Preface: This is not an original work. I found that this website doesn’t seem to have any works from Von Schonwerth and I was a little sad. This story of his is my absolute favorite fairytale, and it’s a little shocking to me that so few have heard of it. This story is originally by Franz Xaver Von Schonwerth, and the english translation is taken directly from the book The Turnip Princess. That said, here is the fairytale.
A carpenter who had landed in jail sent word to the king “If you spare my life, I will make something thte likes of which the world has never before seen!” The king agreed to the bargain, and the carpenter presented the king with a trunk. When the king sat down on it, the trunk began to roar and lifted itself off the ground. Then it flew out one window and in through the other. The king kep the trunk and put it in his private museum.
The king had a son who liked to wear red boots. He was always getting new toys and breaking them. One day someone decided to give him the trunk as a plaything. The boy used his hammer on the trunk because he wanted to turn it into a carriage. A servant tied a cord to it, prepared it for an outing, and hauled the little rascal around in it. The boy had not been in the carriage for long when it lifted itself up to the window, and even though the servant was shouting loudly and pulling on the cord, it flew up in the air like a shot and vanished from sight. Everyone rushed around in a panic, and some horsemen tried to catch up with him, but it was no use.
The flight lasted for a long time. When its cord finally got caught in the branches of a tree, the trunk came to a stop. There was a stork’s nest at the top of the tree, and the boy rested up there for a while. He left the trunk in the tree and decided to climb down and take a look at the town that he had spied from his perch. There he met a shoemaker looking for anapprentice. The princes with the red boots decided to take the job, and he worked there for many years.
A king with no children was living in that very town. There had been a prophecy that he would have a daughter, and it was said that she would bring disgrace upon him once she was grown up. That would happen at the moment when she set eyes on a stranger for the first time in her life. When the queen gave birth to a daughter, the king worried for a long time about what to do. He decided to build a tower as high as the skies and to lock the princess up in a room at the very top. And that’s what he did.
The young apprentice with the red boots heard from another fellow about the princess locked up in the tower. He learned that she had been up there in the clouds for many years, pining away. She was said to be very beautiful. One day he returned to the tree that had a stork’s nest in it, limbed back up, got into the trunk, and decided to see the princess by flying through the tower window. He spent all his free time there, and soon enough, word got out about what was going on between them.
The father was absolutely beside himself. He smeared some tar on the windowsill in order to catch the birdman flying in through the window. Before long a red boot was found stuck on the sill. The boot made the rounds, as the king had ordered, and it went from hand to hand and foot to foot. The reward set aside for the person whose foot fit the boot was still to be had. One day the old boot arrived at the place where the shoemaker’s apprentice was living. He did not realize he was falling into a trap and pulled the boot on. It fit perfectly. The scoundrel was arrested at once and put in jail.
The princess was supposed to reveal the name of her beloved. “If you tell us his name, you can marry him. Listen carefully, and you will hear workers sawing boards to make your marraige bed!” the king told her. But in fact he had ordered the building of a funeral pyre, where both of them would be burned to cinders. The princess refused to reveal the name, and the fate of both was sealed.
Everyone gathered around for the two unfortunate souls and bemoan their fate. They were standing right on a stack of firewood, ambracing and looking calm and collected when smoke and flames began to engulf them. The apprentice pressed down on the trunk concealed beneath them. It roared away like a winged horse through the smoke and flames, high up into the air. All the king and his people could do was stare at them as the two flew away.
When the prince with the red boots arrived back home and was reunited with his parents, he had become wise to the ways of the world. He married the beautiful princess, and in the end, he ruled over two kingdoms.