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Notes to Norwegian Folktales ❧ 6
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The Land and Water Ship (The Ashlad and His Crew) - ATU 513B

(Formerly: "The Extraordinary Companions", AT 513). A king has promised his daughter to the man who can build a ship that goes both on land and on water. Three brothers want to try their luck in this. However, the older two are unkind to an old man who asks what they want to do, and fail. Only the third answers the old man honestly and gives him food, and gets help from him in return: the man builds the magic ship in return.

On the way to the king's court the hero is joined one after the other by extraordinary companions (a man eating stone, another hearing the grass grow, and others with other unusual abilities). When the young man brings the ship, the king is amazed, but since the young man is of humble origin, the king tries to back away from his bargain and constantly invents new and more difficult tasks to get rid of them. But the hero, assisted by his helpers, accomplishes them all and marries the princess.

The type number (AT 513) refers to a cycle of related tales. The type of tale goes back to Argonautica of Appollonios Rhodios (ca. 250 BCE).

[The tale]

The Old Woman and the Wolf Fall into the Pit Together (Father Bruin in the Corner) - AT 168A

A man uses a little dog to trap wild animals (fox, wolf, bear) in a pit. An old woman falls into it too. The man comes and sees the catch. He rescues the woman and kills the animals.

[The tale]

The Three Stolen Princesses (The Three Princesses in the Blue Mountain) - AT 301

When three princesses are out in the garden, they disappear. Their father promises half the kingdom and his golden crown and any of the sisters to the one who rescues them. The hero sets out in company with some others to seek three stolen princesses. The companions come to a pit-passage to the lower world, and the hero is lowered into it in a basket. He saves the princesses, but his treacherous companions then leave the hero behind below. But he is helped out in a superhuman way and is identified by the babes on their wedding day by means of some tokens of his authenticity. The impostors are punished and the hero marries the youngest princess and becomes king.

Hans Lien Brækstad's translation forms the basis.

[The tale]

Pork and Honey - AT 49. The Bear and the Honey

After a wager a fox takes the heart of the pig the bear is carrying, but when the bear threatens to retaliate for it, the fox promises to take him to a beehive. Instead he takes the bear to a wasps' nest. The bear bites into it to suck honey from the nest and is badly stung.

[The tale]

The Hog Who Was Tired of His Way of Living - AT 211*

Rendered by T. Kinnes.

The pig goes to court to get a better way of life. The fox fools him on the way home, and the pig forgets what the judge said. His life remains the same.

This type of tale seems to be recorded only in Norway, and may therefore be of Norwegian origin, and thus a rare find.

The tale of the hog who was fed up with his way of living is in the last edition of Asbjørnsen and Moe. It has for long had an AT number, but because it is considered "regional" it has got no ATU number so far. At any rate, the tale is "one of the very rare, purely Norwegian tales". ATU-numbered folk tales are international "shareware" mainly.

[The tale]

Dyre Vaa - ML5020

Retold by T. Kinnes.

Reidar Christiansen, devised a catalogue of Norwegian Migratory Legends, and "Dyre Vaa" is classified in it as is shown in the headline: "M is for migratory, L is for legend, and 5020 is the allotted number of the type.

It is a type of legend that deals with ferrying trolls. There exist a few Norwegian variants of the tale. Two variants are from the hands of the early collector Andreas Faye, and another is by the son of Jørgen Moe, Moltke Moe. These texts are publicly available from the University in Oslo: [◦Link]

This legend from Telemark is from a Norwegian ballad and a prose rendering by Martha G. Sleeper, in her Sweden and Norway; Sketches and Stories of their Scenery, Customs, History, Legends, etc., New York: Sheldon, 1867, p. 34-38.

There is also a ballad on Dyre Vaa from 1846 by the Norwegian poet Johan S. Welhaven (1807-73).

[The tale]

  Contents  


Norwegian folktales, Norway fairy tales, Asbjørnsen and Moe folktale and fairy tales notes, literature

Asbjørnsen, Peter Christen. Fairy Tales from the Far North.. Tr. Hans Lien Brækstad. New York: A. L. Burt, 1897. ⍽▢⍽ Forty tales.

Asbjørnsen, Peter, og Jørgen Moe. Samlede eventyr, bd 1-3. Oslo: Kunstnerutgaven, Gyldendal, 1965.

Ashliman, D. A Guide to Folktales in the English Language. New York: Greenwood, 1987.

Bø, Olav, et al, eds. Norske eventyr (Norwegian Fairy Tales). Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 1982.

Dasent, George Webbe, tr. Asbjørnsen, Peter Christen and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe. East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon. Philadelphia: David McKay, 1921. ⍽▢⍽Fifty-nine tales of a total of about one hundred and thirty in all by Asbjørnsen and Moe. Dasent's Tales from the Fjeld contains fifty-two more.

Dasent, George Webbe, tr. Tales from the Fjeld: A Second Series of Popular Tales, from the Norse of P. Chr. Asbjørnsen. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874. ⍽▢⍽ Fifty-two more Norwegian tales.

Gade, Helen and John, trs. Norwegian Fairy Tales: From the Collection of Asbjörnsen and Moe. New York: London: Humphrey Milford, 1924. ⍽▢⍽ Thirty-three tales.

Hodne, Ørnulf: The Types of the Norwegian Folktale. Bergen: Universitetsforlaget, 1984.

Stroebe, Clara, ed. The Norwegian Fairy Book. Tr. Frederick Herman Martens. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1922. ⍽▢⍽ Thirty-seven tales.

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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