Thursday’s Tale: King Goldenlocks

turnip princess

I was happy to get a copy of The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales by Franz Xaver Von Schonwerth, edited by Erika Eichenseer, translation and commentary by  Maria Tartar, for review.

From the blurb:

“Franz Xaver von Schönwerth traversed the forests, lowlands, and mountains of northern Bavaria to record fairy tales, gaining the admiration of even the Brothers Grimm. Most of Schönwerth’s work was lost—until a few years ago, when thirty boxes of manu­scripts were uncovered in a German municipal archive.

Now, for the first time, Schönwerth’s lost fairy tales are available in English. Violent, dark, and full of action, and upending the relationship between damsels in distress and their dragon-slaying heroes, these more than seventy stories bring us closer than ever to the unadorned oral tradition in which fairy tales are rooted, revolutionizing our understanding of a hallowed genre.”

The book will be released on the 24th, so I though I’d feature stories from the collection for my Thursday’s Tales this month,

The first in the “Tales of Magic” section is “King Goldenlocks,” which may sound like Goldilocks but is totally unrelated.

A king had a son whose hair was the color of gold. One day the king was out hunting in the woods and saw a huge man, and he and his men caught the wild man. The king was thrilled and decided to hold a celebration to show off the man – because that’s what you should do, capture people and then show off your “accomplishment.” Anyway, Goldenlocks was playing ball near the wild man’s cage and threw the ball into the cage. The first time the wild man threw it back, but the second time it happened the man told Goldenlocks he would only get the ball back if Goldenlocks set him free, which he did.. When the king went to present the wild man at his party, he discovered the man was gone and was furious. He promised to punish whoever had let the wild man free, no matter who it was.

Someone informed the King that it had been Goldenlocks and even though the king was devastated he ordered the prince be executed in the woods. As proof, the servants were to bring back the boy’s tongue, eye and finger.  But the servants couldn’t kill the boy, instead convincing a shepherd to give them his dog and his finger in exchange for getting to trade clothes with the prince.

Golden locks covered his hair and traveled to a far away land, going to work for a gardener. Each day he took bouquets to the three daughters of the king of that land, tying his own hair around the youngest’s flowers. Of course, it would be the youngest of the daughters and I’m sure you’re not surprised that she was also the most beautiful of the daughters. Eventually the older two sisters marry suitable men and it’s the youngest’s turn and she actually chooses to marry the young gardener and goes to live in his cottage. Good for her, right?

Soon the king became ill and the only way to heal him was with apples from paradise. The young gardener goes out and meets the wild man in the woods. The man helps him get the apples, but the gardener gives them to his brothers-in-law as long as the are willing to be “marked on [their] backs with the gallows.” The king became ill again and this time it was snake’s milk that was needed. Once again the wild man helps the gardener, but the gardener gives the snakes milk to his brothers-in-law in exchange for them being  “marked on their backs with the rack.”

The king recovers, but a war breaks out. The gardener’s wife doesn’t wasn’t him to go to war but he sneaks out and the wild man gives him armor, a sword, and a horse. Their side has victory, but in the heat of the battle the king wound the gardener, whom he doesn’t recognize. After returning home, the king figures out it was his son-in-law, the commoner, who had fought beside him, and invites him to a banquet. He is given a seat between his two brothers – in -law.

“‘I will not sit between two fellows who have been marked by the wheel or the gallows,’ the gardener declared, and he described what they had done with the apples from paradise and the snake’s milk. After the uproar, it was decided that the two should be broken on the wheel. But the gardener pleaded for mercy, and it was granted.

Messengers from a distant land suddenly entered the great hall and announced: “Our king has died, and we are seeking a new king, his son, Prince Goldenlocks. By resisting the sorcery of the wonders in the garden, the charms of the snake queen, and the seductions of the invincible sword, Prince Goldenlocks liberated the wild man and lifted the curse on him. And all the while he has been toiling here in humble service.” The gardener blushed, took off his head covering, and his long golden locks fell down on his shoulders.

He was declared king in his homeland and the true heir of his wife, the daughter of his father-in-law.”

It’s pretty similar to other stories I’ve read. The prince has a helper, the wild man, and has to complete a set of tasks. The female main characters is pretty and the youngest of three, and they live happily ever after. I’m actually kind of surprised that the brothers-in-law were pardoned, but it makes Goldenlocks look even better. I do wonder who the wild man was, what became of him after his curse was lifted. I’m looking forward to reading more of   Schönwerth’s stories.

Purchase The Turnip Princess: Amazon

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

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