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"Tatterhood." It's a Norwegian fairytale, and it's about the most badass princess ever. ^_^
Short summary (this is the version I grew up with; there are a couple of other versions):
- Childless Queen is told by a beggar woman how to grow two magical flowers. One flower'll be pretty and the other one ugly. The Queen must then eat the pretty flower but NOT the ugly one.
- Naturally, because nobody in fairytales listens when told not to do anything, the Queen eats both flowers.
- Nine months later, she gives birth to twin girls. The younger twin is beautiful, sweet and well-behaved. The older twin, the titular Tatterhood, is ugly, rambunctious and violent, she rides on a goat and bops people on the head with a wooden ladle.
- When the twins are "half grown" the kingdom is invaded by witches and trolls. Tatterhood fights off an army of trolls singlehandedly, but a witch turns her pretty twin into a calf.
- Taterhood takes her sister-turned-calf on a sea voyage, eventually finding the witch who bewitched her and essentially beating her up until she breaks the spell.
- After that, the sisters sail the seven seas for a while until they come to a kingdom where the king has two sons. The oldest prince falls for and proposes to the pretty sister, but she refuses to get married unless Tatterhood too gets married. So the oldest prince talks his younger brother into marrying Tatterhood.
- The youngest prince is REALLY sulky, partly because he's being made to marry when he doesn't want to, but mostly because his bride-to-be is so ugly.
- The story ends with a really surreal scene where Tatterhood essentially trolls the prince with weird questions and prompts, in the process turning her wooden ladle into a silver fan, her goat into a majestic riding-horse and herself into a drop-dead gorgeous woman.
A lot of people are disappointed by the ending where Tatterhood turns beautiful because she was just that much more interesting as the ugly badass princess... but I like it for one reason: It's hinted that she COULD have turned herself beautiful at any time she wanted, but chose to stay ugly for the hell of it. And when she turns herself beautiful it's essentially a "nyah nyah, gotcha!" moment both to the prince and to the audience.
Fairytales often don't have very strong characterisations, but Tatterhood is a real character. Which is why I love her story. Besides, how often do you get to see an ugly princess who beats up trolls and witches with a wooden ladle?