In lieu of the World Cup finals, where Spain is playing Netherlands tonight, we thought we’d honour the
occasion with folktales from both countries.
The fine harbor at Stavoren welcomed the ships of many countries, and many countries were visited by the ships of Stavoren. So rich and proud became the city’s merchants, they fitted their doors with handles and hinges of gold. Among these merchants was a young widow, richest of the rich and proudest of the proud. They called her the Lady of Stavoren… Read more
to find out how the Lady of Stavoren, in her greedy search for the most precious thing in the world, destroyed the fate of an entire city.
Once upon a time there was a very poor woodcutter who had three beautiful daughters. Of the three girls, the youngest was the most beautiful. One day the woodcutter went into the forest and was chopping down an oak tree when a very large and horrible bear wrenched the axe from his hands.
“Who gave you permission to cut the wood in my forest?” growled the bear. “You have been stealing my timber and now you must pay for it with your life.”
“Please forgive me, Senor Oso,” said the poor woodcutter, “I was only cutting the wood to sell it and thus support my three little daughters. If you kill me, my little girls will starve.”
The Bear remained thoughtful and then said, “There is only one way in which you life may be saved. You have to give me one of your daughters in marriage.”
This Spanish folktale, El Principe Oso (The Bear Prince) is a tale told in the Cupid-Psyche fashion, where Ninfa, the woodcutters youngest daughter marries a bear who turns into a handsome Prince at night. When the enchantment goes wrong, Ninfa has to travel to the Castle of Faith to find him. Read the rest of The Bear Prince here.