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Artistic representation of Otesánek.

Otesánek is a Czech fairy tale created by Karel Jaromír Erben which tells the story of a fearsome and constantly hungry, living log of wood. In the story there are elements of narrative that are similar to more famous fairy tales such as The Adventures of Pinocchio and Little Red Riding Hood; despite this, the themes present in Otesánek appear nonetheless to be quite different from most other European fairy tales, with a particularly ambiguous moral which leaves a lot of room to subjective interpretation.


The story begins with a couple that for a long time has been waiting for a child, which however does not seem to arrive. One day the husband finds in the nearby forest a log of wood (Otesánek) that strangely resembles a baby and decides to bring it home. To the joy of the couple, the wooden baby comes to life and asks to be fed. Initially the couple is enthusiastic that their wish of having a child has finally been granted, however the situation soon takes a turn for the worse as they find themselves having to deal with the insatiable appetite of the baby, who will keep growing and eating until he will start eating even people, including his parents. The log anticipates each meal with a nursery rhyme in which he lists every previous meal he has done. The story eventually concludes with the death of Otesánek at the hands of an elderly lady of the village who rips open his chest with a hoe, thus killing the monster and freeing all those who were eaten by him, including his parents.

Film adaptation[edit]

The film Little Otik, directed by Jan Švankmajer, was released in 2000 and is greatly inspired by this fairly tale.

External links[edit]