April 05, 2021

#08-067: The Blue Mountains - Part I

fortress-type castle located by still water, at either sunrise or sunset
"...the Scotsman saw a castle far away..."
(Wikipedia)

Note: Three men sleep in a castle, but only one frees the enchanted Princess who lives there! Read the first part of the story here, then continue in Lesson #08-068.


Get Ready: Why do you think fairytales so often have "threes"--in this case, three men who meet a princess?


Andrew Lang's Yellow Fairy Book--one of the twelve collections he published, called together the "Colored Fairy Books"--contains "The Blue Mountains," a story unusual in that no one knows exactly where it came from. It is long but well worth telling in full, so I will give it to you in two parts.

Three men--a Scotsman, an Englishman, and an Irishman--deserted from the army. Each night they slept in trees to avoid wild beasts, until from his perch, the Scotsman saw a castle far away, and set out for it without telling his companions.

He was greeted there by a beautiful woman, who gave the starving man food and drink, and a place to sleep in a room full of sleeping men. After eating there, he lay down and slept.

The Englishman had the same experience--sighting the castle, leaving without a word, eating, drinking, and sleeping.

The Irishman did the same, but once at the castle he was taken to his own room, which was so opulent that he forgot he was hungry! When the woman asked why, he told her he would not eat or drink until he knew who she was, where she came from, and who had put her there.

He was the first man in her sixteen years of captivity to ask these questions, and so she answered, "I am an enchanted Princess, and the man who frees me shall marry me and have my father's kingdom." All who had come before him and who had failed to ask, she said, were asleep in a room below.

The Irishman asked how she could be freed, and she said he must stay awake in a little room from ten to midnight three nights in a row.

"Easy enough," he said, but the first night a gang of ruffians broke in and beat him terribly. The Princess, though, rubbed him from head to foot with a potion, and he was healed. Still, he did not want to stay, and only acquiesced through the pleading of the Princess.

The second night, three times as many men came, and beat him until he appeared dead. But the Princess healed him and again begged him until he agreed to stay.

And so he did, and was beaten and revived again, and the Princess was freed from the spell.

We'll look at Part II in Lesson #08-068.

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Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blue_Mountains_(fairy_tale)


Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. acquiesced
  2. beasts
  3. captivity
  4. deserted
  5. enchanted
  6. opulent
  7. perch
  8. potion
  9. ruffians
  10. starving

  1. dying from hunger
  2. animals, often those which are untamed
  3. under a magic spell
  4. the state of being imprisoned
  5. a tough person; a bully
  6. a liquid with magic properties
  7. extravagantly rich; luxurious
  8. left behind
  9. agreed
  10. a place for sitting, often by a bird

Answers are in the first comment below.


Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for April 5, 2021


1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. i; 2. b; 3. d; 4. h; 5. c; 6. g; 7. j; 8. f; 9. e; 10. a

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