Făt-Frumos with the Golden Hair

Făt-Frumos with the Golden Hair (Făt-Frumos cu părul de aur) or The Foundling Prince is a Romanian fairy tale collected by Petre Ispirescu in Legende sau basmele românilor.[1]


A hermit lived alone. One day, a box floated down the river to him. It contained a beautiful boy child, Făt-Frumos, and a letter saying that his mother was a king's daughter who had erred and done this out of fear of her parents. A grape vine sprung up in his hut, and with its fruit, he was able to feed the child. When he was grown, the hermit died, telling him that a lion would come to dig his grave, and that he should take the horse reins in the attic, which, if he shook, would bring him a horse. He did as his foster father said. The horse gave him clothing, and he rode off. At the horse's direction, he took service with three fairies. The horse told him that every seven years, their bathroom had a flow of gold that would turn anyone's hair gold; it also had a chest with three magnificent suits of clothing. One day, the fairies went to a party but directed him to summon them back if the gold started to flow. It did. The horse directed him to bathe in it himself and take the clothes. He did, and they escaped the fairies.

He hid his hair and got a job working for a gardener for a king. One day, the king's oldest daughter arranged for herself and her sisters to bring melons to the king: hers was overripe, her next sister's was ripe, the youngest's was just about ripe. His councilors explained that the oldest should have been married already, the next was ready for marriage, and even the youngest daughter was nearly ready. Suitors came for them, and the oldest was married to a prince. The wedding procession set out from the castle; only the youngest princess stayed behind. Făt-Frumos loosed his hair, put on the suit like a flowering meadow, and rode his horse over the garden. It did much damage, but the princess was enchanted with him. The gardener was angry, but the princess gave him gold and told him not to beat the boy. When the second sister married, the youngest princess stayed behind, the boy loosed his hair, wore a suit like the starry night and rode his horse, ruining the garden; the youngest princess bribed the gardener with two handfuls of gold not to beat him. The king had a feast at his hunting lodge; again the youngest princess did not go, and Făt-Frumos loosed his hair, wore a suit with the sun, the moon, and stars, and ruined the garden so badly that weeks did not restore it. The youngest princess bribed the gardener with three handfuls of gold.

The king saw how his youngest daughter was always sad. His councilors suggested that all the princes and nobles should walk under the gate, and whoever the princess dropped a golden apple to would be her husband. They all walked, but she did not drop the apple. Then all the servants, last of all the bald undergardner, as Făt-Frumos appeared. She dropped the apple to him. The king refused, but after three times, she had dropped the apple to him every time. They married quietly and the king gave them a hut in a distant corner of his courtyard.

The princes who had wooed her were offended and banded together to attack her father. His sons-in-law raised armies to come to his aid. Făt-Frumos said he would do the same, but his father-in-law jeered at him, finally let him come only as a water carrier. But out of sight, Făt-Frumos changed into the clothes he had stolen from the fairies and came to the king's aid. The forces attacked three times, and the third, Făt-Frumos was wounded. The king gave him a handkerchief to bind his wounds.

The king began to go blind. It was learned that only the milk of red wild goats would cure him. His sons-in-law set out to find it. Făt-Frumos found the goats and got the milk, and offered to sell some to his brothers-in-law if they would let him brand them as his slaves. They agreed, thinking they could escape, but only Făt-Frumos's milk restored the king's sight.

At the banquet, Făt-Frumos revealed that he had branded the other two kings as his slaves and was the hero who had helped the king's army. The king demanded that he reappear as he appeared then. When Făt-Frumos did so, he gave up his throne to Făt-Frumos. The first thing Făt-Frumos did was free his brothers in law.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Julia Collier Harris, Rea Ipcar, The Foundling Prince & Other Tales: Translated from the Roumanian of Petre Ispirescu, p 65, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York 1917