Long, Broad and Sharpsight

Long, Broad and Sharpsight or Long, Broad, and Quickeye is a Bohemian fairy tale, collected and published by Karel Jaromír Erben in 1865 in Sto Prostonarodnich Pohadek a Povesti Slovanskych[1] and also by Louis Léger in Contes Populaires Slaves.

Andrew Lang included it in The Grey Fairy Book, and A. H. Wratislaw collected it in his Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources, number 1. Another version of the tale appears in A Book of Wizards by Ruth Manning-Sanders.


An aging king tells his one son that he wishes to see him married before he dies. The son replies that he does not know a suitable bride, so the king sends him to a tower room that has not been opened in years. There he finds windows showing beautiful women, and a curtain over one window. He pulls away the curtain and falls in love with the woman he sees there. He tells his father, who tells him he should have left that window curtained, because the woman is the prisoner of an evil sorcerer, in an iron castle, but the prince has given his word and must try to rescue her.

On the way, he meets a man who wants to be taken into his service; his name is Long, and he can extend himself, and shows it by taking down a nest from a tall tree. The prince lets him come along. He also meets Broad, who can make himself grow until he is as large as a mountain, and Sharpsight, who keeps his eyes bandaged because he can see through the bandage, and without it his gaze would set things afire, or break them into pieces. The prince takes them into his service as well.

They reach the iron castle, and as soon as they are inside, the gates close. They find many men, turned to stone, and food laid out. As nobody is there, they eat the food. The sorcerer appears with the woman and tells them they can have the princess if they could keep her from escaping for three nights. The prince tries to talk to her, but she does not answer. As the trio falls asleep, she vanishes, but Sharpsight spots her; she has turned into an acorn on an oak tree. Long brings her back. The wizard is furious. The next day, she becomes a precious stone on a mountain, but again Sharpsight sees her, and Long brings her back. The wizard is furious again. The third night, she becomes a golden ring on a shell in the sea. Long brings Broad with him, and Broad, making himself broad, drinks up the sea, while Long gets the ring. On the way back, however, he cannot carry Broad, but drops him. All the water comes out, and Broad barely manages to avoid drowning, but they eventually make it back.

The sorcerer turns into a crow, and all the people turned to stone comes back to life. The prince takes the woman home and marries her. Long, Broad, and Sharpsight leave his service and goes on to seek their fortune.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sto prostonarodních pohádek a pověsti solvanských v nářečích původních: čitanka slovanská s vysvětlením slov (in Czech). I.L. Kober. 1865-01-01.

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