The Crimson Fairy Book

by Andrew Lang

The Crimson Fairy Book

This book is a collection of traditional tales. The collection was assembled by Scottish folklorist Andrew Lang although authorship of the stories is unknown. Lang published several collections of traditional tales, collectively known as <em>Andrew Lang's Fairy Books</em>.

Source: Lang, A. (Ed.). (1903). The Crimson Fairy Book. London: Dover Publications.

“The Boy Who Could Keep a Secret”
A young boy keeps a secret that has him passed from one household to the next. He is able to outsmart everyone he meets and becomes King of Hungary.
“Clever Maria”
Maria was the youngest and prettiest of the merchant’s daughters. When the merchant leaves on business, she is the only one to obey his wishes and begins a bizarre courtship with the king through their antics in an attempt to out-perform the other.
“The Colony of Cats”
The colony of cats take in an abused daughter, Lizina, and give her the fair treatment she deserves.
“The Cottager and His Cat”
A poor cottager buys a cat and ends up with a kingdom.
“The Crab and the Monkey”
A monkey steals the fruit of the crab’s tree and gets his punishment.
“The Death of Abu Nowas and of His Wife”
Abu Nowas went to the Sultan telling of his dead wife. The Sultan got him a new wife and a decent dowry, which was spent almost immediately. Abu Nowas is able to trick both the Sultan and the Sultana and gets more money for his cunning.
“Eisenkopf ”
How Peter outwits Eisenkopf and finds love.
“The Gifts of the Magician”
An evil magician gives gifts to a youth, who uses them to save himself from hanging.
“The Gold-Bearded Man”
A queen marries another man after the king dies and he is especially cruel. He passes a ridiculous law that a man with a golden beard doesn’t abide by. The king goes off to war and his stepson lets the man out and he is therefore blessed by good luck and magical assistance.
“The Hairy Man”
A story of a prince that escapes from his father and proves himself in battle with the help of three magical apples.
“The Horse Gullfaxi and the Sword Gunnfoder”
A boy Sigurd becomes cursed by a giantess and has to go through several trials to escape the many magical dangers in the kingdom. He meets a girl Helga and they live happily ever after.
“How the Beggar Boy Turned into Count Piro”
A poor beggar boy is left with nothing but a beautiful pear tree when his father dies. A fox sees the pear tree and promises to bring him good luck if he does what he is told. His life is transformed and the fox asks only for a coffin when he dies because he is the one responsible for the former beggar’s good fortune.
“How the Wicked Tanuki Was Punished”
A crafty tanuki betrays his wife in order to get food and his son vows to avenge his mother. The little tanuki is able to outsmart his father and accomplish his personal goal.
“How to Find Out a True Friend”
A queen and king longed to have a son and promised to send him on a pilgrimage after his eighteenth birthday if St. James were to grant their wish. The had their son and in turn, he set off on his journey. He met his true friend along the way and they survived many hindrances and proved their true friendship in the process.
“The Language of Beasts”
For saving the daughter of the snake king, a man receives the gift of understanding the language of the beasts and becomes wiser because of this.
“Little Wildrose”
An old couple was never able to have children and the old man sets out to find one. Through magic he acquires a daughter, but she is stolen by an eagle. The eagle takes care of her because he sees her as a good omen and she grows up in his nest. Later in her life, she is discovered by a prince. The girl is tricked by an old woman and brought down from the trees in order to marry the prince and lives happily ever after.
“Lovely Ilonka”
A prince sets out on a quest to find a bride. He searched for and acquired three bulrushes that contained three beautiful maidens, however when he broke the first two he has no water to offer them, so he saves the third until he is near a well. The prince is swindled by the swineherder and is instead married to his daughter rather than the beautiful maiden. The prince is able to claim the crown and when the maiden is discovered by the prince’s servant, she is brought to the castle as a servant and put under the tricks of the new queen. However, the king discovers his true love and has the swineherder and his family executed.
“Lucky Luck”
A fairy tale about a prince who longs for a bride, but his father tries to keep him from his goal for that would mean the end of his reign. When the prince gets his bride, his servant overhears the perilous plans of the king and helps the prince to avoid imminent death. The servant is turned to stone for spoiling the king’s plan and the prince is set on a quest to find Lucky Luck to figure out how to bring his faithful servant back to life.
“The Magic Kettle”
A fairy tale about a magic kettle that could transform into a dancing tanuki.
A woman is sent by her husband to fetch water and runs into an ogre that threatens to eat her. She offers her magical baby in her place, but the baby is able to outsmart the ogre and he eats the husband (his father) instead. Therefore, justice prevails for the husband ordered her to fetch the water.
“Niels and the Giants”
A fairy tale recounting the adventure of Niels and his family on a pilgrimage to Rome. Niels encounters three giants and is forced to help them in their scheme to steal the king’s daughter. Niels is able to conquer the giants, continues his journey, and later, is found by the princess he inadvertantly rescued and marries her.
A story about how Paperarelloo got his name, and the grand deeds he performed.
“The Prince Who Would Seek Immortality”
A prince seeks immortality and finds three different kingdoms in which the kings cannot die until they perform a certain task. He finally finds the queen of life and death in the Land of Immortality.
“The Rogue and the Herdsman”
A lazy farm boy is able to steal sheep, pigs, and oxen from the greatest herdsman of the king. He is rewarded handsomely for his cleverness.
“Shepherd Paul”
Shepherd Paul was abandoned as a child and grows up to be the strongest man in the forest. He wrestles many strong men, but none can match his strength. He also fights three dragons, gains three castles, and three princess. He marries the youngest.
“The Six Hungry Beasts”
The animals of the forest are hungry. The fox manages the best of all the beasts because he is clever enough to trick them into giving him their family members and other animals.
“The Stone-Cutter”
The stone-cutter is unhappy with his life and has his various, greedy wishes granted by a mountain spirit. After he passes through various stages of power, he realizes he was happier as he once was and decides to be himself instead of something he is not.
“The Story of the Seven Simons”
A king searches for a bride as handsome and clever as himself. There was one Princess Helena, however it would take ten years to find her and by that time she would be old and unbeautiful. The king meets seven Simons, all masters of their respective trades, and all are useful to him in his quest. They retrieve the princess and the king marries her.
“The Story of the Sham Prince, or the Ambitious Tailor”
A skilled tailor longs to be a prince and steals the title from a prince that hasn’t been seen. He is set to different tasks and is proven to be the tailor, but has a happy ending.
“The Strong Prince”
A prince finds a sword near a river that gives him great strength. He kills a band of robbers and his mother marries the leader. The leader steals his sword and blinds the prince. A giant then helps the prince get his sword back and blind the leader. The giant then gives his daughter to the prince and they live happily ever after.
“The Three Robes”
A story about a king who remarries after his wife’s death. His new queen kills him and intends to kill his children, but they escape. When the prince of Greece comes for the king’s daughter, the new queen sends her daughter who is expected to weave three robes for the prince. The king’s daughter makes the robes for the mistaken princess, but the prince finds her and they marry instead.
“Tiidu the Piper”
A story about how Tiidu went from lazy to industrious, earning himself a nice fortune through persistence.
“To Your Good Health!”
A young shepherd refuses to abide by the laws of the kingdom when the king sneezes. The shepherd survives three perilous trials and refused three magnificent gifts for the hand of the princess in marriage, which he eventually gets out of the king’s frustration.
“The Treasure Seeker”
A down-on-his-luck man seeks a long-lost treasure and finds wealth and happiness.
“Tritill, Litill, and the Birds”
Each of three sons goes out to see the world. The first two are cruel to two beggars and birds and end up killed by an ogress. The third brother is kind to the beggars and the birds, and they help him win out over the ogress and earn many rewards.
“The Witch and Her Servants”
How a prince overcomes an evil magician and wins a princess.
  • Year Published: 1903
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.8
  • Word Count: 104,593
  • Genre: Fairy Tale/Folk Tale
  • Keywords: adventure, cleverness, companion animals, contentment, cunning, dancing, deception, determination, fairies, family, fate, forgiveness, friendship, good vs. evil, greed, happiness, heritage, heroic deeds, heroism, honesty, horses, justice, kindness, kindness to strangers, learning not to be greedy, love, magic, merit, merited reward, music, not being greedy, not keeping promises, obedience, overcoming obstacles, persistence, reward, rightful vengeance, self-help, strength, treasure seeking, warrior, wisdom, wit, working for riches
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