Friday, 12 April 2013

J is for Jomfruen på glassberget

Jomfruen på glassberget is a Norwegian fairytale. It's title in English is The Princess on the Glass Hill. It was one of the many fairytales collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe and is the story of a princess who is rescued by a man riding a magical horse. 

The rescuer was the youngest of three sons, often teased for sitting around poking the ashes. (Oh hey, remember Askeladden? I told you he pops up everywhere!) One day he hears a horse whinnying and he manages to tame it. With the horse is a brass suit of armour. He doesn't tell anyone about the horse and the next year a suit of silver armour appears. He still doesn't tell anybody and finally on the third year a suit of golden armour appears. 

Meanwhile, a king had set his daughter high up on a glass hill and given her three apples to hold. It was said that the only person allowed to marry her would be the one who managed to reach the top of the hill and take the apples from her. All of the other princes and knights had failed to reach her, but one night a knight rode 1/3 of the way up the hill and the princess threw him an apple. He rode off immediately, taking the apple with him. The next day a silver-clad rider appears and manages to get 2/3 of the way up the hill. The same thing happens, he is thrown and apple before riding off. On the third day a rider appears, wearing golden armour, and rides all the way to the top where the princess gives him the final apple. He then rides away. (I know, men...)

The king then calls a meeting to find the man that has won his daughter. Our hero shows up but his brothers say that he was at home the whole time, poking about, doing his Askeladden business, etc. But luckily he remembered to bring the apples with him and then they all live happily ever after. 

You might have noticed that this isn't my favourite fairy tale. It feels a bit like someone has sat down and thought, ok there needs to be 'three' of stuff, three apples, three brothers, ok that'll do. Now we need something impossible - a glass hill? Perfect! Now lets throw in some random details that don't add anything to the plot of the story. Oh and someone call that Askeladden and get him to show up, he's always good for a laugh! No, but really, it's a nice example of a traditional Norwegian fairytale. I'm just bitter because, as everyone knows, J is a dark horse when it comes to impossible letters of the alphabet :)

the little nordic cabin

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of a glass hill and my glass addiction!