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Call the tabloids! So what he actually says is Out of curiosity, what did he actually think he was bargaining away? Her belly button? Her pancreas? His wife is upset. When the child is born, the king offers to protect him. So the king raises the boy. One day, the king and the boy go out fishing Because that seems a little reckless, given the whole freaky head thing. Can't he take up a safer hobby?

Like juggling knives? After their day at sea, the boy forgets his handkerchief on the boat and returns to fetch it. The boat, moving on its own, carries him across the sea to a beach. Told you it was reckless.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (Walker, £14.99)

But where's the head? He meets an old man who says, "Welcome to Whiteland. If you walk down the beach, you'll find three princesses buried up to their necks in sand. Ignore the first two and follow the orders of the third. Such as, are you A a wise Gandolf-figure here to point me to my glorious destiny, B the evil mastermind who kidnapped me and buried three girls in some weird homage to a teen angst beach movie, or C just a random crazy guy?

The first two princesses cry for help, but he ignores them.

Princess Hearts (Disney Princess) (Step into Reading)

The third princess tells him that he must enter the nearby castle without greeting the lions that stand guard. Why is the ability-to-ignore-minor-characters a virtue? Incidentally, the lions don't do anything in this tale. And not to give away spoilers, but you know that disembodied head? Never appears again.

30 best book series for kids ages summer reading list

He must allow a troll to beat him with whips, use a special salve to heal himself, and then slay the troll with a sword. If he does this three times with three trolls, the princesses will be freed.

Or he could just fetch a shovel and dig them out right now. The boy agrees. Inside the castle, a three-headed troll whips him. The boy heals himself and kills the troll. When he returns to the princesses, they are now only buried to their waists in sand. Dude, seriously, sand isn't that hard to dig. Get a shovel. The boy returns to the castle a second time, and a six-headed trolls whips him. The boy heals himself again and kills the second troll. Now the princesses are buried only to their knees.

Oooh, scary, knee-deep sand. Can't they just, you know, step out of the sand and walk away? Lastly, a nine-headed troll whips him until he faints. When he regains consciousness, the boy kills the troll. The princesses are free. He marries the third princess and lives happily for a while. Because getting beat up by a monster makes for such a good first date.

After a while, the boy misses his parents. His wife warns him to listen to his father, not his mother, and she gives him a ring that grants two wishes. He uses one to return home. Why not use a boat? It's a magic ring. Go for something cool. If you need transportation, then how about wish for the means of transport? Like a magic carpet or a pegasus or a VW bug with a cute fake daisy on the dash? At home, his mother tells him to visit the king to show him what a fine young man he's become, and his father tells him to stay home. The boy visits the king.

The king raised him.

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Early Reader: The Three Little Princesses

He should visit. Perhaps a better warning would have been the standard "Don't be an idiot. She tells him he's had his two wishes now, gives him a ring made of her hair, and leaves him. Chief lessons I've learned from fairy tales: be careful of the word "wish," don't eat unwashed fruit, and if your daughter is cursed to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die, then show her what a spinning wheel looks like. He begins to search for Whiteland. He meets the lord of the beasts, the lord of the birds, and the lord of the fish. No one knows where Whiteland is until they ask an old pike who says he's been a cook there for ten years.

I love that the fish is a chef. How awesomely random. The pike says that the queen who was the third princess is going to marry a new man since her king is missing. Can he really be missing if she knows exactly where he is? The lord of the fish tells the boy that on the moor, he'll find three men who have been arguing for one hundred years about who should possess a hat, cloak, and boots. If anyone has all three, he can turn invisible and wish himself anywhere.

Well, that's convenient. The boy tells the three men that he'll choose who should possess the items if he can borrow them. They agree, and he whisks himself to Whiteland. What do you want to bet that he doesn't return the items? The North Wind offers to blow the new fiance away if the boy can get the man outside. So the boy tosses the man outside, and the wind blows him away. When did a talking weather system join the story? The boy shows the queen her hair ring. She welcomes him home happily, and the rightful wedding is held. Um, weren't they married before?

And hey look, he didn't return the magic items. There's a shocker.

It's not like this story has any other unresolved plot points I'm sure he'll use that invisibility power any second now And they all lived happily ever after. Including the disembodied head, silent lions, extraneous princesses, random ancient men, and the cooking not cooked fish For more obscure fairy tales with commentary , check out the Obscure Fairy Tales page of my website, where I've gathered links to all my prior fairy tale posts.

That was a hilarious fairy tale! I just shot you an email about winning Ice!

The Three Little Princesses

I'm so excited! Congrats Kristen! So jealous!