A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 18- Princess Belle-Etoile to The Brown Bear of Norway

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One of the popular variants of fairy tales pertains to Cinderella. You know the girl who’s stuck doing chores, wearing rags by day, and putting up with abuse from relatives until a magical entity pretties her up for a fancy dress event and wins her royal man after leaving part of her outfit. However, there doesn’t always have to be a wicked stepmom and stepsisters. Hell, some might even feature a girl fleeing from her dad who wants an incestuous relationship with her that she goes to hiding in the woods and eventually another castle to work as a servant. Sometimes the rags may be skins or moss. Sometimes the magical entity isn’t a fairy godmother. While the token left behind at the ball or festival may not be a glass slipper. Anyway, in this installment, I give you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, is a French tale of a princess with a star on her forehead. Second, we come to Grimm tales of 3 little birds and one about 3 young men who receive magical items after their professional training. Third, is a Spanish story of a truth telling bird followed by a Russian tale of wicked sisters. Next, we have 2 Romanian tales of boys with golden stars and a pair of golden twins. After that, is a Chinese story about a golden calf that doesn’t turn people away from God followed by an Italian story of a king’s magical triplets. Finally, we have an Irish tale of a brown bear from Norway.

171. Princess Belle-Etoile

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Princess Belle-Etoile is a French fairy tale about 4 royal children who get whisked away when their grandma, aunt, and a maid plot to kill them. They’re later abducted by a pirate couple who raise them.

From: France
Earliest Appearance: Written by Madame d’Aulnoy as a rendition to an older Italian fairy tale called Ancilotto, King of Provino by Giovannia Francesco Straparola.
Best Known Version: There’s only one version.
Synopsis: A queen is reduced to poverty and sells sauces to support herself and her 3 daughters. One day, an old woman comes and begs they feed her a fine meal. They do so, and the woman being a fairy, promises the next time they wish something without thinking of her, it would come true. For a long time, they can’t do this. But one day, a king goes by. The oldest, Roussette, says if she married the king’s admiral, she’d make sails for all his ships. The second, Brunette, says if she married the king’s brother, she’d make him lace enough to fill a castle. While the third, Blondine, says that if she married the king, she’d bear him 2 sons and a daughter with golden chains on their necks, stars on their foreheads, and jewels falling from their hair. A favorite repeats these words to the king who summons the sisters and soon the marriages take course. A splendid wedding feast appears out of nowhere and the women realize it’s from the old woman. Roussette hides the dishes when they leave, but they’re turned to earthenware when she arrives.

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One the 4 royal kids return to the castle, the maid suggests to Belle-Etoile to complete a series of nearly impossible tasks. Belle-Etoile passes it on to her cousin and boyfriend Cheri.

The queen mother is pissed to hear that her sons married such lowly women. Roussette is jealous of her sisters. Brunette gives birth to a son and dies. While Blondine gives birth to the 2 sons and daughter she wanted. But the queen mother and Roussette put 3 puppies in their place. They then take the kids (including Brunette’s son) and give them to a maid who scruples to kill them. But instead, puts them in a boat with necklaces that might pay for their support if someone finds them. The queen is sent back to her mom. The fairies guard the boat until it falls in with a pirate ship. The captain brings them to his childless wife. When they find that jewels fall from 3 of the kids’ hair, the captain gives up piracy since he’d be rich without it. They name the princess Belle-Etoile, her brothers Petit-Soleil and Heureux and their handsome cousin Cheri. As Belle Etoile and Cheri grow up, they fall in love. But believing themselves brother and sister, deeply regret it. One day, Belle-Etoile overhears the pirate and his wife talking and learns their true origins. She tells her brothers and cousin who tell the pirate and his wife that they wish to leave. The pirate implores they stay, but Heureux persuades him that they wondered too much of their birth to endure it. So they set sail on a marvelous ship, arriving at their dad’s castle where the king marvels over them. They ask only for a house in which to stay.

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To get the dancing water, Cheri sets off. There he finds the spring and rescues a dove.

The queen mother realizes from the description that these are her grandchildren. She sends the maid who failed to drown them, and the woman tells Belle Etoile that she needs the dancing water, which would keep her from ever looking old. She tells the story and Cheri sets out at once, against her will. He finds a spring and rescues a dove from drowning, setting all sorts of burrowing animals to dig up the dancing water. And Cheri returns with it, freeing the dove and it flies rather sulkily. The maid comes back with a tale of a singing apple, and Cheri again sets out. This time, a reading stranger directs him to the apple, and by helping a wounded dove, he learns about the dragon guarding it and how he could use mirrors to frighten it off. After he does this, he returns with the apple. The maid comes back with a tale of an all-knowing green bird. Realizing it could tell who their parents are and where they came from, Belle-Etoile is deeply distressed. Cheri sets out again, but when he nearly reaches the bird, a rock opens, he falls into a hall, and gets turned into stone. Belle-Etoile falls ill from her distress at his absence. In turn, Petit-Soleil and Heureux do the same.

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To get the singing apple, Cheri has to deal with a 3-headed dragon. Luckily a stranger suggested that he use a mirror.

Belle-Etoile sets out after them and rescues a dove from snow. Afterwards, it advises her not to climb the mountain where the bird perches, but to sing below it to lure it down. She does. The bird advises her on how to free her brothers and the rest of the prisoners. Meanwhile, the queen mother persuades the king to set aside his marriage to Blondine and remarry. Roussette persuades him to invite her to the wedding. The king invites the 4 children and leaves a gentleman to await their arrival. On their arrival, the gentleman tells their story. Belle-Etoile and her brothers arrive for the wedding, bringing their treasures, tell how they’re abandoned, and show them to the king. Finally, the king asks the green bird who the kids are, and where they came from. The bird replies they’re his kids and nephew. The queen mother, Roussette, and the maid are all punished. And instead of marrying himself, the king has Belle-Etoile and Cheri tie the knot instead.

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After Cheri, Petit-Soleil, and Heureux end up prisoner after seeking a magic green bird, Belle-Etoile takes it upon herself to rescue them. She sings to the bird to lure it down and listens to its instructions on how to free her brothers and cousin.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: This one involves a romantic relationship between first cousins who see themselves as brother and sister. It would be if Jon Snow banged Sansa on Game of Thrones. And yes, we know the guy unknowingly banged his aunt and gets very freaked out about his feelings for her.
Trivia: N/A

172. The Three Little Birds

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The Three Little Birds is a Grimm fairy tale about a set of royal triplets who search for a caged bird and a glass of water. On the way, the brothers get captured and the sister has to set out herself.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, obviously.
Synopsis: 3 sisters tend cows as a king and his company goes by. The oldest points at the king, saying she’ll marry him or no one. Her sisters point at ministers and say the same. Since they’re super hot, the king summons them before him. He marries the oldest, while his ministers wed the younger 2. One day, the king has to go on a journey and has her sisters attend the queen. The queen gives birth to a son with a red star on his forehead. Her sisters throw him into the water. A bird springs out of the water and sings of what they had told and terrifies them. But the sisters tell the king that the queen gave birth to a dog. But a fisherman fishes the boy out and raises him. The king says whatever God sent was good. However, when the sisters do the same with his second son. But when they do the same with the third child, a daughter, and say the queen has given birth to a cat, he tosses his wife into prison.

One day, the other boys wouldn’t let the oldest fish with them, since he’s a foundling. So he sets out to find his dad. He finds an old woman fishing, telling her she’d fish long before she gets anything. She tells him he’d search long before he finds his dad, and carries him over the water to do it. The next year, the second boy sets out searching for his brother, and he fares the same. The next year, the girl sets out. When she finds the woman, she says, “May God bless your fishing.” The old lady gives her a rod and tells her to go to the castle, bring back a caged bird and a glass of water. And on the way back, strike a black dog with a rod. She does, finds her brothers on the way, and when she strikes the dog, turns it into a handsome prince. They go back home to the fisherman. The second son goes hunting and plays a flute when he gets tired. The king hears this and finds him and doesn’t believe he’s the fisherman’s son. So the second son invites him home. There, the bird sings of what happened to them. The queen gets let out of prison, the false sisters are killed, and the daughter marries the prince.

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

173. The Bird of Truth

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The Spanish fairy tale, The Bird of Truth is about a pair of twins who overhear birds talking about castle intrigue that might involve them and seek the said bird to know who they are. But the castle it’s in doesn’t seem like a walk in the park.

From: Spain
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Cecilia Böhl de Faber in her Cuentos de encantamiento.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Orange Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A fisherman finds a beautiful boy and girl in a cradle floating in the river and brings them to his wife to rise as their own. As the babies grow up, their older brothers are cruel to the boy and girl who often run away to the riverbank where they’d feed breadcrumbs to the birds. In gratitude, the birds teach them to speak their language. One day, the oldest boy taunts them for being orphans. So the 2 go out in the world seeking their fortunes. When they stop for rest along their journey, they overhear 2 birds gossiping. One bird says the king married a tailor’s youngest daughter over the nobles’ opposition. He’s obliged to go to war, and when he came back, his wife gave birth to stillborn twins. Missing her babies, the queen went mad that she’s shut up in a mountain tower where the fresh air might restore her. However, the babies didn’t really die but were taken to a gardener’s cottage, and that night the chamberlain put them in a river in a crystal cradle, which the kids recognize from the story of how the fisherman found them.

The bird goes on to say that only the Bird of Truth could convince that the children are really his. But it’s kept by a giant who only sleeps 15 minutes a day at the Come-and-Never-Go Castle. Only a witch could give directions to this castle and she won’t do it unless they give her water from the fountain of many colors. Furthermore, the Bird of Truth is surrounded by the Birds of Ill Faith. And only an owl could tell which is which. They go to the city, where they beg hospitality for the night, and are so helpful that the innkeeper asks them to stay. The girl does but her brother leaves on his quest. A dove directs him to go with the wind. By following it, he reaches the witch’s tower and asks the way to the Come-and-Never-Go Castle. The witch tries getting him to stay the night. But when he refuses, she demands a jug of many color waters, or she’d turn him into a lizard. She then directs the dog to lead him to the water.

At the castle, he hears the owl’s cry and seeks its advice. It tells him to fill a from another fountain and then find the white bird in the corner, not the brightly colored birds. He has 15 minutes to complete the task and succeeds. When he brings back the water, the witch throws it over him and tells him to become a parrot, but he becomes more handsome. While all the creatures around the hut throw themselves into the water and become human again. The witch flees. The courtiers responsible for abandoning the kids try preventing the king from learning about them. But they talk so much that the king overhears the commotion and becomes curious. When the bird flies to him, he listens. At once, the king embraces his kids and then all 3 free his wife, their mom, from the tower. The wicked courtiers are beheaded and the couple who raised these kids get riches and honor.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A
174. The Wicked Sisters
From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: Guess the Afanasyev version.
Synopsis: Prince Ivan has 3 beautiful sisters talking. The older 2 say if he married them, they’d sew him a marvelous shirt. The youngest says she’d bear 3 sons with the sun on their foreheads, the moon on the back in their heads, and stars to each side. Naturally, the prince goes with her. The older sisters envy her and bribe servants. When the youngest bears the sons she said she would, they kidnap and hide them in the garden arbor. Then they present the prince with a puppy, a kitty, and a seemingly ordinary child. The prince finally repudiates and demands justice for his wife lying to him. The chief justice sentences the princess to be blinded, put in a barrel with the ordinary child, and thrown out to sea. If guilty, she’d die. But if she’s innocent, she’d emerge. The substituted child grows by the hour, becomes reasonable, and commands the barrel to come ashore and burst. He then commands the bath house to appear, in which he restores princess’ sight. Next, a palace appears with an arbor. He has the princess bake 3 cakes, resulting the 3 princes to appear. They say that whoever brings them these cakes and tell them of their mom would be their brother. The princess lives there with her 3 sons and the child. One day, they have monks stay over. They go to Prince Ivan’s kingdom and tell him of them. He immediately goes to the palace and recognizes his wife and sons. The older sisters get thrown in barrels and thrown into sea. But this time, the barrels sink.

Other Versions: Included in Ruth Manning-Sanders’ book A Book of Kings and Queens.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features trial by ordeal through potential drowning.
Trivia: N/A

175. The Boys with the Golden Stars

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The Romaian fairy tale, The Boys with the Golden Stars revolves around a pair of twin boys with gold stars on their heads. And because of some evil stepmother, they go through hell but overcome their plight through shapeshifting.

From: Romania
Earliest Appearance: Collected in Rumänische Märchen
Best Known Version: Andrew Lang’s version in The Violet Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A herdsman has 3 daughters with the youngest being the prettiest. One day, the emperor passes by with his attendants. The oldest says if he married her, she’d bake him a loaf of bread that could make him young and brave forever. The second daughter says if he married her, she’d make him a shirt that could protect him any fight, even against a dragon, as well as heat and water. The youngest says if he married her, she’d bear him twin sons with golden stars on their foreheads. The emperor marries the youngest. While his friends marry the other 2. However, the emperor’s stepmother hates her stepson’s new wife because she wanted him to marry her daughter. So she gets her brother to declare war on him in an attempt to get him away from her. When the empress gives birth to twins, she kills and buries them in a garden corner before putting puppies in their place. When he gets back, the emperor punishes his wife to show what happens to anyone who lies to him.

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After they’ve grown up, the boys go to the castle and force their way in. There, they tell their story, remove their caps, and the emperor has the stepmother punished and the empress restored.

2 aspens grow from the graves, putting on years’ growth in hours. The stepmother wants to chop them down. But the emperor forbids it. Finally, she convinces him on grounds she has beds made from the wood, one for him and one for her. In the night, the beds start talking to each other. The stepmother has 2 new beds made and burns the originals. While burning, the 2 brightest sparks fly off and fall into a river, becoming golden fish. When fisherman catch them, they want to take them alive to the emperor. But the fish tell them to let them swim in the dew instead, and then dry them out in the sun. When they do this, the fish turn back into babies, maturing in days. Wearing lambskin caps covering their hair and stars, they go to their dad’s castle and force their way in. Despite their refusal to remove their caps, the emperor listens to their story, only then taking off their caps. The emperor executes his stepmom and takes back his wife.

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Here you can see the golden twins with their golden hair and other objects. They’re even dressed alike.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features infanticide. Though the kids do get better.
Trivia: N/A

176. A String of Pearls Twined with Golden Flowers
From: Romania
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Petre Ispirescu in Legende sau basmele românilor.
Best Known Version: Well, the Ispirescu version, I guess.
Synopsis: Whenever he could leave his duties, a young and handsome king enjoys wandering the world. He passes by an emperor’s castle and hears his 3 daughters speak who all want to marry him. The oldest promises to keep the castle clean (despite he has servants for that). The second promises to make his castle like 2 golden apples. While the youngest promises to bear golden twins. He marries the third. She becomes pregnant. But his old favorite, a gypsy slave, envies the queen. So when the kids are due, the king has to go to war. He’s greeted back by 2 puppies he’s told the queen had borne. He makes the queen his slave and his gypsy girl his queen. In reality, the queen had borne 2 golden babies, but the gypsy girl killed and buried them in the vineyard. Two firs grow from their graves. At night, they turn into kids again and go to nurse from their mom, consoling her. The king likes the trees but the gypsy girl hates them and makes him cut them down. The king has 2 beds made from the trees. But at night, the beds talk to each other. The one carrying the gypsy doesn’t like it. But the one carrying the king likes it better. Anyway, the gypsy hears it and has them burned. However, 2 sparks fly into the bran which an ewe eats, resulting her to give birth to 2 lambs with golden fleeces. The king sees them and loves them. The gypsy girl has them killed and assigns the queen to clean their entrails.

A crow catches some of the entrails and won’t give it back without some cornmeal. The miller won’t give any cornmeal without a chicken. A hen won’t give her chick without corn. But a kind farmer gives her corn. The hen gives her chick. The miller gives the cornmeal. The crow gives back the piece. But more washes away when it does this, and it can’t retrieve the rest. Then entrails catch a snag. When the water retreats, they become a boy and girl. The boy cuts down oysters with his hatchet and the girl spins with her distaff. People come to admire their beauty. The king is so delighted that he takes them home, and the gypsy girl doesn’t dare do anything to them. One day, she breaks a pearl necklace that can’t be rethreaded so the pearls escape everyone’s fingers. The king asks the children to do it and they could. But while doing so, the boy tells the king their life story (with a refrain of “o, a string of pearls twined with golden flowers”). The king has the gypsy girl stoned to death and restores his queen.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features infanticide. Though the kids do get better, but still. Also, is kind of derogatory to the Roma people.
Trivia: Also called, “The Golden Twins.”

177. The Pretty Little Calf
From: China
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Wolfram Eberhard in “Folktales of China.”
Best Known Version: The Eberhard version, of course.
Synopsis: A childless official leaves home to take a new post. His first wife promises gold on his return, the second silver, and the third a son. He’s pleased with his third wife, while the other 2 are jealous. When she bears a son, they claim she borne a lump of flesh. The first wife throws the baby in a pond, but he floats. The second wife has him wrapped in straw and grass and fed to a water buffalo. When the official returns, his first wife gives him gold. His second wife gives him silver. But when he hears his third wife had borne a horrid lump of flesh, he sends her to grind rice in a mill. The water buffalo gives birth to a beautiful calf with a golden hide. It was fond of its master who always gives it some food. One day, the official says that if it understands human speech, it should bring the dumplings. He gives it to its mom. The calf brings them, not to the water buffalo, but to the repudiated wife. The first 2 realize it’s the son. They claim sickness. The first wife says she needs the calf’s liver. The second says she needs the calf’s skin. The official lets the calf loose in the woods and brings another to kill.

A woman named Huang announces she’d throw a colored ball from her house, and whoever catches it would be her husband. The calf catches it on its horn. Huang realizes she has to marry it. She hangs the wedding robes on its horns and it rides off. She chases it and finds a young man in wedding robes by a pond. He tells her to come. She says she has to find her calf. But he reveals himself as the transformed calf. He goes back to his dad and tells him the truth. The official is ready to kill his first two wives. But his son persuades him to pardon them. Yet, he has his son bring back his mom from the mill.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: A baby gets fed to a water buffalo. Also, bestiality.
Trivia: N/A

178. Ancilotto, King of Provino
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Written by Giovanni Francesco Straparola in The Facetious Nights of Straparola. Oldest known variant of its kind.
Best Known Version: Guess the Straparola version.
Synopsis: The King Ancilotto hears 3 sisters talking. The oldest, Brunora says if she marries the king’s majordomo, she’d give the entire court a drink from one glass of water. The second, Lionella says if she marries the king’s chamberlain, she’d turn one spindle of linen to give fine shifts to the entire court. The youngest, Chiaretta, says if she married the king, she’d give him triplets with fine hair of gold, a gold necklace, and a star on their foreheads. The king marries them off as they said. The queen mother is angry to have such a daughter-in-law. The king has to leave. While he’s gone, the queen gives birth to 2 sons and a daughter as she had described. 3 black puppies with white stars had also been born and Chiaretta’s sisters bring them to the queen. The queen mother substitutes them for the babies. And the babies are put into a box and thrown into the river. A miller named Marmiato finds them while his wife Gordiana names the boys Acquirino and Fluvio and the girl Serena. The king is grief-stricken by the story. But when the queen mother, midwife, and queen’s sisters all agree that his wife had given birth to puppies, he orders her kept in a dungeon.

Gordiana gives birth to a son, Borghino. Her and Marmiato then find out if they cut the triplets’ hair, gems fall out of it and they live prosperously. But when the triplets grow up, they learn of their foundling status and set out. They find Ancilotto’s land and meet him. He tells his mom he thinks they’re the children Chiaretta borne him. The queen mother sends the midwife after them and she tricks Serena into asking for dancing water. Aquirino and Fluvio go after it. A dove warns them of the danger and fills up a vial for them. Ancilotto sees them again and the queen mother hears of their survival. The midwife tricks Serena into asking for a singing apple. Acquirino and Fluvio go after it. On the way, their host warns them of the danger one night, giving them a robe of mirrors. This would trick the monster guarding it, when it sees its own reflection. Fluvio uses it and picks up the apple. Ancilotto sees them again and the queen learns they survived. The midwife tricks Serena into asking for the beautiful green bird that could only speak words of wisdom day and night. When Acquirino and Fluvio find the garden with the bird, they look at the marble statues in it, and are turned into statues themselves.

Serena anxiously waits for her brothers and eventually sets out after them. She reaches the garden, sneaks up on the bird, and catches it. It begs for its freedom, shows her how to turn her brothers back to life, and begs to be set free. Serena says she would free it only if it brings them to their mom and dad. They go to Ancilotto’s palace bringing the water, apple, and bird. The king and guests marvel at the water and apple. While the bird asks what punishment should be imposed on those who kill 2 brothers and a sister. The queen mother suggests death by burning and everyone agrees. The bird tells the story of Chiaretta’s children and the king has his mom, midwife, and her sisters burned.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: A bunch of people are burned to death.
Trivia: N/A

179. The Wishing Table, the Gold-Ass, and the Cudgel in the Sack

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The Grimm fairy tale, The Wishing Table, the Gold-Ass, and the Cudgel in the Sack is about 3 brothers who get kicked out of their dad’s house and have to learn a trade. Once they do, they each receive a magical item.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, obviously.
Synopsis: A tailor has 3 sons all fed by their goat’s milk. The oldest is tasked with letting the animal graze in the finest grass fields. At the end of the day, the son asks the goat whether it had eaten enough and the animal confirms this. However, when they get home, the goat claims the opposite. As a result, the tailor gets upset and drives his son out of the house. The pattern repeats itself with the second and youngest son, too, who the goat also falsely blames for not feeding it enough. And as a result, get kicked out of the house as well. Only when the dad goes out to feed the goat himself and discovers that the creature still claims it hasn’t eaten enough does he realize he misjudged his sons. He takes his razor, shaves the goat bare, and uses a whip to drive it out of his house, leaving the tailor along in his house longing for his sons’ return.

The story follows each son individually from there. The oldest son goes to a furniture maker and learns the craft. After his service, his master gives him a magic table as a sign of gratitude. When he says, “Table, Deck Yourself,” the table decks itself with the finest food and wine. The son decides to return home and show his dad what he had earned. On his way, he visits a local inn, where he demonstrates the magic table’s power. At night, the innkeeper steals the table and switches it for a normal one, without the son’s awareness. When the son arrives home and tries to show the table’s powers to his dad, nothing happens. This upsets his dad once again. The second son goes to work for a miller. His master gives him a magical donkey that can produce gold out of its mouth and behind at the command of “Bricklebrit!” Like the oldest son, the second son decides to return home and happens to visit the same inn his brother did. Just like the oldest son, he demonstrates the donkey’s powers to the innkeeper. Once again, the asshole steals the animal at night and replaces it with a normal donkey, without the son’s awareness. When the son arrives home to show the donkey’s powers to his dad, instead of gold pieces landing on the cloth, it’s ordinary donkey droppings. Once again, his dad flips out.

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After his older brothers have their items conned from them by an innkeeper and cause their dad to flip out, the youngest plays smart with the innkeeper when it comes to the cudgel in the sack. When the time is right, he uses the cudgel to beat the crap out of him and get his brothers’ stuff.

The third son goes working for a carpenter and receives a magic cudgel in a bag. Whenever someone’s unjust, the cudgel’s owner just needs to say, “Cudgel, out the sack!” and the object will start clobbering the wrongdoer. And only when the owner says, “Cudgel in the sack!” will it return in the bag. Just like his brothers, the son visits the same inn, because he learned from their letters what happened. Instead of demonstrating his possession’s powers, he remains deliberately vague about it, making the innkeeper curious enough to go out at night and tries to look what’s in the bag. Anticipating this, the son orders the cudgel to beat the innkeeper until he returns everything he stole. The son returns home with the table, donkey, and cudgel, he tells his dad what happened and demonstrates the objects’ powers. His dad makes peace with his sons and they all live a rich life ever after. As for the goat, the shaven animal goes hiding in a fox hole. When the fox returns, the goat’s eyes scare it away. The fox asks the bear for help, but it’s also too scared to go in. Finally, they take the bee along with them, who stings the goat, causing the animal to run away in pain. The story concludes that nobody knows where the goat is now.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: Objects featured at a Dutch theme park.

180. The Brown Bear of Norway

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The Brown Bear of Norway is an Irish fairy tale bout a princess who ends up with the bear and let’s just say he’s a cursed prince and their kids get kidnapped. Then he leaves and she goes after him

From: Ireland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Patrick Kennedy in his Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts in 1866.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Lilac Fairy Book.
Synopsis: An Irish king asks his daughters who they want to marry. The oldest wants the king of Ulster. The second wants the king of Munster. But the youngest wants the Brown Bear of Norway. That night, the youngest princess wakes to find herself in a grand hall, and a handsome prince on his knees before her, asking her to marry him. They marry at once and the prince explains that a witch had transformed him into a bear to get him to marry her daughter. Now that she married him, he’d be free if she endures 5 years of trials. They have 3 kids in succession, but an eagle, greyhound, and a lady take each one. After losing the last child, the princess tells her husband she wants to visit her family. He tells her that to return, she only has to wish it while lying down at night, and in the next morning, she’d wake up in her old bed. She tells her family her tale. While she doesn’t want to lose any more children, she’s sure it’s not her husband’s fault and she misses him. A woman recommends the princess burn his bear fur and then he’d be a man both night and day. She stops drinking the drink her husband gives her before she goes to bed, wakes up, and burns his fur. The man wakes telling her he now has to marry a witch’s daughter since. For it was the witch who gave the princess that advice.

The princess chases after her husband. Just as night falls, they both reach a little house. A little boy plays before the fireplace. Her husband tells her the boy is their son. The woman whose house it is was the eagle who carried the boy away. The woman welcomes them while her husband gives the princess a pair of scissors that would turn anything they cut into silk. The prince tells her he’ll forget her during the day but remember her at night. On the second night, the princess finds a house with their daughter and her husband gives her a comb that makes pearls and diamonds fall from her hair. During the third night, they find a house with their third child, and he gives her a hand-reel with never ending golden thread and half of their wedding ring. The prince tells her once he goes into the woods the next day, he’ll utterly forget her and their kids. Unless she reaches their home and put her ring half to his. The wood tries keeping her out, but she commands it, by the gifts she bears, to let her in, and finds a great house and a woodman’s cottage nearby. The princess goes there and persuades him and his wife to take her in as their servant, saying she’ll take no wages, but gives them silk, diamonds, and pearls. She hears the prince had gone to live at the witch’s castle.

The castle’s servants annoy the princess with their intentions. She invites the head footman, the most persistent, and asks him to pick her some honeysuckle. When he does, she uses the gifts she bore to give him horns and makes him sing back to the great house. His fellow servants mock him until the princess lets the charm drop. Hearing this, the prince looks at her and is puzzled by her sight. The witch’s daughter comes and sees the scissors. The princess offers to trade them for a night outside the prince’s bedroom. She takes the night but can’t wake the prince and the head footman ridicules her as he puts her out again. She tries again with the comb, to no greater success. The third day, the prince doesn’t merely look at her but stops to ask if he could do anything for her. She asks if he heard anything last night. He claims hearing singing in his dreams. She asks if he drank anything before he slept. When he says he did, she asks him not to drink anything. That night, the princess bargains for with the reel and sings, rousing the prince. The princess can put the half rings together and he regains his memory. The castle falls apart with the witch and her daughter vanishing. The prince and princess soon regain their kids and set out for their own castle.

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

A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 17- The Bear to The Tale of Tsar Saltan

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Although fairy tales often reflect the human condition, these were more or less meant to teach lessons in life. For instance, Beauty and the Beast and its many variants is supposed to help women adjust to arranged marriages. Little Red Riding Hood is meant to teach children about stranger danger, though you probably knew that. While Puss and Boots teaches kids how to be the ultimate wingman through any means necessary. Anyway, in this installment, I bring you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, is a tale about a bear which doesn’t have an exact origin. Second, is a French story of a dirty shepherdess followed by a Grimm one about a goose girl at a well. Third, are 2 Italian tales about a princess who gets banished over a comment pertaining to water and salt and a slave mother. Then we come to a Norwegian yarn of a girl who befriends and runs off with a dun bull. After that, is a Scottish tale about an enchanted crow. Next is a Japanese story of an old man who takes in a wounded sparrow followed by a Greek tale of an ill-fated princess and a Russian story of a prince and his mom stranded on a remote island.

161. The Bear
From: Unknown
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Green Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, naturally.
Synopsis: A king loves his daughter so much that he keeps her in rooms for fear harm would come to her. She complains to her nurse. But unbeknownst to her, the nurse is a witch. She tells her to get a wheelbarrow and a bearskin for the king. The king gives them to her. The nurse enchants them. When the princess puts on the skin, it disguises her. And when she gets in a wheelbarrow, it takes her wherever she wants to go. She has it take her to the forest. A prince hunts her. But when she calls out to him to call off his dogs, the prince is so astounded that he asks her to come home with him. She agrees and goes in the wheelbarrow. His mom’s surprised, and more when the bear starts doing housework as well as any servant (well, wouldn’t you?). One day, the prince has to go to a ball given by a neighboring prince. The bear wants to go and he kicks it. When he goes, she implores his mom for leave to just go and watch. With it, she goes to her wheelbarrow and uses her wand to turn her bearskin into a ballgown of moonbeams. At the ball, the prince falls in love with her, but she so she’d be back in time to hide herself. She’s pleased when he tells his mom of her because she had fooled them and laughs under the table. The princess attends the second ball in a sunlight gown and his attempts to follow her carriage don’t succeed.

The third time, the prince succeeds in getting a ring on her finger. When he comes home, he declares he’ll search for her. First, he wants some soup and for the bear to have nothing to do with it. Since every time he mentions his love, the bear mutters and laughs. The bear puts the ring in the soup. The prince asks her to take off her skin and she becomes a beautiful young woman. She tells the prince and his mom how her dad kept her imprisoned. The prince marries her.

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

162. The Dirty Shepherdess

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The French fairy tale, The Dirty Shepherdess is about a princess driven out of her castle by her dad and takes on work looking after sheep. Though she does dress in fine dresses by night.

 

From: France
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Paul Sebillot.
Best Known Version: Guess the one in Andrew Lang’s The Green Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A king asks his 2 daughters how much they love him (and if King Lear is anything to go by, this won’t go well). His older says he’s the apple of her eye. His younger says as much as the salt on her food. Not understanding the metaphor, the king orders her out of the kingdom. She goes with her dresses and jewels. The princess then makes herself ugly so a farmwife won’t be unready to lease her and wears beggar’s clothing. As a result, she’s leased as a shepherdess. One day, she dresses herself in her fine gowns just to remember her princess life. While hunting, the prince sees her and asks who the beautiful woman tending the sheep, attracting much ridicule. The prince falls ill with longing, saying only a loaf of bread the shepherdess bakes could cure him. She makes it and a ring falls into the dough. When the prince eats it, he finds the ring and declares he’d only marry the woman whose fingers it fits. When every other woman tries it, the prince insists the shepherdess try it as well and the ring fits her. The princess dresses herself in fine gowns and the king agrees to the wedding. She insists that they ask her dad’s permission and invite him to the wedding. She has his food cooked without salt and her dad realizes he misinterpreted the words.

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

163. The Goose Girl at the Well

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In the Grimm fairy tale, the Goose Girl at the Well, a count stumbles upon an old goose herder and a girl who turns out to be a princess. While she is ugly by day, she’s pretty once she washes her face at the well.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, obviously.
Synopsis: An old woman raises geese in the mountains. Speaking of her heavy burden one day, she persuades a count to carry it for her up the mountain. He finds it taxing, but she doesn’t let him rest. Arriving at the hut, there’s an ugly girl tending the old woman’s geese. But the old woman doesn’t let them stay together, lest “he may fall in love with her.” Before the old woman sends the count away, she gives him an emerald box as a thank you gift. The count wanders the woods for 3 days until stumbling upon a town reigned by a king and queen. He shows them the box. When the queen sees it, she collapses like she’s dead, leading the count to an indefinite dungeon stay. When the queen wakes up, she insists on speaking to him, telling him about her youngest daughter being a beautiful girl weeping pearls and jewels. But one day, when the king asked his 3 daughters how much they love him, the youngest said she loved him like salt. While the king divides his kingdom between the 2 older girls, and drives the youngest one out with only a sack of salt. The king regretted his decision afterwards, but the girl couldn’t be found again. When the queen opens the box, she finds a pearl just like her daughter’s jewel tears in it. The count tells them where he got the box. The king and queen resolve to speak with the old woman.

Meanwhile, in the mountains, the ugly girl washes in a well by night. She becomes a beautiful girl but sad. When the moonlight’s blocked, she returns to her usual form. When she returns to the hut, the old woman cleans despite it being late. She tells the girl that it’s been 3 years so they can’t stay together anymore. The girl’s upset and asks what’s going to happen to her. But the old woman replies that she’s disrupting her work and sends her to wait in her room. The count goes with the king and queen but becomes separated. He sees the ugly girl beautify herself and is entranced by her beauty. He follows her and meets with the king and queen in the hut. The old woman says to the them that they could spare themselves a walk if they hadn’t been so unjust to their daughter. She leads them in and tells their daughter to come out of the room and the family weeps to see each other again. The old woman disappears and the hut becomes a castle. The count marries the youngest princess and live there afterwards.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Made into a musical in Germany.
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

164. Water and Salt
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Thomas Crane in Italian Popular Tales.
Best Known Version: The Crane version, naturally.
Synopsis: A king with 3 beautiful daughters asks them how much they love their dad. The oldest daughter says, “I love you as bright as the sunshine.” The second daughter says, “I love you as wide as the ocean.” While the youngest daughter says, “Oh father, I love you as much as water and salt.” Not satisfied with his youngest daughter’s reply, the king sentences her to death (even King Lear wouldn’t do that). Her sisters instead give a small dog and one of their little sister’s garments to the executioners who cut out the dog’s tongue and show the king, claiming it’s the youngest princess. In reality, the executioners leave her in a cave.

A wizard finds her and takes her into his castle across from a palace. The prince from across the street falls in love with the princess and a match is soon agreed upon. But the day before the wedding, they kill and quarter the wizard, and the blood turns the castle into a palace. During the wedding day, the princess passes salt and water to everyone except the king. When asked why he’s not eating, the king explains he’s not feeling well. After the reception feast, everyone tells stories. The king tells of the daughter he executed. He’s devastated, but the princess puts on the same dress she wore when she told him she loved him as much as water and salt. She explains to him how it is to eat without either so they embrace.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Sentencing your daughter to death due to not understanding a metaphor will not make you parent of the year. Also, cruelty to animals and a wizard gets killed and torn apart.
Trivia: N/A

165. Katie Woodencloak

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The Norwegian tale, Katie Woodencloak revolves around a princess befriending a dun bull who later decide to run away together. That is, until they go to a castle where she must get a job, wear a woodencloak, and slaughter the bull.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in Norske Folkeeventyr.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in The Red Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A king with a daughter marries a widowed queen who also has a daughter. Unfortunately, the king has to go to war and the stepmother abuses and starves her stepdaughter. A dun bull helps the girl, telling her that she’d find cloth in his left ear. When she pulls out the cloth and spreads it out, she magically has all the food she needs. When the queen discovers this, and when the king returns, she fakes sick and bribes a doctor to say she needs the dun bull’s flesh to recover. Fearful for the bull’s life, the princess tells him of her stepmother’s plan. The bull decides they must flee together. They pass through a copper tree forest. Although the bull tells her not to break any branches, she breaks a leaf. Seeing this, the bull tells the princess not to lose it under any circumstances.

The bull and the princess come upon a troll roaring about them touching his wood. The troll picks a fight with the bull. The bull wins but sustains grave injuries. The princess has to cure him with a horn of ointment the troll carried. The same thing happens in the silver and gold forests. Soon the princess has a silver leaf and a golden apple, along with the copper leaf. The princess and the bull resume traveling until they come upon a castle. The bull gives the princess a wooden cloak and tells her to ask for work there as “Katie Woodencloak.” However, she must cut off the bull’s head, flay him, and put the hide away in a rock, along with the leaves and apple. Should she need anything, the bull tells the princess to knock on the stone. Though she initially refuses to kill the bull, she’s eventually persuaded.

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Here Katie Woodencloak in her getup as a castle scullery maid. Whenever the prince summons her, he treats her like crap. So she goes to church in her nice dresses and he’s instantly smitten.

The princess goes into the castle and gets work in the scullery. One day, she’s told to carry water to the prince for bathing. Not wanting to use water from such a filthy creature, the prince throws it on her. Later, the princess goes to the rock and asks to be magnificently dressed in copper. She goes to church where the prince falls in love with her at once. She tells him she hails from Bath and uses a charm to keep him from following her, but he catches one of her gloves. A second time, she brings him a towel to the same treatment and she goes to church dressed in silver. She tells the princess she comes from Towelland and she drops her riding whip. The third time, she brings a comb, to the same treatment, and goes to church dressed in gold. She tells the prince she comes from Combland and he gets her golden shoe. Wanting to find the woman, the king has all the kingdom’s women try on the shoe and it fits Katie’s stepsister. But a bird warns the prince that the stepsister cut her foot to fit into the shoe and sings it’s actually Katie Woodencloak’s. Having disposed of the false bride, the king asks for Katie Woodencloak. Though he’s warned off, he insists. So they marry and live happily ever after.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: For one, there’s bodily mutilation. Also, the prince treats his scullery maid like shit.
Trivia: N/A

166. The Tale of the Hoodie
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 hoodie crow woos a farmer’s 3 daughters. The older 2 are repulsed since it’s ugly. But the youngest daughter says it’s pretty and accepts it. After they marry, the crow asks whether she’d have it be a crow by day and a man by night, or the other way around. She chooses a man by day. And during the day, he becomes a handsome man. The wife has a son. One night, after music puts everyone to sleep, the baby’s stolen. The next 2 years it happens again, with 2 more babies. The hoodie crow takes her, with her sisters, to another house. He asks if she’s forgetting anything. She forgot her coarse comb. The coach becomes a bundle of faggots (not my word choice, and no, they don’t mean gay men). While her husband becomes a crow again. He flies off but his wife chases him. Every night, she finds a house to stay in, in which a woman and little boy live. The third night, the woman advises that if the crow flies into her room before sunrise, she should catch him. The crow drops a ring on her hand. It wakes her, but she can only grab one feather.

The woman tells her crow flew over the hill of poison and she’ll need horseshoes to follow him. But if the wife cross dresses and goes to a smithy, she’ll learn how to make them. She does and she crosses the hill with the shoes. She arrives at a town to find that her husband’s engaged to a great gentleman’s daughter. A cook asks her to make a wedding feast, so he can see a race, and she agrees. The wife puts the ring and the feather in the broth. The wife’s husband finds them and demands to see the cook. He then declares he’ll marry her. They go back and retrieve their 3 sons from the houses where the wife had stayed.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why. Then again, the heroine agreeing to marry a crow might be pushing it.
Trivia: Has nothing to do with a magical hooded sweatshirt. The hoodie in this story is a crow.

167. The Slave Mother
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Italo Calvino in his Italian Folktales.
Best Known Version: Guess the Calvino version, naturally.
Synopsis: A tenant farmer couple has 5 sons. One day, the woman hears an owl ask her whether she’d rather be rich while young or in old age. After consulting with her husband, the wife tells it in old age. Soon she goes out to get greens for a salad but pirates carry her off. The family mourns her but has to move on. 2 years later, they find treasure in the fields. They smuggle it, give up the farm, and go to the city to live a fine life. One day, the sons want to buy a beautiful young slave girl but the dad refuses, saying they should by an old slave woman who knew how to work. He sees one and buys her. They give her new clothes and put her in charge of the house. Still, she sighs every time she sees her 5 sons. One day, the old man asks her. She explains she once had 5 sons but pirates had kidnapped her while she gathered greens for a salad. The old man realizes she’s his wife and the family’s delighted to have her back. She then lives to an old age in wealth.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: It depicts slavery and human trafficking.
Trivia: N/A

168. Shita-kiri Suzume

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Shita-kiri Suzume is a Japanese fairy tale about an old man tending to a wounded sparrow. While his elderly wife has other ideas.

From: Japan
Earliest Appearance: It’s a traditional Japanese fable translated as “Tongue-Cut Sparrow.”
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Pink Fairy Book as “The Sparrow with the Slit Tongue.”
Synopsis: A poor woodcutter and his wife live on woodcutting and fishing. The old man is honest and kind but his wife is greedy and arrogant. One morning, the old man goes to into the mountains to cut wood and sees an injured sparrow crying for help. Feeling sorry for the bird, the old man takes it back into his home and feeds it some rice to try to help it recover. His rude and greedy wife is annoyed her husband would waste precious food on such a small and insignificant little thing as a sparrow. However, the old man keeps caring for the bird. One day, the man has to return to the mountain, leaving the bird in the old woman’s care. But she doesn’t intend to feed it. After her husband leaves, she goes out fishing. While she’s gone, the sparrow gets into some starch left out and eventually eats it all. Angry upon her return, the old woman cuts the bird’s tongue and sends it back to the mountains from where it came.

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Because of his kindness, the old man is led to a mountain sparrow village where they give him a small box as a reward. He then goes on his way back home from the mountains.

The old man goes searching for the bird. With other sparrows’ help, he finds his way to a bamboo grove where the sparrow’s inn’s located. A multitude of sparrows greet him and lead him to an old friend, the little sparrow he saved. The others bring him food as well as sing and dance for him. Upon his departure, they present him with a choice of a large basket or small basket as a present. Being an older man, he chooses the smaller basket since he supposes it’ll be the least heavy. When he gets home, he opens the basket and discovers a large amount of treasure inside. Learning of the larger basket’s existence, the wife runs to the sparrow’s inn in hope of getting more of the treasure for herself. She chooses the larger basket but is warned no to open it before she gets home. But the wife is so greedy that she can’t resist the temptation. To her surprise, the basket’s filled with deadly snakes and other monsters that startle her so much she tumbles all the way down the mountain, presumably to her death.

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The old man opens his box and gets wonderful things. The old lady tries the same with the larger box and gets monsters startling her so much, she falls to her death.

 

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Guess falling down a mountain after opening a basket of snakes and monsters was too much.
Trivia: N/A

169. The Ill-Fated Princess
From: Greece
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Georgios A. Megas in Folktales of Greece.
Best Known Version: The Megas version, naturally.
Synopsis: A queen can’t marry off her 3 daughters. A beggar woman instructs her to mark how they sleep. Since the youngest sleeps with her hands on her lap, she’s cursed and her fate prevents her sisters from getting married. Hearing this, the youngest daughter tells her mom to sew her dowry into her skirt hem, dresses herself as a nun, and leaves despite her mom’s pleas. She stays at a cloth-dealer’s but her fate comes tearing up the cloth that they throw her out. The princess pays for the damage from her dowry and goes on. She stays at a glass merchant’s, but her fate comes and smashes the glass. The princess pays for the damage and goes on. She then takes service with a queen, who realizes she has an evil fate and keeps her on. Yet, finally, the queen tells the princess to change it: she has to go to a mountain where they live and offer her some bread to change her fate. The princess does this and won’t leave until the fate takes the bread. The fate resists a long time even when other fates argue with her. But it finally gives her a silk thread and tells her to only give it away for its weight in gold.

A nearby king is getting married, and some silk’s missing to sew the bride’s dress. The princess brings her silk which is perfect and they set out to give her the gold. But nothing evens out the scale until the king steps on it. He then shows that she should have him and they marry.

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

170. The Tale of Tsar Saltan

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The Tale of Tsar Saltan is a Russian fairy tale of a tsarista and prince who end up stranded on a remote island. There a prince saves an enchanted swan.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Written by Alexander Pushkin in verse in 1831.
Best Known Version: There’s only one version.
Synopsis: Tsar Saltan chooses the youngest of 3 sisters as his wife and orders her 2 older sisters to be his cook and weaver. Not surprisingly, the older sisters become jealous of their younger sister. When the tsar goes off to war, the tsaritsa gives birth to a son, Prince Gvidon. The older sisters arrange to have the tsaritsa and the child sealed in a barrel and thrown into the sea. Yet, the sea takes pity on them and casts them on a remote island Buyan’s shore. Since the son grew quickly in the barrel, he goes hunting. He ends up saving an enchanted swan from a kite bird.

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Though the swan creates a city for the prince to rule, he’s homesick and wants to see his dad. So she brings on the shapeshifting.

The swan creates a city for Prince Gvidon to rule, but he’s homesick. So the swan turns him into a mosquito to help him (think this is a dumb idea). In this guise, he visits Tsar Saltan’s court where he stings his aunt in the eye and escapes. Back in the realm, the swan gives Gvidon a magic squirrel. But he keeps pining for home, so the swan transforms him into a fly. In this guise, Prince Gvidon visits Tsar Saltan’s court again and stings his older aunt in the eye. The third time, the prince is transformed into a bumblebee and stings his grandma in the nose. In the end, the prince expresses his desire for a bride instead of his old home, at which point the swan reveals herself as a beautiful princess, whom he marries. The Tsar visits him and is overjoyed to see his newly married son and his daughter-in-law.

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After seeing his dad, the prince returns to the island and asks the swan for a bride. The bride turns into a beautiful princess and they marry.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Made into an opera and 3 Russian films.
Why Forgotten: Not sure why. Though it seems well known in Russia.
Trivia: Full Title: “The Tale of Tsar Saltan, of His Son the Renowned and Mighty Bogatyr Prince Gvidon Saltanovich, and of the Beautiful Princess-Swan.”

A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 16 – The King of England and His Three Sons to The Princess That Wore a Rabbit Skin Dress

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In many ways, fairy tales and folk tales tend to overlap. After all, many of these fairy tales have been part of these cultures for years. And it could be centuries before any of them are written down. Though there are some fairy tales that are original literary creations like the ones by Hans Christen Andersen. Nonetheless, they certainly borrow elements from other tales like Andersen does with the Grimms. Anyway in this installment, I bring you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, is an English Romani tale about a king and his 3 sons. Second, we come to an Irish story of an Irish king hooking up with a queen of a lonesome island. Third are 2 Scottish tales about a soldier’s son and a king who wished to marry his daughter. After that are 2 American tales about princesses wearing outfits of catskin and rabbit skin. Then we find a Grimm tale about a princess who wears all kinds of fur. Next, is an Italian story about a prince and a very friendly she-bear. Finally, we get to 2 English stories about women who wear coats of moss and rags.

151. The King of England and His Three Sons

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The Romani-English fairy tale, The King of England and His Three Sons is about 3 princes going to search for golden apples. Let’s just say, it mostly focuses on the youngest son.

From: Romani and England
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Francis Hindes Groome in his In Gypsy Tents.
Best Known Version: The Joseph Jacobs version in his More English Fairy Tales.
Synopsis: An old king can be cured only by golden apples from a far country. His 3 sons set out to find them and part ways at a crossroads. The youngest son finds a house in the forest where an old man greets him as a king’s son. He then tells the prince to put his horse and have something to eat. After the meal, the prince asks the old man how he knew he’s a king’s son (cause he doesn’t have shit all over him). The man replies he knows many things including what the prince is doing (creepy). He tells the prince he has to stay there for the night, though many snakes and toads would crawl over him, and if he stirs, would turn into one himself. Though the prince gets little sleep, he doesn’t stir. The next morning, the old man gives him breakfast, a horse, and a ball of yarn to throw between the horse’s ears. When the prince throws and chases it, he comes to the old man’s brother, who’s uglier than the first one. He receives the same hospitality and the same unpleasant night before the guy sends him off to a third and uglier brother.

At the third brother’s, the old man tells the prince he must go to a castle where he must tell swans to bear him over the lake to the building. Giants, lions, and dragons guard it, but they’d be asleep. So he must go in at 1 o’clock and come out again by 2. He must go through some grand rooms, go down into the kitchen, and then go out into the garden. There, he must pick the apples. He should go back the same way, and when riding off, never look back because they’d pursue him until he nearly reaches the old man’s house. The prince goes to bed and the brother assures him that nothing would disturb him and nothing does. The next morning, the old man warns him not to tarry because of a beautiful woman.

The prince reaches the castle by the swans and sees a beautiful woman there. He exchanges his garter, gold watch, and pocket-handkerchief for hers, and kisses her. He then gets the apples and has to flee at full speed since the hour’s nearly up. But he escapes. The old man brings him to a well and insists that the prince cut off his head and throw it in. This turns him into a young, handsome man, and the house into a palace. At the second brother’s, the prince receives a new bed without snakes or toads and cuts off his head off, and then the same with the first.

The prince meets up with his brothers who steal his apples, put others in their place, and go on before him. When he returns home, his apples aren’t as good as his brothers.’ His dad thinks they’re poisoned and tells his headsman to cut his head off. But the guy just takes the prince into the woods and leaves him there. A bear approaches. The prince climbs a tree until the bear persuades him to come down, brings him some tents, where they make him welcome, and changes into a handsome young man named Jubal. The prince stays with them and is happy. Though he loses the golden watch somewhere. One day, he sees it in the tree he climbed to hide from the bear. He climbs to get it again. Meanwhile, realizing that one of the princes has been there, sets out with an army. Reaching the king, she demands to see his sons. When the oldest comes, he lies about being at the castle. But when she throws down the handkerchief and he walks over it, he breaks his leg. The second prince does the same and receives the same injury. The princess demands of the king whether he has more sons. The king sends for the headsman who confesses to not killing the prince. The king says he must find him to save the king’s life. They find Jubal pointing to the tree where prince is before telling him that he must come down since a lady’s looking for him. And they bring Jubal with them. He doesn’t break his leg over the handkerchief so the princess knows he’s the prince. They marry and the prince goes back to her castle.

Other Versions: Included in The Red King and the Witch: Gypsy Folk and Fairy Tales by Ruth Manning Sanders as “An Old King and His Three Sons of England.”
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

152. The King of Erin and the Queen of the Lonesome Island

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The Irish fairy tale, The King of Erin and the Queen of the Lonesome Island starts with brief fling resulting in the hero. Later, the hero date rapes a queen.

From: Ireland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Jeremiah Curtin in Myths and Folk-lore of Ireland.
Best Known Version: The Curtain version, obviously.
Synopsis: A king goes hunting but doesn’t see his first animal until it’s almost dusk, which is a black pig so he chases it. The pig swims out to sea and the king follows it. His horse drowns (obviously), but he swims and sees an island. On it, he finds a house with razors on the threshold and needles on the lintel. But he jumps between them and sits by the fire. A meal comes but the king doesn’t see anyone bring it and he eats anyway. At night, he senses a woman in the room but he can’t touch her. He tries leaving the next two days, but the woman uses her magic to keep the king from finding his way. On the third night, the woman appears and admits to being the pig. For she and her 2 sisters were captive there until their son should free them. Apparently, the king and the woman have sex (though I’m not sure whether it’s consensual on the king’s part). The next morning, she gives him a boat to get back. 9 months later, she has a son. When her son’s grown, the woman weeps. She explains that the King of Erin will die the next day due to the King of Spain bringing a great army against him. The son agrees to help if he’s there and his mom magically sends him. The young man asks the King of Spain for a day’s truce and goes to the King of Erin as a guest. The next day, he arrays himself as a champion and drives the King of Spain’s army from the field. Now the King of Erin has 2 sons who had hidden from the fight. But their mom tells the king that the champion is older than either of them. During the feast, the queen roofies the champion and pushes him from a window into the sea. But the young man swims for 4 days and nights until he comes to a rock where he lives for 3 months. Until a ship rescues him whose captain had tried to reach the Lonesome Island but failed due to fire. With the son, he succeeds. The son tell his mom what happened with the queen.

When the new King of Spain comes to avenge his dad’s death, the mom sends her son again. The queen makes the same claim about her older son. She then puts chicken blood in her mouth, claiming it as her heart’s blood and she needs water from Tubber Tintye to recover. The young man goes for it with her 2 sons. They meet a woman washing her hair in a golden basin. She calls the young man her nephew and tells him it’s too hard. They stay the night. The next morning, the queen’s older son claims illness and can’t go on. They go to the young man’s other aunt. At this house, she tells him that the people of Tubber Tintye sleep for 7 years, wake for 7 years, and learns from an eagle that they’ve gone to sleep. The queen’s younger son claims illness and can’t go on. The aunt gives her nephew a bridle, telling him to shake it before the stables and take whatever horse comes out. He takes the dirty, lean, shaggy little horse that comes and calls him the son of the King of Erin and the Queen of the Lonesome Island. This is the first time the young man hears of his dad. The horse leaps over the river of fire and the young man jumps from its back into a castle window. He finds many monsters and then a room with the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. He goes on to 12 more rooms, each with a sleeping woman prettier the last, until at last he comes to a golden room where the queen sleeps with the well at her feet. He decides to stay there, which he does for 6 days and nights (where he rapes her). A table there has a bread loaf and a meat leg, and if every man in Erin eats from that table for a year, there would’ve been as much food left in the end. The young man leaves a letter to the queen, letting her know that he’s the guy who’d been there and takes the bread and meat. He springs from the window and back onto the horse’s back.

The horse carries him away and has the young man chop it into 4 quarters and strike it with a rod. This turns quarters back into 4 princes that they’d been before. He frees his 2 aunts from their spell and goes back with them and the queen’s sons. The queen’s older son steals the water and gives it to his mom. The son goes back with his aunts to the Lonesome Island. 7 years later, the Queen of Tubber Tintye wakes up and finds she has a 6-year-old son. Her sage claims only a hero could’ve made it there and would’ve left some sign. They find the letter, pleasing the queen. She brings her army to the King of Erin’s castle and demands the man who came to hers as she slept (i.e. her date rapist and baby daddy). The king summons the queen’s 2 sons in turn, each of whom claims doing it. But she demands each ride her horse, which throw and kills them. She then puts a belt on the Queen of Erin that magically tightens and forces her to admit to cheating on her husband with the gardener and the brewer. So the Tubber Tintye Queen has the King of Erin burn her. The King of Erin then marries the Queen of the Lonesome Island while his son marries the Queen of Tubber Tintye.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: This tale kicks off with a woman luring a guy into her house and keeping him prisoner just to have sex with him. Granted, she’s trying to break a curse and explained the whole deal. But I’m not sure if that’s necessarily okay. Also, the protagonist commits date rape and no one sees anything wrong with that. Not to mention, someone burns to death for cheating.
Trivia: N/A

153. The Rider of Grainaig, and Iain the Soldier’s Son
From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by John Francis Campbell in his Popular Tales of the West Highlands.
Best Known Version: The Campbell version, naturally.
Synopsis: The knight of Grainaig has 3 daughters, but a mysterious beast carries them off. A soldier’s 3 sons are about to play a game at Christmas. The youngest son, Iain insists they do it on the knight’s lawn since it’s the smoothest. But as his brothers warn, this offends the knight because it reminded him of his daughters. Iain says he should give them a ship and they would find his daughters. The knight agrees. The brothers set out and find a place where men prepare for 3 daughters’ weddings to 3 giants. There’s a creel that could lift them to where the daughters are. Each brother tries in turn. A raven belabors the older two so they turn back. Facing the same raven, Iain calls them to hoist him faster. At the top, the raven asks him for tobacco. When Iain refuses, he tells him to go to the giant’s house, where he could find the oldest daughter. He goes. The oldest daughter tells him that rattling a chain would bring a giant, but only he, a soldier’s son could fight him. Iain rattles the chain and wrestles with the giant, wishing the raven was with him. The bird helps him win the fight and gives him a knife to cut off its head.

The raven tells Iain not to let the daughter put him off, but go on. It then asks him for tobacco and Iain offers him half. The raven tells him he has much left to do yet and shouldn’t offer him that much. It then sends Iain to anoint himself and bathe before he sleeps, so he’d be whole in the morning. He does this and goes on to rescue the second, and the youngest daughter. Then he takes the 3 daughters and the giants’ gold and silver and goes back. The raven warns to go first and have the daughters lowered after, but Iain lowers the daughters first, keeping the youngest’s cap. The creel doesn’t go back for him. So the raven tells Iain to spend the night at giant’s house. The next morning, it takes him to the stables with the constantly opening and shutting door. If he got through it, there’s a steed waiting for him. Iain asks the raven to go in first. It does and only loses a feather. Iain tries and gets killed but the raven revives him and tells him to walk and not wonder at anything he sees or touch anything. Iain comes to 3 dead men and pulls out their spears. The men sit up and make him come to the black fisherman’s cave. There, a hag turns them into stone. Iain defeats her but is sent to fetch the living water to bring back to the men. The raven sends Iain with the steed, which goes over land and sea. There, as the raven instructs, he puts the horse in the stable himself and drinks nothing but whey and water. But through the horse, the raven warns him against sleeping. Yet, the music enchants him and Iain dozes off. The horse breaks in and wakes him. They barely escape. He revives the men with the water.

The raven tells Iain to leave the cap with him and sends him off on the steed to interrupt the wedding. Because his 2 older brothers are to marry the older 2 daughters. While the men’s foremen preparing for the wedding, is set to wed the youngest. He rides off. When Iain arrives, the horse asks him to cut off its head. The horse explains she’s a young maiden and the raven a young man who dated her. But the giants changed them. Iain cuts off her head. At the castle, Iain hears that the youngest demands a cap such as her sisters. Iain wishes for the raven who brings him the cap, and Iain cuts off his head, turning him into a young man. They go to the dead horse where there’s a young woman and they go off together. Iain gives the cap to the smith. The youngest princess demands where he got it and the smith tells her. The youngest daughter marries Iain while the false bridegrooms are driven off.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Orange Fairy Book as “Iain the Soldier’s Son.”
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

154. Little Cat Skin
From: United States
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Marie Campbell in her Tales from the Cloud Walking Country.
Best Known Version: The Campbell version, naturally.
Synopsis: A man puts away his dead wife’s wedding gown, saying he won’t remarry a less pretty woman. His 2 older daughters mistreat the youngest until she has to patch her gowns with catskin. One day, she puts on her mom’s gown. Her dad begs her to tell him who she is. She demands and gets a dress the color of all the clouds going by and another of all the flowers blooming. She then tells him that she’s his daughter, Little Cat Skin. Her dad drives the girl away. She takes the dresses and works in the queen’s kitchen. The queen has a party and tells Little Cat Skin to come and even gives her an old dress. But Little Cat Skin wears a dress of clouds. She goes to another party in that dress and another in her dress of flowers. The prince gives her ring and falls sick in love with her. Little Cat Skin offers to cook something for him and she puts the ring in a dish. He sees her and thinks she looks like the girl. When he finds the ring, he knows who she is. They marry.

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

155. Allerleirauh

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Allerleirauh is a Grimm tale about a princess who flees her creepy dad and hides in a forest wearing furs. She later gets a job at another castle.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers. It’s basically Cinderella meets Game of Thrones.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version of course.
Synopsis: A king promises his dying wife that he won’t marry unless it’s to a woman as beautiful as she is. When he looks for a new wife, he realizes that the only woman who could match his dead wife’s beauty is his daughter. The princess tries making the wedding impossible by asking for 3 dresses: one as golden as the sun, one as silver as the moon, and one as dazzling as the stars along with a mantle made of fur of every kind of bird and animal in the kingdom. When her dad provides them, she takes them, with a gold ring, a spindle, and a gold reel. She runs from the castle the night before the wedding. She runs faraway to another kingdom and sleeps in a great forest there. But the young king and his dogs find her while on a hunting trip. She asks him to have pity on her and receives a place in the kitchen where she works. Because she gives no name, they call her, “All-Kinds-of-Fur.”

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Here the princess dances with the prince at the ball in one of her dresses. She will put an item in his soup.

When the king holds a ball, the princess sneaks out and goes in her golden dress. The next morning, a cook sets her to make soup for the king and she puts a golden ring in it. The king finds it and asks the cook and then All-Kinds-of-Fur, but she reveals nothing. The next ball, the princess dresses in her silver dress and puts the golden spindle in his soup, and again, the king couldn’t discover anything. The third ball, the princess goes in her star dress and the king slips a golden ring on her finger without her notice. He then orders the last dance go longer than usual. So the princess can’t get away in time to change. So she can only throw on her fur mantle before she has to cook the soup. When the king asks her, he catches her hand and sees the ring. When she tries pulling it away, her mantle slips, revealing her starry dress. The king pulls off the mantle, revealing her, and they marry.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Green Fairy Book.
Adaptations: Adapted into a novel by Robin McKinley called Deerskin. Retold by Janet Yolen and Chantal Godury.
Why Forgotten: Incest, obviously.
Trivia: Also, known as “All Kinds of Furs.”

156. The King Who Wished to Marry His Daughter
From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by John Francis Campbell in his Popular Tales of the West Highlands.
Best Known Version: The Campbell version, obviously.
Synopsis: A king loses his wife a long time ago and declares he won’t marry anyone who doesn’t fit her clothes. One day, his daughter tries on her mom’s dress and finds it fits. Her creepy dad declares he’d marry her. At her foster-mom’s advice, the princess puts him off with clothing demands: a swan’s down dress, a moorland canach dress, a silk dress with gold and silver that could stand on its own, a gold shoe, a silver shoe, and a chest that could lock inside and out, and travel over land and sea. When she gets the chest, the princess puts her clothing in it and gets in herself. She then asks her dad to put it to sea, so she could see how well it works. It carries her off to another shore.

There, a herder boy would’ve broken it open, but she gets him to get his dad instead. She stays with his dad for a time and goes into service at the king’s house, in the kitchen. The princess refuses to go to the sermon since she has to bake bread and sneaks off to go dressed in her swan down dress and the prince falls in love with her. She goes again in a moorland canach dress, and then in a gold and silver dress with the shoe. But the third time, the prince sets the guard. The princess escapes, leaving a shoe behind. When the prince tries it on the women, a bird sings that it’s not that one but the kitchen maid. Every woman fails, and the prince falls ill. His mom goes into the kitchen to talk and asks the princess to try it. She persuades her son and it fits. They marry and live happily ever after.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I think the title should make this story flagrantly obvious.
Trivia: N/A

157. The She-Bear
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Giambattista Basile in the Pentamerone. Think of it as a reverse Beauty and the Beast meets Game of Thrones. Except the girl turns into a beast on her own volition.
Best Known Version: The Basile version, naturally.
Synopsis: A dying queen requires her husband only if his new bride is as beautiful as she is. Because the king only has a daughter (which isn’t an ideal situation), soon after her death, he decides to remarry. After inspecting many women, the king realizes that his daughter Preziosa could only match her mom’s beauty. Like any young woman would do in her situation, Preziosa goes to her bedroom in despair. An old woman gives her a wood chip which would change her into a bear if she puts it in her mouth. When her dad summons councilors to ask if he could marry his daughter (answer: Hell, no, your royal creepestry!), she uses it. While in the woods, she meets a prince and approaches him. Her gentleness astounds him and he takes her home as a pet. One day, wishing to comb her hair, she pulls out the wood. The prince sees her and falls sick from love. In his raving, he speaks of the bear and his mom thinks she had hurt him. So she orders her killed. But taken with her gentleness, the servants take her back in the woods instead. Discovering this, the prince gets up long enough to catch the bear once more. But when his pleas to her don’t make her human again, he takes ill again. His mom asks what he needs and he has the bear brought to his room to act as a servant. She does all that’s necessary, only making the prince love her more and become sicker. He begs for a kiss and she does. The wood comes out of her mouth and he catches her. She begs him not to hurt her honor. He then marries her with his mom’s blessing.

Other Versions: Included in Ruth Manning-Sanders’ A Book of Princes and Princesses. But her version has the heroine flee a threatened marriage with a suitor who’s too old for her, not her dad.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Contains instances of incest and bestiality.
Trivia: N/A

158. Mossycoat

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The English fairy tale, Mossycoat is about a girl fleeing an unwanted suitor with her magic moss coat. She gets a job at a great house where she has to deal with a hostile work environment.

From: England
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Katherine M. Briggs and Ruth I. Tongue in Folktales of England.
Best Known Version: The Briggs and Tongue version, I suppose.
Synopsis: A hawker wants to marry a widow’s daughter, but she doesn’t want him. Spinning a coat for her, the widow tells her daughter to ask for a white satin with gold sprigs, which must fit her perfectly. The girl does so. 3 days later, the hawker brought it. At her mom’s instructions, the girl asks for a dress the color of all the birds in the air, that also must fit her perfectly. When he buys that, the girl asks for a pair of silver slippers that again, must perfectly fit her. Her mom then tells the suitor to come at ten the next day for her daughter’s answer. That morning, the girl’s mom gives her a coat she made out of moss and gold thread, and which would let her move somewhere else by wishing and also change herself into any form she’d like. She then sends her to the great hall to work. She tries getting a job as a cook. But since they have one. So the lady offers to hire her to help the cook as an undercook. The girl takes it but the servants can’t stand her. Since she’s so pretty and her getting such a position when she leaves the road. Instead, they make her clean dishes and hit her on the head with the skimmer.

A dance comes up, and the servants jeer the idea that the girl might go. Seeing how beautiful she is, the young master asks if she wants to go. But she says she’s too dirty, even when the master and mistress press her as well. That night, the girl magically puts all the servants asleep, washes, puts on her white satin dress, and uses the mossycoat to attend the ball. The young master falls in love with her, but she remarks how she comes from a place where people hit her over the head with a skimmer. When the ball’s over, she uses her mossycoat to go back. She next wakes up all the servants and hints she might have to tell her mistress about her sleeping, so they treat her better. When the story of the grand lady at the ball comes around, they go back to abusing her. Another ball comes, and the girl wears her other dress. The young master tries catching her, and perhaps touching her shoe. At any rate, it comes off. He makes every woman try putting on the shoe. When he learns that Mossycoat hasn’t yet, he sends for her, too. The shoe fits. The master and mistress turn off the servants for hitting her with a skimmer. While the young master and Mossycoat marry.

Other Versions: Also appears in Alan Garner’s A Book of British Fairy Tales.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Doesn’t portray poor people in a positive light at all.
Trivia: N/A

159. Tattercoats

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Tattercoats is an English fairy tale of a noble girl who dresses in rags and hangs out with a gooseherd. When they go to a ball, the geese go with them.

From: England
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Joseph Jacobs in his More English Fairy Tales.
Best Known Version: The Jacobs version, naturally.
Synopsis: A great lord has no living relatives except a little granddaughter. Because her mom died in childbirth, he swears he’ll never look at her. As a result, the granddaughter grows up quite neglected and is called, “Tattercoats” for her ragged clothing. She spends her days in the fields with only a gooseherd as her companion. One day, her grandpa is invited to a royal ball. He has his hair sheared off since it bounded him to a chair and prepares to go. Tattercoats’ old nurse begs him to take her, but he refuses. Her gooseherd friend proposes they go and watch. He plays the pipe and they merrily dance along the way. A richly dressed young man asks them for directions to the city. Hearing they were going there, he walks along with them and asks Tattercoats to marry him. She tells him to choose a bride at the king’s ball. He tells her to come as she is around midnight so he can dance with her.

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Tattercoats presents herself to the king as the prince’s bride. Obviously, the king is not pleased.

Tattercoats goes while the gooseherd goes with all his geese. Everyone stares but the finely dressed young prince rises up and tells his dad that this is the woman he wants to marry. The gooseherd plays his pipe and transforms all of Tattercoats’ rags into shining robes, and the geese into pages holding her train. Everyone approves and the prince marries her. The gooseherd disappears and is never seen again. Tattercoats’ grandfather, because he vowed never to look at her, goes back to his castle and is still mourning there.

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

160. The Princess That Wore a Rabbit Skin Dress
From: United States
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Marie Campbell in her Tales in the Cloud Walking Country. Informant was Uncle Tom Dixon from Kentucky.
Best Known Version: The Campbell version, naturally.
Synopsis: The king dies after his wife gives birth to a baby girl. The queen remarries, but the guy also dies. She marries a third time. But this husband is so cruel that she gets sick and dies. The last husband wants to marry her daughter, which she obviously doesn’t. The girl’s mare tells her to ask her stepdad for a silver dress, with some help from fairies. This takes a year and a half. She then asks for a golden dress, which takes 2 ½ years and a diamond and pearl dress, which takes 3 ½ years. The mare then gives her a rabbit skin dress and the princess rides off on her. Some hunters, including a prince, find her and take her to the castle, giving her a kitchen job. Her co-workers are rude, saying she only needs only the ears to be a rabbit. One day, the mare tells the princess that the prince’s going to a party. The mare carries her there and gives her a nut holding the silver dress. The next day, the princess goes in the gold dress. The third day, she dons the diamond and pearl dress, and the prince gives her a golden ring. The princess wears the ring after taking off the dress. The prince recognizes and marries her.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: A creepy and abusive stepdad wants to marry his stepdaughter.
Trivia: N/A