The Glass Coffin

The Glass Coffin

The Glass Coffin is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, tale number 163. [Jacob and Wilheim Grimm, "Household Tales", [ "The Glass Coffin"] ] Andrew Lang included it in "The Green Fairy Book" as "The Crystal Coffin". [Andrew Lang, "The Green Fairy Book", [ "The Crystal Coffin"] ]

It is Aarne-Thompson type 410, Sleeping Beauty. Another variant is "The Young Slave". [Heidi Anne Heiner, [ "Tales Similar to Sleeping Beauty"] ]


A tailor's apprentice became lost in a forest. At night, he saw some light and followed it to a hut. An old man lived there and, after the tailor begged, let him stay for the night. In the morning, a fight between a great stag and a bull woke him. He watched. When the stag won, it bounded up to the tailor and carried him off in its antlers. It let him down before a wall of stone and pushed him against a door in it, so that the door opened. Inside, he was told to stand on a stone, it would bring him good fortune. He did so, and it sank into a great hall, where the voice directed him to look at a glass chest, which contained a beautiful maiden. She told him to open the chest to free her, and he did so.

She told him she was the daughter of a rich count. After her parents died, her brother raised her. One day, a traveler stayed the night and used magic to get to her in the night, to ask her to marry him. She found the use of magic repellant and did not consent. He turned her brother into the stag, imprisoned her in the glass coffin, and enchanted all the lands.

They emerged and found the brother once more a man. The bull he had killed had been the magician. The tailor and the maiden married.

ee also

*The Queen Bee
*The Golden Stag


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