into the woods. But the huntsman can’t bring himself to kill the prince and confesses the deed. The prince and the huntsman trade clothes and the prince flees. Treasure arrives from the 3 kingdoms the prince had saved. The king wonders about his guilt and regrets having his son killed. The huntsman confesses that he hadn’t killed him. The king issues a proclamation that the prince could freely return. The princess in the castle makes a golden road to it and tells her people that would bring the true groom to her and to admit no one who doesn’t ride straight up to it. Pretending to be the ones who freed her, the 2 older princes sees it and think it a shame to dirty it. So they ride alongside and the servants don’t admit them. The youngest thinks so constantly of the princess that he doesn’t notice it so he rides up it. He’s admitted and marries the princess. The prince goes back to his dad and tells the true story. The king wishes to punish the older brothers, but they board a ship and are never seen again.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I’m not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

149. Niels and the Giants
From: Denmark
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Crimson Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, naturally.
Synopsis: A couple has 2 sons. The older is content to be a shepherd like his dad. But the younger, Niels, wants to be a hunter. So he gets a gun, practices with it, and becomes a good shot. One day, his mom decides to go on a pilgrimage to Rome. So the family sells everything and sets out with Niels bringing his gun. One night, they don’t stay at an inn because the heat slows them down by the day and the moon’s up. They come to a crossroads in the forest and don’t know which way to go. So they decide to stay there. During the first watch, the older son shoots a stag. Niels climbs a tree and sees 3 giants eating. By careful shots, he has them fight about knocking each other’s hands and making them prick themselves with forks. The third giant realizes he’s around and catches him. The giants then demand Niels a service. They want to carry off the king’s daughter and have everyone in the castle put to sleep save a little black dog. If Niels shoots the dog so it doesn’t bark and wake everyone, they’d spare his life. They throw him in and he lands on the grass. Niels shoots the dog and goes to the gate. But on the way, he sees an enormous sword, a drinking horn, and an inscription saying that whoever can drink from the horn can wield the sword. He then looks through the castle and finds the princess, taking half her handkerchief and one of her slippers. Niels next drains the horn so he could wield the sword, before going to the gate where there’s a small door and large door. He opens the small door, claims he’s too weak for the large one, and cuts off the giants’ heads as they come through. Niels then runs to rejoin his family with the sword. He shuts the door and with a bang the castle wakes astounded by the bodies. The princess declares they must find the giant-slayer since she’s honor-bound to marry him. She has a house built and puts over the door so whoever tells his life story could stay there for free.

Meanwhile, Niels and his family goes on toward Rome, but they meet a man showing them holes in their shoes and tells them they’d been new when he left the city. Discouraged, they turn back, coming upon the house where they decide to stay. The steward questions the dad and older son and tells the princess that nothing had happened to them, but admits he didn’t ask them all. The princess goes in herself. The older brother puts in that he forgot to tell that his brother had found the sword. Niels, who guesses this as a way to discover him, wants to escape. But they find the sword, search him, discovering the handkerchief and slipper. Niels is afraid they’d punish him. But the princess says they must wait until her dad returns. When he does, the princess marries Niels who’s king after the old man dies.
Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

150. The Bird “Grip”

the-bird-grip-swedish-fairy-tale-illustration-by-h.j.-ford

The Bird “Grip” is a Swedish fairy tale about a prince searching for a bird that will restore his dad’s sight. Here he presents the bird to his father.

From: Sweden
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang for his The Pink Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, obviously.
Synopsis: A king goes blind. An old woman says the song of the bird “Grip” would restore his sight. The king’s oldest son offers to fetch the bird, from where it’s kept in another king’s cage. But he stays at a merry inn along the way. He enjoys himself so much there that he forgets about the journey. His 2 brothers follow. The second son also stays at the inn. While the youngest says he has to fetch the bird, “Grip” and continues on instead of remaining at the inn. He stays at a house in the woods hearing shrieks through the night. He asks about them the next morning. A girl tells him they come from a dead man whom the innkeeper had beat up and killed for being unable to pay a bill and whom he refused to bury for a funeral. The prince pays his bill but is afraid to stay longer so he asks the girl to help him escape in the night. She tells him the host keeps the stable keys under his pillow but she’ll help him if the prince takes her with him. He does so and gives her a place at a good inn before he goes on.

untitled2

Here the prince comes with the princess, horse, and the bird “Grip.” And he got them all at the fox’s guidance.

The youngest son then meets a fox who opts to help him. When they go to the castle to where the bird is, the fox gives the prince 3 grains: one for the guardroom, one for the room with the cage, and one for the cage itself. Then the prince could take the bird but he mustn’t stroke it. He obeys with the grains. But when he decides to stroke the bird, it wakes and screams. The prince gets captured. In prison, the fox tells him to answer, “Yes” to everything at the trial. When asked whether he’s a master thief, the prince answers yes. The king offers him a pardon if he carries off the world’s most beautiful princess from the next kingdom. Once again, the fox gives him 3 grains: one for the guardroom, one for the princess’ bedroom, and one for her bed but warns him not to kiss her. Though the prince obeys with the grains, he fails again at the kiss. Again, at the trial he’s asked whether he’s a master thief and he answers yes. The king offers him a pardon if he carries off a horse with 4 golden shoes from the next kingdom. Again, the fox gives him 3 grains: for the guardroom, the stable, and the horse’s stall, but warns him against the golden saddle. And this time, the fox can’t help the prince if he fails. He does the grains. But when he sees the golden saddle, he reaches for it. But something strikes his arm and he leads the horse without it. The prince confesses it to the fox who admits to striking his arm. Returning to the princess’ castle, he confesses he’d gladly take her to his dad’s castle on the horse. So the fox gives him the grains again and he carries the princess off. He asks the fox if he could try the bird again. This time, he succeeds in catching it.

The fox then warns the prince against ransoming anyone with the money. The prince rides on and discovers his brothers had gone into debt at the inn and are set to be hanged. He pays the debt. But his jealous brothers throw him in a lions den and take the bird, the horse, and the princess. They threaten to kill the girl if she doesn’t say they had won them. They tell their dad that the youngest had been hanged for debt. But the bird doesn’t sing, the horse wouldn’t let anyone in the stall, and the princess won’t stop crying. Back in the lions’ den, the prince finds the fox. The lions don’t hurt him. The fox leads him out saying that would forget their dad would also betray their brother. The fox asks him to cut off his head. The prince tries to refuse, but the fox insists he’d kill him if he doesn’t. The prince relents and fox tells him he’s the dead man whose debts he had paid. Disguised as a horse-shoer, the prince slips into the castle. He puts 4 golden shoes on the horse and hearing the bird Grip couldn’t sing, declares it lacks something and if he could see it, he could learn what it is. He calls the bird by name. It begins to sing and causes the princess to smile. The king’s sight recovers and recognizes the horse-shoer as his youngest son. He banishes the older sons while the youngest marries the princess and lives happily ever after.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not really sure why.
Trivia: N/A

Advertisements

A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 14 – The Golden Slipper to The Two Caskets

9d9f9f97d941d8b11865a9a623e9f586

In fairy tales, you can have 2 types of old ladies. One is good, wise, and helpful. She could be magical but normally isn’t. Sometimes she may take the hero in when they have absolutely nowhere else to go. The other may seem nice but can also be a witch who curses someone for whatever reason. And breaking the spell will require some crazy quest to find an assortment of items or a worthy potential significant other. Both really don’t seem great if you really think about it. Anyway, in this installment, I’ll bring you 10 more forgotten fairy tales. First, is a Russian tale of a golden shoe. Second are Grimm tales of 2 different brides and a magical old lady. Third, is an Italian story about a dragon that runs more like a Game of Thrones episode. Then we come to an Icelandic tale of a witch in a stone boat. After that are 2 Scandinavian stories on a magical wreath and 2 caskets. Next, is a Danish tale of a Maiden Bright-Eye followed by a French story of fairies and an English tale of 3 heads in a well.

131. The Golden Slipper

Papalluga-Or-The-Golden-Slipper-5

The Golden Slipper is a Russian Cinderella story. Here the girl finds herself as chest of clothes for Mass so she could see the prince.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki. A Russian version of Cinderella.
Best Known Version: The Afanasyev version, obviously.
Synopsis: An old man brings 2 fish home from market for his daughters. The older one eats hers, but the younger asks her fish what to do with it. It tells her to take it to the river and put it in the water so it might repay her. She puts it in the well. The old woman, their mom, likes the older daughter but hates the younger. She dresses the older for Mass and orders the younger to husk 2 bushels of rye while they’re gone. The girl weeps beside the well. The fish gives her fine clothing and sends her off while the rye husking vanishes. The mom comes back talking of the beauty they’ve seen at Mass. She takes the older girl again, leaving the younger to husk 3 measures of barley and the younger goes to Mass again with the fish’s aid. A prince sees her and catches her golden slipper with some tar. He finds the younger daughter and tries the shoe on her. When it fits, they marry.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why. Guest the magic fish has something to do with it.
Trivia: N/A

132. The White Bride and the Black Bride

WhiteBride_3 copy

The White and Black Bride is a Grimm fairy tale about a girl who’s set to marry a king getting replaced by her stepsister. Oh, and she ends up turning into an animal for awhile.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A woman and her daughter cut fodder when the lord arrives and asks for directions to the village. They refuse to help but the woman’s stepdaughter offers to show him. In return, the others turn black and ugly but the stepdaughter gets granted 3 wishes: beauty, an everlasting purse of gold, and a one-way ticket to Heaven upon her death. Her brother Reginer is a king’s coachman, asks for her portrait and hangs it in his room. The king sees it and resolves to marry her. Her brother sends for her while the stepmother and stepsister show up, too. The stepmother enchants the coachman so he’s half-blind and the bride so she’s half-deaf. The white bride doesn’t hear what the coachman says and instead follows her stepmother’s command to remove her dress and garments and look out the window where she’s pushed out. The king’s horrified by the black bride and throws the brother into a snake pit. But the stepmother persuades him to marry the black bride.

untitled

Transformed as a duck, the girl intercepts the castle through the kitchen. Here she is at the oven.

A white duck arrives to the kitchen and tells the kitchen boy to light the fire, and then asks for Reginer and the black bride. After a few days of this, the kitchen boy asks the king. The king cuts off the duck’s head, which transforms into the white bride. The king frees the brother from the snake pit and asks the stepmother what ought to be done to do what she did. She says that the person should be stripped and put in a barrel studded with nails, and a horse should drag it off. The king has it done to her and the black bride. He marries the white bride.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Racism, obviously.
Trivia: N/A

133. The Witch in the Stone Boat

Yellow_Fairy_Book-The_Witch_in_the_Stone_Boat1

In the Icelandic fairy tale, The Witch in the Stone Boat, a witch intercepts a ship carrying a new king and queen home. She then kidnaps the queen and takes her place. But the baby prince can’t stop crying.

From: Iceland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Jón Árnason. Translated into German by Poestion.
Best Known Version: Andrew Lang’s English translation in The Yellow Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A king tells his son Sigurd to marry, recommending another king’s daughter as a prospective wife. Sigurd travels to the kingdom and proposes to the princess. Her dad accepts on the condition he’d stay and help him as long as he could. Sigurd promises to remain, until he receives news of his dad’s death. He then sets sail for his homeland with his wife and 2-year-old son. The ship’s one day short of completing its journey when the wind dies down. Overcome with drowsiness, Sigurd leaves the queen and prince alone on the deck. A stone boat approaches carrying a frightening “witch” or “troll wife.” She boards the ship, snatches away the baby, and assumes the queen’s place by transforming into her shape and wearing her fine clothes she strips from the woman. The imposter puts the real queen on the stone boat and enchants the boat telling it to go to her brother in the underworld without straying. The boat shoots off and is soon out of the ship’s sight. The real mother’s disappearance makes the baby uncontrollably cry, and the witch tries to quiet it to no avail. So she goes below deck and scolds Sigurd for leaving her on deck alone. Though his wife usually never threw such temper tantrums, Sigurd let it slide since she had every right to be mad at him. But despite their efforts, neither could stop the boy from crying.

Hall_Icelandic_Fairy_Tales-The_Giantess_and_the_Granite_Boat

When they appear at the castle, the real queen appears on the course of 3 nights. On the last night, King Sigurd sees his wife at last.

Succeeding his dead father, Sigurd now rules his homeland as king. The once quiet little boy hardly stops crying since that day so he’s given and raised by a nurse, who’s one of the court ladies. Sigurd also notices his wife’s change in temperament as “haughty and stubborn, and difficult to deal with.” Fortunately, the fake queen’s identity soon unravels. Two young men playing chess next to the queen’s room eavesdrop and spy on her through a crack. They hear her say that the more widely she yawns, the more she transforms into a troll. And even as she speaks, she gives a huge yawn and reverts back into a troll. On her room’s floor, a 3-headed giant appears, bringing her a trough full of meat she devours. Meanwhile the boy-prince’s nurse witnesses the true queen’s supernatural appearance. The nurse lights a candle revealing rising floor planks and a woman dressed in linen underneath. Clasped around her waist is an iron belt with a chain leading to the ground below. The queen embraces the child for a moment and returns under the floor again. She appears again and the nurse hears the queen lamentfully says, “Two are gone, and one only is left,” which the nurse guess must mean that the third night might be her final appearance.

Yellow_Fairy_Book-The_Witch_in_the_Stone_Boat2

To free his wife, King Sigurd uses his sword to break her chains. He also kills the giantess witch with 3 heads.

The next night, King Sigurd is in the nurse’s room, sword drawn in his hand awaiting the apparition, whom he instantly recognizes as his own wife. He cuts the chain and great noises come from beneath the earth. The true queen tells her story. The 3-headed giant tries forcing her to marry him and only consented if she could see her son for 3 consecutive days. But the giant has to plummet to death, the crashing “caused by him in his death throes.” The real queen is restored to all her dignity and the king has the false queen captured and stoned to death and torn apart by horses.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Retold by Mrs. Angus W. Hall titled, “The Giantess and the Granite Boat.”
Why Forgotten: Guess the stoning to death and being torn apart by horses might have something to do with it.
Trivia: N/A

134. The Dragon
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Giambattista Basile in Pentamerone in 1635. It runs more like an episode from Game of Thrones though it has fairies. And a despicable character doesn’t experience any lasting consequences whatsoever like a horrific death scene.
Best Known Version: Perhaps the Thomas Keightley translation in Fairy Mythology.
Synopsis: A High Shore king loses his throne during his absence due to his tyrannical and cruel conduct and gets usurped by a sorceress. He consults his oracular wooden statue to learn that he’d regain his kingdom when the sorceress goes blind. But the well-guarded sorceress foils every agent he sends to do his bidding. Since she could instantly detect any harm-seeking intruder and metes out “dog justice” upon them. Frustrated, the king compensates by raping any woman he can lay his hands on and murdering them afterwards. Hundreds of victims later, the turn comes for the maiden Porziella whose beauty is described in poetic metaphor. Intending to kill her like the rest, the king raises his dagger after he’s had his way with her. But just that moment, a bird flies by and drops a root on his arm, causing him to tremble and drop the weapon. Because the bird is a fairy who Porziella saved from a lecherous satyr’s mischief by waking her up in time. Instead, the king decides to seal her up in the attic since, “it wasn’t necessary to bathe the instrument of death with the same blood with which he had bathed the instrument of life.” Porziella begins to starve, the bird brings a knife to drill into a floor corner, and breach a hole to the kitchen below for the bird to bring food.

Nine months later, Porziella gives birth to a son named Miuccio, she raises in the sealed chamber. Until as a grown boy, he’s surreptitiously lowered down by a rope to the kitchen. The cook discovers the boy who’s employed as the king’s page. The king appears to love the boy more than his own stepson, earning the queen’s enmity. So she hatches a series of schemes designed to bring upon Miuccio’s downfall. First, she leads the king to believe that Miuccio boasted he could build 3 castles hanging in the air. The king commands he do so. At first, Miuccio agonizes. But under the bird’s guidance, he accomplishes his task by building 3 huge cardboard castles that 3 griffins lift into the air the fairy-bird summons. The queen wracks her brain for the next plot. At her instigation, the king orders Miuccio to blind the sorceress so he can get his kingdom back and not be so reduced that he’s served by wretched 4-breadloaf wage menials. Miuccio moans so heavily that the bird sarcastically wonders out loud if her death could cause such grieving. Assuring him of success, the bird flies off into the woods to seek help. Chirping to gather a large flock of birds, she asks if any one of them can put out the sorceress’ eyes, offering a reward to protect against the hawks and other raptors as well as a free-pass “against muskets, bows, crossbows, and “bird-lime of the fowlers.” A swallow volunteers for the task, since she nests in the palace and is irritated by the sorceress’ puffs of magic. Realizing being blinded by the darting bird signifies her demise, the sorceress shriekingly departs the city and escapes to a cave, pounding her head against the wall until she dies.

With the sorceress gone, the king can reclaim his castle. Miuccio arrives simultaneously, and the bird’s prompting, tells the king he wishes to be left to his miserable lot and not be bothered with any more tasks placing him in harm’s way. The king embraces him while the queen fills with rage. She arranges for the Miuccio’s final perilous ordeal, which is to fight a fierce dragon dwelling within the vicinity. Born at the same hour as the queen, and in her own words, is her brother. So their lives are inextricably tied as the death of one means death to the other. And the queen can only be restored to life by smearing the dragon’s blood. So the king orders Miuccio to slay the dragon. Miuccio throws a comical and well-justified tantrum, saying this is no peeled pear ready for eating, but “a dragon, that tears with his claws, breaks to pieces with his head, crushes with his tail, craunches with his teeth, poisons with his eyes, and kills with his breath.” He even garners the courage to ask the king exactly which “son of the Devil” got such ideas into his head. The king shrugs off the insult but stands firm in his demand.

Again, the bird comes to Miuccio’s rescue by bearing a soporific herb in its beak, which when cast into the cave, would put the dragon to sleep. After using the herb to tranquilize the dragon, Miuccio takes a knife and starts nicking and hacking the beast. The queen feels a cutting pain in her heart and with her life slipping away, tells the king that it’s a sign that Miuccio has killed the dragon as astrologers predicted. The king blames the queen for her self-inflicted doom. The queen admits to underestimating Miuccio’s abilities but asks as a final favor to have her entire body anointed with dragon’s blood before she’s buried. The king orders Miuccio to retrieve the blood. But the bird stops him short, saying that it would revive the queen who’s been manipulating the king to give him such ordeals and the king should have long realized the page is his kin, being so naturally drawn by affection for him. The king, who’s tailed Muccio out of curiosity, overhears the conversation, learning that not only is Muccio is his true son but also that his mom Porziella has survived all these 14 years. In his condition, the king offers to forfeit his kingdom and his life to the fairy who protected Muccio and his mom all these years. Now transforming into a beautiful maiden, the fairy only requires taking Muccio as husband for services rendered. The dead queen is tossed into a burial mound. The king marries Poriziella as his new queen.

Other Versions: Bowlderized versions exist by the way.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, the king is a serial rapist and murderer who locks one of his victims in an attic for 14 years after failing to kill her. Oh, and did I say the woman locked in the attic ends up marrying the guy in the end because they have a kid together? Not to mention, he gets his kingdom restored and as well as never really experiences any lasting consequences. Also includes child marriage (hello, the kid is like a teenager).
Trivia: N/A

135. The Enchanted Wreath

96c75902a1b6cd5c8327012ed67604d1

The Enchanted Wreath is a Scandinavian fairy tale of a young woman who helps 3 miserable-looking doves. They appreciate her help that they make a magic wreath for her.

From: Scandinavia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Benjamin Thorpe in Yule-Tide Stories: A Collection of Scandinavian and North German Popular Tales and Traditions.
Best Known Version: The Thorpe version obviously.
Synopsis: A man has a wife. Both have a daughter from a previous marriage. One day, the man takes his daughter to cut wood. When he returns, he realizes he forgot his ax. He tells his wife to send her daughter for it so it won’t get rusty. But the stepmother replies that his daughter’s already wet and is such a strong girl she could take a little wet and cold. Back on the spot, the girl finds 3 miserable-looking doves perched on the ax. She tells them to fly back home, where it would be warmer, but not before giving them crumbs from her bread. She takes the ax and leaves. Eating the crumbs makes the birds much better that they lay a wreath of roses on the girl’s head with tiny birds singing in it. When the stepmother pulls it off, the birds fly off and the roses wither. The next day, the dad goes alone and forgets his ax again. Delighted, the stepmother sends her own daughter. She finds the doves and orders them off as “dirty creatures.” They curse her so she could never say anything but that. The stepmother beats her stepdaughter and gets even angrier when the doves restore the wreath to its condition on the girl’s head.

499e0c30a5c537ad2d851fd3d8a64424

On a ship to marry the prince, the girl’s stepmother pushes her off the boat and has her daughter take her place. Luckily, the prince sees through this scheme.

One day, a prince sees the girl and takes her off to marry her. The news makes the stepmother and stepdaughter quite ill. But they recover when the stepmother makes a plan. She has a witch make a mask of her stepdaughter’s face. Then she visits the princess bride, puts her in the water, and puts her daughter in her place, before setting out if the same witch could give her something to cure the doves’ curse on the girl. Her husband’s distraught by the change in her, but thinks it stems from an illness. Until he thinks he sees his bride in water, but she vanishes. He sees her twice more before catching her. She turns into various animals including a hare, a fish, a bird, and a snake. He cuts off the snake’s head and the bride becomes human again. The stepmother returns with the ointment that would work only if the princess really drowned. She puts it on her daughter’s tongue and it doesn’t do a thing. The prince finds them and declares they deserve to die. But the stepdaughter persuades them to merely abandon them on a deserted island instead.

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

136. Maiden Bright-Eye

bright-eye

Maiden Bright-Eye is a Danish fairy tale of a young woman who helps out a dwarf. And she’s richly rewarded for it, too.

From: Denmark
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Pink Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, naturally.
Synopsis: A man has a son and a daughter, the latter named Maiden Bright-Eye. His wife dies and he marries another woman who’s got a daughter of her own. The stepmother is cruel to Bright-Eye. One day, she sends her stepdaughter to watch the sheep and pull heather. For dinner, the stepmother packs Maiden Bright-Eye pancakes with an ash-mixed flour. Maiden Bright-Eye pulls some heather and a little guy in a red cap appears from the ground to ask why she’s pulling the roof of his house. She apologizes and shares her dinner with him. For her kindness, he bestows her gifts of magic: she grows much more beautiful, a gold coin falls from her mouth when she opens it, after which her voice sounds like music, and he promises she’ll marry a young king. He also gives her a cap that can save her life when she puts it on. Maiden Bright-Eye tells her stepmother about meeting the little man, but not about sharing her dinner. The stepmother sends her daughter who’s rude to the little guy who gives her ugliness, causes a toad to fall from her mouth when she opens it, and promises a violent death.

Meanwhile the son enters the king’s service. Hearing tales of Maiden Bright-Eye’s beauty, the king asks her brother if these stories are true and has them confirmed. So he decides to marry the girl and sends a ship to fetch her. But the stepmother gives her daughter a mask and sends her off on the ship with her stepchildren. While the ship’s still sailing, her daughter pushes Maiden Bright-Eye overboard and pretends to be her stepsister for the king. But Maiden Bright-Eye puts on the cap and transforms into a duck so she could swim. The king marries the stepmother’s daughter but then sees her unmasked ugly face. So he throws Maiden Bright-Eye’s brother into a pit of snakes for lying about the girl’s beauty. As a duck, Maiden Bright-Eye swims to the king’s castle, waddles up the kitchen drain, and meets a little dog. She asks it after her brother and stepsister and it tells her their fates. She then announces she’ll only come twice more. Serving maids hear the talking duck and tell others. The next night a great number come to listen. The duck asks her questions again, says she’ll come once more, and escapes. The third night, a cook puts a net outside the drain and catches the duck. Since she has many gold feathers, they take good care of her.

The brother dreams that his sister has come to the castle as a duck and can change back. He tells someone and word gets back to the king. The king asks if he could produce his real sister, the pretty one. He says he can if someone produces a knife and the duck. He cuts the duck when they do and Maiden Bright-Eye regains her own form. The stepsister is put in a barrel with spikes around it and is dragged by horses. The king marries Maiden Bright-Eye.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Probably the fact the stepsister gets put in a barrel with spikes and gets dragged by horses.
Trivia: N/A

137. Frau Holle

frau-holle-cleaning

The Grimm fairy tale Frau Holle revolves around a girl who falls through a well and does chores for this old magical woman. Frau Holle specifically instructs the girl to shake the feather pillows and coverlets.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers. Originated in Central Germany in what’s now known as Hesse, possibly from pre-Christian Germanic mythology since Frau Holle may have originally been a goddess named Hulda. Told by Henrietta Dorothea Wild who’s Wilhem Grimm’s wife.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, obviously.
Synopsis: A rich widow lives with her daughter and stepdaughter. Since she favors her younger biological daughter, she allows the girl to become spoiled and lazy. While the older stepdaughter has to do all the work and every day, she’d sit outside the cottage and spin beside the well. One day, she pricks her finger on the spindle point. Leaning over the well to wash the blood away, the spindle falls from her hand and sinks out of sight. Fearing she’d be punished for losing it, the panicky stepdaughter jumps into the well after it. But instead of drowning or getting stuck in it, the girl finds herself in a meadow where she comes upon an oven full of bread asking her to take it out before it burns. She then comes to an apple tree asking her to harvest its fruit. Finally, she arrives to a small cottage where an old woman lives, who allows the girl to stay if she helps with the housework. Identifying herself as Frau Holle, she cautions the girl to shake the featherbed pillows and coverlet well when she makes the bed, since that would make it snow in the girl’ world. The girl agrees and takes care to always shake the featherbed until the feather flew about like snowflakes.

d20de74f873bf3e96b9c4db49fff6acd

It’s said that when it snows in Hesse, Frau Holle’s making her bed. Though I attribute this to freezing temperatures and the water cycle.

After a time, the girl becomes homesick and tells Frau Holle that it’s time she return home. Impressed by her kindness and hard work so much, a golden shower falls upon the girl when the old woman escorts her to the gate. She also gives the girl the spindle that fell into the well. With that, the gate closes and the girl finds herself back, not far from her stepmom’s house. Since the stepmother wishes the same good fortune on her biological daughter, she sends her to sit by the well and spin. But the girl deliberately throws the spindle into the well before jumping in herself. She comes to the oven but wouldn’t assist the bread nor would she help the apple tree. When she arrives at Frau Holle’s house, she also takes service there but before long, she falls into her lazy careless ways. Frau Holle soon dismisses her. As the lazy girl stands at the gate, a kettle of tar spills all over her. Frau Holle says, “This is what you have earned” and closes the gate.

Other Versions: Some versions have the first girl have a piece of gold fall from her mouth every time she speaks while the second has a toad.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The golden shower reference might lead to a lot of misinterpretations despite that it’s gold raining on the girl, not pee. Also, the fact the second girl gets tar poured on her. Still, the title character is well remembered in Germany as a durable legendary figure from Pre-Christian times.
Trivia: It’s often said in Hesse that when it snows, Frau Holle must be making her bed.

138. The Fairies

Valentine,_Laura_-_Aunt_Louisa's_Nursery_Favourite_-_0007

The Fairies is a French fairy tale of a girl who helps an old woman at the well. The woman turns out to be a fairy and richly rewards her for her good deeds.

From: France
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Charles Perrault.
Best Known Version: Perhaps the Andrew Lang version in The Pink Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A bad-tempered old widow has 2 daughters. Older daughter Fanny is disagreeable and proud. But she looks and behaves like her mom so she’s the favorite. Younger daughter Rose is sweet, gentle, and beautiful but resembles her late dad. Jealous and bitter, the widow and her favorite daughter abuse and mistreat the younger girl. While drawing water from the well one day, an old woman asks Rose for a drink of water, which she politely consents. After giving it, Rose finds out that woman’s actually a fairy who disguises herself as an old crone to test mortals’ moral character (think of the enchantress from Beauty and the Beast who cursed the Beast and turned his staff into anthropomorphic household objects). Since Rose was so kind and compassionate toward her, the fairy blesses her with having a jewel, flower, or precious metal fall from her mouth whenever she speaks.

Valentine,_Laura_-_Aunt_Louisa's_Nursery_Favourite_-_0009

When the girl returns home, her mouth is spouting with jewels, precious metals, and flowers. She tells her mom about it and she sends her older sister on the same task.

Upon Rose arriving home and explaining why it took so long, the widow’s delighted at the sight of precious metals, jewels, and flowers falling from her younger daughter’s lips. But she desires her favored older daughter Fanny should have these gifts as well. Fanny protests, but the widow forcibly sends her to the well with instructions to act kindly toward an old beggar woman. Fanny sets off but the fairy appears to her as a fine princess and requests the girl draw her a drink from the well. Fanny is rude and insults the fairy. As a result, the fairy decrees that as punishment for her despicable attitude, either a toad or snake would fall from Fanny’s mouth whenever she speaks. When Fanny arrives home, she tells her story to her mom and disgusting toads and vipers fall from her mouth with each word. Furious, the widow drives her younger daughter out of the house. Fortunately, Rose meets a prince who falls in love with her and marries her. Meanwhile, the widow gets sickened by Fanny and eventually drives her out so she dies alone and miserable in the woods.

Valentine,_Laura_-_Aunt_Louisa's_Nursery_Favourite_-_0011

Instead of an old lady, the older sister meets a princess asking for water. The girl tells the woman to hit the bricks and gets cursed.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I’m not sure why.
Trivia: Also titled, “Diamonds and Toads.”

139. The Three Heads in the Well

untitled2

The Three Heads in the Well is an English fairy tale of a young woman who finds 3 golden heads in the well and does whatever they ask her. She is richly rewarded.

From: England
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Joseph Jacobs in his English Fairy Tales.
Best Known Version: The Jacobs version, naturally.
Synopsis: In the days before King Arthur, a king holds court in Colchester. He has a beautiful wife and a beautiful daughter. Unfortunately, his wife dies and he’s broke so he marries a rich hideous widow with a daughter of her own. His new wife sets him against his daughter. So his daughter begs to leave to go and seek her fortune, which the king permits. And his wife gives her brown bread, hard cheese, and a bottle of bear. She goes on her way and sees an old man sitting on a stone. He asks what she has. She tells him and offers him some. After they eat, he tells her how to get through the hedge and she’ll find 3 golden heads in a well there and should do whatever they tell her. The heads ask her to comb and wash them. After the girl does so, one says she shall be beautiful, the next says she’ll have a sweet voice, and the last proclaims that she’ll be fortunate and queen to the greatest prince who reigns. She goes on. A king sees her and falls in love with her. They marry and go back to visit her dad. He stepmother is furious that her stepdaughter and not her daughter. So she sends the girl on the same journey with rich dresses, sugar, almonds, sweetmeats, and a bottle of rich wine. But the daughter’s rude to the old man and slights the 3 heads. So they curse her with leprosy, a harsh voice, and marriage to a cobbler. She goes on. A cobbler offers to cure her leprosy and harsh voice if she marries him and she agrees. However, when her mom finds this out, she hangs herself. While the king pays off the cobbler to quit the court and live elsewhere.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Possibly because it features suicide.
Trivia: N/A

140. The Two Caskets

xsilver-casket.jpg.pagespeed.ic.bzq53dQc6C

The Two Caskets has a girl transported to a magical world where she works for an old lady for a certain amount of time. At the end of her service she gets a modest casket with treasure to behold. Hers stepsister, on the other hand isn’t so lucky.

From: Scandinavia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Benjamin Thorpe in his Yule-Tide Stories: A Collection of Scandinavian and North German Popular Tales and Traditions.
Best Known Version: Probably the Andrew Lang translation in The Orange Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A woman has a daughter and a stepdaughter. One day, she sets them to spin while sitting at a well’s edge, giving her daughter good flax and the stepdaughter coarse, unusable flax. She then declares that whoever’s thread breaks first would be thrown in. When the stepdaughter’s thread breaks, her stepmother throws her in. The girl falls to a wonderful land. She walks on and comes to a tumble-down fence, overgrown with vines. It pleads her not to hurt it, because it doesn’t have long to live. So she carefully jumps over it where there are less vines. She then finds an oven full of loaves and tells her to eat what she’d like but begs her not to hurt it. She eats a loaf, thanks it for such fine bread, and shuts its door. The girl next comes to a cow with a bucket on its horns saying she could milk it and drink but asks her not to hurt it or spill its milk. She agrees and when the last drop of milk is left, the cow tells her to throw it over its hooves and hang the bucket back up. She comes to a house. An old woman asks her to comb her hair. When she does, the old lady shows her a farm where she could take service. She takes good care of the cows, gives milk to the cats, and when she sieves corn, she gives some to the birds.

db865177400b4ade3ba417c437b2eae0

Here the girl tends an old lady’s farm. And it seems the animals all gather in her goodness.

One day, the girl’s mistress summons her and tells her to fill a sieve full of water and bring it back. The birds tell her to use ashes to stop up the holes. Another day, she has to wash some black yarn until it turns white and some white yarn until it turns black. Then the girl’s mistress has her weave them into a robe as smooth as a king’s by sunset. But the skeins tangle and break every moment. Fortunately, the cats weave it on her behalf. Later, the girl wants to leave and go home. Her mistress sends her to the attic and tells her to take whatever casket she’d like. She considers many beautiful ones. But the cats direct her to a black one, so she takes it and goes home. Her stepmother takes her wages but the casket is filled with marvelous treasures. The stepmother puts her own daughter at the well’s edge, to spin with the coarse stuff, and throws her down in the well when it breaks. The daughter proceeds as her sisters had but is rude to everyone at the wall and works very poorly on the farm, including on the three tasks her stepsister had done. At the end of the year, she goes on her way with a large red casket. But when the girl opens it at home, fire bursts out, burning her and her mom to death.

8a3fb2ec59ca7b0b5f014972a8199537

When her time with the old lady was up, she had her choice of casket. The girl chooses the modest one.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, it involves 2 people being burned to death after one opens a box.
Trivia: N/A