Buttercup (fairy tale)

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Buttercup or Butterball (Norwegian: Smørbukk, literally "Butter-buck") is a Norwegian fairy tale collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe. It is Aarne-Thompson type 327 C, the devil (witch) carries the hero home in a sack. Buttercup is so named because he is "plump and fat, and fond of good things".

Synopsis[edit]

While Buttercup's mother was baking, the dog began to bark, and Buttercup saw a witch coming "with her head under her arm, and a bag at her back". His mother had him hide under the kneading trough, but the witch said she had a silver knife to give him, and this lured him out. The witch told him that he had to climb into her sack to get it, and as soon as he was in, she carried him off. On the way, the witch asked "How far is it to Snoring?", and Buttercup said half a mile, so she rested, and using the knife he escaped, putting a big fir root in the sack.

The next day, she lured him out with the offer of a silver spoon, but he escaped in the same way, using a stone. The third day, she offered him a silver fork and went straight home without resting. She gave him to her daughter to cook and, because it was Sunday, went to church to invite guests to dinner. The daughter didn't know how to kill him. Buttercup told her to lay her head on the chopping block, and he would show her. He cut her head off, put it in her bed, and stewed her body. Then he climbed up the chimney with the root and stone.

The witch and her husband came home and, thinking their daughter asleep, they ate the soup, speaking of "Buttercup broth". Buttercup talked of "daughter broth" from the chimney. They went outside to see what caused the noise, and Buttercup killed them by dropping the stone and root on their heads. He took all their gold and silver and went home.

Notes[edit]

  • Snoring is a fictitious location; there is no place name in Scandinavia bearing that name (or any spelling variant thereof).

See also[edit]

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