Thursday’s Tale: The Ash Lad who Made the Princess Say, “You’re a Liar!”

Askeladden by Theodor Kittelsen (1900) Original painting owned by the National Museum , Oslo

Askeladden by Theodor Kittelsen (1900) Original painting owned by the National Museum , Oslo

“The Ash Lad who Made the Princess Say, ‘You’re a Liar!'” is Norwegian fairy tale collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in Norwegian Folktales. Ash Lad, Askeladden in Norwegian,  sometimes also known as Boots, is the main character in many Norwegian stories. In some ways, he represents the small man who succeeds where all others fail. He always wins in the end, often winning the princess and half the kingdom. He is often portrayed as the youngest of three brothers, as in this story. Early in a typical tale, the older brothers appear to have much greater chances of success in life. For example, one brother might be extremely well read, whereas another might be extremely competent in another area. In contrast, the Ash Lad is looked down upon as a seemingly drowsy ne’er do well, perhaps even as a loner or misunderstood eccentric, who spends too much time sitting by the fireplace lost in thought as he is poking the ashes. As the typical story unfolds, the oldest brothers try first to heroically overcome some major crisis or problem. The two older brothers, who are tied to conventional thinking, typically fall flat on their faces. In contrast, it is the Ash Lad who comes up with creative solutions. He is smarter, more tactical, more receptive and more aware of the needs of others. He outwits trolls, dodges charging unicorns or gets a magic Viking ship to transport him where he ultimately saves the princess. In today’s story, the quest might not be as “heroic” but he does get the princess.

There was once a king who had a daughter, and she was such a liar that no on could equal her. So the king made it known that the one who could lie so that he made her say, “You’re a liar!” would get both her and half the kingdom. There were many who tried, but they all failed.

Then there were three brothers who were bent upon trying their luck. The two eldest set out first, but they fared no better that the others. So the Ash Lad set out, and he met the princess in the stable, where he traded lies with her. The princess claimed a farmyard too large for a man at one end to hear the horn blown at the other end; the Ash Lad said that a just bred cow that crossed their farmyard would give birth at the other side. The princess claimed to have an ox so big that when a man sits on each horn, one can’t reach the other with a twelve-foot pole. The lad said their ox was so big that when someone is sitting on each horn blowing a “lure,” one can’t hear the other.

And on and on it went until the lad told a story about a big gray horse. “I took a spruce tree and put it in for a backbone and no other back did the horse have as long as we had it. But that tree grew, and became so big that I climbed up to Heaven through it, and when I got there, one of the saints was sitting weaving a bristle rope of barley broth. All at once the spruce broke and I couldn’t get down again, but the good saint lowered me down on one of the ropes, and I landed in a fox’s den. And there sat my mother and your father patching shoes,” and suddenly his mother boxed her father’s ears.

“You’re a liar!” said the princess, stating her father had never done such a thing.

Presumably the Ash Lad marries the princess and gets half the kingdom.

Insulting someone’s parent is certainly a time-honored tradition, guaranteed to get a rise.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

Dead & Buried by Leighann Dobbs

Dead & Buried by Leighann Dobbs Dead & Buried by Leighann Dobbs
Series: Blackmoore Sisters Mysteries #2
Published by Createspace on June 25, 2013
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 272
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon or Audible
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Summers in the seaside town of Noquit Maine are quiet and relaxing ... unless you find a mysterious dead body, a hunky ex-boyfriend shows up and you start getting instructions from ghostly relatives.
That’s exactly what happens to Morgan Blackmoore.
Suddenly, she finds herself in a race against time as she’s launched into a dangerous treasure hunt that pits her against modern day pirates who think she has the key to a three hundred year old secret.
To complicate matters even more, one of her sisters keeps talking to the ghost of their dead grandmother, another has crystals with unusually powerful healing properties and her cat has an uncanny habit of showing up in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.
Not to mention that her ex-boyfried, Luke Hunter, suddenly shows up in town after ten years of being overseas and claims to want to help her fight off these deadly pirates, but Morgan finds herself fighting her attraction to him instead.
Will Morgan outwit the treasure hunters and find the real killer before Sheriff Overton puts her in jail?
And what about Luke, is he really a good guy or just after the treasure himself?

Pirates and treasure hunts and cute guys with guns – an enjoyable read. It’s light and short, a perfect in-between book for me.

The Blackmoore sisters are a good group. They have close relationships with each other, but all have their own personalities, interests, and gifts. There’s a touch of paranormal – a cat with way more than nine lives, healing crystals, visits with a dead grandma, but it doesn’t take over the book. You could have the same story without the fantasy elements, but it wouldn’t be as fun.

I like the story, but a couple of things struck me as a bit odd. First of all, who exactly does Luke, Morgan’s ex, work for. It was never explained quite well enough for me. Yes, he’s on the Blackmoores’ side, but I wish I could have been a little clearer on his motives. Second, I don’t get the Sheriff’s grudge against the sisters and why he is so outrageous in some of his behavior. This is the second in the series I’ve read and I just don’t understand how he can get away with clearly biased investigation style.

Those two faults aside, it’s a great mystery with just the right touch of romance. I like how each of the women has her own strength’s and they only solve the problems they face by working together. The men that are on their side are strong and dependable and sexy, too. They don’t find the big treasure, though. Maybe next time?

About Leighann Dobbs

Leighann Dobbs is the pen name of a not so famous author who lives in New Hampshire with her husband, her trusty Chihuahua mix Mojo and her beautiful rescue cat, Kitty. She likes to write romance and cozy mystery short stories and novelettes perfect for the busy person on the go.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Readers’ Workouts – 2/9


Readers workouts

Here are my steps for the week. Look, I actually made my goal for the week overall.



My current plan is to do a core workout on Monday, cardio on Tuesday (60 mins), upper body on Wednesday, cardio on Thursday (60 mins), total body workout on Friday and cardio on Saturday (60+ mins).

Tuesday – Walk with the dog. 65 mins running – it was actually warm enough to run outside!

Wednesday – 30 mins ams and shoulders

Thursday – 36 mins elliptical

Friday – 15 min workout

Sunday – 25 min leg workout followed by 1 hr 10 mins on the elliptical

Monday – Short ab workout (followed by a lot of sneezing. I am tired of winter!!)

I usually listen to a book while I’m walking, jogging, whatever. This week I’m listening to City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett.

2016 miles: 52 out of 1000 (way behind schedule)

How was your week? Readers’ Workouts is hosted by Joy at Joy’s Book Blog. Thanks!

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