The Witch in the Stone Boat-The Yellow Fairy Book
A prince once went out into the world to find a wife, which he did. He ruled in his wife’s kingdom for a while but had to return to his own kingdom when his father died. By this time, the man and his wife had a child. On the journey to the man’s kingdom, the man left his wife and son out on the deck of the ship when he went back inside. It was night time and everyone else was asleep. The wife saw a witch come to the ship in a stone boat. The witch climbed aboard and changed herself to look like the wife. Then she sent the wife off to the underworld on the stone boat.
Of course, the baby started crying right away and seemed to cry all the time. The husband, who was named Sigurd, also noticed a change in his wife. She wasn’t nearly as pleasant as she used to be. They made it back to Sigurd’s kingdom where his wife continued to act weird. The son was given a nurse.
After a time, something strange started to happen in the nursery. A woman, in chains, would come up out of the floor and nurse the child. Obviously, this scenario is strange even if a person is as high as a kite. The nurse, not being high, mentioned this to Sigurd, who decided to come and see this woman for himself.
When the chained woman came up out of the floor it was non-other than his rightful wife. Sigurd cut the chains that bound her and a great noise was heard from below the Earth. The whole story came out. The witch was pretending to be the queen. A giant troll had chained the queen up in the underworld.
Sigurd had the wife imposter stoned to death.
What I liked
This story does not lack in entertainment value. There’s traveling, death, magic, love, and weird happenings; these things all make for interesting stories.
The idea of this stone boat floating upon the water isn’t impossible, but it’s improbable. You can get almost anything to float with the right amount of surface area compared to the density of the material. I’m not sure what that’s called in scientific terms. The magical enforcement of scientific principles is fun.
What I didn’t like
We have this whole idea of imposters again. We can’t know for sure our loved one isn’t our loved one if some magical creature has mind-swapped with them, or whatever. This story did make me think about people who change though. Sometimes, people change. I’m sure there is more than one husband who has said something like, “My wife has just been so different since we got married. She used to be fun.” I know people have really said that in real life. I know people argue and cite, “You’ve changed,” as their entire reason for starting an argument. Yes, people change, and, ideally, you’re supposed to roll with it in a relationship.
In my experience, wives become irritated and so-called, “naggy” when their husbands or children are being jerks and/or aren’t helping out with their fair share of keeping up the house and responsibilities.
Isn’t it plausible that maybe sometime, somewhere, a wife was in a bad mood because her husband wasn’t helping out with anything and the husband made up some story about how his wife was switched out with a witch because there couldn’t be any other explanation for why his wife might be upset with him?
I think this could definitely be a thing. She’s so mad, Bro. Must be a witch instead of my wife. My wife would never be angry or do something I don’t like.
Of all the pompous arrogance…
I’m also not a fan of stoning this witch to death. Stoning is a harsh death. We’ve got things like lethal injections now. If you’re going to execute someone, at least be humane about it, even if the person’s crimes weren’t humane. It shows you’re being a decent human being, even when they weren’t.
My wife is so mad, it’s like she’s an entirely different person…wait, maybe she is…because…fairies…aliens…witches…
Has someone ever argued with you citing, “You’ve changed,” as their primary basis for the argument?
If you’re married, do you think you’ve changed since you got married? What about your spouse?