Tiidu the Piper

An Estonian fairy tale, this version was published in the Crimson Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, in 1903.

Once upon a time there lived a poor man who had more children than bread to feed them with. However, they were strong and willing, and soon learned to make themselves of use to their father and mother, and when they were old enough they went out to service, and everyone was very glad to get them for servants, for they worked hard and were always cheerful. Out of all the ten or eleven, there was only one who gave his parents any trouble, and this was a big lazy boy whose name was Tiidu. Neither scoldings nor beatings nor kind words had any effect on him, and the older he grew the idler he got. He spent his winters crouching close to a warm stove, and his summers asleep under a shady tree; and if he was not doing either of these things he was playing tunes on his flute.

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The Grateful Prince

An Estonian fairy tale, this version was published in the Violet Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, in 1901.

Once upon a time the king of the Goldland lost himself in a forest, and try as he would he could not find the way out. As he was wandering down one path which had looked at first more hopeful than the rest he saw a man coming towards him.

‘What are you doing here, friend?’ asked the stranger; ‘darkness is falling fast, and soon the wild beasts will come from their lairs to seek for food.’

‘I have lost myself,’ answered the king, ‘and am trying to get home.’

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The Greatest Loafer of Them All

A Lithuanian fairy tale, this version is from Tales of The Amber Sea, compiled and translated by Irina Zheleznova in 1974.

Once there lived a king whose only daughter, though fair and of a marriageable age, was still husbandless and in danger of remaining an old maid. Many suitors, rich and not so rich, brave and not so brave, learned men and fools,, came to plead for the princess’s hand but not one could please the king. A strange man was this king: in winter he rode about in a cart and summer, in a sledge; he wore his clothes back to front, walked backward instead of forward, and his beard, so they said, grew not on his chin but on his forehead.

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