Top Ten Tuesday: Fairy tales that are dying to be retold

top ten tuesday                tbr

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It's a bit of a Grimm list, don't you think? 

c.j.'s selections                         ten ten ten

Alleirleirauh or The Princess in Disguise

One of my favorite fairy tales of all time, it tells the story of a princess whose father promised his dying wife never to marry a woman more beautiful than she.  When the king tries to marry the princess, she stalls by asking for still more impossible dresses, then runs away to the court of a handsome prince, where she pretends to be a lowly cook girl.   
The Maiden Without Hands

A devil tricks a poor, unwitting miller into giving up his only daughter.  She evades capture by allowing her father to cut off her hands, then goes off to seek her fortune.  She comes to the garden of a king, who falls in love with her and marries her.  While the king is away, she bears a child and sends word, but the devil sends instead a letter saying she bore a changeling.  The maiden and her child flee to the forest and the king, who has learnt of his mistake, spends seven years trying to find them.  


The Juniper Tree 

A mother dies when her beautiful son is born, and her husband takes another wife who bears a daughter.  The stepmother's heart is hateful.  She tricks the boy into leaning into a chest and lets the lid chop off his head.  Afraid, she tricks her daughter into believing herself culpable and then serves the son to his father in a soup.  Yet the daughter loved her brother and buries his remains beneath the tree.  From the tree comes a bird, whose riddles reveal the tale of deception.  
The Goose-Girl at the Well 

A traveling count comes upon an old crone and the ugly maiden that tends her geese.  The crone begs the count's help and gives him a series of increasingly difficult tasks; when he has succeeded, she gives him a jeweled book containing a single pearl.  He brings it to the King and Queen, who recognize it as the tear of their daughter, whom they sent away three years ago in a moment of cruel caprice.  The three use the pearl to find the lost princess.  

The Six Swans 

Obliged to marry a woman he doesn't trust, a King hides away his six sons and seven daughters in the wood.  A servant betrays the location to the Queen, who changes the six sons into swans.  To free them, their sister vows to spend six years in silence.  A young King finds her and marries her.  She bears three sons, all stolen away by the evil stepmother, and is blamed for the lost sons.  Yet, she cannot speak a word in her defense, and the pyre looms.  
The Master Thief 

A long-lost son comes home to his poor father in luxury, and reveals that he has become a master thief.  His parents worry that the count will kill him if he learns his trade; the thief goes to the count and bargains: his life for three impossible tasks.  
Godfather Death 

A poor man with twelve children has a thirteenth child, and no one to stand godfather.  He asks the first person he meets, who is Death in disguise.  Death brings up the boy to become the greatest doctor by secretly showing him who can live and who must die.  But the boy's love for a dying girl may cost him everything.    

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves 

A poor man comes into great wealth when he learns of a thieves' secret cache and the magic words to open it.  His wealth soon attracts the villainy of his relatives and of the thieves, who resolve to murder him.  Yet he has a clever servant, Morgiana, who knows how to foil the murderous plots.   
King Thrushbeard 

A proud princess tosses out all her suitors, insulting each one cruelly.  The last she calls Thrushbeard for his pointy goatee.  Her father, angered, vows to marry her to the next man who walks in.  That man is a poor minstrel, who marries her and teaches her the hard chores of his household.  She becomes poor and threadbare, but kind.  One day, it is announced that King Thrushbeard will marry--but first, he asks a dance of the fallen princess.  She stands in rags before the court, and learns the truth about her husband.   

The Singing Bone 

Two brothers go out to kill a boar ravaging the countryside.  The eldest stays in to drink until he feels courageous, but the younger goes out and meets an elf who gives him a spear.  He slays the boar and goes to share the news with his brother, who murders him, buries him beneath a bridge, and takes the boar to the King as though he had killed it.  One day, a shepherd finds a bone under the bridge and makes it into a flute, which sings a strange song all by itself.  He takes it to the king and the murder is revealed.  


  1. Okay, first off I love the spin you put on the question. There are so many great fairy tales that need to be retold.

    Second, you definitely need to read The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth. A lot of the stories you mentioned are featured in there especially Alleirleirauh and The Singing Bone, which I learned recently The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins is based on.
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

    1. Thanks! I've done so many fairy tale lists lately, I wanted something different.

      Ooooooh yay! Those are two of my all-time favs. Curses, my poor TBR. :P

  2. I love what you've done to the theme here! The Juniper Tree has always given me the creeps - more than any of the others here actually! :)

    Check out my TTT.

    1. Thanks! :D I always loved the creepiness about it...because I am creepy. Mwuahahaha.

  3. I really liked that you delved into more traditional stories. I remember reading The Goose-Girl at the Well when I was younger. I've never read The Singing Bone, but it sounds positively chilling.

    1. Thanks! The original Grimm's stories were my favorites when I was very young. I still reread them over and over now when I can't sleep.

  4. I really enjoyed reading The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, which I'm pretty sure was based on The Girl With No Hands. The book is now one of my favorites of 2015, which I think speaks for itself. If you haven't read it already, I would recommend it to you. And The Wrath and The Dawn was also a memorable read, being based on The Thousand and One Nights. I thought of it since it's kind of related to Ali Baba and th Forty Thieves, which I agree would make a great re-telling. Lovely list:)

    Claire @ Cover to Cover

    1. I haven't read Minnow yet, but I've seen it on a few lists. I'll definitely have to check it out. The Wrath and the Dawn was AMAZING. Definitely one of my own 2015 favs.


  5. AHH SO MUCH AWESOME. So I definitely agree about Ali Baba considering that's on my list too. xD AND YES TO THE SWANS. Also did you know there's a book called The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly which is a retelling of The Maiden Without Hands?! It only came out this year and I haven't read it but I've hEARD it's spectacular.

    1. PEOPLE KEEP TELLING ME THIS AND I CAN'T BELIEVE I DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS A RETELLING. I need this book in my life. Now. Preferably yesterday.

  6. I love every one of these! (And The Master Thief was on my list too!) I was torn between adding both Godfather Death and The Singing Bone as well. SO many good picks here :)

    Alethea Kontis has a fun series where she mixes a lot of lesser known fairytales with more popular counterparts, and she does a really good job with the Six Swans.

    Here's my TTT, if you're interested:

    1. Thanks! There are just SO many good ones, and I barely got out of just Grimms!

      Oooh, I'm going to have to check that out, thanks!