The Twelve Huntsmen

The Twelve Huntsmen

"The Twelve Huntsmen" is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm as tale number 67 in their "Grimm's Fairy Tales". Andrew Lang included it in "The Green Fairy Book".

It is Aarne-Thompson type 884, the forsaken fiancée. Other tales which include this type as part of their plot are "The True Bride", "The Two Kings' Children", and "Sweetheart Roland".


A prince was betrothed to a maiden he loved. He was summoned back to his father's deathbed and was so grief-stricken that he promise to marry as his father wished, to a neighboring princess. Then, as king, he felt bound by his promise. His fiancee heard of it and asked her father for eleven maidens who looked exactly like her. They dressed as huntsmen and went to court.

The king had a lion who knew everything. It told him that the huntsmen were women, and to test them by putting down peas: a man's firm step would crush them, while a woman's would make them roll. The maiden heard this and warned her companions to step firmly. Then the lion said that he should put spinning wheels in the room, and their interest would betray them, but the maiden learned of it and warned her companions.

One day, the new bride approached. The maiden fainted. The king, fearing a faithful servant had fallen ill, came to her aid and found the ring he had given her. He dismissed the new bride and married the old one, and restored the lion to favor because it had seen the truth.

External links

* [ "The Twelve Huntsmen"]

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