The Greenish Bird

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"The Greenish Bird" is a Mexican fairy tale collected by Joel Gomez in La Encantada, Texas from a seventy-four-year-old woman, Mrs. P.E.[1]

It combines Aarne–Thompson types 425, the Search for the Lost Husband, and 432, the Prince as Bird.[1] Other types of the first type include The Black Bull of Norroway, The Brown Bear of Norway, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, The King of Love, The Enchanted Pig, The Tale of the Hoodie, Master Semolina, The Enchanted Snake, The Sprig of Rosemary, The Daughter of the Skies, and White-Bear-King-Valemon.[2] Others of the second include The Feather of Finist the Falcon, The Green Knight, and The Blue Bird.


Of three sisters, only Luisa sewed; her sisters hung out in bars instead. A greenish bird that was a prince came and wooed her. Her sisters found out and put knives in the window so he was wounded. He told her to that he lived in crystal towers on the plains of Merlin.

She bought herself iron shoes and set out. She finds the Sun's house, where his mother warns her that he will eat her; she nevertheless hides until the mother calms her son down, whereupon he does not know the way but sends her to the Moon. The same thing happens with the Moon, and then with the Wind, but the Wind can not send her anywhere. She happens on a hermit who can summon all the birds and animals, and an old eagle says that the Greenish Bird is to marry, except that he is very ill, and if she kills him a cow, he could take her. When they flew, he asked for meat, and she gave him another leg. When she was out, she offered to cut off her own leg, but the eagle said he was testing her.

At the prince's, she worked in the kitchen and played the guitar. This cured the prince. The prince then said every woman must make a cup of cocoa, and whoever's he drank, he would marry the woman. He drank Luisa's, not caring whether it was bitter, and married her.


The informant learned it from her mother, who was famed for her guitar playing, which may explain that motif.[3]

The conclusion is unusual in that while some domestic skill is usually the test, it is also usually only the heroine who can perform it, as in Black Bull of Norroway and East of the Sun and West of the Moon, where only she can wash the shirt. Curing the prince, where it occurs, as in The Enchanted Snake, is usually enough to win him.


The tale explained that a person who asks for meat is an "old eagle" because the eagle asked for meat while flying.[4]


  1. ^ a b Americo Paredes, Folktales of Mexico, p215 ISBN 0-226-64571-1
  2. ^ Heidi Anne Heiner, "Tales Similar to East of the Sun & West of the Moon"
  3. ^ Americo Paredes, Folktales of Mexico, p215-6 ISBN 0-226-64571-1
  4. ^ Americo Paredes, Folktales of Mexico, p99 ISBN 0-226-64571-1