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Grimms' Fairy Tales

Grimms' Fairy Tales


by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Grimms' Fairy Tales Tales 111-120 Summary

Tale 111: The Expert Huntsman

  • A young man apprentices to a huntsman. His skills are so great that some giants enlist him to help steal away a princess. 
  • But, as you wise Shmoopers might expect, he falls in love with her and kills the giants instead. He removes their tongues (ew) and cuts off some of the princess's robe while she's asleep (also ew). 
  • The king's captain tries to claim that he was the one who slew the giants. 
  • Since the princess refuses to marry him, her father punishes her by making her live in poverty, because that's fair in fairyland.
  • Finally, the youth shows up, proves it was him by producing the tongues and the fabric scraps, and the captain is killed for his treachery while the youth and princess are married.

Tale 112: The Fleshing Flail From Heaven

  • A farmer has oxen whose horns grow so long he can't get them through the farm gate, so he sells them to a butcher. Turnip seeds are also somehow part of this exchange, but it's light on the details. 
  • One seed falls out and produces a tree that grows all the way to heaven. 
  • Not about to let the opportunity to check out heaven pass him by, the farmer climbs up, and grabs a fleshing flail and a hoe from heaven so that people will believe that he went there.

Tale 113: The Two Kings' Children

  • A young prince turns sixteen and, while hunting a stag, is compelled to go with another king. The king has him watch over each of his three daughters at night, and says he can marry the youngest after completing some tasks. The tasks, of course, turn out to be impossibly difficult, but each time the youngest daughter brings him lunch and helps him while he's napping after she picks lice off of him (talk about a sexy date activity).
  • The king changes his mind and says they can't marry until the older two daughters are married, so the couple runs away. They transform themselves into various shapes and outwit the king twice, and his wife the final time. Resigned, the princess's mother gives her three walnuts to help her in a time of need and then lets them go.
  • The prince tells his bride-to-be to wait while he goes and fetches a carriage. But he forgets everything when his mother kisses him. She sets him up with a new bride, too. 
  • The princess cracks open the first walnut, finding in it a gorgeous dress, and wears it to watch the wedding, where the false bride falls so enamored of the dress that she refuses to get married unless she can have it. 
  • The princess sells it to her in exchange for a night spent outside the prince's door, but he can't hear her pleas since he's been drugged. 
  • The same happens a second time, but then he hears her, and they're finally united in marriage.

Tale 114: The Clever Little Tailor

  • A tailor is able to guess a princess's riddle and is thus eligible to marry her. 
  • She's not happy about this, so she tells him first to spend the night with a bear, and if he survives, then they'll get married. 
  • He tricks the bear into putting its paws into a vise, and thus lives through the night. 
  • They're married, and the bear remains frightened of the vise.
  • And everyone lives happily ever after? Probably not.

Tale 115: The Bright Sun Will Bring It to Light

  • Here's another tale to file under anti-Semitic.
  • A young tailor is impoverished and starving, so he robs a Jew. 
  • The Jew says he doesn't have much money on him, but the tailor doesn't believe him and kills him anyway. 
  • Upon dying, the Jew utters the words: "The bright sun will bring it to light." 
  • Eventually, the tailor eventually settles and marries. 
  • One day he says those same words while looking at the sun reflecting on his morning coffee. 
  • His wife nags until he tells her the meaning behind the words. 
  • She blabs about it to the neighbor despite swearing not to, so the tailor is brought to justice, fulfilling the prophecy of the words.

Tale 116: The Blue Light

  • A wounded soldier is discharged with no pay, so he begs food from an old woman who puts him to work. 
  • The problem is, she's actually a witch, and he's more than a little suspicious when the last thing she does is lower him down a dry well so he can retrieve her blue light. 
  • He uses the blue light to light his pipe, and a dwarf emerges to do his bidding. 
  • The soldier gets revenge on the king by asking the dwarf to steal the king's daughter away in her sleep to make her do housework for the soldier. 
  • The king cleverly finds out what's happening, and is about to punish the soldier with death when the solider uses the blue light to have the dwarf punish everyone in sight. 
  • The king asks for mercy and gives the soldier his daughter as a wife. We can only imagine how she feels about that match.

Tale 117: The Stubborn Child

  • A child is so stubborn and disobedient that the Lord lets him get sick and die. 
  • He's too stubborn to stay in the grave, so his corpse keeps popping out until his mother hits him with a switch, and then he can rest peacefully.
  • That's all, folks.

Tale 118: The Three Army Surgeons

  • Three surgeons from the army demonstrate their skills to an innkeeper: one cuts off his hand, the second tears out his heart, and the third pokes out his eyes.
  • They all say they'll replace them in the morning. 
  • A cat eats the organs due to a maid's carelessness, so she replaces the hand with a dead thief's hand, the eyes with a cat's eyes, and the heart with a pig's heart. 
  • When the surgeons reinsert their organs, each one has the traits of the replacement organ, and demand that the innkeeper pay them off for the inconvenience of having to act like a thief, a cat, or a pig.

Tale 119: The Seven Swabians

  • Swabians come from a particular region of Germany, but these ones happen to be rather stupid.
  • They set off adventuring, but get frightened first by a hornet and then by a hare. 
  • They all drown while trying to wade across a river instead of using the bridge.

Tale 120: The Three Journeymen

  • Three journeymen go wandering to make some money. 
  • A gentleman makes them an offer, but one of the journeymen spies a horse's hoof under his clothing, meaning that he's actually the devil. 
  • But they're in luck. The devil tells them he's after another soul, and he'll give them plenty of money if they say nothing but nonsense phrases: "all three of us," "for money," "and that's all right." 
  • This works just fine when they roll up to an inn. The innkeeper kills a rich man, and they're sentenced to die when they confess that all three of them did it for money.
  • This gives the devil a chance to roll in at the last moment and point out that it was the innkeeper who actually committed the crime, so he dies instead, and the journeymen go free with enough money for the rest of their lives. Sweet.

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