The Sleeping Prince (fairy tale)

The Sleeping Prince is a Greek fairy tale collected by Georgios A. Megas in Folktales of Greece.[1]

It is Aarne-Thompson 425G: False Bride takes the heroine's place as she tries to stay awake; recognition when heroine tells her story.[2] This is also found as part of Nourie Hadig, and a literary variant forms part of the frame story of the Pentamerone.


A king had only his daughter, his wife having died, and had to go to war. The princess promised to stay with her nurse while he was gone. One day, an eagle came by and said she would have a dead man for a husband; it came again the next day. She told her nurse, and her nurse told her to tell the eagle to take her to him. The third day, it came, and she asked; it brought her to a palace, where a prince slept like the dead, and a paper said that whoever had pity on him must watch for three months, three weeks, three days, three hours, and three half-hours without sleeping, and then, when he sneezed, she must bless him and identify herself as the one who watched. He and the whole castle would wake, and he would marry the woman.

She watched three months, three weeks, and three days. Then she heard someone offering to hire maids. She hired one for company. The maid persuaded her to sleep, the prince sneezed, and the maid claimed him. She told him to let the princess sleep and when she woke, set to tend the geese. (The fairy tale starts to refer to the prince as the king.)

The king had to go to war. He asked the queen what she wanted, and she asked for a golden crown. He asked the goose-girl, and she asked for the millstone of patiences, the hangman's rope, and the butcher's knife, and if he did not bring them, his ship would go neither backward nor forward. He forgot them, and his ship would not move; an old man asked him if he had promised anything, so he bought them. He gave his wife the crown and the other things to the goose-girl. That evening, he went down to her room. She told her story to the things, and asked them what she should do. The butcher's knife said to stab herself; the rope, to hang herself; the millstone, to have patience. She asked the rope again and went to hang herself. The king broke in and saved her. He declared she was his wife and he would hang the other on the rope. She told him only to send her away. They went to her father for his blessing.

See also


  1. Georgios A. Megas, Folktales of Greece, p 70, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1970
  2. Georgias A. Megas, Folktales of Greece, p 227, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1970
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