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Main > Norway folktales > Fairy tale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon"

East of the Sun and West of the Moon

So there was great joy and love between them all that night. But next day, when the wedding was to be, the Prince said:

“First of all, I’d like to see what my bride is fit for.”

“Yes!” said the step-mother, with all her heart.

“Well,” said the Prince, “I’ve got a fine shirt which I’d like for my wedding shirt, but somehow or other it has got three spots of tallow on it, which I must have washed out; and I have sworn never to take any other bride than the woman who’s able to do that. If she can’t, she’s not worth having.”

Well, that was no great thing they said, so they agreed, and she with the long-nose began to wash away as hard as she could, but the more she rubbed and scrubbed, the bigger the spots grew.

“Ah!” said the old hag, her mother, “you can’t wash; let me try.”

But she hadn’t long taken the shirt in hand before it got far worse than ever, and with all her rubbing, and wringing, and scrubbing, the spots grew bigger and blacker, and the darker and uglier was the shirt.

Then all the other Trolls began to wash, but the longer it lasted, the blacker and uglier the shirt grew, till at last it was as black all over as if it had been up the chimney.

“Ah!” said the Prince, “you’re none of you worth a straw; you can’t wash. Why there, outside, sits a beggar lassie, I’ll be bound she knows how to wash better than the whole lot of you. Come in, Lassie!” he shouted.

Well, in she came.

“Can you wash this shirt clean, lassie you?” said he.

“I don’t know,” she said, “but I think I can.”

And almost before she had taken it and dipped it in the water, it was as white as driven snow, and whiter still.

“Yes; you are the lassie for me,” said the Prince.

At that the old hag flew into such a rage, she burst on the spot, and the Princess with the long nose after her, and the whole pack of Trolls after her—at least I’ve never heard a word about them since.

As for the Prince and Princess, they set free all the poor Christian folk who had been carried off and shut up there; and they took with them all the silver and gold, and flitted away as far as they could from the Castle that lay East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

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