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Sneezy Grimm Fairy Tales


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Lately I've been loving Philip Pullman's Grimm Tales. As a Christmas present to the forum, I have two sneeze-related fairy tales of my own. I hope you like.


Once upon a time, there was a tailor who had three daughters. He worked very hard, making clothes to sell at the town market. When his three daughters grew up, they worked with him, sewing clothes from dawn until dusk.

The house they lived in was very dusty, and the dust often tickled the sisters' noses and made them sneeze. The eldest sister had a quiet sneeze, which sounded like


The middle sister had an even quieter sneeze, which sounded like


But the youngest sister had a very loud sneeze, which sounded like


She tried and tried, but she couldn't control her sneezes, and they were always loud. When she had to sneeze, the other sisters would jump at the noise, then they would all laugh.

Though they worked very hard, their business was not making enough money. One day, their father went off to market, and came back with a strange tale.

"I have heard from a man who heard from a man..." he said "That there is a dragon who lives on the highest hill in the kingdom. He has a great chest of gold and never locks his front door. If we can steal some of his gold our business might be saved."

"Father!" said the eldest sister. "You are too old to go hunting the gold. Us three must go."

"We will." said the middle sister.

"We will." said the youngest sister. Just then, a breeze crept under the door and tickled her nose.


"Bless you." said her father. "You can go, but that has reminded me- your sisters sneeze quietly, but your loud sneezes may give you away. Take this handkerchief with you."

And the old tailor gave his youngest daughter a magic handkerchief which he had sewn long ago.

"Whenever you sneeze into this handkerchief, there will be no sound at all."

The three sisters took some bread and cheese, and left the house. They wandered for a day and a night until they came to the dragon's castle. They walked over the drawbridge, past the dragon's great dining table, and up the stairs.

They came to the attic where the dragon kept his enormous treasure chest. The room was very dusty and each sister suddenly felt a sneeze coming.

The first sneezed: "Ah-tishoo!"

The second sneezed: "Ah-shoo!"

But the third sister hitched with an "AAAAH-" but sneezed silently into the magic handkerchief.

The sisters opened the treasure chest, which gave a great creak. Inside they saw gold and jewels beyond their wildest dreams. Just a pocketful would make them rich. But then, they heard the front door of the castle close, as the dragon came home from his work.

"We must hide!" said the eldest sister.

"Where?" said the middle sister.

"Behind the curtain!" said the youngest sister.

The sisters hid behind the curtain as the dragon came running up the stairs. He blew smoke and soot from his nose, as he spoke:

"Pretty girl, pretty girl, do as you please...
But I will find you from one little sneeze..."

And the smoke from his jaw tickled the eldest sister's nose, and she sneezed:


The dragon heard the quiet sneeze and he reached behind the curtain and grabbed her.

"You shall be my breakfast." he said, and he ran downstairs and put her on the dining table.

Then the dragon went upstairs again and sniffed around, calling out:

"Pretty girl, pretty girl, do as you please...
But I will find you from one little sneeze..."

His sooty breath tickled the middle sister's nose, and she sneezed:


The sneeze was very quiet but still the dragon heard it. He grabbed the middle sister and said:

"You shall be my lunch."

Then put her on his dinner table and continued his hunt. Once more he blew smoke from his nostrils and said:

"Pretty girl, pretty girl, do as you please...
But I will find you from one little sneeze..."

Sure enough, the smoky breath of the dragon tickled the youngest sister's nose. She reached for her magic handkerchief but found it was not there.

"Oh no!" she thought. "I have dropped the magic handkerchief! The dragon will hear my loud sneeze for sure!"

Though she tried not to, the youngest sister sneezed the loudest sneeze of her life, certain she was going to be gobbled up by the dragon.


But the dragon had a secret that he had never told anyone. His hearing was so sensitive that he was scared of loud noises. The youngest sister's sneeze scared him so much that he ran out of the room, down the stairs, out through the castle door and he slipped on the drawbridge and drowned in the moat.

The youngest sister hurried out from behind the curtain. She went downstairs and helped her older sisters down from the dinner table. They went to the dragon's treasure chest and filled their pockets with gold and jewels.

When they returned home to their father, he wept for joy. With the riches they had, they could make their business a success. When the old tailor died, his daughters took over his business and they are still working there happily to this day.




There once was a king who took a woman to marry as his queen. The king and the queen adored one another, and they had a baby girl. The child was the light of their lives, but soon after the queen became sick.

The king called the cleverest doctors in the land, but none of them could help the queen. She became sicker and it seemed sure she would die.

Then, an old woman came to the king's palace and made him an offer.

"I can cure the Queen- but for a price."

The king could see that this woman was a witch, but he was in desperation, and he agreed.

"Whatever your price is- just make my wife well and I will pay."

The witch took a golden pear from her robes, and cut a tiny slice from it. She pressed it into the queen's mouth and instantly the queen was awake and well.

"Thank the Lord!" said the king. "Name your price and I will pay!"

"My price is your daughter." said the witch. "I will come back for her when she is twenty-one."

Then the witch vanished.

The king tried to put the witch out of his mind, as his daughter grew. The young princess grew to adulthood and she was the most beautiful woman ever seen in the kingdom, with long golden hair and sea-blue eyes.

Though it happened that the princess suffered terrible hayfever. She would walk with her mother and father in the flower meadows, and say:

"Oh, do excuse me please- I think that I am going to sneeze!"

Then she would sneeze four times, each one stronger than the last.


And her mother and father would bless her. As the princess was so beautiful, but couldn't help sneezing, some in the court nicknamed her 'Sneezing Beauty'.

It came that the princess was twenty-one. In the middle of the night, the witch came to the castle.

"I've come for what's mine." said the witch. "Your daughter."

The king was terrified, but he could not go back on the bargain.

"What will you do to her?" he asked.

"I shall wipe her memory so she does not know you, and keep her locked up in my house and she will work for me."

"Please!" begged the king. "Be merciful! At least let her out into the garden!"

"Okay." said the witch. But the witch was a wily woman, and she took a precaution. "On one condition. You must destroy every picture and portrait of your daughter, so no-one knows what she looks like and no-one will ever find her."

The witch took the princess away on her broomstick as the king destroyed all her portraits, weeping as he did so.

In the next five years, the king rode out and tried to find his daughter, but he could not. The princess lost her memory- she cleaned the witch's house, and tended her garden, where many trees grew which bore golden pears. The pollen in the air sometimes made her sneeze, always in the same way:


When the king had given up searching, a prince came to his castle.

"I have heard of your situation, and I want to look for the princess. But how should I know her?"

"You shall know her by her golden hair and blue eyes." said the king, overjoyed.

The prince rode out, and came back with a young maiden. She had shining golden hair and glittering blue eyes but it wasn't the princess.

A year later, another prince came to the castle.

"I've heard tell of your problems, and I want to look for the princess. But how should I know her?"

"You shall know her by her golden hair and blue eyes." said the king.

The second prince came back with a girl with hair more golden, and eyes more blue than the last. But it was not the princess.

When the king had lost all hope, a third prince arrived.

"News travels fast, and I want to look for the princess. But how should I know her?"

"You shall know her by her golden hair and blue eyes." said the king.

But the third prince was an intelligent man, and he saw the glaring flaw.

"Sire..." said the prince. "Lots of girls have golden hair and blue eyes. Is there not some other way I should know her?"

The king thought for a moment.

"You shall know her by her sneezes." he said. "When she is around flowers, she sneezes four times- each one stronger than the last."

The third prince rode for a year and a day, in simple traveller's robes, until he discovered a small house by a cliff. At the back was a garden full of trees bearing golden pears. A golden-haired girl was watering the plants.

The prince knocked on the door, and an old woman answered.

"What do you want?"

"Excuse me, dear lady," said the prince, "Who is that woman in your garden?"

"She is my granddaughter." said the witch.

"She is so beautiful... would you permit me to take her out for a walk."

"Oh no." said the witch. "She is most sensitive and I have to keep her here."

"Then, would I be permitted to give her a present?" said the prince.

"Oh yes," said the witch, greedily thinking there may be money in it. "Yes, of course."
The cunning prince went to a nearby meadow and gathered a bunch of flowers, which he hid under his robes. Then he knocked on the door of the house again,

"I am here, to present my gift to your granddaughter."

The witch led him through into her magnificent garden, full of golden pear-trees. The shy girl came to the prince and looked at him curiously.

"Dear lady, please accept this gift." And he gave her the flowers.

The girl smiled with delight, and smelled them- but the pollen went instantly into her nose and caused a tingling feeling. She felt a familiar sensation of a sneeze building up. She said her usual polite apology-

"Oh Sir, do excuse me please- I think that I am going to sneeze!"

For a few moments, the woman hitched, and the prince watched with baited breath.


"Bless you, my dear lady." said the prince. "You may not know it, but you are a princess, and you have been cruelly treated. I have come to take you back home- but first, I must slay the wicked witch who has done this to you!"

The prince drew his sword, and found the witch in her kitchen. With one almighty blow, he cut her head off. But with her last breath the witch cursed him and the prince fell down, and was dying.

But the princess' memory came back, and she remembered something her father had told her as a child. She took a golden pear from one of the trees and squeezed the juice into the prince's mouth. Instantly he recovered, and he and the princess fell in love.

They journeyed back to the king's castle, where there was a great feast to celebrate their arrival. They were married two days later, and lived in happiness for the rest of their lives.




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One more:


Once there was a miller who had a beautiful wife. Her hair was as red as the fur of a fox.

One summer, the man's wife had a baby girl, who grew up to be a strong and dutiful daughter. She was beautiful, and as red-haired as her mother. But the flour in the mill always seemed to tickle her nose and it made her sneeze. Her father encouraged her to carry a handkerchief, but still she sneezed a lot.


She couldn't stop herself, and her sneezes became bigger and bigger. Soon her sneezes were so big they were known about the town. One day, she was near the market, and felt a sneeze building:

"Aah... aaaah... AHHH-CHOOO!"

and her big sneeze blew over a vegetable stall. Another day, she was visiting a local chicken farmer to collect eggs for her father. The feathers tickled her nose and she could not help a sneeze.

"Aaah... aah-aaah-ACHCOOOOO!"

The girl sneezed so hard that all of the chickens flew up into they air, with surprised expressions on their faces.

When she reached her twenty-first year, the miller bought his daughter a magnificent red coat, for travelling. He also gave her a matching red handkerchief.

"I know you have very big sneezes." he said, "But there is no shame in that. Use this handkerchief to catch your sneezes, and don't be embarrassed."

The girl thanked her father. She walked around the town, wearing her red coat and sneezing loudly into her handkerchief when something tickled her nose.


The people in the town stopped and stared, and she gained the name "Little Red Handkercheif", or to her friends: "Red".

One day, her father asked her to take a basket of food to her grandmother. Her grandmother lived a long way away in the woods. The girl set off, merrily going about her journy and holding her handkerchief ready in case she had to sneeze.

Now, in this wood, there dwealt a wicked wolf. He was excited to see Red, because when maidens walked into the wood alone he would sometimes have them for his supper.

"Hello little girl..." said the wolf.

"Hello Mister Wolf." said Red. "It's nice to meet you but I must get to Granny's house."

"Take your time..." said the wolf, plotting and planning. "Smell some of these flowers..."

He presented a bunch of flowers to Red, but she began to build up to a sneeze.

"Oh... excuse me... I have- Aaah- to- AAAAH-CHOOO!"

Her sneeze blew the wolf a mile backwards. As he got to his feet, he hatched a plan.

"I have been trying for years, to blow down the Pigs' house, but yet my breath was not enough. But this woman's sneeze would do it, I'm sure."

And so the wolf said to Red: "Shall we go for a walk, it will give you a lift? There is time enough for your Granny's gift."

And the despicable wolf took Red to the house of the Pigs. The wolf had been trying for years to break into the Pigs' house so he could eat them. But every time he blew on it, he couldn't blow their house down. But now he said:

"Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in!"

"No! Not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin!"

"Well I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down!"

"We've all heard your boasts, all over the town."

The wolf growled.

"Well you shall see something that rattles the trees, I have a young woman with a hurricane sneeze!"

And the wolf reached up to the sky and took a feather from a passing bird. He tickled Red's nose and she began to hitch for a sneeze.

"Aaah... Aaa-ha- AAHHH-CHOO!"

Her enormous sneeze blew the pigs' house down. The wolf was delighted, but Red was horrified when she saw he meant to eat them. Quickly she took the feather and tickled her nose again.

"Aah-aah... AAAH... TSCHOO!"

Her second sneeze blew the pigs off into the sky, where they were safe from the wolf. They waved their thanks. The wolf snarled in anger, but Red was gone, dabbing her nose with her handkerchief.

Red reached her grandmother's house, but she didn't know that the wolf had got there first. The wolf swallowed her grandmother all up, then put on her grandmother's nightgown and nightcap.

Red came in to the cottage.

"Grandmother- what big eyes you have."

"All the better to see you with."

"Grandmother- what a big nose you have!"

"All the better to sneeze, my dear."

"Grandmother- you are the wolf!" said Red in terror.

"Yes!" said the wolf, and he gobbled her all up.

Inside the wolf's stomach, Red felt one more sneeze building up. She sneezed loudly and it came out of the wolf's throat.


Outside the cottage, the three pigs were out with their guns and hunting for the wolf who had destroyed their cottage. They heard the noise and broke in to Granny's house.

The first pig saw the fat wolf, took his knife and cut his belly open, and Red and her grandmother jumped out. Then the second pig took his gun and shot the wolf through the head.

Red's grandmother took the pigs in to live with her, and they were all very happy. Little Red Handkerchief visited them as often as she could.


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I really enjoyed these! I like fairy tales in general and have tried my hand at writing sneeze-centric ones myself, so I always like seeing others do the same thing. Thanks for sharing!

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Man, I've always wanted to try something like this. I really like how you integrated the sneezing into these. I'm always worried I'll make it too overbearing, but I think you've struck a perfect balance. I also enjoy how the stories aren't too gruesome but they're still appropriate dark at times.

Thanks for sharing, and I can only hope you come up with some more!

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I have greatly enjoyed reading these :D I especially like the first one with the three sisters. For some reason, the idea of having sisters with such different sneezes has always appealed to me in fics.

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I love the Grimm fairytales, despite that they can be quite gruesome at times. However, your versions with the sneezes are very well-written! I can tell what each is based on, and it's not too crazy gruesome. Just as said above, a very nice balance with the sneezes and the plot, and you have a good amount of the darkness to keep the "grim" part of Grimm's fairytales, but not too much to make it over the top as some of the original fairytales are. Very well-done. *cue applause*

All that's left is for them to be translated to German since the Grimm Brothers wrote their fairytales originally in German since they're German. I would, but I'm still just learning German. I think it would be cool if someone did translate them, though! It would be even more like the real thing

Edited by I love Alan Rickman
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