The Peasant's Wise Daughter

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"The Peasant's Wise Daughter" or "The Peasant's Clever Daughter" is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in Grimm's Fairy Tales as tale number 94.[1]

It is Aarne-Thompson type 875.[2] This type of tale is the commonest European tale dealing with witty exchanges.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

A peasant begged some land from the king. When he and his daughter dug the field, they found a mortar made of gold. The daughter warned that if they gave it to the king for his kindness, he would ask for the pestle as well; the father gave it nonetheless, and the king asked for the pestle and put him in prison until he got it. The peasant lamented his folly in not listening to his daughter. The king had him brought before him again, and asked what he meant. The peasant explained.

The king summoned the daughter and set her riddle: to come to him neither naked nor clothed, neither walking nor riding, neither on the road nor off it. If she guessed it, she had proved her cleverness and would marry him. She wrapped herself in a fish net, and tied it to a donkey's tail so that it had to drag her along, and she kept only one toe touching the ground. The king agreed that she had guessed the riddle; he freed her father and married her.

Some years later, a mare gave birth to a foal that ran off and lay down under an ox. Both the peasant who owned the mare and the one who owned the ox claimed it; the king said it belonged where it was found. The peasant who owned the mare went to the queen for help. She told him to take a fishing net and pretend to fish on dry land where the king would see; when the king said it was impossible, he was to say it was no more impossible than oxen giving birth to foals. The peasant did so, and the king gave him the foal but got from him that the queen had given him the advice. He sent the queen back to her father, saying she could take only one thing, what she valued most, from the castle. The queen gave him a sleeping draught and took him back to her father's house. When he woke, she told him that he was what she valued most in the castle; he took her back with him to the castle and once again recognized her as his wife.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Household Tales, "The Peasant's Clever Daughter"
  2. ^ D. L. Ashliman, "The Peasant's Clever Daughter"
  3. ^ Stith Thompson, The Folktale, p 158-9, University of California Press, Berkeley Los Angeles London, 1977