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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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

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

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