Fairy Tale Friday: The Three-Legged Goats

The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales

Franz Xaver von Schönwerth

pg. 86-8

ATU 400 Quest for the Lost Bride

This was an odd one…

Three men – “a tailor, a miller, and a soldier” – get lost in a forest. (See those title descriptions? That’s why I like “Songs of the Dark Lantern” in Over the Garden Wall.) Following a similar pattern as “The Cow and the Girl”, with each going to an enchanted castle but only the last (the soldier) staying long enough to be trapped.

Once he is, a “woman dressed in black” (86). appears and he has to disenchant her. The process essentially has her transform from black to white. Which is a problematic color choice, but not uncommon.

Once she’s cured, she and the soldier marry. Trouble starts when the soldier wants to visit his parents. The princess gives him a magic ring which he uses to transport them to his childhood home, a “shabby hut”. But “[s]he was so dismayed when she saw the circumstances her husband had been raised in that she took the ring and disappeared into the night” (87).

That honestly surprised me. Does it mean she’s elitist? Does she dislike germs and/or untidiness. Does she think it makes her husband beneath her because he was raised in a lower class dwelling?

Naturally the solider goes to look for her and happens upon three thieves arguing over three wondrous objects. The soldier obtains them and heads to the castle (which only now is mentioned). Once inside, he disguises himself and attends the Princess’ wedding. She recognizes her husband and wonders what she should do.

It was nice that she actually recognized him, like how people would if they’re able to recognize faces. I really liked that it was her decision to return to the solider, but why did she need father’s advice?

And since I’m on the subject of questions, why did the solider want to be with her, after she left him for his social standing? On the flip side, why should she have to be with him just because she married him, since she doesn’t like his class?

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