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Norwegian fairy tale from Asbjørnsen and Moe's collections. The original text ("Vesle Åse Gåsepike") was found at Project Runeberg and was translated into English by me for E2. Enjoy!

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There was once a king who had so many geese that he needed a girl just to tend them; her name was Åse, and so they called her Åse Goosegirl.

There was a king's son from England who were looking for a wife; Åse sat down in his way.

"Are you sitting there, little Åse?" said the king's son.

"Yes, I'm sitting here, darning and patching, I'm awaiting the king's son from England today," said little Åse.

"You can't expect to get him," said the prince.

"Yes, if he's to be mine, I will get him," said little Åse.

There was sent for painters to all countries, and they would pick the most beautiful princesses; the prince would choose among these. He liked one of them so well that he travelled after her and wanted to marry her, and he was happy to get her as a girl-friend. But the prince had a stone with him, which he lay in front of his bed, and it knew all things; and when the princess came, Åse Goosegirl said to her, that if she had had a boy-friend before, or there was anything she didn't want the prince to know, she shouldn't step on that stone, "for it will tell him everything about you," she said. When the princess heard, she was sad, you know; but then she thought to ask Åse if she wanted to go to bed with the prince in the evening instead of her, and when he had fallen asleep, they would switch, and then he had the right one with him when morning dawned.

And so they did.

When Åse Goosegirl came and stepped on the stone, the prince asked: "Who is climbing into my bed?"

"A pure virgin!" said the stone, and they went to sleep; but later that night, the princess came to bed instead of Åse.

In the morning when they were getting up, the prince asked the stone again: "Who is climbing out of my bed?"

"One who's had three boy-friends," said the stone.

When the prince heard, he didn't want her, as you can expect, and he sent her home again and took another girl-friend instead.

When he went to visit her, little Åse Goosegirl had sat down in his way again.

"Are you sitting there, little Åse?" said the prince.

"Yes, I'm sitting here, darning and patching, I'm awaiting the king's son from England today," said little Åse.

"You can't expect to get him," said the prince.

"Yes, if he's to be mine, I will get him," said little Åse.

It went just the same way with the next princess, apart from that when she got up in the morning, the stone said she had had six. So the prince didn't want her either, and chased her away; but yet again he thought he'd try to find one who was pure; he searched wide and broad again in many countries, until he found one he liked.

But when he went to visit her, little Åse Goosegirl had sat down in his way again.

"Are you sitting there, little Åse?" said the prince.

"Yes, I'm sitting here, darning and patching, I'm awaiting the king's son from England today," said little Åse.

"You can't expect to get him," said the prince.

"Yes, if he's to be mine, I will get him," said little Åse.

When the princess came, Åse Goosegirl said to her, just like with both of the others, that if she had had a boy-friend or there was anything she didn't want the prince to know, she had to avoid stepping on the stone the prince had in front of his bed. "It tells him everything," she said. The princess felt bad upon hearing that; but then she was just as sly as the other two, and asked Åse to go to bed with the prince in the evening instead of her, and when he had fallen asleep, they would swap, so he had the right one with him when morning dawned.

And so they did.

When little Åse Goosegirl came and stepped on the stone, the prince asked: "Who is climbing into my bed?"

"A pure virgin!" said the stone, and they went to bed.

In the middle of the night, the prince put a ring on Åse's finger, and it was so tight that she couldn't get it off again; the prince had figured out that something wasn't right, and wanted a mark to recognise the right one. When the prince had fallen asleep, the princess came and chased Åse down to her geese, and went to sleep in her place.

In the morning, when they were getting up, the prince asked: "Who is climbing out of my bed?"

"One who's had nine," said the stone, and when the prince heard that, he became so angry that he chased her out immediately, and then he asked the stone what had happened with these princesses who had stepped on the stone, because he couldn't figure it out. The stone told him how they had fooled him and sent Åse Goosegirl instead. The prince wanted to find out more; he went down to her, where she sat with her geese, and he wanted to see whether she had the ring; if she has it, I better take her as my queen, he thought. When he came down there, he saw at once that she had tied a rag about one finger, and then she asked why she had done that. "Oh, I cut myself badly," said little Åse Goosegirl. Then he wanted to see the finger, but Åse didn't want to take the rag off. The prince grabbed her finger, but Åse pulled it back; the rag fell off, and he recognised his ring. Then he brought her into the estates and dressed her up in great clothes, and then they held a wedding, and this is how little Åse Goosegirl got the prince of England after all, just because he was to be hers.

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Note: When reading this, I found that the beginning (when they send out painters) didn't quite make sense (he was supposed to already come from abroad, wasn't he?). I guess that's oral tradition for you... I've kept the wording as well as I can, so don't blame me if it's confusing.

More fairy tales here!

Feedback:

  • allseeingeye says re Little Åse Goosegirl: neat story !
  • wertperch says Excellent. I love folk tales =)
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