© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Grimms' Fairy Tales

Grimms' Fairy Tales


by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Grimms' Fairy Tales Tales 191-200 Summary

Tale 191: The Little Hamster From the Water

  • A princess has a tower from which she can see or find anything. 
  • She declares that anyone who wants to marry her must be able to conceal himself from her, but anyone who fails and is found will be beheaded. 
  • Three brothers try, and the first two are promptly decapitated. Yeah, she's ruthless.
  • The third brother, while out hunting, kindly agrees not to kill a raven, a fish, and a fox. 
  • When the time comes to hide, each critter tucks the youth inside its body or transforms him into something tiny. 
  • Each time, the princess finds him, but gives him another chance. We guess she's got a crush. 
  • The final time, the fox changes the youth into a little hamster, who's sold to the princess. 
  • She can't find him because he's with her in the tower, so he wins the challenge and they are wed.

Tale 192: The Master Thief

  • A grown-up son who has become a master thief returns home to his aging parents. 
  • Just for kicks, the thief goes to the lord of the land and offers to complete three difficult tasks. But if he fails, the lord will hang him since that's what he does to thieves. 
  • The thief accomplishes the tasks (such as stealing his wife's wedding ring while they sleep) with trickery and disguises. 
  • The thief then says goodbye to his parents and leaves the land, and that's all we hear of him.

Tale 193 The Drummer

  • A young drummer is walking and picks up a piece of fine linen, which, he learns from a disembodied voice, belongs to a bewitched princess. 
  • He promises to try to free her, and hatches a plan in which he tricks people into giving up their cool magic stuff to get him to the top of the glass mountain where the princess is imprisoned.
  • There, a witch doles out impossible tasks, and the maiden helps him with each of them. 
  • They end up tossing the witch into the fire, and the maiden and drummer depart. 
  • But when he forgets her warning not to kiss his parents on the right cheek, his memory of the maiden vanishes.
  • When she goes to look for him, she finds out that his wedding to another maiden is about to be celebrated. 
  • The princess uses magical dresses to buy her way into the youth's bedchamber each night, but the first two nights he's given a sleeping potion. 
  • Finally he doesn't take it, and he hears her lamenting over how he had rescued her and how she wishes he'd been faithful to her. 
  • They're married, and the previous bride gets to keep the magically beautiful dresses, so she feels compensated for the time she wasted on this guy.

Tale 194: The Ear of Corn

  • Back in the day, there would be like five hundred ears of corn on one stalk. 
  • But people were foolish and ungrateful, so the Lord decides that they're not worthy of so much bounty. 
  • He removes the ears entirely from the stalks, but people plead with him until he decides that there will be one ear of corn at the top of each stalk. 
  • Think about that the next time you're chowing down on popcorn.

Tale 195: The Grave Mound

  • A rich farmer is surveying his wealth when he has an epiphany: he's been a greedy and cruel guy, and has never helped anyone, like, ever. 
  • Right then, a poor man comes to ask for aid, knowing that he'll likely be turned away. 
  • Instead, the rich man gives him a ton of grain in return for the poor man promising to keep watch over his grave for three nights, which seems like a fair exchange. We guess. 
  • When the rich man dies, the poor man hangs out at the graveyard each night. On the third night, a soldier keeps him company, and they trick the devil into thinking that he can have the rich man's soul in exchange for as much gold as will fill the soldier's boot. 
  • Once they cut a hole in the boot, it ends up being heaps and heaps of gold, which the two men split once the devil gives up his claim on the rich man's soul.

Tale 196: Old Rinkrank

  • This king must be super rich since he has a glass mountain built for the sole purpose of determining who's worthy of marrying his daughter. 
  • The daughter climbs the mountain with her beloved, but she falls into a crack (hey, it happens), and is kept captive by a gnarly dude called Old Rinkrank who makes her keep house for him. Finally, she manages to escape, and her father kills Old Rinkrank and takes all his treasure. 
  • The king's daughter is happy because she's finally able to marry her man. Swoon.

Tale 197: The Crystal Ball

  • A sorceress with three sons is pretty paranoid, and, thinking they'll steal her power, turns the eldest into an eagle and the middle one into a whale. (We'll take the eagle, thank you.)
  • The third son wises up and runs away from home. 
  • Along the way, he steals a wishing hat and wishes himself to where an enchanted princess lives. 
  • She's ugly, but it's just a spell. Nothin' a little man magic can't fix. 
  • He has to retrieve a crystal ball from a magician, and his brothers in their animal forms help him track down the various animals that the crystal ball is stored inside. 
  • The young man then uses the crystal ball to disenchant his brothers and the princess, and he marries the princess, because why not?

Tale 198: Maid Maleen

  • A princess, named Maid Maleen, wants to marry this prince dude she's majorly in love with, but her father wants her to marry someone else entirely. 
  • So he locks her and her maid in a tower with enough food for seven years, hoping to break her spirit, having learned no lessons about true love from any story ever.
  • Nobody comes for them after the seven years are up, so Maid Maleen and her servant dig their way out of the tower. Like bosses. 
  • It turns out their kingdom had been destroyed so there was no one to rescue them. They go to the next kingdom over and get to work in the kitchens.
  • That turns out to be where Maid Maleen's lover lives, but he's betrothed to an ugly maiden, because what would a fairy tale be without a good monkey wrench. 
  • She's ashamed of how ugly she is, so she has Maid Maleen stand in for her at the banquet. The prince thinks she looks awfully like his former beloved, who he assumes is dead, so he doesn't say anything. While walking, Maid Maleen makes a bunch of cryptic remarks that later on the ugly bride can't explain.
  • The ugly bride has Maid Maleen explain all the references to her, but the prince had also slipped a necklace around Maid Maleen's neck. 
  • She finally tells the prince who she is and they get married. The ugly bride is executed for… uh…not being a good replacement for the former bride everyone thought was dead? For being ugly?
  • Yeah, this one's not exactly…forward-thinking.

Tale 199: The Boots of Buffalo Leather

  • A discharged soldier wears old boots made of buffalo leather. He meets a huntsman in the forest and they wander together. The huntsman is finely dressed, so the soldier calls him "Brother Sparkle-Boots" (yep, we're not making this up). 
  • The soldier uses a spell to steal food and drink from a bunch of robbers, saving the huntsman's life in the process. 
  • When they reach the limits of the forest, the huntsman's all, oh wait, I'm a king, and he tells the soldier he is always welcome to eat and drink in his kingdom.

Tale 200: The Golden Key

  • A boy who is poor has to gather wood in the snow. 
  • He stops to build himself a fire, and finds a little golden key. Then he finds a casket with a lock that matches the key. 
  • Hmm. That's a little convenient.
  • He starts to unlock it, and the tale ends there, telling us we have to wait until he finishes opening it so we can see what wonderful treasures lie therein. Ugh, what a tease.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...