The Queen Bee

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For other uses, see queen bee (disambiguation).

The Queen Bee is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, tale number 62. It is Aarne-Thompson type 554, the grateful animals.


Two sons of a king went out to seek their fortunes, but fell into disorderly ways. The third and youngest son, Simpleton, went out to find them, but they mocked him. They traveled on, and Simpleton prevented his brothers from destroying an ant hill, killing some ducks, and suffocating a bee hive with smoke. Then they came to a castle with stone horses in the stable, and no sign of anyone. They hunted through the castle and found a room with a little gray man, who showed them to dinner. In the morning, he showed the oldest son a stone table, on which were written three tasks. Whoever performed them would free the castle.

The first task was to collect the princess's thousand pearls, scattered in the woods. Whoever tried and failed would be turned to stone. Each of the older brothers tried and failed, and they were turned to stone. For the youngest, however, the ants collected the pearls. The second task was to fetch the key to the princess's bedchamber from the lake, which the ducks did for him. The third task was to pick out the youngest princess from the three sleeping princesses who looked exactly alike; the only difference was that the oldest had eaten a bit of sugar before they slept, the second a little syrup, and the youngest some honey. The queen bee picked out the youngest.

This woke the castle, and restored those who had been turned to stone. The youngest son married the youngest princess, and his two brothers, the other princesses.

Synopsis 2[edit]

This story is about three brothers, two of whom set off on a wild journey, but the youngest of the brothers, Witling, wants to go as well. Witling catches up to his brothers who were unappreciative of his company. All three agreed to stay together and continue the journey. On their journey, they come upon an anthill that the two oldest wanted to mess with. Witling tells them not to and to leave it alone, along with the ducks that they wanted to cook and eat and the honey from the hive they were going to burn. The three brothers end up at the castle where there are lots of stone figures, horses and everything made of stone. The brothers search and come across a locked door. They see an old gray-haired man sitting inside. The man comes and unlocks the door. The three were given dinner and a place to sleep. The old man gives the three tasks that would lift the enchantment from the castle, but only Witling is able to succeed, because the animals that Witling saves help him gather the thousand pearls, the key to the Princesses Room and which princess to choose. The enchantment is lifted and everything goes back to normal. His two older brothers marry the other two princesses, happily ever after.[1]

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  1. ^ Cole, Joanna. Best-Loved Folktales (First Anchor Books Edition ed.). New York: Doubleday. p. 140. ISBN 0385189494.