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

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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.

HEZ-2650720 - © - Print Collector29

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

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

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

189. Corvetto

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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

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

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

171. Princess Belle-Etoile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

172. The Three Little Birds

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

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

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

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

173. The Bird of Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

175. The Boys with the Golden Stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

180. The Brown Bear of Norway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

162. The Dirty Shepherdess

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

 

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

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

163. The Goose Girl at the Well

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

165. Katie Woodencloak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

168. Shita-kiri Suzume

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

170. The Tale of Tsar Saltan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

151. The King of England and His Three Sons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

155. Allerleirauh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

158. Mossycoat

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

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

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

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

159. Tattercoats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 15 – The Months to The Bird “Grip”

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You might’ve noticed but a lot of these fairy tales seem rather similar to each other. Well, experts have also taken notice and that’s why they created the Aarne-Thompson classification system. This is an index used by folkorists to organize, classify, and analyze folklore narratives. Though it’s mainly based on folklore from Europe and western Asia. Now the Aarne-Thompson Index divides these fairy tales into sections with an AT number for each entry. It’s complicated. Anyway, in this installment, I bring you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, are Italian tales about months and 3 fairies. Second, is a Russian story about a frosty old man. Third, we come to a French tale of 2 sisters followed by a Romanian one of a girl in a tree. Then we look at Grimm tales about the Virgin Mother’s adopted daughter, 12 brothers, and water of life. After that, is a Danish tale of a young man going against giants and Swedish story of a prince searching for a bird name “Grip.”

141. The Months
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Giambattista Basile in his 1634 Pentamerone.
Best Known Version: Guess the Basile version.
Synopsis: Cianne and Lise are brothers. Cianne is rich while Lise is poor. Lise sets out to wander the world. He meets 12 youths welcoming and asking him about the months. Lise replies that they each have their place and purpose and that people must be arrogant to want to rearrange them. One tells him the month of March is very burdensome since it advances to spring. The youth who’s the month of March gives Lise a casket granting wishes. With it, he has an easy journey and becomes prosperous. Naturally, Cianne is jealous of him. Lise tells him of an inn and the 12 youths, but not how they talked. Cianne goes there and receives a whip. When he tries using it, it whips him until his brother comes and uses the casket to stop him. Lise then shares his good fortune with Cianne.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Perhaps the magic whip. I don’t know.
Trivia: N/A

142. Father Frost

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In the Russian fairy tale, Father Frost, a girl is driven into the frozen cold. When Father Frost shows up, she is polite and kind to her and he gives her a golden box full of wonderful things.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: The Afanasyev version, naturally.
Synopsis: A woman has a daughter she loves and a stepdaughter she hates. One day she orders her husband to take her stepdaughter out into the winter fields and leave her to die. He obeys. Morozko finds her there. She’s polite and kind for him. So he gives her a chest of beautiful things and fine garments. After awhile, the stepmother sends her husband for the girl’s body for burial. He obeys. But later, the family dog says, the girl’s coming back, and that’ she’s beautiful and happy. When the stepmother sees what the stepdaughter’s brought back, she orders her husband to take out her own daughter into the fields. Unlike before, this girl is rude to Morozko and he freezes her to death. When the husband goes out to bring her back, the family dog says the girl will be buried. When the dad brings back the body, the woman weeps.

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Here’s the girl left out of her home to die thanks to her evil stepmother. Apparently, she seems at peace for some reason.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Yellow Fairy Book as “The Story of King Frost.” Also, in the Grimm version, the first girl is coated with gold and silver coins while the rude girl is coated with cement, flour, and tar.
Adaptations: Made into a movie Morozko in 1964.
Why Forgotten: Depicts a girl freezing to death for simply being rude. Still, it’s well known in Russia.
Trivia: N/A

143. The Three Fairies
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Giambattista Basile for his 1634 Pentamerone.
Best Known Version: The Basile version, of course.
Synopsis: An envious widow, Caradonia has an ugly daughter, Grannizia. She marries a rich landowner with a lovely daughter, Cicella and jealously torments her stepdaughter. She badly dresses her, gives her poor food, and makes her work. One day, Cicella drops a basket over a cliff. Below, she sees a hideous ogre. She politely asks him to help her. He replies that if she climbed down, she’d get it. Cicella climbs down and finds 3 beautiful fairies at the cliff’s bottom. She’s politely with them, combs their hair, and claims to find rubies and pearls along with lice. They take her to their castle and show Cicella their treasures. She admires them but isn’t bedazzled. Finally, they shower her with rich clothes and ask her to choose a dress. Cicella opts for the cheap one. They ask how she wants to leave. Cicella replies that the stable door is good enough for her. They give her a splendid gown, dress her hair, and bring her to a golden door, telling her to look up when she goes through it. A star falls on her forehead.

Grannizia goes to the same place and is rude, complaining about the lice in the fairies’ hair. They bring her to the wardrobe and she grabs the fanciest dress. They don’t give it to her. But they send her out the stable door where a donkey testicle falls on Grannizia’s forehead. Fortunately for her, her angry mom takes Cicella’s clothes and gives it to her and sends Cicella to tend pigs. There, a nobleman named Cuosemo sees her and asks the stepmother for leave to marry her. Caradonia agrees, seals Cicella up in a barrel, and presents Grannizia as the bride instead. After the wedding night, he goes back to the house where a tabby cat tells him that Cicella’s in a barrel. He lets her out, puts Grannizia in her place, and flees with Cicella. Caradonia returns with wood, creates a fire, and boils water to scald Cicella to death. She then pours it in the barrel and Grannizia dies. Caradonia opens the barrel, sees her own daughter, and drowns herself in a well.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Think scalding someone to death might have something to do with it. Not to mention suicide.
Trivia: N/A

144. Auore and Aimee
From: France
Earliest Appearance: Written by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, best known for Beauty and the Beast.
Best Known Version: The Beaumont version, obviously.
Synopsis: A lady has 2 beautiful daughters: the older and good Auore and the younger and bad Aimee. When Auore is 16 and Aimee is 12, the lady starts losing her looks. Not wanting anyone to know she could have teenagers, she moves to another city, sends Auore to the country and claims that Aimee’s only 10 and that she had her at 15. Fearing that someone would discover the deception, the mom sends Auore to another country. But the person going with her abandons the girl in the forest. Auore hunts for a way out and finally finds a shepherdess’ cottage. She laments her fate and blames God. But the shepherdess urges that God permits misfortune only to benefit the unfortunate person, and offers to act like her mom. After some discussion on Auore’s fashionable but dull life, the shepherdess points out that age makes it less pleasant and that she herself could teach Auore to live without boredom. Auore agrees. The shepherdess sets her to a life divided into prayer, work, reading, and walks. Auore finds this life agreeable because it’s not dull.

One day, Prince Ingenu goes hunting. He’s a good guy but his brother King Fourbin is evil. Ingenu falls in love and woos Auore and she, properly, sends him to the shepherdess. He begs her to tell him whether it would make her unhappy if the shepherdess consents. The shepherdess praises the prince’s virtue and says that a daughter can’t be unhappy with a good husband. So she gives Auore her blessing, knowing Prince Ingenu would be a good husband before he leaves to return in 3 days. During that time, Auore falls into a thicket while gathering the sheep, resulting in her face dreadfully scratched. She laments this, but the shepherdess reminds her that God doubtlessly means it for good. But Auore reflects that if Ingenu rejects her over her looks being gone, he wouldn’t have made her happy.

Meanwhile, Ingenu tells his brother of his bride. Angry that his kid brother would marry without his permission, King Fourbin threatens to marry Auore himself if she’s as pretty as Ingenu claims. He comes with him. Seeing Auore’s marred face, Fourbin orders Ingenu to marry the girl at once and forbids the couple to come to court. But Ingenu’s perfectly fine with it and still wants to marry Auore. After Fourbin leaves, the shepherdess cures Auore’s injuries with special water. Back at court, Fourbin orders portraits of beautiful women brought to him. Enchanted by one of Aimee’s, he marries her.

A year later, Auore has a son, Beaujour. But one day, he disappears and she cries about it. But the shepherdess reminds her that everything happens for her own good. The next day, Fourbin’s soldiers arrive on orders to kill the king’s nephew. Not finding him, they put Auore, Ingenu, and the shepherdess on a boat to sea. They sail to a kingdom where a king is at war. Ingenu offers to fight for him, kills his enemies’ commander, and makes the army flee. Since the king is childless, he adopts Ingenu as his son. 4 years later, Fourbin dies of grief because of his wife’s wickedness. His people drive Aimee away and send for Ingenu to be king. They are shipwrecked on their way there. But this time, Auore holds. On the land, she finds a woman with her son, Beaujour. The woman explains herself as a pirate’s wife and that her husband abducted the boy. But they’ve been shipwrecked, too. Ships come looking for their bodies, bringing back Auore, Ingenu, and Beaujour back to the kingdom. And Auore never complains of any misfortune, knowing misfortunes often cause happiness.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The message that misfortune occurs for a reason and can lead to happiness hasn’t aged well these days. Indeed, we all deal with our share of misfortune, but not in regards to shipwrecks, attempted murder, and child abduction.
Trivia: N/A

145. Little Wildrose

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Little Wildrose is about a girl who grows up in an eagle’s nest. Yet, a prince wants her to climb down her tree.

From: Romania
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Crimson Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, naturally.
Synopsis: An old man goes in search of a child so someone would inherit his home. He finds a hermit in the dark woods. The hermit gives him an apple, telling him to eat half and give the other half to his wife. The old man gets thirst on the way home. And since there’s no water, he eats the whole apple. He then finds a beautiful baby girl and carries her home, laying her in a pail to call his wife nearby. An eagle carries the child for its eaglets to eat, but they nestle up to her instead. A lindworm comes to eat them but something kills it. So the eagle raises the girl with her chicks. One day, an emperor’s son sees her. But he can’t lure her down and grows sick of love. His dad asks him what’s wrong and, hearing of it, sends about for word of the maiden. An old woman promises to get them the girl. She starts a fire beneath the tree and does everything wrong. Little Wildrose tries telling her how to do it, but the old lady doesn’t take a hint. So Little Wildrose comes down to show her and the old woman carries her off. The emperor’s son marries her.

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You have to wonder how a woman can manage to grow up in a tree for so long. Seriously, trees aren’t usually that strong to hold that much weight.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The plot basically revolves around staging a kidnapping, and no one seems to see anything wrong with it.
Trivia: N/A

146. Mary’s Child

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Mary’s Child is a Grimm fairy tale where the Virgin Mary takes in a little girl. Though I find her parenting techniques questionable in this one.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm brothers.
Best Known Version: Why the Grimm version.
Synopsis: A poor woodcutter has a 3-year-old daughter and can’t feed her. The Virgin Mary appears and promises to take care of the girl. She happily grows up in Heaven. One day, the Virgin has to go on a trip and gives the girl the keys, telling her she could open 12 doors but not the 13th. She opens the first 12 and finds the Apostles behind them. Then she opens the 13th door. Behind it is the Trinity, staining her finger with gold. She tries hiding it, lying 3 times, and the Virgin Mary says she can no longer remain for her disobedience and lying. The girl falls asleep and wakes up finding herself in the forest. Whining over her shitty circumstances, the girl lives in a hollow tree, eats wild plants, and tears all her clothes until she’s naked. One day, a king finds her looking beautiful but incapable of speech. So he takes her home and marries her. A year later, the queen has a son. The Virgin Mary appears and demands she confess to opening the door. Again, she lies so the Virgin takes her son while people whisper that the queen killed and ate her child. The next year, the queen has another son, and it goes the same as before. The third year, she has a daughter. The Virgin Mary takes her to Heaven and shows the queen her sons, but she wouldn’t confess. This time, the king can’t restrain his councilors who condemn the queen to death. When she’s brought to the stake, the queen relents and wishes she could confess before she dies. The Virgin Mary brings back her children, restores her power of speech, and gives her happiness for the rest of her life.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: The plot revolves around the Virgin Mary though the child in question is adopted. But it also has the Virgin Mother put her adopted daughter through a lot of shit after she refuses to confess her minor sins (which is typical childlike behavior). Now as a Catholic I believe that the Virgin Mary was immaculately conceived without sin, and let’s just say some of her actions in this story might qualify as sins like kidnapping and taking away speech, which almost leads to her burned at the stake. That’s not the Virgin Mary I know. Though to be fair, I don’t think this story is meant to offend Catholics. In fact, I think German Catholic parents told this story to get their kids to behave.
Trivia: N/A

147. The Twelve Brothers

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The Twelve Brothers is a Grimm fairy tale about 12 princes turned into ravens. While the heroine is their little sister with a star on her head who seeks to find them.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A king wants to kill his 12 sons so if his 13th child is a girl, she could inherit the kingdom in one piece. The queen tells this to the youngest son, Benjamin and that she’ll give them a warning with a flag. After 12 days of waiting in the forest, the sons see a red flag, indicating a death sentence. Angry at their dad’s cruel betrayal, the boys swear revenge on every girl and move to an enchanted cottage deep in the forest, where they feed on animals. In the meantime, the queen gives birth to a beautiful baby girl with a star on her forehead. 10 years after hearing about their existence from her mom, the princess leaves to find them where the queen hid them for precaution. She first finds a now older Benjamin happily greeting her and then introduces her to the other brothers, convincing them to stop their revenge on girls. Together the siblings live in harmony. Sometime later, the sister rips out 12 white lilies out of ignorance, her brothers turn into ravens and fly away. At the behest of an old woman witnessing this, the girl decides not to speak or laugh for 7 years, in order to save her brothers.

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To free her brothers, the princess decides not to speak for 7 years. Though she gets married to a king, she almost ends up burned at the stake for her silence. Luckily, her brothers save her in the nick of time.

A hunting king finds the princess and marries her. However, his mom slanders the girl’s silence and tries getting the king to burn her as a witch. The young king is torn as he loves his wife but ultimately gives in with tears in his eyes like a coward. As the pyre is lit, the 7 years pass and the 12 ravens arrive, recovering their human forms as soon as they touch the ground. They then put out the flames and free their sister so she’s now free to talk and explains to her husband what the hell’s going on. All live happily together save the cruel mother-in-law who’s put in a barrel with boiling oil and poisonous snakes.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Red Fairy Book.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Someone’s put in a barrel with boiling oil and poisonous snakes.
Trivia: N/A

148. The Water of Life

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The Grimm fairy tale, The Water of Life revolves around a prince searching for the water of life to save his dying dad. All he needs to do is follow the dwarf’s directions.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: A dying old king tells his sons that the water of life would save him. Each one sets out in turn. Setting out hopes of being their dad’s heir, the older ones are rude to the dwarf on the way and get trapped in ravines. When the youngest son goes, the dwarf asks him where he’s going and the prince tells him. The dwarf tells him it’s in a castle and gives him an iron wand to open the gates and 2 loaves of bread to feed the lions inside (excuse me?). Then he has to get the water before the clock strikes 12 when the gates would shut again. The prince opens the gate with the iron wand and feeds the bread loaves to the lions. He then comes to a hall where there are sleeping princes. He takes rings from their fingers as well as some bread and a sword from the table. He goes on and finds a beautiful princess who kisses him, tells him he’s freed her, and promises to marry him if he returns within a year. Then she lets him know where the spring is. The prince goes on. But he sees a bed and lies down to sleep. When he wakes up, it’s a quarter to 12. He springs up, gets the water, and escapes, with the closing gate taking off his boot heel.

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Here’s the dying king with his 3 sons. Still, I think it would be easier if they just let the old man die.

The prince meets the dwarf telling him what happened to his brothers and at his imploring frees them, warning they have evil hearts. They come to a kingdom plagued with war and famine. The prince kills their foes with a sword and feeds them the loaf. They then come to 2 more kingdoms in the same situation, and they do the same. Next, they go to a ship to cross the sea and return home. The older brothers steal the water of life and fill the youngest prince’s bottle with sea water, which sickens the king. The older brothers accuse the youngest of trying to poison him and give him the water of life. The king decides to have his youngest son secretly killed by sending the huntsman with him into the woods. But the huntsman can’t bring himself to kill the prince and confesses the deed. The prince and the huntsman trade clothes and the prince flees. Treasure arrives from the 3 kingdoms the prince had saved. The king wonders about his guilt and regrets having his son killed. The huntsman confesses that he hadn’t killed him. The king issues a proclamation that the prince could freely return. The princess in the castle makes a golden road to it and tells her people that would bring the true groom to her and to admit no one who doesn’t ride straight up to it. Pretending to be the ones who freed her, the 2 older princes sees it and think it a shame to dirty it. So they ride alongside and the servants don’t admit them. The youngest thinks so constantly of the princess that he doesn’t notice it so he rides up it. He’s admitted and marries the princess. The prince goes back to his dad and tells the true story. The king wishes to punish the older brothers, but they board a ship and are never seen again.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I’m not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

149. Niels and the Giants
From: Denmark
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in his The Crimson Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, naturally.
Synopsis: A couple has 2 sons. The older is content to be a shepherd like his dad. But the younger, Niels, wants to be a hunter. So he gets a gun, practices with it, and becomes a good shot. One day, his mom decides to go on a pilgrimage to Rome. So the family sells everything and sets out with Niels bringing his gun. One night, they don’t stay at an inn because the heat slows them down by the day and the moon’s up. They come to a crossroads in the forest and don’t know which way to go. So they decide to stay there. During the first watch, the older son shoots a stag. Niels climbs a tree and sees 3 giants eating. By careful shots, he has them fight about knocking each other’s hands and making them prick themselves with forks. The third giant realizes he’s around and catches him. The giants then demand Niels a service. They want to carry off the king’s daughter and have everyone in the castle put to sleep save a little black dog. If Niels shoots the dog so it doesn’t bark and wake everyone, they’d spare his life. They throw him in and he lands on the grass. Niels shoots the dog and goes to the gate. But on the way, he sees an enormous sword, a drinking horn, and an inscription saying that whoever can drink from the horn can wield the sword. He then looks through the castle and finds the princess, taking half her handkerchief and one of her slippers. Niels next drains the horn so he could wield the sword, before going to the gate where there’s a small door and large door. He opens the small door, claims he’s too weak for the large one, and cuts off the giants’ heads as they come through. Niels then runs to rejoin his family with the sword. He shuts the door and with a bang the castle wakes astounded by the bodies. The princess declares they must find the giant-slayer since she’s honor-bound to marry him. She has a house built and puts over the door so whoever tells his life story could stay there for free.

Meanwhile, Niels and his family goes on toward Rome, but they meet a man showing them holes in their shoes and tells them they’d been new when he left the city. Discouraged, they turn back, coming upon the house where they decide to stay. The steward questions the dad and older son and tells the princess that nothing had happened to them, but admits he didn’t ask them all. The princess goes in herself. The older brother puts in that he forgot to tell that his brother had found the sword. Niels, who guesses this as a way to discover him, wants to escape. But they find the sword, search him, discovering the handkerchief and slipper. Niels is afraid they’d punish him. But the princess says they must wait until her dad returns. When he does, the princess marries Niels who’s king after the old man dies.
Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not sure why.
Trivia: N/A

150. The Bird “Grip”

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The Bird “Grip” is a Swedish fairy tale about a prince searching for a bird that will restore his dad’s sight. Here he presents the bird to his father.

From: Sweden
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang for his The Pink Fairy Book.
Best Known Version: The Lang version, obviously.
Synopsis: A king goes blind. An old woman says the song of the bird “Grip” would restore his sight. The king’s oldest son offers to fetch the bird, from where it’s kept in another king’s cage. But he stays at a merry inn along the way. He enjoys himself so much there that he forgets about the journey. His 2 brothers follow. The second son also stays at the inn. While the youngest says he has to fetch the bird, “Grip” and continues on instead of remaining at the inn. He stays at a house in the woods hearing shrieks through the night. He asks about them the next morning. A girl tells him they come from a dead man whom the innkeeper had beat up and killed for being unable to pay a bill and whom he refused to bury for a funeral. The prince pays his bill but is afraid to stay longer so he asks the girl to help him escape in the night. She tells him the host keeps the stable keys under his pillow but she’ll help him if the prince takes her with him. He does so and gives her a place at a good inn before he goes on.

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Here the prince comes with the princess, horse, and the bird “Grip.” And he got them all at the fox’s guidance.

The youngest son then meets a fox who opts to help him. When they go to the castle to where the bird is, the fox gives the prince 3 grains: one for the guardroom, one for the room with the cage, and one for the cage itself. Then the prince could take the bird but he mustn’t stroke it. He obeys with the grains. But when he decides to stroke the bird, it wakes and screams. The prince gets captured. In prison, the fox tells him to answer, “Yes” to everything at the trial. When asked whether he’s a master thief, the prince answers yes. The king offers him a pardon if he carries off the world’s most beautiful princess from the next kingdom. Once again, the fox gives him 3 grains: one for the guardroom, one for the princess’ bedroom, and one for her bed but warns him not to kiss her. Though the prince obeys with the grains, he fails again at the kiss. Again, at the trial he’s asked whether he’s a master thief and he answers yes. The king offers him a pardon if he carries off a horse with 4 golden shoes from the next kingdom. Again, the fox gives him 3 grains: for the guardroom, the stable, and the horse’s stall, but warns him against the golden saddle. And this time, the fox can’t help the prince if he fails. He does the grains. But when he sees the golden saddle, he reaches for it. But something strikes his arm and he leads the horse without it. The prince confesses it to the fox who admits to striking his arm. Returning to the princess’ castle, he confesses he’d gladly take her to his dad’s castle on the horse. So the fox gives him the grains again and he carries the princess off. He asks the fox if he could try the bird again. This time, he succeeds in catching it.

The fox then warns the prince against ransoming anyone with the money. The prince rides on and discovers his brothers had gone into debt at the inn and are set to be hanged. He pays the debt. But his jealous brothers throw him in a lions den and take the bird, the horse, and the princess. They threaten to kill the girl if she doesn’t say they had won them. They tell their dad that the youngest had been hanged for debt. But the bird doesn’t sing, the horse wouldn’t let anyone in the stall, and the princess won’t stop crying. Back in the lions’ den, the prince finds the fox. The lions don’t hurt him. The fox leads him out saying that would forget their dad would also betray their brother. The fox asks him to cut off his head. The prince tries to refuse, but the fox insists he’d kill him if he doesn’t. The prince relents and fox tells him he’s the dead man whose debts he had paid. Disguised as a horse-shoer, the prince slips into the castle. He puts 4 golden shoes on the horse and hearing the bird Grip couldn’t sing, declares it lacks something and if he could see it, he could learn what it is. He calls the bird by name. It begins to sing and causes the princess to smile. The king’s sight recovers and recognizes the horse-shoer as his youngest son. He banishes the older sons while the youngest marries the princess and lives happily ever after.

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