The System of Tales in the Folklore Collection of Copenhagen

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The system of folk-tales (märchen) in the Copenhagen Folklore Collection is elaborated by Svend Grundtvig. The c. 800 versions of tales in his Ms. collections are here reduced to 134 types (religious legends, animal stories and short humoristic tales are not included in this number, each of these makes its own series in the Grundtvig manuscript). These types form no system of incidents but a system of actual tales, each represented by a number of versions which agree with one another in essential features.

In the later classification of tales in the Copenhagen Collection this system is also followed. Types which are not represented in Grundtvig's system are set apart as »without number» (Udenfor nummer) or as »religious legends», »animal stories», »short humoristic tales» (»Legender», »Dyresagn», Skæmtesagn»). Some day all these shall be classified according to a system which FF. is preparing. In the last few years some of the Grundtvig types have been subdivided under A, B, etc. Sometimes these letters signify that one type of the tale has two individual versions, sometimes also that two different tales have been incorrectly placed under one type. The distinction between these two classes is however in some cases incertain.

Here I give the list of types[1]. The english names are those which seemed to me to fit the type (e. g. commonly known names as Cinderella, Aladdin, etc.). For less conventional types I have indicated in a few words the substance.

For better identification is named if possible for each type one printed danish version and one of other great collections, especially Grimm's »Kindermärchen»[2].

I shall be glad if this paper proves of any use to those who wish to consult the manuscripts of the Copenhagen Collection or to those who are elaborating a larger system concerning all the more prominent types of tales from different lands.

1. The Swan Maiden (Prinsessen i federham); GÆ II 2, Gr. 92.

2. The Hind-Princess (Hinden), GÆ II 6. Prince pursues white hind; lie three nights by cold person; princess delivered.

3 A. The Princess of the Glass Mountain (Prinsessen på glasbjærget); GlM III 83.

3 B. Andromeda [The Princess saved from the Sea Monster] (Prinsesse reddet fra havtrold); GlM III 83.

4. The Helping Raven (Ravnen); GÆ II 13. Helping raven gives strength; Andromeda; raven delivered by wrestling.

5 A. The Rescued Princesses (De bortstjålne kongedotre); GlM I 34I, Gr 91.

5 B. Strong Jack (Starke Hans); GlM I 34II, Gr 90.

6. Aladdin [The Spirit of the Lamp] (Ånden i lyset); GÆ II 3, Gr 116.

7. The Three Animals Brides (De tre dyrebrude); GÆ II 3.

8. The Boy with Golden Hair (Guldhåret). Serves in the kings court and gains princess.

A. The Flight from the Troll (Flugten fra trolden); GlM II 311.

B. The captive Wild Man (Vildmanden); GÆ I 15, Gr 136.

9. The Queer Companions (De underlige stalbrødre).

A. The Seven Stars (Syvstjærnen); GÆ I 17, Gr 134.

B. How Six Men Got on in the World [The Foot-Race] (Væddeløbet); Gr 71.

C. The Four Skilful Brothers (Forskellige håndværk); Gr 129I.

D. The Change of Sex (Skifiet kön).

10. The Wise Horse [Ferdinand Treu & Ferdinand Ungetreu] (Den kloge hest); GÆ II 1, Gr 126.

11. The Story of the Youth, who went forth to learn, what Fear was (Den frygtløse svend); GÆ II 11, Gr 4.

12. The Boys Journey to Hell (Drengens rejse til Helvede); GÆ I 3, Cosq. 69.

13. Bird, Horse and Princess (Fugl, hest og prinsesse); GÆ III p. 102, Gr 57.

14. The Dragon's Life-Blood (Dragens hjærteblod); GlM II 315. Sick king healed by dragon's heart-blood, impostor revealed.

15. The Poor Miller's Boy and the Cat (Den hvide kat), JF VII 5, Gr 106.

16. The Foster-Son of the Wild Man (Skovmandens fostersön); GÆ I 1. Hero receives power of transformation, gains the princess; is thrown in the sea, but saved by a mermaid.

17. The Giant's Heart (Troldens hjærte og svenden i dyrenes hamme); GÆ II 12, comp. Gr 197.

18 A. The Health-Fruit (Sundhedsfrugterne); GÆ III p. 144, Gr 165.

18 B. The Hare-Herd (Harehyrden); JF V 10. Gains the princess by keeping the king's hares a year.

19 A. The Princess's Birth-Marks (Prinsessens mærker); GÆ II 8, comp. Gr 114.

19 B. The Riddle of the Wooer (Prinsessen skal gætte gåden); Gr 22.

20. The Princess who can not help laughing (Prinsessen må le).

A. Stick to! [The Golden Goose] (Hold fast!); GÆ III p. 31, Gr 64.

B. The Scarabees (Skellebasserne); Koehler, Kl. schriften I p. 43.

21. It's a lie! (Prinsessen siger: lögn); GlM I 224, Gr 112.

22. The Princess Brought to Silence (Munden stoppet på prinsessen); GÆ III p. 39, Cosq. 51.

23 A. The Shoes that were danced to Pieces (Troldebruden); GlM III 3, Gr 133.

23 B. The Princess in the Coffin (Prinsessen i kisten); GÆ I 13.

24. The Skilful Huntsman (Skytten); JF VII 18, Gr 111.

25 A. The Twins (Fostbrodrene); GÆ I 8, Gr 60.

25 B. Littleshort and his Brother (Lillekort og hans bror); Kamp I 2. Asbj. 24 (no supernatural birth; brother not slain by brother, eye stolen from witch).

26. The Monster's Bride [Amor & Psyche] (Uhyrets brud); GÆ I 16, GlM I 107. II 8. III 84, Gr 88. 127.

27 & 28. Lady Featherflight. — 27. The True Sweetheart (Den kloge pige); GÆ II 7, Gr 186. — 28. The Flight from the Witch (Flugten fra heksen); GÆ I 5, Gr 51.

29. The Green Knight (Den grönne ridder); GÆ I 14. The flying lover wounded and healed.

30. The Snake-Prince (Kongesön i slangeham); GlM III 4. Delivered by kiss.

31 A. King-Snake (Kong Lindorm); GlM I 216. Delivered by whip and bridal bed.

31 B. The Three Nuts (De tre nødder). Repudiated queen saves men by fetching contract in hell.

32. »Wonderful» (Del vidunderlige foster); GÆ I 7. The monstrous son helps his mother.

33. The Vampire-Princess (Menneskeæderen); comp. No. 23 B. Enchanted maiden delivered by whipping.

34. The Horse-Prince (Prinsen i hesteham); GÆ III p. 128, Gr 144.

35. The Duck (Den lille and); GlM III 81, Gr 13.

36. Griseldis (Den tålmodige kvinde); GlM II 310.

37. The Girls in the Pond (De to ulige søstre); JF V 17, Gr 24.

38. Brother and Sister (De to kongeborn); Gr 11.

39. The Deer-Prince (Hjorteprinsen); GlM III 37. Delivered by lady entering forbidden chamber.

40. The Seven Ravens (Ravneprinserne); Gr 25.

41. The Juniper Tree (Den lille fugl); Gr 47.

42. The Maiden in the Flower (Pigen i urtepotten); comp. Gr 160.

43. The Cat-Prince (Katteprinsen); JF XIII 13. Boy helps cat in the ghost-house, cat delivered by mother-milk.

44. The Disowned Queen and the Talking Bird, the Singing Tree, the Flowing Water (Den forskudte dronning og den talende fugl, det syngende træ, det rindende vand); JF V 23, Gr 96. 97.

45 A. The Fairy Godmother [The Mute Queen] (Den stumme dronning); Gr 3.

45 B. Born from Fish (Født af fisk); GÆ II 9. Man becomes pregnant by eating fish, girl in the raven's nest marries king, three children stolen, mother repudiated; identified by riddle.

46. The Maiden without Hands (Pigen uden hænder); Gr 31.

47. Cinderella (Den lille sko); GlM II 7, Gr 21.

48. The Princess in the Cave (Prinsessen i jordhulen); GlM II 5, Gr 89.

49 A. The Three Sisters in the Hill (De tre søstre i bjærget); GlM III 8, Gr 46.

49 B. Bluebeard (Bjærgmandens banemand); JF V 36.

50 A. Tom-Tit-Tot (Troldens navn); GlM II 309, Gr 14.

50 B. The three Spinners (Spindepigen og de underlige mostre); Gr 55.

51. Well Hidden! (Godt gæmt); GlM I 2. Man hidden from ogre, this is latter killed.

52. The Magic Treasures (Troldeskattene); GlM I 248. Treasures stolen from the giant's house.

53. Hänsel & Grethel (Pandekagehuset); JF V 20, Gr 15.

54. The Boy in the Service of the Giant (Drengen hos trolden); JF V 34, Gr 183.

55. The First to be Angry (Den der först blev vred); GÆ III p. 78. Boy in service of the giant; giant tries to rouse boy's anger; fails; is made angry himself.

56. The Wizard and his Pupil (Heksemesteren); GlM I 255, Gr 68.

57. The Black Art (Den sorte skole);

A. The three Apprentices (Tre stående svar); Gr 120.

B. Bearskin (Bjørnemand); Gr 101.

C. The Devil's Fire-maker (Fandens fyrboder); comp. Gr 100.

58. A. Saved from the Evil One (Frelse fra den Onde); GÆ III 7. The contract won back.

58 B. The Green Branches (De tre grönne kviste); Gr. Leg. 6.

59. The Snares of the Evil One (Den Ondes snarer); GlM III 7. Wife tricks the Evil One, who never get promised reward for help.

60. Sin and Mercy (Synd og nåde); GÆ II 17.

61 A. The Wishing Table, the Gold Ass and the Cudgel in the Sack (Tryllegaverne); Gr 36.

61 B. The Dwarf's Gifts stolen by the Fox (Dværgegaverne og ræven); Folkeæventyr optegnede af Folkemindesamfundet 58.

62. The Running Pot (Den levenae gryde); GlM III 143.

63. Donkey-Cabbages (De sære frugter); JF V 46, Gr 122.

64. The Three Wishes of the Blacksmith (Smedens tre ønsker); JF V 32. Sct. Peter's three wishes helps blacksmith when the Evil One comes to fetsch him.

65. The Handmill (Kværnen); GlM I 110, Gr 103.

66. The Tricks of the Hill-Folks (Bjærgmandskunsterne), GlM I 246. Peasant daughters married to hill-folks; father repeats tricks he saw sons-in-law perform, hurts himself, drowns during last performance.

67. The Help of the Unburied man (Den dodes hjælp).

A. Puss in Boots (Kongen narret); GlM I 108.

B. Overboard (Overbord); Kamp II 45.

C. The Troll's Head (Troldens hoved).

68. The Devil's Three Golden Hairs (Den rige mand). GÆ I 12, Gr 29.

69. The Ways of Providence (Forsynets veje); GÆ I 6.

70. The Blinded Man (Den blinde); GlM III 82. Hears in tree the conversation of animals: healed by dew and heals princess.

71. The Foundling (Hittebarnet); Ritterhaus, Neuisl. 60, 2.

72. The Robbers' Den (Røverkulen); JF VII 25. »Just as with us».

73. The Robber Bridegroom (Roverens kæreste); Gr 40.

74. Faithful (Trofast); GÆ II 16.

75. The Wishes (Ønskerne); GlM II 12, Bäckström: Svenska folksböcker III 19. Old woman's gift, brings no luck to wicked sister.

76. The Reward of Kind Actions (Gode gerningers lön); GÆ II 15.

77. The Kindness of the Evil One (Fandens godhed); GlM II 11.

78. Good Advice (De gode råd).

A. Made Wise by Experience (Klog af skade); GlM III 21, Cosq. 77.

B. The Master's Good Advice (Husbonds gode råd); JF VII 26.

79. The Taming of the Shrew (Ave er god når den kommer i tide); GÆ II 14.

80. Rhampsinit (Kongens skatkammer); JF VII 7. 8. 9.

81. Real Earnest (Ramme alvor); Kamp II 24. »The devil fetch you» taken in earnest, when earnestly meant.

82. Sharing Life and Death (De to venner i liv og død); GlM I 1. 109. Wandering in the land of death.

83. Tomthumb (Tommeltot); JF VII 56, Gr 37. 45.

84. The Glutton (Slughalsen); GlM II 322, Gr 5.

85. The Vampire (Ligslugeren); Skattegr. XII 246. Girl discovers that husband is vampire.

86. The Kingdom at the Bottom of the Sea (Riget på havsens bund); Kamp I 8.

87. The Man from the Gibbet (Gengangeren); Skattegr. XI 9, Cosq. 41.

88. The Women's Favourite (Kvindernes yndling); Asbj. 38.

89. The Ship's Boy and the Dwarfs' gifts (Dværgenes gaver); JF VII 19, comp. Cosq. 42. 59.

90. The Thirteenth Son (Den 13:de sön); JF. V 24. Brought from lions-den, where brothers did cast him. Unknown son points him out as father.

91. The Dance in the Brier (Dansen i tjørnene); GlM III 7, Gr 110.

92. The Magic Stone (Fiddivav!); GÆ I 4. People enchanted by stone; daughter of the farm promised to man who can disenchant them.

93. Queer Names (Underlige navne).

A. The Queer Names at the Farm (De sære navne på gården); GlM III 7. Woman tells boy that cat, dog, fire, and so on have queer names. Forgets joke herself, does not understand his cry, when farm burns.

B. The Boy's Queer Names (Karlens underlige navne); Skattegr. V 771. Boy names himself in different ways to father, mother, doughter and other people in the house; misunderstandings.

94. The Valiant Tailor (Den tapre skrædder); Gr 20.

95. The Big Lies (De store lögne).

95 A. The Lies of the three Fellows (Havet er brændt af!); GÆ III p. 152. Three fellows tell lies in such a way that the tale of each is confirmed by the next one's.

95 B. The Fox in the Beard (Ræven i skægget). Man has 77 sons; bridal-beds made from one fishbone; fox attired by fish-smell; hides himself in man's beard.

95 C. The Hunter's Adventures (Skyttens hændelser); GlM II 127.

96. The Evil One Tricked [»The Heaped Measure»] (Den Onde narret); comp. GÆ II 19.

97. The King and the Abbot (De tre spörsmål); GlM I 111, Gr 152.

98. The Boots of Buffalo Leather (Kongen og matrosen); Gr 199.

99 A. The Adventure of the Clergyman (Præsten på æventyr); JF VII 13, Gr 95.

99 B. The three Suitors Fooled (Tre narrede friere); GlM III 159.

99 C. The Cunning Boy (Karlen Klog); Berntsen 24. Boy helps husband to discovery of wife's and neighbour's intimacy.

100. The Avaricious Clergyman (Den gerrige præst).

A. The Beetles (Skarnbasserne); GlM III 161. Pretented miracle: bees into scarabees.

B. The Porridge (Grøden). Boy prevents husband from getting food all day; misunderstandings through fetching of porridge at night.

101. The Miser (Den gerrige mand); GÆÆ II 5.

102. The Affectionate Wife (Den kærlige kone); Clouston Tales and Migrations I p. 29—35.

103. The Merry Wifes (De lystige koner); GÆ I 19.

104. Hans in Luck (Den fromme kone); Gr 83.

105. The Foolish Wife (Den gale kone); Gr 59.

106. The Treasure and the Foolish Wife (Skatten); GÆ I 20.

107. Wise Folks! (Den dumme kone); GlM I 29, Gr 104.

108. Roques and Fools (Skælmer og narre); JF VII 15. Cosq. 10. 20. 49. 81.

109. The Fool (Tossen).

A. Going a Travelling (Mollerejsen); Gr 143.

B. The Good Bargain (Markedsrejsen); Gr 7, comp. No. 20.

C. The Foolish Suitor [»Clever Hans»] (Den dumme Frier); Gr 133.

110 A. The Master-Thief (Mestertyven); Gr 192.

110 B. The Old Woman in the Chest (Kællingen i kisten); JF VII 39, Cosq. 80.

111. The Thieves' Apprentice (Tyvenes lærling); JF VII 10. Steels from one another; apprentice proves strongest.

112. Big Brother and Little Brother (Store bror og lille bror); Gr 61.

113. The Bullock, born by the clergyman (Tyrekalven); Dania I p. 283.

114. The Rustic Clergyman [»Doctor Know-all»] (Bondepræsten); Gr 98.

115. The Husband as Housekeeper (Manden i huset); GlM II 319. Husbaud complains of hard work, proposes wife to change with her. All goes wrong.

116. Two Ways of Understanding a Thing (Det er, som man tar det til); GlM III 4ß. Father's 3 counsels rightly understood by his own daughter, wrongly by her stepsister.

117. The Three King-Sons who cured the Princess (Kongesön og dværgesøster); comp. 1001-Nights: Achmet and Paribanu.

118. How the Youngest Brother got the Finest Wife (De tre brødre); Kamp Folkeminder 765. Youngest brother marries rich girl, by her mistake. Returns, pretents to be poor, is badly treated, until girl points him out as husband.

119. God and the Blacksmith (Vorherre og smeden); Asbj. 21, Gr 147.

120. Little Snow-White (Kongedatter i røverkule); Gr 53.

121. The Proud Lady Humbled [»King Thrushbeard»] (Den stolte jomfru); GlM III 1, Gr 52.

122. Godfather Death (Døden og doktoren); Gr 44. 42.

123. The Playing Stag [»Money will repair allthings»] (Den spillende hjort); GÆ III p. 156. Man hidden in the stag gets the princess.

124. The Frog-King (Kongesön i tusseham); GlM III 38, Gr 1.

125. Clever Elsie (Frieren); GlM II 446, Gr 34.

126. The Musician and the Wolf (Ulven); comp. Gr 8. Princess stolen from deceived wolf.

127. The Lazy Boy (Den dorne dreng); GÆ I 9.

128. The Foolish Wishes (Fuldt op!).

A. The Woman's Wishes (Konens onsker); GÆ II 18.

B. The Horns (Hornene); Gr 87.

129. Sesam Mountain (Skattebjærget); Gr 142.

130. Fortune and Reason (Lykken og forstanden); GÆ III p. 136. »Fortune» saves man when »Reason» has brought him to death.

131. The Victory of Innocence (Uskylds sejr).

A. The Precious glove (Den kostbare vante). Princess lures pretented reducer to swear that he never saw her.

B. Cymbeline (Den trofaste kone).

132. The Tattling girl (Den åbenmundede pige); GÆ I 11.

[133] [Vacant number.]

134. The Bracelets of Strength and the Evil Mother (Armbåndene); Asbj. 58.

135. »Smörbuk» [Butter-Boy] (Tyksak); Asbj. 52.

  1. The danish names in italics.
  2. The full titles are these: Grundtvig, Danske Folkeæventyr I—II, 1876—78 (GÆ I—II) [Dänische volksmärchen, übersetzt, I bei Leo, II bei Strodtmann, Leipzig 1878—79]; id., Danske Folkeæventyr, 1883 (GÆ III); id., Gamle Danske Minder I—III 1855—61 (Gl. M.); Evald Tang Kristensen, Jyske folkeminder, V, VII, XII, XIII, 1881—95 (JF); id. Skattegraveren I—XII, 1884—89; Kamp, Danske Folkeæventyr, I—II 1879—89; Berntsen, Folke-Eventyr, 1873—83. Foreign collections, as Grimm (Gr), Cosquin, Asbjörnsen, etc., it seems unnecessary to give here in full. — Numerals represent number of tale.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.

The author died in 1935, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.