The King’s Son Who Feared Nothing
This is another story that seems cobbled together from other Grimm’s stories. Again, this might have been a regional thing or maybe someone just forgot how the story really went.
Once upon a time there was a king’s son who had grown tired of living at home and wanted to venture out into the world. He walked and ventured for all hours of light during the day. He soon arrived at the house of a giant. Where he found a very large set of bowling pins and balls. He decided he would bowl with these pins and balls. He was very strong and could push the bowling balls even though they were very large. He was soon shouting and making lots of noises when he knocked over pins.
The giant heard all of this and woke up. He saw that this little man was very strong and asked him how he could do this. The man responded that he could pretty much do whatever he wanted. The giant asked a favor of him. He asked the prince to go and get him an apple from the tree of life. The giant didn’t want it for himself, but for his fiance.
The prince said this would be easy. The giant told the man that he had searched the whole world and had not found the garden in which the tree grew. The tree was hemmed in by a great iron fence. Outside the fence stood wild animals who were fierce. The final task was to put an arm through a ring which hung there. No one had managed to do this yet, but the prince thought he could do it just fine.
He soon found the garden. The animals were all asleep so he simply stepped over them. He climbed over the gate. He was about to grab an apple from the tree when he saw the ring. He put his arm through it, but it stuck tight. He grabbed an apple anyway. He felt a great strength coming on. He was able to pry the large iron gate open with a little jerk. The lion that had been among the animals on the outside of the fence had awoken. Instead of charging him it followed him as if the prince were his master.
The prince returned to the giant and offered up the apple. The giant took the apple to his fiance, but the fiance would not believe he had gotten the apple because she did not see the golden ring on his arm. The giant asked the prince for the ring, but the prince told him no. The giant told the man that they must wrestle for the ring. They wrestled for a long time, but there was no winner. They were both equally as strong.
The giant thought up a plan. He said he had gotten rather hot and sweaty from all the wrestling so the two of them should take off their clothes and bathe in the river(cue the Barry White music). The prince got naked, including the gold ring, and hopped into the river.The giant snatched the ring up and ran away, but the lion was close on his tail. It tore the ring out of the giant’s hand and took it back to his master. The giant hid behind an oak tree while the prince was getting dressed again and surprised the prince by poking his eyes out.
The giant came back acting as if to help the prince, but led him, instead, to the top of a high rock. The giant left the prince there waiting for him to walk off the edge of the cliff in his blindness, but the lion went and took him away from the cliff. The giant tried this again, but he took a different route to the cliff. The lion was not fooled and went and got his master back again, but this time, he pushed the giant off the edge of the cliff. The giant shattered into pieces at the bottom.
The lion took the man to a stream where the lion sprinkled some drops of water onto the prince’s face with his paws. The prince was able to recover some of his sight. He observed a bird that had flown recklessly into the area. The bird bathed itself into the water and soon flew away just fine. The prince realized that this water would give him his sight back, so he bathed his face in the water and soon recovered his sight.
The prince traveled on and came to a great castle. There he saw, “a maiden of beautiful form and fine face, but she was quite black.” The prince asked her what was up. She told him that he must spend three nights in the castle without letting fear into his heart or saying a word. If were able to do that, he would break the enchantment on the castle and the princess.
The first night all was calm for a while, but demons and imps soon came to gamble around a fire in the castle. They discerned that someone was there who did not belong. They soon found the prince and beat him savagely, but the prince did not say a single word. The next morning the princess came to tend to him. She bathed him in the water of life and all pain went from his body and he was healed. The prince noticed that her feet were now white.
The next night the imps and demons came back. They beat the prince again, but more savagely. The princess came the next morning and once again bathed the prince in the water of life. She was now white to her fingertips. The next night was the worst yet. The imps and demons beat the man. They pricked him and did all manner of damage to him, but he withstood it all without saying a word. The princess came again that morning and now she was completely white. She bathed him in the water of life and he was healed.
She told him to rise and swing his sword three times over the stairs. He did so and the enchantment was broken. Servants came into the castle with food and the wedding was celebrated and solemnized.
I wonder if people really thought that black people could go around turning themselves white. We’re not talking about Michael Jackson here. We’re talking about normal people. I know people have tried to lighten their skin and there are methods which help, but seriously, why would you do that? That’s a stupid question, I know why they do it. People tend to see white skin or pale skin as beautiful. This isn’t just in the United States or Europe, it’s everywhere unfortunately. It’s kind of sad. I hate to read stories about Asian girls trying to lighten their skin unnaturally. It’s just another one of those insane standards of beauty we keep holding onto.
This story has elements from many of the other Grimm’s stories. We have three nights spend in a castle without saying a word. We have an impossible task. We have this idea of silence. We have an idea of a normal man taking on extreme strength. We have this idea of an enchanted princess and castle. It’s all there for the most part. It’s not really original in any way. Even the tame lion isn’t really that original. There have been tame wild animals in other Grimm’s stories.
This giant should know that, “If he liked it then he shoulda put a ring on it.” What a dope.
Again, we have common themes and elements in this story. They’re themes and elements we’ve seen quite a few times during this exploration of the Grimm’s anthology.
This giant tries to get someone else to perform a task that he should have been performing and his girlfriend totally calls him out on it. Look, all you men out there, women know. It doesn’t matter what we know; I don’t even have to give you an example, but we know. Don’t try to put anything past us. That thing you’re thinking about right now, we know; by the way, you’re totally gross for thinking that.
I keep reading in these stories that the man who breaks the curse gets the girl. They barely know each other. In some cases, they have never even laid eyes on each other’s true forms, but they still end up getting married. Everyone thinks it’s a good idea. There is this underlying message that if you owe a person of the opposite sex something, then marriage works just fine as a repayment. A prince rescues the princess and that means he automatically gets to marry that princess. It doesn’t matter if there is a huge age gap, or the prince is a jerk, or the princess doesn’t like the princess, or they don’t have anything in common, or one of them is gay. It doesn’t matter, they end up married anyway.
I get that having your life saved by someone else is a big deal. It’s a huge deal, but don’t people do that because they’re decent human beings? They don’t expect you to run off to Vegas with them and get married, do they? Look, in my opinion, you’re not supposed to marry someone you just met I don’t really care what that person did for you. They saved your life? That’s cool. You guys should go and have a cup of tea together, maybe chat a little, that sort of thing… not run off to Vegas.
Was there ever any other scenario? Did the guy ever rescue the princess and have the princess just say, “Thanks?” Seriously, why does the princess always have to marry the guy? Why? On the one hand, I know it’s your life. You only have one life. If someone saves that life for you, then you should be pretty grateful, like at least a subscription to a cookie of the month club grateful. That’s a big deal, but is it a big enough deal to marry that person no questions asked? Look there are nurses in hospitals who save lives everyday, but you don’t see the hospital chapel full of impromptu weddings between handsome coma patients and middle-aged cat lady nurses. Maybe they would be happy together, I don’t know.
It’s as if it was this unwritten rule of society. If this was a rule our society practiced, Ryan Gosling would have had to have married that girl he saved from being hit by a car. Women would all be throwing themselves in front of cars when Ryan Gosling was around. He’d have like fifty wives by now. Eventually, he would get to where he wouldn’t save your butt from that oncoming semi, because he just has too many women already.
I wonder if I could get a lion to guard my apple tree? Not that anyone tries to steal apples from it though.