Fairy Tale Fandom, and he tagged me to be part of the lineup!
It also just so happens that I promised some of my storyteller friends that I will post a Hungarian tale I told at the Northlands Storytelling Conference earlier this week (if you are story-inclined and in the Midwest, definitely check out Northlands, it is one of the best conferences I've ever been to!). It is kind of a longer story, so I'll have to do a summary version.
Without further ado, here we go!
The Princess' Curse
(Hungarian folktale, collected and published by János Erdélyi in 1855)
While the younger prince was away, his older brother tried to seduce the princess for himself, telling her lies about his little brother - but she couldn't be swayed. When three years passed and the young prince returned home, his older brother managed to persuade him that the princess forgot all about him, and was now engaged to someone else.
The princess waited and waited, and grew more desperate; she stopped eating and drinking, and one day she told her father she'd die in 3 days' time if her lover didn't return. She asked her father to bury her in the cathedral's crypt, and have her guarded by armed soldiers.
Three days later the princess died. The kingdom dressed in mourning, and she was laid to rest in the crypt. Just as this was happening, the older prince arrived and was shocked to find out that the princess he hoped to marry was dead. Feeling remorse, he volunteered to stand guard in the cathedral that night.
As the bells tolled ten at night, the crypt opened, and the princess walked out, pale as death and with a terrible look in her eyes.
"You have lied to your brother about me! You broke my heart, and for that you'll die."
She ripped the prince apart, piled his bones in a corner, and went back to her grave.
The next day the younger prince finally showed up, and was shocked to find out that his lover and his brother were both dead. He volunteered to stand guard that night.
At ten, the crypt opened, and out came the princess:
"You believed the lies you were told, and didn't have faith in me. For that you will die!"
She ripped him apart, piled his bones up, and returned to her grave.
Every night from that point on, someone stood guard at the crypt - and every night, they were murdered by the dead princess. The pile of bones grew and grew.
When the bells tolled ten, he climbed the tower and hid himself inside the middle bell. The princess came out of the crypt and started looking for him; she almost got to the bell in the middle when the bells started tolling midnight, and she had no power in the world of the living anymore. She returned to her crypt.
The king was overjoyed to see János alive in the morning, and paid him the bushel of gold. János returned to the old man, they split the gold, and the old man told him where to hide on the next night.
When the bells tolled ten that night, János his himself under the pile of bones. The princess emerged from her grave, ran to the bells; when she saw they were empty she started turning the entire cathedral upside down, rummaging in every corner, looking for the guard. She was just about to get to the pile of bones when the bells tolled midnight, and she had to return to her grave.
For the third night, the old man gave János the riskiest task yet: He had to stand in plain sight on the pulpit, with a book. The pulpit had stairs on both sides - the princess would go up on one side, he would run down the other. He had to reach her coffin before her, and hide himself in it.
Everything happened as planned. János locked himself inside the coffin, and held on while the princess screamed, and yelled, and threatened, and begged to get him to come out. The bells tolled midnight, and she screamed even more... but once the tolling ended, the curse broke, and she was her own living self once again.
The king arrived in the morning, and almost died out of sheer joy at seeing his daughter alive. János and the princess were married. On their wedding day the old man showed up, and he drew a sword on the newlyweds - it was a reminder that no one should ever break his given word. János ordered the entire payment of gold to be given to the old man, as a sign of his gratitude.
They all live happily ever after.
I was tagged by Megan Hicks, over at Life, the Universe and Everything. Megan is one of my favorite storytellers, and she was generous to share my ever favorite story from her repertoire!
I am tagging Tahlia at Once Upon a Blog! Tag, you're it!
The Blog Tour so far:
1) Adam Hoffman at Fairy Tale Fandom
2) Amy-Elize Brown at Asleep in the Woods
3) Gypsy Thornton at Once Upon a Blog
4) Kristin at Tales of Faerie
5) Megan Hicks at Life, the Universe and Everything