A king had a daughter who was beautiful
beyond all measure, but so proud and haughty withal that no suitor
was good enough for her. She sent away one after the other, and
ridiculed them as well.
Once the king made a great feast and invited
thereto, from far and near, all the young men likely to marry. They
were all marshalled in a row according to their rank and standing.
First came the kings, then the grand-dukes, then the princes, the
earls, the barons, and the gentry. Then the king's daughter was led
through the ranks, but to each one she had some objection to make.
One was too fat, the wine-barrel, she said. Another was too tall,
long and thin has little in. The third was too short, short and
thick is never quick. The fourth was too pale, as pale as death. The
fifth too red, a fighting cock. The sixth was not straight enough, a
green log dried behind the stove.
So she had something to say against each one,
but she made herself especially merry over a good king who stood
quite high up in the row, and whose chin had grown a little crooked.
Look, she cried and laughed, he has a chin like a thrush's beak. And
from that time he got the name of King Thrushbeard.
But the old king, when he saw that his
did nothing but mock the people, and despised all the suitors who
were gathered there, was very angry, and swore that she should have
for her husband the very first beggar that came to his doors.
A few days afterwards a fiddler came and sang
beneath the windows, trying to earn a few pennies. When the king
heard him he said, let him come up. So the fiddler came in, in his
dirty, ragged clothes, and sang before the king and his daughter,
and when he had ended he asked for a trifling gift. The king said,
your song has pleased me so well that I will give you my daughter
there, to wife.
The king's daughter shuddered, but the king
said, I have taken an oath to give you to the very first beggar-man
and I will keep it. All she could say was in vain. The priest was
brought, and she had to let herself be wedded to the fiddler on the
spot. When that was done the king said, now it is not proper for
you, a beggar-woman, to stay any longer in my palace, you may just
go away with your husband.
The beggar-man led her out by the hand, and
she was obliged to walk away on foot with him. When they came to a
large forest she asked, to whom does that beautiful forest belong.
It belongs to King Thrushbeard. If you had taken him, it would have
been yours. Ah, unhappy girl that I am, if I had but taken King