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Grimms' Fairy Tales

Grimms' Fairy Tales


by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Grimms' Fairy Tales Tales 151-160 Summary

Tale 151: The Three Lazy Sons

  • A king loves his three lazy (but apparently lovable) sons and tells them that whoever is the laziest one will succeed him. 
  • The first two give examples of being lazy that inconvenience them, while the third one says that if he were to be hung and someone handed him a knife, he'd be too lazy to cut through the noose. The third son, obviously, wins.

Tale 151a: The Twelve Lazy Servants

  • Twelve servants are lying around and telling stories about the horrible things that happen to them because they are too lazy: they don't move their legs when a wagon crosses the road they're sleeping on, they have head injuries because it starts to hail and they're too lazy to move indoors, and so on. 
  • These dudes clearly win at laziness.

Tale 152: The Little Shepherd Boy

  • A little shepherd boy is famous for his ability to answer any question posed to him (kind of like Shmoop). 
  • A king asks him three questions—how many drops of water in the ocean, philosophical stuff like that—and he wisely answers them. 
  • This leads to the king adopting the shepherd boy as his own son.

Tale 153: The Star Coins

  • A pious little girl is orphaned and is wandering through the countryside. 
  • She gives away her last crust of bread to someone needier than her. 
  • Same thing happens with her cap, her coat, and even her shirt (it's dark by then). 
  • Rather than freezing to death, she sees stars fall from the heavens, and they turn into coins, so she has enough money for the rest of her life, but we imagine that the first trip to the clothing shop was more than a little awkward.

Tale 154: The Stolen Pennies

  • At noon, a visitor to a household observes a little child enter a particular room and vanish. This keeps happening but only the visitor is able to see the child. 
  • No one in the house knows what's going on, until the mother recognizes one of her children from the description, who had died. 
  • Before the child had died, the mother had given him a few pennies to give to a poor man. 
  • The child had selfishly kept the pennies, and thus had not been at peace upon dying. 
  • They find the coins, give the money to a poor man, and the ghost of the kid is never seen again.

Tale 155: Choosing a Bride

  • A young shepherd asks his mother for advice on which of three beautiful sisters to marry. 
  • She tells him to serve them cheese and watch how they cut it. 
  • The first is too greedy and the second is too hasty, while the third is moderate and sensible in how she cuts the cheese from the rind. 
  • So the shepherd marries her, and they're content.

Tale 156: The Leftovers

  • A lazy maiden never does her spinning properly, so there's always leftover flax laying around on the floor. 
  • Her servant, who is thrifty, always collects the leftovers and spins it up nicely for herself. 
  • The lazy maiden is going to marry, but when the servant shows up in a beautiful dress she'd made for herself, the bridegroom ditches the lazy maiden for the sensible and hard-working one.

Tale 157: The Sparrow and His Four Children

  • Four baby sparrows are swept away by the wind when their nest is broken up. 
  • The father sparrow grieves until he finds them later on at a big sparrow gathering. 
  • One baby sparrow has taken up residence with merchants, another in court, another with miners, and the final one lives in a church. 
  • The last sparrow has a spiel about being pious and faithfully commending himself to God and stuff like that, followed by a rhyme about worship and meekness, which is obviously the moral of the story.

Tale 158: The Tale About the Land of Cockaigne

  • This is a strange tale told in the first-person about the narrator's experiences traveling and seeing weird stuff like a barber shaving a woman, cows mowing a meadow, and so on. It's probably meant to be funny but mostly it's just bizarre.

Tale 159: A Tall Tale from Ditmarsh

  • Oh boy, another weird first-person tale.
  • This one tells about roasted hens flying, a crab chasing a hare, flies as large as goats, and so on. It concludes with the narrator telling the audience to open the window so the lies can fly out. Thanks for the tip?

Tale 160: A Tale With a Riddle

  • Three women were transformed into flowers, but could return one at a time to spend a night in their home instead of in the field. 
  • One of the women, during one of these times, tells her husband that if he plucks her when she's a flower, she'll be transformed back into a woman for good. 
  • He does this—but how does he recognize her? The flowers didn't have any marks that set them apart from each other. 
  • Answer: the other two flowers were wet from the dew that had fallen on them, while she was dry from spending the night indoors.

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