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Literature / Gullible Men and Mean Wives

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Gullible Men and Mean Wives (Dumme menn og troll til kjerringer) is a rural tale, collected and written down by Asbjørnsen and Moe, and published in their collection of fairy tales. This story, although presented as a Fairy Tale, is explicitly without any supernatural elements, and is often categorized under "stories telling of stupid farmers and.. stuff". But enough of that, let us get to the story:


Two married women went into a bet on which of them had the most gullible husband. Both of them insisted that her husband was particularly gullible and could be convinced to do whatever she asked him to. It ended with a bet, and the two women proceeded to work on their husbands. One of them decided to pretend her husband was severely ill, and played it up until he really believed it himself. She played him more and more sick, until he honestly believed he was dead, and a full funeral was prepared for him. She remembered, however, to make small holes in the coffin, to make sure he didn´t suffocate inside.

The other wife tricked her husband to believe she indeed was spinning, weaving and sowing new clothes for him, although there was nothing to be seen. At first, he thought she had lost her mind this time, but she insisted until he believed her, and when it became known that the neighbor had recently passed away, she dressed him up for the funeral. Hilarity ensued when the "dead" one spotted his naked neighbor from inside the coffin and started Corpsing. That incident revealed the whole scam, and when all was revealed, both husbands took their wives home to... talk it over... with a wooden stick.



  • Chekhov's Gun: The holes in the coffin, made for easy breathing, were big enough for the man inside to look out from. Then he saw his neighbor naked...
  • Corpsing: A rare (and quite literal) in-universe example when the man who thinks he is dead can´t help himself and begins to roar with laughter inside the coffin.
  • Domestic Abuse: Two-sided, one presumes, and entirely Played for Laughs.
  • Fairy Tale: Without any supernatural elements, unless you count the main characters as supernaturally stupid. Or supernaturally manipulative.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Both the wives in question come down to this.
  • Nominal Importance: Both the husbands are presented by name during the tale, underscoring that they live on neighboring farms (Northern and Southern farm). The names are so common, however, that they could have been used by anyone. The wives remain unnamed.
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  • Too Dumb to Live: Both husbands. At least until they see through the scams and retaliate.

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