Common character in Norwegian fairy tales.

Espen Askeladd, or Askeladden ("Ash lad", I guess) got his name from always sitting by the fireplace, playing with the ashes. He is the younger brother of the cocky Per and Pål. In most fairy takes, the three come from a poor family.

Invariably, the three brothers set themselves some goal, usually something involving the princess. The elder brothers find it incredibly amusing that their younger brother considers even leaving the house, let alone try to do some quest. But he tags along. Of course, he ends up being the resourceful one, and will win the day with brains where his brothers failed.

For some example fairy tales starring Askeladden, see When Askeladden and the Troll had an Eating Competition or When Askeladden Made the Princess Give Up.

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