The Grateful Beasts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Grateful Beasts
Folk tale
Name The Grateful Beasts
Also known as KGD
Country Hungary
Published in The Yellow Fairy Book

The Grateful Beasts is a Hungarian fairy tale collected by Hermann Kletke. Andrew Lang included it in The Yellow Fairy Book.


Three sons set out to seek their fortune. The youngest, Ferko, was so beautiful that his older brothers thought he would be preferred, so they ate his bread while he slept, and refused to share theirs until he let them put out his eyes and break his legs. When they had blinded and crippled him, they left him.

Ferko crawled on and, in the heat of the day, rested under what he thought was a tree, but was a gallows. Two crows talked together, and one told the other that the lake below them would heal any injury, and the dew on the hillside would restore eyesight. As soon as evening came, he washed his face in the dew, and crawled down to the lake and was whole again. He took a flask of the water and went on. On the way, he met and healed an injured wolf, mouse, and queen bee.

Ferko found a kingdom and sought service with the king. His two brothers worked for the same king and were afraid he would reveal their wickedness. They accused him of being a wicked magician who had come to kidnap the king's daughter. The king summoned Ferko, told him the accusation, and said he would execute him unless he performed three tasks, in which case he would be exiled. His brothers suggested that he had to build a castle more beautiful than the king's. The princess was distressed by the cruelty of their act. Ferko despaired, but the bee came to him and heard his plight. The bees built such a castle, of flowers. For the next task, they suggested that the corn had been cut but not put in barns; let Ferko put all the corn in the kingdom into the barns during the night, not losing a stalk. The mice gathered the corn for him. For the third task, the brothers suggested that he drive all the wolves in the kingdom to the hill they were on. At this, the princess burst into tears, and her father locked her in a tower. The wolf gathered all his fellows and came to the hill, where the wolves tore the king, the wicked brothers, and all his court to pieces.

Ferko freed the princess and married her, and the wolves went peacefully back to the woods.

See also[edit]

The motif of crippling the hero is found in various other tales, such as True and Untrue and The Prince and the Princess in the Forest. True and Untrue also has trickery about food; The Three Treasures of the Giants is similar, although the hero has no food because he does not wish to take it from his poor mother.

The animals who help after being spared are common – as in The Two Brothers, or The Queen Bee, or The Death of Koschei the Deathless – and in The Gold-bearded Man and Ferdinand the Faithful and Ferdinand the Unfaithful, they help with envious, false claims. These envious claims are common in other tales, without the beasts, such as Boots and the Troll, Thirteenth, Esben and the Witch and Dapplegrim.

In many tales, the king who insists on the task is punished. These include The Gifts of the Magician, Ferdinand the Faithful and Ferdinand the Unfaithful, The Firebird and Princess Vasilisa, and King Fortunatus's Golden Wig.

External links[edit]