The King of the Golden Mountain

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The King of the Gold Mountain is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in Grimm's Fairy Tales.[1]

Tale 92 in the standard Grimm numbering, it is Aarne-Thompson type 401A, the enchanted princess in her castle. It includes elements from type 810, the devil loses a soul that was promised him; type 560, the magic ring; and type 518, quarreling giants lose their magic objects.[2]


A merchant with a young son and daughter lost everything except a field. Walking in that field, he met a black mannikin(dwarf) who promised to make him rich if, in twelve years, he brought the first thing that rubbed against his leg when he went home. The merchant agreed. When he got home, his boy rubbed against his leg. He went to the attic and found money, but when the twelve years were up, he grew sad. His son got the story from him and assured him that the black man had no power over him. The son had himself blessed by the priest and went to argue with the black man. Finally, the mannikin agreed that the boy could be put in a boat and shoved off into the water.

The boat carried him to another shore. A snake met him, but was a transformed princess. She told him if for three nights he let twelve black men beat him, she would be freed. He agreed and did it, and she married him, making him the King of the Gold Mountain, and in time bore him a son. When the boy was seven, the king wanted to see his own parents. His wife thought it would bring evil, but gave him a ring that would wish him to his parents and back again, telling him must not wish her to come with him. He went, but to get in the town, he had to put off his fine and magnificent clothing for a shepherd's; once inside, first he had to persuade his parents that he was their son, and then he could not persuade him that he was a king. Frustrated, he wished his wife and son with him. When he slept, his wife took the ring and wished herself and their son back to the Gold Mountain.

He walked until he found three giants quarreling over their inheritance: a sword that would cut off all heads but the owner's, if ordered to; a cloak of invisibility; and boots that would carry the wearer anywhere. He said he had to try them first, and with them, got the Gold Mountain, where his wife was marrying another. He ate everything that she put on her plate until she complained she needed a deliverer. He told her that she had had one and ordered everyone off. When they tried to seize him, he had the sword cut off their heads and he was alone and King of the Gold Mountain.

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