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The Fairy Tales of Asbjørnsen and Moe

Peter Christen Asbjørnsen
Jørgen Moe

Popular Tales From the Norse
translated by George Webbe Dasent
Third Edition, 1888

True and Untrue

Why the Sea Is Salt

The Old Dame and Her Hen

East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon

Boots Who Ate a Match With the Troll

Hacon Grizzlebeard

Boots Who Made the Princess Say, "That's A Story"

The Twelve Wild Ducks

The Giant Who Had No Heart in His Body

The Fox as Herdsman

The Mastermaid

The Cat on the Dovrefell

Princess on the Glass Hill

How One Went Out to Woo

The Cock and Hen

The Master-Smith

The Two Step-Sisters


Taming the Shrew


Gudbrand on the Hill-side

The Blue Belt

Why the Bear Is Stumpy-Tailed

Not a Pin to Choose Between Them

One's Own Children Are Always Prettiest

The Three Princesses of Whiteland

The Lassie and Her Godmother

The Three Aunts

The Cock, the Cuckoo, and the Blackcock

Rich Peter the Pedlar

Gertrude's Bird

Boots and the Troll

Goosey Grizzel

The Lad Who Went to the North Wind

The Master Thief

The Best Wish

The Three Billy-Goats Gruff

Well Done and Ill Paid

The Husband Who Was to Mind the House


Farmer Weathersky

Lord Peter

The Seven Foals

The Widow's Son

Bushy Bride

Boots and His Brothers

Big Peter and Little Peter


The Cock and Hen That Went to the Dovrefell

Katie Woodencloak


Doll i' the Grass

The Lad and the Deil

The Cock and Hen a-Nutting

The Big Bird Dan

Soria Moria Castle

Bruin and Reynard

Tom Totherhouse

Little Annie the Goose-Girl

Asbjørnsen, Peter Christen and Moe, Jørgen. Popular Tales from the Norse, Third Edition. George Webbe Dasent, translator. Edinburgh: David Douglass, 1888.

Asbjørnsen's Tales

The Pancake

About Asbjørnsen and Moe
from The Quest for the Earliest Fairy Tales
by Heidi Anne Heiner

Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812-1885) and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe (1813-1882) are Norway's answer to the Brothers Grimm. They were friends as teenagers but formed their literary partnership in their early twenties while still students. Both were interested in folklore at an early age through their personal experiences listening to it and their reading of the Grimms' work. When they learned each had independently started collecting folk stories, they decided to work in tandem. Asbjørnsen was a zoologist while Moe was a theologist, ultimately becoming a bishop, but their lasting contribution has been their collection and publication of Norwegian folktales. The men built upon the work of Andreas Faye, a clergyman, who published the first collection of Norwegian folktales in 1833. Asbjørnsen and Moe personally collected the tales, traveling around Norway during summer vacations and throughout the seasons, often walking on foot and visiting villages to hear the tales firsthand.

In 1845, Norske Folkeeventyr (Norwegian Folk Tales), the first collection of their tales was published with immediate success in Norway. An even more successful second edition appeared in 1852 with several more editions appearing in later years. Later editions also introduced the beloved illustrations of Erik Werenskiold and Theodor Kittelsen. Some of the most popular tales from the collection are The Three Billy-Goats Gruff, The Master Maid, Soria Maria Castle, Why the Sea is Salt, and The Twelve Wild Ducks. The collection is also known simply as Asbjørnsen and Moe, especially in Norway where it is considered part of the national identity.

The first English translation of Norske Folkeeventyr by George Webbe Dasent appeared in 1858 as Popular Tales of the Norse. Despite pressure to change the tales to meet English tastes and morals, he states in his notice to the first edition that "the merit of an undertaking of this kind rests entirely on its faithfulness and truth; and the man who, in such a work, wilfully changes or softens, is as guilty as he 'puts bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.'" Dasent added thirteen tales to the second edition of 1859 and once again explains that he did not change the content, but commands children to not read the final two tales due to adult content. The third edition of 1888 with 59 tales is available on this site at Popular Tales of the Norse. It remains one of the most accurate and complete translations of Norske Folkeeventyr available in English. It is currently in print from Dover Publications as East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon.

Moe's son, Moltke Moe, continued his father's work, collaborating with Asbjørnsen when his father was too busy with his theological duties. He became the first professor of folklore and fairy tales at Christiania University.

Further Reading

Asbjørnsen, Peter Christen and Moe, Jørgen. Popular Tales from the Norse, Third Edition. George Webbe Dasent, translator. Edinburgh: David Douglass, 1888.

Also available in reprint as:
Dasent, George Webbe. East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon. New York: Dover, 1970.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in paperback.


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Norwegian Folktales by Asbjornsen and Moe

East O' The Sun And West O' The Moon by Peter Christen Asbjornsen, Jorgen Engebretsen Moe, George Webbe Dasent

D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths by Ingri D'Aulaire, Edgar Parin D'Aulaire


©Heidi Anne Heiner, SurLaLune Fairy Tales
Page created 6/20/07; Last updated 10/11/07