|Norwegian Fairy tales
BOOTS, WHO MADE THE PRINCESS SAY, 'THAT'S A STORY'
on a time there was a king who had a daughter, and she was such a
dreadful story-teller that the like of her was not to be found far or
near. So the king gave out, that if any one could tell such a string of
lies, as would get her to say, 'That's a story', he should have her to
wife, and half the kingdom besides. Well, many came, as you may fancy,
to try their luck, for every one would have been very glad to have the
Princess, to say nothing of the kingdom; but they all cut a sorry
figure, for the Princess was so given to story- telling, that all their
lies went in at one ear and out of the other. Among the rest came three
brothers to try their luck, and the two elder went first, but they
fared no better than those who had gone before them. Last of all the
third, Boots, set off and found the Princess in the farm-yard.
'Good-morning', he said, 'and thank you for nothing.'
'Good-morning', said she, 'and the same to you.'
Then she went on:
haven't such a fine farm-yard as ours, I'll be bound; for when two
shepherds stand, one at each end of it, and blow their ram's horns, the
one can't hear the other.'
'Haven't we though!' answered Boots;
'ours is far bigger; for when a cow begins to go with calf at one end
of it, she doesn't get to the other end before the time to drop her
calf is come.'
'I dare say!' said the Princess. 'Well, but you
haven't such a big ox, after all, as ours yonder; for when two men sit
one on each horn, they can't touch each other with a twenty-foot rule.'
said Boots; 'is that all? why, we have an ox who is so big, that when
two men sit, one on each horn, and each blows his great
mountain-trumpet, they can't hear one another.'
'I dare say!'
said the Princess; 'but you haven't so much milk as we, I'll be bound;
for we milk our kine into great pails, and carry them in-doors, and
empty them into great tubs, and so we make great, great cheeses.'
you do, do you?' said Boots. 'Well, we milk ours into great tubs, and
then we put them in carts and drive them in-doors, and then we turn
them out into great brewing vats, and so we make cheeses as big as a
great house. We had, too a dun mare to tread the cheese well together
when it was making; but once she tumbled down into the cheese, and we
lost her; and after we had eaten at this cheese seven years, we came
upon a great dun mare, alive and kicking. Well, once after that I was
going to drive this mare to the mill, and her back- bone snapped in
two; but I wasn't put out, not I, for I took a spruce sapling, and put
it into her for a back-bone, and she had no other back-bone all the
while we had her. But the sapling grew up into such a tall tree, that I
climbed right up to heaven by it, and when I got there, I saw the
Virgin Mary sitting and spinning the foam of the sea into pig's-bristle
ropes; but just then the spruce-fir broke short off, and I couldn't get
down again; so the Virgin Mary let me down by one of the ropes, and
down I slipped straight into a fox's hole, and who should sit there but
my mother and your father cobbling shoes; and just as I stepped in, my
mother gave your father such a box on the ear, that it made his
'That's a story!' said the Princess; 'my father never did any such thing in all his born days!'
So Boots got the Princess to wife, and half the kingdom besides.