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Main > Sweden folktales > Fairy tale "Queen Crane"

Queen Crane

" and with that he slew the meer-woman. Then he rode quickly back to Queen Crane, took off his armor, and led his flock out to pasture. But among the on-lookers had been a count, who threatened the princess, and said he would thrust her through with his sword if she did not swear he had rescued her. The princess did so out of fear; but from Sheep-Peter no one heard a word.

On the third day the same thing happened. Sheep-Peter was given a suit of armor, a sword and a steed by Queen Crane, and fetched the youngest princess. When he lay down on the sea-shore to sleep, he said to her: "When the meer-woman comes, wake me, and if you cannot wake me, then tell the horse to wake me, and if the horse cannot wake me, then ask the dog to wake me." When the meer-woman came, neither the princess nor the horse was able to wake him, and they had to call the dog to help them. At last he woke up, took the princess on his horse, cried: "God aid me, and Queen Crane stay by me, and I will succeed!" and slew the meer-woman. Then he rode back again to Queen Crane, took off his armor and let his flock out to pasture.

Not long after, the deliverers of the princesses were to come to the castle and be married. But first the king asked his daughters which of the three each wanted to have. So the oldest said: "The gentleman from court," and the second said: "the count," but the third said "Sheep-Peter." Then the king was very angry with his youngest daughter; for he did not believe for a moment that Sheep-Peter had delivered her. But she insisted and said she would take no one else. The king then presented an apple of pure gold to the count and the court gentleman; but Sheep-Peter got nothing.

Now all three of them were to hold a three-days' shooting-match, in order to see which was the best shot; for the king hoped that Sheep-Peter would make a proper laughing-stock of himself, and drop far behind the others without any effort on their part. But Sheep-Peter was so good a marksman that he hit everything at which he aimed.

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