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A Story From: Denmark
Read Time: ["10 to 15mins"]
For Ages: 5 to 7yrs., 8 to 10yrs.

A haughty princess must marry a beggar, a prince in disguise.
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"Greyfoot" is based on "Greylegs," a story from Danish Fairy and Folk Tales by J. Christian Bay (Harper & Brothers Publishers: New York, 1899), pp. 35-46.

Adapted by Elaine Lindy. ©1998. All rights reserved.


There are many stories of haughty princesses being tricked into marrying royal men in disguise who intend to humble them, the most common being "King Thrushbeard" (The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: Bantam Books, 1987). In "King Thrushbeard" the princess is utterly humiliated. In the scene where she is working as a kitchen maid, she sews two jars of kitchen scraps inside her skirt to take home. The king (in truth her beggar-husband) appears in the kitchen (as king) and engages her (as kitchen maid) to dance. The string breaks, the jars fall, and the scraps scatter on the floor. The people laugh at her "a good deal" and "she feels so ashamed that she wish[es] she were a thousand fathoms under the earth." In the story of "Greyfoot," the prince-in-disguise continues to respect the princess and maintain her dignity.