Grimms' Fairy Tales Summary
FYI, the tales don't go in any particular order, so feel free to skip around. That being said, a lot of the better-known tales are clustered in the beginning, so keep that in mind as you poke around.
The details differ in each tale, but in most of 'em, the good guys win and the bad guys are punished. It sounds stale until you start looking at who's good, who's bad, and why. We see a lot of wicked witches, evil stepmothers, and mean fairies, but not so many straight-up evil dudes. Well, except for some giants and cannibals. But you get the idea. A lot of the antagonists are "bad" because they violate a social more or two, and they're punished horribly at the tales' ends.
The protagonists are the downtrodden, the innocent, and mostly young characters. You know 'em when you see 'em: youngest sons and daughters, orphaned kids, usually clever, sometimes adorably naïve. If you're a girl, it helps to be beautiful, patient, and domestically skilled, because, gee, how else would you nab yourself a husband? If you're a guy, you'd better be aggressive and paranoid, because your brothers will try to leave you in a ditch or poke out your eyes or otherwise dispose of you. There aren't a lot of king's daughters to go around, you know.
Usually what gets the protagonist from awful to awesome is the intervention of a helper figure. We're not just talking fairy godmothers, either. For example, if you bury a dead dude then his ghost will totally help you out when you encounter roadblocks. Being nice to animals also does the trick. And if you're lucky, you'll get yourself a talking horse who helps you figure stuff out.
What are these assorted helpers' motivations for being nice? Sometimes they're enchanted or disguised and hoping they'll get a favor in return. Sometimes they're the spirit of a dead relative or a representative of God. Wherever they come from, do not tick them off, because they're usually crazy-powerful, and do not suffer jerks.
So that's the gist. Most tales follow the formula of downtrodden hero + helper + trials - antagonist = happy ending. But some, especially the tales with animal protagonists or those that dwell on clever peasants, read like lengthy narrative jokes or picture books for kids. That's okay, too. Keep an eye out for some kind of power exchange or trickery, because fairy tales generally are often about the tensions between high and low social status, youth and maturity, and men and women. In other words, someone's gonna get ahead somehow, usually at someone else's expense. Which is a great message to be sending kids, right?
For all you Shmoopers out there, here's a breakdown of the tale numbers and titles. This should help you keep it all straight:
- Tale 1: The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich
- Tale 2: The Companionship of the Cat and the Mouse
- Tale 3: The Virgin Mary's Child
- Tale 4: A Tale About the Boy Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was
- Tale 5: The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids
- Tale 6: Faithful Johannes
- Tale 7: The Good Bargain
- Tale 8: The Marvelous Minstrel
- Tale 9: The Twelve Brothers
- Tale 10: Riffraff
- Tale 11: Brother and Sister
- Tale 12: Rapunzel
- Tale 13: The Three Little Gnomes in the Forest
- Tale 14: The Three Spinners
- Tale 15: Hansel and Gretel
- Tale 16: The Three Snake Leaves
- Tale 17: The White Snake
- Tale 18: The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean
- Tale 19: The Fisherman and His Wife
- Tale 20: The Brave Little Tailor
- Tale 21: Cinderella
- Tale 22: The Riddle
- Tale 23: The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage
- Tale 24: Mother Holle
- Tale 25: The Seven Ravens
- Tale 26: Little Red Cap
- Tale 27: The Bremen Town Musicians
- Tale 28: The Singing Bone
- Tale 29: The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs
- Tale 30: The Louse and the Flea
- Tale 31: The Maiden Without Hands
- Tale 32: Clever Hans
- Tale 33: The Three Languages
- Tale 34: Clever Else
- Tale 35: The Tailor in Heaven
- Tale 36: The Magic Table, the Golden Donkey, and the Club in the Sack
- Tale 37: Thumbling
- Tale 38: The Wedding of Mrs. Fox
- Tale 39: The Elves
- Tale 40: The Robber Bridegroom
- Tale 41: Herr Korbes
- Tale 42: The Godfather
- Tale 43: Mother Trudy
- Tale 44: Godfather Death
- Tale 45: Thumbling's Travels
- Tale 46: Fitcher's Bird
- Tale 47: The Juniper Tree
- Tale 48: Old Sultan
- Tale 49: The Six Swans
- Tale 50: Brier Rose
- Tale 51: Foundling
- Tale 52: King Thrushbeard
- Tale 53: Snow White
- Tale 54: The Knapsack, the Hat, and the Horn
- Tale 55: Rumpelstiltskin
- Tale 56: Sweetheart Roland
- Tale 57: The Golden Bird
- Tale 58: The Dog and the Sparrow
- Tale 59: Freddy and Katy
- Tale 60: The Two Brothers
- Tale 61: Little Farmer
- Tale 62: The Queen Bee
- Tale 63: The Three Feathers
- Tale 64: The Golden Goose
- Tale 65: All Fur
- Tale 66: The Hare's Bride
- Tale 67: The Twelve Huntsmen
- Tale 68: The Thief and His Master
- Tale 69: Jorinda and Joringel
- Tale 70: The Three Sons of Fortune
- Tale 71: How Six Made Their Way in the World
- Tale 72: The Wolf and the Man
- Tale 73: The Wolf and the Fox
- Tale 74: The Fox and His Cousin
- Tale 75: The Fox and the Cat
- Tale 76: The Pink Flower
- Tale 77: Clever Gretel
- Tale 78: The Old Man and His Grandson
- Tale 79: The Water Nixie
- Tale 80: The Death of the Hen
- Tale 81: Brother Lustig
- Tale 82: Gambling Hans
- Tale 83: Lucky Hans
- Tale 84: Hans Gets Married
- Tale 85: The Golden Children
- Tale 86: The Fox and the Geese
- Tale 87: The Poor Man and the Rich Man
- Tale 88: The Singing, Springing Lark
- Tale 89: The Goose Girl
- Tale 90: The Young Giant
- Tale 91: The Gnome
- Tale 92: The King of the Golden Mountain
- Tale 93: The Raven
- Tale 94: The Clever Farmer's Daughter
- Tale 95: Old Hildebrand
- Tale 96: The Three Little Birds
- Tale 97: The Water of Life
- Tale 98: Doctor Know-It-All
- Tale 99: The Spirit in the Glass Bottle
- Tale 100: The Devil's Sooty Brother
- Tale 101: Bearskin
- Tale 102: The Wren and the Bear
- Tale 103: The Sweet Porridge
- Tale 104: The Clever People
- Tale 105: Tales About Toads
- Tale 106: The Poor Miller's Apprentice and the Cat
- Tale 107: The Two Travelers
- Tale 108: Hans My Hedgehog
- Tale 109: The Little Shroud
- Tale 110: The Jew in the Thornbush
- Tale 111: The Expert Huntsman
- Tale 112: The Fleshing Flail From Heaven
- Tale 113: The Two Kings' Children
- Tale 114: The Clever Little Tailor
- Tale 115: The Bright Sun Will Bring It to Light
- Tale 116: The Blue Light
- Tale 117: The Stubborn Child
- Tale 118: The Three Army Surgeons
- Tale 119: The Seven Swabians
- Tale 120: The Three Journeymen
- Tale 121: The Prince Who Feared Nothing
- Tale 122: The Lettuce Donkey
- Tale 123: The Old Woman in the Forest
- Tale 124: The Three Brothers
- Tale 125: The Devil and His Grandmother
- Tale 126: Faithful Ferdinand and Unfaithful Ferdinand
- Tale 127: The Iron Stove
- Tale 128: The Lazy Spinner
- Tale 129: The Four Skillful Brothers
- Tale 130: One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes
- Tale 131: Pretty Katrinelya and Pif Paf Poltree
- Tale 132: The Fox and the Horse
- Tale 133: The Worn-out Dancing Shoes
- Tale 134: The Six Servants
- Tale 135: The White Bride and the Black Bride
- Tale 136: Iron Hans
- Tale 137: The Three Black Princesses
- Tale 138: Knoist and His Three Sons
- Tale 139: The Maiden from Brakel
- Tale 140: The Domestic Servants
- Tale 141: The Little Lamb and the Little Fish
- Tale 142: Simelei Mountain
- Tale 143: Going Traveling
- Tale 144: The Donkey
- Tale 145: The Ungrateful Son
- Tale 146: The Turnip
- Tale 147: The Rejuvenated Little Old Man
- Tale 148: The Animals of the Lord and the Devil
- Tale 149: The Beam
- Tale 150: The Old Beggar Woman
- Tale 151: The Three Lazy Sons
- Tale 151a: The Twelve Lazy Servants
- Tale 152: The Little Shepherd Boy
- Tale 153: The Star Coins
- Tale 154: The Stolen Pennies
- Tale 155: Choosing a Bride
- Tale 156: The Leftovers
- Tale 157: The Sparrow and His Four Children
- Tale 158: The Tale About the Land of Cockaigne
- Tale 159: A Tall Tale from Ditmarsh
- Tale 160: A Tale With a Riddle
- Tale 161: Snow White and Rose Red
- Tale 162: The Clever Servant
- Tale 163: The Glass Coffin
- Tale 164: Lazy Heinz
- Tale 165: The Griffin
- Tale 166: Strong Hans
- Tale 167: The Peasant in Heaven
- Tale 168: Lean Lisa
- Tale 169: The House in the Forest
- Tale 170: Sharing Joys and Sorrows
- Tale 171: The Wren
- Tale 172: The Flounder
- Tale 173: The Bittern and the Hoopoe
- Tale 174: The Owl
- Tale 175: The Moon
- Tale 176: The Life Span
- Tale 177: The Messengers of Death
- Tale 178: Master Pfriem
- Tale 179: The Goose Girl at the Spring
- Tale 180: Eve's Unequal Children
- Tale 181: The Nixie in the Pond
- Tale 182: The Gifts of the Little Folk
- Tale 183: The Giant and the Tailor
- Tale 184: The Nail
- Tale 185: The Poor Boy in the Grave
- Tale 186: The True Bride
- Tale 187: The Hare and the Hedgehog
- Tale 188: Spindle, Shuttle, and Needle
- Tale 189: The Peasant and the Devil
- Tale 190: The Crumbs on the Table
- Tale 191: The Little Hamster From the Water
- Tale 192: The Master Thief
- Tale 193: The Drummer
- Tale 194: The Ear of Corn
- Tale 195: The Grave Mound
- Tale 196: Old Rinkrank
- Tale 197: The Crystal Ball
- Tale 198: Maid Maleen
- Tale 199: The Boots of Buffalo Leather
- Tale 200: The Golden Key
- Tale 201: Saint Joseph in the Forest
- Tale 202: The Twelve Apostles
- Tale 203: The Rose
- Tale 204: Poverty and Humility Lead to Heaven
- Tale 205: God's Food
- Tale 206: The Three Green Twigs
- Tale 207: The Blessed Virgin's Little Glass
- Tale 208: The Little Old Lady
- Tale 209: The Heavenly Wedding
- Tale 210: The Hazel Branch
Tale 1: The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich
- There's this beautiful princess who loves to play with her golden ball so of course she freaks out when it rolls down a well.
- While she's crying, a frog asks her what's wrong. You know, how frogs do.
- She tells him about the ball and he offers to get it for her…for a price. She offers him her jewels, crown, clothes (what, is she gonna strip for him?), but all he wants is to be her companion and hang out, eat, drink, and sleep with her (again, getting kind of creepy).
- The princess agrees, but she knows she isn't going to keep her promise, so she grabs the ball as soon as the frog finds it and then runs home to her swanky palace.
- The next day, while she's eating from her little golden plate with her father the king and all the courtiers (see what we mean by swanky?) the frog knocks super-loudly at the door and reminds the princess of her promise.
- Frightened, she confesses to her dad and he tells her to keep her promise.
- She unhappily shares her meal with the frog and then has to carry him upstairs to her silken bed. The very thought of the slimy critter sharing her clean sheets grosses her out, but her father gets ticked at her for not helping someone who helped her, so she has to.
- She puts the frog in a corner of the bedroom but he insists on sharing the bed with her, which enrages her so much that she picks him up and throws him against the wall.
- But then he turns into a prince. Bonus.
- The two talk a bunch so he can reveal that he was cursed by a wicked witch, and then they (chastely?) share the bed.
- The next morning, some pimped-out carriages come to retrieve the new couple so the prince can go back to his kingdom.
- The prince's servant Iron Heinrich is there, and during the carriage ride there's this weird cracking noise that turns out to be each of the three iron bands Heinrich had secured around his heart to keep it from breaking of sorrow at his master's enchantment.
- So everyone lived happily ever after…but man, they don't make servants like they used to.
Tale 2: The Companionship of the Cat and the Mouse
- A cat befriends a mouse and convinces her to go in on a jar of fat together, which they store in a church.
- The kitty-cat lies three times about being asked to be a godfather for his cousin's kittens, all while eating up the fat, making up a clever name for the kitten each time (Half-Gone and All-Gone, for example).
- Finally, when winter comes, the mouse suggests that they go eat the fat they've been saving. They go to the church, the mouse realizes what has actually happened, and starts ranting at the cat, who promptly threatens to eat up the mouse if she says another word.
- The mouse doesn't shut up, so the cat eats her. (Duh.)
- The tale ends: "You see, that's the way of the world" (7). That's…cheery.
Tale 3: The Virgin Mary's Child
- A poor woodcutter and his wife can't take care of their kid. The Virgin Mary shows up and offers to take care of the daughter. Phew, no need to ditch the kid in the woods.
- Living in Heaven is pretty sweet: this girl gets to eat cake and drink sweet milk. Angels play with her. She wears gold clothes. Like ya do.
- One day the Virgin Mary tells the girl she's going on a trip, and gives her the keys to the thirteen doors to the kingdom of heaven to look after. She can look into the first twelve doors but not the final one. We all know how this is going to go, right?
- The girl looks into the first twelve rooms and sees dazzling light and apostles and other cool stuff. She's tempted to open the final door and all the angels tell her not to since it'd be a sin, it's been forbidden, bad things will happen to her, blah blah blah.
- Of course she opens the door. She sees the Holy Trinity sitting there in light and splendor and gets a smudge of golden light on her finger, which won't come off no matter how hard she scrubs it. Hey, it's better than super glue.
- The Virgin Mary comes home and asks whether she opened the door. The girl denies it. She asks again, and a third time, and the girl still refuses to admit that she disobeyed the order.
- So the Virgin Mary boots the girl from heaven, and she has to live in this horrible forest. She basically lives in a tree, eating nuts and berries, and all her clothes shred and fall off until she's only covered in her long golden hair.
- The king of the land is hunting and he sees this beautiful girl covered in golden hair. Which is not creepy or anything. By the way, she's at least fourteen years old, which was probably legal back then? We hope.
- He chats her up, or, well, tries, since the Virgin Mary had caused her mouth to shut when she was cast out of heaven (how did she eat? Maybe juice diets were popular back then?).
- The king asks if she'd like to go back to his castle, and she nods a little, so at least it's not like he kidnaps her.
- And of course, he falls in love with her because she's so beautiful. They get married.
- But wait. The story doesn't end here. No siree.
- The girl (now a queen) gives birth to a child, and the Virgin Mary appears and demands that she tells the truth about opening the forbidden door.
- She offers to open the queen's mouth if she confesses, but threatens to take away the newborn baby if she denies it.
- This girl is one stubborn queen, so she refuses to confess that she opened the door. You can guess what happens next.
- The same thing happens twice more, at which point the people are convinced that the queen is an ogress who eats her own children. The king is persuaded to let her be burned at the stake.
- Finally, looking at the fire surrounding her, the queen wishes she could repent, and magically, she can.
- The Virgin Mary loosens her tongue and restores her three kids to her (they were also living the high life in heaven) and reminds the readers, er, the maiden, that those who confess their sins will be forgiven.
Tale 4: A Tale About the Boy Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was
- A father has two boys. The elder one is hard-working and the younger one is, well, stupid.
- He's so stupid, in fact, that he doesn't understand what people mean when they say they have the creeps or are afraid. Much mockery ensues.
- A sexton (basically a church-dude) offers to teach the boy the creeps, so he takes the boy and gives him the task of ringing the church bell.
- The sexton dresses in white to scare the boy while he's ringing the bell, but things don't go as planned and the boy tosses him down the stairs instead.
- Horrified, the sexton's wife complains about how the boy broke her husband's leg, so the boy's father kicks him out of their village.
- The boy walks along muttering about how he wants to get the creeps so he can see what all the fuss is about.
- One guy tries to take advantage of him by charging him for advice: he tells the boy to sleep with a bunch of corpses on the gallows, but this doesn't faze the kid.
- There's a haunted castle nearby with a ton of treasures, but people keep dying when they try to spend three nights there. Whoever succeeds will wed the king's daughter, who's the most beautiful maiden in the land. Sweet deal if you can survive.
- The boy accepts the challenge and asks for a fire, a lathe, and a carpenter's bench to take in with him.
- Freaky things show up—demonic cats, a bed that runs around with him on it, dismembered but animated corpses, a malevolent old man—but the boy either beats them up or ignores them altogether.
- Boom. He's accomplished his feat. He gets the riches and the maiden. When he's still complaining about not knowing what the creeps are, she pours a bucket of cold water full of minnows on him so he can finally get the creeps. Now that's love.
- Also, side lesson: don't try scaring kids, because you'll get your leg broken.
Tale 5: The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids
- A mother goat has seven kids (which is actually what they call baby goats—for real). She goes to the forest, and warns the kids to keep an eye out for the wolf, who can be recognized by his black feet and rough voice.
- The wolf comes knocking and disguises his feet and voice. The kids all scramble to hide, but he finds and gobbles up all but the youngest.
- Mama goat returns and is distraught to only find the youngest at home.
- They locate the wolf snoozing, and suspect that the other kids are still alive in his belly. The wolf is sleeping so deeply they cut open his belly, and out leap the kids, all safe and sound.
- They stitch stones into the wolf's belly, and he drowns when he goes to take a drink in the well. Problem solved.
- By the way, if you're looking for another tale like this one, you might check out "Tale 26," a.k.a. "Little Red Cap."
Tale 6: Faithful Johannes
- This king knows he's dying, so he instructs his servant Faithful Johannes to look after his son in every way but not to let him see the portrait of the Princess of the Golden Roof, because then he'll fall in love with her. Which will put him in danger, apparently.
- Old king dies; new king wants to see all his new stuff. Faithful Johannes shows him everything but the forbidden room. Young king flips out and demands to see it, then faints when he sees the portrait of this princess.
- When he comes to, the king goes on about how much he loves her, needs to win her, blah blah blah.
- So Faithful Johannes comes up with a plan: this chick really digs gold (does that make her a gold-digger?) so they commission a bunch of pretty things from goldsmiths and set sail.
- Faithful Johannes goes incognito, lures the princess onto the ship to look at their golden wares, and they sail off. Not shady at all, right?
- Luckily she consents to be the king's wife upon meeting him.
- On the voyage back, Faithful Johannes overhears three ravens talking. You know, as they do.
- Each one reveals a threat to the maiden, king, or both; however, if someone reveals that Faithful Johannes knows this info, he'll turn entirely to stone. Faithful Johannes is mildly angsty about all this but decides to serve his master even if it means giving up his life.
- First threat? An amazing horse will steal away the king forever. Faithful Johannes shoots it. Other servants are all, what the what? King is like, let it be, he's my loyal servant.
- Second threat? A dazzling bridal outfit that will burn the king alive. Faithful Johannes tosses it into the fire. Again, other servants get ticked off, and again, the king is like whatevs.
- Third threat? At the wedding celebration, the bride falls down as though dead. Faithful Johannes knows to take her to a room and suck three drops of poisoned blood from her right breast. The king is there the whole time, so this is awkward.
- Finally, the king is pissed enough to throw Faithful Johannes into prison and sentence him to death…for saving his new wife's life.
- Faithful Johannes confesses why he did everything, and is subsequently turned to stone. The king and queen are super sad about this.
- The stone figure communicates to the king that he'd be turned back if the king beheads his new kids and rubs the statue with their blood.
- The king kills his kids while his wife's in church, thus disenchanting Faithful Johannes.
- Luckily he can put their heads back on and bring them back to life. So they all live happily ever after.
Tale 7: The Good Bargain
- A farmer tosses money into a pond so frogs can count it and gives his slaughtered cow to dogs so they can sniff it. He's not the brightest crayon in the box.
- The farmer goes to the king to complain about the behavior of the frogs and dogs, which makes the king's daughter laugh. Apparently the king has promised her hand to whoever makes her laugh.
- The farmer doesn't want another wife, though, and manages to say so in the most insulting way possible.
- The king says he'll give the farmer "five hundred" if he comes back. Thinking it's money, the farmer promises some to a guard and the rest to a Jew.
- Turns out the king meant lashes, so now the Jew's whining about the pain, but the king thinks it's funny so he gives the farmer some actual money.
- Wanting revenge, the Jew slanders the farmer in front of the king, but due to some trickery, the Jew is beaten again and the farmer feels like he's finally made a good bargain. Because other people's pain is hilarious (and at the time, so was casual and offensive anti-Semitism).
Tale 8: The Marvelous Minstrel
- A minstrel is walking alone in the woods and wants someone to hang with.
- He plays a tune and a wolf, fox, and rabbit all show up, but he tricks each of them into getting stuck somewhere so they quit bothering him. We guess they're not cool enough.
- The animals all free themselves, then go to exact revenge on the minstrel.
- Luckily, the minstrel attracts with his music a human buddy—a woodcutter with an ax—who drives off the animals.
- The minstrel is pleased with himself, plays another tune for the woodcutter, and wanders off again. Minstrels gonna minst.
Tale 9: The Twelve Brothers
- A king and queen have twelve sons. The king for whatever screwed-up reason says to his wife that if their next child is a girl, he's going to kill the boys so she can inherit the whole kingdom. Okay then.
- The king's a proactive kind of guy, so he has twelve coffins made just in case.
- The queen, who's super-sad and cries all the time, eventually breaks the news to her youngest son.
- The kids, obviously, freak out. They devise a system where the queen'll raise a different colored flag based on the gender of the newborn so the kids know whether to flee or not.
- Surprise! It's a girl! The boys run off into the wilderness and angrily vow to kill every girl they meet since a girl cost them everything, almost their lives. Yeah, that sounds totally fair.
- The girl grows up not knowing she had siblings, but eventually finds her brothers' shirts and asks whose they are. Her mother spills the truth, and the girl goes off to find her brothers.
- She shows up: youngest brother is like, who are you? She's also like, who are you?
- Luckily she brought the twelve shirts along so they recognize each other. He tricks the other brothers, who are out hunting, into agreeing not to kill the next girl they meet. Family reunion. Everyone's happy. (So it's not like an actual family reunion in that sense. Those things are way more fun on paper.)
- One day the maiden accidentally picks some enchanted lilies, which turn her brothers into ravens. Oops. An old woman advises her that if she spends seven years silent, neither speaking nor laughing, that she can change them back. So she finds a tree to sit in and spins silently for a long time.
- A king comes hunting and sees this beautiful maiden sitting in a tree. She also has a golden star on her forehead, like ya do. He asks her to be his wife, and she nods. Close enough.
- The king's mother is a grinch so she begins to say evil things about the maiden. The king doesn't listen for a while, but eventually has to give in, listen to the accusations, and sentence her to death.
- Luckily, the seven years are almost up. As the maiden's bound to the burning pyre, the twelve ravens come swooping in, touch down, and turn into her twelve brothers.
- Now the maiden can explain why she had to be quiet. The king's mother is killed instead and everyone except her lives happily ever after.
Tale 10: Riffraff
- A rooster and a hen build a carriage, to which they harness a duck.
- A pin and a needle hitch a ride from them, and they bargain with an innkeeper to let them stay in exchange for an egg from the hen and for the duck (because selling your companions into slavery is totally cool).
- The rooster and hen wake up early, eat their own egg (cannibalism, much?), position the needle and pin maliciously, and take off.
- The innkeeper wakes up and stabs himself on the eggshells, the pin, and the needle. No one's around to pay the tab, so between all these annoyances, he swears never to let riffraff stay at his inn again. Good idea, innkeeper.
Tale 11: Brother and Sister
- A brother and sister wander away from home because their stepmother's mean to them. Sounds about right.
- Here's the problem: she follows them into the woods and puts a curse on every spring in the forest, because she's mean. Yep, mean.
- The brother is super-thirsty and wants to stop for a drink, but the sister hears each spring saying it'll turn him into an animal like a tiger or wolf.
- Finally the brother just can't not drink, and sips from the spring that turns him into a deer.
- The sister and her deer brother find an empty cabin to live in, which is totally idyllic until the deer hears the sounds of the hunt and wants to join in.
- This leads the king straight to their cabin, and he falls in love with the girl and asks her to marry him. She agrees so long as she can bring her fawn with her.
- They get married and live in the castle, which is awesome until the stepmother hears about it, and wants to put her ugly one-eyed daughter in the girl's place of honor—the throne of the queen.
- The stepmother sneaks in after the queen's given birth and suffocates her by making a fire in the bathroom. The ugly daughter is installed in the queen's bed but they keep the room dark so the king won't notice the switch.
- Every midnight, the queen manifests to nurse her baby and stroke her brother (who's still a deer). The baby's nurse notices and tells the king.
- He embraces the apparition, she comes to life again, and they punish the stepmother and her daughter with death, which restores the brother to his human form. Problem solved.
Tale 12: Rapunzel
- A pregnant woman notices some tasty-looking Rapunzel lettuce in a sorceress's garden and gets some massive cravings for it.
- She makes her husband sneak in to get her some, which she eats, and makes him go back for more. The sorceress catches him and only releases him when he agrees to give her the child when it's born.
- The sorceress takes the girl and names her Rapunzel.
- When she turns twelve, the sorceress locks her in a tower without doors or stairs, having to climb Rapunzel's long, golden hair each time she wants to get in.
- This goes on for a few years until a king's son passes the tower and hears her beautiful singing. You know where this is headed.
- He spies on the tower until he sees the sorceress ascend the hair-ladder. He thinks, hey, that looks promising, and then gives it a go.
- At first, Rapunzel's scared because she's never seen a man before, but he talks her down and she agrees to marry him. They arrange for him to bring materials to make a ladder so they can escape together.
- One day Rapunzel stupidly blurts to the sorceress that she's so much heavier than the prince.
- Uh oh. The sorceress is Not Happy. So she shears Rapunzel's hair and takes her to a desert. When the prince comes calling, the sorceress uses the braids to let him up, then tells him that they'll never see each other again.
- The prince jumps out the tower and is blinded on the thorns.
- Rapunzel, meanwhile, has born twins, so those tower visits must not have been all that innocent. The prince wanders blindly until he finds her, and her tears heal his eyes.
- You can guess what happens next: they go back to his kingdom and live happily ever after.
Tale 13: The Three Little Gnomes in the Forest
- This poor girl is stuck with a really awful stepmother, who puts her in a dress of paper and sends her out into the snow to look for strawberries.
- Out wandering about, she stumbles upon a cottage where there are three little gnomes, and she shares her meager food with them.
- The gnomes each give her a gift for being so polite and kind: she'll become more beautiful every day, gold pieces will fall from her mouth each time she talks (which frankly doesn't sound all that awesome to Shmoop—more uncomfortable, really), and a king will marry her.
- That, and she actually finds strawberries in the snow, which means stepmom doesn't have an excuse to beat her for once. All in all, a good day.
- Her stepsister wants to go out and get some awesome gifts too, but she's rude to the little gnomes so they curse her with increasing ugliness, toads falling from her mouth each time she speaks, and a miserable death.
- This obviously ticks off the stepmother even more, so she punishes the good girl by making her rinse yarn in a frozen river. Luckily a king comes by in a carriage and offers her a lift, which turns into a marriage proposal, because that's how things usually go.
- You'd think the poor girl would finally get a break when she marries a king, but her stepmother and stepsister show up right after she gives birth and chuck her into a river.
- No worries. She manifests as a ghost, gives the stable boy directions on how the king should revive her, and then they punish the stepmother and stepsister with a horrible, gruesome death.
Tale 14: The Three Spinners
- A woman beats her lazy daughter for refusing to spin, but is embarrassed when the queen (who's passing by, just for kicks) asks what's going on.
- The woman lies and says her daughter is crazy about spinning and she can't actually afford enough flax.
- It turns out the queen is really into spinning, so she takes the girl to her castle, puts her in a room of flax, and says that if she spins it all she can marry the prince.
- Understandably, the maiden spends a lot of time crying. Luckily, three super-ugly women show up and promise to help her if she'll acknowledge them as guests at the wedding.
- Perfect. She agrees, everything gets spun, and the maiden gets to marry the prince.
- Her three "cousins" show up and are so tremendously ugly that everyone's like, ew.
- They explain that each of their defects is related to spinning, so that the bridegroom promises that his lovely new bride will never have to spin again. And she lives lazily ever after.
Tale 15: Hansel and Gretel
- A woodcutter and his wife can't afford to feed their kids, so the wife suggests ditching them in the forest. Sadly, they didn't have Child Protective Services in those days.
- The kids, Hansel and Gretel, overhear this and freak out. Hansel sneaks out and gathers rocks so they can leave a trail and find their way back home.
- That's good news for the dad, since he didn't actually want his kids to die in the forest anyway.
- Unfortunately, the food gets tight again, so the 'rents ditch their kids in the forest. Again.
- Hansel wasn't able to get rocks this time, so he leaves breadcrumbs. Yeah, we all know this doesn't work out so well.
- The two kiddos are on the brink of starvation when they find a witch's house made of bread, cake, and sugar. Of course they chow down. Sounds delish.
- The witch sweet-talks them into staying, and that's when she locks up Hansel to fatten him up and intimidates Gretel into doing chores.
- This goes on for a while until the witch decides to eat them both. She tries to get Gretel to check on the oven's heat from the inside, but Gretel fakes not knowing how and tricks the witch into leaning in instead.
- That Gretel is one smart cookie. The witch is burned up and the kids go home with a bunch of her treasure. A duck helps them cross a river.
- And not-so-sadly, the wife has died, so the kids and their dad get to live happily and richly ever after.
Tale 16: The Three Snake Leaves
- A young man leaves home and fights bravely in a war. The king wants to reward him with treasures, including his daughter.
- The problem is, she has this weird thing where anyone she marries has to pledge to also be buried alive with her to prove his love.
- No big deal to this guy, apparently. They're married, but the young queen dies pretty soon.
- Understandably, the dude's not exactly thrilled at the prospect of being buried alive in her crypt with her, but he has to go.
- While there, he witnesses snakes reviving each other with the use of some leaves. So he uses the leaves to resurrect his wife and they're happy for a while.
- Things are good until the queen betrays her husband with a sea captain.
- Luckily a faithful servant uses the snake leaves to bring the guy back to life, and they punish the queen and captain with death.
- Lesson learned: better not betray anyone in a fairy tale.
Tale 17: The White Snake
- One servant eats a bite of the king's special white snake dish and instantly understands the language of animals, which is handy when he's accused of stealing the queen's ring.
- He overhears a duck complaining about its irritated stomach, and manages to prove his innocence upon slaughtering the duck (who chowed down on the bling).
- Then the servant takes some money and splits.
- On his journey, he's nice to fish, ants, and ravens.
- All of these animals help him complete a princess's impossible tasks in order to marry her.
- Even though she'd executed all the previous suitors who'd failed, she falls in love with his dude and so they are happy together.
Tale 18: The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean
- A straw and coal each leap out of a fire, while a bean leaps out of a stew pot, and they all go traveling together. The straw and coal get extinguished in a river, which makes the bean laugh so hard that it bursts (sadistic much?). A tailor stitches the bean back together, which is why beans have seams going down them.
Tale 19: The Fisherman and His Wife
- A fisherman and his wife live in a crappy little shack by the sea.
- One day the fisherman catches a flounder who says that he's actually an enchanted prince who can grant wishes—as though being a talking fish isn't strange enough.
- The fisherman agrees to let him go.
- The wife berates her husband for not taking advantage of the wish, and tells him go back and ask for a cottage. This works, but the cottage isn't nice enough so the wife then sends the fisherman back to wish for a castle, then to wish that they were rulers of the country, and then to be emperor, and then to be the pope.
- This whole time the sea gets choppier and scarier each time the fisherman goes back for a wish. Finally the wife wants to be like God, and that propels them back to their humble hovel.
Tale 20: The Brave Little Tailor
- A tailor kills seven flies in one swoop, and makes himself a belt embroidered with the words "Seven in one blow."
- He goes out walking and meets a giant who challenges him, having misinterpreted the phrase to mean that the tailor killed seven men in one blow.
- The giant squeezes a rock until it drips (now that's strong), and the tailor does the same by squeezing a hunk of cheese. The giant throws a stone farther than the eye can see; the tailor throws a bird that flies out of sight.
- This goes on until the giant invites the tailor to spend the night with them, intending to kill the guy. The tailor evades this, too, and wanders on.
- He finds a king who assigns him to kill two troublesome giants, which he does by tricking them into thinking one is poking the other. Enraged, they fight until they're both dead.
- A couple more tasks, and the tailor gets to marry the king's daughter.
- She overhears him talking in his sleep one night about tailor-y stuff like sewing and mending, and is super-annoyed that she married a commoner.
- Men are sent to kill him, but he outwits them and lives on happily as fake royalty.
Tale 21: Cinderella
- A girl's mother dies and the father (who's rich) remarries a woman with two daughters who are pretty but mean. They boss around the girl and make her sleep by the ashes, which is how she winds up with the nickname Cinderella.
- She plants a twig from a hazel bush on her mother's grave and waters it with her tears while praying and stuff.
- Meanwhile, there's going to be a three-night festival so the king's son can find a bride (think of it as an abridged version of The Bachelor).
- The sisters boss around Cinderella to help them primp and prepare, and the stepmother gives her permission to tag along…if she can pick out a bunch of lentils from the ashes.
- Which she does, with the help of some birds. But even then the stepmother forbids her from going because she has nothing to wear.
- Cinderella starts crying, so the stepmother relents and says she can go if she can separate even more lentils from the ashes. Again, birds to the rescue.
- Despite Cinderella's toiling, her stepmother leaves her at home anyway, because she's, well, a big fat jerk.
- But Cinderella asks for help from the hazel tree at her mother's grave, and it gives her a gold and silver dress with silk slippers, and it's off to the festival with her.
- She looks so awesome that nobody recognizes her. And the prince? Well, he only has eyes for her, and spends the whole night dancing with Cinderella. That is, until she splits.
- The prince doesn't succeed in following her when she leaves, though they suspect it's in the direction of her father's house.
- She goes back to dance the second night, and again is traced to the vicinity of her family's house. Her father chops down the pear tree where they think she went, but no one's there, just Cinderella lying in the ashes as usual.
- The third night's the same, except the prince has coated the stairs with pitch. She loses a gold shoe on her way, which the prince takes to her family's house for eligible maidens to try on.
- The shoe's too small for the stepsisters, who all, at their mother's urging, cut off a toe or heel. This actually fools the prince, and he takes each one on his horse to go to the palace until the birds warn him to look for the blood in their shoes (gross).
- Finally, after the stepmother puts up a lot of resistance, Cinderella gets to try on the shoe, and duh, it fits.
- So the prince sweeps her off her feet and whisks her away from a life of picking lentils out of the ashes.
- The sisters come to the wedding, but their eyes are pecked out by Cinderella's helper birds—as if having mutilated feet wasn't enough of a punishment.
Tale 22: The Riddle
- A prince and his servant spend the night with a witch who tries to poison them.
- The witch's daughter had warned them, so only the horse gets poisoned. They leave it behind, but the servant goes back for the saddle and kills the raven sitting there and takes it with him. The raven is eaten by a dozen murderers that the prince and servant had stumbled upon, so they die, too. Yeah, it's kind of a blood bath.
- The prince and his servant reach a city where a princess will marry anyone who poses a riddle she can't solve, but kill anyone whose riddle she solves.
- The prince summarizes the passing on of poison as "One slew nobody yet slew twelve."
- The princess and her maid try to seduce the answer out of them, but it doesn't work, so the marriage is celebrated. It's off to a good start.
Tale 23: The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage
- A mouse, bird, and sausage live together and divide the chores evenly, with the bird gathering wood because it can fly, and so on.
- The bird gets mad because it thinks it has the worst bargain, so they change up the tasks.
- The sausage is swallowed by a dog when out gathering wood, the mouse falls into the food while cooking, and the bird drowns in the well.
- Real uplifting stuff, guys.
Tale 24: Mother Holle
- A maiden has to jump into a well to go after a spindle because her stepmother is mean. What else is new, really?
- She falls into another land where she has to take bread out of an oven and shake the apples from a tree, because the fruit asks her to.
- She meets Mother Holle, a giant scary-looking woman who's nonetheless nice to her and rewards her with a shower of gold after she completes a ton of chores.
- The stepsister is jealous, so she also jumps down the well and emerges in the strange land, but ignores the pleas of the oven and the tree, proceeding straight to Mother Holle's house.
- Being lazy and mean-tempered gets her covered in a shower of pitch.
- Moral of the story: at least pretend to be industrious and polite when meeting supernatural figures. Got that, kiddos?
Tale 25: The Seven Ravens
- After seven sons, a man and his wife finally have a daughter.
- She's born sickly so the man sends his sons to get water for the baptism, but they screw up and the impatient father utters a curse: that they should turn into ravens.
- The daughter recovers and grows up, then hears people gossiping about how she's the cause of her family's catastrophe.
- She sets out to go find her brothers, walking all the way to the end of the world.
- The sun and moon are both kind of harsh and totally unhelpful, but the stars give her a drumstick to open the glass mountain where her brothers are. That's handy.
- She loses it, and cuts off her pinky finger to use as a key instead (who needs a locksmith?).
- Her brothers fly in, and once they know she's there, they're all disenchanted.
- They all go happily home together.
Tale 26: Little Red Cap
- This little girl is all cute and stuff, and she always wears a red velvet cap her grandmother had made her, so everyone calls her Little Red Cap. You might know her as Little Red Riding Hood.
- Her mom has her bring some cake and wine to her grandmother, making extra sure to caution her not to stray from the path. There's danger in them there trees.
- Along the way, she meets a wolf, pretty much gives him directions straight to her grandmother's place, and lets him persuade her to go off the path and pick flowers for her grandmother. Maybe we should call her Little Naïve Cap instead.
- The wolf devours the grandmother and bizarrely decides to cross-dress in her clothing. He has the famous exchange with Little Red ("Oh, Grandmother, how big your X, Y, and Z are!") and then he gobbles her up, too.
- A woodsman hears the wolf's satiated snores and decides that something must be up since grannies usually don't make so much noise.
- He checks in, finds the wolf, and opens his belly, letting Little Red and her grandmother out. They fill the wolf's belly with stones and he dies. Little Red feels really bad about not taking her mom's paranoid but helpful advice.
- Get this: Little Red returns to her grandmother's one day, and there's another creepy wolf trying to get her to leave the path.
- This time, however, she's a good girl and goes straight to grandma's. They fill a basin with sausage-boiling water, tricking the wolf into tumbling into it and drowning.
- The world is safe again for not-so-naïve little girls, yay.
Tale 27: The Bremen Town Musicians
- A donkey, dog, cat, and rooster strike out on their own.
- The place where they stop to rest is a robber's den, and they proceed to scare the snot out of the robbers by braying, barking, meowing, and crowing all at once.
- The robbers leave, but return, determined to regain their loot.
- The animals beat them until they're convinced that the place is filled with enemies. So the animals start a band called the Bremen town musicians and—just kidding.
- The tale's called that because they were going to go to the town of Bremen and become musicians, but they don't actually get around to it because they like the robber's house and decide to stay there.
Tale 28: The Singing Bone
- Two brothers set out to kill a boar plaguing a kingdom.
- The younger, kind-hearted brother is given a magic spear that lets him kill the boar no problem, but the older brother gets jealous, kills his sibling, and goes to claim the reward (which is a marriage to a king's daughter).
- Later a shepherd finds a bone, which sings and tells the truth about the murder. The wicked brother is killed for his crimes.
Tale 29: The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs
- A boy was born with a caul and a prophesy that he'll marry the king's daughter.
- This irks the local king, who befriends the boy's parents and buys him off them. The king throws the boy in a box in the river, hoping to be rid of him.
- Not so fast. The boy is found and taken in by a miller. He grows up, but the same king finds him and realizes his identity.
- He offers the boy gold in exchange for carrying a letter to the queen. The letter's actually a nasty trick; it contains instructions to kill its bearer.
- On his way, the boy stops by a cottage that turns out to be a robber's den (which are apparently, like, everywhere). The robbers play a prank and change the letter to say that its bearer should be wed to the king's daughter.
- The king is obviously not thrilled with this when he gets home, so he decides to get rid of the boy by asking him to go fetch three golden hairs from the devil's head.
- The boy is asked to help others on his way, investigating why a town's fountain has run dry, why a golden apple tree is barren, and why a ferryman cannot leave his post.
- The devil's grandmother takes pity on the boy and hides him, plucking each of the three hairs while also asking for each of the solutions to those various conundrums.
- The boy is richly rewarded by the people he helps, and when the greedy king tries to go get his own riches, he's tricked by the ferryman into taking on his duties.
- So he's stuck there ferrying while the boy enjoys his new throne, wife, and riches.
Tale 30: The Louse and the Flea
- A flea cries because a louse has been scalded, which causes a door to creak in sympathy, which causes a broom to sweep, which causes a cart to race around, which causes a dung heap to burn with fury, which causes a tree to shake itself, which causes a maiden to break her water jug, which causes a spring to flow.
- Everyone drowns after these various actions have been recounted in charming little poems.
Tale 31: The Maiden Without Hands
- A miller is extremely poor so he makes a bargain with the devil: riches in exchange for whatever's behind his mill. That's totally, like, an apple tree or something, right? Nope, turns out the miller's daughter was standing behind the mill. Oops.
- The miller knows he screwed up, but can't back out, so he has to go through with it. The daughter is so pious that the devil can't touch her, so he makes the miller chop off his own daughter's hands.
- This dude is so spineless that he actually does it.
- But his daughter weeps on her stumps so much that she remains pure.
- The devil gives up, and the daughter leaves home, because who would want to stay with the family member who mutilated you?
- She wanders around and manages to eat because angels appear and cause fruit trees to bend down so she can get at the fruit.
- She winds up doing this in a king's garden, which totally freaks out the gardener at first.
- He tells the king, and they spy on this ghostly maid. When they finally talk to her, the king falls in love with her and marries her. He has some silver hands made for her, Luke Skywalker style.
- But then the king goes to war, and things take a turn for the worse.
- The devil is still annoyed about not getting his hands on her, so he rewrites a message and has it looking like the king is ordering her to be killed, even though she totally just had a baby.
- The king's mother (a sympathetic stepmother for once) instead exiles the queen, tying her baby to her back (remember, no hands).
- The woman wanders until she reaches a place in the forest where, again, the angels take care of her. She also wins the piety lottery, causing her hands to grow back. Bonus.
- The king returns and is angsty to find his wife and child gone. He goes looking for them, and they recognize him before he recognizes them.
- An awkward but happy reunion ensues.
Tale 32: Clever Hans
- "This tale is told entirely in dialogue."
- "How clever!"
- "Unlike the main character Hans, who courts a girl named Gretel but is so stupid the entire time that she decides not to marry him after all and runs away."
- "Sucks for him."
Tale 33: The Three Languages
- A stupid young son spends a lot of time studying but only learns three languages: those of dogs, of birds, and of frogs.
- The father tells his men to kill the son, but they take pity on him and leave him in the forest.
- He uses his linguistic skills to complete tasks and get rich, but then the frogs prophesize that he will become the next pope, which happens when he goes to Rome and some white doves land on his shoulders.
- Because that's a sign from God to pope-ify someone…who can only talk to animals.
Tale 34: Clever Else
- Spoiler alert: Clever Else does not live up to her name.
- In fact, she's so dumb while being courted that she sits in the cellar and weeps over the possibility that her future baby might be killed by an ax hanging in the cellar. What?
- Her intended, Hans, weds her anyway.
- Then he plays a trick on her while she naps instead of working, covering her with a net of bells, such that she believes she's not herself anymore and runs away forever.
- Yeah, see? Not so clever.
Tale 35: The Tailor in Heaven
- A sly tailor talks his way into heaven, then makes a nuisance of himself.
- The Lord kicks him out and he has to walk to purgatory. Bummer.
Tale 36: The Magic Table, the Golden Donkey, and the Club in the Sack
- A tailor kicks each of his three sons out of the house because the family goat lied about each one malnourishing it.
- The sons each get apprenticeships, and each gets a magical item: a table that will be instantly covered with gourmet foods, a donkey that spits gold, and a club that will leap from a sack and beat the snot out of people.
- Each son wants to go home and show off to dad, but each one stays at an inn where the crooked innkeeper tricks them into showing off their new toys, while sneakily substituting false ones for the real ones.
- The first two sons are humiliated when they reach home with their duds, but the third son has his club beat the innkeeper until he gives everything back.
- Then everyone is happy (except for the innkeeper, who's bruised).
Tale 37: Thumbling
- A farmer and his wife wish for a child even if he's no bigger than a thumb. Seriously, they'll take anything.
- But we all know how wishing turns out in fairy tales. Badabing badaboom, they've got a son who's thumb-sized. What do they call him? Thumbling, of course.
- Thumbling tags along with his dad and persuades his dad to sell him to two strangers who want to make money off the novelty of a thumb-sized dude, and adventures ensue:
- Thumbling taunts them and runs away.
- He befriends some thieves, then betrays them while they're robbing a house.
- Then he gets swallowed by a cow after sleeping in some hay.
- The cow is slaughtered, and a wolf swallows the cow's stomach, with Thumbling inside.
- He directs the wolf to his parents' home so they can kill the wolf and rescue him.
- Sure, Thumbling's kind of a jerk but he gets to live happily with his parents after all his exploits.
Tale 38: The Wedding of Mrs. Fox
- In the first tale (yes; there are tales within tales; no, don't ask us why) a fox with nine tails thinks his wife's cheating on him. So he plays dead to see what she does, and as soon as another nine-tailed fox comes along, she's all set to hook up with him, except her husband revives and beats everyone up first.
- In the second tale, Mr. Fox actually dies, and a wolf and a bunch of other animals court the now-widowed Mrs. Fox. She's picky and rejects each of them until another fox shows up. Then they get married and have a festive wedding.
Tale 39: The Elves
- In the first tale, a poor shoemaker finds his shoes being completed each morning when he hasn't had time to finish them. He and his wife prosper from this additional labor, so they stay up one night to see what's actually happening. They see two naked little elves working on the shoes, so out of pity they sew some clothes for the little elves. The elves decide not to work anymore now that they look so dashing, but the shoemaker and his wife continue to thrive.
- In the second tale, a poor servant girl goes to be godmother to the elves, and enjoys the festivities under a hollow mountain. She parties for three days, which turn out to be seven years when she returns to normal-people-land. Those tricky elves and their mucked-up sense of time.
- In the third tale, elves steal a baby and replace it with a changeling. The mother's advised to boil water in eggshells, which makes the changeling laugh and reveal itself. The elves reappear with the normal baby and the exchange is made.
Tale 40: The Robber Bridegroom
- A miller's beautiful daughter is betrothed to a rich suitor, but he totally creeps her out. She accepts his invitation to go back to his place one day, despite all these ominous signs—like birds telling her that she's entering a murderer's den.
- When she gets there, an old woman takes pity on her and hides her just as her suitor enters with a bunch of other dudes. They kill a maiden they've brought with them and chop her up to eat.
- Her finger, bearing a ring, falls in the girl's lap and she obviously is grossed out but stays quiet so she and the old woman can get away once the robbers fall asleep.
- Fast forward to the wedding.
- Everyone is sitting around and telling stories, and the girl tells what she's seen, framing it as a dream.
- The bridegroom squirms as the truth is revealed. When she produces the finger as evidence, the bridegroom and his band of robbers are killed.
Tale 41: Herr Korbes
- A hen and a rooster take a carriage ride to visit a dude named Herr Korbes, picking up a bunch of hitchhikers on the way: a cat, an egg, a duck, a pin, a needle, and a millstone.
- When they arrive, they position themselves in various obnoxious, stabby ways, culminating with the millstone who falls on the guy and kills him.
- We're told that Herr Korbes must've been very wicked so that's why this all happened.
- Um, okay.
Tale 42: The Godfather
- This poor man has run out of people to ask to be godparent to his kids, so the final child's godparent is Death.
- The kid grows up able to predict who will live or die, and makes a fortune.
- One day he goes to visit his godfather and sees a bunch of creepy stuff like severed fingers and skulls inside the house.
- The guy runs away before his godfather can do anything to him. Phew.
Tale 43: Mother Trudy
- A stubborn girl informs her parents that she's going to go visit Mother Trudy, despite the word on the street being that she's a wicked lady.
- The girl goes anyway, and sees a black man, a green man, and a red man, which creep her out. Even worse, when she peeks into the house, she sees Mother Trudy as the devil with a flaming head.
- This delights Mother Trudy, who changes the girl into a block of wood and throws her on the fire.
- Yeah, some of these guys don't have happy endings.
Tale 44: Godfather Death
- A poor man who already has twelve children has to run out on the road to find a godfather for the thirteenth.
- The first person he finds is the Lord, but the man rejects him as godfather since he's unfair. The second person he finds is the devil, whom he doesn't want because he tricks people. The third person he finds is Death, whom he accepts because he doesn't discriminate against the rich or poor.
- Death's gift to his godson is letting him know whether a person can be cured or not, so the guy becomes a famous doctor.
- He tries to cheat Death out of taking a king's life, and then the king's daughter's life (since the reward for curing the daughter is marriage).
- Death whisks his godson away and kills him.
- Note to self: trying to cheat Death never works.
Tale 45: Thumbling's Travels
- A tailor has a tiny son named Thumbling.
- He wanders around and generally makes a nuisance of himself, but helps a group of robbers steal from a king.
- He ends up swallowed by a cow, and after escaping the smoked cow sausage, he persuades a fox to bring him back home.
- No more wandering for Thumbling.
Tale 46: Fitcher's Bird
- This sorcerer (Fitcher) has a thing for cute girls, so he wanders around, knocking on doors, and if a pretty girl answers, he compels her to jump inside the basket on his back.
- This happens to the eldest of three sisters, but once he gets her home, she violates his rules, then sees a chamber full of bloody body parts, so he kills her.
- Same thing happens to the second sister.
- The third sister is clever, so she hides the egg he's given her to guard so it doesn't get bloody. She's horrified to find the bodies of her two sisters chopped up, but she reassembles them and they come back to life.
- She smuggles them out of the sorcerer's house, along with some gold, by asking the sorcerer to take a basket back to her parents' place. She tricks him into thinking that she's watching him the whole time so that he doesn't peek inside.
- Meanwhile, she dresses up a skull to put in the highest window, and rolls herself in honey and feathers for a disguise. Hasn't she ever heard of a ski mask?
- The sorcerer's friends coming to their wedding think the skull is her, and that she in disguise is just Fitcher's bird.
- When she gets home, her relatives go and burn the sorcerer and his wedding guests alive in the house.
Tale 47: The Juniper Tree
- A woman loathes her stepson, so she kills him and puts him in the stew.
- Her daughter cries and cries, seasoning the stew with her tears. His father unknowingly eats his son. Yep, that just happened.
- The dead boy's stepsister, Marlene, saved the bones, which she buries under the juniper tree where his dead mother is buried.
- A bird flies out of the tree and sings a beautiful song that compels the townspeople to give it gifts: a golden chain, a pair of red shoes, and a millstone. Okay, actually, the song is a creepy little ditty about how his mother slew him and his father ate him, but whatever floats your boat.
- The bird returns home and gives out the gifts: the chain to the father, the shoes to the sister, and the millstone to the stepmother. It drops on her and kills her.
- Then the bird becomes the boy, alive again, and the three of them live happily together.
Tale 48: Old Sultan
- An old dog named Sultan hears his master plotting to kill him since he's too old to be useful anymore.
- The dog strikes up a bargain with the wolf to stage a mock-attack, which is successful, so the farmer coddles his dog from then on.
- Then Sultan goes back on his promise to let the wolf get away with stealing a sheep, which ticks off the wolf, but the dog gets back at him in the end.
Tale 49: The Six Swans
- A king goes hunting in the forest, but gets lost, and has to agree to a witch's terms to get out again: he has to marry her daughter, who takes a disliking to the king's children from his previous marriage.
- So she enchants shirts and throws them onto the six boys, who turn into swans. The daughter manages to stay hidden throughout this whole shebang.
- The father, who is not terribly bright, wants to take his daughter back to the castle with him, where doubtless the stepmother is waiting to do terrible things to her.
- Off the girl wanders, to find her brothers. She sees them enter a hut and take off their swan skins. They tell her the only way to disenchant them is to spend six years without talking or laughing, and sew them six shirts of asters (a flower). That sounds okay enough for her.
- She spends a while hanging out in a tree and sewing. A king's huntsmen see her and try to persuade her to speak or come down from the tree.
- Instead of answering them, she throws down her clothing, one piece at a time (totally the rational response). When the king sees her, he falls in love with her and marries her even though she's remaining silent the whole time.
- The king, unfortunately, has an evil mother, who steals away each baby that the maiden gives birth to, and smears the maiden's mouth with blood, to suggest that she ate her babies.
- The maiden obviously can't speak to defend herself, so after the third time this happens, the king agrees to let the court sentence her to death.
- Right as she's tied to the stake, her swan-brothers fly up, and she tosses the shirts on them. They become human again, except for the little brother who's missing his left arm since she didn't have time to finish the left sleeve. They kill the king's mother, find the hidden babies, and everyone's happy.
Tale 50: Brier Rose
- A king and a queen who finally have a child hold a feast in her honor. However, they only have twelve golden plates so they can only invite twelve of the thirteen wise women in the land.
- The thirteenth one gets stabby, crashes the party, and curses the princess: in her fifteenth year, she will prick her finger on a spindle and drop dead.
- The final wise woman, who hadn't wasted her blessing for the princess on mundane stuff like beauty, virtue, and wealth, manages to redirect the curse into sleep rather than death.
- The king, in a classic example of helicopter parenting, has all the spindles in the kingdom burned.
- This is fine until the princess's fifteenth birthday, when she finds an old tower, wherein an old woman is spinning. Curious, the princess gives it a shot, pricks herself, and swoons into a slumber.
- Everyone and everything in the castle also wind down and snooze. A giant hedge grows around the castle and any prince who tries to break in dies a gruesome death on it.
- One young prince is lucky enough to try at the end of the century.
- The hedge blossoms and lets him in. He finds Brier Rose, kisses her, and she wakes up (no mention of bedhead, lucky her).
- The rest of the palace wakes up and they celebrate the wedding with lots of fancy stuff.
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.
Tale 61: Little Farmer
- A poor farmer gets his hands on a calf, but can't afford to feed it, so he skins it and goes to the city to sell the hide.
- On his way, he catches a miller's wife dallying with a priest, but pretends that he can prophesy so that the miller, when he comes home, pays him a big sum to reveal where the wife's been stashing food to eat with her lover.
- The farmer goes home with all this money, saying he got it from selling his calf skin, and everyone in the village kills their cows, but none of them get nearly as much money.
- They plan to kill the farmer by drowning him, but he cleverly switches places with a shepherd, and when he appears again, with a flock of sheep, the whole town believes him when he says there are tons of sheep for the taking on the bottom of the lake.
- So the whole village drowns themselves, leaving the farmer wealthier than ever.
Tale 62: The Queen Bee
- The youngest of three princes is kind to all the animals he meets—ants, ducks, and bees—which all help him with the tasks needed to win the hand of the king's daughter.
- The queen bee, whom the prince had protected, helps him with the final task.
- The prince and princess marry, and everyone who had failed and been turned into stone (including the prince's two older jerky brothers) is restored to life.
Tale 63: The Three Feathers
- A king sets his three sons to various tasks in order to decide who will succeed him: bring the loveliest carpet, the finest ring, and the most beautiful woman in the world.
- He blows three feathers into the air to determine which direction each son should go in.
- The youngest son encounters a frog who gets him the first two items, and then changes into the most beautiful maiden ever seen.
- They're married and ascend the throne.
- As for the other brothers, well that's tough luck.
Tale 64: The Golden Goose
- A youngest son is kind to a dwarf in the forest, who bestows upon him a golden goose.
- When he takes it into town, all these greedy people try to grab its golden feathers, but end up stuck to the goose instead. When this unruly parade runs by a king's daughter who has never laughed, she cracks up.
- The reward for making her laugh is marriage, but the king is leery of giving his daughter to a commoner, so he demands that the youth pass additional tests, which he does with the dwarf's help.
- Marriage unlocked.
Tale 65: All Fur
- This king is married to a beautiful queen with golden hair.
- She falls ill, and before dying, makes him promise that he'll only marry someone as beautiful as her and with her same golden hair.
- The king's advisers pressure him to marry again, but they can't find a suitable bride. This goes on for a while until the king lays eyes on his daughter, who's now grown up and looks a lot like her mother. He declares that he will marry his own daughter, to everyone's horror (and Shmoop's, too).
- The daughter stalls for time by asking for three magical dresses (one as golden as the sun, one as silver as the moon, and one as bright as the stars) as well as a cloak made up from all kinds of fur found in the kingdom. The king is pretty darn rich, though, so it doesn't take him long to have this stuff commissioned.
- Obviously freaked out, the daughter takes the goods and runs, disguising herself in the animal coat. She finds work in the next kingdom over, in a palace kitchen. The king there holds a ball, and she washes up and puts on the golden dress to attend. The king adores her and dances with her and her alone.
- This happens a second and third time and she busts out the silver and starry dresses for each occasion. She also drops things in the king's soup, like a golden ring and tiny golden spinning wheel.
- Finally the king gets a clue and slips a ring on her finger during their last dance together.
- When she delivers the king's food after the ball, he grabs her and sees the ring on her finger. He rips off her cloak, revealing the starry dress, and declares that they'll be married.
- Which is a little forceful, sure, but not half as bad as marrying your own dad.
Tale 66: The Hare's Bride
- A maiden is sent to the garden to scare away a hare that's eating the cabbage.
- The hare abducts the girl and plans to wed her, but she makes a straw doll of herself and runs away, which totally bums out the hare (as though interspecies marriages really work out).
Tale 67: The Twelve Huntsmen
- A princess is betrothed to a prince who has to go home to his father's deathbed.
- The father wants him to marry someone else, so he can't go back to the maiden. She grieves, then asks her father to give her eleven young women as companions who look just like her, because that's really the best wait to cope with a bad break up.
- Oh wait, it's all part of her secret plan. Her ladies in waiting all dress in drag and go to her betrothed's kingdom, offering their services as huntsmen.
- The king has a rather discerning lion who determines that the huntsmen are actually women, so they set a bunch of tests: whether they'll walk firmly over peas or trip up like women and whether they'll ooh and ah over spinning wheels like women or ignore them like men.
- The "huntsmen" pass all the tests and become the king's best bros.
- When the disguised princess learns that the wedding is about to take place, she swoons, causing the king to examine her closely enough to recognize her.
- He renounces his new betrothed and takes her back.
Tale 68: The Thief and His Master
- A man apprentices his son to a master thief, who says that if he can recognize his son in a year, he won't need to pay for the apprenticeship, whereas if he doesn't recognize his son, he'll have to pay the master thief for his time.
- The man agrees, and then receives advice from a dwarf about putting out bread, which makes his son in bird-form peek out. The man claims his son and they leave without paying the master thief.
- The son transforms himself into a greyhound, which the man sells to a nobleman. The son runs away after the father has the money. They repeat the ploy with the son as a horse, but the father forgets to take off the bridle, so the son cannot escape when the master thief (in disguise, duh) purchases him and takes him home.
- When the bridle's finally taken off, the son becomes a bird, but so does the master thief, and they have a shape-changing contest.
- Finally, the master thief becomes a rooster, and the boy becomes a fox, who bites off the rooster's head.
- So the son is free to go.
Tale 69: Jorinda and Joringel
- A beautiful maiden named Jorinda is walking through a forest with her betrothed, Joringel.
- They come too close to a witch's castle, and the witch appears and turns Jorinda into a nightingale.
- Joringel goes full emo without her, but happens to have a dream showing him that if he picks the right flower, he can disenchant Jorinda.
- When he wakes up, he finds the flower and disenchants not only Jorinda, but also all the other girls who had been kept as birds.
- J & J live happily together.
Tale 70: The Three Sons of Fortune
- A father leaves each of his sons something simple: a rooster, a scythe, and a cat. But he advises them to seek a land where these things are unknown in order to make their fortunes.
- The first son finds a land where nobody knows how to keep time so they buy the rooster from him for a large sum.
- The same happens to the second son, who sells the scythe to a bunch of folks who have no clue how to harvest grain.
- When the third son finds a cat-less land infested with mice, the people gladly buy his cat. But since they've never seen a cat before, they get spooked when it meows.
- Figuring the cat to be hostile, they level the castle trying to destroy it (don't fear, animal lovers—the cat escapes safely).
Tale 71: How Six Made Their Way in the World
- A soldier is discharged but not properly paid for his services, so he vows to seek vengeance on the king.
- He wanders around gathering dudes with extraordinary skills: a strong man, a huntsman with amazing vision, a man who can turn windmills with his breath, a runner so fast he usually unbuckles one leg, and a man with a hat that, when straightened, will cause a frost.
- They go to the king's city, where it's been declared that whoever can win a race against the king's daughter can marry her. But since there's always a catch, any losers will be decapitated. The runner is about to easily win when he stops for a nap, but the huntsman spots him and fires a shot to wake him up, so the runner wins the race.
- The king decides to try to dispatch the group, so he sends them to a room that will burn them up, but hat-guy causes a frost so they all survive.
- The king realizes that they're not so easily killed, so he offers them as much gold as they can carry in exchange to renouncing the claim on his daughter. This would've worked to the king's advantage, except the strong man carries away all the kingdom's gold in a sack the size of a house.
- The king sends his army after them to retrieve the gold, but the breath-man blows away the soldiers. At this point, the king just has to let them go.
- The six men divide the gold among themselves and live happily. It's the Grimms' take on Ocean's rrEleven.
Tale 72: The Wolf and the Man
- A wolf and fox are talking, and the fox cautions the wolf about how unbeatable humans are since they're so strong and clever.
- The wolf brags that he'd go after a man if he saw one, so the fox shows him a hunter, who shoots at him with a gun and stabs him with a knife.
- The wolf survives but is in so much pain that the fox mocks him for being arrogant.
Tale 73: The Wolf and the Fox
- A wolf threatens a fox into stealing food for him, but each time the wolf goes back for seconds, he's caught, and is punished.
- Finally, the wolf takes the fox with him to make sure nothing goes wrong. The wolf eats so much that he can't sneak out of the cellar where they've been eating up salted meat, so he's caught and beaten to death, while the clever fox sneaks away.
Tale 74: The Fox and His Cousin
- A wolf and fox are on such good terms that they call each other cousin.
- The fox proposes that they sneak into a barn to steal food, but the wolf is caught and hardly escapes with her life, while the fox, who hasn't lifted a paw, pretends to also be in pain.
- The fox tricks the wolf into carrying him back into the forest, then mocks her and runs off.
- Cousins, our foot.
Tale 75: The Fox and the Cat
- A cat tries to talk to the fox in a friendly manner, but the fox is so arrogant, he brags about having a bag full of tricks and skills, while the cat only has one skill: being able to climb trees and hide.
- Right then, a hunter surprises them. The cat hides and survives, while the fox is caught and killed.
Tale 76: The Pink Flower
- This king and queen really want a kid, and an angel lets the queen know that she's finally about to get pregnant, plus her son will have the ability to wish for anything and get it.
- The royal cook knows that the child has magic powers, so he steals the boy from the queen's lap, smears her with blood, and accuses her of letting wild animals eat the child à la A Cry in the Dark. The queen is sent to a tower, where angels bring her food so that she doesn't starve to death.
- The cook raises the child in a secret place, but starts to fear his powers.
- He encourages the boy to wish himself a companion, so he wishes for a beautiful maiden to keep him company. They fall in love and are happy until the cook begins to feel fearful again.
- He tries to blackmail the maiden into killing the youth, but she refuses, and the youth turns the cook into a black poodle that has to eat live coals until it spits flames (that's a creative punishment for you).
- The boy returns home, and turns the maiden into a pink flower to keep with him.
- He checks on his mother in the tower, then enlists in the king's service as a huntsman.
- Plus, he wishes for plenty of deer so that everyone can feast on venison. Ain't that nice of 'im?
- Finally he reveals himself to his father, has his mother redeemed, and marries the maiden.
- The mother dies (we can only assume of malnourishment, because come on, angel food?) and the father soon after, and the cook is executed, too.
- So the survivors, at least, live happily ever after.
Tale 77: Clever Gretel
- Gretel is a cook who is very clever and very pleased with herself.
- Her master asks her to roast two chickens, one for him and one for his guest. While he's out fetching the guest, Gretel takes one nibble and then another, and winds up eating both chickens.
- She runs out to meet the guest under the pretense of warning him that her master actually wants to cut off his ears. Then she tells the master that the guest ran off with both chickens to save face.
- The master chases the guest, crying, "Just one, just one!" by which he means he wants just one chicken back, but the guest thinks he wants one ear, so he keeps running.
- We're glad that Gretel doesn't work for us.
Tale 78: The Old Man and His Grandson
- An old man's hands tremble so much that he is often messy at the dinner table, the poor guy.
- His son and daughter-in-law, totally disgusted by this, make him sit by the stove and eat out of a wooden bowl all alone.
- One day they see their son piecing together a wooden trough, and when they ask him what he's doing, he says it's for them when they grow up.
- An awkward moment ensues when they realize they're setting themselves up for a fate worse than the old folks' home.
- They invite grandpa back to the dinner table and treat him more kindly.
Tale 79: The Water Nixie
- A brother and sister playing by the well are snatched by a water nixie (think of it as a not-very-nice spirit).
- The nixie makes the girl carry water in a bucket with no bottom, and makes the boy chop wood with a blunt ax.
- The children escape one Sunday while the nixie's in church. When the nixie pursues them, they throw behind them a brush that becomes a mountain of bristles, a comb that becomes a mountain of teeth, and a mirror that becomes a glass mountain.
- The nixie can't keep up, so the kids are able to escape to their home.
Tale 80: The Death of the Hen
- A hen greedily swallows such a large nut that it starts choking her to death, so she sends the rooster for water from the well.
- The well demands for red silk from the bride.
- The bride demands that the rooster first fetch her wreath.
- The wreath is stuck in the willow, which gives it up, but by the time the rooster makes it back with the water, the hen is dead.
- On the way to the funeral, everyone wants to hitch a ride with the rooster, but they fail to cross the brook so everyone drowns.
- So really, this tale should've been titled "Everyone Died, But the Hen Got A Head Start."
Tale 81: Brother Lustig
- A discharged soldier named Brother Lustig has little money and food, but he kindly shares it with a beggar, who turns out to be Saint Peter, who, we guess, has a habit of roaming the German countryside.
- The saint keeps an eye on him and helps him out, healing a sick farmer and then a sick king's daughter so that Brother Lustig can enjoy the reward. When they part ways, Saint Peter warns Brother Lustig to be responsible, which of course he isn't.
- He tries to pull the same healing stunts but fails, and Saint Peter bails him out, finally giving him a knapsack that will do anything he wishes.
- For a while, Brother Lustig enjoys filling it with tasty foods. Then he comes to a haunted castle, and fills the sack with the renegade demons and beats them senseless.
- Finally, he decides to try to get into heaven.
- He accidentally takes the path that leads to hell, but they don't let him in because the demons don't want him to torment them any more.
- Heaven doesn't want to let him in either, but he gets them to admit his sack in and wishes himself inside it.
Tale 82: Gambling Hans
- This guy named Hans has such a gambling problem that they call him Gambling Hans.
- One day the Lord and Saint Peter show up, and even though he gambles away the money they give him to buy food with, they decide to reward Hans for his hospitality with three wishes.
- He wishes for a deck of cards, dice that always win, and a tree that would keep whoever climbed up it captive until Hans said they could leave.
- Hans starts to win everything in sight, which concerns the Lord, so he sends Death to get Hans. Hans tricks Death into climbing the tree and keeps him there for seven years, during which no one dies.
- That's one big wrench thrown into things, so God orders Hans to release Death, who kills Hans on the spot.
- They refuse Hans access to heaven, and in hell, he starts gambling and wins enough devils that he decides to fight his way to heaven.
- They let him in, but his gambling causes such a ruckus that they kick him out again—with sufficient force to splinter his soul.
- Fragments of his soul flew into people who we characterize as having a gambling problem, so parts of him are still alive today.
- Oh so that explains Uncle Marv.
Tale 83: Lucky Hans
- Hans must've had a really good job, because he gets a gold nugget for his labor.
- It's heavy, so he trades it for a horse. He doesn't like riding the horse, so he trades it for a cow, then the cow for a pig, and then the pig for a goose.
- A scissors-grinder talks him into trading the goose for some sharpening stones, which are so heavy that Hans feels lucky when they slip into a brook and he can't retrieve them.
- This guy simply oozes luck.
Tale 84: Hans Gets Married
- A matchmaker tries to find a rich man's daughter for farmer Hans to marry.
- The matchmaker brags that Hans has as many patches (of land) as he has patches on his pants. The marriage is celebrated and when the new bride asks for a tour of the land, she gets a tour of his overalls, which he can definitively say that he does own.
Tale 85: The Golden Children
- A fisherman catches a golden fish that promises him a castle filled with an endless cupboard in return for throwing him back in the water. The catch is that he can't tell anyone where his newfound wealth comes from.
- His wife nags him until he cracks and spills the beans. The castle disappears and they're back to living in a crummy little hut.
- He catches the same fish, makes the same promise, and breaks it again. The third time he catches the fish, it doesn't try to bargain, but tells the fisherman to take it home, cut it into six pieces, and give two to his wife, two to the horse, and bury two in the ground.
- The fisherman does this, and his wife gives birth to two boys, the horse has two foals, and the garden yields two lilies. Everything is golden, like, literally: the horses, boys, and lilies are gold-colored.
- The boys part ways, telling their father that the lilies will predict their health.
- One boy dons a bearskin in order to pass through a forest safely, and then marries a maiden (whose father, upon learning that he's not really that hairy but is actually golden, approves of the match all the more).
- The boy goes hunting, but is turned to stone by a witch. The other brother sees the lily droop, and goes to rescue his brother.
- The one brother returns to his wife, and the other brother returns home to their father, who was watching the lilies carefully to see that they both were healthy.
Tale 86: The Fox and the Geese
- A fox comes upon a meadow full of geese and gloats about how he will eat them up.
- One goose pleads to be allowed to pray first, so she starts making that honking goose-noise.
- The rest of the geese start, too, and we'll finish the tale when they've finished praying.
- Yep, that's it.
Tale 87: The Poor Man and the Rich Man
- The Lord, traveling in disguise, asks for somewhere to stay. A haughty rich man turns him out, but his kind, poor brother across the way welcomes him in.
- The Lord gives him three wishes, and he asks for salvation, for good health and daily bread, and for a nicer house (hey, that's more than three).
- The rich man hears about this and finds the Lord and badgers him to stay at his place in exchange for three wishes.
- The Lord warns the rich man that his wishes won't turn out well, and he wastes them as foretold.
Tale 88: The Singing, Springing Lark
- About to head out on a journey, a man asks his daughters what they want him to bring them.
- The first two want pretty shiny things, but the third wants a singing, springing lark.
- The man tries to obtain the bird but it belongs to a lion, who threatens to kill the man unless he brings the first thing he meets when he gets home. Hopeful that it'll turn out to be the dog and not his youngest daughter, the man agrees.
- The daughter somehow doesn't mind being bartered off, and when she reaches the lion, it turns out that he's a prince who can assume human form by night.
- Well that's convenient. So they celebrate their wedding and it's all good.
- She wants to go back to her father's place for a celebration, and begs the lion to come with her, but it's a bit dangerous, because if the light of a candle hits him, he'll become a dove for seven years.
- They try to protect him, but eventually a candle shines on him, and he's re-enchanted.
- She follows the trail of white feathers and the occasional drop of blood that he leaves. She wanders far enough to meet the sun, the moon, and the Winds, which each give her advice and gifts.
- After crossing the sea by griffin (now that's a pimpin' ride), she comes to the kingdom where her prince is supposed to marry another woman.
- The gifts of the sun and moon contain beautiful objects that she barters for a night in her husband's bedroom.
- Unfortunately, his new bride has drugged him, so he doesn't hear her pleas for recognition.
- On the final night, he doesn't take the sleeping potion and hears her, so they run away together and live happily with their family.
Tale 89: The Goose Girl
- A princess is betrothed to a faraway prince. Her mother, before sending her off to marry him, lets three drops of blood fall on a white handkerchief and tells the daughter it will take care of her. She also has a horse named Falada who can speak, which just might come in handy…or not.
- The princess's maid is kind of mean, because she makes the princess fetch her own water and stuff (heaven forbid). The drops of blood protest, but then the handkerchief is swept away by a river, so it can't protect her anymore.
- Then the maid goes one step too far, forcing the princess to change clothes with her, making her swear to never tell anyone under pain of death.
- When they reach the castle, the maid also has Falada killed, so the horse won't give away the secret. The princess arranges for its head to be mounted on the gate she passes through while tending geese, and they have a rhyming exchange every day.
- The other goose herd tells the king that something strange is going on with this chick, who has pure golden hair and talks to dead horse heads.
- The king speaks kindly to the princess, but she's not allowed to tell him what happened to her. So the king suggests that she tell her troubles to the iron stove (while he listens, hidden). The false bride is punished with death and the princess is married to her intended.
Tale 90: The Young Giant
- A tiny boy is snatched away by a giant who suckles him at his breast until the boy grows huge and strong.
- He's so big that when he returns home, his parents don't recognize him. He eats up all the food and they kick him out.
- So he finds work at various tasks, disenchanting a haunted mill by withstanding blows while he's at it. He doesn't collect wages but instead wants to give blows to his employers, which they usually can't withstand.
- And then he wanders on with his giant iron staff and does more giant-y things.
Tale 91: The Gnome
- A king has an apple tree that he loves so much, he has a protective spell put on it: if anyone picks an apple, they'll be sent far underground. By magic. Ya know.
- This deters apple-pickers, but the king's three daughters crave a bite of the juicy fruit, so they pluck one to share and are sent to an underground prison.
- Wow, does this sound familiar.
- Three hunters (who are also brothers) join the search for the missing princesses. They set up in this old castle where one brother at a time is badly beat up by a gnome that, of course, reappears.
- Only the youngest is brave enough to fight back, and the gnome, in order to prevent himself from getting beat on even more, tells him where the princesses are.
- The youngest brother descends into a well, fights dragons, and sends up each princess on a rope. However, the gnome had warned him that his brothers weren't trustworthy, so he sends up a stone in his place. Sure enough, the brothers cut the rope and the stone falls (if it had been him, he would've died from the fall).
- The brother wanders around the caverns and finds a flute that helps him get back to the surface, because flutes generally have levitating powers.
- When gets back up top, he goes to the king, where the daughters recognize him. His traitorous brothers are put to death, and he gets the youngest princess for his wife. Bonus.
Tale 92: The King of the Golden Mountain
- A merchant accidentally gives up his only son in a bargain to a dwarf that makes him rich. Whoops.
- When the dwarf comes to claim the boy, the merchant resists, and it's decided that the boy belongs to no one, but must float down the river. Why? Don't ask questions.
- He reaches a castle where a princess is enchanted as a snake and instructs him to withstand torture silently for three nights.
- The princess is disenchanted and they wed, making him king of the Golden Mountain.
- Dude really wants to go home, but his wife ain't havin' it.
- Finally, she relents, and gives him a wishing ring, cautioning him not to use it on her. He goes home and his parents don't believe that it's really him, so he wishes that his wife were there to prove it.
- She's not happy about this (don't husbands ever listen?), and she betrays him by taking back the ring and wishing herself and their child home.
- In search of her, he comes upon a group of giants arguing over how to divide their inheritance: an invisibility cloak, a pair of boots that will take their wearer anywhere in seconds, and a sword that will chop off the heads of everyone but he who holds it.
- The king cleverly says he has to test them out first, and disappears with all three.
- He returns home, torments his wife while he's invisible, and then beheads everyone so he can rule the Golden Mountain all alone.
Tale 93: The Raven
- One day a queen is so annoyed with her little daughter that she wishes she'd become a raven.
- The daughter, because this is a fairy tale and all, becomes a raven and flies away.
- A man is walking through a forest, and a raven tells him that she's actually a cursed king's daughter, and that he can free her by following her instructions.
- The problem is, he keeps falling asleep when he should be looking for the right opportunity to rescue her, so she runs out of time and has to split.
- But not before she leaves him some bread, meat, and wine that never run out. He uses these to persuade a giant to give him a lift to the glass mountain where the princess is now captive.
- Then he steals some magic items from thieves, including a horse that can ride up everywhere, including the glass mountain.
- Finally he appears, and his presence fully disenchants the princess, so they get married.
Tale 94: The Clever Farmer's Daughter
- A farmer asks for some land from the king, and when he starts plowing, he finds a tiny golden mortar.
- Against his clever daughter's advice, he brings it to the king, who demands the matching pestle, and imprisons the farmer when he cannot produce it.
- The farmer is overheard lamenting about his daughter's advice, so the king asks to see his daughter if she's really so clever.
- To figure that out, he sets her a challenge: come not dressed but not naked, not on horse but not by carriage, not on the road and not off the round.
- Got it? Great. Here's what she does: she wears a fishnet, half-rides a donkey, and lets only her toes touch the ground so she's not either on or off the road.
- Apparently, she's looking pretty sexy since the king marries her on the spot. However, he makes her promise never to interfere in his affairs.
- She gives another farmer advice on how to solve a legal quandary, and when the king suspects his wife's involvement, he tells her to leave.
- But she gets one last request: to take with her the dearest thing she can think of.
- So she drugs the king and drags him along. Ha. Of course her clever choice convinces him that she's a keeper, so they go back to the castle together.
Tale 95: Old Hildebrand
- A priest wants to hook up with a farmer's wife, so the wife plays sick and the priest gives a sermon about how people with sick relatives should make a pilgrimage to Mount Cuckold in Italy.
- As soon as the farmer's gone, the priest and wife begin cavorting.
- The farmer tells his less-gullible neighbor where he's going, so the neighbor smuggles him back into the house so they can catch the adulterers in the act.
- The farmer (whose name is Hildebrand—hence the title) gives the priest a good beating.
Tale 96: The Three Little Birds
- A king and his two ministers are walking and overhear three maidens saying they'd like to marry one of each of them.
- That's a totally logical way to pick a spouse, so they all get married. Duh.
- The sister who married the king gives birth to beautiful children, two boys and a girl, while the king is away.
- The other sisters are jealous so they throw the babies in the river and tell the king that his queen gave birth to animals. Finally, the king is so enraged he locks her in a tower.
- A fisherman finds each of the babies and raises the kids as his own.
- The two boys go off to look for their real parents, but are rude to an old woman, who doesn't help them. Meanwhile, the girl goes to look for her brothers and is kind to the old woman, who gives her advice about fetching a magical bird and magical water.
- The bird reveals to the king who his children are and helps heal their imprisoned mother, while her sisters are killed for their treachery.
- Yes, we know that only one bird played a significant role but the title has three; each time a kid was thrown in the river, a little bird comes to sing a prophecy about the wicked sisters dying, which we think is where the title comes from.
Tale 97: The Water of Life
- This king gets sick, which makes his three sons all mopey. An old man tells them to seek the Water of Life to heal him.
- The first two brothers are rude to a dwarf who imprisons them in a gorge, while the third brother is kind, so the dwarf advises him on how to enter an enchanted castle.
- When the brother enters the castle, he swipes some cool magic items, and encounters a beautiful princess who says she'll marry him in a year's time. He leaves with the Water of Life and also rescues his brothers.
- Then, he uses the cool magical items to help a kingdom in distress on the way home. But his brothers decide to betray him so as to gain the kingdom for themselves, so they swap out the Water of Life for bitter saltwater.
- The king thinks his youngest son is trying to off him, so he orders him killed. Luckily, the hunter (that's fairy tale parlance for hit man, in this case) takes pity on him and lets him go.
- The kingdom that the younger brother had helped sends tokens of gratitude, leading the king to think something is up.
- Wising up, he forgives his youngest son, who passes the princess's test when it's time to marry (the brothers had tried but failed).
- They want to kill the perfidious brothers, but they were canny enough to book a one-way ride on a ship first, and manage to escape.
Tale 98: Doctor Know-It-All
- A poor man with the unfortunate name of Crab is dealing with a doctor, and decides he wants to live that kind of nice life.
- The doctor advises him to get doctor-looking clothes and a sign that says "Doctor Know-It-All" for his door.
- No sooner has he done those things, than a nobleman comes to him for help finding stolen money.
- The "doctor" brings his wife to dinner with the nobleman, and as each servant brings in each course, he announces that it's the first, second, and so on.
- The servants, who are the thieves, freak out because he's supposedly found them out.
- The nobleman tests the doctor by asking him what's in a hidden dish, and he laments, "Poor crab," which is correct since there were crabs in there.
- The servants pay him off to return the money without revealing their identities, so Doctor Know-It-All ends up rich with a good rep. Quite the con man.
Tale 99: The Spirit in the Glass Bottle
- A poor man (yeah, there are a lot of them in these tales) has a son whom he tries to send to university. But he can't afford it for long, so the son comes home and helps his father chop wood.
- While wandering in the forest, he finds a spirit in a glass bottle begging to be released.
- After outwitting the spirit (who'd wanted to kill him at first), he receives a cloth that heals wounds with one end and produces silver with the other.
- So his father has enough money to live nicely, and he can return to university.
Tale 100: The Devil's Sooty Brother
- A penniless soldier makes a bargain with the devil to serve him for seven years.
- One stipulation: he can't wash himself or cut his hair during this time, so he looks pretty gross while stoking the fires in hell.
- When he's released from service, he's given gold and instructed to say that he's the devil's sooty brother. That has a nice ring to it.
- A king likes him enough that he gives the soldier his younger daughter in marriage.
- So, hey, deals with the devil don't always turn out that bad.
Tale 101: Bearskin
- A discharged soldier makes a deal with a man in the green jacket who turns out to be the devil: if he wears a bearskin and doesn't wash himself, trim his nails, or comb his hair and beard for seven years, the devil will make him rich.
- But if he dies in that time, his soul will belong to the devil. He also gets a jacket that has money in the pockets anytime he reaches in, to which we say, where can we get one?
- The soldier, now called Bearskin, reaches an inn and decides to stay there. While there, he bails out a man who's so poor that he's about to be thrown in jail for his debts, upon which the poor man offers him one of his three daughters in marriage.
- Back at the poor man's house, the first two daughters are disgusted by Bearskin, but the third daughter's all, meh, why not? Bearskin breaks a ring in two, giving her half to keep, and goes to wander the world and finish his devilish servitude.
- At the end of the seven years, Bearskin meets the devil, who has to groom him until he's handsome again.
- When he goes to the former-poor-man's house to claim his bride, the first two daughters are all over him. The third daughter is wearing black and doesn't even look at him until he slips her the ring half.
- They're happily married, and the two sisters, bitter about missing out on the opportunity to marry a rich hottie, kill themselves.
- The devil appears to inform the soldier that he's pleased to have gotten two souls instead of one. Ain't that a bargain?
Tale 102: The Wren and the Bear
- A bear insults the wren's children as ugly, causing a war between all the animals. The birds and other flying things win, frightening the bear enough that he finally apologizes.
Tale 103: The Sweet Porridge
- A woman and her daughter are poor and hungry.
- The daughter meets an old woman in the woods who gives her a pot that will magically serve up porridge if she says, "Little pot, cook." Hey, can we have one?
- The girl and her mother have enough to eat until one day, the mother tells it to start cooking, but forgets how to stop it.
- Their whole village is nearly drowned in porridge until the girl shows up with the phrase, "Little pot, stop."
Tale 104: The Clever People
- A farmer's wife is not the sharpest tack in the box.
- She sells three of their cows to a man who says he'll bring his money the next day, so he leaves one cow as a deposit.
- The farmer is so angry upon coming home to find only one cow and no money that he promises his wife a beating unless he goes out and finds someone more idiotic than her.
- When he meets a woman, he tells her that he's from heaven, so she gives him a purse of money to bring to her husband there. Her son gives him a horse to bring to his father.
- When the farmer returns home with a horse and a purse of money, he decides that his wife isn't so stupid after all, and that he can live with this situation.
Tale 105: Tales About Toads
- First tale: a little girl's mother gives her bread and milk every day, which she shares with a toad that is her companion. The toad also brings her gifts like jewels and treasure, ya know, stuff that toads just have lying around. One day the mother sees this and freaks out, killing the toad. The girl's health instantly starts declining and she dies soon. Bummer.
- Second tale: an orphan girl is sitting by the wall when a toad emerges from a crack. She puts her handkerchief down because apparently toads like that kind of thing. The toad disappears and then emerges with a little golden crown. The girl picks up the crown, because who wouldn't, but then the toad freaks out and bashes its head against the wall until it dies. If she'd left the crown there, the toad might've brought out more of its treasure and not done itself in.
- Third tale: a child asks a toad if it's seen his little sister. The toad says it hasn't, and says hoo-hoo a bunch (perhaps it is an owl-toad; an early predecessor of the lol-cat?).
Tale 106: The Poor Miller's Apprentice and the Cat
- A miller tells his three apprentices that he'll bestow his mill on whoever brings him the finest horse.
- The youngest and simplest, Hans, is promptly ditched by the other two, but it's all good because meets a little cat who tells him that if he will serve her for seven years, she'll give him the finest horse in the world.
- So he chops wood for her and builds her a cottage with silver tools, and then journeys back to the mill, where everyone makes fun of him for not only being simple but also being ragged from working for so long.
- The cat is supposed to show up with his horse, but instead a princess arrives, and—surprise—it's the cat transformed back into her real form.
- She leaves the horse with the miller and marries Hans, making him a king.
Tale 107: The Two Travelers
- A merry little tailor and a sour shoemaker become traveling companions.
- The tailor gently pokes fun at the shoemaker one too many times, so the shoemaker decides to take his revenge.
- When they're going through a forest and the tailor runs out of food, the shoemaker feeds him, in exchange for cutting out first one eye, then the other.
- The blind tailor is left at the foot of a gallows. Yikes. Two crows, perched on the hanged men there, hold a conversation about how the dew that falls in the morning will restore sight.
- As soon as he regains his sight, thanks to the dew, the tailor, resumes wandering. Though hungry, he spares the lives of a foal, a stork, a duck, and a colony of bees, because he's a nice guy like that.
- When he reaches a city, he starts tailoring once again. He's awesome enough at it that he's appointed court tailor.
- Less awesome is the fact that the shoemaker has also received a position at court. The shoemaker decides to make trouble for the tailor by lying to the king about the tailor bragging about accomplishing a variety of impossible tasks.
- Luckily, the animals the tailor had spared help him accomplish each one, proving his ex-buddy wrong.
- The tailor gets one of the king's daughters as a bride, and the shoemaker is exiled. He ends up under the same gallows the tailor had slept under, and the crows peck out his eyes.
Tale 108: Hans My Hedgehog
- A farmer and his wife wish for a child, even if it were a hedgehog. Big mistake in a fairy tale. They name the hedgehog-child Hans My Hedgehog, and he turns out to be kind of ornery.
- So nobody's all that sad when he asks for bagpipes and a rooster to ride away on. On his own, he herds pigs and donkeys in the forest.
- Two different kings get lost in his forest, and he agrees to show them the way out only if they give him their daughters in marriage. Each agrees, but the first king secretly doesn't want to honor the bargain, and neither does his daughter.
- So when Hans My Hedgehog comes to claim his bride and finds out about their attitudes, he strips her naked and sticks her with his quills until she bleeds (seriously, we can't make this stuff up).
- He goes for the second daughter, who welcomes him warmly. When they're married, he throws off his hedgehog skin and they burn it.
- The couple lives happily, and he brings his father to live with them.
Tale 109: The Little Shroud
- A mother loses her seven-year-old boy and, naturally, cries all the time.
- His ghost starts appearing and finally he asks her to stop weeping since her tears soak his shroud and he's too wet to sleep.
- She stops crying and his ghost stops visiting her.
- The (sad) end.
Tale 110: The Jew in the Thornbush
- A young man is let go from service with only a few coins to his name.
- A dwarf asks him for the coins and will give him three things in return. One of the things the youth asks for is a fiddle that forces anyone listening to it to dance.
- He meets a Jew and decides to make him dance for amusement's sake, which is very not cool.
- Since the Jew is standing near a thornbush, he starts getting all scratched up, and pleads to the youth to stop, offering him gold.
- The youth stops and takes the gold, but the Jew curses him and swears revenge. He has the judge take the youth into custody, and he's sentenced to death.
- The youth asks to play his fiddle one last time before he dies, so of course everyone has to dance, and the judge finally pardons him. They hang the Jew instead.
- Wait, what?
- Yeah, this tale is anti-Semitic like whoa. In a lot of parts of Europe back in the day, Jews were unfairly and stereotypically considered to be swindlers and so violence against them was sadly common, even in narratives.
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.
Tale 121: The Prince Who Feared Nothing
- A fearless prince goes wandering and impresses a giant with his strength.
- The giant sends him to fetch an apple from the Tree of Life, so the giant can give it to his bride-to-be. The prince walks right into the garden of the Tree of Life without fearing the wild animals, so a lion becomes his companion.
- When the giant blinds the prince and leaves him to die, the lion finds water to restore his eyesight.
- Then the prince comes to a castle where he can disenchant a princess by spending three nights in an enchanted castle where demons will beat the crap out of him.
- He withstands the torture and is happily married. Sounds about like your average engagement.
Tale 122: The Lettuce Donkey
- A huntsman is kind to an old hag, who hooks him up with a wishing cloak and the heart of a bird that gives him gold if he swallows it.
- Things are peachy until he reaches a castle where a witch and her daughter live. The witch uses her daughter to manipulate the guy into giving up his cloak and vomiting up the bird's heart.
- Abandoned, the guy finds two kinds of lettuce: if you eat one, it turns you into a donkey, and if you eat the other, it turns you back. He goes back to the castle to feed the donkey lettuce to the witch and her daughter for revenge.
- When they're donkeys, he puts them to work.
- The witch dies, but he transforms the daughter back and they get married because she's loved him all along but was forced by her evil mother to mislead him.
- She even offers to vomit up the bird's heart for him, but he lets her keep it—isn't that sweet?
Tale 123: The Old Woman in the Forest
- A maiden is abandoned in the forest.
- A dove brings her a gold key and tells her to unlock this tree to find food inside, that tree to sleep inside, and so on.
- Then the dove asks her to visit a witch's house, not speak to her, and retrieve a certain ring. She does so, and disenchants the dove, who was actually a prince, and all his servants, who had been turned into trees.
- We're thinking it's a little weird that she slept inside a servant, but there seem to have been no hard feelings since she and the prince were happily married.
Tale 124: The Three Brothers
- A father wants to give his house to one of his three sons, and decides to give it to whoever can put on the most impressive performance after learning a trade.
- The son who becomes a barber shaves a rabbit while it's on the run. The son who becomes a blacksmith puts horseshoes on the horses drawing a carriage at full speed. The son who becomes a fencing master stands in the rain but doesn't get wet because his swordwork is insanely fast. That son gets the house, but he shares it with his brothers and they all live happily until their deaths.
Tale 125: The Devil and His Grandmother
- Three soldiers desert during a war, and are picked up by a dragon, who's actually the devil (note to Shmoop self: steer clear of dragons).
- He gives them enough money for seven years, but says their souls are his unless they can solve his riddle at the end of that time.
- When the time's almost up, they begin freaking out. One wanders around until he finds help: the devil's grandmother, who hides him in the cellar so he can listen in on the riddle's answer.
- They escape with their souls and live happily.
Tale 126: Faithful Ferdinand and Unfaithful Ferdinand
- A poor man's son is given a key to a castle that contains a white horse. This young guy's name, by the way, is Faithful Ferdinand (try saying that five times fast).
- He goes wandering, picks up some magical items that help him on a quest later, and meets a guy named Unfaithful Ferdinand (seriously, who names their kid that?).
- The two Ferdies (we'll call them F.F. and U.F) travel together and come to an inn where a maiden falls in love with F.F. and gets him a position working for the king.
- U.F. comes too, and persuades the king to send F.F. on a dangerous quest to fetch the king's bride.
- F.F. succeeds, and the king is killed so F.F. can marry the queen (we're not told what happens to the first maiden who loved F.F.). Oh, and the white horse turns out to be an enchanted prince, too.
- What can we say? This is a weird one.
Tale 127: The Iron Stove
- A prince is enchanted within an iron stove.
- When a princess gets lost in that same forest (where the prince is hanging out, all stove-like), the prince promises to guide her out if she agrees to scrape on the stove until he is free, and then they'll wed.
- The princess's father sends common girls instead, but the stove-prince finds out and is Not Happy.
- Finally, the princess makes a hole in the stove so that the prince can be free, but she breaks a promise not to speak more than three words, so he vanishes.
- Ugh, those chatty princesses.
- She wanders, and encounters some frogs who give her magical gifts to help her out.
- When she comes to the place where the prince now lives and finds he's about to marry another woman, she barters magically beautiful dresses for nights spent in the bridegroom's chamber, and only on the last night is he awake enough to hear her.
- They return to her kingdom and are married.
Tale 128: The Lazy Spinner
- A wife is so lazy that she tricks her husband into agreeing that spinning isn't a good idea.
- Later, she makes him think that it's his fault that the yarn isn't turning out right.
- Clearly, this chick's a pro at not getting work done.
Tale 129: The Four Skillful Brothers
- Four brothers go out and each learns a different trade, becoming a thief, a stargazer, a huntsman, and a tailor.
- They reunite and show their awesome new powers to their proud papa.
- When a dragon carries off the king's daughter, they work together to fetch her back.
- Then they argue about who should marry her, since each one thinks he contributed the most to their quest.
- Finally, the king divides up chunks of the kingdom for them, and each one is happy. Here's hoping he doesn't divide up chunks of the princess.
Tale 130: One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes
- Continuing with the odd naming practices, a woman names her unfortunate daughters One-Eye (because she has—you guessed it—one eye smack dab in the middle of her forehead), Two-Eyes (she looks normal), and Three-Eyes (because she has two normal eyes, plus an ugly third one in the middle).
- Needless to say, One-Eye and Three-Eyes are not fans of Two-Eyes, seeing as how she's all normal-looking, so they totally hate on her.
- A wise woman gives Two-Eyes a charm that makes her goat provide enough food for her to eat. The mother sends the other daughters to investigate why Two-Eyes isn't wasting away as she should be.
- Two-Eyes sings to make her sisters fall asleep, but one of Three-Eyes's eyes remains open, so her spying mission is successful—she sees the goat and learns her sister's secret.
- The mother slaughters the goat, and Two-Eyes buries the entrails as advised by the wise woman. A splendid tree grows on the spot.
- The greedy mother and sisters want the tree's fruit, but only Two-Eyes can climb the tree to get it.
- When a knight happens by, he is impressed by both Two-Eyes and the marvelous tree, so he takes her away and marries her.
- The tree follows Two-Eyes to her new abode, and she kindly forgives her awful sisters when they show up as beggars later on.
Tale 131: Pretty Katrinelya and Pif Paf Poltree
- "Yep, more weird names."
- "And this tale is told entirely in dialogue!"
- Pif Paf Poltree asks Father Berry-Tea for his daughter, Pretty Katrinelya, for a wife, which has to be discussed with all the oddly-named family members, and then they talk about her dowry, and then they talk about his profession.
- He is a broom-maker which is apparently very exciting, and that's where the tale ends.
Tale 132: The Fox and the Horse
- A horse is old and useless so his master says he'll stop feeding him unless he manages to bring him a lion.
- A fox, overhearing this, feels sorry for the horse and sets up a ruse where the horse plays dead to attract the lion. Yum, free meal.
- The fox ties together their tails so the horse can drag the lion home, after which he receives royal treatment.
Tale 133: The Worn-out Dancing Shoes
- This king has twelve daughters but he can't for the life of him figure out why in the world their shoes are worn out every morning.
- He issues a challenge for someone to find this out and marry one of the daughters, but failure means death.
- A poor wounded soldier tells an old woman he might try his luck, and she turns out to have good advice: don't drink anything the princesses give him. She also gives him a cloak that makes him invisible. Hey, it can't hurt.
- He goes to the castle, dribbles the sleeping draught down his chin, and pretends to sleep. Then he slips on the cloak and follows the princesses as they climb down a passageway to the underground and are met by twelve princes in twelve boats.
- They row to a palace and proceed to party all night. The soldier brings back souvenirs. He tells the king everything, and gets to marry the oldest sister.
Tale 134: The Six Servants
- A prince is pining for a princess whose mother kills every suitor who cannot complete her tasks.
- The prince's father forbids him to go, but when he sees his son wasting away in bed, he finally relents.
- So the prince gathers six companions on his travels: a fat man with a belly like a mountain, a listener who can pick up any sound, a tall man who can stretch out his limbs impossibly far, a man with such a powerful gaze that it can shatter things, a man who can withstand any temperature, and a man with such sharp eyes that he can see anything.
- The queen gives them a bunch of super hard tasks, but the helpers accomplish everything, eating insane amounts of food and finding lost items. The queen is ticked about this, and slanders the new husband to her daughter, calling him a commoner.
- When the prince parts with his companions and reaches his own kingdom, he lies to his new bride (what a great foundation for marriage!), saying that he is indeed a commoner.
- He makes her suffer living in poverty for a while before revealing that he's actually a prince, and since he had to suffer to win her hand, she should suffer for him, too. How sweet…or not.
Tale 135: The White Bride and the Black Bride
- A mean mother and daughter pair are rude to the Lord disguised as a poor man, so they're cursed with ugliness. The stepdaughter, on the other hand, is all kinds of kind, so she's rewarded with beauty, among other things.
- This girl has a brother whom she's close with, and he carries around a portrait of her. When the king sees it, he falls plumb in love with the girl, so now, of course, the bro has to bring his sis to court.
- While the girl's on her way to the king in a carriage, the stepmother uses witchcraft to make her blind and deaf. They trick her into removing all her fancy clothes and giving them to the ugly stepsister. Finally they just push her out of the carriage into the water, where she turns into a snow-white duck. You know how it goes.
- When the king receives his fabulously ugly intended bride, he is obviously a little peeved. He throws the brother in prison, but is persuaded through witchcraft to accept the black bride as his wife.
- The white bride, as a duck, visits the court to check on her brother. The kitchen boy realizes something is up and fetches the king, who cuts off the duck's head, thereby disenchanting the maiden.
- The horrible stepmother and daughter are killed, while the wedding is celebrated and the faithful brother rewarded.
Tale 136: Iron Hans
- A king has a pet wild man that was pulled out of a lake in his forest. They keep him in a cage so it must be serious business.
- The king and queen forbid their son from going near the cage, but he drops his golden ball in, and has to let the wild man free in return for it.
- The wild man escapes into the forest and takes the prince with him. The prince must complete various tasks, but keeps messing them up, and ends up with a head of hair made magically golden.
- This angers the wild man, who casts out the prince, but with the knowledge that if he calls to Iron Hans, the wild man will come help him.
- The prince finds a job at a castle, but always keeps his cap on to hide his golden hair, saying he has a scabby head (ick).
- He brings flowers to the king's daughter, who insists that she should remove his cap, as it's the proper thing to do in front of royalty. When she finally pulls it off, she thinks his hair is awesome, so she gives him some money (the standard reaction, right?). This happens a few times.
- The kingdom goes to war, and the prince-in-disguise asks Iron Hans for a rockin' steed to ride into war. He beats back the invaders for a while but nobody knows who he is.
- The king has a contest to see who can catch the princess's golden apple, and again the prince has Irons Hans equip him with horses (this time with matching suits of armor).
- They finally identify him as the scabby-headed servant, and he marries the princess.
- His parents come to the wedding, and so does Iron Hans, who as it turns out was under an enchantment.
Tale 137: The Three Black Princesses
- A poor fisherman's son is taken captive by an invading army, but he escapes and reaches an enchanted castle where three princesses clad all in black with a little white on their faces live.
- They tell him he can disenchant them by following certain rules.
- He asks to go home, where in the meantime his father has become mayor.
- He tells them about the enchanted princesses and his mother gives him advice that turns out crappy: he breaks the rules, the princesses fly into a rage since they'll never be saved, and the castle sinks into the ground.
- Yeah, the tale ends there. No, we don't know what happens after that. Probably nothing good.
Tale 138: Knoist and His Three Sons
- This man Knoist has three sons: one is blind, the other is lame, and the last one is naked.
- The blind one shoots a hare, the lame one catches it, and the naked one puts it in his pocket. They reach a chapel inside a tree where holy water is distributed with clubs.
- Verdict: another nonsense tale.
Tale 139: The Maiden from Brakel
- A maiden from Brakel (a town in Germany) goes to pray for a husband at the chapel of Saint Anne.
- She prays out loud since she thinks she's alone, but a priest standing behind the altar calls out discouragingly.
- She thinks one of the saints is talking to her and tells it to be quiet so she can hear what Saint Anne has to say.
Tale 140: The Domestic Servants
- "Another tale told in dialogue!"
- "This one is between two people going somewhere called Woelpe who talk about the names of their child, spouse, the cradle, and the servant."
- "They're all nonsense names but the servant is named Do-It-Right."
- "The dialogue is suspiciously symmetrical so we assume that the two people talking are husband and wife who like to amuse themselves with chatter while on a journey."
- "People had to do something before they invented iPhones, after all."
Tale 141: The Little Lamb and the Little Fish
- A stepmother secretly hates her two step-kids, a boy and a girl, so she transforms the boy into a little fish and the girl into a little lamb.
- Then she tells the cook to slaughter the lamb to feed to guests, but he figures out that something is up when the lamb and fish bid each other farewell.
- So he takes the critters to a nearby wise woman who transforms them back into humans and sends them to live in the forest, away from the awful stepmother.
Tale 142: Simelei Mountain
- A poor man observes twelve men entering a mountain by calling, "Semsi Mountain, Semsi Mountain, open up!" When they leave, he gives it a go and takes a bunch of treasures back with him.
- His rich brother is jealous, and gets the secret out of the no-longer-poor brother.
- When the rich brother arrives at the mountain, though, he forgets what to say to open the mountain, calling out, "Simelei Mountain, Simelei Mountain, open up" instead.
- When the robbers find him there, they assume that he's the one who's been stealing their treasure, so they kill him.
Tale 143: Going Traveling
- A young man goes traveling, determined to repeat one phrase whenever someone talks to him. Unfortunately, this little habit constantly earns him beatings (such as when he says "Not much, not much" when meeting some fishermen who are annoyed that he's commenting on how little they've caught that day).
- After getting the snot kicked out of him so much, he returns home to his mother, promising never to travel again.
Tale 144: The Donkey
- A king and queen are childless, and wish for a child.
- Since that always goes well in fairy tales, nobody should be surprised that they got a child…who is a donkey.
- They raise him as best they can, and he learns the lute. Not too shabby, for a donkey.
- He goes to another kingdom and is received well by the king, who gives the donkey his daughter in marriage. We can't help but wonder what she thinks of the match.
- On the wedding night, he throws off the donkey skin and turns out to be a handsome young man. The princess invites her father to spy on them at night (creepy), and the king throws the donkey skin into the fire.
- The young man is ashamed without his skin at first, but he stays with his new bride and everyone's happy.
Tale 145: The Ungrateful Son
- A guy's about to eat some roasted chicken when he sees his father approaching the house.
- Being a selfish dude, he hides the chicken until his father leaves.
- When he goes to fetch it, however, it's turned into an ill-tempered toad that sits on his face for the rest of his life.
Tale 146: The Turnip
- A poor man plants some seeds, and one of them grows up to be a giant turnip. He takes it to the king, who rewards him richly.
- The man's brother, who's rich and greedy, plans to get an even better reward by bringing the king things that outrank a turnip: riches, gold, and so on.
- The king can't think of anything nicer than his new turnip, so he gives that to the rich brother, who becomes ticked off at his brother for besting him.
- He hires thugs to kill him, but the brother escapes by talking someone into taking his place in the sack.
Tale 147: The Rejuvenated Little Old Man
- A blacksmith hosts the Lord and Saint Peter in disguise for dinner one night.
- When a sick old man comes begging, the Lord decides to make him youthful by throwing him on the forge.
- The blacksmith decides to try this with his old mother-in-law the next day, but instead it melts off her face.
- The grotesque sight is so alarming that two women give birth to babies that aren't actually human.
- They run away and start the species of apes.
- Seriously, guys, Shmoop did not make that up.
Tale 148: The Animals of the Lord and the Devil
- God and the devil are each creating animals, like they do.
- The devil makes goats, but at first they have long hairy tails, which get tangled in briars, so the devil bites off their tails rather than keep having to disentangle them.
- The goats get into God's nice plants, so God sends the wolves to destroy them.
- The devil is pissed about this, and denied the opportunity to get compensation, he pokes out the goats' eyes and replaces them with his own.
- That's why goats have freaky-looking eyes.
Tale 149: The Beam
- A magician is performing tricks, making it look like a rooster is lifting a beam.
- However, a clever girl sees through the illusion and tells everyone that it's just a straw, not a beam.
- The magician returns for his revenge when she's older and about to get married: he makes her think he's walking through water, so she lifts her skirts when she's in a field of blue flowers. Everyone laughs at her until she flees.
- Man, reality TV has nothing on fairy tales.
Tale 150: The Old Beggar Woman
- An old woman is going around begging.
- When she reaches a door where a young man is warming himself by the fire, he invites her to come in.
- Her rags catch on fire, but he doesn't put her out.
- We're not sure why he is enough of a jerk to let an old woman burn to death, but that's the way this cookie crumbles.
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.
Tale 161: Snow White and Rose Red
- A poor widow (what, did you think she'd be rich?) lived with her two daughters, named Snow White and Rose Red for the rosebushes in front of the house, one white and one red.
- Since they're so kind and pious, they wander in the forest all the time and the animals all trust them and keep watch over them.
- One night they open the door, only to find a bear standing there. But it's a talking bear, so you know, he's a bit more manageable.
- He reassures them that he won't hurt them—he just wants to warm himself in front of the fire. The little girls play with him, roughly at times, until he says something cryptic about him being their suitor.
- The bear becomes their playmate, until he has to split to defend his treasure from the dwarves. The girls resume playing in the forest. They see a dwarf whose beard is caught in the crack of a tree, so they help him by cutting the tip off his beard, which causes him to shout verbal abuse at them. Lots. Um, it's called thank you, dude.
- This happens two more times—them rescuing the dwarf from a fish and from an eagle, but each time he is ungrateful and says mean things to the girls. And each time he has a sack of treasure with him.
- The last time they see the dwarf, their friend the bear is attacking him. The bear kills the dwarf and then turns into a handsome prince, as the dwarf had enchanted him.
- Snow White marries him and Rose Red marries his brother. Yay for symmetrical happy endings.
Tale 162: The Clever Servant
- Hans is a faithful servant. His master likes and trusts him.
- So when Hans goes off to look for a lost cow, his master worries when he doesn't return.
- Finally the master finds Hans running around a field, looking for three blackbirds: one that he can see, one that he can hear, and one that he is still chasing.
- The narrator concludes that this is very wise behavior, in which case this tale is either a satire, or is, like, totally deep. Think Matrix-deep with Keanu Reaves saying "whoa." Yeah, like that.
Tale 163: The Glass Coffin
- A tailor sets out wandering and looks for a place to spend the night.
- A not-very-nice old man lets him crash at his place, but the tailor is awoken by the sounds of a battle: a black bull and a stag are duking it out outside.
- The stag beats the bull, and then lifts up the tailor with his antlers and carries him far away, leaving him in front of a cliff that opens for the guy. A mysterious voice tells him that no harm will come to him and that great fortune awaits him.
- He wanders through halls filled with riches and beautiful things, and then he sees a beautiful maiden lying inside a glass coffin as though sleeping.
- She opens her eyes and tells him to push back the bolt on the coffin, which will free her.
- After she climbs out, the first thing she does is don a cloak (she was wearing nothing but her long, golden hair) and then she tells him her story.
- She and her brother, the children of a rich count, once admitted a guest to their castle. He turned out to be an enchanter who wanted to seduce her and wouldn't take no for an answer.
- He transformed her brother into a stag, which was way uncool, and then he imprisoned her in the glass chest.
- She knew that a young man would come save her, and it turned out to be the tailor.
- Her brother and all her servants and people are disenchanted, and she marries the tailor out of gratitude.
Tale 164: Lazy Heinz
- Heinz is too lazy to even take his goat to the pasture daily, so he gets a wife with the thought that she'll do it for him.
- The problem is, his wife is also lazy, and she suggests trading in their goats for a beehive, which will mind itself.
- They start planning what to do with the honey, and end up breaking the jug while gesticulating about what will happen in the future.
- After scooping up a tiny bit to eat, they console themselves by saying that things are after all fine the way they are, and that haste makes waste.
Tale 165: The Griffin
- A king has a sick daughter, who will become healthy again by eating apples. So the king proclaims that whoever brings apples and makes her well will marry her and become king.
- The three sons of a peasant each take turns bringing apples from their garden.
- The two oldest sons lie about the contents of their basket to a little man, and whatever they make up is what's actually in the basket when they arrive at court.
- The youngest son, named Hans (like every other dude in these tales) tells the truth to the little man, saying that he has apples to make the princess regain her health, so it comes true.
- The king regrets promising his daughter to whoever cures her, so first he makes Hans bring him a boat that will travel on land.
- The father asks the two older sons to help with this task, but again they lie to the little man and again Hans says what he's intending to happen, so he's successful.
- The king sets another condition: Hans must herd one hundred hares without one escaping. The little man gives him a whistle to make all the hares come to him, so he passes that task too. Finally, the king makes him get a feather from the Griffin's tail.
- Along the way, Hans takes requests from people he passes for answers that the knowledgeable griffin can provide. Still, however knowledgeable the Griffin is, we can't forget that he also eats people.
- Before Hans meets the Griffin, the Griffin's wife warns him of the danger, and tells Hans to pluck a feather from his tail while he's sleeping, so he won't provoke the beast.
- Hans follows her instructions, and the wife gets the answers to all the folks' questions to boot. When Hans returns victorious, the king tries to backtrack to get the riches that Hans got for helping people along the way.
- But he's drowned by the ferryman Hans had helped, so Hans becomes king next.
Tale 166: Strong Hans
- Robbers steal away a mother and her small son. Bummer.
- The son, Hans, makes himself a club when he's nine years old, and tries to beat up the chief of the robbers. The chief slaps the boy down, but when Hans tries in another few years, he manages to beat the pants off the robbers. Then he goes home with his mother.
- After getting a new, stronger staff, Hans sets out on his own. Ah, growing up.
- He meets men with extraordinary talents and assembles The Avengers. Just kidding. He meets a man strong enough to twist trees that he calls Fir-Twister and a giant who can break rocks with his fist that he nicknames Rock-Chopper. They all set up house together, with two going out to hunt each day and one staying home to cook.
- A little old man beats up the two other dudes when they're alone, but each is too ashamed to tell the others.
- Hans gets the better of the dwarf and follows him to his underground lair where there's an imprisoned princess.
- Hans kills the dwarf and frees her, but his companions try to kill him, so he stays underground. He takes a ring from the slain dwarf's finger that transports him to where his false companions are, so he can kill them too.
- Then—surprise, surprise—he takes the maiden to her home and marries her.
Tale 167: The Peasant in Heaven
- A peasant waits behind a rich man to get into heaven.
- When the rich man is admitted, there's tons of singing and merriment.
- When the poor man is admitted, it's silent. How rude.
- He asks Saint Peter what's going on, and he says that while they're happy to have the poor man there, they receive lots of poor people in heaven—but a rich man only makes it in once every hundred years.
- Okay—less rude, more funny.
Tale 168: Lean Lisa
- Lean Lisa and her husband Tall Lenz work super-hard but it never seems to amount to anything, like every Bruce Springsteen song that has ever been sung.
- One night they argue over what they would do with the milk of a cow if they could afford to buy a cow.
- Tall Lenz smothers his wife with a pillow until…well, we're not sure if she falls asleep or if she dies, because the tale only tells us that it's uncertain whether she keeps quarreling or tries to find a way to buy that cow.
Tale 169: The House in the Forest
- A woodcutter's wife sends out the first of three daughters to bring lunch to her dad.
- She gets lost and asks to spend a night in a house in the forest. She cooks food for herself and the old man there, but neglects to take care of the animals, so she's imprisoned in the cellar.
- The same thing happens to the second daughter.
- The third daughter, though, is kind, and she takes care of the animals in the cottage.
- When she lays down after working to take care of all the house's inhabitants, she's awoken by strange noises: the cottage becomes a castle, and the old man turns into a prince.
- He explains that he and his servants (who had been transformed into animals) were put under a spell. They could only be redeemed by a maiden with a kind heart.
- The prince and maiden are married, while the two sisters are forced to work as servants until they learn to become kinder.
Tale 170: Sharing Joys and Sorrows
- This one tailor is kind of a jerk (and here you probably thought all the tailors in the Grimms' tales were kind and humble). He beats his wife until the authorities take him away.
- When he's let out of prison, he resumes his behavior.
- And when they ask him for an explanation, he says he's doing what a spouse should: sharing all the joys and sorrows.
- He goes on to explain that when one of his blows connected, it was a joy for him and sorrow for her, but when he missed, it was a joy for her and sorrow for him. Obviously this does not satisfy the authorities, so they punish him, to which Shmoop says, well done.
Tale 171: The Wren
- All of the birds decide to elect a king, but the wren cheats on every contest, such as hiding itself in an eagle's feather when the goal is to fly as high as possible.
- The wren is imprisoned, then runs away to stay in the hedges, away from the wrath of the other birds.
- It's nicknamed the king of the hedges, and there are lots of references to why other birds are the way they are and do the things they do, for all you budding ornithologists out there.
Tale 172: The Flounder
- The fish decide to hold a swimming contest to elect their new king.
- The flounder gets jealous of the herring being ahead of him, and makes some unkind remarks.
- As a punishment, the flounder speaks from one side of its mouth.
Tale 173: The Bittern and the Hoopoe
- "This tale is told in dialogue."
- "It's about a cowherd saying why he prefers grass that is neither too lean nor too rich for his cows, since one will make cows too weak and the other will make cows too wild. The cowherds who made these mistakes were changed into birds, the bittern and the hoopoe, who make sounds corresponding to those types of complaints about their cows."
Tale 174: The Owl
- A horned owl takes shelter in a barn, and scares the crap out of everyone who comes into the barn.
- The whole town gets worked up about a monster in the barn, and decides to burn the whole thing down.
- Clearly they weren't very bright.
Tale 175: The Moon
- There is a land where the moon never shines, so people stumble around in the dark during the nighttime.
- Four youths from this land journey outside it, and are so struck by the moon's ability to cast light at night that they steal it and bring it back to their land.
- People are pumped.
- When the first of the four grows old and dies, he demands that a quarter of the moon be buried with him.
- It goes like this for the rest of the youths, until the moon is entirely in the underworld, which causes the dead to rise and wreak havoc, so Saint Peter restores order by hanging the moon back in the sky.
Tale 176: The Life Span
- Here's a fairy tale take on aging.
- God is telling each animal its life span will be thirty years; the donkey, the dog, and the monkey complain that that's too long a span because their lives all suck, while man complains that it's too short for him.
- So God shortens the lives of all the other critters, while man gets their life spans tacked on to his.
- This explains why after thirty years of normal human productivity, man then gets kicked around and burdened (like the donkey), growls in a corner (like a dog), and finally is rendered foolish and silly (like the monkey).
Tale 177: The Messengers of Death
- A giant kicks the crap out of Death, so that he can no longer go around taking people's lives.
- A compassionate man nurses Death back to health, so Death promises he'll only come for the man after sending his messengers.
- The man lives for a while, then gets sick, but is surprised when Death comes for him.
- Death says that sickness, infirmity, and sleep are his messengers, so the dude relents and goes with Death.
Tale 178: Master Pfriem
- This guy named Master Pfriem is a know-it-all and a pain-in-the-you-know-where to be around. He dreams he goes to heaven and Saint Peter tells him to settle down and not be so annoying. Obviously that doesn't last very long, and he wakes up as they're giving him the boot.
- As far as we can tell, he's going to continue being a pain to everyone around him.
Tale 179: The Goose Girl at the Spring
- A rich young count runs into an old woman carrying a huge burden, so he offers to help her out.
- But once it's on his back, it becomes heavier and heavier, and she even leaps on top of the pack, weighing him down further. He's totally exhausted when he reaches her place in the mountains.
- The old woman keeps a bunch of geese around, plus there's a maiden who looks big and strong, and also happens to be totally ugly.
- The old woman teases the count about falling in love with the maiden, but he's like, ugh, as if. Finally the old woman sends him away with an emerald box, saying it'll bring him good luck.
- The count wanders around the wilderness until he comes upon a large city. When he meets the king and queen, he presents them with the box as a gift.
- The queen promptly faints—not because it's a crummy gift, but because the box contains a pearl just like the one her youngest daughter, presumed dead, would weep.
- Flashback: the king and queen had three daughters, and the father asked each one how much she loved him.
- The first two gave generic answers (as much as sweets, as much as her favorite clothes), but the third daughter said that she loved him like she loved salt.
- Being compared to something so common was totally insulting to the king, so he exiled the youngest daughter, and they all assumed she'd been eaten by wild animals.
- Flashback over.
- Meanwhile, back at the old woman's place, the maiden removes the ugly old skin covering her face, and is young and beautiful again. She washes herself at a spring.
- The old woman tells her that their time together is almost up, so they start cleaning the cottage, like ya do.
- The king and queen decide to seek out the old woman to see if she knows anything about their missing daughter, so they take the count with them.
- The count manages to spy on the maiden while she's at the spring, and sees that she's actually beautiful.
- The old woman reveals to the king and queen that their daughter is alive and well.
- Everyone weeps for joy, and since the maiden wept a lot during her exile, she has enough pearls to be rich (since her dad divided the kingdom among her elder sisters). She marries the count, too.
Tale 180: Eve's Unequal Children
- Adam and Eve have a bunch of kids after being driven out of paradise.
- When they find out the Lord is coming for a visit, Eve hides all the ugly kids, kind of like how you cover up your husband's ugly recliner when the in-laws come to town.
- The Lord bestows blessings on all the beautiful children he sees, making them princes and knights and the like.
- So Eve gets the rest of the (ugly) kids out of hiding, hoping for the same treatment for them. However, God tells them they'll be farmers, blacksmiths, and other sorts of common folks.
- Wait a second. Eve reprimands the Lord for unevenly distributing blessings, but he reprimands her right back for not understanding that in his design, there must be common people to support the noble people.
- She apologizes for being rude and questioning him, and Shmoop cringes in horror at the offensive implications of this little tale.
Tale 181: The Nixie in the Pond
- A miller's riches are declining, so he makes a bargain with a nixie (a beautiful water spirit) for wealth in exchange for whatever has just been born in his house.
- Poor guy, it wasn't a puppy or kitten or whatever, but his baby son. He never lets his son near the water for fear of the nixie.
- The boy grows up, becomes a hunter, and marries. One day he's careless while pursuing a deer, and gets too close to the millpond, so the nixie snatches him away.
- His wife suspects what happened, so she goes to the pond but can't figure out how to get him back. In a dream, she sees an old woman who advises her on how to retrieve her husband.
- The wife obtains magical items (a golden comb, a golden a flute, and a golden spinning wheel) that cause the waters to part on the full moon, revealing her husband inside the water.
- The third time this happens, he's able to leap out and they run away.
- A giant wave comes after them, but the kind old woman helps them escape. They are swept away to a new land, where after a while they recognize each other and can be happy once again.
Tale 182: The Gifts of the Little Folk
- A tailor and goldsmith are traveling together when they hear strange music one night.
- They go to check it out and see quaint little people dancing around, which looks totally fun, so they join the party.
- Things get awkward when a strange old man whips out a blade and shaves both their heads and beards, then gives them as much coal as they can carry and sends them away.
- After being all, what the what?, they find out that their hair's grown back and the coal has turned to gold. Bonus.
- The goldsmith is greedy. He also has a humpback. He decides to go back the next night for more gold. They shave him again and he takes a ton more coal.
- However, upon returning to the inn, he finds out that he is still bald, he's grown a second hump on his chest to go along with the one on his back, and he is left with only coal (the gold from the previous night had turned back).
- Luckily the tailor's not a jerk, so he shares some of his gold with the goldsmith.
- But those "little folk," a.k.a. fairies, they were totally jerks.
- We recommend limiting your contact with them, and being humble if you ever do run across them.
Tale 183: The Giant and the Tailor
- A tailor wanders into the forest and encounters a giant, who asks the tailor to be his servant.
- Afraid (for good reason), the tailor tries to think of a way to get out of the bargain.
- He boasts about every little thing the giant asks him to do; when the giant asks for a drink from the spring, the tailor asks whether he should just divert the spring to the giant's house, and so on. The giant is kind of gullible, so he begins to fear the tailor and plots how to get rid of him. Finally, the giant has the tailor sit on a willow branch, which the giant snaps back to shoot him into the air.
- For all we know, the tailor might still be sailing through the air.
Tale 184: The Nail
- A merchant is on the way home from the fair when someone lets him know that one of his horse's shoes is missing a nail. He decides to ignore it, which sounds like a terrible idea to Shmoop.
- Another person tells him the horse is now missing a shoe. Again, he ignores it.
- Finally, the horse stumbles and breaks a leg, so that the merchant has to carry all the saddlebags home himself.
- Hopefully he learned a lesson about paying attention to the small things, how haste makes waste, and all that stuff.
Tale 185: The Poor Boy in the Grave
- A rich man and his wife are given care of a poor boy. That sounds nice and all, except they constantly starve and beat him.
- Eventually, the kid decides to just end his life so he looks for the poison they occasionally mention, but since they were lying (as usual), he ends up consuming their stashes of honey and alcohol.
- He passes out in a graveyard and dies, and the terrible couple lose everything in a fire and are tormented for the rest of their days.
- Yeah, that wasn't a happy one.
Tale 186: The True Bride
- A maiden's stepmother gives her impossible tasks, but an old woman always appears to help her out.
- One of the tasks is to build a ridiculously huge castle, which the old woman accomplishes, no problem.
- The stepmother tries to lure the maiden into the cellar to murder her, but the trapdoor slams shut on the stepmother and kills her instead, to which we say, serves her right.
- She meets a prince who wants to marry her, but when he returns to his own land he forgets about her, the jerk.
- She goes to the wedding celebration, which lasts three nights, and dances with him each time, wearing some of her magical dresses.
- Finally he recognizes her as his true bride, and they're wed. Never leave home without your magical dress, ladies.
Tale 187: The Hare and the Hedgehog
- This hedgehog goes for a walk and encounters the hare, who is something of an arrogant jerk. They end up challenging one another to a race, but the hedgehog's wife hides herself and pops up as though the hedgehog had beat the hare in the race.
- The hare refuses to accept defeat and so they keep racing until the hare drops dead from exhaustion.
- This tale has a twofold moral: first, don't be a jerk to people, and second, marry someone from your own social class so they can help you in times like this.
- You know, like, when you make a bet that relies on tricking someone into thinking that you're in more than one place at the same time.
- Oh, and we guess if you want that trick to work, you had better look an awful lot like your spouse.
Tale 188: Spindle, Shuttle, and Needle
- An old woman takes in an orphaned girl and teaches her to be industrious, leaving her a spindle, shuttle, and needle with which to earn a living.
- A prince comes around, wanting to marry someone who is simultaneously the richest and the poorest.
- He peeps in on the maiden (creepy) and she blushes when she sees him…but when he leaves, she sends her spindle, shuttle, and needle after him to show him the way to her place so that he can come and properly court her.
- She is too modest to even speak to him. Yeah, that's totally gonna last.
Tale 189: The Peasant and the Devil
- A clever peasant makes a deal with the devil, who is sitting on top of some treasure that is technically on the peasant's land.
- He promises the devil half of what grows above the ground during the next year, but the devil is cheated when the peasant plants turnips.
- The next year, the devil angrily demands the bottom half of the crop, but the peasant plants wheat. So the peasant gets the treasure and the devil gets zilch.
Tale 190: The Crumbs on the Table
- A rooster tries to persuade his hens to go peck the crumbs from the kitchen table; they keep refusing because the mistress will beat them.
- Finally, when they agree, the mistress comes home at that very second and beats the hens with a stick.
- This leads to a teasing exchange between the hens and the rooster.
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.
Tale 201: Saint Joseph in the Forest
- This tale kicks off the Religious Tales for Children section. If you guessed that these tales contain super-obvious morals about how pious children should act, you'd be correct.
- A mother has three daughters, but she loathes the youngest one, who is also the most pious. She frequently sends the youngest one into the forest, hoping she'll get lost and never come back. One day, the youngest finds her way to a cottage, where an old man (who is actually Saint Joseph) lets her stay the night.
- She gives him practically all of her food because she's so stinkin' pious and lets him sleep on the single bed. When she leaves, there's a large sack of money for her, which she gives to her mother. Strangely (or maybe not so strangely), the mother hates her less.
- The second daughter, who is not quite as pious as the youngest, is sent into the forest. She stumbles upon the same cottage, and is decently kind to Saint Joseph, but not as selfless as the first. She's rewarded with a small sack of money, which she also gives to the mother (keeping a few coins for herself).
- When the oldest daughter goes into the forest, she is completely selfish and not at all kind to Saint Joseph. He rewards her with an extra nose on top of her own. She cries and begs until he takes it away.
- Then she lies to her mother, saying that she did get some money but it was left in the forest. The mother takes her to look for it, but snakes and lizards attack them. The girl is stung to death, while the mother is stung all over her feet as a punishment for raising such a bad daughter.
Tale 202: The Twelve Apostles
- In 300 BCE, a mother has twelve sons that she can't care for because she's way broke.
- The oldest, Peter, wanders to seek his fortune. He knows that the Savior will be born in 300 years and wants to find a way to meet him.
- Luckily an angel guides him to a cave where he and his brothers can sleep in golden cradles until Christ walks the earth.
- Three cheers for suspended animation.
Tale 203: The Rose
- The youngest child of a very poor mother is sent out to gather wood.
- A small, beautiful child always appears to help the kid gather wood, but the mother doesn't believe this until the kid shows up with a rose that is supposed to bloom when the beautiful child comes to visit.
- They put the bud in water but it doesn't bloom until the kid dies soon after. However, the kid looks happy in death. We're guessing the beautiful child is a representation of God or of Death or some religious figure. We're guessing.
Tale 204: Poverty and Humility Lead to Heaven
- A melancholy prince asks an old man how he can get to heaven. The old man tells him to wander in rags, pray, and only accept bread that is given to him.
- The prince does this, and when he returns to his own kingdom, nobody recognizes him.
- He gets weak and dies, with a rose and lily in each hand, and we guess this means he got to go to heaven after all, so all's well that ends well?
Tale 205: God's Food
- There are two sisters: one is rich and has no kids, the other is poor with five little ones.
- The poor one asks the rich one for some food, but the rich one is heartless and she turns her down, which never bodes well for anyone in a fairy tale.
- When the rich woman's husband goes to cut a loaf of bread, blood gushes out (ew).
- The rich sister figures out that something is wrong and rushes to her sister's house, only to find that three of the kids are already dead.
- The poor sister turns down her offer of food, saying they no longer desire earthly food. The two remaining kids die, followed by their mother.
Tale 206: The Three Green Twigs
- A hermit is super-pious but even he manages to call down God's judgment upon him when he looks at a guy about to be hung and thinks that he deserves it.
- An angel appears and tells the hermit to do penance and carry a dry branch until three green twigs sprout from it.
- He manages to convert some robbers to Christianity, but dies right after. The branch bears twigs by his corpse so apparently his penance was accepted.
Tale 207: The Blessed Virgin's Little Glass
- A man's cart gets stuck.
- The Blessed Virgin appears and says she'll help him if he gives her some wine, since she's thirsty (good to know even religious figures like a drink now and again).
- The man agrees but says he doesn't have any glasses.
- The Blessed Virgin plucks a flower, which the man fills with wine.
- She moves the cart, and from then on that particular flower is called the Blessed Virgin's Little Glass.
Tale 208: The Little Old Lady
- An old woman is sad because pretty much everyone in her life has died.
- She's particularly bummed about her sons, who died young.
- She has a vision, however, in which God reveals to her that if they'd lived their lives would have turned out horrible, so she thanks God for his kindness, dies peacefully, and presumably heads on up to heaven.
Tale 209: The Heavenly Wedding
- A boy overhears a priest saying that anyone who wants to enter heaven has to walk a straight path.
- The boy walks a straight line until he reaches a church that is so holy, he thinks he's in heaven.
- The priests let him stay, and he always feeds some of his bread to the icons of Christ and the Virgin Mary.
- The icons talk to him and tell him he can attend the wedding. By this they mean communion. After taking communion, the boy drops dead and goes to the "eternal wedding," meaning heaven. Bonus.
Tale 210: The Hazel Branch
- The Virgin Mary goes to gather some strawberries while the Christ Child sleeps. A viper springs out and surprises her, but she hides behind a hazel tree, and goes back for the berries later.
- From then on, hazel branches have been used as protection against all sorts of reptiles.
- We wish we'd known about that on the last Shmoop Safari.