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Norwegian fairy tale from Asbjørnsen and Moe's Norwegian Folk Tales (1841-1844). The original is called "Herremannsbruden" and was found at Project Runeberg and translated to English by me especially for E2. Enjoy!


There was once a rich man owning a large manor, he had silver at the bottom of his coffin and interest on his money; but he was lacking something in life, since he was a widower. One day, the daughter from the neighbor farm was working on his farm. The lord liked her very much, and since she was the child of poor people, he thought that the idea of marriage should be good enough for her to accept on the spot. So he told her that he was thinking of getting married again.

"Well, one can think about many things," said the girl, giggling, thinking that the ugly, old man could find better things to do than getting married.

"Yes, and I thought you could be my wife," said the lord.

"No, thank you very much! That wouldn't do," she thought.

The lord wasn't used to getting a no, and the less she wanted him, the more he wanted her. But since he couldn't get anywhere with the girl, he sent for her father and told him that if he could make her marry him, he would get the piece of land adjacent to his field.

Yes, he'd change her mind, thought the dad. She was just a child and didn't understand her own good, he said.

But all he spoke with the girl, both well and bad, it didn't help. She didn't want the lord if he was painted in gold up to his ears, she said.

The lord waited for days, but he got irate and impatient, and he told the girl's father that if he wanted to deliver what he had promised, he had to do it now; the lord didn't want to wait longer.

The man didn't have better advice, he said, than preparing for a wedding, and when the priest and the guests had arrived, he could call for the girl, as if she was needed for work; and when she came, they could be married in a hurry, before she could think twice.

The lord thought this sounded good, and he had wedding preparations start, with brewing and baking and all the traditions.

When the guests had arrived, the lord called for one of his servant boys and said that he was to run down to the neighbor and ask him to send what he had promised.

"But if you're not back as quickly as you can," he said, threatening with his fist, "I'll -!" He couldn't say more, the boy was already running like he was on fire.

"The lord sends his greetings and asks for what you promised'm," the boy told the neighbor; "but it had to be at once, because he is in a dangerous hurry today," he said.

"All right, run down to the field and bring her with you, she's down there," the neighbor said.

The boy ran off. When he came down into the field, the daughter was raking. "I was going to fetch what your father promised to the lord," said the boy.

"Hah, you think you can fool me?" she thought. "Oh, are you?" she said; I think that must be our small, dun mare? You better go and take her, she's tied up on the other side of the pea field," said the girl.

The boy got on the horse's back and rode home as fast as he could.

"Did you get her?" said the lord.

"She's down by the door," said the boy.

"So lead her up my mother's old room," said the lord.

"Oh dear, how am I going to do that?" said the boy.

"You just do like I say," said the lord. "If you can't handle her alone, you better get some help from others," he said; he thought the girl might be struggling.

When the boy saw his lord's face, he knew he couldn't refuse. He went down and got the help of everyone he could find; some pulled in front, some pushed behind, and they finally got the mare up all the stairs and into her room, where the wedding dress was ready.

"I've done it now, my lord," said the boy; "but it was dangerously tiresome, the worst I've experienced here on the farm."

"Well, well, you won't have done it for nothing," said the lord. "Send the women up to dress her up."

"Oh, dear!" said the boy.

"No nonsense! I want them to dress her up properly, and not forget wreath or crown," said the lord.

The boy went down to the kitchen.

"Listen up, girls," he said, "you're going up to dress the small dun like a bride; the lord probably wants to give his guests a good laugh."

The girls dressed up the horse as well as they could, and then the boy went down and said that she was done, and that including both wreath and crown.

"Good, good, bring her down! said the lord; "I'll receive her in the door myself," he said.

There was a great rumble in the stairs; this bride wasn't wearing silk shoes. But when the doors went up and the lord's bride entered the great hall, people were giggling and snickering. And they say the lord was so pleased with his bride, that he never proposed again.

Please tell me more fairy tales!

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