by Italo Calvino
Italian Folktales (1980)
* * * (Good) Folktale
After catching King Crin in his true form, the third baker’s daughter must wear through seven pairs of iron shoes, mantles, and hats to win back Crin. While doing so the daughter collects three prizes that help her in her quest to find Crin.
Three baker’s daughters, three houses visited, three rewards for surviving each night, three nights to convince Crin of her love – notice a pattern here? And the importance of wearing through seven pairs of iron shoes, iron mantles, and iron hats? And the meaning of the passage at the end?:
They put on the dog and high did they soar,Huh? What does this have to do with anything in the story?
They saw me not, I stood behind the door.
Some of these tales make little sense, and jump from one illogical scenario to another (a pig son killing baker’s daughters until he finds the one who wipes mud from his body to surviving the nights at the cottages of Wind, Lightning, and Thunder to being rewarded with a chestnut, walnut, and hazelnut), but are quite engaging in some unexplainable way. They somewhat succeed by the fact that they are outrageous.