Kay Nielsen: East of the Sun and West of the Moon by Noel Daniel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The illustrations by Kay Nielsen are glorious. This was my first foray into Norwegian folktales. The ones in this volume were collected in the 1800s by two Norwegian folklorists. Lots of princesses and knights and poor younger sons. Oh, and don't forget the trolls!
Several of the tales are very short. The final one was titled, "One's Own Children Are Always Prettiest," and was reminiscent of a tale by Aesop.
A sportsman went out once into a wood to shoot, and he met a Snipe.
"Dear friend," said the Snipe, "don't shoot my children!"
"How shall I know your children?" asked the Sportsman. "What are they like?"
"Oh!" said the Snipe. "Mine are the prettiest children in the wood."
"Very well," said the Sportsman. "I'll not shoot them; don't be afraid."
But for all that, when he came back, there he had a whole string of young snipes in his hand that he had shot.
"Oh, oh!" said the Snipe. "Why did you shoot my children after all?"
"What! These, your children?" said the Sportsman. "Why, I shot the ugliest I could find, that I did!"
"Woe is me!" said the Snipe. "Don't you know that each one thinks his own children the prettiest in the world?"