Friday, October 9, 2020

Help a SurLaLuner: Finding a Fairy Tale: The Crying Soldier

Hello to the collective memories of SurLaLuners!

This one was not familiar to me at all, so I am throwing it out to the bigger brains of the SurLaLune readers. This is from Pam:

I was wondering if maybe you or someone else could help me with this one.

There was a book I had as a child featuring this tale titled "The Crybaby Soldier", or "The Crying Soldier" (I'm not sure what fits better, as the title was translated to Portuguese). If I recall correctly, it was a story about a soldier who returned from a war only to find everything he once had was gone. He was so sad that he started crying and his tears fell on a turnip that was growing in the ground, and it grew really huge. He decided to offer the giant turnip to the king, and I'm not sure what exactly comes after that, but at one point the king takes him to see his daughter, the princess, whose feet are different in size, one being really small. The soldier feels really sad for the princess, kneels down before her foot and starts crying, and of course, when his tears touch the foot it grows and becomes the same size as the other. And then they get married and live happily ever after, the usual stuff.

The image of the soldier crying onto the princess's foot has stuck with me for a long time, but no matter how much I search, I can never find the original tale that was adapted into this book, if there ever was any. It was part of a small collection featuring quite a few well-known fairy tales, so I suppose an original version of it must exist, or at least something very similar to it.

Do you have any idea what tale this might be? I'd be eternally grateful if you could help me solve this mystery. Thank you very much in advance!

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