Dasent, Sir George Webbe (2001) Popular Tales from the Norse. Dover Publications Inc.

Once on a time there were two brothers; one was called True, and the other Untrue. True was always upright and good towards all, but Untrue was bad and full of lies, so that no one could believe what he said. Their mother was a widow, and hadn't much to live on; so when her sons had grown up, she was forced to send them away, that they might earn their bread in the world. Each got a little scrip with some food in it, and then they went their way.

The story starts with a triad; the mother and two sons. There is no father as the mother is widowed. There is an imbalance in the arrangement towards the masculine, lacking a contemporary feminine or anima figure to partner with the youth of the sons. Later in the tale we are introduced to the King and his daughter. The king is a widower. There is an imbalance here too of the young princess and older King. It points toward the two brothers being 'one' (even their names suggest two sides of the same coin) in a masculine / feminine pair of mother and son(s). The King and princess being a pair: father and daughter. So already there is a hint towards where the balance must shift and that True and Untrue represent an ego / shadow duality.

Now, when they had walked till evening, they sat down on a windfall in the wood, and took out their scrips, for they were hungry after walking the whole day, and thought a morsel of food would be sweet enough. “If you're of my mind,” said Untrue, “I think we had better eat out of your scrip, so long as there is anything in it, and after that we can take to mine.” Yes! True was well pleased with this, so they fell to eating, but Untrue got all the best bits, and stuffed himself with them, while True got only the burnt crusts and scraps. Next morning they broke their fast off True's food, and they dined off it too, and then there was nothing left in his scrip. So when they had walked till late at night, and were ready to eat again, True wanted to eat out of his brother's scrip, but Untrue said “No,” the food was his, and he had only enough for himself. “Nay! but you know you ate out of my scrip so long as there was anything in it,” said True. “All very fine, I daresay,” answered Untrue; “but if you are such a fool as to let others eat up your food before your face, you must make the best of it; for now all you have to do is to sit here and starve.” “Very well!” said True, “you're Untrue by name and untrue by nature; so you have been, and so you will be all your life long.” Now when Untrue heard this, he flew into a rage, and rushed at his brother, and plucked out both his eyes. “Now, try if you can see whether folk are untrue or not, you blind buzzard!” and so saying, he ran away and left him.

An encounter with the shadow. Although True knows his brother as the start of the tale confirms he must it is different to encounter it personally now without the mother - feminine / anima - influence or mediation. He is growing up. He is quite niave to believe his brother so we may think he doesn't actually know his shadow very well. His brother takes advantage of him. Finally he realises and sees for the first time, “you're Untrue by name and untrue by nature; so you have been, and so you will be all your life long”. An encounter with the shadow is always an eye opener so to speak and not without repercussion, hurt and some damage. Ironically then when his eyes are first opened he now loses them. Untrue plucks his eye's out, his view on the world, his eyes as a symbol of ego consciousness and an outward view on the world. Now he must look internally to the unconscious to survive.

Poor True! there he went walking along and feeling his way through the thick wood. Blind and alone, he scarce knew which way to turn, when all at once he caught hold of the trunk of a great bushy lime-tree, so he thought he would climb up into it, and sit there till the night was over for fear of the wild beasts. “When the birds begin to sing,” he said to himself, “then I shall know it is day, and I can try to grope my way farther on.”

He is now truly lost, “ Blind and alone, he scarce knew which way to turn ”. He must confront the unconscious. He is not completely unawares now of his encounter with the unconscious and there is an attitude of respect as he wonders through the thick wood unconscious domain. He knows that there are wild beasts about and dangers. There is a feeling that he is learning about his other senses now and how to use them, “ When the birds begin to sing ”. He will 'listen' to the birds - carriers of unconsicous thoughts and symbols of spirit. His internal eye's are open. So he climbed up into the lime-tree. After he had sat there a little time, he heard how some one came and began to make a stir and clatter under the tree, and soon after others came and when they began to greet one another, he found out it was Bruin the bear, and Greylegs the wolf, and Slyboots the fox, and Longears the hare, who had come to keep St. John's eve under the tree. The lime-tree: known as Lime in Britian. Known too as Linden, or Basswood in North America. Linden was originally the adjective for “made from Lime-wood”. Not at all related to the Lime fruit. Heart shaped asymmetrical leaves. Also known as the Tilia tree. The Tilia tree is a national emblem of Slovakia. “Lipa” = Tilia in Slavic languages. Lipa = is the root word for the German town of Leipzig. The tree is considered sacred by Slavic's. The Linden tree is considered symbolic and hallowed in pre-christian German mythology. Dances were held under the tree. Also, judicial meetings were conducted under the tree to restore justice and peace - the tree would help 'unearth the truth'. In German folklore the Tilia tree is the “tree of lovers”. In Greek mythology - Ovid - Baucis and Philemon (the only ones to welcome the disguised gods Zeus and Hermes when they roamed the earth in disguise) were turned in a Tilia & Oak tree respectively when it came time to die. So the tree is very symbolic. It provides fertile 'anima' territory (the tree of lovers. Even the statue of lady justice; a blind lady) to mediate his encounter with the unconscious - as it must be (as his mother would have done to a degree). The anima - feminine overtone must guide him. He climbs the tree - an ascension to a greater consciousness and awareness of unconscious content. The tree also provides a place of 'judgment' on his situation, it being a place of jurisprudence. Here he will encounter the truth - aptly so with his name being 'True'. Christian influence: it being St. John's eve seems to show the Christian influence on the norse fairytale. This coupled with the 'King of England' we later meet seems to confirm this influence. So they began to eat and drink, and be merry; and when they had done eating they fell to gossiping together. At last the Fox said — “Shan't we, each of us, tell a little story while we sit here?” An encounter with unconscious archetypes, instinctual forces. The 4 animals, a quaternity - an encounter with the wholeness of the Self, with the Self. What archetypes help restore the feminine in this tale? Notice too that the encounter with the Self's archetypal elements is still quite primitive, i.e. animals. A rule of thumb progression: Inanimate objects: Rocks, ocean, forest etc. → Cartoon, characature → Animals → Talking animals → Human The Bear: helps restore his and the kings eyesight (uses the bear info twice) The bear is close to and often linked to human in myth and folklore: it is an omnivore like man, it can walk on two legs as well as four. The bear hibernates and therefore represents a rebirth each spring. The bear often sleeps in caves, in mother earth, a womb, and is therefore often associated with and symbolises mother earth. The bear is also a symbol of strength and courage; wearing a bearskin would increase a warriors power. Slaying a bear was often a right of passage to manhood. A symbol of the great mother. The Wolf: provides info to restore the princesses speech & hearing. The wolf is one of the few animals that mate for life; a very strong bond with the chosen feminine partner. They are sociable pack animals. Another sign of potency for the young hero. Wolves are very smart and good hunters. They are creatures of the night with good night vision. A symbol of strength - the alpha male. In Celtic tradition the wolf is learning, loyalty, intuition and family. The Fox: provides information about the spring in the kings garden. The fox is well known to be sly and cunning and very smart with the ability to trick and help. The trickster, mercurial spirit. The Hare: information to help the orchads produce fruit again. A symbol of agility and fertility. The hare was the precursor to the easter bunny - again, a symbol of fertility. Is the order important?
He hears the information: bear → wolf → fox → hare.
He use the information: bear (sight, his own) → fox (water, stream of life) → bear (sight, the kingdom → hare (food) → wolf (anima, a right relationship).
So sight, then water then once connected to the unconscious stream of life, greater sight is restored to the kingdom. Then food to sustain life, then you are ready to have a partner. back to top Well! the others had nothing against that. It would be good fun, they said, and the Bear began; for you may fancy he was king of the company. “The king of England,” said Bruin, “has such bad eyesight, he can scarce see a yard before him; but if he only came to this lime-tree in the morning, while the dew is still on the leaves, and took and rubbed his eyes with the dew, he would get back his sight as good as ever.” It is right that the bear should go first. Dew symbolising the elixir of life. In alchemy it represented the prima materia, the philosophers stone; it was believed to contain the divine salt - the thoughts of the one mind, an incarnation on earth from above - that could be used to transform. It represents the contents from the cup of God, the holy grail. The dew off the linden/lime tree will restore sight. It will restore sight connected with the unconscious, a higher consciousness and perspective on the world. Again, from the linden tree, the feminine mediator to the unconscious content. The tree, True and the dew - father, son, holy ghost, only the father is now the feminine. Makes me think that the church missed a trick here (when they 'updated' the fairytale) as the pagons recognised the anima aspects of God. Or, the four animals as a quaternity of the Self = 1, True and the Tree. A Triad. I'm not sure the numbers matter so much here. Even though the information is passed on one animal at a time the story does not at anytime provide for True to gather only part. He must listen to all the information from the animals before his sight can be restored in the morning with the dew. You cannot take only what you want and leave. If he had exposed himself then he would have been eaten by 'the beasts' as he pointed out. Notice too that he can't own the animals, he can't identify with them or know the source of their knowledge - this is not even mentioned. Should he do that, or want to join them he would identify with the Self, become an animal so to speak = inflation, and not grow. You can't own the self. The bear as a symbol of the great mother, the feminine mediator along with the tree will restore conscious sight now connected with the unconscious. “Very true!” said Greylegs. “The king of England has a deaf and dumb daughter too; but if he only knew what I know, he would soon cure her. Last year she went to the communion. She let a crumb of the bread fall out of her mouth, and a great toad came and swallowed it down; but if they only dug up the chancel floor, they would find the toad sitting right under the altar rails, with the bread still sticking in his throat. If they were to cut the toad open, and take and give the bread to the princess, she would be like other folk again as to her speech and hearing.” back to top The princess - the desirable anima figure/companion for True is deaf and dumb. She cannot speak or hear as a result of an incomplete marriage to the Self - the holy communion. What fell out was the body of Christ. The tale said she 'let a crumb of the bread fall our of her mouth'. The tone is not clear - whether she was careless or whether it was accidental. In either case it implies she was aware that it fell out and thus the union fell to the depths, to the toad. In alchemy the toad is often used as a symbol for the blackening, the nigredo stage of the alchemical process - the beginning, the first step on the path to the philosophers stone. The putrefaction of the material. It is here where the integration process of the anima stopped in the process to be realised - right at the start. She wasn't even able to get out the gates and therefore decended back to the toad. The amphibian that is comfortable on land and in the water. A symbol too of re-birth from the tadpole through the toad. So the potential is there, but stagnated. There is an under developed anima. “That's all very well,” said the Fox; “but if the king of England knew what I know, he would not be so badly off for water in his palace; for under the great stone, in his palace-yard, is a spring of the clearest water one could wish for, if he only knew to dig for it there.” The life giving spring is within the realm of the king, its there along. We read later that he was bringing the water in from afare but that still it was not good. Clear healthy water exists in his kingdom already under a big stone. Kind of like the stone covering the tomb of Christ that needed to be rolled away when he rose again. There is no rebirth, no queen. No rebirth is key here. “Ah!” said the Hare in a small voice; “the king of England has the finest orchard in the whole land but it does not bear so much as a crab, for there lies a heavy gold chain in three turns round the orchard. If he got that dug up, there would not be a garden like it for bearing in all his kingdom.” Notice that it is a fine orchard, healthy by all accounts (we read later on too) but it bears no fruit - nothing edible. Similar to having the water but not being able to drink it (or only barely), so the orchard is well established, grown, mature but not bearing fruit. The gold chain: it will not decay or tarnish. Wrapped three times - a masculine number. Masculinity constricting the life giving produce of mother nature/earth. Ironic here a bit that the alchemical process is to transform the prima materia into gold - living gold. But here the gold is actually constricting the growth. A sign perhaps that, not done/attained correctly, gold, the dead metal, can actually hinder life as opposed to amplifying it. The gold we see later can make him rich but used in the constallation of one sidedness - just the masculine in this case - and the it will retard growth, life and the nourishment needed for the journey to consciousness. back to top (The man represented by Saturn - a stagnated masculine.) “Very true, I dare say,” said the Fox; “but now it's getting very late, and we may as well go home.” So they all went away together. Notice that he gets all he needs from the unconscious. All the answers are there and provided to him. He needed to go blind to get the answers to continue his growth and for the anima to revive and become a participating partner. After they were gone, True fell asleep as he sat up in the tree; but when the birds began to sing at dawn, he woke up, and took the dew from the leaves, and rubbed his eyes with it, and so got his sight back as good as it was before Untrue plucked his eyes out. Then he went straight to the king of England's palace, and begged for work, and got it on the spot. So one day the king came out into the palace-yard, and when he had walked about a bit, he wanted to drink out of his pump; for you must know the day was hot, and the king very thirsty; but when they poured him out a glass, it was so muddy, and nasty, and foul, that the king got quite vexed. “I don't think there's ever a man in my whole kingdom who has such bad water in his yard as I, and yet I bring it in pipes from far, over hill and dale,” cried out the king. “Like enough, your Majesty;” said True, “but if you would let me have some men to help me to dig up this great stone which lies here in the middle of your yard, you would soon see good water, and plenty of it.” Well! the king was willing enough; and they had scarcely got the stone well out, and dug under it a while, before a jet of water sprang out high up into the air, as clear and full as if it came out of a conduit, and clearer water was not to be found in all England. True is a lot less niave now. He has certainly gained some insight and knowledge on how to handle himself and share out his gifts. He doesn't just tell the king everything he knows but lets the journey play out. He's already more aware - more mature and grown up. A little while after the king was out in his palace-yard again, and there came a great hawk flying after his chicken, and all the king's men began to clap their hands and bawl out, “There he flies!” “There he flies!” The king caught up his gun and tried to shoot the hawk, but he couldn't see so far, so he fell into great grief. “Would to Heaven,” he said, “there was any one who could tell me a cure for my eyes; for I think I shall soon go quite blind!” “I can tell you one soon enough,” said True; and then he told the king what he had done to cure his own eyes, and the king set off that very afternoon to the lime-tree, as you may fancy, and his eyes were quite cured as soon as he rubbed them with the dew which was on the leaves in the morning. From that time forth there was no one whom the king held so dear as True, and he had to be with him wherever he went, both at home and abroad. The King is the ego consicousness of the old regime - the stagnated growth; note the orchard, the water supply and the princess all stunted in their current state. He is also losing his eyesight. A sign that the current ego state needs to change. The kingdom has done well till now but there is need of a change, a new epoch for the kingdom to again flourish - a new consciousness. So one day, as they were walking together in the orchard, the king said, “I can't tell how it is, that I can't! there isn't a man in England who spends so much on his orchard as I, and yet I can't get one of the trees to bear so much as a crab.” Notice, as with the water, it is not for lack of effort or trying but without the contribution and participation of the unconscious growth will not happen. “Well! Well!” said True; “if I may have what lies three times twisted round your orchard, and men to dig it up, your orchard will bear well enough.” Yes! the king was quite willing, so True got men and began to dig, and at last he dug up the whole gold chain. Now True was a rich man, far richer indeed than the king himself, but still the king was well pleased, for his orchard bore so that the boughs of the trees hung down to the ground, and such sweet apples and pears nobody had ever tasted. When you know how to use the gold it can make you rich, otherwise it will just constrict. Another day too the king and True were walking about, and talking together, when the princess passed them, and the king was quite downcast when he saw her. “Isn't it a pity, now, that so lovely a princess as mine should want speech and hearing?” he said to True. “Ay, but there is a cure for that,” said True. When the king heard that, he was so glad that he promised him the princess to wife, and half his kingdom into the bargain, if he could get her right again. So True took a few men, and went into the church, and dug up the toad which sat under the altar-rails. Then he cut open the toad, and took out the bread and gave it to the king's daughter; and from that hour she got back her speech, and could talk like other people. back to top Now True has grown - ego consciousness has assimilated the unconscious content into ego consciousness. Now True was to have the princess, and they got ready for the bridal-feast, and such a feast had never been seen before; it was the talk of the whole land. Just as they were in the midst of dancing the bridal-dance, in came a beggar lad, and begged for a morsel of food, and he was so ragged and wretched that every one crossed themselves when they looked at him; but True knew him at once, and saw that it was Untrue, his brother. “Do you know me again?” said True. “Oh! where should such a one as I ever have seen so great a lord?” said Untrue. “Still you have seen me before,” said True. “It was I whose eyes you plucked out a year ago this very day. Untrue by name, and untrue by nature; so I said before, and so I say now; but you are still my brother, and so you shall have some food. After that, you may go to the lime-tree where I sat last year; if you hear anything that can do you good, you will be lucky.” So Untrue did not wait to be told twice. “If True has got so much good by sitting in the lime-tree, that in one year he has come to be king over half England, what good may not I get?” he thought. So he set off and climbed up into the lime-tree. He had not sat there long, before all the beasts came as before, and ate and drank, and kept St. John's eve under the tree. When they had left off eating, the Fox wished that they should begin to tell stories, and Untrue got ready to listen with all his might, till his ears were almost fit to fall off. But Bruin the bear was surly, and, growled and said— “Some one has been chattering about what we said last year, and so now we will hold our tongues about what we know;” and with that the beasts bade one another “Good night,” and parted, and Untrue was just as wise as he was before, and the reason was, that his name was Untrue, and his nature untrue too. Untrue is approaching with the wrong attitude (similar to the Grimm fairytale Mother Holle), with his eye's fixed firmly to ego consciousness. He needs - like True - to lose his sight so that he might see (and hear). True on the other hand has embraced his shadow, he recognises him and knows him at once and knows his name, “but True knew him at once, and saw that it was Untrue, his brother”. In mythology and magic to know someone or somethings name was to be able to control it or have power over it. So now True recognises his shadow and is happy to share with him. Notice too that now the quaternity is established. True and the princess, the King and Trues mother (implied). Untrue - the shadow figure is part of True and thus part of the quaternity; he is given food at the banquet. Notice too that the tree as an objective symbol of jurisprudence, the right judgement is exacted upon Untrue's intentions and approach to the unconscious material. WRONG - Untrue never quite enters the quaternity. The shadow figure never transforms, it never hears the unconscious forces: the animals under the tree. They are angry and no longer want to share. Notice too that the archetypal forces of the unconcsious, although still in the quaternity, do not themselves transfor either - the unconscious remains primitive, there is no growth within the unconscious. True marries his anima, there is a syzergy, but Untrue never changes. There are some idea's here reflected in Heinz Kohuts theory of 'idealisation' and 'mirroring'. .rue show's idealisation - he is deintegrating and re-integrating knowledge from the unconscious in listening to and taking information from the unconscious. But as an individual True = True + Untrue (Shadow) there has been no mirroring and an integration of all the components of the individual. You feel he won't grow any further until his shadow evolves or as in other fairytales for e.g. one of the Self animals requests to have its head cut off and a princess emerges that Untrue might marry, something like that :) back to top

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