Asbjornsen and Moe's East of the Sun and West of the Moon illustration by Kay Nielsen

East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon by Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen

Asbjornsen and Moe's East of the Sun and West of the Moon illustration by Kay Nielsen

East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon
by Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen


East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Taper Tom

Why the Bear is Stumpy-Tailed

Reynard and the Cock

Bruin and Reynard Partners

Boots and His Brothers

The Lad Who Went to the North Wind

The Giant Who Had No Heart in His Body

The Sheep and the Pig Who Set Up Housekeeping

The Parson and the Clerk

Father Bruin

The Pancake

Why the Sea is Salt

The Squire's Bride


The Princess Who Could Not Be Silenced

The Twelve Wild Ducks


The Princess on the Glass Hill

The Husband Who Was to Mind the House

Little Freddy with His Fiddle

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The Lad Who Went to the North Wind

ONCE on a time there was an old widow who had one son, and as she was feeble and weak, she asked her son to go out to the storehouse and fetch meal for cooking. But when he got outside the storehouse, and was just going down the steps, there came the North Wind, puffing and blowing, caught up the meal, and away with it through the air. Then the lad went back into the storehouse for more; but when he came out again on the steps, the North Wind came again and carried off the meal with a puff; and more than that, he did it the third time. At this the lad got very angry; and as it seemed hard that the North Wind should behave so, he thought he would go in search of him and ask him to give up his meal.

So off he went, but the way was long, and he walked and walked. At last he came to the North Wind's house.

"Good-day!" said the lad, "and thank you for coming to see us."

"Good-day," answered the North Wind, and his voice was loud and gruff, "and thanks for coming to see me. What do you want?"

"Oh," answered the lad, "I only wished to ask you to be so good as to let me have back the meal you took from me on the storehouse steps, for we haven't much to live on; and if you're to go on snapping up the morsel we have, there'll be nothing for it but to starve."

"I haven't your meal," said the North Wind; "but since you are in such need, I'll give you a table cloth which will get you everything you want. You need only say, 'Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes!'"

With this the lad was well content. But, as the way was long he could not get home in one day, so he turned into an inn on the way; and when they were going to sit down to supper he laid the cloth on the table which stood in the corner, and said,-

"Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes."

He had scarcely said this before the cloth did as it was bid, and all who stood by thought it a fine thing, but most of all the landlord. So, when all were fast asleep, at dead of night, he took the lad's cloth, and put another like it in its stead. But this could not so much as serve up a bit of dry bread.

When the lad woke he took the cloth and went off with it, and that day he got home to his mother.

"Now," said he, "I've been to the North Wind's house, and a good fellow he is, for he gave me this cloth and when I only say to it, 'Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes,' I get every sort of food I please."

"All very true, I dare say," said the mother, "but seeing is believing."

So the lad made haste, drew out a table, laid the cloth on it, and said,-

"Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes."

But not even a bit of dry bread did the cloth serve up.

"Well!" said the lad, "there's no help for it but to go to the North Wind again," and away he went.

So, late in the afternoon, he came to where the North Wind lived.

"Good evening!" said the lad.

"Good evening!" said the North Wind.

"I want my rights for that meal of ours which you took," said the lad, "for, as for that cloth I got, it isn't worth a penny."

"I have no meal," said the North Wind; "but you may have the ram yonder which will coin gold ducats when you say to it,-

"Ram, ram! make money!"

The lad thought this a fine thing; but as it was too far to get home that day, he turned in for the night to the same inn where he had slept the first time.

Before he called for anything, he tried what the North Wind had said of the ram, and found it all true. When the landlord saw this, he thought it a fine ram, and when the lad had fallen asleep, he took another which could not coin even a penny, and exchanged the two.

Next morning off went the lad, and when he got home to his mother, he said,-

"After all, the North Wind is a jolly fellow, for now he has given me a ram, which will coin golden ducats if I only say, 'Ram, ram! make money!'"

"All very true, I dare say," said his mother, "but I shan't believe it until I see the ducats made."

"Ram, ram! make money!" said the lad; but not even a penny did the ram coin.

So the lad went back to the North Wind and scolded him, and said the ram was worth nothing, and he must have his rights for the meal.

"Well!" said the North Wind, "I've nothing else to give you but that old stick in the corner yonder; but it's a stick of such a kind that if you say, 'Stick, stick! lay on! it lays on till you say,-'Stick, stick! now stop!'"

So the lad thanked the North Wind and went his way, and as the road was long, he turned in this night also to the landlord; but as he could guess pretty well how things stood as to the cloth and the ram, he lay down at once on the bench and began to snore, as if he were asleep. Now the landlord who thought surely the stick must be worth something, hunted up one which was like it, and when he heard the lad snore he was going to exchange the two; but, just as the landlord was about to take it, the lad called out,-

"Stick, stick! lay on!"

So the stick began to beat the landlord, till he jumped over chairs and tables and benches, and yelled and roared,-

"Oh my, oh my! bid the stick be still, else it will beat me to death. You shall have back both your cloth and your ram."

When the lad thought the landlord had had enough, he said, "Stick, stick! now stop!"

Then he took the cloth and put it into his pocket, and went home with his stick in his hand, leading the ram by a cord tied around its horns; and so he got his rights for the meal he had lost.

Thorne-Thomsen, Gudrun. East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon. Chicago: Row, Peterson and Company, 1912.

Available from

Norwegian Folktales by Asbjornsen and Moe

East O' The Sun And West O' The Moon by Peter Christen Asbjornsen, Jorgen Engebretsen Moe, George Webbe Dasent


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