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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s