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Main > Sweden folktales > Fairy tale "Queen Crane"

Queen Crane

Now the king had three princesses, and they were to be carried off by three meer-women. So the king had it proclaimed that whoever could rescue them should receive one of them for a wife. When the day came on which the oldest princess was to be carried away, Sheep-Peter received a steed, a suit of armor and a sword from Queen Crane. With them he rode to the castle, fetched the princess, took her before him on his steed, and then lay down on the sea-shore to sleep. He had a dog with him as well. And while he slept the princess wove her hair-ribbon into his hair. Suddenly the meer-woman appeared, and she awakened him and bade him mount his steed. Many people had been standing there; but when the meer-woman appeared they all took fright, and climbed into tall trees. But the youth said: "God aid me, and Queen Crane stay by me, and I will succeed!" And then he slew the meer-woman. Thereupon he rode quickly back to Queen Crane, took off his armor, and herded his sheep again. But among the on-lookers had been a nobleman, who threatened the princess, and forced her to say that he had rescued her. And from Sheep-Peter no one heard a word.

On the following day the second princess was to be carried off. So Sheep-Peter went to Queen Crane, who gave him a steed, a suit of armor and a sword, and with them he rode to the castle, and fetched the second princess. When they reached the sea-shore the meer-woman had not yet appeared. So the youth lay down to sleep and said to the princess: "Wake me when the meer-woman comes, and if you cannot wake me, then tell my horse." With that he fell asleep, and meanwhile the princess wove a string of pearls into his hair. When the meer-woman came, the princess tried to wake him; but he would not wake up at all, and so she told the horse to waken him. And the horse did wake him. The great lords, however, who were standing about, climbed into the trees out of pure fright when the meer-woman appeared. The youth took the princess on his steed, cried: "God aid me, and Queen Crane stay by me, and I will succeed!

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