Princess Rose and the Golden Bird by Sergey Nikolov

Princess Rose and the Golden Bird by Sergey NikolovPrincess Rose and the Golden Bird by Sergey Nikolov

Sergey Nikolov is a Bulgarian children’s story writer. He contacted me and asked me to review his story, Princess Rose and the Golden Bird. Sergey writes stories for his daughter. He found that people really liked his stories. You can find information about Sergey here.

The story of Princess Rose begins with a princess. She loved roses so much that everyone called her Princess Rose. Every evening Princess Rose went out onto her balcony and clapped her hands. A golden bird would come and sit upon her shoulder. The princess would then sing. Her hair would glow red. The people of the village would fall asleep and have peaceful dreams all because of Princess Rose’s lullaby.

An evil witch heard about the princess and decided to curse her.

She said, “Abracadabra, Sim Sala Bim, may the rose’s color dim.”

This caused Princess Rose’s hair to turn black. When she tried to sing to the people, her hair did not glow red. The people had nightmares.

The princess asked the bird what she should do. The bird told her, “Black hair in rose water.” The princess followed the advice of the bird and put her hair in rose water, this caused her hair to return to its normal color. The princess could once again sing to the people and give them good dreams.

The witch was not satisfied with her efforts. She cursed the princess again, but this time, she took away all the roses. There was not a way to make the rose water which would fix the princess’ hair. The princess once again asked the bird what she should do and the bird gave her the same response, but there were no roses.

The princess began to cry. A single tear fell down and down and a prince was there. He placed a single piece of red hair on the tear and it turned into a rose. The princess took the rose and made rose water and turned her hair red again.

The prince had known the princess when they were very young and they had exchanged pieces of hair. They got married that very day. The evil witch grew so evil and upset that she broke into a thousand pieces.

Roses grew all over the kingdom from this point forward.

Observations

Rose water isn’t really going to turn your black hair red, hydrogen peroxide will do that, but rose water is a very useful substance. It’s a by-product of rose oil production and it smells just wonderful. I’ve actually eaten rosewater Turkish Delight before and it’s some good stuff. Rose water can also be used as a facial toner and for other body care applications. Most people use it for perfume though.

You can read Sergey’s story online, but following the link I put at the beginning of the post. What came to mind when I read Sergey’s story is that I could tell it had been translated into English. I think there is something missing from the story. I’m sure in Bulgarian this story sounds wonderful and Sergey probably does a fantastic job of telling this story. It probably flows together nicely and it probably catches the attention of children, but that’s in the story’s original language. I think Sergey’s story would benefit from being translated into English by someone who could add the same flare to the story in English that it probably holds in Bulgarian.

Direct translations don’t always work out.

I do think there needs to be some more background in this story. Why did the witch dislike Princess Rose so much? What was the deal with the Prince and the Princess? Where did the golden bird come from? Why could it talk? Was it a magical bird or was it just a very smart parrot? Basically, this story would benefit from more of a background story.

Sergey uses traditional fairytale elements in his story. There is a beautiful and good princess. There is an evil witch who wants to make the princess pay for something. There is a prince. There’s a magical element with the bird and the rose. These elements give Sergey’s story the ability to classify itself as a fairytale.

I’m not a fan of the “Abracadabra, Sim Sala Bim,” stuff. I think it’s overused in general.

Themes

Princess Rose was good even when times were bad for her. Even when her hair turned black, she still tried to do good. She ended up giving people nightmares, but she still attempted to be a good person. Even when times seemed the darkest for her, she still attempted to do good things. That’s really how we all should be, but sometimes we end up wallowing in our self-pity and can’t find it within ourselves to do good things when we’re down and out.

Overall

I appreciate the fact that Sergey wrote a story to give his daughter a good example. His daughter can grow up knowing that, even if she feels bad and feels low, she can still help other people.

The Two Brothers

The Two BrothersSummary

The Two Brothers is a Grimm’s tale that has many similarities to many other tales. You’ll also find echoes of history in this tale. I don’t want to write too much about this tale before I do the summary because it is going to be a long, long summary.

Go to the bathroom now, I’ll wait…..do…do….dodo…do. Ok are you finished? Ok, we can begin the summary now.

Once upon a time there were two brothers. One was rich and the other was poor. The rich bother was a gold-smith and was evil at heart. The poor brother was a broom-maker and was pure in heart. He happened to have two sons who were twins. They were alike in every way.

One day the poor brother was out in the woods looking for wood to make into brooms. He saw a golden bird. He threw a rock at the bird thinking to capture it, but instead he got one feather. He took the feather to his rich brother who paid him a bunch of money for the one feather, because it was made of pure gold. The next day he searched for the bird again, but found its nest. In the nest was a golden egg. He took it to his rich brother who gave him lots of money for the egg. The rich brother told the poor brother that he would actually like to have the bird. The poor brother went the next day to find the bird, he did. He took it to the rich brother who paid him a lot of money for the bird. The poor brother went home happy because he now had a lot of money to help provide for his family.

The rich brother knew a secret about the golden bird. He knew that if he ate the heart and the liver of the golden bird a gold piece would be under his pillow every morning for the rest of his life. He had his wife prepare the golden bird for eating.

The twin nephews of the rich man were free to come and go in his house often. They went into the kitchen while the wife was away for a moment. They were hungry and decided to eat the two little pieces of meat that fell out of the bird. These pieces were the heart and live. The wife came back into the kitchen and saw that the heart and liver were gone. She shooed the boys away and killed a chicken and cooked up its heart and liver. She was afraid he husband would be very angry if he knew that his nephews had eaten the heart and liver instead of him.

The next morning the rich man felt beneath his pillow, but there was no any gold there. In the poor man’s house, the twins each found a piece of gold in their beds in the morning. They showed their father. Each morning for a while, each of the twins found a gold piece beneath their pillows. Finally, the poor brother told the rich brother the strange story of how this all happened. The rich brother knew immediately what had happened. He told the poor brother that the twins were under the influence of the evil one and that he must not touch the gold. He must also get rid of the twins.
The poor man greatly feared the evil one and left his twins in the forest.

The Two BrothersThe twins were in the forest and sought the way home, but could not find it. A hunter happened to find them. He asked them to whom they belonged and they told him they belonged to the broom maker. They also told him they could not stay at home because they found gold under their pillows in the morning. The hunter told them none of that was that bad. They could come and live with him. As long as they worked he would raise the twins as his own.

The hunter was good to his word. He put the gold pieces away each morning in case the twins would have need of them in the future. He taught the twins to hunt. When they were old enough he tested them by asking them to shoot geese out of a formation. When they had done so, they were declared official hunters and no longer under apprenticeship. They requested of their foster-father that they should be able to go out into the world. He agreed readily.

When the day came for the twins to leave home, the foster-father gave each of them a gun and a dog. He also gave them a knife. He told them that if they ever parted ways they should stick the knife in a tree when they parted. The knife would tell each of them how the other twin fared. If one side of the knife was rusty that meant that twin was dead.

They began their journey. After a few days they were hungry. They caught a hare, but the hare said something to them.

“Dear huntsman, do but let me live,

Two little ones to thee I’ll give.”

The twins agree to this. The hare brings out two small hares for the twins, but they felt pity for the animals and could not kill them. So they kept the hares and the hares followed along behind the twins. They soon came upon a fox, which they were going to shoot, but the fox said the same thing. The twins agreed. Now the twins had two hares and two foxes following them. Then they came upon a wolf who pleads the same plea. Then a bear asks the same favor. Finally, a lion asks the same favor of the twins. In the end the twins have two hares, two foxes, two wolves, two bears and two lions following them. You can imagine they were quite the crew.

The Two BrothersIt became apparent that it would be very hard for the large group to travel together. The brothers parted ways, each of them taking one of each animal. They put their knife in a tree as they parted ways.

The younger twin came to a town hung in black crape(for mourning) and asked for lodging for himself and all of his animals. He did find an inn that would put him up. The hare and fox were able to catch what they could find and the wolf, lion, and bear dined on a cow. The younger twin asked why the town was in mourning. The innkeeper said that the princess was going to die tomorrow. The brother asked if she was sickly and the innkeeper said, no, she was quite healthy. There was a dragon with seven heads that must have a pure virgin as a sacrifice. All the maidens in the area had already been sacrificed and the only girl left was the princess. The brother asks if anyone has tried to kill the dragon and the innkeeper tells him that lots of men have tried, but they have all died.

Younger brother decides to take a crack at this dragon. Before the dragon’s hill he finds a church. Inside the church is an altar with three cups on it. The altar bears an inscription stating that whosoever empties the cups shall be strong enough to wield the sword buried before the threshold. The brother first tried to pull the sword out of the ground, but could not. He then went and drank from the three cups. After he did so, he was able to pull the sword out of the ground and wield it quite easily. He waited on the dragon to appear.

The hour of the princess’s sacrifice was at hand. She saw the brother standing on the dragon’s hill and assumed it was the dragon. She did not want to go up to the hill because she knew she was going to her death, but she also knew that if she did not go up to the hill, the entire village would be destroyed by the dragon. She resigned herself to her fate and went up the hill.

The huntsman was on the hill. He took the princess and hid her in the little church. The dragon soon came to the hill and asked why the man was there. He says he is there to fight with the dragon. The dragon breathed out fire all around, but the huntsman’s animals stamped the fire out. The dragon rushed at the huntsman, but the huntsman swung his sword and chopped off three of the dragon’s heads. The dragon was angry and rose up into the air. He rushed at the huntsman again, but, once again, the huntsman swung his sword and chopped off three more heads belonging to the dragon. The dragon was weak and sunk down to the ground. The huntsman used his sword to cut off its tail. He called his animals forth and they rushed in and tore the rest of the dragon to pieces.

The Two BrothersAfter this, the huntsman went to get the princess. She had been beside herself, but once she saw the dragon was dead she was very happy. She knew that her father had promised her hand in marriage to whomever killed the dragon. She was happy to be marrying the huntsman. The princess decided to reward the huntsman and his animals. To the huntsman she gave her handkerchief that had her name embroidered upon it. She then divided her coral necklace. To each animal she gave some of the beads as a collar. The lion got the gold clasp which had held the necklace together. The huntsman went to the dragon and cut each of the tongues out of each one of its mouths.

The huntsman decides that he is very tired and that he and the princess should rest. He lies down to go to sleep and tells the lion to keep watch. The lion gets tired after a while and tells the bear to keep watch while he sleeps. The bear gets tired after a while and tells the wolf to keep watch. The wolf gets tired after a while and tells the fox to keep watch. The fox gets tired after a while and tells the hare to keep watch. The hare gets tired after a while, but does not have anybody to keep watch and simply falls asleep.

While everyone is asleep, a marshal observes that everyone is sleeping. He comes up with a cunning plan. He knows that whosoever slays the dragon can marry the princess. He decides to usurp the huntsman’s place. He takes his sword and cuts off the head of the huntsman while he is sleeping. He then takes the princess and threatens her saying that she should not tell anyone that he did not actually kill the dragon.

The marshal takes the princess back to the castle. The king is overjoyed that she is alive. The king asks her if the marshal really killed the dragon and the princess has to say yes. The king is ready to throw a wedding, but the princess says she wants to wait a year and a day before she marries. She thinks that perhaps her huntsman will come back during this time. She doesn’t know that he is dead.

The Two BrothersThe animals were still asleep and a bumblebee flew to where they were sleeping. It lighted on the hare’s nose, but the hare swatted it away in his sleep. The bumblebee rested on the hare’s nose again and the hare swatted it away again. The third time, the bumblebee stung the hare on the nose. Once the hare was awake everyone else woke up as well. They were all horrified to learn that their master was dead. They all tried to blame each other for the master’s death.

The hare felt the blame rested solely with him and felt the others would kill him. The hare told the other animals not to kill him. He knew of a herb which would bring the master back to life. The lion tells the hare that he better be back with the herb in twenty-four hours. The hare runs as fast as he can. He gets the herb. The animals place the master’s head back on his body and place the herb in his mouth. The master comes back to life and thinks the princess has left him. The lion had made a mistake when placing the master’s head back on. He had placed it backwards and the master realized this when he was going to eat. The animals had no choice, but to come clean.

The animals tore the master’s head off again, put it on correctly, then gave him the herb to bring him back to life. The huntsman was kind of depressed and decided to travel around for a while. He made his animals dance for money. The huntsman came back to the same town where he had rescued the princess exactly a year after the day. The town was hung in red for celebration. He asks what is going on. He says that the princess is getting married.

The huntsman makes a bet that by the end of the day he will eat bread from the king’s table. The huntsman sends his hare to ask for a loaf of bread from the princess. The hare does so. He sneaks below the princess’s chair and scratches at her feet. She recognizes the hare because of its collar made of the coral necklace she had divided amongst the animals. She asked the hare what it needed and the hare told her it needed a loaf of bread from the king’s table. The princess figures this is something she can do. The hare gets the loaf of bread and takes it back to his master. The innkeeper has to pay up on his bet. The huntsman says that he will next have roast from the king’s table, but he doesn’t want to make any more bets.

The Two BrothersHe sends the fox to get the roast. The fox finds the princess and she recognizes him by his collar. She sends him back to his master with some roast. The huntsman then wants some vegetables. He sends his wolf to get those. The huntsman then wants some pastry from the king’s table. He sends the bear. The castle guards understandably don’t want to let a bear into the wedding, but he just kind of barges his way in anyway. He speaks to the princess, who sends him away with pastries. Then the huntsman decides that he wants wine from the king’s table. He sends the lion, because the lion apparently knows a thing or two about wine.

After roaring his way into the castle, the lion talks to the princess who agrees to help him get some wine. The king’s servant tries, at first, to give the lion the wine the servants drink. The lion knows what good wine should taste like and tastes the wine. He tells the servant that this is not the correct wine. The servant takes the lion to some different wine, but the lion also tastes this wine. It’s not the correct wine. Finally, the servant breaks down and takes the lion to a little room where the king’s good wine is stored. The lion tastes it and knows this is the king’s wine. He then takes the wine back to his master.

Once the huntsman has all of his food and drink he sits down to eat it all. He shares with his animals. The huntsman then tells the innkeeper that he will marry the princess. The innkeeper pretty much says, “Yeah, right, she’s already got a boyfriend.” He shows the innkeeper the handkerchief and tells him that it will help him get the princess.

The king asks his daughter why a bunch of animals kept coming to see her. She says she doesn’t know, but that the king should send for the master of all of the animals. He does so, but the huntsman demands to be carried to the castle in a fine carriage with clothes meant for a king. The king asks his daughter if he should agree to this and the princess says that he should. So he sends a carriage with six horses and rich clothes for the huntsman.

The huntsman arrives and is seated near the princess. The seven heads of the dragon are brought in as proof of the deed the marshal has supposedly done. Someone remarks that there are no tongues in the mouths of the dragons. The marshal tries to cover up quickly saying that dragons have no tongues because they are liars. Well, it’s time for the huntsman to prove him wrong. He pulls out the seven dragon tongues which he had in the princess’s handkerchief. He also shows the handkerchief which belongs to the princess. He also shows the collars that the animals wear. The princess admits to the handkerchief and coral belonging to her. The huntsman says that the marshal cut off his head while he was sleeping in order to claim the princess. The king asks the princess if this is all true, and she says yes.

The king has his councilors judge the marshal who is sentenced to death by bulls. The huntsman and the princess are married. They are happy for a while, until the huntsman begs the king to let him hunt in an enchanted forest. The king finally relents and says ok. While hunting in the forest, the huntsman sees a pure white deer. He follows it and is soon so lost no one care hear him yell or blow his horn.

The Two BrothersHe decides to stay the night in the forest and sits down underneath a tree. He hears a voice, “OH, oh, oh, how cold I am!” He looks up in the tree and sees that a woman is there. He tells her to come down to warm herself by his fire. She says that if she comes down his animals will kill her. She throws down her wand and tells the huntsman to tap each of them on the back so they do not attack her. The huntsman does this and one by one, each of his animals are turned to stone. The woman, who is a witch, comes down from the tree and also turns the huntsman into stone.

The witch hid the stones in a crypt where there were many such stones already.

Meanwhile the young queen isĀ  very worried about her husband he has not returned. The other twin turns back up in the story. He happens to be going through the same forest where he and his brother parted. He looks at the knife and notices that his brother’s side is half shiny and half rusted. He knows something terrible must have happened. He finds his way to the village where his brother lives. There people mistake him for the king and he decides to go with it. He pretends to be the king, even sleeping in the king’s bed with the king’s wife, but he always places a double-edged sword between he and his brother’s wife in the night.

He uses his position as the supposed king to find out information. He asks around about everything. He finally finds out about the forest where the hunting trip was. He says that he would very much like to go back there. The queen begs him not to go, but he goes anyway. Once there he chases the white deer deep into the forest. No one can follow him, but his animals. He decides to stay the night in the forest, but hears the same voice call down from the tree. The other brother isn’t falling for that wand bull-crap. He tells her that if she does not come down he will come up to get her. She pretty much says, “Make me,” and sticks out her tongue, not really. He then says he will shoot her. She says she does not fear his bullets.

The other brother does shoot at the witch and as she says, bullets do her no harm. The huntsman then takes three silver buttons off of his coat and loads them into his gun. He shoots the witch with these knowing that they will cause her damage. She falls from the tree when he shoots her. He pins her to the ground and threatens her with a fiery death if she does not tell him where his brother is. She tells them they are in a vault with all the other stone pieces. He compels her to go to this vault, where he then compels her to turn everyone back into living creatures. There are many people an animals that must now take up their lives again. The brother finally meets up with his twin after such a long time. They seize the witch and throw her into the fire.

The brother tells his twin how he pretended to be him while he was at the castle. The first brother gets angry and kills his brother over this fact, but then he laments knowing that his brother saved his life. He uses the special herb to bring him back to life. His brother never remembers that his own brother has cut off his head.

They then decide to go back to the castle. They decided to enter into two completely different gates, just for kicks. The people of the castle and court are a little confused because the king came in two different gates at the same time. The two brothers look just alike. The king asks his daughter to pick which man is hers. She says it is the man whom the lion follows. She is correct. That night, after celebrating, she asks her husband why he had placed a double-edged sword in between them in the bed. When the first brother heard this, he knew that his brother had been faithful to him.

The End (finally)

The Two BrothersObservations

This story is so long. I would really like to dissect this tale properly, but there really isn’t the time or energy to do so. This post is getting scarily close to four-thousand words with just a summary.

Ok, let’s be quick. The seven-headed dragon reminds me of the hydra from Greek mythology. Remember that its heads must be cut off. I also seem to remember that it might have wanted a virgin sacrifice.

I don’t know why silver is always considered the pure metal. Notice that both gold and silver are mentioned in this tale. Silver is mentioned in relation to purity and gold is mentioned in relation to greed.

Notice there are guns in this tale. That means this tale has a newer origin than many of the other Grimm’s tales which do not mention firearms at all.

The story has similarities to some British history in my opinion. I am thinking, of course, of the two boys who were supposedly killed by King Richard in the tower of London. The twins are very much in the same situation in this tale. I would actually like more time to go into the similarities, but this post is already much too long as it is.

Was anyone else remembering the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? She turned people an animals into stone. I do have to wonder if C.S. Lewis used this tale as some of his inspiration for the character of the white witch. This tale would predate Lewis’s tale by a good hundred years, at least.

The Two BrothersThemes

The number two is a huge theme in this tale. We not only have twin brothers, but also two brothers, the father and the uncle, in the beginning of the tale. We have two organs which must be consumed. There are two pieces of gold total each morning. There are two of each animal for the brothers. The number two goes on and on. In many ways, we consider the number two to be one. When we talk about two people who are dating or are married, we say they are a “couple.” That’s a singular term. These two people have combined into one unit. These brothers are one unit and they must split at one point in the story. Notice they only receive one enchanted knife from their foster-father. That knife symbolizes their oneness.

The double-edged sword is something mentioned in the Bible. It can cut both ways so you have to be careful wielding it. The second brother uses this sword so he will not be tempted and that his brother’s wife will not be tempted. It takes two to tango, baby.

Overall

Bran’s broken, can’t think of anything to type here.


The Golden Bird

The Golden BirdSummary

The Golden Bird is a Grimms story about golden things. Golden birds, golden horses, golden princesses(not really) and an idiot, who is not golden. Well, he’s not really an idiot, but I would say that he’s a little slow. Let’s say this is a story about golden things and a man who just isn’t the brightest crayon in the box.

Once upon a time there was a king who had a pleasure garden behind his house. No, this does not mean a garden where he had orgies. A pleasure garden was simply a garden you had in your yard that didn’t really grow food, but was nice to walk through. In that garden was an apple tree. The apples were counted every evening.

One day, the tree had less apples on it than the day before, by one to be exact. The king had his oldest son sit up in the night to determine what had taken the apple. The eldest son stayed up until midnight, then he fell asleep. The next night he had his middle son keep watch. The middle son also fell asleep at midnight. The king didn’t want his youngest son to try because he just wasn’t the brightest light bulb. The youngest begged his father, and pestered him, until the king finally agreed to let the youngest sit watch.

The youngest put himself beneath the apple tree, but did not fall asleep. He stayed up past midnight. When midnight came around a beautiful golden bird came and plucked an apple from the tree. The youngest son shot an arrow at the bird. He did not hit the bird, but the arrow happened to go through one of the bird’s feathers. The youngest son showed this to the king. Someone told the kind these feathers would be worth more than anything else, so the king was determined to get more than one feather.

The oldest son set off in search of the golden bird. He met a fox on the road which he aimed to shoot, but the fox could talk! The fox pretty much says that if the man would not shoot him he would give him advice. The fox tells the oldest son he would soon come to a village with two inns. He should not go in the inn lit brightly and making merry. He should go to the other. The oldest son thought this was stupid advice and tried to shoot the fox anyway, but the fox got away. The oldest came to the village and decided to go into the more happening inn. He forgot his quest for many months.

The second son set off after the oldest did not come home for many months. He met the fox who offered the same advice, but he too, thought the advice was stupid and tried to shoot the fox. He came to the village with the two inns, but decided to go into the more party-ful inn and also forgot his quest.

The youngest son wanted to go in search of the golden bird, but his father, again, thought he wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box, but finally relented. The youngest encountered the fox, but did not try to shoot him. He actually told the fox that he meant him no harm. The fox was obviously pleased with this. He told the youngest about the village and even offered to give him a ride to the village. He told him to hop up on his back behind his tail. The fox ran fast and they were soon at the village. The youngest went into the shabby inn and spent an uneventful night.

The next morning he went outside and the fox was waiting. The fox had further instructions. He told the youngest to go straight on. He would come to a castle. There would be a whole regiment of soldiers sleeping. He says not to worry about those guys because they’re not going to wake up. Just walk right through the middle of them. Then go into the castle. Go through every room. In the last chamber would be found the golden bird. It will be in a shabby cage, but there will also be a golden cage in the room. Do not put the bird in the golden cage.

The youngest follows these directions to the letter until he gets to the golden bird. He thinks it is a shame to keep the golden bird in the shabby cage, so he puts it in the golden cage. Almost immediately, the bird begins to make a racket and the soldiers woke up and came running.

The king of the castle decided the youngest could live as long as he journeyed forth to find the golden horse. The youngest agreed, but was sad because he didn’t know where the golden horse was. The fox was waiting. The fox rebukes the youngest for not listening to him. He agrees to help him still though.

He says, go straight on and there would be a castle. The horse is in the stable. The grooms will be asleep in front of the stable. It will be possible to lead the golden horse out quietly. Beware…do not put the nice saddle of gold on the horse. Leave the shabby saddle on the horse.

The youngest obeys the fox to the letter until he gets to the horse. He thinks it would be a shame to put a shabby old saddle on the magnificent animal and saddles him up with the golden saddle instead. The horse began to neigh loudly, the grooms woke up and put the youngest in prison. The king of this castle agrees not to kill him if he will bring back the beautiful princess from the golden castle.

He sets out again on his journey and the fox is waiting for him. The fox says, “I ought only to leave you to your ill-luck, but I pity you and I will help you once more out of your trouble.” Translation=you’re an idiot and I would feel bad if I didn’t continue to help you out.

The fox says to stay straight on the road. He will come to the golden castle. It will be night and the princess will go to the bath house to bathe. When she goes inside, run up to her and give her a kiss and she will follow. The youngest will then be able to take the princess away, but he must be careful not to let the princess say goodbye to her family before they go.

The youngest follows these directions to the letter until it’s time to take the princess away. She begs so much that he allows her to say goodbye to her parents. He is immediately thrown into prison. The king of that castle tells him he can keep his life if he can move the hill in front of the castle within eight days. He also tells him that if he succeeds, he can also have the princess for a wife.

He labors for seven days digging and moving dirt. He hasn’t really gotten anywhere close to moving the hill. The fox appears. The fox again rebukes him for not listening, but agrees to help. He tells the youngest to go to sleep and that the hill will be moved by morning. The youngest wakes up and the fox has moved the hill. The king gives the youngest his daughter to wife.

Something has to be done about the other debts owed by the youngest. The fox mentions that the golden horse belongs to the princess. The fox says to first take the maiden to the castle where the golden horse is. They will be happy to see the princess and will give him the horse as a reward. He should be sure to mount the horse right away with the princess and ride off. The horse is so fast no one will catch up.

The youngest listens this time. Now he has the princess and the golden horse. The fox meets up with him again to get the golden bird. The fox says to let the princess wait here with him. The youngest should ride into the courtyard with the golden horse. As soon as he lays hand on the cage he should gallop away on the horse and then swing back by to pick up the princess.

All goes according to plan.

The youngest is going to return home with all of his spoils, but the fox wants repaid for all the favors he has done the youth. The fox asks the young man to kill him and cut off his head. The youngest says he cannot do this. The fox says, “Ok, but let me give you some more advice. Don’t buy gallows flesh and don’t sit by a well.” The youngest thinks these are strange pieces of advice, but agrees anyway.

He rides off with the princess and the way home took him through the village where his two older brothers got stuck. It turns out they had caused a lot of trouble and were about to be hung on the gallows. The youngest does not want his two brothers to die so he offers to pay for them. A price is agreed and he rides on with his brothers. The brothers want to rest a little while by a well. The youngest agrees, but the brothers pushed him into the well and rode home with all the good things the youngest earned.

The oldest brothers ride home telling their father how they not only got the golden bird, but a golden horse and a princess. There was lots of job in the household, but the bird would not sing, the horse would not eat and all the princess did was cry.

The youngest brother was not dead. The well was dry. The fox came back again. The fox rebukes him again for not listening and pulls him up out of the well with his tale, most likely with an exasperated sigh. He tells the youngest to be careful because the brothers are not sure he is dead. They have placed their men in the forest to wait any sight of the youngest. The youngest changes clothes with a poor man in the forest and goes home as a poor man.

When the youngest, disguised as a poor man, gets to the castle the princess stops crying. The bird starts singing and the horse eats. The king wants to know why. He gathers all the people in the castle together. The princess falls on one poor man in particular. It’s the youngest son.The princess had blabbed all that had happened to the king right before this reunion, so he knew of his two sons’ evil deeds. As soon as the youngest was back in his rightful place the other two brothers were put to death.

After a long time, the youngest was walking in the woods and he met the fox. The fox tells him he has everything he could wish for, please kill him. The youngest was sad to do this, but he knows it is what the fox really wants so he does it. As soon as he killed the fox, the fox changed into a man. It turns out the fox was the brother of the princess and now he was freed from the magical charm that kept him a fox.

The End

The Golden BirdObservations

Golden birds, I guess those are nice. This reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons. Bart helps the creator of Itchy and Scratchy get some money back from his creation. You would think he might do a sensible thing like build himself a nice sensible house and save for retirement. What does he do? He builds a house of gold. That’s not very practical. Imagine all the people who would come and chip off pieces of your house. A golden bird and a golden horse are also not very practical. Remember though, gold always has value and a golden anything is worth more than a regular anything.

This dude just doesn’t get it. Listen to the fox. Actually, part of the way through the story I started to imagine the fox as Lucius Fox from the new Batman trilogy. So just imagine all the things the fox says in the voice of Morgan Freeman. Like a twinkie, like a twinkie.

The two oldest brothers just seem willful, not stupid. The youngest one does seem like he’s a few cards short of a deck. The princess doesn’t seem any brighter either. So, it seems she has made a perfect match, pity the children they’ll have.

This fox must have been really strong. We do know that the fox was really a man who was enchanted, but foxes are not that big. Foxes are like the size of a medium-sized dog, maybe like a beagle. Foxes are not big animals, but yet this fox carries a fully grown man on his back. Well, I assume the youngest son was fully grown. It’s always a possibility that he was a primordial dwarf and very small, but the story doesn’t mention anything about that, so I am going to assume this is a full-grown man we are talking about. A fox cannot carry a full-grown man on his back, behind its tail for that matter. What kind of a magical genie fox is this?

The Golden BirdThemes

This story has a couple of great themes. The first theme is that sometimes you need to follow instructions without variance. The second theme is that it’s not always the better looking item that will do the job.

Let’s talk about instructions. Those of you women who are reading this might have husbands. Those husbands might not follow directions. How many times have you said to your husband, “Do A, then do B, and then do C,” and you don’t go any further than that because you know they won’t remember it. Surely, you think my husband can do A, B, and C. I was very specific about this. A,B, and C that’s all it is.

So what happens? A is usually on fire. B hasn’t had its diaper changed in five hours. C is running around in the yard naked or some such similar thing. In your woman’s mind, the instructions were simple, and quite frankly, I don’t know how they got lost in translation. Trust me, I would explain it to you if I could. I don’t understand man-brain and how instructions become befuddled.

You know that if your husband has followed instructions, things would be ok. The dinner would be ready. Nothing would be on fire. All the diapers would be changed. Things would be ok, but because those instructions were not followed you ended up in a bind.

This kind of thing can happen to women as well, but not nearly as often as it happens to men. Yes, there are times when we women do not follow instructions and we end up somewhere we should not be or in a place in our lives we never thought we would go. Those are the time in which we say to ourselves, “I should have listened to my mother,” strangely, I don’t recall a single instance in my life where I’ve said that to myself. Maybe I’m abnormal or maybe it’s my mom who is abnormal, I don’t know.

At the time, in which we are not following instructions, we think we’re skipping steps because we have a better alternative. We know a way to get things done faster. We think we know better. Often, the person giving instructions generally knows more about the task at hand than you do. That isn’t always the case. We do know people who give advice based on groundless information. They exist and sometimes they might actually have a morsel of information to offer, but generally, their advice doesn’t count for much because they do not have the experience to back it up. Generally, though, we can count on instructions, unless they’ve been translated from Chinese, then we’re just lost.

The idea is, the people who wrote the instructions or gave you the instructions, know more about the task at hand than you do. You’re generally not going to improve the process by creating short cuts and varying steps.

This fox is very patient. I would have given up on the youngest long before this fox did. I would have been like, “Screw it! This guy is an idiot and I’m staying a fox forever! I better go and find myself a fox girlfriend.”

Then we have the idea that the shabby-looking item will do just as well as the nice-looking item. Look here, I’ve written about this before, we’re fascinated by “shiny.” Ooohhh, it’s shiny, I have to have it! Shiny! Shiny! Shiny! Shiny! SHINY!!!!

We tend to automatically think that because something is shiny, newer, more beautiful, or possessing a new car scent that it’s somehow better than the same items which do not possess any of those attributes. Are we right in that assumption? Is Lady Gaga better than Madonna? You know they’re exactly the same thing just in different generations. Lady Gaga certainly is shinier, sometimes literally, but is she better because she is shinier than Madonna? If those two get into a fight, I’m betting on Madonna.

In reality, your car still works if it looks like crap. Your wife is still awesome even though she isn’t that pretty little young thing at the office. Your house is still worthwhile even though it’s not brand-spanking new.

The young man in this tale gets tempted by the shiny. He sure does learn his lesson doesn’t he? He gets arrested and sentenced to death three different times. That has to be some sort of record. He was just going around ticking everybody off, all because A) he didn’t follow instructions properly and B) he got distracted by shiny. Ooohh it’s pretty, let’s touch it! No, don’t touch the fire; I don’t care if you do think it’s pretty.

Shiny is not always better. All that glitters is not gold. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Got it?! Comprende?

Overall

I still think this guy is an idiot, but I do like some of the lessons he learns. He does learn that it is better to follow instructions properly. He learns that shiny isn’t always awesome. I do think it’s kind of sad that his two brothers had to be put to death. It reminds me of Edward, George, and Richard of the house of York. They all freaking died, even if they were kind of jerks, that’s still sad.