The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

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Bullied Husband

Themes: Abuse | Challenge

I’m thinner than my wife, and not as strong, and she used to beat me black and blue. But the day came when I could no longer endure the abuse.

On that day, I was out in the fields, and I caught a crane in my net.

The crane spoke and said, “If you let me go free, I will show my gratitude.”

I said, “No, my dear fellow. I need you now. I will take you home and then perhaps my wife won’t scold me so much.”

The crane had a better idea. He took me to his house and gave me a magic sack. On command, two young lads sprang out and spread oak tables with delicious food.

I lost the sack to my cousins on the way home, and after that, the crane gave me a sack with two bullies who jumped out and beat up anyone who bullied me. I used it to get the other sack back.

Now I have two magic sacks. And a wife who doesn’t beat me anymore.

Bullied Husband in Two in a Sack, Violet Fairy Book. Woodcut from Ulisse Aldrovandi’s ‘Monstrorum Historia,’ Bologna, 1642.

The fellow in this story has acquired two magic sacks that function as a carrot and a stick. When have you had to deal with a bully? Did you use the crane’s magic sack of kindness or did you need the sack that would bully the bullies back?