The Mouse Bride
. Philomel Books: Putnam and Grosset Book Group . NY ,
PZ8.1.A46 Mou 1992 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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I list this book because the title makes it sound like a fable book. In fact, I have another book with the same title that is a fable book. This is a pleasant Finnish fairy tale of Jukka, the youngest of three brothers, who seeks his wife in the woods. He finds a neat little cabin but only a diminutive gray mouse inside. She promises him that, if he marries her, he will never be sorry for having done so. He agrees but regrets it as soon as he leaves the cabin. He tells his family that his bride has blue eyes and a white nose. When the father asks for a loaf of bread from the future brides of his sons, Jukka expects that he will get nothing from his new fiancée. In fact, she calls out a small army of mice, who deliver to her, one grain each, the finest wheat and help her make delicious bread. The next request is for cloth. The drill is the same. This time the mouse bride folds her woven cloth into a nutshell. To everyone's surprise when the shell is opened, out come yards of the finest material. Finally, the father asks to see the brides; now Jukka is really apprehensive. She repeats her promise, tells him not to be afraid, and drives along with him in a diminutive coach drawn by five mice. On the trip home, the whole entourage is transformed after a brash boy kicks them off a bridge into water. Now the mouse bride is a delicate young girl. She had been captured by a Lapland witch, who cast a spell that could be broken only if one young man asked to marry her and another tried to kill her by casting her into water. Her name is Olga. After they are married, they return to find, not the cabin, but a great stone castle. They live happily ever after. The best illustrations may be those of the mouse dancing, on the dedication page and again when she first meets Jukka.