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Context Literature / TheSevenFoals

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2''The Seven Foals'' is a Norwegian FairyTale collected by [[Creator/AsbjornsenAndMoe Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jorgen Moe]].
4A poor couple had three sons, and the youngest just sat about and poked in the ashes. The oldest went to the king and asked for a job; the king set him to watch his seven foals all day and if he could tell where they went, he would have the princess and half the kingdom, but if he failed, the king would cut three red stripes out of his back. He agreed, but after chasing the foals through rugged lands, an old woman called him to stop with her, and he did. The old woman gave him some water and turf, and he claimed that was what they ate and drank. The king had the three strips taken out. The next brother tried as well and came to the same end.
6Then the youngest went, and had a time to persuade the king since he was their brother, but succeeded, and when the old woman called to him, he ran on. One of the foals then told him to ride on his back. They rode on, and came to a tree that had a room inside, with a sword and a flask. The foals had him try the sword, and when he could not, drink from the flask until he could. The foals tell him to cut off their heads on his wedding day, which will turn them back into men, because they are the king's sons.
8They then go on and cross a river and reach a chapel where they become men. There they receive wine and bread from the priest, and the youngest son took some to show the king. When he does, the king agrees he has succeeded, and they hold the wedding. The youngest son cut off the foals' head as he had agreed, and brings them in, and there is more rejoicing. The king says he shall be his heir, because now his sons can get lands of their own.
10Full text [[ here]].
12!!Tropes included
13* BalefulPolymorph: The foals are transformed.
14* CoolSword: The foals show him one, and tell him how to use it.
15* LemonyNarrator: A lot of the fairytales by Creator/AsbjornsenAndMoe has a few lemony bits of narration, but this story is probably the most blatant example; the narrator suddenly and without any warning inserts himself into the wedding feast at the end, and the last paragraph of the story is spent lamenting the fate of a piece of bread-and-butter he foolishly put down on a hot stove:
16-->And so, like enough, there was mirth and fun at that wedding. I was there too; but there was no one to care for poor me; and so I got nothing but a bit of bread and butter, and I laid it down on the stove, and the bread was burnt and the butter ran, and so I didn't get even the smallest crumb. Wasn't that a great shame?
17* PinocchioSyndrome: The foals are willing to have their heads cut off for this.
18* RagsToRoyalty: The youngest son.
19* RuleOfThree: It takes three drinks before he can lift the sword.
20* RuleOfSeven: Seven foals
21* StandardHeroReward: The king's sons even say they will go make their own fortunes so the kingdom can go to him.
22* ThresholdGuardians: The old woman who lures the older two brothers away.
23* YoungestChildWins: The youngest of the three succeeds.