A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 25- The Adventures of Covan, the Brown-Haired to The Glass Mountain

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Finally, we come to the conclusion. It took me about 2-3 months to compile this series and I did as good a job as I could. And I hope you enjoyed them. Still, it took me a very long time to do these posts that I posted 5 of these at a time. Anyway, in this final installment, I give you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, is a European story of brown-haired boy trying to find his siblings. Second, are Italian tales about a courageous royal servant, a girl with chopped off hands, a girl with a magical snake, and a young slave. Third, is a Scottish story of a girl who wears a coat of rushes followed by a French tale of an enchanted watch. After that, we come to an Irish story about a gardener and a princess. Then is a Russian tale of magic swan geese. And finally, our last fairy tale is a Polish yarn of a glass mountain.

241. The Adventures of Covan, the Brown-Haired

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The European fairy tale, The Adventures of Covan, the Brown-Haired is about a young man who searches for his lost siblings. He works for an old man herding cows and you won’t believe the greener pastures he comes to.

From: Europe
Earliest Appearance: Translated by Dr. MacLeod Clarke.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Orange Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A goat herder and his wife have 3 sons and a daughter. One day, the daughter vanishes while tending the kids. The kids come home but they can’t find her. The oldest son Ardan declares he’ll set out in search of his sister. His mom reproves him for not asking his dad first. But since he made a vow, she makes him a large cake and a little one and asks which one he wants: the big one without her blessing or the small one with it. Ardan chooses the large cake. When a raven asks for some, he refuses it. Then he comes to an old man in a cottage with a young woman combing her golden hair. The old man offers to let him watch his cows for a year. The young woman warns against it, but he rudely disregards her advice and takes service anyway.

The old man tells Ardan to follow the cows that know good pasture, and never leave them. But during the first day, he watches the cows, he sees a golden rooster and a silver hen and lets them distract him along with a gold staff and a silver one. When Ardan brings them back, the cows give now milk, only water. The old man turns him into stone. Then second son Ruais sets out in the same way, and suffers the same fate.

Finally, the brown-haired and youngest Covan asks to leave to go after his siblings. His dad gives him his blessing. And Covan takes the smaller cake and gives some to the raven. When he comes to the cottage and thanks the young maiden for her advice though he doesn’t take it. He follows the cows when they come to pasture. There he hears music and listens to it. A boy runs to him claiming his cows are in the corn. Covan says he can drive them out in the time it takes to come to him. Then the boy returns claiming the dogs are worrying the cows. Covan says he can’t drive the dogs in the time it takes to reach him. The cows go on. They go through a barren pasture with a fat mare and foal, a lush pasture with a starving mare and foal, and a lake with 2 boats. One with happy youths going to the land of the sun. The other with grim shapes going to the land of night. The cows go on and it grows so dark that Covan can’t see the cows. The Dog of Maol-Mor, whom he heard of, bids him to stay the night. He does. The next morning, the dog is grateful because he took what’s offered and didn’t mock him. So he says Covan can call on him for aid. The next day, the cows end up on a barren plain. The raven offers him hospitality and he takes it. The raven is grateful he did and didn’t mock it and says he can call on him for aid. The day after that, the cows wind up by a river. The famous otter Dora-Donn offers Covan his hospitality. He takes it. And the otter offers to come to his aid.

The cows return and they have milk instead of water. The old man is pleased and wants to know what Covan would like as a reward. Covan just wants to know how he could get his siblings back. The old man warns him that it would be hard, but tells him where to get a white-footed roe with deer antlers, a green duck with a gold neck, and a silver-skinned salmon with red gills. If Covan brings them to him, he can get his siblings back. The dog helps him catch the roe. The raven aids him with the duck. And the otter helps him get the salmon. The old man gives Covan back his sister and restores his brothers though they’ll be fated to wander forever for their idle and unfaithful ways. Covan then asks the old man’s name. He claims to be the Spirit of the Age.

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

242. The Story of Bensurdatu

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The Italian fairy tale, The Story of Bensuratu is about a royal servant who searches for 3 abducted princesses. While 2 are kept by giants, the youngest by a 7-headed servant.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Laura Gonzenbach in Sicilianische Märchen.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Grey Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A king and queen have 3 daughters and do anything to make them happy. One day, the princesses ask to go on a picnic and so they do. When they’re done eating, the princesses wander about the garden. But when they step across a fence, a dark cloud envelopes them. After a time, the king and queen call for their daughters and then search for them when the girls don’t answer their calls. The king proclaims that whoever brings the princesses back could marry one and will become the next king. 2 generals set out in search. But once they spend all their money without finding the princesses, they’re forced to work as servants to repay an innkeeper for the food and drink he had given them. A royal servant, Bensurdatu sets out despite the king’s unwillingness to lose a faithful hand along with his daughters and generals. He finds an inn with the generals and pays their debt. The 3 travel together. They find a house in the wilderness, where they beg for a place to stay for the night. The old woman there tells them that the princesses were abducted by a thick cloud, that 2 are giants’ prisoners, and the third’s kept by a 7-headed serpent, all at the river’s bottom. The generals want to return to the king but Bensurdatu is firm.

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The Italian fairy tale, The Story of Bensuratu is about a royal servant who searches for 3 abducted princesses. While 2 are kept by giants, the youngest by a 7-headed servant.

They go on until they reach the river. The older general insists on going first due to seniority. They lower him on a rope and give him a bell to ring when he wants to be pulled back. He quickly loses the courage and rings it. The second fares the same. Then they lower Bensurdatu. He comes to a hall where a giant sleeps and the princess stands before them. She has him hide and tells the giant that he didn’t smell a man when he stirred from his sleep. She then has Bensurdatu cut off the giant’s head. The princess gives Bensurdatu a golden crown. She shows him to the next giant’s door, where Bensurdatu kills him like he killed the first and the second princess also gives him a golden crown. He goes on to the 7-headed serpent, which he has to kill when it’s still awake. But he takes off its heads. Bensuradatu has the princesses lifted up. Fearing the generals’ treachery, the youngest wants him to go before her. But he refuses. She pledges to marry no one else but him. The generals don’t lower the rope for him and threaten the princesses into making them claim that they’ve rescued them. Believing the lie, the king agrees to marry the oldest 2 to the generals.

One morning, Bensurdatu notices a purse. When he takes it down, it asks what demands he has for his rescue. He has it bring him to the surface and gives him a ship. He sails to the king’s city. The king wants to marry him to his youngest daughter, but she refuses. He asks if she’d say the same if he’s Bensurdatu. She says nothing, and Bensurdatu tells his story. The king exiles the generals and marries him to the youngest princess.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features decapitation.
Trivia: N/A

243. Rushen Coatie

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Called the Scottish Cinderella, Rushen Coatie is of a princess who’s abused by her stepmom and sent out to work in a coat of rushes. Often short on food, a calf offers her more sustenance.

From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Joseph Jacobs in his More English Fairy Tales.
Best Known Version: The Jacobs version, naturally.
Synopsis: A queen dies. On her deathbed, she tells her daughter that a red calf will come to her and she can ask it for help. The king remarries a widow with 3 daughters. The stepmother and stepsisters mistreat her, giving her only a coat made out of rushes to wear (calling her Rushen Coatie) and little food. A red calf comes to her. When she asks for food, it tells her to pull it from its ears. The stepmother sends one of her daughters to spy on Rushen Coatie, and the girl discovers the calf. The stepmother fakes sick and tells the king she needs the red calf’s sweetbread. The king has it slaughtered. But the dead calf tells Rushen Coatie to bury its body. She does, save the shankbone, which she can’t find.

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After leaving as shoe at the church, the prince has almost every girl in the kingdom to try it on. When he gets to her house, the stepsisters mutilate her toes. But Rushen Coatie’s feet perfectly slip in.

At Yuletide, the stepmother and stepsisters jeer at Rushen Coatie for wanting to go to church and send her to make dinner. But the red calf limps into the kitchen. It gives her clothes to wear and tells her a charm to cook the dinner. At church, the young prince falls in love with her. She goes twice more. The third time, the prince sets a watch to stop her, but she jumps over it and a glass shoe falls to the ground. The prince declares he’ll marry the woman whose foot the shoe fits. One of Rushen Coatie’s stepsisters hacks off part of her foot to do it, but the blood gives it away. Then no one fails to try save Rushen Coatie, so the prince insists she try it. The shoe fits and they marry.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features body mutilation.
Trivia: N/A

244. The Enchanted Watch
From: France
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Paul Sébillot.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in The Green Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A rich man’s 2 oldest sons go out and see the world for 3 years apiece before coming back. The foolish youngest son also wants to go, and his dad finally lets him, expecting not to see him again. On the way, he sees men about to kill a dog and asks them to give it to him instead. He acquires a cat and snake the same way. The snake brings the young man to the king of snakes, telling him how he’d have to explain his absence, but then the king wants to reward the son. The snake tells him to ask for a watch which whenever he rubs it, will give him whatever he wants. The young man goes home. Because he wears the same dirty clothes he set out in, his dad flies into a rage. A few days later, the young man uses the watch to make a house and invite his dad to a feast. Then he invites the king and the princess. The king is impressed by the son’s conjured marvels to entertain them, and marries the princess to him. Soon because he’s an idiot, his wife gets fed up with him. She soon learns of the watch, steals it, and flees.

The son sets out with the dog and cat. They see an island with a house where the princess had fled and conjured up the house to live in. The dog swims to it with the cat on its back. The cat steals it and carries it back in its mouth. The dog asks how far it is to land, and the cat finally answers with the watch falling from its mouth. The cat catches a fish and frees it only when it promises to bring back the watch. It does so and they restore the watch to the son. He wishes for the princess, her house, and the island to drown in the sea, and goes back home.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The fact the hero wishes his wife, her house, and the island it’s on to drown is especially harsh.
Trivia: N/A

245. The Greek Princess and the Young Gardener

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The Greek Princess and the Young Gardener is an Irish fairy tale of a gardener’s son is sent to find a thieving bird that’s stealing golden apples. On his way he befriends a fox.

From: Ireland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Patrick Kennedy in Fireside Stories of Ireland.
Best Known Version: The Joseph Jacobs version in his More Celtic Fairy Tales.
Synopsis: A king with a daughter grows old and sick. But the doctors find the best medicine for him are apples from his own orchard. One night, he sees a bird stealing them. He blames the gardener for neglecting it. The gardener promises that his own sons, the land’s best archers, will stop the thieving bird. The oldest son comes to the garden the first night, but falls asleep. The king sees the thieving bird again. Though he shouts, the boy doesn’t wake quickly enough. The same thing happens with the second son. But the third night, the youngest son stays awake and shoots off a feather, thus scaring the bird away. The king greatly admires it and declares his daughter will marry whoever brings him the bird. The gardener’s oldest son sets out to do it. When the fox comes begging for some of his lunch, he shoots an arrow at him. There are 2 inns to stay in: one merry, and one quiet. The son chooses the merrier one and never comes out again. Soon after, the second son sets out and ends up the same.

Finally, the youngest son sets out. He shares his lunch with the fox and out of respect, the fox warns him against the merry inn with dancing, and to stay at the quiet inn. The youngest follows the fox’s advice and stays at the latter inn. The next day, the fox tells him the bird is at the King of Spain’s castle and carries him there. Then it says he can go in and carry out the bird and its cage. He goes in, but with the bird he sees 3 golden apples and a golden cage. He goes to put the bird in the cage. It wakes and the boy’s captured. The king gives him one chance to save his life: to steal the King of Morocco’s bay filly. The son comes out. The fox carries him to that castle but warns him not to let the horse touch anything except the ground. The son goes in and sees a golden saddle. When he puts it on the filly, it squeals and again he’s caught. The king gives him one chance to save his life and get the filly: if he brings him Princess Golden Locks, the Greek king’s daughter.

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When the gardener’s son sent to to retrieve the Greek princess for the King of Morocco, the Greek king allows him to take her after clearing heaps of clay and not let her go near that king.

The fox carries the son to that castle, warning him how to answer when asked for a favor. He finds the princess and wakes her, asks to take her with him, and promises to free her from the King of Morocco. She asks to say goodbye to her dad. He refuses. She asks to kiss him instead, the boy agrees. But that wakes up the king. He says if the boy remove a great clay heap that’s enchanted so that for every shovel thrown away, 2 come back, he‘ll believe the boy can keep his daughter away from the Moroccan king. The boy tries but the heap grows larger. The fox tells him to eat and rest. He confesses his failure to the king and princess. And the princess hopes he doesn’t fail. Despite lamenting being alone, the king lets the boy take his daughter as a witch’s keeping her brother captive. The fox carries them to the King of Morocco, and the boy asks to shake hands with the princess before leaving. When the king agrees, he carries her off on the bay filly. Then he leaves the bay filly with the King of Spain, leaving the princess with the fox. But when that king gives him the bird and the golden apples, he strokes the horse as a fine beast. When he’s done, he rides away with both the horse and the bird.

They rescue his begging brothers, and the fox asks the boy to cut off his head and tail. The boy can’t do it. So his oldest brother does it for him. The fox becomes the prince, the princess’ brother. He marries the king’s daughter. While the gardener’s son marries his sister.

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

246. Penta of the Chopped-Off Hands

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Penta of the Chopped-Off Hands is an Italian fairy tale of a princess who doesn’t want to play the Lannister twins with her king brother. So she gets her hands chopped off.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Written by Giambattista Basile in his 1634 work, the Pentamerone. This is more on the level of Game of Thrones than Disney.
Best Known Version: The Basile version, naturally.
Synopsis: A king loses his wife and falls in love with his sister, Penta. He implores her to marry him. When she refuses and he keeps pressuring her, she asks what attracts him. The king praises her beauty, but most highly, her hands. She tricks the slave into cutting her hands. The king puts her in a chest and has her thrown into the sea. The Terraverde king sees the chest and rescues her, making her his queen’s lady-in-waiting. Shortly thereafter, the queen falls ill and asks her husband to marry Penta. He agrees, she dies, and he marries Penta. Some time later, the king has to go on a journey. While he’s gone, Penta gives birth to a baby. The king’s servants send a message. But the ship’s thrown by a storm on the shore where the fisherman rescued Penta. Nuccia gets the captain drunk and substitutes the letter saying she had given birth to a puppy. The king receives the message and sends back a letter that the queen shouldn’t be distressed. Since heaven determines these events. But Nuccia replaces the letter ordering the queen and her son to be burned. His councilors conclude he had gone mad and send Penta and her son away. She travels to a kingdom ruled by a magician, who gives her shelter and promises to reward whoever can tell him the most miserable story.

The king returns home, hears all the stories, and concludes Nuccia caused the problems. He goes to her home and has her burned. He hears of the magician’s offer from Penta’s brother (you know the guy whose unhealthy infatuation with his sister started this whole mess) and is sure he can win the prize. They both go. Penta’s brother recounts his own wickedness and how he threw his own sister into the sea. The magician shows them Penta and her son, declaring her husband had suffered the most miserably. So that Penta and her husband will be his heirs.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Uh, a girl gets her hands cut off as seen in the title. Also features incest.
Trivia: Also known as “The Girl with Maimed Hands.”

247. Biancabella and the Snake

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The Italian fairy tale, Biancabella and the Snake pertains to a girl born with a snake around her neck. But unlike in a lot of stories, the snake is her sister and friend.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Written by Giovanni Francesco Straparola in The Facetious Nights of Straparola.
Best Known Version: The Straparola version, obviously.
Synopsis: A marquis has no kids. One day, his wife sleeps in the garden and a grass snake slithers up into her womb. Soon afterwards, she gets pregnant and gives birth to a girl with a snake wrapped around her neck. The midwives obviously freak out. But the snake slithers off into a garden without harming anyone. The girl’s named Biancabella. When she’s 10, the snake speaks to her in the garden, telling her she’s her sister Samaritana and if Biancabella obeys her, she’ll be happy and miserable if she doesn’t. The snake orders she bring out 2 buckets: one of milk and one of rosewater. When Biancabella returns to the house, she’s distressed so her mom asks what makes her so sad. Biancabella asks for the buckets, which her mom gives her, and she carries them to the garden. The snake then has Biancabella bathe in the buckets. She becomes even more beautiful. When her hair’s combs, it sheds jewels. And when her hands are washed, they shed flowers.

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The snake tells Biancabella to bring out 2 buckets of milk and rosewater to bathe in. these actions make her more beautiful as her hair sheds jewels and hands drop flowers.

Naturally, this attracts many suitors (hopefully after she hits puberty). Her dad agrees to marry her to Ferrandino, King of Naples. After the wedding, Biancabella Calls on Samaritina, but the snake doesn’t come to her. Biancabella realizes she must’ve disobeyed her and grieves for the snake, but leaves with her husband. Ferrandino’s stepmother, who wanted to marry him to one of her ugly daughters, is pissed. Sometime later, Ferrandino has to go to war. While he’s gone, his stepmother orders her servants to take Biancabella away and kill her, bringing back proof of death. They take her away, and while they don’t kill her, they gouge out her eyes and cut off her hands. The stepmother gives word that her own daughters had died, and that the queen miscarried and fell ill. Then, she puts her own daughter in Biancabella’s bed. When he returns, Ferrandino is greatly distressed. Biancabella calls out to Samaritina and she still doesn’t come. An old man brings her to his home. His wife rebukes him because she had doubtlessly been punished for some crime. But he insists. Biancabella asks one of his 3 daughters to comb her hair. The old woman doesn’t want her daughter to be a servant, but the girl obeys and jewels come out of Biancabella’s hair. The family is generally pleased because she saved them from poverty. After a time, Biancabella asks the old man to bring her back to where she’d been found. And there, she calls on Samaritina until she finally thinks about committing suicide. Samaritina appears to stop her and Biancabella appeals for forgiveness. Samaritina restores her eyes and hands before transforming into a woman.

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After Biancabella’s driven out by her stepmom-in-law, a family takes her in. But Samaritina doesn’t show up until she thinks about killing herself, and then she transforms into a woman.

After a time, the old man and woman, the sisters, and the daughters go to Naples where Samaritina magically builds a house for them. Ferrandino sees the women and they tell him they’ve been exiled and had come here to live. He brings the women to court, including his stepmother to the castle, where Samaritina tells a servant to sing Biancabella’s story without including names. Then she asks what would be a fitting punishment. Thinking to evade notice, the stepmother says she should be cast into a red hot furnace. Samaritina tells the king the truth. Ferrandino orders his stepmother thrown into the furnace, marries off the old man’s daughters, and lives happily with Biancabella until he dies and his son succeeds him.

Other Versions: Italo Calvino has a variant called, “The Snake.” In his variant, the girl is a peasant and youngest of 3. The snake protects her after she’s the first not to panic at its sight. The snake’s gifts are that she’d cry pearls and silver, laugh pomegranate seeds, and wash her hands to get fish (the last being the gift saving her family from hunger). Her envious sisters lock her in an attic. But the girl sees the prince there and laugh. As a result, a pomegranate tree springs up from one seed. When only she can pick the pomegranates, the prince decides to marry her. Her sisters attempt the same substitution in the Straparola tale. But at the time of the wedding, the oldest sister marries him instead. The snake has to trick the sisters into giving back the eyes and hands as the price for the figs and peaches when the pregnant oldest sister craves them. The oldest sister gives birth to a scorpion. The king nevertheless has a ball where the youngest sister goes and reveals all.

Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features body mutilation like hand cutting and eye gouging and someone gets thrown into a furnace.
Trivia: N/A

248. The Magic Swan Geese

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The Magic Swan Geese is a Russian fairy tale of a girl whose brother gets abducted by the geese. She goes into a dream world where she sees an oven, an apple tree, and a river of milk.

 

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: The Afanasyev version, naturally.
Synopsis: A couple has a daughter and a son. They leave their daughter in charge of her younger brother. But one day, she loses track of him and the magic swan geese snatch him away. The daughter chases after them and comes upon an oven offering to tell her if she eats its rye buns. She scorns them, saying that she doesn’t even eat wheat buns. She also scorns similar offers from an apple tree and a river of milk. She comes across a little hut built on a hen’s foot, in which she finds Baba Yaga with her brother. Baba Yaga sends her to spin flax and leaves. A mouse scurries out saying it will tell the girl what she needs to know if she gives it porridge. She does. And the mouse tells her that Baba Yaga is heating a bath house to steam her, then she’ll cook her. The mouse takes over the girl’s spinning while the girl takes her brother and flees. Baba Yaga sends the swan geese after her. The girl begs the river for aid and it insists she drink some of it first. She does and the milk river shelters her. When she runs on, the swan geese follow again. The same thing happens with the apple tree and the oven, before reaching home safely.

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Soon the girl reaches Baba Yaga’s house where she spins flax from leaves. Before a mouse asks for porridge in exchange in instructions to escape with her brother to safety.

 

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Implications of cannibalism.
Trivia: N/A

249. The Young Slave
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Written by Giambattista Basile in his 1634 work, the Pentamerone.
Best Known Version: The Basile version, naturally.
Synopsis: Girls compete to jump over a rose bush. At last, the baron’s sister Cila does so but she knocks off a rose petal. To pretend she cleared it entirely, she swallows the petal and becomes pregnant. She bears a daughter, names her Lisa, and gives her to the fairies to raise. The fairies give her gifts but one twists her ankle and curses Lisa to die at 7. Because her mom forgot a comb in her hair while combing it (what the fuck?). This happens and the grieving mom puts her in 7 crystal coffins and inters her in a room. Her health fails. Before she dies, she gives her brother the room’s key and make him promise not to open it. The baron obeys but he marries. While he’s on a hunting trip one day, the baroness opens the door. Jealous of the girl’s beauty, she pulls her by the hair, knocking out the comb and bringing her back to life. The woman beats her and makes her a slave, telling her husband that her aunt has sent her a slave and warned her that stern measures are necessary with this perverse slave.

The baron goes to a fair and asks everyone what they want. Lisa asks for a doll, a knife, and a pumice stone before cursing him into not being able to cross the river if he doesn’t. He forgets them. But the river swells, reminding him. Lisa takes them to the kitchen and tells her story to the doll, threatens to sharpen the knife on the stone and kill herself if the doll doesn’t answer. The doll does. After several days of this, the baron hears this and eavesdrops. When the girl begins to sharpen her knife, he breaks into the kitchen and takes it from her. He then puts Lisa in a relative’s care, where she regains her health and beauty. He next brings her to his house, dismisses his wife back to her relatives, and in due course, marries off his niece.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features slavery and attempted suicide.
Trivia: N/A

250. The Glass Mountain

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The Glass Mountain is a Polish fairy tale of such mountain with a golden castle and a tree sprouting golden apples. He who picks one can get in the castle and win the princess inside.

From: Poland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Hermann Kletke.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Yellow Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A tree with golden apples grows on a glass mountain. Picking an apple will let one into a golden castle where an enchanted princess lives. Many knights try and fail, so many bodies lay around the mountain. A golden armored knight tries. One day, he makes it halfway and calmly goes down again. The second day, the tries for the top and is steadily climbing when an eagle attacks him. He and his horse fall to their deaths. A schoolboy kills a lynx and climbs with his claws attached to his feet and hands. Tired, he rests on the slope. The eagle assumes he’s carrion and flies down to eat him. The boy grabs it. Trying to shake the kid off, the eagle carries him the rest of the way. The boy cuts off the eagle’s feet and falls into an apple tree. The golden apple peels cure his wounds. The boy picks more to let him into the castle. He marries the princess. The eagle’s blood restores the lives of everyone who died trying to climb the mountain.

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Many knights try to get into the golden castle but none prevailed and end up dead. Until a school boy kills a lynx and uses its claws for crampons and takes on an eagle, too.

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

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A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 24- The Sleeping Prince to The Sharp Grey Sheep

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When it comes to European fairy tales, we often imagine them taking place in medieval times for some reason. Yet, as you see in Disney movies, it’s doesn’t always have to be the case. After all, their version of The Little Mermaid features a steamboat. Also, the Princess and the Frog takes place in New Orleans during the 1920s. Still, whenever you see a fairy tale adaptation, it’s usually at a time when there’s no electricity or modern medicine. Anyway, in this installment, I give you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, we have a Greek tale of a sleeping prince followed by a Hungarian story of a woman who springs forth from a bulrush. Second, we come to 2 Scottish tales about a weirdly named prince and a horned sheep. Third, are French stories about a bee and an orange tree and an enchanted canary. After that, we have a Norwegian story of a girl with a special fairy godmother along with an Italian tale about a myrtle and European story of a hazel-nut kid. And finally, we got an Irish story about a guy and his animal friends.

231. The Sleeping Prince

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The Greek fairy tale, The Sleeping Prince follows a princess who’s fated to marry a dead man. She then takes an eagle to go to his palace and sit with him for a certain amount of time to win him over.

From: Greece
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Georgios A. Megas in Folktales of Greece.
Best Known Version: The Megas version, naturally.
Synopsis: A widowed king has only his daughter and must go to war. The princess promises to stay with her nurse while he’s gone. One day, an eagle comes by and says the princess will marry a dead man and returns the next day. She tells her nurse and her nurse instructs her to take the eagle to take her to him. When it comes the third day, the princess requests just that and it brings her to the palace where a prince sleeps like the dead. Nearby is a paper saying that whoever has pity on him must watch him for 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days, 3 hours, and 3 half-hours without sleeping. And then, when he sneezes, she must bless him and identify herself as the one who watched. He and the whole castle will wake and he’ll marry that woman. She watches for 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days. She then hears someone offering to hire maids, and the princess takes one for company. The maid persuades her to sleep, the prince sneezes, and the maid claims him. She then tells him to let the princess to sleep and when she wakes up, sets her to tend geese. And since the prince’s dad isn’t around, he becomes king.

The king has to go to war. He asks the queen what she wants. She asks for a golden crown. The king then asks the goose girl and she requests for the millstone of patiences, the hangman’s rope, and the butcher’s knife. And if he doesn’t bring them, his ship will neither go backward or forward. He forgets them and the ship doesn’t move. An old man asks if the king promised anything so he buys the goose girl’s items. He gives his wife the crown and the other things to the goose girl. That evening, he goes down to her room. She tells her story to the things and asks them what she should do. The butcher’s knife tells her to stab herself. The rope recommends she hang herself. However, the millstone advises her to have patience. The princess then asks for the rope again and goes to hang herself. Fortunately, the king breaks in and saves her, declaring she’s his wife and that he’d hang the other with the rope. She tells him only to send her away. They go to her dad for his blessing.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Negatively portrays lower-class people as opportunists. Also features a suicide attempt.
Trivia: Has nothing to do with the play that inspired The Prince and the Showgirl.

232. Lovely Ilonka

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Lovely Ilonka is a Hungarian fairy tale of a beautiful woman who springs out of bulrush once a prince gives her water. Unfortunately, a swineherd’s daughter has other ideas.

From: Hungary
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Crimson Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, obviously.
Synopsis: A prince wants to marry but his dad tells him to wait, saying he can’t until he wins the golden sword he carries. One day, the prince meets an old woman and asks about her 3 bulrushes. She asks he stay the night. In the morning, she summons all the world’s crows but they don’t hear. The prince then meets an old man who also has him stay the night. In the morning, all the ravens don’t hear. The prince next meets another old woman who tells him it’s well that he greeted her or he’d have suffered a horrible death. The next morning, she summons magpies. And a crippled magpie leads the prince to a great wall behind which are 3 bulrushes. He starts taking them home, but one breaks open. A lovely maiden flies out asking for water and flies out when he has none. He splits the second, the same thing happens. However, the prince takes great care of the third by not splitting it until reaching the well. With the water, she stays, and they agree to marry.

The prince takes the maiden to his dad’s country, where he leaves her with a swineherd while he goes to get a carriage. The swineherd throws her into a well and dresses his daughter in her clothes. Though the prince is distressed, he brings back the swineherd’s daughter, marries her, and upon receiving a crown, becomes king. One day, the king sends a coachman to the well where Ilonka had been drowned. He sees a white duck before it vanishes and a dirty woman appears before him. She gets a place in the castle as a housemaid. While not working, she spins with her distaff and spindle spinning on their own and she’s never out of flax to spin. The queen (who’s the swineherd’s daughter) wants the distaff, but Ilonka will only sell it for a night in the king’s bedroom. The queen agrees but gives her husband a sleeping draught. Ilonka speaks to the king but he doesn’t respond. She thinks he’s ashamed of her. The queen wants the spindle, Ilonka tries again, but again the king sleeps. The third time, the queen makes the same agreement for the flax, but the king’s 2 servants warn him so he refuses everything. When Ilonka appears to him, he hears her. He has the swineherd and the queen hung and marries Ilonka.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features drowning and hanging.
Trivia: N/A

233. Nix Nought Nothing

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The Scottish fairy tale, Nix Nought Nothing is about a prince who’s given over to a giant in exchange for his aid to his dad. He then meets his daughter who has magical powers.

From: Scotland and England
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang. Though his version makes it unclear how the giant’s daughter thwarts and eventually kills her dad during the chase. Also Nix Nought Nothing is already given a head start even before the giant’s pursuit even begins. So there’s no mention of a curse or any cause for slumber. In addition, the gardener’s wife and daughter are merely deceived by the giant’s daughter’s reflection and too bonny to draw water. While the giant’s daughter learns from the gardener of Nix Nought Nothing’s betrothal to the king’s daughter who’s also his sister. Thus, a promise for him to marry a maiden who wakes him up is lacking. Bears similarities to Jason and Medea.

Best Known Version: The Joseph Jacobs version in his English Fairy Tales.
Synopsis: A queen gives birth to a son while the king is away. Not wanting to christen him until his dad returns, she names him Nix Nought Nothing until that time. However, the king’s gone for a very long time that Nix Nought Nothing grows into a boy. As the king journeys home, a giant offers to help him over a river in return for “Nix Nought Nothing.” Not knowing he has a son by that name, the king agrees. However, upon learning what he had done, the king tries giving the giant the hen-wife’s son, and then the gardener’s son. But both boys betray their origins and the giant kills them. In the end, the royal couple have to give the prince to the giant. Now the giant has a daughter. She and the prince grow very fond of each other. When the prince is grown and the giant sends him to clean the stables, the giant’s daughter summons animals to do it for him. When the giant sends him to empty a lake, she summons fish to drink it. When the giant commands the prince to bring down a bird’s nest from a tall tree without breaking any eggs, his daughter cuts off her fingers and toes to make a stairway. But one egg breaks during that adventure. So the prince and the giant’s daughter decide to flee. The giant chases after them. The girl has Nix Nought Nothing throw down her comb, which becomes a brier. Then her hair dagger, which becomes a razor hedge. She next dashes a magic flask, producing a wave drowning the giant.

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After they kill the giants, the Nix Nought Nothing and the giant’s daughter. Unfortunately, the hen wife curses the prince and he falls asleep and the giant’s daughter grows tired.

 

 

The giant’s daughter is too weary to go on and sends Nix Nought Nothing ahead of her to the king’s castle. But the hen-wife whose son had died curses him and he falls into a deep sleep as soon as he arrives. The king and queen still don’t recognize their grown son. So the king promises whichever maiden can wake the sleeping man shall marry him. Finally the giant’s daughter arrives to the castle, climbing a tree over a well to watch the prince. But when her reflection falls on the water’s surface, the gardener’s daughter coming to fetch water mistakes the image for her own. She decides she’s pretty enough to be a contender to marry the sleeping stranger. After learning about a counteracting spell to ward off the prince’s sleepiness for as long as she wants from the hen-wife, the gardener’s daughter succeeds in waking him long enough to secure his marriage promise. Meanwhile, while doing his own water chore, the gardener discovers the giant’s daughter up in the tree and brings her inside his house, breaking the news that his daughter’s set to marry the stranger and shows her Nix Nought Nothing.

The giant’s daughter sings her imploring charm for her sleeping beloved to awaken, recalling all she had done for him. But it’s to no avail. Then she calls him Nix Nought Nothing, revealing to the king and queen that he’s their own son. They make the gardener’s daughter remove the spell, executes the hen-wife, and marries Nix Nought Nothing to the giant’s daughter.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features body mutilation, drowning, Also features a relationship between a guy and the giant (which might remind you of Hagrid’s parents. Then again the giants in this tale might be more like Loki in Thor or in Norse mythology. Since despite him being a frost giant, Loki’s always depicted as a normal sized man.)
Trivia: N/A

234. The Bee and the Orange Tree

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The French fairy tale, The Bee and the Orange Tree is about a princess who’s given to ogres. She meets a prince and decides to run away from him. And that’s where the fun comes in.

From: France
Earliest Appearance: Written by Madame d’Aulnoy.
Best Known Version: Guess the d’Aulnoy version, I suppose.
Synopsis: After many childless years, a king and queen have a daughter named Aimee. Unfortunately, a ship she’s on wrecks. But as fate would have it, she drifts ashore in her cradle. An ogre couple find her. And instead of eating her, the ogress decides to raise her, thinking she’d make a good wife for her son when she grows up. She then summons a deer from the woods to nurse the baby. After 15 years, the king and queen give up hope of finding the princess. So the king tells his brother to send his best son to be heir to the throne. The brother chooses the second son. Meanwhile Aimee grows up among the ogres. A little ogre falls in love with her, but the thought of marrying him revolts her. She regularly walks along the shore after storms, protecting things swept ashore from the ogres. One day, she finds and saves a man who just happens to be her cousin. Although neither know the truth or even speak each other’s language. Somehow she manages to understand that he has to hide in a cave. After some time hiding and feeding him, Aimee wishes to show her friendship by giving him the locket she wore. It has her name on it, leading the prince to deduce from her looks that she’s indeed his cousin, the princess Aimee.

The little ogre decides it’s time for him and the princess to marry. Horror-struck Aimee flees to the prince. When she returns, she injures her foot on a thorn and can no longer walk. The prince wonders why she doesn’t come. And when he tries to find her, he’s captured. Now every night, the ogres put on golden crowns before going to bed. The princess sneaks in that night, takes the little ogre’s crown from his head, and puts it on the prince’s. The ogre wakes up, seizes on the sleeping little ogre who no longer has a crown, and eats him. Again the next night, Aimee steals another ogre’s crown to place on the prince’s head. This time, the ogress eats the crownless ogre. The princess remembers the magic wand the ogress uses to summon the deer. With it, she gives herself the power to speak the prince’s language. He tells her who she is. So the princess decides to steal the ogres’ camel so they could safely ride away. She uses a wand to enchant a bean and hide their escape. It speaks when the ogress asks anything. However, the ogress finally realizes they fled. The ogre uses his 7-league boots to follow.

When the ogre catches up, the princes turns herself into a boatwoman, the prince into a boat, and the camel into a lake: to confuse the ogre. He finds nothing. But when he returns, the ogress tells him how they’ve been transformed with her stolen magic wand. So he sets out to find them again. This time Aimee turns herself into a dwarf, the prince into a portrait, and the camel into a pillar. When the ogre reaches his her, she tells an elaborate story about how the prince fought in a tournament in honor of the lady in the picture. This time the ogress comes after them. The princess turns the prince into an orange tree, herself into a bee, and the camel into a box. The princess stings the ogress and drives her off. But some travelers carry off the wand. Without it, the princess can’t change the group back into their prior forms.

A princess named Linda walks into the woods where the orange tree stands. Linda tries to have the tree transplanted in her gardens. Aimee stings her out of jealousy. The prince and princess fight but soon reconcile. When Linda tries again, Aimee stings her. Linda tries arming herself with a branch. But once she does, blood flows from the tree. Aimee goes fetching balm for the wound. A fairy visits the princess and when she detects the enchantment, the fairy restores the prince. He tells his story and she restores Aimee as well, before bringing them to their parents, where they marry.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features cannibalism, inter-family homicide, and first cousin romance.
Trivia: N/A

235. The Enchanted Canary

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The French fairy tale, The Bee and the Orange Tree is about a princess who’s given to ogres. She meets a prince and decides to run away from him. And that’s where the fun comes in.

From: France
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Charles Deulin in Contes du roi Cambrinus as “Désiré d’Amour.”
Best Known Version: The one collected by Andrew Lang in his The Red Fairy Book.
Synopsis: The fattest lord in Flanders dearly loves his son. One day, the young man tells his dad he doesn’t find Flanders women attractive. Nor does he wish to marry a woman who’s pink and white since he doesn’t find them beautiful either. They then receive a basket of oranges, which they’ve never seen before and eat them. The son dreams of an orchard with trees of such “golden apples,” which hold a golden-skinned princess. He sets out to find and marry her. At night, he stops at a little hut, where an old man tells him that in a nearby forest, there’s a park, which holds a castle. A witch lives there. One he arrives, the young man must oil the hinges, feed a loaf of bread to the dog, give a brush to the baking woman, and take the rope out of the well. Then he should get 3 oranges and return without touching them until he reaches water. Then, each one would be a princess and he could marry whichever one he loves. But once he makes his choice, he must never leave her.

The young man obeys. He hears a witch calling after him, to the things to kill him. But the rope refuses since he keeps it from rotting and so on with the others. But once he escapes, he can’t find water so he opens the oranges in hopes of juice. A canary flies out and off to find water. Despite himself, he tries a second, and the same thing happens. But he falls unconscious until nighttime revives him. He reaches a stream where he opens the third. When the third canary flies out, he gives it water. It becomes a beautiful princess. The young man brings her back, but he refuses to take her to the castle afoot. So he goes ahead to get a carriage and horses. While he’s gone, she hears a noise and climbs a tree for fear it’s a wolf. However, it’s an ugly maidservant who sees the princess’ reflection in the pool and takes it as her own. Thus, she thinks herself too pretty to carry water. She’s sent back twice. But the third time, the maidservant realizes the reflection is someone else’s. She speaks to the princess and tells her story. Sticking a pin to her head, the maidservant transforms the princess back into a canary. When the young man returns, she tells him that she’d been turned into this. The young man blames himself.

At the wedding feast, the canary appears in the kitchen window and enchants whoever’s cooking the goose so that it burns each time. The third time, the scullion catches it and is about to wring its neck when the lord comes down to see what happened. Thinking the canary’s lovely, the lord strokes it, making him find the pin. He pulls it out and the princess is unenchanted. The maidservant is condemned to death but the princess obtains her a pardon so she goes back to her regular job. The young man and the princess marry.

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

236. The Lassie and Her Godmother

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In the Norwegian fairy tale, The Lassie and Her Godmother, a beautiful lady takes in poor little girl and treats her kindly. Until the girl disobeys and doesn’t apologize for it.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in Norske Folkeeventyr.
Best Known Version: The Asbjørnsen and Moe version, of course.
Synopsis: A poor couple has a baby girl. They want the baby christened but can’t afford the parson’s fees. At last, the dad finds a beautiful lady offering to get the child christened, but also saying she’ll keep her as her own kid afterwards. The dad speaks to his wife about it. She refuses. But when the beautiful lady makes the same offer the next day, his wife agrees they should accept if they can’t find anyone else. The child’s christened and the lady takes her home and treats her kindly. When the girl’s old enough to know right from wrong, the lady leaves forbidding her to go into certain rooms. The girl looks into one and a star springs out. Her foster mom is pissed but at her pleading, lets the girl stay. The next time the foster mom goes away, the girl opens the second door, and a moon springs out. Again, the girl appeases the angry foster mom. But the third time, when the girl lets out the sun, the foster mom insists she has to leave. Furthermore, she could either speak and be ugly or be beautiful and mute. The girl takes the pretty option. She then wanders the woods until nightfall when she climbs a tree over water and sleeps there. Several female servants sent from the castle to fetch water see her reflection, think it’s their own, and decide they’re too pretty for fetching water. Finally, the prince goes himself, realizes she’s there, and coaxes her down to be his queen. His mom objects, arguing she can’t speak and might be a witch. Nevertheless, he marries her.

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After her foster mom drives her out, the girl lives in the forest as a pretty mute. Soon a prince comes by, falls for her, and takes her to his castle.

When the princess is about to have her first child, the prince sets watch about her. But they all fall asleep. So the foster mom comes, takes the baby, and smears the princess’ mouth with blood, saying she’d be sorry as she had been when the girl let out that star. Everyone thinks she killed and ate the child. And the prince’s mom would have her burned if her son didn’t plead for his wife. The same thing happens the second time, though the watch is twice as long. The foster mom decrees that the girl would be as sorry as she was when the girl let out the moon. The third time, the watch is 3 times as long. The foster mom decrees that she’d be as sorry as she was when the girl let out the sun. And the prince can’t save her. But when they’re leading the princess to the fire, the foster mom appears with the kids, restoring them to their parents, saying the girl had been sufficiently punished. She also reveals herself to be the Virgin Mary and restores her speech. Thereafter, everyone lives happily and even the queen grows to love her young daughter-in-law.

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Each time the princess has a child, her foster mom takes it away and tries to get her to repent. Eventually, she’s almost burned at the stake until the foster mom says she’s been punished enough and reveals herself as the Virgin Mary.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Look, I know being disobedient out of curiosity is one thing. But it’s nothing worth kidnapping children and smearing their mom’s mouth with blood over it. Good God. Also, having her being the Virgin Mary makes it even worse. Seriously, having the Virgin Mary kidnap kids is like seeing Daenerys ride on Drogon to commit genocide on King’s Landing.
Trivia: N/A

237. The Myrtle

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The Myrtle is an Italian fairy tale of a flower that turns into a beautiful woman. Unfortunately, 6 wicked women tear her to pieces.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Written by Giambattista Basile in his 1634 work, the Pentamerone.
Best Known Version: The Basile version, naturally.
Synopsis: A woman wishes for a child, even a sprig of myrtle. She gives birth to such a sprig. She and her husband put it in a pot and tend it. A prince sees it, takes a fancy to it, and finally persuades the woman to sell it to him. He keeps it in his room and takes great care of it. One night, a woman comes to his bed, and comes every night thereafter before vanishing the next morning. After a week, the prince ties her hair to his arm. In the morning, she confesses to being the myrtle and they pledge their love. After some time, he has to hunt a wild boar, and asks her to become a myrtle again while he’s gone. She tells him to attach a bell to her and ring it when he wants her back. While the prince is away, 7 wicked women find their way in and ring the bell. Seeing the woman, all but the youngest tear her to pieces. In despair, the chamberlain puts the pieces back into a pot. The myrtle sprouts again. When the prince returns and rings the bell, she doesn’t reappear. He sees the ruin and despairs. Seeing it, the woman reappears from the sprouts. With his dad’s leave, the prince marries her. At the wedding, he asks what’s the suitable punishment for anyone who’d tear his bride to pieces. Many punishments are suggested. The 7 women claim the criminal should be buried alive. The prince agrees and has 6 of them buried in the dungeon. While he marries the youngest sister to the chamberlain.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The heroine is literally torn to pieces and 6 women are buried alive.
Trivia: N/A

238. The Hazel-Nut Child
From: Central and Eastern Europe
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Polish-German scholar Heinrich von Wlislocki in Märchen Und Sagen Der Bukowinaer Und Siebenbûrger Armenier.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Yellow Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A childless couple prays for a child, though he were no bigger than a hazelnut. Then they have such a son. He never grows but he’s really smart. When the boy’s 15, he says he wants to be a messenger. His mom sends him to get a comb from his aunt. He climbs on a horse that a man’s riding by, poking and pinching it until it gallops to the village. There he gets the comb and takes another horse the same way. This convinces his mom. One day, the dad leaves him in the fields with a horse while he goes back home. A robber tries stealing the horse. The hazel-nut child jumps on the horse and pricks it until it ignores the robber and gallops home. The robber’s jailed. When he’s 20, the hazel-nut child leaves home, promising to return when he’s rich. He climbs on a stork as they’re flying south. In Africa, he amuses the king who gives him a large diamond. The hazel-nut child takes it with him when the storks fly north with him. So he and his parents are rich thereafter.

Other Versions: Included in Ruth Manning-Sanders’ A Book of Dwarfs.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: There doesn’t seem to be much of a plot.
Trivia: N/A

239. Jack and His Comrades

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Jack and His Comrades is an Irish fairy tale of a young man who befriends 4 animals including a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a chicken. They later thwart a bunch of robbers.

From: Ireland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Patrick Kennedy in his Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts.
Best Known Version: The Joseph Jacobs version in his Celtic Fairy Tales.
Synopsis: Jack tells his mom he’ll seek his fortune. His mom offers him half a hen and half a cake with her blessing or whole of both and without. He asks for the halves of both and receives wholes of both with her blessing (because you can’t divide a live chicken). On his way, Jack meets Neddy the Donkey in a bog and helps it out. Coley the Dog runs up to him for protection with a pot tied to its tail and crowd hunting it. The donkey bellows and scares them off. Jack unties the pot and shares his meal with the dog while the donkey eats thistles. Half-starved Tom the Cat comes by and Jack gives it a bone with meat. In the evening, they rescue a rooster from a fox. They go to sleep in the woods. Claiming to see dawn, the rooster crows. Jack realizes it’s a candle in a house. They spy a look inside and discover it to be a robbers’ den. With the donkey placing its fore-hoofs on the window sill, the animals stack one on top of another and make noise. Then at Jack’s deceptive call to raise the pistols and fire, the animals smash all the windows, frightening the robbers into bolting the house and riding far out into the woods. Jack and the animals enter the house, enjoy a meal, and go to sleep. After awhile, the robber captain sorely misses the loot he left behind. So he sneaks back inside the house in the dark. Only to receive, cat scratches, a dog bite, a rooster pecking, and a great kick from the donkey in the stable outside. Since he can’t see anything in the dark, the captain weaves a fancifully horrid account of what happened, adding that not all the plaster in Enniscorthy could heal the wounds and cuts he received. The other robbers lose all motivation of trying to recover their loot.

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When they reach an abandoned house, the animals stack on top on each other to look in. And when the time is right, they strike.

The next day, Jack and his comrades resolve to return the gold to its owner and journey to the Lord of Dunlavin’s manor. A crooked porter halts Jack at the door. Jack and the rest know from the thieves’ conversation the night before that this porter’s in league with them and complicit in the crime. The rooster sarcastically remarks and plainly accuses the porter providing the thieves safe passage through his master’s house door. The porter’s face turns red. The Lord of Dunlavin witnesses an interchange, who, addressing his porter by name (which is Barney), prods him to answer the charge. The porter replies, “sure I didn’t open the door to the six robbers,” thus betraying his own familiarity with the perpetrators. Jack announces that, no matter, since he arrives with the stolen gold and silver and requests dinner and lodging for the long ride from Athsalach. The grateful lord declares he’ll provide comfort for the rest of their days, appointing Jack as his steward who brings his mom to live at the castle, and eventually marries his lordship’s daughter.

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

240. The Sharp Grey Sheep
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: A king and queen have a daughter. But the queen dies and the king marries another. The stepmother is cruel to the princess and sends her to watch the sheep while not giving her enough food to survive. A sharp (horned) gray sheep brings her food to help her. Knowing that she couldn’t be getting enough food to survive goes to a henwife who sends her daughter to spy. The princess tells the henwife’s daughter to set her head on her knee and she’ll dress her hair. The henwife’s daughter sleeps and the sheep comes to help her. Yet, she has an eye on the back of her head that’s not asleep so she watches through it and tells her mom. On learning that the sheep’s helping her stepdaughter, the stepmother orders it killed. The sheep tells the princess to gather her bones and hooves in the hide and it will return to her. The princess does but forgets the little hooves so the sheep is lame but keeps her fed.

A prince sees the princess and asks about her. The henwife’s daughter tells her mom and the henwife warns the queen. Thus, the queen brings her stepdaughter home to work around the house and sends her own daughter to tend the sheep. One day, when the stepdaughter walks outside, the prince gives her a pair of golden boots. He wants to see her at church, but the stepmother won’t let her go. So she goes secretly, sits where the prince could see her, and leaves quickly before her stepmother could spy her there. However, the princess loses her shoe in the mud and the prince declares he’ll marry whomever the shoe fits. The queen gets her daughter’s foot to fit by cutting off her toes. But a bird points out the blood to the prince. The prince finally finds the princess and marries her.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: A girl has an eye on the back of her head. Also features body mutilation.
Trivia: N/A

 

A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 23- The Magician’s Horse to The Fish and the Ring

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You might notice a lot of these tales consist of parents who abandon their children. Modern parents might see this as deeply unthinkable. However, in historical times, this wouldn’t be as unusual as you think. For one, is a stigma against out-of-wedlock pregnancies that resulted in “doorstop babies” and orphanages full of kids since being a mom who’s never been married would basically screw a woman up for life. Another reason has to do with the fact people lived in times of rampant war, disease, and famine, which is even sadder. This can put any family into poverty and starvation. Anyway, in this installment, I give you another 10 forgotten fairy tales for your reading pleasure. First, we have a Greek tale of a magician’s horse followed by an Italian story of a prince and a savage man. Second, we come to a couple French tales of a noble son and his magical bird and 3 May peaches. Third, are Grimm stories about a griffin, an old woman in the woods, and a devil with 3 golden hairs. Then we got a Romanian tale of a runaway boy and his giant friend followed by an Eastern European story of 3 wonderful beggars and a golden ring in a fish.

221. The Magician’s Horse

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The Magician’s Horse is a Greek fairy tale about a young man who gets lost in the woods and ends up at a magician’s house. After working for him for awhile, a horse tells him to steal it and set his owner’s home ablaze.Enter a caption

From: Greece
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Grey Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, obviously.
Synopsis: 3 princes go hunting and the youngest gets lost. He comes to a great hall and eats there. He then finds an old man asking him who he is. The prince tells how he got lost and offers to enter his service. The old man sets him to keep the stove lit, to fetch firewood in the forest, and to take care of the black horse in the stables. Unbeknownst to the prince, the man is a magician and the fire is his power source. One day, the prince nearly lets the fire go out and the old man storms in. Freaked out, the prince immediately throws another log in and nurses it back.

The horse tells the prince to saddle and bridle it, to use an ointment that would make his hair like gold, and to pile all the wood he could on the fire. The last task sets the hall on fire. The horse then tells the prince to take a mirror, brush, and riding whip before riding off on it. The magician chases on a roan horse, but the princes throws down a mirror. The horse cuts its feet on it and the magician has to go back to put new shoes on him before chasing the prince again. The horse and the prince throw the brush on the ground producing a thick forest. So the magician has to go back for an ax to cut through it. But then he chases the prince again. The prince throws down the whip which becomes a river. When the magician crosses it, it puts out his magic fire and kills him.

The horse tells the prince to strike the ground with a willow wand. A door opens, making a hall where the horse stays, but he sends the prince through the fields to take service with a king. The prince wears a scarf hiding his golden hair. He works as a gardener and every day, he brings half of his food to the horse. One day, the horse tells the prince that the king’s 3 daughters will choose their husbands: a great number of lords will gather and they will throw their diamond apples into the air. The man at whose feet stopped would be the bridegroom. He should be in the nearby garden, and the youngest’s would roll to him. He should take it up at once.

The prince does. The scarf slips a little. The princess sees his hair and falls in love at once. Though reluctant, the king lets them marry. Soon after, the king has to go to war. He gives the prince a broken-down nag. The prince goes to the black horse, giving him arms and armor, and he rides it to battle, which he wins. But he flees before anyone could see him. Twice more, the prince goes to war. But the third time, he’s wounded, and the king binds his wound with his son-in-law’s own handkerchief. The princess recognizes it and reveals it to her dad. There’s great rejoicing and the king gives the prince half his kingdom.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: A horse instructs a prince to commit arson.
Trivia: N/A

222. Guerrino and the Savage Man
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Written by Giovanni Francesco Straparola in The Facetious Nights of Straparola.
Best Known Version: The Straparola version, naturally.
Synopsis: King Filippomaria has an only son Guerrino. One day while hunting, the king captures a wild man. Imprisoning him, he gives the keys to the queen. He sets out hunting again. Guerrino wants to see the wild man. The wild man steals an arrow he carries and promises to give it back if Guerrino frees him. Guerrino does so and warns him to flee. The wild man tells him he would and leaves. Little does Guerrino know the wild man had once been a handsome youth who despaired over a lady’s love and so takes to the wild. The queen wakes up and questions everyone. Guerrino tells her that no one would be punished but him, because he did it. The queen takes 2 faithful servants, gives them money, and sends Guerrino away. The king returns and finds the wild man had gone. The queen tells her husband Guerrino had done it and that she sent their son away, pissing the king off even more that she should think he’d hold his son in less regard than the wild man. He searches for him and doesn’t find him.

The servants agree to kill Guerrino, but they can’t agree how to divide the loot. While they still haven’t settled, a fine young man greets them and invites and asks to come with them. Guerrino agrees. This is the same wild man. The guy met a cranky fairy who laughed at the sight of him and so been cured. However, she transformed him, endowed him with magical powers, and gave him a magic horse. They come to a town named Irlanda, where King Zifroi rules. He has 2 beautiful daughters named Potentiana and Eleuteria. Guerrino takes lodgings. The young man wants to go on, but Guerrino persuades him to stay. At the time, a wild horse and mare attack the lands, ruining crops and killing beasts, men, and women. The 2 servants tell the king that Guerrino had boasted that he could kill these horses. The king summons him and promises to reward him if he does it. When Guerrino hesitates, the king threatens to execute him. The young man tells the prince to get a blacksmith’s services from the king, and then have the blacksmith make enormous horseshoes for his magic horse. Then he has Guerrino ride the horse until he meets the wild horse, at which point, he should dismount, free the horse, and climb a tree. Guerrino does this. The horses fight, and the wild horse is defeated. The king is pleased, but the servants are pissed over their failure. They say that Guerrino boasted likewise of the wild mare. The king sends him to defeat it as well, which he does as he has the magic horse.

The night afterwards, a noise wakes Guerrino up. He finds a wasp in a honey pot and sets it free. The king summons him, says he has to reward him, and offers him one of his daughters. That is, if Guerrino can tell beneath their veils which is the golden-haired Potentiana and which is the silver-silver haired Eleuteria. Guess wrong, he faces execution. Guerrino goes back to his lodgings where the young man tells him that the wasp will fly around Potentiana 3 times, and she’ll drive it off 3 times at night. Then he should identify her. Guerrino says he doesn’t know how he could reward him for his favors. The young man confesses that he’s the wild man, so he’s but returning what Guerrino did for him, and his name is Rubinetto. Guerrino goes to the palace, where white veils entirely cover the princesses. The king tells him to make a choice, but Guerrino insists on the full time. The wasp buzzes about Potentiana and she drives it off. Guerrino says she’s Potentiana and they marry. Rubinetto marries Eleuteria. Guerrino’s parents hear of him and he returns to them with his wife, where they live in happiness.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: King sends a hit out on his son for something that’s entirely forgivable.
Trivia: N/A

223. Georgic and Merlin
From: France
Earliest Appearance: Collected by François Cadic in his La Paroisse bretonne.
Best Known Version: The Cadic version, obviously.
Synopsis: In the woods near a rich lord’s castle, a mysterious bird sings. Fascinated, the lord has it captured. It stops singing, but he threatens to kill anyone who frees it. One day, it pleads with the lord’s son, Georgic who frees it. It tells him to call on it, Merlin if in need and flies off. Georgic’s mom fears her husband will kill their son. A salt-vendor offers to take her son away, and Georgic’s mom pays him to do it. He takes the money and at the next castle, offers the boy as a shepherd, despite threatening warnings of wolves. When the salt-vendor goes to say goodbye, Georgic demands money. When It’s refused, he calls on the bird. It appears and an invisible hand wielding club strikes the man until he pays up. Georgic then calls on the bird to give him a whistle to summon the wolves and muzzles them to keep them from biting, and so he keeps the sheep safe. In the same region, there’s a 7-headed dragon that has to receive a maiden every year. This year, the lot falls for Georgic’s boss’ daughter, who fearfully cries. When she’s sent, Georgic asks the bird for a horse, sword, and a black cloak. He takes her on his horse and carries her to the place, where he calls on the dragon. It declares not being hungry that day, so she has to come the next, and leaves. Georgic carries her back, but the girl is too upset to recognize him. But she cuts a piece from his cloak. She goes back the next day, but this time, Georgic wears a gray cloak, but the events go the same as before. The third day, Georgic wears a purple cloak. He stops and borrows a long iron fork a man’s been using on the stove. He uses it to drag the dragon from its lair and cuts of its heads with a sword. Georgic then cuts off its tongues, and the daughter cuts off a piece of this cloak a well.

A coal miner claims to have killed the dragon. The daughter says the dragon slayer had cut out the tongues, while the coal miner claims to have eaten them. The lord holds a great feast. The daughter sees Georgic in his black cloak with a hole as she had cut it before he vanishes. The lord has a second banquet, at which Georgic wearing the gray cloak with the hole as she had cut. The lord asks whether he’s the one who rescued his daughter. He says he might be. At the third banquet, Georgic makes a grand entrance. The daughter recognizes him by the hole and they marry.

Soon after, the lord falls ill. A wizard says he can be cured with a piece of orange from an orange tree in the Armenian Sea, water from the Fountain of Life, and some bread and wine from the Yellow Queen. Georgic has 2 brothers-in-law jealous of them who set out and become lost. Georgic also sets out. In the woods, he meets a hermit who gives him a magic wand to lead him. It would take him to an orange tree, where he should cut the orange into 4 parts, one of which he should take away. Then he’d reach the Fountain of Life, but he should go to the Yellow Queen’s castle first, taking some wine and bread, along with a lance, calling out it’s for his father-in-law’s health. He’d then find a stag, which he should ride to the Fountain. If the lion guarding wakes up, Georgic should kill it with a lance. He retrieves things this way. Georgic meets his brothers-in-law along the way, trading some of what he has for the ear and wedding ring of one and a toe of the other. The hermit warns him that he’d have to give what he had taken back to the Yellow Queen after a month. He doesn’t warn them. When the Yellow Queen comes, the hermit’s gone, and his brothers-in-law are beaten for having it. They have to run to Georgic for help, which he gives.

Other Versions: Many French variants feature a wild man instead of a bird. But in either form, he’s always called Merlin.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The hero has a guy beat up for money which seems similar to what loansharks do. Also features body mutilation.
Trivia: May or may not have a connection to the Merlin of Arthurian legend.

224. The Three May Peaches
From: France
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Paul Delarue.
Best Known Version: The Delarue version, naturally.
Synopsis: An Ardenne king has a beautiful but sick daughter. A doctor declares that the 3 finest May peaches would save her. But then she’ll have to marry within a week or else fall sick again. Many men come with peaches, but none save the princess. A woman has 3 sons. The oldest sets out with their orchard’s finest peaches. He meets an old woman asking what he has. He claims rabbit dung and she that so it is. When he gets to the castle, that’s what he carries. The second brother sets out, tells the old woman he’s carrying horse dung, and again finds that’s what he carries. The youngest, who’s short and seen as an idiot, persuades his mom to let him try as well, and tells the old woman he’s carrying peaches to cure the princess. She says so it is as well as gives him a silver whistle. When he gets to the castle, eating the peaches revives the princess.

However, the king doesn’t want such a puny son-in-law. So he tells the boy to herd 100 rabbits without losing one for 4 days. The rabbits scatter the first day, but the boy uses the whistle to bring them back. The second day, the king sends the princess to get one, which the boy would trade for a kiss. When the princess has it and reaches the castle gates, the boy uses the whistle and it comes back. The next day, the king sends the queen to get one. But the boy would only trade one if she turns 3 somersaults. When she does, the king locks the bunny in a room. But the boy uses his whistle and it comes back through the window. The fourth day, the king goes himself. The boy would only trade if the king kiss the donkey’s ass. When the king gets the rabbit, he has it killed, skinned and put in a casserole. But when the boy uses his whistle, it jumps out of the dish, back into its skin and back to him. Then the king says that the boy fill 3 sacks with truths. He says the princess kissed him for a rabbit, which fills the first sack. He goes on saying the queen did somesaults for a rabbit, filling the second sack. After that, the king stops the boy and lets him marry the princess.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The fact the protagonist has the royals do embarrassing stuff for bunnies might have something to do with it. Also, you don’t want to see a jumping rabbit without its skin.
Trivia: N/A

225. The Griffin

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The Grimm fairy tale, The Griffin is about a young man who wins over a princess and is tasked with getting a griffin’s tail feather. Along the way, he hears 3 requests from 2 lords and a giant. 

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A king’s daughter is sick. It’s foretold she’ll recover by eating an apple. The king declares whoever brings it to cure her will marry her. A peasant with 3 sons, sends the oldest Uele with a basket of apples. He meets a little iron man asking him what’s in it. Uele says, “Frog’s legs.” The man says so it is. When he reaches the king, the basket contains frog’s legs. The king drives him out. The peasant sends his second son Seame, who answers “Hog’s bristles,” makes the same discovery, and receives the same reception. The youngest son, Hans, who’s considered a fool, begs to go, too until his dad lets him. When he meets the iron man, Hans says the basket contains apples for the princess to eat and make herself well. The iron man says it’s so. The basket holds apples that when he reaches the castle, the princess is cured.

However, the king refuses to let them marry until he has an amphibious boat. Hans goes home to his dad who sends Uele to make such a ship. The iron man comes to him asking what he’s making. When Uele says, “Wooden bowls,” that’s what he makes. Seame suffers the same fate. But when Hans tells the iron man that he’s making an amphibious ship, he makes such a boat. The king then sets Hans to watch 100 hares all day in a meadow. He does so without losing any. The king sends a maid to beg for one of them, for guests. Hans refuses but says he’ll give one to the king’s daughter. The iron man gives him a whistle that would summon any hare back. Hans gives the princess a hare before whistling it back.

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When Hans reaches the griffin’s house, he meets his wife. He tells her his story and request. She gets to work.

The king next sends Hans to fetch a griffin tail feather. On his way, a castle lord asks Hans to ask the griffin where his lost keys to his money chest are. Another lord requests the guy ask on how to cure his ill daughter. While a giant request Hans ask the Griffin why he has to carry people over a lake. At the griffin’s castle, Hans meets the griffin’s wife, warning him that her husband would eat him. But at night, he can pull out a feather and she’ll get the answers for him. Hans does as she said. When he pulls the feather, the griffin wakes. The wife tells him a man had been here and gone away, but not after telling her some stories. She repeats them. The griffin says the key’s in the wood house under a log. Second, that a toad made a nest in the daughter’s hair, but she can be cured if they take her hair out. And finally, the giant only has to put someone down in the middle of the lake and he’ll be free. Hans leaves and tells the other lords and giant what he learned. They give him rich treasures. When he reaches the king, Hans claims the griffin gave them. The king sets out to get some. But he’s far from the first man to reach the giant who puts him down in the lake, where he drowns. Hans marries the princess and becomes king.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: A king drowns in a lake.
Trivia: N/A

226. Mogarzea and His Son

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The Romanian fairy tale, Mogarzea and His Son is about an orphan boy who befriends a giant. Let’s just say the story gets a bit weird from there.

From: Romania and Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Mite Kremnitz in her Rumänische Märchen.
Best Known Version: The one collected by Andrew Lang in his The Violet Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A dying mom and dad leave their son in a guardian’s care. But the guardian wastes the money so the son leaves him. On his way, he finds a giant and lies down beside him. The next morning, he claims to be his son born in the night. Because the giant doesn’t understand how reproduction and child development works, the boy looks after the giant’s sheep during the day. In the evening, he asks the giant to talk a bit about himself. His name is Mogarzea. He’s an emperor’s son (hopefully a giant emperor, given how Hagrid’s conception went down). And he’s on his way to Sweet Milk Lake to marry one of the fairies there when evil elves stole his soul. The boy keeps the sheep out of the elves’ meadows. But when playing the flute one day, one strays over while and the rest follow. When the boy tries driving them back elves appear. So he has to play the flute for them to dance. At night, they let him go but insist he come back the next day.

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Here we see Mogarzea and the boy meet with the fairies. The giant is supposed to marry one of them. But I’m not sure how such marriage would work out based on the illustration.

The next evening, the boy drops the flute and steps on it. He cries about it, telling the elves it’s made from a cherry tree’s heart. The elves offer another cherry tree. The boy chops the tree, tricks them into letting their fingers in, and pulls the ax out so they’re trapped. They tell him where to find Mogarzea’s soul and he brings it back to him. Then he and Mogarzea bring the tree with the elves back to Mogarzea’s dad’s court. There, the boy asks Mogarzea how to marry a fairy of Sweet Milk Lake. Mogarzea tells him. He goes to the lake and plays the flute. A fairy appears and dances. On the third day, he plucks a rose from her hair and doesn’t give it back, no matter how she pleads. So she marries him at the emperor’s court. But every year, they and their children go back to Sweet Milk Lake to bathe.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, how the hero traps the elves is kind of horrifying.
Trivia: N/A

227. The Old Woman in the Wood

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The Old Woman in the Wood is a Grimm fairy tale about a servant girl who’s lost in the woods. Until a dove guides her to a tree where she can sleep.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, of course.
Synopsis: A poor beautiful servant girl travels with the family she works for when robbers attack them. She hides behind a tree but no one else survives. She dreads her fate. A dove comes to her with a golden key, telling her to unlock the tree where she finds food. In the evening, the dove brings the girl to a tree with a bed. She lives like this for many days. When the dove asks her to do something, she agrees. It tells her to go to a house and let herself in. An old woman would greet her, but she shouldn’t answer. Rather the girl should open an inner door, which will reveal a room full of splendid things. But she must take a plain one. The old woman is quite angry but the girl doesn’t heed her. Then, when she can’t see the plain ring, she witnesses the old woman trying to carry off a bird cage. The girl takes it away from her. The cage contains a bird holding a ring in its beak. So she takes it outside and waits against a tree. 2 branches turn into arms around her as the tree turns into a handsome man who kisses her. He tells her the old woman’s a witch who turned him into a tree. And for 2 hours a day, he becomes a dove, and she had freed him. All of his attendants turn back from trees into humans as well. With the prince being a king’s son, they go to his dad’s kingdom and get married.

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After a while, the dove tells the girl to break in an old lady’s house and carry off a bird in a cage. Also, get the bird’s ring out of its mouth.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, it’s pretty weird.
Trivia: N/A

228. The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs

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The Devil with Three Golden Hairs is a Grimm fairy tale of a miller’s son who marries a princess. Unfortunately, the king has him get 3 golden hairs from the Devil in hopes he’ll die.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A poor woman gives birth to a son with a caul (where the amniotic sac is still intact at birth), which is interpreted to mean he’ll marry a king’s daughter at 14. Hearing of it, the wicked king visits the family and persuades to bring the boy back and raise him in the castle. Instead, he puts the boy in the box, which he throws in the water so that he won’t grow up and marry his daughter. But instead of sinking, the box drifts down to a mill, where it’s found by a miller and his wife. The 2 decide to raise the boy as their own.

14 years later, the king inadvertently stumbles upon the mill. Upon seeing the boy, the king asks the miller whether he’s his dad. The miller then explains his story of how he and his wife had come to raise the boy. Shocked, the king devises a way to rid himself of the boy once and for all. He gives the young man a sealed letter and instructs him to deliver it to the queen. Inside, the king commands that the boy be killed and buried once he arrives. On his way to deliver the letter, the boy seeks shelter at an old woman’s house for the night. Despite her warnings of robbers frequenting the house, the boy falls asleep, claiming he can’t walk any further. When bandits arrive, they read the letter and take pity on the boy. Without waking, they put a new letter in place, dictating the boy should marry the princess upon his arrival. When morning comes, they direct him to the castle and he goes on his way.

The wedding proceeds. When the king returns, he dispatches the boy to travel into Hell and return with 3 of the Devil’s golden hairs in yet another effort to get rid of his new son-in-law. The boy’s confronted by 3 questions on his journey, while he travels between 2 towns across the river. When passing through each, he’s asked his trade (“what he knows”). Twice, the boy responds, “I know everything.” He’s then asked why the first town’s well, which once sprang forth wine, but no longer dispenses even water. In the second town, he’s asked why a tree that once sprouted golden apples, no longer sprouts leaves. While being ferried across the river, the ferryman asks the boy why he must always row back and forth and isn’t free to do otherwise. To each question he replies, “You shall know that, only when I come back.”

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When the boy enters Hell, he finds the Devil’s grandma. He feeds her the riddles he hears and the request for 3 golden hairs. She tells him to hide and handles the situation.

The boy finds Hell’s entrance on the river’s other side. Upon entering, he only finds the Devil’s grandmother. He tells her what he wants, and she promises to help him how she can before turning him into an ant and hiding him in her clothing folds. The Devil returns and, despite smelling human flesh in the air, is convinced to sit down, eat, and drink. Once he’s done, he lays his head on his grandma’s lap and falls into a drunken sleep. She plucks 3 golden hairs from his head, causing him to wake up after hair pulled. Assuming the pain is part of his dreams, he recounts his visions to his granny: a dried up well in a town square with a toad underneath blocking the liquid flow, a tree that can’t sprout fruit or leaves because of a mouse gnawing at its root, and a ferryman who can be free by merely placing his oar in another man’s hands on the bank’s other side. The next morning, once the Devil leaves the dwelling again, the boy transforms into his former self. Thanking the old woman, he takes the 3 golden hairs and sets off for home. Once again, he passes the river and the 2 cities, disclosing the answers he overheard the Devil speak of during the night. Each town gives him a pair of donkeys laden with gold, which the boy brings back to the castle with him. Pleased by his son-in-law’s return with such wealth, the king allows him to live in peace with his wife. He then inquires on where the boy got his newfound wealth, hoping to get some for himself. The boy tells his father-in-law he found the gold across the river. The story ends with the king crossing the river with the ferryman, who hands him the oar upon reaching the side, condemning him to a life of ferrying travelers back and forth forever.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: N/A
Trivia: Might’ve influenced J. R. R. Tolkein’s The Tale of Beren and Lúthien though there are substantial differences.

229. The Story of the Three Wonderful Beggars

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The Story of the Three Wonderful Beggars is an Eastern European fairy tale of a merchant who’s trying to kidnap a boy named Vasillii since the 3 beggars who stayed in his stable decide to give their wealth to him.

From: Serbia and Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki as “Vasilii the Unlucky” in its Russian form. In this version, when Anastasia goes to see them, the beggars are grandly dressed. The Serpent King is known as Tsar Zmey and Vasilii receives jewels from the whale. The beginning of this story kind of runs like A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Best Known Version: The one collected by Andrew Lang in his The Violet Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A very rich and hard-hearted merchant named Mark (or Marko) has a daughter named Anastasia. One day, he’s about to set the dogs on 3 beggars, when Anastasia pleads with him. So he lets them stay in the stable loft. Anastasia goes to see them. The beggars decide to give Marko’s wealth to a newborn named Vasilii, a poor peasant’s seventh son in a neighboring village. She tells her dad. Marko goes and finds just such a boy had been born. The merchant offers to be the boy’s godfather and raise him, giving the poor dad a sum of money as well. When the boy’s dad agrees, the merchant throws the baby off the cliff. Other merchants pick up the child and bring him to Marko, who persuades them to leave the boy to him. He then puts the boy in a barrel (or an open boat), which he throws out to sea. The wooden craft floats to a monastery where an abbot takes him in. Many years later, Marko passes by and hears the story. He persuades the abbot that he wants to take him in, and that he’d give the monastery a large sum of money for it. The abbot and monks agree. Marko sends the boy to his wife with a letter prescribing he should be pushed into the soap-making cauldron at once.

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When the merchant gets the kid, he throws the baby off a cliff. Other merchants find him and bring him to Marko who eventually has him thrown to sea. Luckily, he ends up at a monastery.

Vasilii meets the 3 beggars along the way, who breathe on the letter. When he arrives, the letter calls for him to marry Anastasia at once. His wife obeys, and Marko comes home finding a letter in his own handwriting calling for it. So he sends his new son-in-law to collect rent from the Serpent King (Tsar Zmey). Vasilii meets an old oak, which asks if he can discover why it can’t fall, a ferryman asking why he’s bound to ferry people back and forth, and a whale being used as a bridge asking him if he can discover how long it will be bound to this task. At the castle, Vasilii meets a maiden who hides him and asks the Serpent King in serpent form, about a dream she had. He tells her the oak has to be pushed over, which would reveal treasure, the ferryman has to push the boat off with another person in it, and the whale has to vomit up the 12 ships it had swallowed without leave. Vasilii goes back, carefully not telling the whale and the ferryman anything until he already crosses. He then finds gold and silver under the oak. He returns to Marko, who sets out to make sure the next time, Vasili won’t be able to escape. But the ferryman pushes Marko off, and he’s ferrying people still.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features attempted infanticide and child selling.
Trivia: N/A

230. The Fish and the Ring

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The English fairy tale, the Fish and the Ring revolves around a poor peasant girl who’s fated to marry a baron’s son. Unfortunately, his dad’s a magician who tries to throw her in the river. Luckily a fisherman and his wife raise her.

From: England
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Joseph Jacobs in his English Fairy Tales.
Best Known Version: I guess the Jacobs version.
Synopsis: A magician baron learns that his son’s fated to marry a poor peasant’s daughter. He goes to that peasant, and when learning that he can’t feed 6 children, offers to take the littlest one. He then throws her in the river. She floats to a fisherman’s house and the fisherman raises her. She grows into a great beauty. On a hunting trip years later, the baron sees the girl. His companion asks who’d she marry. To cast her horoscope, the baron asks the girl when she was born and she tells her story. He sends her to his brother, with a letter telling him to kill her. She falls among robbers, who alter the letter to say she should marry the son, and his brother holds the wedding at once. The baron comes and learns of it before taking his daughter-in-law to walk along the cliff. She begs for her life. He doesn’t push her in but he throws a golden ring into the sea and tells her that she should never show him or his son her face again without it. She goes and works in the kitchen. When the baron comes to dine at that house as she’s cooking fish, she finds a ring in it. The guests are so taken with the fish that they want to meet the cook and she goes with the ring. The baron realizes he can’t fight his fate and announces that she’s his son’s true bride before taking her back with him to his home, where she lives happily ever after with her husband.

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When the baron sends the girl with a letter to his brother, she falls in with robbers. Fortunately, the discover the letter as a hit on her and arrange it so she marries the baron’s son instead.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features child selling and attempted infanticide.
Trivia: N/A

A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 22- The Three Treasures of the Giants to The Hairy Man

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When it comes to fairy tales, rewards could either be a royal or high born marriage, treasure, or both. Either way, a hero will have to do some impossible task or defeat the ferocious creature in the way. Of course, a high marriage would usually mean living in a castle and potentially ruling after the old man dies. While treasure means you’ll never have work again in your life. Anyway, in this installment, I bring you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, is a European tale of giants’ treasures. Second, is a Grimm story on a queen bee followed by Russian tales on an evil wizard who can’t be killed and a hairy man. Third, is a Hungarian story of a gold bearded man. Then we come to a Norwegian tale of a young man trying to steal from a troll. After that, we have 2 Italian stories on a guy name Thirteenth and a girl sold with pears. Next is a Danish tale of a guy who runs into a witch and gets homicidal. And finally, we have a French story of lost children.

211. The Three Treasures of the Giants

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The Three Treasures of the Giants is an Eastern European fairy tale of a young man who stumbles upon a castle. Turns out, it just so happens to be guarded by friendly giants willing to bestow him gifts for favors.

From: Eastern Europe
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Louis Léger in Contes Populaires Slaves.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Orange Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A man has 3 sons. When he’s dying, he tells the oldest he’d inherit, but he must be kind to his mom and younger brothers. He then gives the older 2 brothers more advice before telling the youngest son that while he’s not clever, he’s got a kind heart and should follow it. After the old man dies, the sons set out to seek their fortune. The older 2 want to leave the youngest behind. But their mom says there’s nothing for him there. The older 2 carry great sacks of food, the youngest nothing, causing the older 2 growing so angry for having to carry the weight. The youngest rebukes them claiming not wanting to burden their mom, when they take all her food. They share with him. At night, they eat on their own. The woodcutter’s family share with the youngest so he eats better than his brothers. They set out to lose him in the woods and find a castle. Despite being empty of people, it has a room filled with copper coins, another with silver, and a third with gold. The 2 older brothers empty their sacks and fill them up. When the youngest eats the food they dropped, they drive him home and return to their mom with the money.

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Of course, the young man’s brothers don’t seem to treat him well. As you can see them by driving him away.

The youngest goes to the castle and makes a bag of his jacket to take some gold. The giants return and catch him, offering to spare the guy if he guards their treasures, and give him a table to feed himself at, which if he knocks on it, it would give him a feast. One day, the youngest brother grows tired of guarding and goes off, taking the table. He finds a hermit and gives him a feast. The hermit offers to trade the table for a trumpet that would bring him an army if he blows it. The youngest son agrees. But when he goes on his way, he regrets it, blows the trumpet, and has the soldiers take back the table. He goes on and finds another hermit. After another feast, the hermit offers him a bag containing as many castles as he liked. He agrees, but again, has the soldiers take back the table. Going back home, the youngest son stays with his brothers for a time, and the secret leaks out. The king borrows the table, and tries substituting a false one. The youngest son uses the trumpet and the king offers to give him back the table and let him marry the princess. He agrees. When he produces a castle to live in, the king says he’s old and weak and makes him king. The youngest son lives to be old and happy, but his descendants are too proud to look after the treasure and are so overcome.

Other Versions: Included in Ruth Manning-Sanders’ A Book of Giants as “King Johnny.” In her version, the hermits arrive and demand the table. Because they both can’t take it to their hermitages, the princess proposes they remain at the castle and eat there every day. This makes the son feel guilty so he goes back and offers it to the giants, who tell him they don’t want it, because it makes food for men.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

212. The Queen Bee

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The Grimm fairy tale, the Queen Bee pertains to a prince who saves animals from his 2 older brothers who aid him when he has to accomplish 3 tasks to free a castle. Else he’ll turn into stone.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: 2 princes go out seeking their fortunes, but fall into disorderly ways. The third and youngest son, Simpleton, goes out looking for them, but they mock him. They travel on. Simpleton prevents his brothers from destroying an ant hill, killing some ducks, and suffocating a beehive with smoke. They then come to a castle with stone horses in the stable, and no sign of anyone. They look through the castle, finding a room with a little gray man, who shows them to dinner. In the morning, he shows the oldest son a stone table, which has 3 tasks written. Whoever performs them, frees the castle. The first task is to collect the princess’ 1000 pearls, scattered in the woods. Whoever tries and fails turns into stone. The 2 older brothers try and fail. However, the youngest has the ants collect the pearls. The second task is to fetch the princess’ bedroom key from the lake, which the ducks do for him. The third task is to pick out the youngest princess from the 3 sleeping princesses who look exactly alike. The only difference being the oldest ate sugar before they slept, the second a little syrup, and the youngest a little honey. The queen bee picks out the youngest. This wakes the castle and restores those who’ve been turned into stone. The youngest prince marries the youngest princess while his 2 older brothers marry the others.

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

213. The Death of Koschei the Deathless

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The Russian fairy tale, The Death of Koschei the Deathless is about a prince who searches for his 3 sisters and their wizard brothers-in-law. During his journey, he meets and marries a warrior princess named Marya Morevna. She should’ve explained to him why he shouldn’t open that one door.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Red Fairy Book.
Synopsis: Tsarevitch Ivan has 3 sisters. The oldest is Princess Marya. The second is Princess Olga. And the youngest is Princess Anna. After his parents die and his sisters marry 3 wizards, he leaves home looking for his sisters. He meets a beautiful warrior princess Marya Morevna whom he marries. After a while, she announces that she’s going to war and tells Ivan not to open the dungeon door of their castle home while she’s away. Overcome by his curiosity on what the dungeon holds, Ivan opens it soon after she leaves and finds Koschei, who’s chained and emaciated. Koschei asks Ivan for some water. Ivan brings it to him. After drinking 12 buckets of water, Koschei’s powers return to him that he tears his chains and disappears. Soon Ivan finds out that Koschei’s taken Marya Morevna away and chases him. When he gets him for the first time, Koschei tells Ivan to let him go, but Ivan doesn’t give him. So the wizard kills Ivan, puts his remains in a barrel, and throws it out to sea. Fortunately, Ivan’s brothers-in-law are powerful wizards who can transform into birds of prey. So they revive him. Then they tell him that Koschei has a magic horse and that he should go to Baba Yaga to get one, too. Or else he can’t defeat Koschei. After Ivan stands Baba Yaga’s test and gets the horse, he fights with Koschei, kills him, and burns his body. Marya Morevna returns to Ivan, and they celebrate victory with his sisters and their husbands.

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When his wife’s away, the prince opens the dungeon door. It’s an old man who asks for water. Sure it seems like no big deal, but wait until you find out who he really is.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Adapted into a novel by Peter Morwood as Prince Ivan and one by Catherynne M. Valentine called Deathless. Retold by Gene Wolfe.
Why Forgotten: A wizard kills the hero, puts his remains in a barrel, and throws it out to sea.
Trivia: Also called “Marya Morevna.”

214. The Gold-Bearded Man

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When his wife’s away, the prince opens the dungeon door. It’s an old man who asks for water. Sure it seems like no big deal, but wait until you find out who he really is.

From: Hungary
Earliest Appearance: Collected in Ungarische Mahrchen.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Crimson Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A dying king asks his queen never to remarry, but instead to devote the rest of her life to caring for their only son. She promises to do as requested. But soon after her husband dies, the queen remarries and has her new husband made king instead of her son. Unfortunately, the stepfather’s a wicked guy who very cruelly abuses his stepson. By the castle, there’s a brook of milk rather than water, which has plenty for everyone. But the new king forbids anyone to take any. The guards notice a gold-bearded man taking buckets of milk in the morning before strangely vanishing. The king comes to see. He wonders if he could capture such a man and many attempts fail. But one day, an old soldier tells him to leave bread, bacon, and drugged wine for the man. Since he’d eat, drink, and fall asleep. Then they could catch him. The plan succeeds and the king puts the man in a cage After a month passes, the king has to go to war. He tells his stepson to feed the man but not free him, or he’ll meet a terrible fate.

The prince accidentally shoots an arrow into the cage. The gold-bearded man refuses to give it back unless he free him. After much pleading, the prince is convinced. The gold-bearded man promises to repay him a thousand-fold and vanishes. The prince decides that running away can’t be more dangerous than staying and leaves. As he goes along, he meets a wood dove. He’s on the verge of shooting it when it implores him not to because its 2 children could starve. The prince spares it and the dove says because of his act of mercy, it will find a way to repay him. The prince continues on, eventually meeting a duck and later a stork. The same thing happens both times as had with the wood dove.

The prince then meets with 2 soldiers and they travel together looking for work. A king hires the soldiers as coachmen and the prince as his companion. The jealous soldiers tell him the prince claimed that if he was made the king’s steward, he can ensure that no grain’s lost in the king’s store. If he set the prince to separate the wheat and barley, it would show what his boasting is worth. The king has 2 enormous sacks mixed and orders the prince to separate them. The wood dove, who’s just happens to be king of the wood doves, has his fellow doves sort them. The king appoints the prince as his steward.

This makes the soldiers more envious. They then tell the king that the prince claimed if he was in charge of the royal treasures, he’d ensure that none were lost. If the king has a ring from the princess’ finger thrown in the stream, it would show what his boasting is worth. The king does so. And the duck, who’s the king of ducks, has his ducks find it. The king appoints him in charge of the treasures. The soldiers next claim the prince knows of a child who can speak every language and play every musical instrument. The king thinks this is magic, which he’s tried learning, and orders the prince to produce the child as a third task or be dragged to death. The stork brings the child to him. The king marries the prince to his daughter and asks how he pulled that off. The prince tells him and the king has the 2 soldiers driven off with whips.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why. Maybe having soldiers being driven off with whips.
Trivia: N/A

215. Boots and the Troll

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The Norwegian fairy tale, Boots and the Troll pertains to a young man who’s sent on a slew of errands to steal some troll’s stuff. Eventually the troll catches him though.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in Norwegian Folktales.
Best Known Version: The Asbjørnsen and Moe version, obviously.
Synopsis: An old man burns in hell. His 3 sons set out to seek their fortune. The older 2 want nothing to do with the youngest son, whom they say is fit for nothing but sitting and poking about the ashes. The youngest brings a kneading-trough, the only thing their parents left behind, which his brothers hadn’t bothered with. While his brothers got places under the coachman and gardener at the royal castle, he gets one in the kitchen. The youngest does so much better than older brothers do that they become jealous. They tell the coachman their younger brother said he could get a troll’s 7 silver ducks for the king, which he long wanted. The coachman tells the king. The king insists the youngest do the deed. The youngest demands, wheat and rye, rows over the lake to in the kneading trough to the troll’s place, and lures the ducks to the trough using the grain.
The 2 older brothers then tell the coachman, their younger brother could steal the troll’s bed-quilt. Again, the coachman tells the king. The youngest brother demands 3 days.

When he sees the bed-quilt hung out in the air, he steals it. This time, the king makes the youngest his body servant. The 2 older brothers tell the coachman their younger claims he could steal the troll’s golden harp that cheered everyone who heard it. Again, the coachman tells the king. The youngest brother says he needs 6 days to think. Then he rows over with a nail, birch-pin, and a taper-end. He lets the troll see him. It seizes him at once and puts him in a pen to fatten him up. One day, the youngest brother sticks out the nail instead of his finger, then the birch-pin, and finally the taper-end, at which point they conclude, he’s not fat enough.

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Once the troll gets him, he’s put in a barrel to be fattened up until he’s ready to be cooked. Once he’s released, he kicks his escape plan in high gear.

The troll goes off asking his guests to come. His daughter goes to slaughter the youth. The young man tells her the knife isn’t sharp enough, sharpens it, and suggests testing it on one of her braids. When testing, the young man cuts off her head before roasting half of her and boiling the other as the troll said he should be cooked. He next sits in a corner dressed in her clothes. The troll eats his daughter and asks if he doesn’t want any. The youth claims he’s too sad. The trolls tells him to get a harp and where it is. The youth takes it and sets off in the kneading trough again. The troll shouts after him, and the youth tells him that he ate his own daughter. This makes the troll bursts, and the youth takes his gold and silver. With these, he wins the princess’ hand in marriage and half the kingdom. His brothers are killed by boulders when they go up a mountain.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features decapitation and cannibalism. Also, a troll bursts and 2 guys get crushed.
Trivia: N/A

216. Thirteenth
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Thomas Frederick Crane in Italian Popular Tales.
Best Known Version: The Crane version, obviously.
Synopsis: A mom with 13 sons motivates them to become fast runners, by arranging a nightly competition. This night it’s the first one reaching home will enjoy the soup made from herbs their dad gathered. The youngest son, Thirteenth, always wins, attracting his brothers’ envy as a result that they try getting rid of him. One day, the king promises a prize of gold for the hero managing to steal a nearby giant’s blanket. The brothers approach the king telling him that Thirteenth boasts being able to perform the feat. The king asks that Thirteenth be brought to him and demands he do what he bragged about. Despite not pretending to be a monster slayer, Thirteenth protests but to no avail. He has no choice but to go to the giant’s house. The monster is out. But his wife’s at home.

Thirteenth sneaks inside and hides under the bed. At night, the giant returns, eats his dinner, and goes to bed, telling his wife he smells a human and wants to eat it. The giantess thinks he’s stupid since she doesn’t see any humans around. During the night, Thirteenth pulls the blanket trying to steal it, but the giant stirs. He mews like a cat, and the giant’s calmed so he goes back to sleep. Thirteenth then quickly seizes the blanket and runs out. The giant wakes up again, and hears the thief’s steps. After some time, the king issues another reward if someone would bring him the giant’s horse. Thirteenth presents himself and asks for a silk ladder and a bag of cakes. At night, he approaches the giant’s stable. The horse neighs seeing him, but Thirteenth calms it by offering it cake, and manages to ride it all the way to the king.

Then the king declares that he wants the giant’s bolster. Thirteenth protests. Since the bolster’s full of bells, making it impossible to steal it and sneak away unnoticed. The king insists and Thirteenth departs. He creeps under the ogre’s bed, waiting for the giant couple to retire. When the couple’s asleep at midnight, Thirteenth stretches out his hand for the bolster. But the bell chimes waking up the giant. The giant’s wife believes the wind stirred them, and the giant seemingly agrees before going back to sleep. In reality, the giant’s just pretending since he now feels it’s time to catch the burglar. When Thirteenth stretches out his hand for the bolster again, he seizes his arm. To punish Thirteenth for his 3 crimes, the giant imprisons him in a barrel, fattening him up in order to eat him. Every few days, the ogre feels Thirteenth’s finger to measure the fattening process. The boy is steadily getting fatter, and Thirteenth realizes his finger will soon reveal he’s fat enough for the giant’s dinner. He thus presents a mouse tail instead of his own finger for the giant, who can’t tell, an believes the boy isn’t ready for slaughter. A few days later, the giant wants to measure again and this time, Thirteenth uses a spindle to the same end. By the end of the month, Thirteenth can’t find anything else to use as a substitute as his finger so he has no choice but to stick it out. Satisfied the boy’s fat enough, the giant calls his wife to prepare him for dinner, while he invites their relatives for the feast.

While heating the stove, the giantess releases Thirteenth from the barrel, asking him to help her prepare a lamb for dinner. Understanding he’s the lamb, Thirteenth tricks the giantess to fall into the oven. When she’s cooked, Thirteenth carves her and serves her legs as a meal, places her upper body on the bed, with strings attached to her head and hands, covered under a blanket. When the relatives arrive, the giant finds the table ready and goes into the bedroom to invite his wife for dinner. Thirteenth answers no by pulling the strings. But one relative comes looking for them and notices something not right with the giantess. Thirteenth escapes from under the bed, manages to steal the bolster, and reach the king. The king wants Thirteenth to complete his exploits by bringing the giant himself. Thirteenth orders a very strong chest, disguises himself as a monk, and sets off to the giant’s. He pretends to be a man hunting for the evil Thirteenth to capture him in the chest. The monk asks the giant to test the chest’s strength and tricks him into capture. He brings the giant to the king who imprisons him and rewards Thirteenth half the kingdom.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features cannibalism and dismemberment.
Trivia: N/A

217. Esben and the Witch

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The Danish fairy tale, Esben and the Witch is about boy and his 11 brothers who wind up at a witch’s house. She has a lot daughters and a taste for children.

From: Denmark
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Pink Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, obviously.
Synopsis: A farmer has 12 sons. His youngest, Esben is little while his brothers are big and strong. One day, the brothers persuade their dad to let them seek their fortunes. The dad gives them each horses and money. Esben decides to go, too. But his dad refuses to aid him. He takes a stick and whittles at it so it’s whiter than his brothers’ horses and rides off on it. The 11 brothers come to a house where a woman not only invites them to stay for the night, they can each have one of her daughters. They’re pleased. Esben comes up behind them and sneaks about. That night, he and his brothers change caps with the girls. At midnight, the woman (who’s a witch), comes with a knife and cuts her 11 daughters’ throats, because of the night caps. Esben wakes his brothers and they all flee. The brothers leave Esben with their horses.

The brothers take service with the king as stable boys. When Esben arrives, no one gives him a place, but he manages to get his food with one thing or another. His brothers don’t stand to attention for Sir Red, whom everyone in the castle hates but the king likes. Sir Red decides to revenge himself by saying they claim they could get a dove with a silver feather and a golden one. The king demands it of them. Esben tells them to get him some peas, then he recites a charm to his stick, and it flies him back to the witch’s. He notices she has such a dove before spreading the peas and catching it. The witch sees him too late to catch him, but they exchange taunts. Pissed, Sir Red says they claim they could get the magical boar with gold and silver bristles for the king. Esben makes them get a bag of malt, and using it, catches the witch’s boar. The king’s pleased with that. Although Esben’s brothers don’t even thank him. Sir Red says they claim they could get the lamp that could shine over 7 kingdoms. In this task, Esben has to sneak inside the witch’s house and hide. The witch calls out to her daughter to make her porridge and add no salt. So Esben pours salt into it. The house has no water, so the daughter asks her mom for the lamp to fetch more. Esben then pushes her into the well and she drowns, and he runs off with the lamp.

After the king receives it, Sir Red makes the claim about a coverlet that sounds when touched. Esben tries stealing it, but it sounds and the witch catches him. But the last and youngest daughter takes a liking for him, and together they twice trick her mom into having him live in captivity. Eventually, when the witch has to go to a coven meeting, Esben pushes the final girl in the oven. After all her daughters have been killed, the returning witch is so pissed that she bursts into small flint pieces. Esben’s brothers are already in prison and set to be executed. But the king frees them. Esben tells him about Sir Red. The king hangs him and rewards the brothers with gold and silver. They return home, telling their dad how Esben saved them.

Other Versions: Included in Ruth Manning-Sanders A Book of Witches and A Choice of Magic.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Includes mass child murder, drowning, and pushing a girl into the oven.
Trivia: N/A

218. The Little Girl Sold with Pears

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The Little Girl Sold with Pears is an Italian fairy tale about a girl sold with pears to the castle. There, she takes a job as a servant and falls in love with a prince. Then she’s tasked with stealing an ogress’ treasure.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Italo Calvino in his Italian Folktales.
Best Known Version: The Calvino version, naturally.
Synopsis: A man has to pay rent to the king with 4 baskets of pears. One year, his trees only yield 3 ½ baskets of fruit so he puts his youngest daughter in the basket to fill it up. When the baskets arrive at the castle, the royal servants find the girl by the pears she eats and they set her to work as a servant. As the girl grows up, she and the prince fall in love, causing the maid servants to grow envious. The maids tell the king that the girl boasts that she could steal the witch’s (or ogress’) treasure. The king insists that she do it. On her journey, the girl goes by passing an apple tree, a peach tree, and a pear tree where she sleeps. The next morning, a little old woman is under the tree who gives her grease, bread, and millet. The girl goes on giving millet to 3 women at a bakery, sweeping out the ovens with her hair, throwing the bread to some mastiffs, crossing a red river with a charm the little old lady also gave her, and greasing the hinges of the witch’s house. She then takes the treasure chest. The chest begins to speak, but the door refuses to slam on her, the river to drown her, the dogs to eat her, and the women at the bakery to bake her. Curious, the girl opens the chest and a golden hen ad her chicks escape (or musical instruments that play on their own), but the little old woman tells her to put them back. The prince tells her to ask for the coal chest in the cellar as a reward. When the girl asks for it and it’s brought up, the prince is hiding inside so they marry.

Other Versions: Included in Ruth Manning-Sanders’ A Book of Ogres and Trolls as “The Girl in the Basket.” In her version, the servants tell the king that the girl boasts of doing all the laundry. With the prince’s aid, she’s able to do it. Also, when tasked to steal the ogress’ treasure, the prince tells the girl what to do and gives her the stuff. And he tells her to put the treasure back in.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features human trafficking.
Trivia: N/A

219. The Lost Children

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The French fairy tale, The Lost Children revolves around a brother and sister abandoned in the forest who stumble upon the Devil’s house. Let’s just say things go downhill from there.

From: France
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Antoinette Bon in Revue des traditions populaires.
Best Known Version: The Bon version, obviously.
Synopsis: A very stingy couple named Jacques and Toinon have 2 children: a 12-year-old son named Jean and an 8-year-old daughter named Jeannette. Naturally, the children suffer from their parents’ cheapness. Until one day, their folks decide to lose them in the forest with Toinon taking them and leaving them there. At first, they try finding her before searching for a way out. Jean climbs a tree and sees a white house and a red house. They go to the red one. The woman there lets them in but tells them to be quiet or her husband would eat them, because he’s the Devil. She hides them. But her husband can spell them because they’re Christians. He beats his wife and puts Jean in a barn to fatten him up before eating him, making Jeannette bring him food. But since the Devil’s too fat to get into the barn, he orders Jeannette to bring Jean’s finger tip to test how fat he is. Jeannette brings him a rat’s tail.

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When the boy is set to be put in the sawhorse, the girl pushes the Devil’s Wife into it instead. Yes, it’s that disturbing.

The third time, the Devil notices the trick and pulls Jean out. He makes a sawhorse to lay Jean out and bleed before going for a walk. Jeannette and Jean pretend not to understand how he’s to be put on the sawhorse. The Devil’s wife shows them. Jean ties her on and cuts her throat. They take the Devil’s gold and silver and flee in his carriage. The Devil chases them. On the way, he meets various people including a laborer, a shepherd, a beadle, and some laundresses, asking whether they’ve seen the children. The first time he does, they each mishear him, but then tell him they hadn’t save one laundress, telling him to cross the river. The Devil can’t cross it. So one laundress offers to cut her hair to let him cross on it. But when he’s in the middle, she drops it so he drowns. The children get home and take care of their parents despite what they’ve done.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features domestic abuse and grisly murder along with attempted cannibalism.
Trivia: N/A

220. The Hairy Man
From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Crimson Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, of course.
Synopsis: 2 ricks of a king’s rapeseed fields are found burned every night. Finally, a shepherd with dogs keeps watch, and catches the “Hairy Man” responsible. The king puts him in a cage. The Hairy Man pleads with the king’s son so earnestly that the prince frees him. For this, the king orders his son be taken into the forest, killed, and his liver and lungs brought back as proof. The man who takes him can’t do it so he kills an old sick dog instead. The boy wanders into the forest until he finds a cottage where an old man (who’s once the same Hairy Man) lives. The prince stays there for 7 years working hard like a peasant, but never complaining till he’s old enough to travel on. Before leaving, the Hairy Man gives the boy a golden apple (magically containing a golden staff and a golden-maned horse), a silver apple (containing a silver staff and a hussar cavalry), and a copper apple (containing a copper staff and an army of foot soldiers). The boy uses the first apple and embarks on his journey, finally pledging his service to a distant king.

One day, the king (who only has a small army) is threatened by another very powerful king. The boy uses his second apple to make reinforcements for his king. The youngest princess gives the prince a ring and he carries it along with half of a handkerchief his sister gave him into battle. The prince’s men destroys the enemy so thoroughly that only 2 live and are deliberately permitted to escape as messengers to the powerful king who sent them. The prince falls in love with the youngest princess and gives her the copper apple. The princess has already discovered who he really is after having his room searched, which turned up the half handkerchief. When the king learns his champion is a prince as well as a brave and honorable hero, he’s more than happy to let him marry his youngest daughter.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: A king puts out a hit on his son and asks the guy to rip out his organs.
Trivia: N/A

A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 21- The Princess Who Never Smiled to The Prince and Princess in the Forest

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Of course, given that so many forgotten fairy tales exist, there was no way I could get to them all. After all, what I show is only a fraction of the infinite amount of tales told throughout the world. Anyway, in this installment, I give you another 10 forgotten fairy tales for your reading pleasure. First, is a Russian tale of a princess who never smiles. Second, we come to European stories of a magic swan and a frog princess. Third, are 2 Italian tales about a man who wins a princess by making her laugh and an innkeeper jealous of her daughter’s looks. After that, we got an Armenian tale of a poor little rich girl who discovers a sleeping prince, followed by a French story of a girl who befriends dragons and doesn’t go batshit crazy like Mad Queen Daenerys and a Greek one of a girl who’s taken in by the Months after her sisters abandon her. Then there’s a North African story about a girl with 7 big brothers as well as a Danish tale of a prince and princess in the forest.

201. The Princess Who Never Smiled

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In the Russian fairy tale, The Princess Who Never Smiled, a princess never smiles and laughs. So the king makes it a challenge that who can do so will win her hand. Fortunately a worker steps right up to the king’s dismay.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: The Afanasyev version, naturally.
Synopsis: A princess never smiles or laughs. So her dad promises that whoever could make her smile can marry her. Many try but none succeed. Across town, an honest worker works hard for his master. At the year’s end, the master puts a sack of money in front of his worker and allows him to take as much as he wants. Because he doesn’t want to take too much, the worker only takes a coin. When he goes to drink at a well, he drops the coin and loses it. The same thing happens to him the next year. The third year, the worker takes the same amount of coin as before. But when he drinks from the well, he doesn’t lose the coin and the other 2 coins float up to him. So he decides to see the world. A mouse asks for alms and he gives it a coin. He does the same with a beetle and a catfish.

The worker comes to the castle and sees a princess looking at him. Astounded, he falls in the mud. The mouse, beetle, and catfish come to his aid. The princess laughs at their antics, pointing out to the man. When he’s brought to the castle, he’s turned into a handsome man and marries the princess.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Doesn’t really have much of a plot.
Trivia: N/A

202. The Magic Swan
From: Europe
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Hermann Kletke.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Green Fairy Book.
Synopsis: 2 older brothers abuse the youngest son, Peter. An old woman advises him to run away. When Peter does, she tells him to go to a certain tree where he’d find a sleeping man and a swan tied to it. He must take the swan without waking the man, and everyone would fall in love with its plumage. But when they touch it, he can say “Swan, hold fast,” and they’d be his prisoners. With this, he can get a chuckle out of a princess who never laughs. Peter collects a string of people and the princess laughs at the sight. The king offers him a choice of land or gold and he takes the land. Peter then traps the princess with the swan and wins her as a wife. But the swan flies off.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: There‘s not much of a plot.
Trivia: N/A

203. Peruonto

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Peruonto is an Italian fairy tale about a guy who wins a princess by making her laugh. But when her dad finds out, they’re put out to sea and are forced to flee.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Written by Giambattista Basile in his 1634 work, the Pentamerone. Kind of reads like something from Game of Thrones.
Best Known Version: The Basile version, obviously.
Synopsis: A widow named Ceccerella has an ugly idiot son named Peruonto. One day, she sends him to gather wood. He sees 3 men sleeping in the sun and makes them a shelter of branches. They wake and being fairy sons, give him a charm that whatever he asks for would be done. As he carries wood back, Peruonto wishes the wood would carry him, and he rides it back like a horse. The king’s daughter Vastolla, who never laughs, sees it, and bursts out laughing. Peruonto wishes she’d marry him and he’d cure her of her laughing. However, Vastolla is already engaged to marry a prince. But she refuses, wishing to only marry the guy riding the wood. The king proposes putting her to death but his councilors suggest going after the man instead. The king holds a banquet with all the lords and nobles, thinking Vastolla would betray which man it is, but she doesn’t recognize any of them. The king wants her put to death at once, but the councilors suggest a banquet for those still lower in birth. Peruonto’s mom urges him to go, which he does. Vastolla recognizes him at once and exclaims. The king has her and Peruonto shut up in a cask and thrown out to sea. Vastolla worms the story out of Peruonto and tells him to turn the cask to a ship. Then she has him turn it to a castle. Then she has him transform into a handsome and well-mannered man. They marry and live happily for many years.

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Here Peruonto and Vastolla go out to sea. At least Vastolla turned the cask they’re thrown in into a ship.

The king grows old and sad. His councilors encourage him to hunt to cheer him up. One day, he comes upon a castle where he finds 2 little boys welcoming him and bringing him to a magic banquet. The next morning, he wishes to thank them. Not only the boys, but their mom and dad, Vastolla and Peruonto also appear. The reconcile, the king brings the m back to their castle, where the feast of celebration lasts 9 days.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Having your daughter and her boyfriend shut up in a cask and thrown to sea because she didn’t want to marry the guy you wanted her to is a classic example of bad parenting.
Trivia: N/A

204. Bella Venezia
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Italo Calvino in his Italian Folktales. It’s like Snow White but without the dwarves.
Best Known Version: The Calvino version, of course.
Synopsis: An innkeeper named Bella Venezia asks her customers whether they had seen a more beautiful woman than herself. When they say no, she cuts the stay price in half. But one day a traveler that he had seen such a woman: her daughter. Bella Venezia doubles the price for his stay instead of halving it. She then has her daughter shut in a tower with a single window. But the daughter escapes and wanders until she sees 12 robbers order a cave open and shut: “Open up, desert!” and “Close up, desert!” She sneaks inside and cleans up the place, before stealing some of their food before hiding. The robbers set watch. But as each robber stays outside for the person to sneak in so they don’t catch her. Until the chief robber waits inside and sees her. He tells her don’t be afraid, offering she could stay and be their little sister. But one day, one robber goes to Bella Venezia’s inn and tells her the girl they have with them is more beautiful than Bella herself.

A witch begs every day from the inn. Bella Venezia promises her half her fortune if she can kill her daughter. The witch goes into the forest as a peddler, persuading the girl to let her in. While showing her a hair pin, the witch thrusts it into the girl’s head. The robbers find her body, cry, and bury her in a hollow tree. One day, a prince goes hunting. His dogs sniff out a tree where the girl’s buried in. He takes her body back to the castle and can’t bear to be away from her. His angry mom says she could at least fix her hair, revealing the pin. Once the queen pulls it out, the girl wakes up and the prince marries her.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features necrophilia.
Trivia: N/A

205. Nourie Hadig

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Nourie Hadig is an Armenian fairy tale of a girl who’s abandoned by her sisters and stumbles upon a house with all kinds of treasures and a sleeping prince. If she can serve him for 7 years, he’s hers.

From: Armenia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Susie Hoogasian-Villa in 100 Armenian Tales.
Best Known Version: Guess the Hoogasian-Villa version.
Synopsis: A rich man has a beautiful wife and daughter, Nourie Hadig. Every month, the girl’s mother asks the new moon if she’s the prettiest. However, the moon finally says her daughter is prettier. She takes to her bed and tells her husband he must get rid of their daughter and bring back her bloody shirt as proof. Instead of killing the girl, the dad abandons Nourie Hadig in the woods. The girl finds a house. When she goes in, the door closes behind her. She finds rooms full of treasure and a sleeping prince. A voice tells her to cook for the prince for 7 years, and leave the food beside the bed. At the next new moon, the moon tells Nourie Hadig’s mom her daughter is still prettier. The wife realizes her daughter didn’t get killed and is determined to find and murder her. The husband admits he didn’t kill her and doesn’t know where she is. The wife sets out to find her. Every new moon, she asks the moon again about her daughter, hearing every time the daughter is prettier.

After 4 years, gypsies come by the house where Nourie Hadig is. She buys a girl from them and they both serve the prince. Once the 7 years are up, the prince wakes up. Because the gypsy girl’s tending him, he thinks she had served him all these 7 years, so he decides to marry her. While wedding arrangements progress, the prince goes into town and tells Nourie Hadig that she must’ve helped some. So he’ll buy her something. She asks for the Stone of Patience. He buys it. The stonecutter tells him that if one’s troubles are great, the stone will swell until it bursts from sorrow on hearing them. But if the person makes much of a little, they would swell and burst. So he must watch and ensure that the servant asking for it doesn’t burst. He gives Nourie Hadig the stone and she tells it her story. It swells and is about to burst when the prince breaks in and insists on marrying her, rather than the gypsy.

The next new moon, the moon says that the Princess of Adana is prettier, so her mom knows where her daughter is. She has a beautiful ring made that will put its wearer to sleep. And she has the witch bring it to her daughter, pleading her mom had been out of her mind when she ordered her death. The gypsy girl persuades Nourie Hadig to wear the ring and she falls down dead. The prince refuses to bury his wife and resolves to tend her as she tended him. Many doctors can’t heal her. Though one tries stealing the ring. Just as the princess gets out of her ring-induced coma, he slides it back on and gets the prince to promise him rewards for healing his wife. He then takes the ring off, restoring Nourie Hadig to life. However, when the ring was on the princess, the moon tells the wife she’s the prettiest. But after the ring’s removed, it says Nourie Hadig is. The wife gets so angry that she dies.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Offensive Roma stereotypes. Also, the heroine participates in human trafficking.
Trivia: N/A

206. La Petite Toute-Belle

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The French fairy tale, La Petite Toute-Belle centers around a girl so beautiful that her jealous mom has a servant push her in a well. Don’t worry, she befriends a trio of dragons.

From: France
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Paul Sébillot in Contes des landes et des grèves. Comes from Brittany.
Best Known Version: The Sebillot version, I guess.
Synopsis: A woman has a daughter who’s so pretty that people call her Toute-Belle (Very Beautiful). Her mom’s jealous of her beauty. They have a kleptomaniac servant who hates Toute-Belle who snitches on her thievery. So she eventually convinces the girl’s mom that her daughter’s stealing shit. When the mom finds her jewels stolen, she promises to reward whoever will rid her of Toute-Belle. The servant promises to push Toute-Belle into a well in a way that’ll look like an accident. The next day, the servant pretends seeing a beautiful flower in the well. Toute-Belle bends over the edge and the servant pushes her. But instead of drowning, Toute-Belle finds herself in a pretty room where 3 dragons live and ask how she came. She tells them her story and they decide to keep her with them.

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Toute-Belle’s mom tries to get her killed 3 times. But each time the dragons intervene. Until a fairy gives the girl a poisoned red dress to put on. Don’t worry, she gets better.

The next day, the servant goes to the well to draw water and Toute-Belle greets her. She goes to the mom, telling her Toute-Belle is alive. The mom asks an evil fairy how to kill her daughter. The fairy gives her red almonds, saying that Toute-Belle will die if she eats them. The next morning, the servant gives Toute-Belle the almonds. But when the girl wants to eat them, the dragons intervene, saying they’re poisoned. The mom asks the fairy to kill Toute-Belle, threatening to kill her if she doesn’t succeed. The fairy reluctantly gives her a red dress, saying Toute-Belle will die as soon as she slips it on. The following morning, the servant gives Toute-Belle the dress and the girl decides putting it on so the dragons would see how pretty she is. But no sooner has she slips on the poisoned dress that she falls down and loses consciousness.

When the dragons find her, they think she’s dead and put her in a shrine, which they put on the beach. When the tide rises, the shrine floats away as the dragons watch it, crying. When it disappears, they think it’s sunk. However, the shrine floats until it stops on rocks, near a castle. A young king sees it and asks his servant to bring it to him. When he opens it, he finds Toute-Belle and thinking she’s too fresh-looking to be dead. He starts a chimney fire and tries waking her up. m

Wondering why her son’s staying in his bedroom, the queen mother thinks he’s sick and asks her maid to look through the keyhole. The maid says the king’s holding a girl in his arms. The angry queen breaks the door down but when she sees Toute-Belle, she takes pity on her. The maid claims the girl is too fresh-looking and pretty to be dead, and that they should take off her dress and warm her up. As soon as they take the dress off, Toute-Belle wakes up and tells her story. The king sends for the 3 dragons whom he rewards. He then declares he’ll marry Toute-Belle if she agrees before inviting the girl’s mom and servant. He asks the mom if she has a marriageable daughter. The mom says yes, but she died very suddenly. The king confronts her with the truth and condemns her and the servant to be burned at the stake.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Two women get burned at the stake. Also, contains good dragons and evil fairies which most people aren’t used to.
Trivia: N/A

207. Myrsina
From: Greece
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Georgios A. Megas in Folktales of Greece.
Best Known Version: The Megas version, obviously.
Synopsis: Myrsina is the youngest of 3 orphaned sisters. The sun declares her the prettiest 3 times. Her jealous sisters tell her it’s time to honor their mom with a memorial or rebury her. They make the traditional food, go to her grave in the forest, and exclaim they forgot the shovel and so can’t plant flowers nor can they exhume her for reburial. The 2 oldest must go back for it, and Myrsina watch the food. In the evening, Myrsina realizes they won’t return and cries. This wakes the trees, one telling her to roll her bread down the hill and follow it. She does and lands in a pit with a house. She hides there doing housework while the owners, the Months, are about. The Months wonder who’s doing it until the youngest stays behind and hides. He catches her and the Months take her as their sister.

Word reaches the older sisters. They come to her with a poisoned cake, claiming they couldn’t find her. Myrsina gives part of the cake to the dog and it dies. When the older sisters hear she’s still alive, they return. But she won’t open the door to them. But they claim to have a ring that their mom said must go to Myrsina. Since she can’t defy her mom’s wishes, Myrsina puts on the ring and falls to the floor. The Months return, lament her, and keep her body in a golden chest. A prince comes by, and they give him their best room so that he sees the chest. He pleads for it and they finally give it to him on condition he never open it. He gets sick and doesn’t want to die without knowing what’s in the chest. He opens it, wonders at Myrsina, and thinks the ring may reveal who she is. He takes it off and Myrsina comes back to life. She has the ring thrown into the sea and marries the prince. One day, the sisters come to harm her. The prince has his soldiers deal with them.

Other Versions: Other variants collected by Anna Angelopoulou.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

208. Udea and Her Seven Brothers

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Udea and Her Seven Brothers is a North African fairy tale of a girl who goes searching for her missing siblings who disappeared shortly after her birth. Her mom sends her off with a camel and 2 servants who are complete jerks.

From: North Africa
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Hans von Stumme in Märchen und Gedichte aus der Stadt Tripolis.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang translation for his The Grey Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A man and his wife have 7 sons. One day, the sons set out hunting. They tell their aunt their mom has a daughter, to wave a white handkerchief and they’ll return at once. But if it’s a son, a sickle and they will keep on. It’s a girl, but the aunt wants to get rid of the boys so she waves a sickle. Named Udea, the daughter grows up not knowing about her brothers. One day, an older child taunts her for driving her brothers away, who are forever roaming the world. She asks her mom and sets out to find them. Her mom gives her a camel, some food, a cowrie shell around the camel’s neck as a charm, an African named Barka, and his wife to take care of her. On the second day, Barka tells Udea to get off the camel so his wife can ride in her place. The mom’s nearby and tells Barka to leave Udea alone. On the third day, Barka tells Udea to let his wife ride the camel in her place, but her mom’s too far away to hear and command Barka. Udea calls out for her mom but no avail and Barka throws the girl to the ground. The wife climbs onto the camel and Udea walks on the ground, her feet cut up due to the stones on the path.One day, the pass a caravan, where they’re told of a castle where the brothers live. Barka lets Udea ride the camel but smears her with pitch so her brothers won’t recognize her. However, they accept her without question since they don’t know what she looks like anyway. Udea’s joyous tears leave white marks on her face. One alarmed brother takes a cloth and rubs the mark until the pitch is gone. The brother asks her who painted her skin black, but Udea doesn’t answer fearing Barka’s anger. She finally relents, describing the treatment she received during her travels. Outraged, her brothers behead Barka and his wife.

The brothers go on a week-long hunting trip, instructing Udea to lock herself up in the castle with only the cat who grew up with the house. They return and find her well. The brothers then tell her of the castle elves and pigeons, who Udea can call to fetch them if she’s in any danger. The pigeons have a week’s worth of food and water the brothers leave during each hunting trip. Udea asks why they don’t have her feed the feeding the pigeons every day. Since food laid out wouldn’t be fresh after a week. They agree and tell her that any kindness toward the pigeons would be considered kindness toward themselves. On the brothers’ third hunting trip, Udea’s cleaning the castle. Forgetting instructions for a moment, she finds a bean and eats it. The cat demands half. Udea says she can’t since she already ate it and offers 100 beans to make up for it. The cat only wants the bean the girl ate. To punish her, the cat puts out the fire in the kitchen. With no way to cook, Udea climbs up the castle, sees a fire in the distance, and leaves to find its source. She asks for a lump of burning coal from an elderly man tending the fire, but he’s actually a “man-eater” (cannibal) and demands a strip of blood from her hear to her thumb in return. She bleeds all the way home and doesn’t notice the raven following her back until she approaches the castle door. Startled, Udea curses the raven, hoping it to startle it as well. It asks why she’d wish harm to one who’s done her a favor. It flies off, along with the dirt it’s used to cover a trail of blood. The cannibal follows this path to the castle, breaking 6 doors in 6 nights, intending to attack and eat Udea. On the last day, with one door in place, she sends a letter to her brothers with the castle pigeons’ help. The brothers immediately come home and trap the cannibal in a burning pit.

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After being driven out by the castle’s cat, Udea meets an old man who demands her blood in exchange for a lump of coal. But she leads a trail of blood and the cannibal’s actually a man-eater. You can see she didn’t think this through.

As the cannibal burns, only his fingernails are left behind, blowing towards and stabbing Udea under her own fingernail. She collapses, lifeless. Her brothers put her on a bier and the bier on the camel, setting it off to their mom. They order the camel to avoid capture and stop only when someone says, “string.” During the journey, 3 men chase after the camel. But only when claims his sandal string is broken up does it stop. The man takes Udea’s hand and tries pulling off, freeing the cannibal’s fingernail from it, and she wakes full of life. The camel returns her to her joyful brothers, and all siblings set out to see their parents again. On the fourth day after their reunion, the oldest brother tells their parents of their aunt’s treachery and the adventures they encounter.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: There might be racism in this. Also features decapitation, body mutilation, cannibalism, and burning someone alive.
Trivia: N/A

209. The Frog Princess

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The Frog Princess is a European fairy tale about a king who has his sons find wives by shooting an arrow. Where the arrow lands, he’ll find his bride. Unfortunately, the youngest prince finds a frog instead of his dream girl.

From: Russia, Italy, and Greece
Earliest Appearance: The Russian variants seem to be the earliest with “Tsarevna Frog,” and “Vasilissa the Wise.” Alexander Afanasyev collected variants in his Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: The Russian version. In this one, Prince Ivan and his 2 older brothers shoot arrows in different directions to find brides. The older brothers’ arrows land on houses of daughters of an aristocrat and a wealthy merchant. While Ivan’s arrow ends up in frog’s mouth in a swamp, who’s a princess by night. Named Vasilissa the Wise, she’s a beautiful, intelligent, and skilled girl who’s forced to spend 3 years in frog’s skin for disobeying Koschei. Her final test may be to dance at the king’s banquet. The Frog Princess sheds her skin but the Ivan burns it to her dismay. For had the prince been patient, the Frog Princess would’ve been free. But instead, he loses her. He then sets out to find her again and meets with Baba Yaga, whom he impresses with his spirit, asking why she hasn’t offered him hospitality. She tells him Koschei’s holding his bride captive and explains how to find the magic needle necessary to rescue his bride. In another version, the prince flies into Baba Yaga’s hut as a bird. The prince catches her, she turns into a lizard, and he can’t hold on. Baba Yaga rebukes him and sends Ivan to her sister, where he fails again. However, when he’s sent to the third sister, he catches her and no transformations can break her free again. In some versions, the Frog Princess’ transformation is a reward for her good nature. In one version, the witches transform her for their amusement. In yet another version, she’s revealed to have been the enchanted princess all along.

Synopsis: The king wants his 3 sons to marry. To accomplish this, he creates a test to help them find brides, telling each prince to shoot an arrow. According to the king’s rules, each prince will find a bride where the arrow lands. A frog picks up the youngest son’s arrow. The king assigns his 3 prospective daughters-in-law various tasks like spinning cloth and baking bread. In every task, the frog outperforms the 2 other lazy brides-to-be. Still the young prince is ashamed of his frog bride until she magically transforms into a human princess.

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Fortunately for the prince, his frog bride doesn’t disappoint and accomplishes each task with gusto. While the other prospective daughters-in-law prove to be quite lazy.

Other Versions: Andrew Lang included an Italian variant in his The Violet Fairy Book called “The Frog.” In his version, the parent with 3 sons is an old woman instead of a king. While Italo Calvino included another Italian variant from the Piedmont called “The Prince Who Married a Frog.” In this version, the princes uses slings instead of bows and arrows. Georgias Megas included a Greek variant in his Folktales of Greece called “The Enchanted Lake.” In this version, the princes set out to find brides one by one. While the older 2 are already married by the time the youngest prince starts his quest. In some versions, the frog uses magic to accomplish the tasks, and though the other brides try emulating the frog, they can’t perform magic. Another variation has the brothers chop down trees and headed in the direction pointed by them in order to find their brides.
Adaptations: Made into 2 Soviet films in 1939 and 1977 as Vasilissa the Beautiful, which shouldn’t be confused with the one where Baba Yaga acts as fairy godmother and sets a house on fire.

Why Forgotten: It’s not necessarily forgotten since it’s very popular in Russia. But when we think of a frog princess we with think of Tiana from The Princess and the Frog since she’s turned into one. Except that she’s not since it’s a Disney adaptation of The Frog Prince.
Trivia: N/A

210. The Prince and Princess in the Forest
From: Denmark
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Evald Tang Kristensen in Æventyr fra Jylland (Danish, “Tales from Jutland”) in 1881.
Best Known Version: The Andrew Lang version in his The Olive Fairy Book.
Synopsis: After the king of Denmark dies, the queen is so inconsolable that her only child, the prince, suggests they should go to a place on the other side of the forest. They get lost in the woods, but come upon 2 houses. The first contains a mail shirt and a sword, with a note saying they’ll keep a man safe from all danger, which the prince, unbeknownst to his mom, takes. The second house contains a food and a bed (granting them both food and a place to sleep). Unfortunately, it’s a robbers’ den. The next morning, when the prince is out hunting, the queen is surprised by the robber chief, telling her if she wants to live, she must make him king in her husband’s place and must kill her son. When the queen protests she can’t do this, the robber chief tells her to fake sick and send her son after some apples in a forest a mile away, knowing that it, “was full of wild animals who would tear to pieces any traveler who entered it.”

The forest “was full of lions and tigers, and bears and wolves, who came rushing towards him; but instead of springing on him and tearing him to pieces, they lay down on the ground and licked his hands.” Once the creatures no longer pose a threat, the prince finds an apple tree. When his sword brushes against it, 2 apples fall. After taking the apples, he starts leaving the woods. But a little black dog leads him to a tiny hole in the hill, which the sword enlarges enough for the prince to enter. He finds an Arabian princess chained to an iron pillar. 12 robbers have captured her and are fighting over who’ll marry her. She further says she’s been imprisoned here for 20 years. A touch from the prince’s sword breaks the chains. He leads her through the forest to a port containing a ship bound for Arabia, pledging that if he’s still alive next year, he’ll come to Arabia and marry her. She gives him a ring as a pledge of their promise, and sails home.

The robber smells the apples when the prince is still far away, deciding that only powerful magic could’ve saved the prince from the animals, orders the queen to tell the prince that she dreamed of him being attacked by wild animals and to ask how he survived. The prince tells her about the magic mail shirt and the magic sword, which the queen passes on to the robber chief who roofies the prince with a sleeping draught, and steals the sword and mail shirt, claiming they’re his brother’s. When the prince wakes up, the robber gives him a choice: either die or be blinded and left in the forest. Knowing that his mom betrayed him, he chooses blindness. The robber and queen go to Denmark, where they marry and the robber becomes king. The prince wanders until he arrives to a port, where there’s a ship bound for Arabia. Pitying the blind man, the captain offers to take him there. Once reaching his destination, the prince goes to the public baths, where the ring slips from his fingers. The slave finds it and brings it to a friend in the palace, who recognizes it as the princess’ ring. The friend passes it onto his daughter, who’s the princess’ favorite servant. On seeing it, the princess identifies it as her betrothed’s ring. And despite her dad’s objections since he doesn’t want a blind guy to rule after him, the prince and princess marry.

One day, the prince overhears 2 ravens saying that dew falls in a certain part of the garden on Midsummer’s Eve, restoring sight to those with bad eyes, or even no eyes at all. The prince tries it, and to his and his new wife’s delight, finds that he can see again. As the princess falls asleep due to heat, the prince sees a small shining lamp on a chain around her neck. The prince unfastens the chain and examines the lamp, but he drops its pendant, which a hawk instantly snatches it up. The prince chases the hawk for so long that he ends up in the same woods as before. When the princess wakes up, she follows him and gets captured by the same robbers.

The prince finds 12 youths seeking service. He joins them, and they all go to work for a troll who tells them they have to care for his house for a year and then answer 3 questions. Those who succeed will receive a sack of gold. Those who fail will be turned into beasts. After that year, the prince overhears the troll chatting with another troll, saying he’d ask how long they’d been there (the 12 young men being so busy partying that the troll’s sure they don’t know a year’s passed), what shines on the roof (the lamp the troll stole from the princess while slept), and where their food comes from (the king’s table). When the troll asks these questions, the others don’t know. But the prince answers all of them correctly. So they all receive their gold and leave. On the way, they meet an old beggar asking for some money for a poor man. The prince gives him the whole sack. However, the beggar is the troll in disguise but he gives the prince the lamp he stole, telling him the princess is in the same cave where the prince found her. The prince disguises himself as a peddler and orders a great many pots and pans from a goldsmith, using them to distract his mom while he searches for and reclaims the sword and mail shirt. When the robber chief returns, the prince strips him of his fine clothes and sends him into the forest, “where the wild beasts tore him to pieces,” and sends his mom back to her country. He rescues his wife and they reign over both their countries.

Other Versions: One version just has the prince fight the forest creatures and win.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Features eye mutilation, and a man getting stripped naked and torn to pieces by wild beasts Ramsay-Bolton style. Also, it’s incredibly long.
Trivia: N/A

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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