"The Witch in the Stone Boat"
Compiled by: Andrew Lang
A Queen is held hostage, while the palace holds the King and an evil witch acting in the Queen's place.
Like many fairy tales, "The Witch in the Stone Boat" has a special beginning:
[t]here were once a King and a Queen (Lang).
This fairy tale has several good characters, but the main one is King Sigurd, the protagonist. King Sigurd
saw at once that it was his own Queen, and immediately [cut] the iron chain that was fastened to the [Queen's] belt (Lang).
"The Witch in the Stone Boat" has two evil characters, but the main one is the witch. The witch cast a spell on the Queen, so that she could be held hostage in the Underworld.
Similar to several fairy tales, this one does contain royalty. It is represented with the castle, the King, and the Queen.
Another motif used in "The Witch in the Stone Boat" was the use of magic. The evil witch cast a spell on the Queen, so that she does not
slacken [her] course until [she] come[s] to [the witch's] brother in the Underworld (Lang).
The problem in this fairy tale is that the Queen is held hostage, and the witch is trying to replace her. The King and Queen solved the problem by working together. The Queen managed to enter the palace, and the King released the Queen from the chain that connected her to the Underworld.
A common motif in many fairy tales is when things often happen in 3s. In this story, the Queen told the three-headed giant
that she would consent [to marriage] if he would allow her to visit her son on earth three days on end (Lang).
Connection to Iceland
"The Witch in the Stone Boat" contains a cultural clue that indicates its Icelandic origin. The name Sigurd comes from Norse, which makes up the majority of the Icelandic population. Sigurd was a legendary hero in Norse mythology.