"Askeladden som fikk prinsessen til å løgste seg" is a Norwegian fairy tale from Asbjørnsen and Moe's "Norwegian Folk Tales" (1841-1844). The original text was found at Project Runeberg and translated to English by me for E2.


There was once a king who had a daughter, and she was such a despicable liar that no one could be worse. So he let it be known that if anyone could lie so much that she would give up, he would get both her and half the kingdom. A lot of men tried, because everyone wanted the princess and half the realm, but they all failed.

Then three brothers was going to try their fortune. The two older ones went first, but it didn't go better with them than with everyone else. Then Askeladden set off, and he met the princess in the cow shed.

"Hello," he said, "and thanks for last time!"

"Hello," she said, "and the same to you! You don't have such a large cow shed as us, anyway," she said; "because when there's a cowherd on each end of it blowing their horns, they can't hear each other."

"Oh yes," said Askeladden, "ours is much bigger; when a cow gets pregnant in one end, she won't give birth before she comes out in the other."

"Okay," said the princess. "But you don't have such a large bull as us, anyway; so there! When there's one person sitting on each horn, they can't even reach each other with a stick."

"That's nothing!" said Askeladden, "we have a bull so large, that when there's a person sitting on each horn blowing a lure1, they can't hear each other."

"Okay," said the princess. "But anyway, you don't get as much milk as we do," she said; "because we milk into huge containers and carry it inside, pour it into huge pans and make huge cheeses."

"Oh, we milk into huge tubs that we have to drive inside, pouring it into brewery vats and make cheeses as large as houses, and then we have a old mare to stomp on the cheese; but once I saw it foaling into the cheese, and when we had eaten the cheese for seven years, we found a full-grown horse inside it. I was going to put a saddle on it, but it's back broke immediately; but I knew what to do - I took a branch from a spruce and put it in as a new back, and it never had another back, as long as we had it. But the spruce grew and became so large that I came all the way to Heaven on it, and when I came there, the virgin Mary was spinning rope from grain. Suddenly, the spruce broke, and I couldn't get down again; but virgin Mary lowered me on one of her ropes, and then I came to a fox's den; and my mother and your father was sitting there mending shoes, and suddenly, my mother hit your dad so the favus fell off him."

"You're lying!" said the princes, "my father's never had favus."

Note 1: Traditional Norwegian instrument, making deep sounds meant to carry "across the valley".

More fairy tales please!

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