Saturday, May 2, 2015

Story Saturday: The Fairy Tale Hidden Treasures Blog Tour!

This is my first post in what is hopefully going to be a regular Story Saturday (#storysat) series! It just so happens that this week I am also participating in the Fairy Tale Hidden Treasures Blog Tour, where people post their favorite under-appreciated fairy tales. The tour was the magical brain child of Adam Hoffman over at the 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)

Once lived a great king with a famously beautiful daughter; in the neighboring kingdom ruled another king, who had two equally handsome sons. The younger son went to ask for the princess' hand in marriage and they fell in love, but her father said the prince wasn't worthy of his daughter yet - he ordered him to go and travel for three years, see the world, learn, and then come back ready for marriage. The princess was sad that they had to part for three years, but promised to patiently wait.
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.

Eventually a former solder called János came into town, and he offered to guard the princess' crypt as long as the king was willing to pay him a bushel of gold for every night. The king was desperate and he agreed, but as János walked over to the cathedral he realized he might have taken on more than he could handle, and decided to run away instead. He got as far as the city walls when he was stopped by an old man. The old man didn't only know why János was running, but also knew how he could survive a night; they agreed to split the gold, and János returned to the cathedral, armed with new knowledge.
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


  1. Piles of bones, deceit, lies, jealousy and in the end a life lesson pops out. I enjoyed it thank you!


  2. That is such a creepy tale. I hope that link worked for you. It had an awesome list of stories.

    My favorite under appreciated one is All Fur by the Grimm.

  3. Great story--thanks for sharing!

  4. Fun, fun, fun! Dark, dark, dark. Intriguing, intriguing, intriguing. - Jeri

  5. Hey, it ended happily!

    I would be disappointed, but I'm pretty impressed that a person could come back to life if they were locked out of their coffin for long enough. ;)

    Sounds like this will be a wonderful blog hop!

  6. It's got everything a heart desires.

  7. Hi Zalka! I've been looking forward to seeing what you'd post! This is great - reminds me of a Romanian version I heard once (I *think* it was Romanian) but I can't find it online if it's what I'm thinking of. I like seeing the similarities to other tales crop up in there too and that end chase - super crazy-fun! Thank you for sharing! We should do this story hop more often.

    1. Oops - it left off my blog signature in case you're wondering who the heck this is:
      Gypsy Thornton
      Once Upon A Blog... fairy tale news

    2. I agree, we should definitely do more hops! :)

    3. My apologies - I have gotten your name wrong! I admit I'm confused as to how you prefer to be addressed. (Csenge?) Anyway - glad to have connected through the 'hop and am finding your whole blog to be a wonderful treasure trove (how on earth do you find time to post such researched articles every day?) - I've put The Multicolored Diary on the blogroll for OUABlog. Looking forward to many more tales!

    4. Csenge is my given name (Hungarians put family name first) :) I'm glad you like my blog! The articles were scheduled ahead of time, I prepared for A to Z for a couple of months ahead :)

  8. So glad I've discovered your blog! This is a wonderful story, thank you for sharing it! I love fairy tales with ghosts/the undead, they're always so unique. This one has a really Gothic feel, with the cathedral and the pile of bones. I have a cathedral in my city, and it's such a majestic yet creepy place. I could imagine this story happening there easily haha!

  9. Loved this story. the image of the princess going after the living and of her screaming outside her locked coffin makes me shiver!

  10. Loved this story. the image of the princess going after the living and of her screaming outside her locked coffin makes me shiver!

  11. Létezik ilyen népmese a folklórunkban? Eszméletlen.