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1001 Tatterhood Dave Ruck
Added on 31st July 2020

Oral tradition A Norwegian folktale

A tale of two sisters with a bold, brave and independent heroine.


A king and queen are sad to have no children. A beggar woman agreed to help them but the queen disobeys the advice she is given and gives birth to two girls, the younger gentle and beautiful, the older wild and ugly, who rides a goat and brandishes a wooden spoon. When the witches steal the head of the younger sister and replace it with a calf, the older takes her sister to get it back. On the way home they meet a king and his son and a bargain is struck.

Why we chose it

Tatterhood is an unusual heroine. She is bold and brave and will not conform. She rescues her sister herself without the need for a handsome prince!

Where it came from

A story from the Norwegian oral tradition, it was first written down in Norske Folkeeventyr a collection of traditional stories collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, who like the Brothers Grimm in Germany sought to record and preserve traditional oral stories.

Associated stories

There are other traditional stories about sisters, where one is beautiful and the other ugly. Charles Perrault tells the story of Ricky of the Tuft and his twin sisters. Kate Crackernuts is a Scottish story in which Kate rescues her sister from an enchantment.

Added on 31st July 2020

Oral tradition A Norwegian folktale