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East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon by…
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East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon

by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, Jørgen Engebretsen Moe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 4 of 4
I grew up with this collection of Norwegian folktales, so it is hard to attempt to review it! I won't summarize all 59 stories, but the main story, East o the Sun, is about a girl who is taken by a bear to a distant land to be his wife. During the night he becomes a human, but she never sees him until she lights a candle, somehow trapping him into bear form. She then has to go on an adventure all over to try to free him from a troll curse to become her human husband. The old-fashioned illustrations are not my favorite, but they are interesting. And I have to admit that I don't actually like most of the stories in this collection! I love that they are adventurous, magical, and involve trolls, but I hate the lack of realistic characters and the weirdly contrived problems and solutions. Ultimately, this is why I don't enjoy reading a lot of traditional literature. I prefer realistic characters and conflicts, even if there is magic and adventure. ( )
  BrittaSorensen | Dec 6, 2013 |
I'll be moving this and other collections back and forth between my currently-reading shelf to my read and ongoing-collections shelves.

-East O' The Sun & West O' The Moon
I've read this the first time and will read it again and comment
more when I can get caught up on things. For now, I love it. ( )
  Yona | May 2, 2013 |
First of all, I love the cover painting on this Wordsworth Classics edition of the traditional Norwegian folk tales, collected and first published in the 19th century by Peter Asbjørnsen. It illustrates the title story, one of 33 in this collection (I don't know how many tales were in the original collection - there is no introduction or notes with this edition).

I really enjoyed reading these tales - which are the Norwegian equivalent of the Brothers Grimm. Indeed Jacob Grimm apparently said in 1850 that the 'Norwegian folk tales are the best there is.'

They fall into two types. Some are first person accounts, mainly of hunting trips or other travels in the mountains and forests, during which the narrator - often forced to take shelter during a storm - hears stories of strange encounters with supernatural beings: brownies and trolls, huldres and goblin-hares. Episodic and rather repetitive (as different characters try to outdo each other with similar tall tales) they include vivid descriptions of landscape and setting, and suggest a world in transition, where sophisticated, modern young gentlemen are fascinated by the wild natural world around them and with the old beliefs and superstitions which still linger in farms and villages.

Other tales in this collection fall into the 'Once upon a time' classic folk tale style - stories about poor farmers, youngest sons, youngest daughters marrying polar bears, the devil and those who outwit him, the giant who had no heart, the cormorants of Udröst (a fairy land across the sea) and, of course, three billy goats and a troll. Some of these were very familiar from more recent re-tellings or other similar versions from other countries. Others were new to me. One of the shortest and funniest was about a poor farmer who berated his wife for not working hard enough about the house, until eventually she suggested they swap jobs for the day. Not surprisingly, the man soon discovers there is more to the daily household tasks than he had reckoned, and after a series of mishaps ends up hanging in the chimney over the porridge pot with one leg tied to a rope that is attached to the cow who had been grazing on the turf roof until she fell off! The story, in the often laconic way of folk tales, does not record what the wife said to him when she returned home and cut him down...

That simple role-swapping plot has been the basis for many a comedy in different forms; with this and most of the tales, it is in the details of the telling that the particular Norwegian flavour emerges. The king and his court appear often - portrayed not in grandeur and palaces but more in the guise of a wealthy, down-to-earth farmer. Turf roofs, like the one from which the cow fell in the story mentioned above, are still visible among the older farm buildings.

If you are not planning a visit to Norway in the near future, reading these tales would be one good way of travelling there in the mind, especially to the wilder places of mountain, sea and forest. ( )
2 vote gennyt | Sep 17, 2010 |
From page 664 of volume 55 of The Anerican Review of Reviews: "Short, easily remembered fairy tales that will prove treasures tompersons who havea knack of telling stories to children. There are fascinating tales of trolls, ogres, witches of the Northland, fairy princesses, and marveloushorses of more than human intelligence." I read it in 1936 or 1937 and can't remember anything about it but am reasonably sure that it is entitled to at leasst three stars. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Jan 25, 2010 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Christen Asbjørnsenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moe, Jørgen Engebretsenmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Brundage, FrancesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dasent, George WebbTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lynch, Patrick JamesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seaton, WalterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is the entry for original English compliation of fifty-nine stories translated by Dasent, first published 1888 . Please avoid combining with collections that contain fewer stories.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689711131, Paperback)

"Mayer's telling is an interweaving of plot elements from the original Scandinavian fairy tale with inventions of his own and details from The Frog Prince. The spellbound frog is whisked off to the trolls' castle and the ungrateful lass loses her chance to marry a handsome prince until she creates a happy ending, having atoned for her mistake".--Publishers Weekly. Full color.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:32 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Daley B's many questions about his identity and how he should live his life are answered when Jazzy D pays a visit to the woodland.

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