Wednesday, October 23, 2013
ATU 431: The House in the Forest
One more for today since I hope to finish up the Beauty and the Beast tale types this week. Another less common but a little more beloved Animal Bridegroom tale is ATU 431: The House in the Forest. It can be The Hut in the Woods or any other variation of that title with hut/house, forest/woods, etc. This tale is also a cousin to the Kind and Unkind Girls (ATU 480) tales. This one also has a strong "be kind to animals" message, too.
Again, this one is best known from the Grimms. I have long considered making it the 50th tale annotated on SurLaLune. (It is tied with a Grateful Dead tale, actually.) You can read the tale on the SurLaLune site at The Hut in the Forest and it also appears in Beauty and the Beast Tales From Around the World. But with this one I also found another version from Poland for the book titled, "The Bear in the Forest Hut."
According to Uther, the earliest known documentation of this tale is the 19th century, so its history is either shorter than many or just not documented. Here is Arthur Rackham's illustration for the story: