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Published on June 7, 2012, by in Au Pair.

Au pairs play a big role in many of the fairy tales that are so commonly told and retold. You might be surprised where they will pop up. Here are ten fairy tales that have an au pair in them.

  1. Little Brother and Little Sister by Brothers Grimm – A sister and brother are abandoned to the woods by their evil step mother. They live well there, but the brother accidentally drinks out of a cursed well and turns into a deer. The sister takes care of him until a King comes along and marries her, taking her brother along also at her request. When the sister has a baby, an evil witch curses her and makes her a ghost, taking her place. The love the sister has for her child and brother is too strong, so she can still appear at night to nurse her child and greet her brother. The au pair that is taking care of the child sees her and tells the King, who kills the witch and rescues her from her curse, and also frees her brother from his curse. Thanks to one watchful au pair, everyone lives happily ever after.
  2. Princess Rosette by Madame d’Aulnoy – A princess is destined to marry a faraway king. Her brothers find the king and the king says he would marry her if she was beautiful, but kill them both if she was not. Princess Rosette goes to meet the king with her au pair. The au pair bribes the boatman to throw the princess, into the sea in the middle of the night and the au pair put her own daughter in the princess’s place. The outraged king was about to execute her brothers, who persuaded him to give them seven days to prove their innocence. When the princess woke, she was convinced that the king had decided not to marry her after all, and so had her thrown into the sea. She is helped by an old man and eventually the brothers find her. The king marries her and they live happily ever after.
  3. The Nurse, Japanese – The story of a loyal au pair, Matsu, who keeps a sacred sword safe for a prince who is banished by an evil stepmother. When the stepmother discovers she has hidden the sword, who keeps her locked in the dungeon until she dies. Her ghost retrieves the sword and gives it to the prince.
  4. The Fairy Nurse by Andrew Lang – The story of a woman named Molly who is trapped by the fairies as an au pair. Her neighbor sees her and concocts a plan to rescue her.
  5. The Fairy Nurse by W. R. Wilde – A good mother named Biddy is kidnapped to be the au pair for a fairy king whose queen is ill. When the queen feels better, they release her and, as a reward, she gets the cure for a little girl’s illness.
  6. The Fox as Nurse, Finnish – A wolf has three cubs but their mother is dead. He goes looking for an au pair. He finds a fox who says she will do the job. The fox ends up eating the cubs and tricks the wolf into letting her escape.
  7. Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand – The inspiration of the Nanny McPhee movies, this classic series of fairy tales has a magical au pair that can love naughty children and make them ‘proper’ with just a tap of her cane.
  8. The Nurse and the Wolf by Aesop – An au pair threatens to feed a whiny child to wolves and a wolf overhears it. When the child wines again, the wolf comes out, expecting to be fed. Instead, the au pair calls for help and the wolf is chased away.
  9. Rumpelstiltskin by Brothers Grimm – An evil little man demands a princess’ first born child when he does her a favor. When he comes to retrieve the child, and au pair protects her as the princess bargains with him. Eventually, the princess guesses his name and he goes away empty handed.
  10. Blondine, Bonne-Biche, and Beau Mignon by Comtesse de Ségur – The tale of a princess who is left in an enchanted forest by her evil stepmother. When her father remarries, Blondine is left in the care of her au pair, because the queen is so evil. When the queen can no longer take her presence, she tricks Blondine into the forest. Her father, the King, searches for her but does not find her. She stays with a talking deer and the deer’s son, a white cat. There she stays until she is lured away by an evil magician. Eventually she finds her way home with the help of a prince and they marry.

No matter what culture you come from, there are fairy tales with au pairs present. Some are good, some are bad, but they are an important part of fairy tales and of life.

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