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Norwegian Folk Tales

(Norges Nasjonalarv)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  698 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Norwegian Folk Tales were collected and published in the mid 19th century by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812-1885) and Jørgen Moe (1813-1882). The folk tales were early on illustrated by leading Norwegian artists, and contributed to the development of a national identity.
Hardcover, 132 pages
Published 2010 by Font Forlag (first published 1868)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  698 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Excellent edition of Norwegian fairy tales by the "Norwegian Brothers Grimm." I used this for a class in college. It has a nice cover, but is not like, the prettiest edition inside, being sort of textbook-like.
What the Grimm brothers did for central Europe, these two authors did for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Grotesque, chilling, and far from civilized, these tales are the weird sort of formative influences that only the luckiest people encounter as children. And just as memorable are the book's fantastic illustrations.

There are basically two genres of stories here, as noted in Pat Shaw's introduction: "It seems that there was a difference between the stories told by old men and old women. The o
My edition of this book is yellow and worn.

It's a wonderful book. Totally unedited tales, including one where a man murders his wife. In fact, and this is horrible to say, that tale is rather funny. This collection includes tales that were sources for the better know Hans Christian Andersen versions, such as "The Companion" and "The Twevle Ducks".

One of the better tales is a version of "Puss in Boots" mixed with the French "The White Cat". Puss in the Norwegian tale is a nice fem
Valentina Markasović
Some of the stories are rather savage, and most of them are based on repetition (resulting in copy-pasted passages), but it's all part of the charm. Only one story left me puzzled - I couldn't find the moral of the story in the one about a woman who always did everything contrary, and against the flow.
Anne Hamilton
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incorrect information is given in the book description. Oris Forlag (not Orlis Forlag) is the publisher, not the author. The authors are: Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe. These ten folktales from Norway are illustrated with photos by Ivo Caprino, taken at Ivo Caprino's Fairy Tale Grotto in Hunderfossen Family Park.

These are classic folktales which include, of course, The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

I particularly liked White Bear King Valemon with its echoes of the Engli
I picked up this up at second hand book fair for the bargain price of $2. It was well worth the price and then some.

This is a wonderful little hardback of 35 Norwegian Folk tales that are beautifully illustrated. Some of the stories are similar and there is quite a bit of Christian references through them.

My favourite tale was 'The Ram and the Pig who went into the woods to live by themselves' which has some wonderful lines such as 'with chat and quack one builds neither house nor shack.' Or m
Jun 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
A solid collection of folk tales from a region not often included in popular fairy tales. The language is sometimes a little stilted, but that could be due to the translator's desire to stick to a more literal translation. I like seeing the similarities between these stories and more well known versions from other regions.

The themes and common phrases used in Norwegian folk tales really jump out when you read so many back-to-back. For example, the Ash Lad is a common hero in these st
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy-tales
Reading it as goodnight stories to my kids proved to be a succes. I enjoyed the stories very much. Some of the stories were quite funny.
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a nice collection of Norwegian folktales. Good variety!
Alicia Wright
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this little collection ver much. I'm very interested in fairy tales and how similar ones may be found all over the world.

Two of the tales in here, I had read as a child... I suspect that you have all read the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. Another that I knew as 'How the Sea Became Salty' is in here too, as 'The Mill that Grinds at the Bottom of the Sea'. The other tales I hadn't read, although some of them bear the same pattern as some of the Grimm brothers' collection
Rebecca Grace
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
The similarites and overlaps in the fairy tale traditions of different cultures are so interesting. My son, who had previously read the Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales, said, "Some are kind of the same, but the Norwegian fairy tales have trolls, and the youngest brother always wins, and he's always an Ash Lad."
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Scandinavian folklore is markedly different in tone from the Franco-Germanic tradition that has been adopted by the English-speaking world; its tales of many-headed trolls finds more in common with the Russian stories of many-headed dragons than either tradition has with those of the countries in between.
Oct 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read back and forth through this book so many times it is almost ridiculous. A marvelous collection of tales, some epic, some droll, almost all of them entertaining. There are tales here to while away many a winter's evening, as we often did throughout my childhood.
Jan 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved reading about old Norwegian culture. You can picture yourself on the farms and in the woods imagining trolls lurking around and thinking of the rich farmers as kings with beautiful princesses living there.
Cristie of Crops and Craps and things long since past
True and Untrue, One's Own Children Are Always Prettiest, and The Husband Who Was to Mind the House.

First, an honest lad is given much reward after misfortune befalls him due to his unscrupulous brother. Second, a hunter kills off the progeny of a snipe due to a misunderstanding of beauty. Third, a husband switches roles with his wife for a day, only to find that home-making is harder than it appears.

"True and Untrue" briefly mentions the gouging out of a character's eyes
I loved the stories, but hated how tiny the print was in this edition. The pictures weren't very good either.

What I learned - be nice to strangers because they will probably do something amazing for you later (like carry you thousands of miles on their back and tell you how to defeat a troll that is holding a princess hostage). Also, if you have three sons, and the youngest one does nothing but draw in the ashes in the fireplace, don't worry. After his two older brothers are rude to
Debbie Tails Prower
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This little book is a true gem I bought during my trip in Norway past May.

It's full of small stories which reminded me a lot of the Norwegian version of Grimm Brothers fairy tales. The stories aren't long and the book is so small, it makes a very quick read. I guess common themes in most of the stories are trolls, snow, the number 3 and princesses who do things.

Anyway, these were my very favorite stories (that I would tell my potential children (which I'm hopefully never
Peter Asbjornsen and his partner Jorgen Moe saved a great piece of Norway history when they traveled the country in the 19th century and collected the stories that are featured in "Folk And Fairy Tales" such as did the Grimm Brothers of Germany a little earlier.

Here are, once again, stories of kings and princesses, as we see those who are trying to win the hands of princesses and gain kingdoms. But also there are stories that are special to the country and geography of Norway with th
I've been reading a story from this collection from time to time and it took me nearly two years to read all of them. It can happen with such collection as one is pulled towards other, more modern reads and other short story collections, knowing the folktales will always be there.

As it's very big, but not extensive, collection of Norwegian folktales one can find that quite a few of them fall into the same pattern of the storytelling and only details are different. That being said there are gems
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ash Lads and trolls and animals, and most of them in interesting stories. Not every story here is instantly memorable, but nearly all are entertaining. If you like fairy tales, this is worth reading. I wish it were more extensive, like the Russian fairy tales from the same Pantheon library, but I still enjoyed this book.
David Calhoun
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Maybe it's an old translation or something, but there is something super boring about these. Couldn't get into them. The larger stories drag on even though they're only a few pages long. The shorter stories are sometimes interesting - "'Good Day, Fellow!' 'Axe Handle!'" was pretty funny.
Steve Visel
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-it-up
Norwegians must be easily amused. The tales might be of historical interest, but they tend to be dry and repetitive. A beggar wins half a kingdom and the king's daughter if only he can rescue her. Spoiler: he does, over and over again.
Viktorija B.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I mean, hell, I couldn't give it a bad rating even if I wanted to. This is exactly what it is. The translation is a little bit iffy in places, though at the same time I feel like it sets a more humorous layer over the already lighthearted tone.
Aaron Cliff
This is a great collection. The allegory behind many of these tales (The Companion or White-Bear-King-Valemon) is intensely perceptive. Definitely would recommend. There are some tales which I struggle to comprehend (The Seventh Father of the House) but as a whole the collection is astounding.
Graci Schomaker
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good source for what I'm working on. Interesting stories. Really interesting to see the overlay in some stories and characters.
Naomi Ruth
I enjoyed these. I started it ages ago and was finally able to finish it.
Kate Koger
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Many people are mad and don’t know it; many have sense and don’t show it.”
Harry Casey-Woodward
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you like stories about heroic poor boys, talking animals, rescuing princesses and nasty trolls you couldn't find a more entertaining and bizarre book than this. Some of the stories are hilarious (the gluttonous tabby cat who ate everyone he met) and some of them are horribly violent (Infanticide and cannibalism feature occasionally). My favourite stories were the quests, because they could be quite moving and standard rules of physics and geography are imaginatively twisted on these epic magi ...more
I really didn't expect this book to go over with my 3 kids (ages 11, 8.5, and 6) as it did. I thought we'd pick a stories here and there to read, but I started reading from the beginning and they kept begging for more!

The book has a mix of short and long stories with definite themes running through most of them. In fact, if you ask my children they can name some elements that are in so many of the stories.
A king offering his daughter and half the kingdom for some task
1 or
Mary Catelli
This is from the Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library series. I mention this because this is in fact a selected group of their fairy tales, from differing sources -- the table of contents carefully notes who collected what -- and another collection might have another selection. They are, after all, to Norwegian tales what the Grimms were to German.

It does not contain their one you've probably heard of, "Three Billy Goats Gruff", but it has a whole assembly of others. Including an
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Peter Christen Asbjørnsen was a Norwegian writer and scholar. He and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe were collectors of Norwegian folklore. They were so closely united in their lives' work that their folk tale collections are commonly mentioned only as "Asbjørnsen and Moe".

Other books in the series

Norges Nasjonalarv (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The lives of Nansen and Amundsen
  • Henrik Ibsen
  • Knut Hamsun
  • Norges historie etter 1814
  • Edvard Grieg
  • Thor Heyerdahl - Explorer, Scientist And Adventurer
  • The Vikings: A History
  • Nobels fredspris
  • Norske fjell og vidder
  • Skisportens vugge