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Main > Norway folktales > Fairy tale "Prince Lindworm"

Prince Lindworm

People are beginning to say strange things, and I am sure no Princess will dare to come.”

Now, down in a little cottage near a wood, there lived the King’s shepherd, an old man with his only daughter. And the King came one day and said to him, “Will you give me your daughter to marry my son the Lindworm? And I will make you rich for the rest of your life.”—“No, sire,” said the shepherd, “that I cannot do. She is my only child, and I want her to take care of me when I am old. Besides, if the Lindworm would not spare two beautiful Princesses, he won’t spare her either. He will just gobble her up: and she is much too good for such a fate.”

But the King wouldn’t take “No” for an answer: and at last the old man had to give in.

Well, when the old shepherd told his daughter that she was to be Prince Lindworm’s bride, she was utterly in despair. She went out into the woods, crying and wringing her hands and bewailing her hard fate. And while she wandered to and fro, an old witch-woman suddenly appeared out of a big hollow oak-tree, and asked her, “Why do you look so doleful, pretty lass?” The shepherd-girl said, “It’s no use my telling you, for nobody in the world can help me.”—“Oh, you never know,” said the old woman. “Just you let me hear what your trouble is, and maybe I can put things right.”—“Ah, how can you?” said the girl, “For I am to be married to the King’s eldest son, who is a Lindworm. He has already married two beautiful Princesses, and devoured them: and he will eat me too! No wonder I am distressed.”

“Well, you needn’t be,” said the witch-woman. “All that can be set right in a twinkling: if only you will do exactly as I tell you.” So the girl said she would.

“Listen, then,” said the old woman. “After the marriage ceremony is over, and when it is time for you to retire to rest, you must ask to be dressed in ten snow-white shifts. And you must then ask for a tub full of lye,” (that is, washing water prepared with wood-ashes) “and a tub full of fresh milk, and as many whips as a boy can carry in his arms,—and have all these brought into your bed-chamber.

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