A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 20- King Fortunatus’ Golden Wig to The Godfather


In many fairy tales, the heroes often have certain magical items to aid them on their endeavors. They may be made from silver or gold. Or they may carry some magic enchantment that makes it do a mundane task on its own. Though these trinkets can also be exchanged for a night with your princely sweetheart. Anyway, in this installment, I bring you 10 more forgotten fairy tales. First is a French tale about a king’s golden wig followed by a Finnish story about some magician’s gifts and a Chinese yarn of 2 half-sisters who don’t get along. Second, we have a Serbian tale of a dragon and a prince along with Scottish stories depicting a Red Ettin, a sea maiden, and a young king. Third, we have an Irish story of 3 princesses followed by a Portuguese story of picking flowers, and a Grimm story of a highly unusual godfather.

191. King Fortunatus’ Golden Wig


The French fairy tale, King Fortunatus’ Golden Wig revolves around a young man who finds this king’s golden wig. He wears it to Mardi Gras and ends up in the king’s service.

From: France
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Colonel A. Troude and G. Milin in Le Conteur breton ou Contes bretons.
Best Known Version: The Troude and Milin version, naturally.
Synopsis: A couple has no children. The husband goes to a wise man, who offers him his choice apple from a tree. He picks a white one and eats it. The wise man tells him he’ll have a son within a year, but when he’s 15, he’d leave and take nothing. At that time, the man should tell the boy to take what he finds in a ruined hut at the path’s end. When the boy, Jean, is 15, like the wiseman said, his dad tells him just that. Jean find a bridled and saddled horse and rides off on it. Against the horse’s advice, Jean looks to see what quarreling the crows dropped. When he finds it’s King Fortunatus’ golden wig, he takes it to Mardi Gras, despite the horse warning him against it. It takes him to the king and stays in the forest inside a branch hut. While Jean goes to work for the king as a stable boy. The horses he cares for do so much better than others’ horses that he rouses their envy. Since he finds the wig glows, he uses that instead of candles.

When Mardi Gras comes, Jean wears the wig. The king takes him for a prince. But Jean admits to being a stable boy so the king takes the wig. The other stable boys tell the king that Jean said he could marry King Fortunatus’ daughter. The king demands Jean bring her. Jean goes to his horse in the forest. It tells him to get 3 ships carrying beef, millet, and oats. They sail up a river. First, they come across the land of lions where they throw out the beef. The grateful lion king gives him a hair to call on the lions. Second, they stumble upon the land of ants, where they throw out the millet. The grateful ant king gives Jean one of his hind legs. Third, they come to the land of geese where they throw out the oats and the geese king gives Jean a feather. They arrive at King Fortunatus’ lands. On hearing the mission, he sends them to rest before their tasks. But in the morning, the king sets Jean to sort all kinds of grain heaped together in a granary, in one day. Jean rests all day and summons the ants to do it, which they do so quickly that one ant has nothing to do. The next day, the king gives Jean a shell to empty a pool and sort out fish into large and small in 2 basins. Jean rests again and summons the geese who empty it. The king has Jean chop down the forest but he summons the lions who do it. The king agrees to let Jean take his daughter but she warns him that she’ll also set tasks. The princess then farewells to her castle and throws the keys in the sea. When they return, the princess demands her castle be brought. The horse has them return to the near the woman’s castle and have the lions summoned. These kill the lions guarding the castle and attach it to her ship. The princess then demands the keys to it. The horse has Jean set sail and fire the cannon. The fish king comes up complaining about the noise and Jean agrees to stop for the keys. When the princess gets the keys, she demands Jean be burned. Jean goes to the horse. It has him curry it and collect all the dust. Then Jean has to add water to it, dig a hole by the pole, and wash himself and the shirt he’s to be burned in with the water. When he does all this, the fire burns quickly, and Jean jumps out, alive and even more handsome. The princess says she’d be happy to marry the king if he’s as handsome as Jean. The king has himself burned and dies. The princess then says that Jean had done all the work and she marries him instead.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: A guy gets burned up, which is a very horrible way to die.
Trivia: N/A

192. The Gifts of the Magician


The Gifts of the Magician is a Finnish fairy tale of a guy who saves a magician from wolves. In return the magician bestows him with some gifts.

From: Finland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang for his The Crimson Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, obviously.
Synopsis: A widower forbids his son from shooting some birds. One day, he does so and chases after the bird he wounded until he gets lost in the forest. When night falls, he sees wolves chasing a magician. He shoots the largest wolf, which drives away all the rest. The magician gives the young man shelter during the night. But he can’t be woken the next morning. The magician goes out to hunt. The boy wakes up and talks to the magician’s maid who suggests he ask for the horse in the third stall as a reward. When he does, the magician tries persuading him otherwise but finally gives it to him along with zither, a fiddle, and a flute, telling him to play each one in turn when he’s in danger. The horse warns the boy not to go back to his dad, since he’ll just beat him. He rides the horse on to the king’s city where everyone admires the horse. The horse tells the boy to stable it with the royal horses so they’d grow as beautiful as it. This works but it only makes the old groom envy the boy more. He tells the king that boy claimed he could find the king’s old war-charger, which had been lost in the woods. The king orders the boy to find it in 3 days. The horse tells him to demand 100 dead oxen, cut to pieces, and they ride off. At the horse’s instructions, the boy bridles the third horse that comes to them, and then distracts the magician’s raven by throwing the meat behind them. The groom claims the boy can restore the king’s missing wife. The horse tells him to ride it to the river, where it would dive in and assume her true form, she’s the queen. This pleases the king. But the groom tells him that the boy’s threatening to take the throne and the King Moron sentences him to be hanged. The boy plays the zither and the hangmen dance all day. The next day, everyone comes to see the hanging. The boy plays the fiddle and turns the occasion into a dance party. The third day, the king wants to refuse letting the boy play the flute but the crowd persuades him. The king insists being tied to a tree first but he still dances until his back is raw and the magician appears. He destroys the gallows and kills the king. The people choose the boy as their new king and the old groom drowns himself, since the kid might’ve been poor all his life if it wasn’t for his interference.


Whatever task the king sends the young man, he completes them with the gifts the magician gave him. Finally, the magician shows up and kills the king.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features suicide.
Trivia: N/A
193. Beauty and Pock Face


Beauty and Pock Face is a Chinese fairy tale about 2 half-sisters who hate each other. When Beauty marries a scholar, the real trouble begins.

From: China
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Wolfram Eberhard in Chinese Fairy Tales and Folk Tales.
Best Known Version: The Eberhard version, naturally.
Synopsis: A man marries 2 wives and each bears a baby girl. The first wife’s child is beautiful and thus, called Beauty. But her half-sister who’s a year younger than her and the second wife’s daughter has a pocked face and is thus called Pock Face. The wicked stepmother is jealous of her pretty stepdaughter so she abuses Beauty and makes her do all the chores in the house. Beauty’s mom dies in childbirth and returns as a yellow cow who does all the work for her. Until the stepmother finds out and has the cow killed. Beauty collects the bones and puts them in a pot. One day, there’s a festival in town. The stepmother clothes Pock but refuses to take the poor Beauty along with her. Out of rage, Beauty breaks everything in the house, including the pot. But when she does that, a horse, a dress, and a lovely pair of shoes come out. She dresses herself, rides the horse, and off she goes to the festival. She loses her lovely shoes in a ditch. Not wanting to get her clothes dirty, she asks 4 men to get the shoe. Each one agrees if she’d marry him. But she refuses a fishmonger for smelling of fish, a rich merchant for being covered in dust, and an oil trader for being greasy. But she consents with a wealthy scholar since he’s not smelly, dusty, or greasy, but just right.

3 days after the wedding, Beauty goes to pay respects to her parents. Pock Face lures her to a well, pushes her in, and sends word to the scholar that Beauty has caught smallpox. After a time, she goes herself and explains her looks by the illness. However, Beauty shapeshifts into a sparrow and comes to taunt Pock Face while she’s combing her hair. Pock Face taunts her back. The scholar hears Beauty and asks her to fly into a golden cage if she’s his wife. Pock Face kills the sparrow and buries it. Bamboo shoots up from the grave, which taste delicious to the scholar but give ulcers on Pock Face’s tongue. Pock Face cuts the bamboo down and has a bed made from it, which the scholar finds comfortable but pokes her with needles so she throws it out. An old woman takes it home and finds dinner cooked for her whenever she comes back. In time, she catches Beauty’s spirit at work. Beauty then has the old woman give her some magical ingredients: a bowl for her stomach, some chopsticks for her bones, and some juice for her blood. Thus, Beauty becomes flesh and blood again. Beauty gives the old woman a bag to sell by her husband’s mansion. When she does this, the scholar asks Beauty and brings her back home. Pock Face proposes tests to determine who’s the real wife. First, they walk on eggs. Beauty doesn’t break any. But Pock Face breaks them all but doesn’t admit it. Second, they climb a ladder of knives. Beauty doesn’t cut her feet. Pock Face does but she keeps that to herself. Finally, they jump into boiling oil. Beauty emerges alive but Pock Face dies. Beauty sends her body back to her stepmother, but she thinks it’s carp. When she sees her daughter, she falls down dead.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Involves death by boiling oil and cutting one’s feet with knives.
Trivia: N/A

194. The Dragon and the Prince


The Dragon and the Prince is a Serbian fairy tale about a prince who’s trying to kill a dragon. But it’s not as simple as they make it out to be on Game of Thrones.

From: Serbia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by A. H. Wratislaw in his Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Crimson Fairy Book.
Synopsis: An emperor has 3 sons. The oldest goes hunting and chases a hare. When it flees into a water mill, he follows. The same thing happens with the second. When the youngest goes out, he chases the hare but doesn’t go into the water mill. Instead, he searches for other game. When he returns to the mill, only an old lady sits there. She tells the prince of the dragon. He asks her to ask the dragon the secret behind its strength, and whenever it tells her, to kiss the spot it had mentioned. He leaves. When the dragon returns, the old woman asks it. When it tells her the fireplace, she begins kissing it. It laughs, saying it’s actually the tree in front of the house. When she begins kissing that, the dragon tells her of a distant empire with a lake, which holds a dragon, which holds a boar, which holds a pigeon, which holds its strength.


While trying to kill the first dragon at his home, the prince has to defeat another dragon in another empire so the other dragon can die. It’s quite confusing. But read on.

The prince sets out and finds the empire. He takes service as a shepherd with the emperor, who warns him to stay the hell away from the lake. Though sheep would go there if allowed. He sets out with the sheep, 2 hounds, a falcon, and a pair of bagpipes. He lets the sheep go to the lake at once. The prince challenges the dragon and it comes out of the lake. They fight. The dragon asks to let its face in the lake. He refuses, saying if the emperor’s daughter was there to kiss him, he’d toss it into the air. The dragon breaks off from the fight. The next day, the same happens, but the emperor sends 2 grooms to follow him and they report what had happened. The third day, the emperor sends his daughter to the lake with directions to kiss the prince when he says that. The fight as before. But the princess kisses him. The prince throws the dragon into the air, bursting when hitting the ground. A boar bursts out of it but the prince catches it with dogs. A pigeon bursts out of it, but he catches it with the falcon. The pigeon then tells him that behind the water mill, 3 wands grow. And if he cuts them and strikes their root, he’d find a prison filled with people. The prince then wrings the pigeon’s neck. The emperor marries him to his daughter. After the wedding reception, they go back and free all the prisoners. The prince then goes back to the water mill, finds the roots, and strikes them so hard his hands turn red. So when he goes back to the kingdom, he finds no one. The prince looks everywhere and then go to the prison, where he finds everyone there. He cries and goes back home telling his dad what happened. The next day, he, his dad, and his brothers, dig graves for everyone found there.

Other Versions: Included in Ruth Manning-Sanders’ A Book of Princes and Princesses.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Has a rather bittersweet ending involving defeating the dragon but burying the dead.
Trivia: N/A

195. The Red Ettin


The Scottish Red Ettin is about a young man who’s on a quest to save his brothers and a princess from a hideous monster. But he’ll have to face plenty before he goes against this guy.

From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Joseph Jacobs.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Blue Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A widow has 3 sons. One day, she tells the oldest to fetch water for a cake. Since it’s time for him to seek his fortune, and a cake is all she could give him. Since the can’s broken, he brings back little water so the cake is small. So his mom offers him all of it with her curse, or half of it with her blessing. The son takes the whole and leaves behind the knife, saying that if the blade grows rusty, he’s dead. He meets a shepherd, a swineherd, and a goatherd, each of them telling him the Red Ettin of Ireland had kidnapped the king of Scotland’s daughter, but he’s not the guy to rescue her. The shepherd also tells him to be wary of the beasts he’ll meet next, which have 2 heads with 4 horns on each head. The man flees them and hides in a castle. An old woman tells him it’s the Red Ettin’s castle, which has 3 heads and he should leave. But the oldest son begs her to hide him as best she could, for fear of beasts.


The Red Ettin is a giant 3 headed monster who speaks in riddles. Answer wrong and you’ll be turned to stone.

The Red Ettin returns, soon finds him, and asks him 3 riddles. When the young man can’t answer any of them, the Ettin turns him into stone. At home, his knife gets rusty. The second goes after the elder and meets the same fate. The youngest son sets out after them. First, a raven calls over his head to look out as he brings water. So he patches up the holes and brings back enough water for a large cake. He then leaves with half the cake and his mom’s blessing. He meets an old woman asking for a piece of his cake, which he gives to her. Being a fairy, she gives him a magic wand and a great deal of advice on what to do before vanishing. The shepherd, swineherd, and goatherd tell him of the Red Ettin and the king of Scotland’s daughter and proclaim him as the man who’ll defeat him. The youngest boldly walks through the beasts to the castle, striking one dead with a wand, and staying there. The Red Etting asks him his riddle, but the man answers and cuts off his 3 heads. He restores the stone and frees the women the Red Ettin held prisoner, and the king marries him to his daughter.


The hero boldly walks into the castle, strikes the beasts, answers the riddle, and slays the Red Ettin. He then saves the princess and marries her.

Other Versions: Some versions have 2 widows sharing a hut. One has 2 sons. The other has one.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

196. The Sea Maiden


The Sea Maiden is a Scottish fairy tale of a fisherman’s son whose promised to the water entity who saved his dad’s life. Though he marries princess the sea maiden still causes trouble.

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 mermaid offers a fisherman much fish in exchange for his son. But the fisherman claims he has none. She offers him grains: 3 for his wife, 3 for a mare, 3 for a dog, 3 to plant in the yard. Then there would be 3 sons, 3 foals, 3 puppies, and 3 trees. Then the mermaid should have one son when he’s 3. Though she lets the fisherman put it off until his firstborn is 20. By that time, the dad grows troubled. The oldest son worms the problem out of him and tells him to get a good sword. He sets out on horseback with a dog and comes across a dog, a falcon, and an otter fighting over a sheep carcass. The young man splits it up for him if they tag along and aid him.


While working as a royal cowherd, the young man fights off giants and monsters. Luckily, his animal friends are there to help.

The young man takes service with the king as a cowherd with pay according to the milk. Nearby, the grass is poor and so is the milk and his wages. Yet, he finds a green valley so he pastures the cows there. However, a giant challenges him for grazing in his valley so the young man kills him. Taking none of the treasure, he takes back the cows, which give good milk. The next day, he takes the cows further and has the fight another giant with the dog’s help. The third day after that, he takes them still further and meets a hag trying to trick him, but he kills her with the dog’s help. When the young man gets back, everyone’s crying. A 3-headed monster lives in the loch and gets someone every year.


Every year, a 3-headed monster at the loch takes a hostage to devour. This year it’s the princess.

This year the lot falls to the king’s daughter. The general promises to rescue her. The king promises to marry him to the princess if he does. The son goes to see. When the monster appears, the general runs off. The princess sees a doughty man appear on a black horse with a black dog. He fights the creature and chops off one head, drawing a sword through it. He gives it to the princess who gives him a ring. He goes back to his cows. The general threatens to kill the princess if she doesn’t say that he did it. The next day, the princess has to go back since there are 2 heads left. The son returns and sleeps, telling her to rouse him when the creature comes. She does putting her earring on his ear as he said. They fight and he cuts off the second head. The same thing happens the third time, and the creature dies.

The king sends for a priest to marry his daughter to the general. The princess says that the general must first take the heads from the withy. He can’t. But the cowherd does. The princess says the actual killer has her ring and earrings. He produces them. Displeased, the king orders him dressed in better clothes. The princess says he has good clothes and he dresses in the gold clothes from the giant’s castle to marry her. One day, they walk by the loch where the sea-maiden takes the prince. An old smith advises the princess to wear her jewelry and offer it to the sea-maiden for the prince. A soothsayer advises her to play music and not stop until the sea maiden gives her a sight of the prince, letting the prince call on a falcon and escape. But the princess gets captured.

The same person who advised the princess tells the prince of a white deer on an island. If caught, a hoodie crow would jump on it. Catch that a trout will spring from it. But there’s an egg in the trout’s mouth, which if broken, the sea maiden would die. The sea maiden sinks any boat within the island’s vicinity. But the prince’s horse and dog jump to it. The dog chases the deer. The prince calls on the dog from the sheep carcass and catches the deer with its aid. The hoodie springs out, and with the falcon from the sheep carcass’ aid, he catches it. The trout springs out and with the otter from the sheep carcass’ aid, he catches it. The sea maiden tells him she’ll do what he asks if he spares her. The prince demands his wife. When the sea maiden gives her back, he squeezes the egg and kills her.

Other Versions: Included in Joseph Jacobs’ Celtic Fairy Tales. In his version, the mermaid tells the fisherman that he’ll have a son and she’ll take him when he turns 20. Also, an old smith advises the princess to wear her jewelry and offer it to the sea-maiden for the prince, which she agrees to.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

197. The Three Daughters of King O’Hara
From: Ireland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Jeremiah Curtain in his Myths and Folk-lore of Ireland.
Best Known Version: The Curtain version, of course.
Synopsis: A king has 3 daughters. When he’s away one day, the oldest wishes to marry. She gets his cloak of darkness and wishes for the handsomest man in the world. He arrives in a golden coach with 4 horses to take her away. The second sister wishes for the next best man and he arrives in the same getup to take her away. Then the youngest wishes for the best white dog and it arrives in the same getup to take her away. The king returns and blows a fuse when his servants tell him of the dog. The older two’s husbands ask their wives how they want them during the day: as they are during the day or during the night. Both want them as they are during the day. So their husbands are both men during the day and seals during the night. The youngest’s husband also asks and receives the same answer so he’s a dog during the day and a handsome man at night.

The youngest princess gives birth to a son. Before going hunting, her husband warns her not to weep if anything happens to their kid. A gray crow takes the baby when he’s a week old but she doesn’t cry. It happens again with the second son. But with their third child, a daughter, she drops a tear she catches in a handkerchief. Her husband’s pissed. Soon after, the king invites his daughters and their husbands to his home. Late at night, the queen goes to look in their bedrooms and sees that her two older daughters have seals in their beds, but her youngest has a man. She finds and burns the dog’s skin. The husband angrily jumps up, saying that if he could stay 3 nights under his father-in-law’s roof, he could be a man 24/7. But now he has to leave her.

He sets out, but the princess chases after him, never letting him out of her sight. They come to a house, he sends her to spend the night inside. A little boy there calls her mother and a woman there gives her a pair of scissors that could turn rags into cloth and gold. The next day, the princess chases after her husband again. They come to another house where another little boy calls her mother and a woman gives her a comb that would turn a diseased head healthy, and give it golden hair. The third day, the princess still chases after her husband, and the third house holds a one-eyed little girl. The princess takes her handkerchief where she caught the tear and puts the eye back. The woman gives her a whistle that would summon all the birds in the world.

They go on, but the princess’ husband explains that the Queen of Tír na nÓg had cursed him. So now he has to go and marry her. She follows him into the lower kingdom and stays with a washerwoman, helping her. The princess sees a henwife’s daughter all in rags, and snips her rags with scissors so she wears cloth and gold. Her mom tells the queen who demands them. The princess asks for a night with her husband in return. The queen agrees but drugs the guy. The next day, the princess cures another henwife daughter with a comb, and the same exchange is made for it. The princess then blows the whistle summoning the birds who tell her that only her husband can kill the queen. Because a holly tree holds a wether, the wether holds a duck, the duck holds an egg, and the egg holds the queen’s heart and life. And only the princess’ husband can cut down the holly tree. The princess blows the whistle again, attracting a hawk and fox and catches them. She trades the whistle for another night with her husband, but leaves a letter with his servants, telling them all. Her husband reads the letter and meets her by the tree, which he cuts down. The wether escapes but the fox catches it. The duck escapes but the hawk catches it. The egg is crushed, killing the queen. The princess and her husband live happily in of Tír na nÓg.

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

198. The Young King of Easaidh Rudh


The Young King of Easaidh Rudh is a Scottish fairy tale about a young king who’s trying to win a game with some kind of entity. Then his wife gets kidnapped by a giant living in a cave.

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 young king of Easaidh Ruadh decides to amuse himself by playing a game with the Gruagach. But first, he seeks advice from a Seanagal, but doesn’t take his advice and not go. But the Seanagal tells the king to ask for a prize if he wins: the cropped rough-skinned maid behind the door. He goes and wins the game. When he wouldn’t be put off from his prize, they give him the maid who turns into a beautiful woman. He marries her. When the king goes to play again, his wife warns him that the Gruagach is her dad and that he should take only the dun shaggy filly with the stick saddle on her. He wins and gets the filly. He goes to play a third time, but this time, he loses. The Gruagach sets the stakes that he must get the Glaive of Light of the oak windows king or lose his head. He goes back to his wife who tells him he has the best queen and the second best horse so he needn’t fear. She saddles the horse herself. Though the saddle resembles wood, it’s full of gold and silver sparklings. She then tells her husband to listen to his horse.

The horse bores the king through the castle of the oak windows king and sends him to the guy’s chambers while the king eats, warning him to take it softly. The young king makes a soft sound and the horse tells him they must flee. A swarm of brown horses chase them, which they outrun, followed by a swarm of black horses including a white-faced one with a rider. The king’s horse tells him that the horse is her brother and the first best horse and faster. So he must cut off the head of his rider, the king. He does and his horse has him ride the black horse home. The king then brings the sword to the Gruagach, and as his wife warned him to do, stabs him to death in a mole. The young king comes home to find a giant had stolen his wife and the 2 horses. He sets out and meets a cu seang, a wild dog. They greet each other and the dog gives him meat. Having no way to get his wife and horses back, the king thinks about going home. But the dog encourages him and sends him on, promising aid. The next nights he meets a falcon and an otter who do the same. He then finds a cave where his wife and horses are. She cries, complaining he had journeyed hard to find her. The horses tell her to hide him before them all.

The giant returns and the queen persuades him that nobody had come. He goes to feed the horses but they won’t let him come near. He says if he had his soul in his body, they would’ve killed him. She asks where it is, he tells her in the Bonnach stone near the edge. When the giant leaves the next day, the queen pushes it so it’s steady on the ledge and tells him she’s afraid it would be hurt. He says his soul is in the threshold. She cleans it. And he tells her the soul’s under the threshold and a sheep under it. The sheep holds a duck, the duck holds an egg, and the egg holds his soul. The king and queen move the threshold and the stone. The sheep escapes. The king calls on the dog to catch it. The duck escapes. The king calls on the falcon to catch it. The egg rolls into the river and the king calls on the otter to retrieve it. The queen crushes it, killing the giant. They go home with the giant’s gold and silver, visiting the animal helpers along the way.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Lilac Fairy Book as “The King of the Waterfalls.”
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: This one is filled with a lot of Scottish terms that many won’t understand without footnotes.
Trivia: N/A

199. What Came of Picking Flowers


What Came of Picking Flowers begins when 3 sisters are kidnapped after picking a flower. Leaving their little brother to go after them.

From: Portugal
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Grey Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, obviously.
Synopsis: A woman has 3 daughters. One day, one picks a pink carnation and vanishes. The next day, the second, searching for her sister, picks a rose and disappears. The third day, the third picks some jessamine and goes missing. The woman cries over this for so long that her son who’s just a boy when his sisters disappear, grows up to be a man. He asks what happened. His mom tells him of his older sisters. He asks for her blessing and sets out to find them. On the way, the young man finds 3 big boys fighting over an inheritance: boots that let the wearer wish oneself anywhere, a key that could open every lock, and an invisibility cap. The son says he’ll throw a stone and whoever gets it first will get all 3. He throws it and steals the things, wishing himself where his oldest sister is. He finds himself in front of a strong mountain castle. His key unlocks all the doors, finding his sister richly dressed and having only one unhappiness: her husband’s under a curse until a man who can’t die bites the dust. Her husband returns, the son puts on his cap, and a bird flies in and becomes a man. He’s angry that his wife’s hiding someone from him, but the son takes off his cap, and the resemblance convinces him that they’re brother and sister. He gives his brother-in-law a feather that would let him call on him, the King of the Birds. The next day, he sees his second sister whose only trouble is the spell keeping her husband half a day as a fish. Her husband, King of Fish, gives him a scale to call him.


The first two sisters’ husbands turn into the animals they rule but they’re okay. The third sister’s is a different story, however.

The third day, the son sees his youngest sister, who had been carried off by a monster, weeps and thin from its cruelty because she doesn’t want to marry it. Her brother asks her to say she would marry it if it tells her how it could die. When she does, it tells her an iron casket at the seafloor contains a white dove and the dove’s egg dashed against its head would kill it. The brother has the fish king bring the box, using the key to open it. He then has the bird king bring him the dove after it flies off and carry off the egg. The youngest sister asks the monster to lay its head upon her lap. Her brother smashes the egg on its head and it does. His 2 brothers-in-law resume their shape and they send for their mother-in-law. The monster’s treasure makes the youngest sister rich for the rest of her life.


The young man and his brothers-in-law join forces to save the third sister. They give him tokens where he can summon their subjects.

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

200. The Godfather


The Godfather is a Grimm fairy tale about a poor man trying to find a godparent for his new baby. Yet, the man who becomes the godfather is a quite unusual guy.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A poor man has so many kids that by the time he has another, he finds he’s already asked everyone in the world to be godparents for his previous children. Befuddled at how he’s supposed to find anyone to act as a godparent for his newly-born child, he withdraws in his room for the night. While fast asleep, the poor man has a dream telling him to leave his house and ask the first person he meets to be the kid’s godparent. As soon as he wakes up, he proceeds to do this. The man he meets and makes godparent of his newly born child hands the poor man a small bottle containing water that the man claims the poor guy can use to heal the sick, so long as the sickness stems from the head and not the feet. The poor man subsequently becomes both well-known and wealthy, thanks to the magic water. He has a certain bout with treating a king’s child, where he’s able to use the magic water on 2 successive occasions. But he can’t do so on the third occasion, thus, announcing to the king that his child will die.

Not too long after the king’s child dies, the man decides to visit the Godfather so as to tell him his efforts with the magic water. However, when he arrives at the Godfather’s house, everything there is in disarray. On the first stair, a brush and dustpan fight with each other. On the second stair, many fingers lie. On the third stair is a stack of bowls. On the fourth stair are fish cooking themselves. On the fifth stair is the Godfather’s room. When the man looks through the keyhole on the door to the Godfather, he sees the guy donning very long horns. As soon as the man opens the door, the Godfather retreats to his bed and cloaks himself. The man asks the Godfather about what the hell’s going on in his house. The Godfather brushes this off and counter-claims that the man’s seeing things. However, once the man brings up the self-cooking fish, the fish come in presenting themselves on a plate to the Godfather. Finally, the man brings up how when peeking through the keyhole in the door to his room, he sees the Godfather with long horns. At this, the Godfather bellows he’s lying. Frightened by this, the man bolts from the house.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: When we hear the title, we’re more likely to imagine Italian American mobsters and family betrayal. Also, the plot’s pretty sad and creepy.
Trivia: N/A

A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 19- The King of Love to The Mermaid and the Boy


When it comes to fairy tales, we often have more positive perceptions of fairies and mermaids. Since we tend to see them akin to Tinkerbell and Ariel in Disney movies. But there’s much more to them than what’s commonly depicted. While fairies can be rather benevolent, they can also be tricksters and fiends. You may think mermaids are benevolent fish women with beautiful singing voices who save stranded sailors. But they can also demand the men they save a child from them or drown people. Anyway, in this installment, I give you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, are Italian tales pertaining to a king of love, a Yoda-like hermit, and a servant who goes on increasingly dangerous and impossible tasks. Second, is a Greek story of a princess who creates her own dream guy. Third, we find a Spanish tale revolving around a sprig of rosemary. After that, we come to a Norwegian story of a white bear king followed by 2 tales of a water nixie and 2 servants of the king with the same name but very different personalities. Then, there’s an Armenian story of a golden headed fish before we go to a Sami yarn of a boy and a mermaid.

181. The King of Love
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Thomas Frederick Crane in his Italian Popular Tales.
Best Known Version: The Crane version, naturally.
Synopsis: A man takes his youngest daughter Rosella with him and she pulls a radish. A Turk appears, saying she must come to his master and be punished. He brings them underground. A green bird appears, washes in milk, and becomes a man. The Turk tells what happened. The dad says there’s no sign the radish belongs to him. The man marries Rosella and gives her dad a sack of gold. One day, when the man’s away, her sisters visit her. She tells them that her husband had forbidden her to ask who he is, but they persuade her to ask his name. He tells her he’s the King of Love and vanishes. Rosella wanders in search of him. She calls for him and an ogress appears, demanding to know why she called on her nephew. The ogress takes pity on her and lets her stay the night, telling her she’s one of 7 sister ogresses, and her mother-in-law’s the worst. Each day, Rosella meets another. On the seventh day, the King of Love’s sister tells Rosella to climb her hair into her house while their mom’s out. Then she and her sisters tell Rosella to seize their mom and pinch her until the ogress cries out to be left alone in her son’s name.

Rosella does this and the ogress wants to eat her. But the ogress’ daughters stop her. She then insists that Rosella carry a letter for her. In the wilderness, Rosella calls out for the King of Love again. He warns her to flatter things along the way: to drink from and praise 2 rivers, to eat and praise fruit from an orchard, to feed 2 dogs, to sweep a hall, and to polish a kite, razor, and scissors. Then she has to deliver the letter, seize a box from a table, and run. When she does this, the ogress calls after her for things to destroy her, but they refuse because of her kindness. Curious, she opens a box, musical instruments escape, and she has to call her husband again to get them back. The ogress wants to eat Rosella again but her daughters once again stop her. She orders her to fill a mattress from feathers of all the birds in the air. The King of Love gets the King of Birds to have the birds fill it. Then the ogress marries her son off to the King of Portugal’s daughter and has Rosella hold torches for the bridal chamber. But the king gets his bride to switch places with Rosella while the ground opens up and swallows the bride. The ogress declares that Rosella’s child won’t be born until she unclasps her hands. The King of Love has his body laid out as if he’s dead, and his sisters lament him. The ogress unclasps her hands, demanding to how he had died. Rosella’s son is born, enraging the ogress so much that she dies.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: A woman falls through the ground for no reason other than being a false bride.
Trivia: N/A

182. Master Semolina
From: Greece
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Irene Naumann-Mavrogordato in Es war einmal: Neugriechische Volksmärchen as “Mr Simigdáli.”
Best Known Version: The Georgios A. Megas version in Folktales of Greece.
Synopsis: A princess refuses all suitors. She then takes almonds, sugar, and groats (or semolina) and makes a figure of a man from them. She next prays for 40 days and God brings the figure to life. She calls him Mr. Simigdali (Mr. Groats or Master Semolina) and is very handsome. An evil queen hears of him and sends a golden ship to kidnap him. Everyone comes out to see it and the sailors capture Mr. Simigdali. The princess learns of how he’s been carried off, has 3 pairs of iron shoes made for herself, and sets out. She comes to the Moon’s mom who has her waiting until the Moon comes. But the Moon couldn’t say where Mr. Simigdali’s been taken to. After giving her an almond, he sends her to the Sun. The Sun and his mom give her a walnut and send her to the Stars. One star has seen him while they and their mom give her a hazelnut. She goes onto a castle where Mr. Simigdali is taken prisoner. Resembling a beggar, he doesn’t recognize the princess. So she begs a place with the geese.

The princess breaks the almond holding a golden spindle, reel, and wheel. The servants tell the queen who asks what she wants for her items. The princess opts to trade only for Mr. Simigdali to come to spend the night with her. The queen agrees but gives Mr. Simigdali a sleeping potion so the princess can’t wake him. The walnut contains a golden hen and chicks, and she tries but fails again. The hazelnut contains golden carnations. But that day, a tailor asks how Mr. Simigdali can sleep with the princess’ talk. Mr. Simigdali readies his horse and doesn’t drink the potion. When the princess starts talking to him, he rises and takes her with him on his horse. The next morning, the queen sends for Mr. Simigdali but he’s not there. She tries making her own man, but when the figure is done, she curses instead of praying. The princess and Mr. Simigdali return home and live happily.

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

183. The Sprig of Rosemary


The Sprig of Rosemary is a Spanish fairy tale of a girl who marries a great lord only to destroy his castle after a mishap. She then goes searching for him.

From: Spain
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Dr. D. Francisco de S. Maspons y Labros in Cuentos Populars Catalans.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in The Pink Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A man makes his only daughter work very hard. One day after work, he sends her to collect firewood, which she does. While searching for the wood, she picks herself a sprig of rosemary as well. A handsome young man appears asking why she’s come to steal his firewood. She replies her dad sent her. The young man leads the girl to a castle, telling her he’s a great lord and wants to marry her. She agrees. They marry. While living there, the new wife meets an old woman looking after the castle. She gives the lady the keys, but warns if she uses one, the castle will fall to pieces. After a time, curiosity overcomes the new great lady and she opens a door, finding a snakeskin. Her husband, a magician, uses it to change shape. But because she used the keys, the castle collapses. The girl cries, breaks off a sprig of rosemary, and goes looking for him.

The great lady finds a straw house where the residents take her in service. However, she grows sadder by the day. When her mistress asks why, the daughter tells her story. Her mistress sends her to the Sun, Moon, and Wind to ask for help. The Sun can’t help her but gives her a nut and sends her to the Moon. The Moon can’t help her either but gives her an almond before sending her to the Wind. The Wind doesn’t know where her husband is but says he’ll look. He learns the guy’s hidden in a king’s palace and is to marry the princess the next day. The daughter implores the king to put it off if he can. After giving her a walnut, the Wind blows on the tailors sewing for the wedding dress and destroys their work. The daughter arrives and cracks the nut, finding a fine mantle. She sells it to the princess with a great gold sum. The almond holds petticoats, which she also sells. While the walnut holds a gown, and for this she demands to see the bridegroom. The princess finally agrees. When the daughter goes in, she touches him with a rosemary sprig, bringing his memory back. And they go back to her home.

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

184. The White-Bear King Valemon


In the Norwegian tale The White Bear King of Valemon, a princess’ obsession with a wreath leads her into an arranged marriage with a big white bear. But when she tries to see who he is in human form, he rushes off.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jorgen Moe in their Norske Folke-Eventyr. Ny Samling.
Best Known Version: The one collected by artist Arthur Schneider in 1870.
Synopsis: A king has 3 daughters. The older two are ugly and mean, while the youngest is pretty and gentle. One night, she dreams of a golden wreath. Her dad sends goldsmiths to make it, none of them match her dream. The princess then sees a white bear in the woods and it has the wreath. But he won’t give it to her unless she go away with him, giving her 3 days to prepare for the trip. However, the princess doesn’t care as long as she got the wreath. While her dad’s glad of her happiness and thinks he could keep the bear. But when it arrives, it attacks and defeats the king’s army, unscathed. The king sends out his oldest daughter. The bear takes her on its back and rushes off with her. But asks if she had ever sat on anything softer or seen clearer. She says she had on her mom’s lap, and at her dad’s court. So the white bear brings her back to the castle.


When the bear runs off, the princess seizes his fur and climbs on his back. But she gets tired and falls off.

The bear comes again the next Thursday. The king tries his second daughter, she also fails. The third Thursday, the king sends his youngest daughter. And she has never sat on a softer or seen clear. So it takes her to the castle. Every night, it turns into a man and comes to her bed in the dark. Every year, the princess has a child. But as soon as the baby is born, the bear rushes away with it. At the end of 3 years, she asks to visit her parents. There, her mom gives her a candle so she could see him. At night, she lights it and looks at him. But a drop of tallow falls on his forehead, waking him. He tells her that if she waited another month, he would’ve been free of an evil witch queen’s spell. But now he must go to the witch’s realm and become her husband. He rushes off. But the princess seizes his fur and rides him, though the branches batter her, until she’s so tired that she falls off. She searches the forest until she comes across a cottage where an old woman and her little girl dwell. The old woman tells her that the bear went by. The little girl has scissors that, whenever she cuts in the air, silk and velvet appear. But she says the woman needs more of it and gives them to her. The princess goes to another hut with another old woman and little girl. This time, the little girl gives her a flask that pours whatever one wishes and never empties. The princess next goes to a third hut with an old woman and little girl who gives her a cloth that could conjure up food. The fourth night, the princess comes to a hut where an old woman has many kids who have no food or clothes. After the princess feeds and clothes them. The old woman has her smith husband make her iron claws so she could climb the mountainside to the witch’s country.

The princess reaches the witch’s castle. She starts clipping out cloth. The witch offers to trade for the scissors. The princess insists on a night with her sweetheart. The witch agrees but drugs him so she can’t wake him. The next day, she bribes her way in with a flask. Again the witch drugs him, but a next door artisan hears her and tells the king. The third day, she bribes her way in with the cloth. The king doesn’t take the drink so they can talk, coming up with an idea to kill the witch. So the day arrives when the king’s set to marry the witch. Not surprisingly, more witches gather for the occasion. But the king has his carpenters put a trapdoor in a bridge over a deep chasm where the wedding procession would ride, and have it opened so that the witch-bride and her witch-bridesmaids all fall through it. They then take the treasures from the witch’s castle and return to his homeland for the real wedding. On the way, the princess takes the little girls, learning they’re her own daughters whom the king had taken so they can aid her in her quest.

Other Versions: Has a translation by George Webbe Dasent in his Tales from the Fjeld.
Adaptations: Adapted into a Norwegian film called The Polar Bear King.
Why Forgotten: Abducting your daughters so you can help your wife in her later quest doesn’t necessarily seem okay.
Trivia: N/A

185. The Water Nixie


The Water Nixie is a Grimm fairy tale of 2 kids who fall into a well only to have a nixie on their tail. The rest of it just has them trying to get away from the sea being.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A brother and sister fall into a well, where a nixie catches them and makes them work for her. While she’s at church one Sunday, they run away. The nixie chases them. The girl throws a bush, which becomes a mountain with thousands of spikes. But the nixie gets through it with great effort. The boy throws a comb behind them which become mountains with thousands of teeth. The nixie goes through them, though with great effort. The girl then throws a mirror, which becomes a mountain too slick for the nixie to climb. She goes back for an axe. But before she could chop through the mountain, they escape.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why. Then again, it’s pretty short.
Trivia: N/A

186. The Golden-Headed Fish


The Golden-Headed Fish is an Armenian fairy tale of a prince who’s tasked to find the said fish for his father but finds it too late to cure his failing eyes. So his mom sends him off to a distant island to save his life where he takes an Arab as a servant since he only takes a yearly salary.

From: Armenia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Olive Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, of course.
Synopsis: A king is going blind. A traveler claims that if a golden-heated fish be found in the Great Sea brought to him within 100 days, he’d make an ointment with its blood that could restore the king’s sight. But he has to leave within 100 days. The prince takes men and fishes for it. When finally catches it, it’s too late to bring it back. Though he intends to do so in order to show his dad what he accomplished, he decides not to. Because doctors would try making the ointment and killing the fish would be useless. The king refuses to believe his son had tried and orders his execution. Servants warn the queen who gives her son common clothing and gold before sending him off to a distant island, warning him to take no man in his service who expects a monthly paycheck. At the island, the prince buys a house and rejects many servants wanting a monthly paycheck, and finally takes on an Arab expecting a yearly one.


With each impossible task, the Arab does on the prince’s behalf. He then has the prince marry a princess with too many failed marriages while he takes care of the entity causing her previous husbands to die.

A monster leaves half the island a wasteland, and whoever goes to fight it falls asleep. The Arab asks the governor what he’d give for killing it, the man offers half the land and his daughter. The Arab asks instead that he share in whatever he gains. The governor agrees. The Arab kills the monster and tells the prince to take the credit. The governor gives him a ship at his request, and secretly fills it with jewels. They sail to a far country. The Arab urges the prince to ask the king for his daughter. The king warns the prince that she had been married 190 times and all her bridegrooms didn’t last 12 hours. But the Arab urges the prince to marry her anyway. The prince and princess marry. But at night, he sees men digging a grave for him. A small black snake wiggles into the bridal chamber. But the Arab sees it and kills it. After that, the princess lives happily with her new husband. One day, the prince is summoned with the news of his dad’s death. He rules there. Eventually, the Arab tells him he’s been called home and must leave him. The new king wishes to reward him since he had saved his life. But the Arab refuses all because he’s the Golden-Headed Fish.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: A dad orders his son’s death for not finding a fish on time. Also, an Arab does all the work while the prince gets all the rewards.
Trivia: N/A

187. How the Hermit Helped to Win the King’s Daughter


How the Hermit Helped to Win the King’s Daughter is an Italian fairy tale about young man who takes on an old hermit to help him build an amphibious craft in order to win a princess. But that’s not the only thing he has to do in this story.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Laura Gonzenbach in Sicilianische Märchen
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Pink Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A rich man divides his property among his 3 sons when he dies. The king offers his daughter to whoever can build a ship that could travel over both land and sea. The oldest son tries, and when old men come begging for work, he sends them all away. He spends all his money on it and a squall destroys it. The second son tries after him, and ends up the same. The youngest thinks to try it as well, because he’s not as rich enough to support all 3 of them. He hires everyone, including a little white-bearded old man his brothers had rejected as overseer. Now this old man is a hermit. When the ship’s finished, he tells the youngest son to lay claim to the princess. The youngest son asks the hermit to stay with him and the hermit asks him for half of everything he’s got. The son agrees.

While traveling, they come across a man putting fog in a sack. At the hermit’s suggesting, the son asks the man to come with them. So with the man tearing up trees, a man drinking stream dry, a man shooting quail in the Underworld, and a man whose steps bestride an island. The king doesn’t want to give his daughter to a guy he knows nothing about. So he orders the son to take a message to the Underworld and back in an hour. The long-legged man gets it but falls asleep in the Underworld. So the shooter guy gives him a wake up shot. The king then demands the man who can drink half his cellar dry in a day. The man who could drink a stream does this. The king agrees to the marriage, but promises only as much dowry as one man could carry. Though it’s not fit for a princess. The strong man who can tear up trees, carries off every treasure the king has. When the king chases them, the man lets the fog from the sack, and they escape. The son divides the gold with the hermit, but the hermit points out he has the princess, too. The son draws his sword to cut her in pieces, but the hermit stops him and gives him back all the treasure, too, promising to come to his aid if he needs it.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The male protagonist threatens to cut a princess to pieces.
Trivia: N/A

188. Ferdinand the Faithful and Ferdinand the Unfaithful


Ferdinand the Faithful and Ferdinand the Unfaithful is a Grimm fairy tale of 2 servants with the same name. One is loyal and goes above and beyond the call of duty to serve his king. The other isn’t. By the way this picture’s by Maurice Sendak.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, obviously.
Synopsis: A couple has no kids when they’re rich. But when they become poor, they have a son and the dad can’t find anyone for a godfather except a beggar. The beggar names the boy Ferdinand the Faithful, gives him nothing, and takes nothing. Yet, he gives the nurse a key saying when the boy is 14, he should go to a castle on the heath and unlock it. All it contains would be his. When the boy’s 7, all of the other boys boast of what their godfathers gave them. Ferdinand goes to his dad for his gift and hears of the key, but there’s no castle on the heath. When he’s 14, he goes again and finds the castle. Inside, there’s nothing but a white horse, but he takes the horse home and decides to travel. He sees a pen on the road, passes it, but he hears a voice telling him to take it so he picks it up. He then rescues a fish from the shore. The fish gives Ferdinand a flute to summon him and promises to get for him anything dropped in the water.


Ferdinand the Faithful meets Ferdinand the Unfaithful and they go to an inn. There, a girl falls for the former and suggest they get jobs at the castle.

Ferdinand then meets another man, Ferdinand the Unfaithful who’s learned everything about him by wicked magic and they go to an inn. A girl there falls in love with Ferdinand the Faithful and tells him he should stay and take service with the king. She next gets him a place as a postilion. Ferdinand the Unfaithful also gets her to get him a place, because she doesn’t trust him and wants to keep an eye on him. The king laments that he doesn’t have his love. Ferdinand the Unfaithful persuades him to send Ferdinand the Faithful for her. Ferdinand the Faithful thinks he can’t and whines, but the horse says he needs a ship full of bread and a ship full of meat and to get them from the king. When he does, Ferdinand the Faithful and the horse set out. He appeases the birds along the way with the bread and giants with meat. And with the giants’ help, he carries off the sleeping princess to the king.

HEZ-2650720 - © - Print Collector29

Here Ferdinand the Faithful appeases the birds so he can get to a sleeping princess to the king. But the princess has other ideas.

The princess declares she can’t live without her magical writings from the castle. So the king send Ferdinand the Faithful for them. With the horse’s help, he gets them the same way. On the way back, he drops the pen into the water. The horse says it can no longer help him. So Ferdinand the Faithful plays the flute and has the fish bring back the pen. The princess marries the king and becomes queen, but she doesn’t love her husband. One day, she claims to know magical arts and can cut someone’s head off and put it back on again. Ferdinand the Unfaithful. She cuts off his head and puts it back on again. Then the king says she could do it on him as well, and she cuts of his head, pretends to put it back on, and marries Ferdinand the Faithful. The horse has Ferdinand the Faithful take it back to the castle and ride around it 3 times. It changes back into a king’s son.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, there are a couple beheadings.
Trivia: N/A

189. Corvetto


Corvetto is an Italian fairy tale of a guy who raids an ogre’s castle for a king. Each time he must escape with a horse, a tapestry, and a palace.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Giambattista Basile in his 1634 Pentamarone.
Best Known Version: The Basile version, naturally.
Synopsis: Corvetto loyally serves his king and is favored by him. Envious fellow servants try slandering him, but fail. An ogre lives nearby and has a magnificent horse. The servants encourage the king should send Corvetto to steal it. Corvetto goes and jumps on the horse. It shouts to its master, who chases after with wild animals (one of them a werewolf), but Corvetto rides it off. The king’s even more pleased. The other servants tell him to send Corvetto after the ogre’s tapestry. Corvetto goes, hides under the ogres’ bed, and during the night, steals both the tapestries and the counterpane from the bed. This causes the ogre and ogress to argue about who stole them. He drops them by the window and flees back to the king. The servants then persuade the king to send Corvetto for the entire palace. He goes and talks to the ogress, offering to help her. She asks him to split wood for her. He uses the ax to her neck. Then he digs a deep pit in the doorway and covers it. He lures the ogre and his friends into it, stones them to death, and gives the king the palace.


Here Corvetto makes off with the ogre’s tapestry. All while a woman handles a barrel.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The end is incredibly violent.
Trivia: N/A

190. The Mermaid and the Boy


The Mermaid and the Boy is a Sami fairy tale of a king who’s saved by a mermaid and agrees to give her his son. Eventually the mermaid abducts him when he goes too close to the stream.

From: Sami and Scandinavia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Josef Calasanz Poestion in Lapplandische Märchen.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Brown Fairy Book.
Synopsis: Having been married a year, a king sets out to settle disputes among some distant subjects. His ship is caught in a storm and is about to founder on the rocks. A mermaid appears and promises to save him as long as he promises to give her his firstborn child. As the sea becomes more and more threatening, the king agrees. On his return to the kingdom, he finds out his firstborn son had been born and tells the queen what he promised. They raise their son. When the youth turns 16, the king and queen decide to have him leave home so the mermaid can’t find him when she comes to collect on that promise. The royal couple then send the prince into the world.


The Mermaid and the Boy is a Sami fairy tale of a king who’s saved by a mermaid and agrees to give her his son. This will not go well.

On his first night, the prince meets a hungry lion and shares his food with the beast. The lion repays the kindness by giving him its ear tip and tells him this gift would help him transform into a lion any time he wants to. The next time, the prince turns into a lion and travels that way until he tires of it and turns back into a man. That night, the same thing happens with a bear asking for food and repaying in kindness with its ear tip that would turn the prince into a bear whenever he wants to. The following day, after sharing food with a bumblebee, he receives hair from its wing that would transform the prince into a bumblebee so he could fly all day without tiring. The prince continues his adventure, arriving at a city where a young man-hating princess resides and permits no men in her presence. When everyone turns in for the night, the prince turns himself into a bee and flies into the princess’ room. He turns himself back into a man and the princess shrieks. But when guards run in to protect her, they find nothing. So they leave. Once again, the prince turns himself back into a man and the princess screams. The guards return, find nothing, and leave. This time, they decide she’s crazy and will ignore her future screams. So when the prince becomes a man once again, the guards don’t respond to the princess’ cries.

The prince woos the princess and she falls in love with him. She tells him that in 3 days, her dad will go to war and leave his sword behind. And whoever brings it to him will gain her hand. He agrees to do so, and tells her if he doesn’t return, she should play the violin on the beach loud enough to reach the sea floor. The prince leaves for war with the king. When the king discovers he forgot his sword, he promises his entourage whoever brings his sword back to him will have the princess’ hand and inherit the throne. The young prince and other knights take off for the city to retrieve the sword. The prince gets ahead by scaring off the other knights by transforming into a lion. Reaching the palace, the princess gives him the sword and breaks her ring into 2, giving him one ring and keeping the other to signify their betrothal. Leaving the palace, the prince meets the Red Knight who tries taking the sword from him by force but fails. However, soon afterwards, the prince stops to drink and the mermaid, realizing he’s the prince promised to her, grabs him and brings him with her to the bottom of the sea. The Red Knight finds the sword and carries it off to the king to claim is prize.


When stopping to take a drink, the mermaid abducts him. So he can’t return to the princess who gets engaged to the Red Knight instead.

Soon the war is over. The king returns to his kingdom and tells the princess she must marry the Red Knight. During the wedding feast, the princess, recalling what the prince had told her, goes to the shore and plays the violin. The mermaid hears her song but the prince claims not to hear it and asks her to raise him higher and higher in the sea so he can. On reaching the surface, the prince transforms himself into a bee and flies to the princess who carries him away. The princess brings the prince to the feast and challenges the Red Knight to turn himself into a lion, a bear, and a bee. He fails at all 3. She then asks the prince to do so and he does all 3. The princess tells her dad that it’s the prince who retrieved the sword and shows their matching rings. The king hangs the Red Knight while the princes and princess marry.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Sneaking into a woman’s room to get into her pants will get anyone arrested and no she will not fall in love with you.
Trivia: N/A