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PostPosted: 11 Feb 2017 22:51 
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Esben and the witch

A. Context
This is a Danish fairy tale collected by Andrew Land in the Pink Fairy book. It was first published in 1897.

B. Summary
There was a family with 12 boys. All strong and courageous, except for one, who was small and weak and his name was Esben. One day his brother decided that it is time to go and try their fortune, so they received a white horse and some money, from his father. Esben wanted to joy them, but nobody was paying him attention. So he decided to travel with a white stick instead of horse. He manage to reach his brothers and that where in a witch house because night has fallen and they needed to sleep. As nobody noticed Esben, he hid under the bed and in the midnight he told his brothers to switch night capes with witch’s daughter. At midnight the witch killed her daughters and the brothers got away. The next day the Esben brothers rich at the court of a kind and were accepted to work as stableboys. But Sir Red didn’t get enough attention and he wanted to revenge himself. He tells the king that the brothers could bring a wonderful dove which had a feather of gold and a feather of silver time about, and a boar whose bristles were of gold and silver time about but only Esben with his magic stick was able to do that, so he saved his brothers life’s again, and as usually they forget to thank him. The next trial that Sir Red asked was to bring a lamp that can shine over seven kingdoms. This was difficult to do, because it was in the house and the witch guarded the lamp/pot all the time. He was purred salt into the pot and the witch daughter had to do to river to bring water and so Esben drowned her and took the pot. Next Sir Red told the king that the eleven brothers could bring him the most beautiful coverlet that any mortal ever heard. This was the most difficult task because the witch was covering with it and when someone was touching it, it was singing. So Esben was captured and his brother imprisoned. The witch feed him so she could bake hum, but because she had to go to Troms Church, where withes gather once in a year and left her daughter to bake Esben, but he tricked her last daughter. Because he neede the coverlet the witch heard it and run back home, but Esben was on his way to the castle so she asked Esben if he will come back so that she can catch him next time. He said that he was not coming back, so she sprang into numberless pieces of flint. Esben brought the corvette and the king, also told him about Sir Red deeds and the king hang him. The twelve brothers received gold and silver and went home. Also they told their parents how Esben saved them, when they needed.

C. Position in the Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index
,,Esben and the witch" is a taleof magic, with supernatural adversaries.
- number 327- the children beats the ogre.

D. Characters and functions according to Vladimir Proop
The hero: Esben the youngest brother
The villain: Sir Red
The dispatcher: witch
The magical helper: stick
The false hero: the eleven brothers who took credits for Esben’s work.
Functions from Propp:
0. Initial situation: we find out the that there was a farmer who had twelve sons;
1. Abstentation: the twelve brother go to make their fortune;
2. Interdiction: Father tells Esben he would batter take care of him then to go in the woods.
3. Violation of interdiction: Esben makes a white stick and goes after his brothers.
8. Villainy and lack: The eleven brothers could get killed.
25. Task: Esben takes the tasks that his brothers have to do and every time saves their lives.
26. Solution: He managed to solve all the task
27. Recognition: in his last task the king meets the true hero, to whom he is thankful for all the gifts. Also Esben’s eleven brother remember, for the first time to thank him for what he was doing.
28. Exposure: The villain, Sir Red is exposed as being mean and envious and he is killed.
30. Punishment: Sir Red is hanged.

E. Similarities with other known tales
I don't know a fairy tale or story which has similar plot with ,,Esben and the witch".

F.Modern day editions in English and Romanian
The tale is not known in Romania.


Rus(Nemes ) Delia


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