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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How a Man Stepped Into His Wife’s Shoes

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

A nagging husband was always telling his wife what an easy time she had of it.

“I am in the field all day working like a mule,” he would say to her, While you loll about the house and fritter away the time. You do live in clover, I must say!”

Said his wife in reply one day:

“Well, then, why don’t you and I change places? I’ll go out to the field for the day and you’ll stay at home and take care of the house. Then we’ll see whose life is easier.”

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