Sunday, April 1, 2018

A is for All the Apples (WTF Hungary - Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales)

Welcome to this year's A to Z Challenge titled WTF Hungary - Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales! You can find all other participating blogs on the A to Z Challenge main blog.

Apples are not that weird, right? Okay, let's kick off this challenge with a list of the different types of apples you can find in Hungarian folktales.

Flesh Apples
In a tale titled Szelemen in the apple orchard, a young man is captured in war, and taken to Turkey as a slave to a rich man. He has to take care of a vast apple orchard, and can't eat a single apple. When he does (in secret), the apple tastes like raw flesh - and turns out to be an enchanted girl. Oops.

Tormented Apples
Another story from the same collection, Jancsi goes to the Glass Mountain, also features an enchanted orchard. The traveling hero is hired by a witch to care for it, but every time he tries to pick an apple, he hears a terrible scream, or the apple slaps him away. At night, Jancsi can hear the apple trees scratching at the door, begging the witch to be set free. Very Dante.

The Devil's Apples
Yet another tale from the same storyteller's repertoire features a supernatural courtroom drama. Humans break into the Garden of Eden, beat up the guardian angel, and steal the golden apples. Both sides - angels and humans - then hire lawyers and line up witnesses to win a case of Who owns the golden apples? In the end, conflict turns the apples tiny and sour, and the Devil gets away with the whole lot.

The three tales mentioned above are all featured - in English - in my brand new folktale collection! You can read more about the contents of the book here.

Smiling Apples
Part of a three-fruit set - talking grapes, smiling apples, ringing peaches. The tale itself is a variant of Beauty and the Beast, in which a princess wishes for the above mentioned fruits, and while searching for them, her father accidentally promises her to a pig. Luckily, pig turns out to be an enchanted prince, with a knack for magical gardening.

Compact Apples
In several tales of the ATU 301 type - Three Kidnapped Princesses - the girls, when being rescued from the Underworld, turn their (copper, silver, gold, diamond) castles into apples, so that they can be transported easier. When they need a new dress, they turn the apple into a castle, bring out the dress, and shrink the castle again. How is that for a Bag of Holding?

Matrimonial Apples
In the tale type of the Golden-haired Gardener, princesses choose their husbands by throwing a golden apple (sometimes a bouquet or a ball) down from the balcony at the man of their choice. The youngest princess launches hers with such passion that she almost clocks the hero on the forehead with it. That's true love, people.

Land Apples
In the tale of the Blind King, the helpful fox gives three apples to the traveling Prince, to help him cross the Red Sea. Throwing an apple into water turns it into a patch of land where the swimming prince can rest. The fox returns with batches of these apples twice in the story, helping the Prince make the trip there and back.

Is anyone hungry for apples yet? Wait until you see the theme for tomorrow!


  1. The Devil's Apple sounds a lot like present day politics/multi national corporations--anything that pitches one man against another--and anything that benefits greed.
    I like the comedy of Matrimonial Apples:)
    Good to be back on your site after almost a year...looking forward to more tasty bites here.
    Alum Chine

  2. Amazing how often apples turn up in folktales and mythology! Golden apples of the Hesperides, the golden apples that distracted Atalanta so the Prince could catch up with her(matrimonial theme?), the Apple of Discord, and, of course, Snow White’s Apple!

  3. I had never realised how common apples are in fairy stories. There must be a meaning to the abundancy of apples.

    The Old Shelter - Weimar Germany

    1. There certainly is much meaning. Here is an A to Z post I did last year on the symbol of apples -

  4. Apples do find a place in lot of these folk tales and mythologies. Even in snow white, apple plays a big part. And in most stories, apple plays a sinister role. Maybe, the writers of these folk tales took inspiration from the Bible?

    A is for Absent Minded

  5. I love the sound of the Compact Apple. I could really use one of those!

    Animal by The Wanted - Most Played Songs on my iPod

  6. in the end conflict turns the apples hang on...there's a lesson in there somewhere...if only we could figure it out...a few millennia more and I'm sure we will...

    An amazing and rich start to this A-Z here like all the other years!

    Best always,

  7. So many things that apples can stand for in fiction. Look forward to more tomorrow.

  8. Loved learning about these apples, especially the matrimonial one. Good luck with the challenge. Susanne Living the Dream

  9. So many apples. I always love the surprising stories you find!

  10. This is so interesting. Love learning new things!

  11. I eat an apple in my oatmeal every morning, but after those first three stories, I'm thinking of adding walnuts instead.

  12. The apple is a perfect Bag of Holding! We may have to use that the next time we play D&D!

  13. The latin for apple is malum which means bad, hence I reckon (in part) the bad reputation of the eating of the apple in the Garden of Eden. Thanks, interesting post!

  14. I did not know these many stories about apples! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  15. What fabulous tales you're introducing us to. I'll certainly be looking at apples differently now.

  16. These are absolutely wonderful! I love hearing new folktales. Thanks for this, now to become a morning regular A-Z.

  17. I love fairy tales and don't think I read an Hungarian ones yet. Definitely an idea. Thanks for sharing.

  18. That first one made me say EWWWWW! o.o

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    My A to Z's of Dining with IC
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  19. I'm switching to oranges.
    (Great post!)

  20. I would throw an apple at my love anyday.. but the first 3 tales definitely got me spooked!

    Audacity , Namysaysso

  21. Love this post! Will be back :)

  22. Apples are so iconic! One of the first words linguists look at when comparing languages. Of course they are in folklore stories... but I never thought about this before!

  23. Isn't that the essence of fairy tale: using the everyday to explore the unknowable? Looking forward to this year's collection of strange mythological tidbits from you!

  24. I might have a tough time eating apples now. I have always enjoyed folktales and folklore. This was a treat!

  25. Terrific! I'm a storyteller and I always love to hear about new folktales. I love your theme.

  26. I think the author of the first three tales had a bad experience with an apple when he was a child. Love learning about these great folktales.
    Pamela @ Days of Fun

  27. Oh my god- where on earth did you dig up these applicious tales from? I loved this and your theme has me floored now! The first story itself had me hooked for more. :-)
    BellJar by Sylvia Plath #atozchallenge

  28. Omg, remind me not to read your posts right before bed, can't wait for those first two to turn up in my nightmares tonight, jeeze!! 😅
    Jamie Lyn Weigt | Theme: Odds and Ends Dragons | Writing Dragons

  29. We love apples and making homemade applesauce but not I feeling like eating something completely different today! Thanks for stopping by and commenting on Dragon's Eye View!

  30. Raw flesh - ewwwwww! And definitely oops. And as for the trees scratching at the door - how scary can you get? I have to admit my favourite form of apple is cider ;)
    Tasha's Thinkings - Movie Monsters

  31. What fascinating stories! Obviously, I need to learn more about Hungarian folklore.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  32. It's funny how so many different cultures have stories that talk abut the same kinds of things. Could apples be so popular because they are portable and they have such a long shelf life. It would make them something that everyone could relate, eaten or see at one point or another. I'll be back to hear more of these stories, I do love a good fairy tale!
    Blogging @

  33. Those are a lot of apple stories! That fruit features in a lot of folktales and fairytales from around the world.

  34. Haha I love the Bag of Holding :)

  35. I love the pig bridegroom, esp. the oink, oinks before his words.

  36. I guess I'm going to love your A to Z posts! :)

  37. I've never thought of apples, but you're right - they appear in folktales for both good and evil purposes. It may keep the doc away, but it sure attracts a witch!