Saturday, April 14, 2018

M is for Mouseworld (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.

I have a soft spot for folktales with mouse helpers, and especially tales where animals get their own kingdoms. But by far the most creative, most colorful version of this is from a story I found recently (while looking for something else entirely).

Gaal György's folktale collection was the very first that had been published in Hungarian (sometime in the 1840s); he recorded long and elaborate fairy tales from the Hungarian hussars stationed in Vienna. Among them in a tale called The Straw King.

This is concept art for Moana, but close enough (from here)

The story itself is very similar to the Aladdin type: With the help of a spirit that lives in a magic object, a prince achieves happiness with a wife and a magic castle... until the object is stolen, along with the castle and the wife, and he has to set out to find them. On his journey he encounters his brothers-in-law: The Sun, the Moon, and the Wind. The latter gives him a flying horse to carry him across the ocean, and a golden want that opens everything it touches.

On the 75th island of the ocean (specifically), the prince finds a rock so high he can't see the top, wrapped in strings of diamonds. He touches the surface with the wand, and a passage opens. It leads to the 30th World, the Country of Mice (take that, Nine Realms). The royal castle in the middle of the kingdom is entirely built of bacon and pig feet, and the doorknob is a piece of sausage. The prince wants to go inside, but accidentally breaks the sausage off. The mice guards run panicked to the Mouse King, who eventually emerges. In exchange for five years' worth of grain, he helps he hero retrieve the magic object.

I just really like the idea that somewhere on an island, inside a diamond-studded rock, there is a Mouse World where palaces are made of bacon and sausages. Sounds like a happy place. :D


  1. Oh, this one is so much happier than some of the others! It made me hungry though.

  2. It might be a bit awkward if you ate your way through the house... Mind you, it is very much what mice would do. I love that picture - where is it from?

    Aussie Children’s Writers - M Is For Elyne Mitchell

  3. I love how much bacon pops up in these tales. Mice and bacon, can't go wrong there!

    Misery Business by Paramore

  4. It does sound like a happy place.
    Wonder if the prince ate the sausage or just chucked it. Do Mice eat bacon? if they do, then living in a castle made of bacon must be a real test of their will power.
    L is for Laitlum Canyon

  5. A Mouse World hidden inside a hill covered in diamonds - sounds good to me :)
    Sophie's A to Z - Ghostly Inspirations

  6. I wonder if this influenced the Nutcracker.

  7. You can always tell you're entering a magical place when the doorknob is a sausage.

  8. Wouldn't mind living in a palace where the draperies were sheets of ham..

  9. Lovely story! I also like it when animals have their own kingdom. :) Thank you for sharing.

  10. I can't help thinking bacon and sausage would get a bit smelly after a while :)
    Tasha's Thinkings - Movie Monsters

  11. Aww. I imagine the mice guards went running not just from the broken sausage doorknob, but because a big human weirdo just showed up in their secret kingdom... :) Sweet (or should I say savory?) story!
    Jamie Lyn Weigt | Theme: Odds and Ends Dragons | Writing Dragons