“A king had a daughter who was beautiful beyond measure, but so proud and overbearing that none of her suitors were good enough for her; she not only refused one after the other, but made a laughing-stock of them.”
I enjoyed reading this fairy tale because it’s the type of story that comes to mind when I think of fairy tales – a character learns a lesson through certain trials and ends up becoming a better person because of it.
In this case, The King tries to match his daughter with a husband. He brings in just about every man with a title to meet The Princess, who lambastes and pokes fun at each one. Most notably, a King whose nose is shaped like a beak (he is from then on called King Thrushbeard). Because of her mean-spirited reactions, The King vows to marry her off to the first beggar who comes around. Which of course, happens, and The Princess is cast out of the castle and whisked away to the beggar’s house.
There she must learn to make a living for herself and her new husband. The couple grows poorer and poorer, so The Princess takes up a kitchen job in the castle. One day there are party preparations being made and The Princess indulges her curiosity and pokes around the castle. She is confronted by King Thrushbeard himself, who asks her to dance. She obliges, but ends up spilling some of her wares and everyone in the ballroom laughs at her. The Princess goes to flee, but King Thrushbeard catches her and reveals that he was the beggar with whom she had been living. So they have a formal wedding and all is good; at least, I like to think that The Princess changed for the better.
After reading The Jew Among Thorns, I’ve found reading a fairy tale like King Thrushbeard isn’t as wondrous in the way it was for me before. I’ve placed two biographical books about The Brothers Grimm on hold at my library, and I’m anticipating that a deeper understanding of these two brothers will either give me a completely pessimistic look at their chosen fairy tales, throw me deeper into wonder, or both.
If you have any non-fiction book recommendations about the Grimm brothers, let me know! And tell me about your experience with King Thrushbeard – especially if you’ve watched the film I’ve listed below. Until next time…
- Král Drozdia Brada – the Slovakian film version of King Thrushbeard. I mention this particluar one because you can watch it on YouTube.
- The comic book series Fables: “Run out of their happily-ever-after homeworlds by a mighty conqueror known only as The Adversary, these universally recognized princes, princesses, talking animals, heroes, and villains now face a new challenge: adapting to a modern world filled with sex, violence, and lots of moral ambiguity.”