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Literature / Boots Who Made the Princess Say 'That's a Story!'

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Boots Who Made the Princess Say, That's a Story is a Norwegian Fairy Tale collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe.

A princess lied all the time. The king declared that whoever got her to say of a tale, "That's a story" would have her to wife and half the kingdom. Many people tried. Three brothers tried, and the first two failed, and the youngest, Boots, began. They trade fantastic stories about the size of their farms:

"You haven't such a fine farm-yard as ours, I'll be bound; for when two shepherds stand, one at each end of it, and blow their ram's horns, the one can't hear the other."
"Haven't we though!" answered Boots; "ours is far bigger; for when a cow begins to go with calf at one end of it, she doesn't get to the other end before the time to drop her calf is come."

Boots tells an enormous Tall Tale about an adventure, and concludes that he found the king cobbling shoes, and his mother boxed the king on the ears.

"That's a story!" said the Princess; "my father never did any such thing in all his born days!"
So Boots got the Princess to wife, and half the kingdom besides.

Full text here.

Tropes included

  • Blatant Lies: Everything they say.
  • Engagement Challenge: Getting the princess to say that something's a lie.
  • Framing Device: The story revolves about their tales.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: The reason why the princess loses the contest. The translation provided here doesn't really capture the joke too well; in the original Norwegian text, Boots finishes his story with how his mother boxed the King's ears so that his dandruff flew off — whereupon the princess, somewhat indignantly, says: "That's a lie! My father never had dandruff!"
  • Royal Brat: The princess.
  • Rule of Three: Boots is the youngest of three.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Boots marries the princess.