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Summary

Grimms' Fairy Tales Tales 51-60 Summary Page 1

Tale 51: Foundling

  • A hunter takes in a child he'd found in the woods, naming him Foundling (how original). Foundling grows up with the hunter's kid Lena, but when Lena overhears the old cook plotting to cook and eat Foundling, the two kids run away. 
  • The cook sends servants after then, but Foundling becomes a rosebush and Lena a rose on it, confusing the servants. 
  • This happens again with one becoming a church and the other becoming a chandelier in it. Finally, the cook goes after them herself, but Foundling becomes a pond and Lena a duck, and the cook drowns inside the pond. 
  • The kids go home safely and happily.

Tale 52: King Thrushbeard

  • A beautiful princess mocks every suitor who comes for her. 
  • She nicknames a king with a crooked chin Thrushbeard, so he gets his revenge by disguising himself as a minstrel. 
  • The princess's father, sick of her at this point, gives her in marriage to the disguised king. 
  • He makes her live in a hovel and forces her to steal from the nearby palace when she goes in to work as a servant. 
  • After she has been utterly humiliated multiple times, he reveals himself to her, saying he put her through all that because he loved her…and, properly chastised, she cries a bunch and is happy to ingratiate herself to him. Yeah, she's not exactly a modern woman.

Tale 53: Snow White

  • During winter, a queen pricks her finger while sewing and admires the beauty of the red drops of blood on the white snow, enclosed by a black ebony window frame. 
  • She wishes for a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood. Baby arrives and the queen promptly dies.
  • The king remarries a beautiful but proud queen who does the famous "Mirror, mirror" line to see who's the fairest of them all. For a while it's her, but when Snow White grows up, she steals the show.
  • The queen orders her huntsman to take Snow White into the woods and bring back her lungs and liver as proof of death. The huntsman feels bad and lets her go, and brings back the lungs and liver of a boar, which the queen totally eats, none the wiser (ew).
  • Snow White comes upon a cute little cottage and collapses in one of the tiny beds. 
  • The dwarves let her stay because she is just that adorable. In fact, they make a deal where she'll keep house for them and do all of the chores because…well…that's what girls are supposed to do?
  • The mirror reveals that Snow White's actually still alive, so the queen disguises herself and tries to kill her with three different things: corset laces that steal her breath, a comb that pokes into her head, and the infamous poisoned apple. The dwarves are able to revive her the first two times, but not the third.
  • Because she's just so beautiful, the dwarves make a transparent glass coffin for her. 
  • A prince falls in love with her (necrophilia, much?) and asks the dwarves for the coffin. 
  • When his servants are carrying it away, they stumble and thus dislodge the poisoned apple from her throat.
  • They get married and everyone's happy, except for the wicked queen who's forced to dance to death in red-hot iron slippers at the wedding. Yeah, that's not a good way to go.

Tale 54: The Knapsack, the Hat, and the Horn

  • A youngest brother finds a magic tablecloth that fills with food when it's spread out. 
  • He gives it to a charcoal burner in exchange or a sack that contains seven soldiers who will fight under command of its owner. The young man then has the soldiers take back his tablecloth. 
  • The same thing happens with another charcoal burner who has a hat that will command cannons, and a horn that will level cities.
  • He returns home, where his brothers mock him, so he uses the solders in the sack to take revenge. 
  • The king hears about this and sends in his own forces, but is defeated. 
  • The young man decides he wants to marry the king's daughter, but she's unhappy because he's just a commoner. 
  • She tricks him out of the hat, but he uses the horn to destroy the castle and surrounding towns, crushing the king and his daughter to death. 
  • The man was left with his magic toys and sweet, sweet revenge.

Tale 55: Rumpelstiltskin

  • A miller, who happens to be talking to the king, brags that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king has her brought to the castle, and tells her that she'll be killed if she doesn't fulfill this task. She weeps until a little man appears, and agrees to spin for her if she'll give him her necklace. Et voilà! A room full of gold.
  • The same thing happens again, with an even larger room full of straw. This time the little man agrees to take her ring as payment. The third time, the king says she will become his wife if she succeeds. And this time, the little man wants their first-born child. The maiden agrees—what is she gonna do, just die?—and the king marries her.
  • When she gives birth to a child, the little man reappears and reminds her of their bargain. She tries to offer him the kingdom's riches instead, but he prefers a living being. 
  • Finally, after she cries a whole lot, he agrees to give her a chance to get out of the bargain by guessing his name in three days. So she spends the next few days guessing every ridiculous name she can think of, while also sending out servants to search far and wide for clues. 
  • Finally, on the third day, a messenger gets back to her and says that on a mountain at the edge of the forest, he saw a little man hopping around and chanting a rhyme that contained his name.
  • The queen slyly guesses a few incorrect names before asking whether it's Rumpelstiltskin. The little man is so furious that he tears himself in two. 
  • With anger management problems like that, it's probably a good thing he didn't become a foster parent.

Tale 56: Sweetheart Roland

  • An evil witch decides to kill her stepdaughter who is good and beautiful. 
  • Luckily she's also clever: she switches places with her stepsister during the night, so the witch kills her real daughter without realizing it. 
  • The girl runs away with her sweetheart, Roland, and the witch goes after them, so they turn themselves into a series of different forms to confuse the witch, who is eventually killed. 
  • Roland goes home to arrange the wedding, but another woman ensnares him. The maiden changes herself into a flower while waiting for Roland, and a shepherd plucks the flower, and she starts keeping house for him. 
  • Finally, at Roland's wedding, she is obliged to sing a song, at which point he recognizes her and they're finally married. It's complicated.

Tale 57: The Golden Bird

  • A king can't figure out who's stealing golden apples from his special golden apple tree, so he asks his three sons to keep watch. 
  • The first two fall asleep, but the third spies a golden bird taking the apples, and snags some of its feathers, which are deemed to be very precious.
  • Each son sets out in search of the coveted golden bird, but the first two ignore the advice of a talking fox and end up wasting time at an inn full of merriment. 
  • The third son listens to the fox and almost gets the golden bird, except he's caught by the king of that land. He's sentenced to death unless he can bring back a horse as fast as the wind. 
  • The fox helps him with this task, too, but he's caught again and sentenced to death unless he can bring back a beautiful princess for another king.
  • Again the fox helps the prince, and he makes off with the princess, the horse, and the golden bird successfully. 
  • The fox leaves the prince, giving some advice that the prince again does not follow: he finds his brothers sentenced to death, but buys their lives back. 
  • They betray him, and once again the fox bails him out. The traitorous brothers are executed, while the prince marries the maiden. 
  • The fox comes to him one last time, asking him to kill it, which the prince at first refuses because the fox has helped him so much. 
  • But when the prince relents, the fox is transformed into a human, since he had been under an enchantment, and is actually the princess's brother. Everyone rejoices.

Tale 58: The Dog and the Sparrow

  • A mistreated dog leaves home and talks to a sparrow, who convinces him to come to the city.
  • Things are peachy until a wagoner runs over the dog, killing him. 
  • The sparrow promises to exact revenge, and ruins the wagoner's life by trashing his goods and eventually killing him.

Tale 59: Freddy and Katy

  • Freddy and Katy are married. How nice.
  • Unfortunately, Katy is really stupid: she leaves a sausage out while drawing beer, so the dog gets the sausage while the beer fills the cellar. 
  • Freddy tries to tell her that their gold pieces are worthless yellow chips, but she blurts this out to traders who make off with their wealth. 
  • When they go after the thieves, Katy frightens them into leaving the gold behind since she's hiding in a tree and dropping all the things she foolishly carried with her. 
  • Finally, she daydreams while cutting fruit and cuts off most of her clothing, causing people to think she's the devil and run away from her. Awkward.

Tale 60: The Two Brothers

  • Buckle up, this one's long.
  • The first pair of two brothers are adults: one's rich (and a jerk) and one's poor (he's humble and not such a bad guy). 
  • The poor man finds a golden bird in the forest, and ends up with one of its feathers, one of its eggs, and finally the bird itself. He sells each of these things to his brother.
  • The wicked, rich brother plans to eat the golden bird, but the poor man's two sons happen to run in and eat two small pieces that fall from the roasting bird. It turns out that they ate the heart and liver, which magically bestow upon the eater the ability to wake up with a gold piece every morning. 
  • Realizing this, the rich bro gets more than a little angry, and lies to his brother about the gold pieces being from the devil, which means Mr. Nice Guy is gonna have to cast out his sons. 
  • The two sons wander, and a kind huntsman raises them as his own. When they've become competent huntsmen, they wander the world. 
  • They spare the lives of a bunch of animals, and in return get two of their young to raise as their own: two hares, two foxes, two wolves, two bears, and two lions. So now they have cool sidekicks, one each.
  • Eventually, the brothers separate, and the younger brother reaches a city in mourning because the king's daughter will be given to a dragon the following day.
  • The younger brother slays the dragon with the help of his animals, much to the princess's delight, who divides up her necklace among the animals. 
  • Dragon-slaying is hard work, though, so the brother lays down for a nap. The king's marshal, who's watched the whole thing, beheads him and makes the princess swear to say that he was the one who slew the dragon.
  • Luckily, his animal sidekicks manage to find a root that restores the brother to life. He returns to the city, and this time finds the mood festive because the princess is going to marry her supposed rescuer. 
  • He settles in an inn and sends each of his animals to the palace one-by-one, so that the princess recognizes them and knows he's there. When he finally gets to the castle, he whips out the dragon's seven tongues, which he'd taken when he killed it, thus proving that he's the rightful groom. 
  • Take that, marshal. The scheming dude is killed for his treachery, and the younger brother and princess finally wed.
  • Things are happy until the brother yearns to go hunting in a creepy forest. Who is he to resist a hankering?
  • While he's making camp overnight, he meets an old woman who says she's afraid of his animals, and asks him to tap each one with a branch. This turns all of them to stone, and then the old woman, who's really a witch (surprise, surprise) turns the brother to stone as well.
  • The older brother, meanwhile, is wondering how his sibling's doing, so he looks at the tree where they'd left a knife stuck in the wood, and his brother's side of the knife is rusted, so he knows something's up. 
  • When he goes to look for his bro, he winds up in the city where his brother has been ruling as king. The brothers look uncannily alike, so everyone mistakes him for the missing king.
  • He rolls with it, and pretends to be king in order to find out what happened to his younger brother. He fills his shoes in every way, except he places a sword in bed between himself and the queen to prevent anything from happening between them. 
  • No answers arrive, so he goes into the same creepy forest, but is clever enough to fight the witch rather than succumbing to her branch. He beats her and makes her disenchant everyone.
  • The younger brother is happy to see his brother. That is, until he hears that he slept in the same bed as the queen. 
  • In fury, he beheads the older brother, but is immediately filled with regret, which seems about right, considering he just decapitated his own kin.
  • Fortunately the animals still have some of that resurrection root, so they bring the older brother back to life. And when the queen remarks on how odd the sword in bed was, the younger brother realizes that his brother had kept faith. Maybe that whole beheading thing was a bit premature?
  • And everyone lives together happily.
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