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First Collection

The tales in the first collection here are found in books by Thorpe, Bay, Booss, Lang, Jones and Stroebe. Some tales are found in more than one of their collections. Book data is at the bottom of the page. ATU classification numbers are supplied for some of the tales.

The Jutlander and His Stockings

ATU 1288, Numskulls Cannot Find Their Own Legs. (Variant).

Bay 1899, 189. A fool's stockings are stolen while he is drunk. He does not recognize his feet without those stockings. Quite similar to Type 1284.

[The tale]

"A Stork Is Not Always a Stork"

Jones 1956, p. 110-11.

[The tale]

The Master Fool

Bay 1899, 47-52.

[The tale]

The Hill-Man Invited to the Christening

AT 1165. The troll and the christening.

Tibbitt 2005, No. 5.

[The tale]

Toller's Neighbours

Thorpe 1853, 355-59.

[The tale]

The Magician's Pupil

ATU 325.

Thorpe 1853, 364-69.

[The tale]

The Boiled Eggs

ATU 821B, Chickens from Boiled Eggs.

Bay 1899, 268-72. A traveller eats a meal of eggs in an inn and leaves without paying. Some time later when he returns to pay his debt, the innkeeper claims the value of all chickens that would have hatched from the eggs in the meantime. The traveller cannot pay the huge sum, so the innkeeper brings the case to trial. Ahead of the trial the traveller meets a lawyer, who offers his services to him. On the day of the trial the lawyer comes late and excuses himself by explaining that he was cooking corn for planting. The judge states that cooked corn cannnot germinate, and the lawyer answers that chickens cannot be hatched from boiled eggs either. The case is rejected and the landlord is made to pay a large fine.

[The tale]

The Girl Clad in Mouse Skin

ATU 870, The Princess Confined in the Mound.

Thorpe 1853, 375-380. A noble girl is confined by her father in an underground cave in a mound before he goes to war. After seven years she leaves her cave with her dog by her side. Clad in a mouse skin dress she enters service in her deceased father's castle without being recognised. The prince lives there now, and is about to marry another. She asks the heroine is asked to take her place on wedding day for some reason. On the way to the church the girl talks to the mount when they pass it, to the pictures of her parents in the church. They get wed and he puts a ring on her finger. Later he asks the woman he thought he had married for the ring, and she calls her stand-in bride to give it to her. In the course of events, the bride swapping is found out. The prince sends the other woman away and marries the young noblewoman all over again.

[The tale]


Thorpe 1853, 369-75.

[The tale]

A Funny Fellow

Bay 1899, 97-

[The tale]

Svend's Exploits

Thorpe 1853, 336-54.

[The tale]

Hans, the Mermaid's Son

Lang's Pink Fairy Book, 1904, 122-25.

[The tale]

Fortune and Knowledge

Bay 1899, 144-49.

[The tale]

Master and Pupil

Lang's Pink Fairy Book, 1904, 220-22.

[The tale]

The White Dove

Lang's Pink Fairy Book, 1904, 238-46.

[The tale]

The King and the Miller

Bay 1899, 21-22; Cramer 1912, 100-08.

[The tale]

Esben and the Witch

Lang's Pink Fairy Book, 1904, 258-73.

[The tale]

Maiden Bright-eye

Lang's Pink Fairy Book, 1904, 289-96.

[The tale]

The Cunning Man from Hilltown

Bay 1899, 213-19.

[The tale]

The Merry Wives

Cramer 1912, 59-63.

[The tale]

I Know What I Have Learned

Cf. Bay 1899, 67-72.

[The tale]

The Troll's Daughter

Lang's Pink Fairy Book, 1904, 247-57.

[The tale]

The Drinking-Horn

Tangherini 2014 (1.19 [5215b] DS I, 782) - from Kristensen's Danske Sagn, Vol 1, of 1982.

[The tale]

The Green Knight

Cramer 1912, 22-37; besides Lang's Olive Fairy Book from 1907, 152-66. Danish source: "Eventyr fra Jylland by Evald Tang Kristensen". Translated by Mrs. Skovgaard-Pedersen.

[The tale]

Niels and the Giants

Lang's Crimson Fairy Book 1903, 284-94.

[The tale]

The Three Pennies

Bay 1899, 23-27.

[The tale]

The Prince and the Princess in the Forest

Lang's Olive Fairy Book, 1907, 256-75. Lang's source: Evald Tang Kristensen's Æventyr fra Jylland Vol 3, No. 1. (Copenhagen, 1895 - [Note: Fractur typeface]). "Prinsessen og prinsen i den vilde skov" was told by Niels Hansen Li to Kristensen, and translated from the Danish by Mrs. Skovgaard Pedersen. Bengt Holbæk has included the tale [ in Danske Tryldeeventyr (Copenhagen, Arnold Busch, 1989).

[The tale]

The Lucky Penny

Thorpe, p. 412-16.

[The tale]

The Magic Book

Lang's Orange Fairy Book 1906, 349-58. Danish source: Æventyr fra Jylland, collected by Evald Tang Kristensen. Translator: Mrs. Skavgaard-Pedersen.

[The tale]

The Story of Sigurd

Lang's Red Fairy Book 357-67. The Norse source: The Volsunga Saga

[The tale]

Notes from Clara Stroebe's The Danish Fairy Book

Book data is at the bottom of the page. - TK

The Clever Young Girl

ATU 1450. "The Clever Girl" (Grundtvig, II, No. 446, p. 307) from Falster, is also in in Grimm, who calls his heroine "Clever Elsie."

[The tale]

The Tree of Health

"The Tree of Health" (Grundtvig, II, No. 4, p. 20), from Seeland, tells a tale of magic fruit, and how it raises a poor boy to high honours with the aid of grateful animals.

[The tale]

The Mill at the Bottom of the Sea

ATU 565 - Of genuine Northern origin and current as far as Iceland, is the story of "The Mill at the Bottom of the Sea" (Kristensen, V, No. 27, p. 147) from Jutland. The strange mill was known to the old Norsemen. In the Edda it is in the possession of King Frodi, and the tale is told of how a sea-king robbed him of it, and had it grind salt until his ship sank with all on board.

[The tale]

Little May

ATU 870 A: The Goose-Girl (Neighbor's Daughter) as Suitor (previously The Little Goose-Girl).

"Little May" (Kristensen, V, No. 7, p. 57), from Jutland, like an old song with a faithfully recurring refrain, tells the story of the little shepherdess who finally secures the king of England's son for a husband.

[The tale]

Ederland, the Poultry-Maid

"Ederland, the Poultry-Maid" (Grundtvig, I, No. 248, p. 605), with the aid of her dead mother wrests three precious things from their possessors, the trolls. One of them, the pig that never diminishes, no matter how much bacon is sliced from it, has a relative in the Edda, the boar Salhrimnir, who is roasted daily yet does not suffer thereby. The story comes from Seeland.

[The tale]

Husband and Wife

"Husband and Wife" (Grundtvig, II, No. 121, p. 125) from Vendsyssel, is a delightful bit of humorous philosophy.

[The tale]

The Magic Hat

'"Tie Magic Hat" (Grundtvig, II, No. 428, p. 268), from Mon, is a folk-tale, dealing in humorous form with the nature of an article which often appears in more extended fairy-tales as one of three greatly desired magic belongings, and which is known in legend as the tarn-cap, or magic cap.

[The tale]

The Little Girl and the Serpent

"The Little Girl and the Serpent" (Grundtvig, III, No. 4, p. 15) comes from Bornholm, and is built up on the same motive as the story of "King Dragon," though presented in more concise form.

[The tale]


"Trillevip" (Grundtvig, II, No. 309, p. 163), from Fyn, is a clever combination of two fairy-tales, found separately in Grimm's collection. Rumpelstilzchen is the hero of the first of the Grimm stories, and his three spinners are the grotesque personages of the closing act.

[The tale]

The Snake

In "The Snake" (Grundtvig, II, No. 314, p. 191) from Mors, the prince whom enchantment has turned into a snake, is delivered by a kiss, but since the snake's skin he has cast off has been burned, is obliged to flee in another animal transformation, and the princess regains him only at the cost of much trouble.

[The tale]

The Princess on the Island

"The Princess on the Island" (Grundtvig, II, No. 308, p. 157). In this fairy-tale from Vendsyssel, there sounds an echo, perhaps, of the century-long enmity between the Danes and the English. The false bride frequently appears in fairy-tales, and is unmasked in a variety of ways. This tale is particularly attractive because of the ancient verse-inserts. There is an interesting variant to be found in Denmark and Sweden, in which the princess is imprisoned in a cave in the ground, instead of an island. This is a distinctly Northern feature, which does not appear south of Ditmarsh (W. district of Holstein); and antiquarian research has established its connection with the enormous Danish grave-mounds of the Stone Age.

[The tale]

The Little Wild Duck

"The Little Wild Duck" (Kristensen, Jyske Folkeminder, Bk. V, No. 16, p. 118) comes from Jutland. It introduces the ancient motive of the return, in animal form, of those who have been treacherously murdered. The laying off of the plumage is probably a half-forgotten feature of other fairy-tales, in which the bird doffs his feathers and has to keep his human shape, if someone robs him of them. (Comp. "Danish Fairy Tales," No. 45.)

[The tale]

King Dragon

"King Dragon" (Grundtvig, Gamle Danske Minder i Folkemunde, Copenhagen, 1855, Bk. I, No. 216, p. 172), a fairy-tale from Vendsyssel, is one of the most famous of Danish traditional tales, and introduces the favourite motive of deliverance from enchantment in animal form in a rich and individual development. (Comp. Axel Olrik, Kong Lindorm, Danske Studier, 1906, I.)

[The tale]

The Deer Prince

In "The Deer Prince" (Grundtvig, III, No. 37, p. 62), a fairy-tale from East Jutland, a maiden is moved by pity to question various enchanted creatures, and give them tools they can make use of, in spite of being forbidden to do so, a detail which in many fairy-tales leads to the deliverance of the hero. The bursting or breaking up into pebbles of the wicked mother and sister at the close, out of sheer envy, is a mode of destruction especially attributed in Northern legend to supernatural beings. In the "Edda," Nanna bursts asunder from grief, when she is informed of Baldur's death.

[The tale]

The Good Sword

"The Good Sword" (Grundtvig, III, No. 83, p. 120), from West Jutland, tells of an invincible weapon in the hands of a poor shepherd-boy, and recalls the affectionate veneration with which the sword was regarded in ancient times, a feeling which gave it an individuality and raised it to the status of a creature magically endowed with a soul, in whose name even oaths were taken.

[The tale]

The Patient Woman

ATU- 887. "The Patient Woman" (Grundtvig, II, No. 310, p. 167, from Seeland), is a Danish version of Boccaccio's "Griselda" The oldest known source of the novella is French, and from the Medieval Age. The story was widely circulated, and passed from Germany to Denmark, to Sweden and Norway ("Gro Selde"), finally reaching Iceland.

[The tale]

Peter Redhat

"Peter Redhat" (Kristensen, V, No. 13, p. 69), from Jutland, is an original variant of the story of the artful "King Bluebeard," a favourite in all Northern lands, who disguised as a vagabond, is successful in taming the arrogant princess.

[The tale]

Strong Jack

The ending has been slightly modified by me - TK "Strong Jack" (Grundtvig, I, No. 34, p. 33), from Seeland, is a favourite among all Teutonic peoples. It expresses their pleasure in superhuman corporal achievement, and is not devoid of mystery, since Jack's subterranean adventures probably originated in a journey to the under-world, such as was formerly ascribed by preference to gods and heroes. (Comp. Panzer, Studien zur germanischen Sagengeschichte, I, Munich, 1910, p. 44; v.d. Leyen Do* Mürchen in den Gottersagen der Edda, Berlin, 1899, p. 45.)

[The tale]

The Princess with the Many Golden Shoes

"The Princess With the Twelve Pair of Golden Shoes" (Grundtvig, III, No. 3, p. 11), from Bornholm, is also to be found in a variant form in Russia.

[The tale]

Jack with the Golden Hair

"Jack with the Golden Hair" (Grundtvig, II, No. 331, p. 170), comes from Vendsyssel. It is the story of "Golden Hair" or "Scabby Head," cherished far and wide during the Middle Ages because of its adventurous character. In its colourful development we catch a glimmer of the old belief in the werewolf, when the hero refuses to remove his cap because of his chronic scurf, or as in the case of many variants, when he is regarded as an animal. The flight by the aid of magic from the merman's kingdom is to be found in its essentials in the fairy-tales of all peoples.

[The tale]

A Moment in Heaven

The legendary dream-story of "A Moment in Heaven" (Grundtvig, III, No. 6, p. 19) from Jutland, is widely known.

[The tale]

The Pastor's Wife

"The Pastor's Wife" (Grundtvig, III, No. 6, p. 19), from Thy, sounds like an excerpt from some old book of moral tales. Her penance in the church at night is a curious pendant to the legend of Wolfdietrich, who as an aged man rids himself of all his sins in a cloister in the course of a single night; he sits alone at the altar during the passing of the nocturnal hours, and the spirits of all those whom he has slain surround and assail him. The rose blooming from the dead wood or stone is also a widely known symbol of divine forgiveness, used with especial effect in the Tannhauser legend.

[The tale]

The Pig

The story of "The Pig," from East Jutland (Grundtvig, III, No. 8, p. 24), is told in the same way in Russia.

[The tale]

The Ale of the Trolls

"The Ale of the Trolls" (Grundtvig, No. 107, p. 147), from the vicinity of Roskilde, proves how closely the magic power of the troll-folk was connected with the daily life of the Danish peasant.

[The tale]

"Never mind the money!"

Unusual stupidity is as dear to the fairy tale as unusual slyness, and "To the Devil with the money! I know what I know!" (Grundtvig, I, No. 196, p. 246), from Vendsyssel, recounts with enjoyment some notably foolish performances.

[The tale]

The Devil's Kindness

"The Devil's Kindness" (Grundtvig, II, No. 11, p. 52) from Fyn, tells of uncanny exhibitions of strength on the part of the devil, and makes him appear far less stupid than is usually the case in fairy tales.

[The tale]

The Loutish Peasant

"The Loutish Peasant" (Kristensen, V, No. 47, p. 360), from Jutland, is a merry tale, to score its titular hero, who has a hard time of it, since avarice and inhospitality are cordially detested in the fairy-tale.

[The tale]

The Wolf

"The Wolf" (Grundtvig, II, No. 121, p. 214), told after two variants from Vendsyssel and East Jutland, is a mock-terrible tale to frighten the children, with a happy ending.

[The tale]

The Walk to the Mill

"The Walk to the Mill" (Kristensen, VII, No. 23, p. 177) comes from Jutland. The stupid boy who does what he is told to do literally and thus gets himself into the most amusing complications, is no new figure. Yet the manner in which, in this tale, he slowly and painfully feels his way back to his forgotten commission along the thread of memory, gains realistic charm by reason of its keen regard for the laws of thought.

[The tale]


Danish folktales, Denmark's fairy tales, Danish fairy tales notes, literature

Bay, Jens Christian, tr. Danish Fairy Tales: A Collection of Popular Stories and Fairy Tales from the Danish of Svend Grundtvig, E. T. Kristensen, Ingvor Bondesen, and L. Budde. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1899.

Svend Grundtvig. Danske Folkeæventyr. Copenhagen: C. A. Reitzel, Vol. 1 1876; Vol 2. 1878.

Svend Grundtvig. Danske Folkeæventyr. Copenhagen: Bang, Lehmann and Stage, 1884. ⍽▢⍽ The final and post mortem collection of fairy tales by Grundtvig contains 28 tales. Two of them were added by the publisher.

Grundtvig, Svend, coll, ed. Gamle danske Minder i Folkemunde, Folkeæventyr, Folkeviser, Folkesagn, og andre Ræster af Fortidens Digtning og Tro, som De endnu leve i det danske Folks Erindring. Copenhagen: C. G. Iversen, 1855.

Grundtvig, Svend, E. Tang Kristensen, Ingvor Bondesen, and L. Budde. A Collection of Popular Stories and Fairy Tales From the Danish. Tr. Jens Christian Bay. London: Harper and Brothers, 1899.

Jones, Gwyn, reteller: Scandinavian Legends and Folk-Tales. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956 (and later eds.)

Kristensen, Evald Tang, coll. Æventyr fra Jylland, samlede af Evald Tang Kristensen. Jyske Folkeminder, især fra Hammerum Herred, samlede af Evald Tang Kristensen. Femte Samling. Copenhagen: Schønberg, 1881. ⍽▢⍽ Some 6,500 individuals communicated material to the folklore collector Kristensen. He himself recorded 2,700 fairy tales, 2,500 jokes, 25,000 legends, many sayings and riddles and much else. By taking down detailed notes from tellers or oral tales, he contributed greatly toward modern folklore research.

Lang, Andrew. "Fairy Books of Many Colors" (A series). London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1889–1910. ⍽▢⍽ With this wife and other translators the Scots poet, novelist, and literary critic Andrew Lang (1844–1912) published a series of 12 collections of fairy tales, among other works. The collection is known as Andrew Lang's Fairy Books of Many Colours. There are 798 stories in them in all. Andrew selected the tales, and his wife and other translators did much of the translating and retelling of the stories, as told in the prefaces. The books were first published as shown here: The Blue Fairy Book (1889); The Red Fairy Book (London: Longman, Greens and Co, 1907 [first: 1890] - one tale from it is included in the first collection here); The Green Fairy Book (1892); The Yellow Fairy Book (1894); The Pink Fairy Book (London: Longman, Greens and Co, 1904 [first: 1897] - six tales from it are included in the first collection here); The Grey Fairy Book (1900); The Violet Fairy Book (1901); The Crimson Fairy Book (1903); The Brown Fairy Book (1904); The Orange Fairy Book (London: Longman, Greens and Co, 1907 [first: 1906] - one tale here is from it); The Olive Fairy Book (London: Longman, Greens and Co, 1907 [first: 1907] - two tales from it are included in the first collection here); The Lilac Fairy Book (1910).

Stroebe, Clara, ed. The Danish Fairy Book. Tr. Frederick Herman, Martens. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1922.

Tangherlini, Timothy R., ed., tr. Danish Folktales, Legends, and Other Stories. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2014 / Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2014. ⍽▢⍽ Professor Tangherlini: "In most surveys of Tang Kristensen's work, his collection is summarized as comprising "three thousand ballads with one thousand melodies, two thousand seven hundred folktales, two thousand five hundred jocular tales, twenty-five thousand legends, countless proverbs, rhymes, and riddles, along with tens of thousands of recordings of customs and daily life; in addition, he collected people's own handwritten manuscripts, small publications, and musical notes and also was sent a great deal of material".
    [Another] aspect of Tang Kristensen's work [was that] he wrote short biographical notes about nearly all the people to whom he talked . . . In later years he indexed large parts of his collection and wrote a four-volume memoir, Minder og Oplevelser [1923�1928], which acts almost as a Rosetta stone for navigating his vast material. . . . [By such means Kristensen] opens . . . a deep cultural resource for commenting on and understanding changes in the social and physical environments that shaped their everyday experiences." (p. 72-73)

Thorpe, Benjamin. Yule-tide Stories: A Collection of Scandinavian and North German Popular Tales and Traditions, from the Swedish, Danish, and German. London: Henry G. Bohn 1853 (A reprint: George Bell, 1910). ⍽▢⍽ With one exception, Thorpe's tales derive from a work by Carit Etlar (pseudonym of Carl Brosbøll), Eventyr og Folkesagen fra Jylland. (Copenhagen, 1847). The exception is "The Girl Clad in Mouse-Skin", which is from Christian Molbech's Udvalgte Eventyr Eller Folkedigtninger: En Bog For Ungdommen, Folket Og Skolen, Vol 1. No. 21. (Copenhagen: 1843 and later).

Uther, Hans-Jörg. The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography Based on the System of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson. Vols 1-3. FF Communications No. 284-86, Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 2004.

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