The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

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Martin’s Wooing Mother

Martin, my son, well, he can do just about anythin’, except when it comes to woo-in’. He wanted his old mother to go an’ do it fer him.

So I went to the king, oh yes I did. I marched right up them steps, and ain’t nobody could stop me though I won’t say they didn’t try. The courtiers stood on the landing in their fancy clothes and told me that it was strictly forbidden to mount those steps. I didn’t pay them any mind, and when they seized me I made such a racket that the king came out onto the balcony to see what was the matter. Then he ordered the men to release me, and they led me into his golden presence chamber. I curtseyed, nice and low, and he said, “Well, my good old dame, what can I do for you?”

“I have come—and your Majesty must not be angry with me—I have come a-wooin’.”

The king wasn’t too pleased. “Are you out of your mind?”

I said, “You, O King, have a lovely daughter to give in marriage. I have a son—a wooer—as clever a youth and as good a son-in-law as you will find in your whole kingdom. There is nothing that he can’t do. Now tell me, O King, plump and plain, will you give your daughter to my son as wife?”

I thought he was goin’ to have my head but then the hard lines on his face softened an’ I could see that curiosity had gotten the better of him. So what do ye think he said?

Martin’s Wooing Mother in The Magic Ring, Yellow Fairy Book. Painting by Michael Sweerts.

Martin's Wooing Mother