The Brothers Grimm: King Thrushbeard

An unfamiliar tale, “King Thrushbeard” tells the story of a beautiful princess who is less than beautiful inside. She has many suitors, all of whom she turns away with mocking. One such is a king with an pointy jaw, whom the princess mocks as “King Thrushbeard”. In his anger at his daughter’s refusing all her suitors, the princess’s father vows to give her in marriage to the next beggar that comes knocking at the castle door.

And so he does.

This particular story reminds me a lot of “The Taming of the Shrew” – in which a proud and sarcastic woman is tamed by an uncouth husband (although with a bit less spousal abuse!). I would love to see this story retold more frequently.

King Thrushbeard illustrated by Felix Hoffman

This is the only retelling my library had of this tale – and it’s a quite faithful retelling. The illustrations are nice but not amazing – the people are quite angular and their garments are an odd mix of Renaissance-style tunics and jerkins and 1920’s cut flapper dresses. It’s really quite odd. However, since I like this tale so much, I think it’s worth tracking down a copy (even if the illustrations are odd).