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Annotated Fairy Tale #2 — The Master-Maid

Okay, I had fun with the last one, and apparently people enjoyed it, so without further ado, The Master Maid. This one is from the Blue Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang, and was collected in Norway in the mid-1800s. It’s one of Aarne-Thompson Type 313 (which is broadly tales of magical flight from a supernatural opponent.)

The Master Maid

ONCE upon a time there was a king who had many sons. I do not exactly know how many there were, but the youngest of them could not stay quietly at home, and was determined to go out into the world and try his luck, and after a long time the King was forced to give him leave to go.

Well, that’s a pretty standard opening, although I do like the “I do not know how many there were,” rather than a bald number.

When he had traveled about for several days, he came to a giant’s house, and hired himself to the giant as a servant.

This is a bad move. Giants are always bad. Fairies can go either way, dwarves can go either way, but witches and giants are always bad. Once in a blue moon you might get a helpful Baba Yaga, but only if you’re not a dumbass.


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