This week’s Fairy Tale is The Three Little Men In The Woods. As I was reading this tale I had a strong sense of deja vu. This is because the second part of the tale is very similar to Little Brother and Little Sister. The Three Little Men In The Woods starts with a widower offering a man’s daughter milk to wash her face with (to help her complexion) whilst her own daughter would wash with water. The man’s daughter could only get this if her dad married the widower. The man and the widower end up marrying and we find that the widower’s promise was not upheld. The girl’s new stepmother hates her because she is prettier than the stepmother’s daughter. She sends her out in the woods to fetch some strawberries wearing a paper dress. The stepmother knows it’s unlikely that she’ll get strawberries as it is snowing and the ground is covered. She sends her stepdaughter out into the forest, wearing only a paper dress. The stepdaughter comes across a litte house with little men inside. She is kind and polite to the little men and in return finds strawberries and becomes more beautiful every day. The little men promise that one day she will marry a king.
As the stepdaughter returns to her house, the stepmother and stepsister become increasingly jealous of her beauty. The stepsister goes into the woods and comes across the three little men. However, she acts in a vile way and the men punish her by making her become more ugly by the day and by toads coming out of her mouth when she speaks. Things are looking good for the stepdaughter as she marries the king and has a baby boy.
From then on, the story does morph into Little Brother and Little Sister, the daughter and mother end up killing the stepdaughter, and the daughter lies in the bed pretending to be her. Much like Little Brother and Little Sister, there is a ghostly element to this story. The horrible daughter and mother get their comeuppance in the end!
This fairy tale has been one of my favourites so far!