Thursday, 30 June 2016

Askeladden Who Made The Princess Accuse Him of Lying

Once upon a time, there was a king who had a daughter, and she was such a terrible liar that no one could be worse. So he made it known that the one who could lie such that she accused him of lying would have her and half the kingdom; but it went badly with them all.

So there were three brothers who would also set off to try their luck. The two eldest set off first, but it went no better for them than for any of the others. Then Askeladden should set off, and he met the princess in the barn.

“Good day,” he said, “and thank you for last time.”

“Good day,” she said, “and thank you for last time. You don’t have as big a barn as us, after all,” she said; “for when a shepherd stands at each end, and blows a ram’s horn, they cannot hear each other.”

“Oh, indeed we do,” said Askeladden. “Ours is much bigger; for when a cow falls pregnant in one end of it, she gives birth before she reaches the other end.”

“Indeed,” said the princess. “Well then, you don’t have as big a bull as we do, in any case—there, you can see it. When a person sits on each horn, they cannot reach each other with a measuring rod.”

“Hah!” said Askeladden. “We have a bull so big that when a person sits on each horn, and blows a trumpet, they cannot hear each other.”

“Well then,” said the princess, “but you don’t get as much milk as we do,” she said; “for we milk in great churns and carry it in and tip it into great cauldrons and make great cheeses.”

“Oh, we milk into great vessels, and tip it into great brewing pans, and make cheeses as big as houses; and then we had a moose-black mare to tread the cheese together, but once it delivered a foal into the cheese; and when we had eaten the cheese for seven years, we came across a moose-black horse. I took it to the mill at once, but its back broke; but I knew what to do. I took a spruce bush and set it as its back, and from that time, it had no other back, as long as we had it. But the spruce grew so big that I climbed into the heavens, up through it; and when I got there, the Virgin Mary sat, twisting cattle twine from malt mash. Just like that the spruce broke, and I could not come down again; but the Virgin Mary slid me down one of the ropes; and then I came down in a fox’s den, and there sat my mother and your father, patching shoes; and just like that, my mother struck your father so the scabies flew off him…”

“That’s a lie!” said the princess. “My father has never had scabies in this world.”

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