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East of the Sun and West of the Moon Story

Norwegian Folk Tales and Legends - The White Bear tactics a poor peasant and inquires if he'll give him his prettiest and youngest daughter; in return, the bear is likely to make the guy wealthy. The woman is reluctant, or so the peasant asks the bear to return, and meanwhile, persuades her. The White Bear takes her off to a rich and enchanted castle. At night, he takes off his bear form to be able to come to her bed as a man, even though the shortage of light signifies that she never sees him. Read the full story :

Norwegian Fairy Tales

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Once upon a time there was a poor peasant who had so many kids that he didn't have enough of either food or clothes to give them. Pretty kids they all were, but the most adorable was the youngest kid, who had been so lovely there was no limit for her loveliness.

One day -- it was on a Thursday day late in the fall -- that the weather was wild and rough out, and it had been cruelly dark. The rain was falling and the wind blowing off, until the walls of the cabin shook. They were all sitting round the fire busy with this thing and that. The father went out to find out what was the issue. Outside, what should he see but a fantastic big white bear.

"Good evening to you," said the white bear.

"The same to you," said the guy.

"Will you give me your youngest daughter? If you will, I'll make you as rich as you are now poor," said the bear.

The man wouldn't be at all inclined to be so wealthy; but still he thought he must have a bit of a talk with his daughter first; so he went in and told them how there was a great white bear waiting outside, who'd given his word to make them so rich if he could just have the youngest kid.

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The girl said "No!" outright. Nothing could convince her to say anything else; so the man went outside and settled it with the white bear, that he must come again another Thursday evening and get an answer. Meantime he spoke to his daughter, and kept on telling her of all the riches they would get, and how well off she herself would be. At last she consented to it, so she washed and mended her rags, and made herself as smart as she would. Soon she was prepared for the trip, for she did not have much to take along.

The following Thursday evening arrived the white bear to fetch her. She got onto his back with her bundle, and away they went. Once they'd gone a good way, the white bear said, "Are you afraid?"

No, she was not.

She rode a long, long way, until they came into some large steep cliff. The white stand knocked on it. A door opened, and they came into a castle, where there were so many rooms all lit up; rooms gleaming with silver and gold. Further, there was a desk set there, and it was all as grand as grand could be. Then the white bear gave her a silver bell; and if she wanted anything, she just had to ring it, and then she'd get it simultaneously.

Well, after she'd eaten, and it became evening, she felt sleepy from her journey, and thought she'd like to go to bed, so she rang the bell. She'd hardly rung it until she found herself in a room, where there was a mattress made as white and fair as anybody would wish to sleep in, with silken pillows and drapes, and golden fringe. All that was in the area was gold or silver. After she'd gone to bed, and put out the light, then a man came and laid himself along with her. It had been the white bear, who cast off his pelt at nighttime; but she never saw him, for he always came after she had put out the light. Prior to the day dawned that he was up and off again. Things went on happily for some time, but at last she became quiet and sad. She had been alone all day long, and she became really nostalgic to watch her father and mother and brothers and sisters. So one day, once the white bear asked what was wrong with her, she said it had been really lonely there, and how she longed to go home to watch her father and mother and sisters and brothers, which was why she was so unhappy, since she could not get to them.

"Well," said the bear, "that can happen all right, but you must promise me, not to talk alone with your mother, but only when the others are around to hear. She will want to take you by the hand and lead you into a room to talk alone with her. But you must not do that, or else you'll bring bad luck on both of us."

So one Sunday the white bear came and said they could now set off to see her father and mother. They went, she seated on his rear; and they went far and long. At last they arrived to a grand property. Her bothers and sisters were out running about and enjoying. Everything was really pretty, it was a joy to see.

No, heaven forbid, she would not forget. When they reached the home, the white bear turned around and abandoned her.

She went into watch her father and mother, and there was such delight, that there was no conclusion to it. Not one of them may thank her enough for all she'd done for them. They now had everything that they could wish for, as well as good could be. Then they wanted to know exactly how she was.

Well, she stated, it had been quite great to reside where she failed; she had everything she wished. I really don't know what else she said, but I do not believe she told some of them the entire story. That day, after they had eaten dinner, everything happened as the white bear had said it would. Her mother wanted to speak to her alone in her bedroom; but she remembered exactly what the white bear had stated, and would not go with her.

"What we have to talk about we can talk about any time," she said, and place off her mother. But somehow or other, her mother got to her at last, and she had to tell her the whole story. She told her, how each night, after she had gone to bed, a man came and lay down with her as soon as she had set out the light, and how she never saw him, because he was constantly up and off before the morning dawned; and how she was terribly sad, for she wanted so much to see him, and how she had been by herself all day long, and how dreary, and lonesome it turned out.

Yes, she took the candle, and hid it in her bosom, and that evening the white bear came and took her away.

But when they'd gone a bit, the white stand asked if all had not happened as he'd said.

She couldn't deny that it had.

No, by no means!

When she reached home, and had gone to bed, it had been the exact same as before. A man came and lay down beside her; but at the middle of the night, when she noticed that he was fast asleep, she got up and lit the candle. She let the light shine on him, and noticed that he was the most handsome prince one ever set eyes on. She fell so deeply in love with him, that she thought she couldn't live if she did not give him a kiss at once. And so she did, but as she kissed him she let three drops of hot tallow drip on his shirt, and he awakened.

"What have you done?" He cried; "now you have made us both unlucky, for had you held out only this one year, I would have been free! I have a stepmother who has bewitched me, so that I am a white bear by day, and a man by night.

She cried and grieved, but there was no help for it; he needed to go.

Then she asked if she would go with him.

No, she couldn't.

"Tell me the way, then" she explained, "so I can look for you; surely I may do that."

Yes, she would do so, but there was no way leading to the place. It lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and she'd never find her way there.

The next morning, when she awakened, both of the prince and the castle were gone, and she had been lying on a little green patch, in the middle of the thick, dark forest, and by her side lay the same bundle of rags she had brought with her from her old home.

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When she had rubbed the sleep from her eyes, and cried until she was exhausted, she set out on her manner, and walked many, many times until she came to a high cliff. An old lady sat under it, and played with a golden apple which she tossed about. The woman asked her if she knew the way to this prince, who lived with his stepmother in the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, and that was to marry the princess with a nose three yards long.

Asked the old woman. "Maybe you are the girl who should have had him?"

Yes, she was.

Said the old woman. Maybe she'll be able to tell you; and when you get there just give the horse a switch under the left ear, and beg him to be off home.

She got on the horse, and rode a long, long time, before she came to a different cliff, beneath which sat another old woman, with a gold carding comb. The woman asked her if she knew how into the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and she replied, such as the very first old woman, that she knew nothing about it, except that it was east of the sun and west of the moon.

This older girl gave her the gold carding comb; she could find some use for it, she explained. So that the woman got up on the horse, and again rode a long, long way. At last she came to another fantastic cliff, below which sat another older woman, spinning with a gold spinning wheel. She requested her, as well, when she knew the way to the prince, and where the castle was that lay east of the sun and west of the moon. But it was the exact same thing repeatedly.

Said the older woman.

Yes, that she had been.

But she did not understand the way any better than the other two. She understood it was east of the sun and west of the moon, but that was all.

"And you'll get there too late or never; but I'll lend you my horse, and then I think you'd best ride to the east wind and ask him; maybe he knows his way around those parts, and can blow you there.

She too gave her her golden spinning wheel. "Maybe you'll find a use for it," said the old woman.

She rode many weary days, until she got to the east wind's house, but at last she did reach it, and she asked the east wind if he could tell her the way to the prince who lived east of the sun and west of the moon. Yes, the west end had often heard tell of it, the prince and the castle, but he didn't understand the way there, because had never blown so far.

Maybe he knows, for he's much stronger.

Yes, she caught on his back, and off they went at a hurry.

When they arrived at the west wind's house, the east wind said the woman he had brought was the one who was presumed to have had the prince who lived at the castle east of the sun and west of the moon. She'd set out to find him, and he'd brought her here, and would be glad to know if the west end knew how to get to the castle.

"No," said the west end, "I've never blown so far; but if you want, I'll go with you to our brother the south wind, for he's much stronger than either of us, and he has flown far and wide.

Yes, she got on his back, and so they traveled into the south west wind, and I believe it didn't take long whatsoever.

When they got there, the west wind asked him if he could tell her the way to the castle that lay east of the sun and west of the moon, because she had been the one who was supposed to have had the prince who dwelt there.

"Is that so?" Said the south end. "Is she the one? Get on my back, and I'll carry you there."

Yes, she got on his back, and off he left his house at a good clip. They weren't long penalized. When they reached the north wind's house he was so wild and cross, that he blew cold gusts at them by a long way off. He roared at them from afar, so that it struck them with the icy shiver.

"Well," said the south wind, "you don't need to bluster so, for here I am, your brother, the south wind, and here is the girl who was supposed to have had the prince who lives in the castle that lies east of the sun and west of the moon, and now she wants to ask you if you ever were there, and can show her the way, for she wants so much to find him again."

"Yes, I know where it is," stated the north wind; "a single time I blew an aspen leaf there, but afterward I was so tired that I couldn't blow a puff for many days.

Yes, with all her heart; she wanted to and had to get there if it had been at all possible; and she would not be afraid, however madly he travelled.

"Very well, then," said the north wind, "but you must sleep here tonight, for we must have the whole day before us, if we're to get there at all."

Early next morning that the north end awakened, and puffed himself up, and pulled himself out, and left himself so stout and big. He had been gruesome to look at. Off they went high up through the air, as if they wouldn't stop until they reached the end of the world.

Here in the world there was a dreadful storm; acres of woods and several homes were blown down, and when it drifted over the sea, boats ravaged by the hundred.

They tore on and on -- nobody could believe just how far they moved -- and all the time they still went across the sea, and the north end got more and more weary, and so out of breath he could hardly bring a puff out, and his wings drooped and drooped, until at last he sunk so low that the tops of the waves splashed over his heels.

"Are you afraid?" Said the north wind.

No, she wasn't.

They were not very far from land by now, along with the north end had enough strength left that he managed to throw her up on the coast under the windows of the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon. But then he had been so feeble and worn out, that he had to remain there and break many days until he would go home again.

The next morning the woman sat down beneath the castle window, and started to play with the gold apple. The first person she saw was that the long-nosed princess who had been to possess the prince.

"What do you want for your golden apple, you girl?" Stated the long-nosed one, as she opened the window.

"It's not for sale, for gold or money," said the woman.

"If it's not for sale for gold or money, what is it that you will sell it for? You may name your own price," said the princess.

"Well, you can have it, if I may get to the prince, who lives here, and be with him tonight," said the girl whom the north end had brought.

Yes, that could be carried out. Hence the princess shot the golden apple; however when the woman came up into the prince's bedroom at night, he was quickly asleep. She called him and shook him, and cried and grieved, but she couldn't wake him up. The next morning. As soon as day broke, the princess with the long nose came and drove her out.

That day she sat down under the castle windows and began to card with her gold carding comb, and the exact same thing occurred. The princess asked what she wanted to it. She stated it wasn't for sale for gold or money, but if she could have permission to visit the prince and be together with him that night, the princess could have it. But when she went to his room she found him fast asleep again, and yet much she predicted, and shook, and cried, and cried, she could not get life into him. Whenever the first gray peep of day came, the princess with the long nose came, and chased her out again.

That day the girl sat down outside beneath the castle window and started to spin with her golden spinning wheel, and the princess with the long nose wanted to have it too. She opened the window and asked what she wanted for it. The woman said, as she had said twice before, that it was not for sale for gold or money, but if she would go to the prince who was there, and be alone with him that night she would have it.

Yes, she would be welcome to do this. However, now you must know that there were some Christians who were taken there, and while they were sitting in their area, which was alongside the prince, they had heard how a woman had been in there, crying, praying, and calling to him for two nights in a row, and they informed this to the prince.

That evening, once the princess came with a sleeping potion, the prince pretended to drink it, but threw it over his shoulder, for he could suspect that it was a sleeping potion. So, when the girl came in, she found the prince broad awake, and then she told him the whole story of how she had come there.

"Ah," said the prince, "you've come in the very nick of time, for tomorrow is to be our wedding day. But now I won't have the long-nose, and you are the only woman in the world who can set me free. I'll say that I want to see what my wife is fit for, and beg her to wash the shirt which has the three spots of tallow on it. She'll agree, for she doesn't know that you are the one who put them there. Only Christians, and not such a pack of trolls, can wash them out again. I'll say that I will marry only the woman who can wash them out, and ask you to try it."

So there was great joy and love between them all of the night. But next day, when the wedding was planned, the prince said, "First of all, I'd like to see what my bride is fit for."

"Yes!" Said the stepmother, together with all her heart.

"Well," said the prince, "I've got a fine shirt which I'd like for my wedding shirt, but somehow or other it got three spots of tallow on it, which I must have washed out. I have sworn to marry only the woman who is able to do that. If she can't, then she's not worth having."

Well, that was no significant thing they said, so they consented, and the one with the long nose began to wash off as hard as she could, but the more she rubbed and scrubbed, the bigger the spots grew.

"Ah!" Said the old troll lady, her mom, "you can't wash. Let me try."

But she had hardly touched the shirt, until it got much worse than before, and with all her rubbing, and wringing, and scrubbing, the stains grew larger and blacker, and the top got ever darker and more adorable.

Then all of the other trolls began to wash, but the longer it lasted, the blacker and uglier the shirt climbed, until at last it was as black all over as if it been up the chimney.

"Ah!" said the prince, "none of you is worth a straw; you can't wash. Why there, outside, sits a beggar girl, I'll bet she knows how to wash better than the whole lot of you. Come in, girl!" He shouted.

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She arrived in.

"Can you wash this shirt clean, girl, you?" He said.

"I don't know," she said, "but I think I can."

And almost before she had taken it and dipped it into the water, it was as white as driven snow, and whiter still.

"Yes, you are the girl for me," said the prince.

At that the old troll woman flew into such a rage, she exploded on the place, along with the princess with the long nose after her, and the entire bunch of trolls after her -- at least I've never heard a word about them as.

In terms of the princess and prince, they set free all of the poor Christians who had been captured and closed up there; and they took with them all the silver and gold, and flew away as much as they could in the castle that lay east of the sun and west of the moon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw8gwbWaHOY

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