Sunday, March 23, 2014

Once Upon a Time VIII - Short Quest Week 1

Once Upon a Time VIII - Short Story quest 

Day 1

The Magician's Horse: A lost prince stumbled upon the home of a magician, who told the prince that he could stay there, as long as he kept the fire going at all times. This turned out to be a difficult task, however, so the prince stole the magician's talking horse. The horse helped the prince escape the magician (who I'm sure was quite evil) and brought him to a palace. There, the prince found work as a gardener. One day, the magician's horse suggested that the gardener-prince pick up a diamond apple thrown by a princess - and thus win a contest for her hand. He did so, and the princess happily married the gardener-prince, for he had lovely golden hair. But the king didn't get a chance to see the gardener-prince's golden hair (it was under a kerchief), so he was displeased with his new son-in-law. When the king went into battle with all his sons-in-law, he gave the gardener-prince an old nag and no armor, probably hoping the obnoxious kerchief-covered boy would die. But the gardener-prince donned some armor that his trusty talking steed provided, and was the glory of three battles. At the end of the third battle, his leg was injured, so the king tied his embossed kerchief around the leg of the unknown golden-haired hero, and the gardener-prince went home to sleep. His wife, the princess, saw the kerchief of the king, and pointed it out to her father. Everyone lived happily ever after.

Day 2

The Little Gray Man: A nun, a countryman, and a blacksmith walk in to a cottage. The nun stays to make dinner while the countryman and blacksmith go out to the forest. A little gray man enters the cottage without knocking. The nun tells him to warm himself by the fire and have some food. The dwarf eats all the food, and then beats the nun when she objects. When the countryman and the blacksmith return, they're angry because there's no food. On the next day, the countryman stays home, and the other two go out to the forest. The little gray man, now with two heads, repeats his naughtiness with the countryman. The blacksmith is pretty upset at going to bed hungry, so he stays home the third day. The little gray man, now with three heads, repeats his naughtiness, except that the blacksmith is totally awesome with a hammer, and knocks off two of the three heads. Then, the three companions follow the now-one-headed gray dwarf to a castle, where they rescue two princes and discover that the dwarf is actually a prince. They all get married and live happily ever after. 

Day 3

Herr Lazarus and the Draken: There was a cobbler named Lazarus who once killed 40 flies with one fell blow of his hammer. He had a sword made that said "With one blow I have slain forty." Some Draken met him, and were impressed by his claim. They allowed him to join their group, but soon learned that Lazarus refused to do his share of the work. So they decided to kill Lazarus. The man placed a log in his bed, covered by a blanket, and hid that night. After the Draken had stabbed and beaten the log and gone back to sleep, Lazarus removed the log and got in his bed. When they all awoke, Lazarus claimed that he'd been bothered by gnats the night before. So the Draken desperately wanted to rid themselves of this guy who was so tough, but refused to do any of the work. Lazarus managed to fool them into thinking that his entire family was as vicious and strong as he, himself, claimed to be, and so Lazarus lived happily ever after with his family and a bag of Draken gold. 


  1. Interesting stories, never heard of them before except the last one which seems to be a retelling of The Brave Little Tailor. Which one was your favorite?

    1. Hi Delia! Yeah, I thought the story of Lazarus was pretty similar to the Mickey Mouse cartoon about the tailor. Of course, I'm sure there are many versions of this story in folklore. The sad thing about Andrew Lang's stories is that he doesn't say what his source was - at least with the Brothers Grimm we can be certain that the stories were told in Germany (even if Germany wasn't their origin).

      I guess I don't have a favorite, since the fairy tales are all equally silly and fun. :)

    2. Have you read Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman? His take on the Snow White fairy tale is very good and a little dark. He has a collection of short stories based on fairy tales, its' called Smoke and Mirrors and I reviewed it on my blog two years ago (almost to the day, what a coincidence!), if you want to have a look. There is also a section in the book where he writes how he came up with the idea for each story. It would be a perfect book for this challenge.

    3. Thanks Delia! That's a good recommendation. I love Gaiman, but I haven't read that particular book yet. I'll look in to it.

    4. I hope you get to read it and like it, Rachel. What books by him have you read? American Gods, by any chance?

  2. What an unusual book. I recognise the third story but not the first two.
    Will have to see what you make of the rest of the stories.
    Lynn :D


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