The Pink Fairy Book

by Andrew Lang

The Pink 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 Andrew Lang's Fairy Books.

Source: Lang, A. (Ed.). (1897). The Pink Fairy Book. London: Longmans, Green & Co.

Catherine and Her Destiny
Catherine is living a happy life, until one day her Destiny steps in and asks a fateful question. Things change for Catherine, and she finds herself wandering the world, always looking for a new place to work. After some time has passed, her life is not so bad, but not so good either. She and her lady come up with a plan to try to appease her Destiny. A ball of silk is the offer made, and Catherine finds just how important a ball of silk can be.
The Cunning Shoemaker
A shoemaker sets out to earn money in another town. He is successful, but meets with a band of robbers who wish to take all he has earned. He devises a trick to prevent the robbers from getting the better of him. The robbers soon realize that they have been deceived, and seek out the shoemaker for revenge. He again outwits them, and so it goes on.
The Flying Trunk
A merchant’s son spends his inheritance frivolously. He is lucky enough to get a present from a friend - a flying trunk. He uses the trunk to meet a princess, and to try to impress her. He tells the sultan and sultana a story, which pleases them. He puts on a fireworks display to impress all the people, but doesn’t consider the consequences.
The Goblin and the Grocer
A goblin is bound to a grocer because of the jam and butter that the grocer provides. However, the goblin discovers a new world in the book belonging to the student. An emergency makes the goblin realize what is important to him.
Hans, the Mermaid’s Son
A hard-working man disappears at sea for several days. Upon his return others notice the wonderful advantages he has, and the news spreads that he was with a mermaid. One day a boy arrives: it is the mermaid’s son.The boy is miraculous. He is bigger and stronger than any others. He leaves his father to earn his way in the world. He meets with a squire and agrees to do the work of twelve men for the food of twelve men. However, the squire soon wishes this man gone, and tries to find a way to be rid of him.
The House in the Wood
A father asks for his daughters to bring him lunch in the woods, but the birds eat up the trails he has left. The daughters each in turn find a small house with a little old man and three beasts. There they are tested.
How the Dragon was Tricked
A young man is betrayed by his jealous older brother and left in the forest. He uses trickery to get out of his trouble, and still more trickery in order to make his way in life. When the king hears of his reputation he is called to the castle and given three tasks to complete.
How the Hermit Helped to Win the King’s Daughter
A king advertises that he will wed his daughter to one who can make a ship that will float on both land and sea. Three brothers each have their hand at building such a ship, but the kindness of the youngest allows him success, as he befriends a holy hermit. The group journeys to the kingdom, picking up friends along the way. Unfortunately, the king changes the rules when they arrive, but the man's new friends help him to meet the king’s demands.
I Know what I Have Learned
A man decides to visit each of his three daughters, who are married to trolls. On each visit he sees the trolls perform marvelous tasks, then returns home with money. Additionally, on each trip he loses the money because of his own ignorance. He sets out to prove to his wife the lessons he has learned.
The King who Would Have a Beautiful Wife
A king decides he must marry the most beautiful woman and sends his servant to find her. He is somewhat deceived, and is angry when he makes this discovery. His new wife is spotted by four fairies, who make some changes in her. At this, the king wonders at the mistake he has made. The woman’s sister makes her way to the palace, and is jealous of her sister’s new situation. She sets out to make some changes in herself.
Peter Bull
An older couple wishes that they had an heir. They have a bull calf that they adore, named Peter. They devise a plan to teach Peter to talk so that he may become their heir. They ask the clerk to help them in their endeavours. After a large investment, they are disappointed that they still have not seen Peter or evidence of his improvement. The clerk arrives to explain what has happened, and the man sets off in search of his “son.” All ends happily for everyone involved.
The Princess in the Chest
A king is determined to have a child, so his queen sees an old woman who helps her to bear a child through enchantment. There are limitations—the king and queen cannot see their child until she is fourteen. The king decides to break this rule of the contract, and the princess dies. He is then forced to put her body in the church with a sentinel standing guard. However, finding a sentinel starts to become a challenge when those who volunteer disappear. A young smith who wishes to show his bravery is the first to last the night, and his drunken bravery earns him rewards.
The Snow-Man
A snow-man learns about the world and his future from the yard dog.
A man and woman wish for a child. One winter they decide to create a snow child, and are shocked to see their creation miraculously come to life. They treat the child, Snowflake, as their own and shower her with love and affection. Unfortunately the arrival of spring brings changes that cause unhappiness.
The Water of Life
Three brothers and one sister work hard to build a palace. They are happy until a visitor tells them what their palace is missing. Each sets out in turn to bring back the water of life, the tree of beauty, and the talking bird. Unfortunately each of the brothers is unsuccessful, and all seems lost until the sister manages to make her way to the mountaintop.
  • Year Published: 1897
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 4.0
  • Word Count: 32,382
  • Genre: Fairy Tale/Folk Tale
  • Keywords: adventure, aspirations, beauty, betrayal, bravery, deceit, destiny, discovery, enchantment, envy, family, friendship, greed, hope, jealousy, journey, kindness, knowledge, loneliness, love, manipulation, perseverance, regret, reward, trickery, wisdom
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