Study Guide

Grimms' Fairy Tales Tales 61-70

By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Tales 61-70

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).