Monday, March 26, 2012

Fairy tale quiz

1 When the little girl everyone knows as Little Red Riding-Hood first appeared in English, in a translation of a story by Charles Perrault, she was given a more conventional name to go along with her famous nickname. Her name was:

A. Pettifour
B. Biddy
C. Lucille
D. Sweet Myrtle

2 Tom Thumb, one of England’s best-loved fairy-tale heroes, was born the size of his father’s thumb, and never increased in stature, yet he went on to have many adventures. In the earliest printed versions of the story, one result of Tom’s small size is that he is repeatedly swallowed (later to escape, one way or another) by various creatures. These did not, however, include:

A. A giant
B. A fish
C. A cow
D. A raven

3 Jack the Giant-Killer killed numerous giants, but not one named:

A. Manticore
B. Blunderboar
C. Thunderdel
D. Galigantus

4 Before setting out on a journey, the evil husband in the story of Bluebeard gives his wife the keys to all the rooms in his house. One room, though, he tells her she must not enter. Upon his return, what reveals to Bluebeard that his wife has disobeyed him?

A. A magic mirror that answers any question
B. A fan left by his wife in the forbidden room
C. Drops of blood clinging magically to the key
D. A black cat, who spied on the wife in Bluebeard’s absence

5 Like many other well-known fairy tales, the story of Sleeping Beauty first appeared in something close to its familiar form in the work of the 17th century writer Charles Perrault. After the prince awakens Sleeping Beauty in Perrault’s version, he marries her and they soon have a son and a daughter. For several years though, the prince keeps this secret from his parents. This is because:

A. His mother is an ogress, who might eat his children
B. He had been betrothed at birth to another princess
C. A fairy warned him that not doing so would bring disaster
D. He is ashamed of her atrocious table-manners

6. Most of us remember the Grimm brothers – Jacob and Wilhelm – as the compliers of the stories we now call Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but collecting these stories, laborious task though it was, had only an indirect connection with their professional lives. By occupation, both Grimm brothers were:

A. Lawyers, who often represented peasants facing eviction from their farms
B. Lingusts, who proposed a principle now known as “Grimm’s Law”
C. Magazine editors, who brought rural literature to an urban audience
D. Historians, whose main research interest was the tribes of ancient Ger

7. In the well-known fairy tale Puss in Boots, a cat is able to help its master from poverty to riches through a series of clever ploys. What special function did the boots have for the cat?

A. They protected its feet while walking out of doors
B. While wearing the boots, it could walk and talk like a man
C. They allowed it both to travel at great speed, and to become invisible
D. They gave it a power of persuasion that no listener could resist

8. The folklore of many lands includes the character variously known as Rashin Coatie (Scotland), Aschenputtel (Germany), Zezolla (Italy), and Yeh-hsien (China). To us, however, Rashin Coatie is more familiarly known as:

A. Red-Riding Hood
B. Pinocchio
C. Rumpelstiltskin
D. Cinderella

9. The role of the fairy godmother in the story of Cinderella was filled by a variety of magical agents in other versions of the tale, including all but one of the following. Which is it?
A. A dead calf
B. A lame badger
C. A little white bird
D. The bones of a giant fish

10. In the happy ending of Beauty and the Beast, Beauty settles down to a life of bliss with the now-handsome prince and his household, including her father and three brothers. The fate of her two wicked sisters is less agreeable, for they are:

A. Transformed into living statues and set before the palace gate
B. Forced to serve as scullery maids in the palace kitchens
C. Changed into goshawks and fly away, never to be seen again
D. Chained to a rock on a deserted beach, and left to starve

11. The King of Colchester, so one famous tale runs, had a daughter who was beautiful and virtuous, and a step-daughter who was decidedly neither. Owing to the malice of the step-daughter and her mother, the virtuous girl is turned out of her home, but everything turns out happily when she is rewarded for her kindness towards:

A. A blind man chained to a thorny bush
B. A village whose inhabitants have been changed into sheep
C. Three disembodied heads in a well
D. A one-winged bird that can fly only in circles

12. In one well-known story from the Brothers Grimm, an old soldier is given the task of watching over a king’s daughter each night. By feigning sleep he is able to learn that the girls:

A. Are nightly transformed into birds, and fly to a neighbouring kingdom
B. Spend each night dancing in an underground palace
C. Each draw three drops of blood from their forefingers into a diamond bottle
D. Are visited by an evil witch who forces them to sew for her

13. In Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack makes three separate visits to the giant’s castle in the clouds. On the first, he steals a hen who lays golden eggs; on the second, a sack of shillings and a sack of guineas. What does Jack steal on his third visit?

A. An axe that can chop through anything
B. A mirror that foretells the future
C. Three sacks of jewels
D. A harp that plays music on command

14. According to the Grimm story, before Snow White’s wicked stepmother gave her the poisoned apple, she had tried on two previous occasions to kill her, only to be foiled by the seven dwarfs. On the first occasion, the wicked queen laced Snow White’s corset so tightly that the poor girl fell insensible and seemed dead. On the second occasion, the queen tried to kill Snow White (called Snow Drop in the Grimm version) by giving her:

A. An enchanted knife, that would stab its wielder
B. A covered basket containing an asp
C. A poisoned comb
D. A bouquet of sweet-smelling but deadly flowers

15. Snow White’s stepmother was driven to her wicked deeds by envy: her magic mirror told her that Snow White, not she, was “the fairest of them all”. Oddly enough:

A. Snow White was only seven years old
B. The mirror was a gift from Snow White herself
C. Up until now, the queen had been famous for her goodness and charity
D. She and Snow White were both rather plump
16. Trit-a-trot, Tom-tit-tat, Ricdin-Ricdon, and Whuppity-Stoorie, are all variant names for which well-known fairy-tale character?

A. Tom Thumb
B. The frog in The Frog Prince
C. Puss-in-boots
D. Rumpelstiltskin

17. The character we know as the inquisitive little girl called Goldilocks was originally:

A. The lame son of a poor wood-cutter
B. An inquisitive little girl called Silver-Hair
C. An “imprudent, bad old woman”
D. A soldier returning from the war

18. In Hans Christian Andersen’s The Tinder box, the fortunes of an impoverished soldier take a turn for the better when he comes into possession of a magic tinder-box. The soldier obtained the tinder-box:

A. By stealing it from the sleeve of an evil old woman
B. From a room hidden inside a tree
C. As a reward for helping the King of the Dwarfs to cross a river
D. From a tower whose door was visible only once in a hundred years

19. Tommelise, or Thumbelina, is the diminutive heroine of a well-known story by Hans Christian Andersen. Thumbelina’s adventures begin when she is kidnapped from her home to become:

A. The governess of three baby field-mice
B. The mascot of a company of soldiers
C. The bride of a frog
D. Lady-in-waiting to the Queen of the Fairies

20. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm first heard the story of Hansel and Gretel from a girl named Dortchen Wild in the German town of Cassel. In later life, Fraulein Wild became:

A. A celebrated actress
B. Insane, believing herself to be Gretel
C. A noted literary critic, who paned the Grimms’ fairy-tales
D. Wilhelm’s wife

21. According to the Brothers Grimm tale, what was the name of the enchantress who imprisoned Rapunzel in the tower?

A. Lady Rampion
B. Dame Gothel
C. Jorinda
D. Pontifex

22. In another Grimm story, four animals – a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster – learn that they have outlived their usefulness to their owners, and are to be killed. Rather than meekly accepting their fate, they set off together to start a new life as:

A. Musicians
B. A theatrical troupe
C. Politicians
D. University professors

23. After Hansel and Gretel have slain the witch in the Grimms’ fairy-tale, and escaped from the gingerbread cottage, one final obstacle confronts them as they make their way home. What is it?

A. A solid wall of thorns, which opens at a touch from the witch’s wand
B. A gate guarded by an unfriendly dwarf, who is slain by a passing huntsman
C. A deep ravine, over which a mighty wind blows them “like two dry leaves”
D. A large body of water, which they traverse with the help of a kindly duck

24. In 1844 Hans Christian Andersen, by then a famous writer and a favourite of the aristocracy, paid an impromptu visit to the Grimm brothers in Berlin. However:

A. They argued over the interpretation of Rumpelstilskin, and never spoke again
B. The Grimms received Andersen coldly, feeling that he had stolen their ideas
C. By unhappy coincidence, the brothers were touring Denmark, Andersen’s home
D. He left in embarrassment upon finding that the Grimms had never heard of him

1. B. Biddy
2. D. A raven
3. A. Manticore
4. C. Drops of blood clinging magically to the key
5. A. His mother is an ogress, who might eat his children
6. B. Lingusts, who proposed a principle now known as “Grimm’s Law”
7. A. They protected its feet while walking out of doors
8. D. Cinderella
9. B. A lame badger
10. A. Transformed into living statues and set before the palace gate
11. C. Three disembodied heads in a well
12. B. Spend each night dancing in an underground palace
13. D. A harp that plays music on command
14. C. A poisoned comb
15. A. Snow White was only seven years old
16. D. Rumpelstiltskin
17. A. An “imprudent, bad old woman”
18. B. From a room hidden inside a tree
19. C. The bride of a frog
20. D. Wilhelm’s wife
21. B. Dame Gothel
22. A. Musicians
23. D. A large body of water, which they traverse with the help of a kindly duck
24. D. He left in embarrassment upon finding that the Grimms had never heard of him

Much of the material for this quiz was gleaned from Iona and Peter Opie’s wonderful book, The Classic Fairytales (Oxford University Press, 1972), which gives the earliest known English versions of 24 tales, along with numerous period illustrations and informative commentary.

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