The Witch in the Stone Boat

The Witch in the Stone Boat

The Witch in the Stone Boat is an Icelandic fairy tale. Andrew Lang included it in "The Yellow Fairy Book".


A king told his son, Sigurd, to marry and recommended the daughter of another king. Sigurd went there and asked to marry her. That king agreed on the condition that Sigurd stayed and helped him as long as he could; Sigurd agreed to stay until he heard of his father's death. When he received the news, he and his wife had a son who was two, and he made preparations to set out.

His queen and their son were alone on the deck when she saw something approaching: a stone boat with a frightful witch. The witch got into their ship, took the baby from her and laid him on the deck, stripped her naked and took on her clothing, transforming herself into human shape, and put the queen in the boat and cursed her to go to the witch's brother in the underworld. The boat shot off. The baby began to fuss, and the witch went below to scold Sigurd for leaving her alone on the deck. He was surprised to hear her scold him, but thought she had reason; he too was unable to quiet the boy.

After the voyage, Sigurd had to give his son to a nurse to quiet him and found his wife had changed much. One day, two young men, playing chess in the next room, heard her say that the more widely she yawned, the more she transformed back into a troll. She yawned widely, became a troll, and ate from a trough that a three-headed giant, who called her sister, brought her.

A woman in white, with an iron belt dragging a chain, appeared to nurse the son. The new nurse heard her say, the second night, that two are gone and one was left. She confided to the king, who came the third night and saw the woman was his own wife. He cut the chain in two. Great noises came from beneath the earth.

The queen told how the three-headed giant had tried to force her to marry him, but she at last had consented if she could only visit her son three times. The chain falling on him must have killed him. The king had the witch stoned to death and her body torn apart by horses.

ee also

*The White Duck
*The Wonderful Birch
*The Three Little Men in the Wood
*Brother and Sister

External links

* [ "The Witch in the Stone Boat"]

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