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Fairy Tale Title

The Flea


Giambattista Basile



A King has a daughter that he wants to marry. He creates a puzzle that whoever guesses the animal pelt can take the princess’ hand in marriage. The animal was a flea that the King fed and raised until it was the size of a sheep, so no one was able to guess the animal.

At one point, an ogre came along and got the animal right. He married the princess and brought her to his home made of human bones. There was a maiden that heard the princess’ cried for help, and she sent her seven cons to kill the ogre and free the princess. The princess then returned home to live with her father the King.

Analyze Author Craft

This fairy tale perpetuates the stereotype of women needing men to support and control them. First, the princess in controlled by her father. Then she is at the whims of her new ogre husband. Finally, she is only saved when seven sons come to free her from the ogre and she goes back to her father’s house. At no point is she free or willing to control her own future. This is very common of fairy tales.

Favorite Part

My favorite part of this fairy tale is when the King comes up with the idea to have suitors guess what kind of animal the flea was. I am not sure of the purpose of this exercise, as the King did not appear to get anything in return for the hand of his daughter. I do think that it was creative and innovative as a puzzle though.

the_flea.txt · Last modified: 2020/05/09 14:16 by