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Old Sultan
Folk tale
Name Old Sultan
Aarne-Thompson grouping ATU 101, ATU 103
Country Germany
Published in Grimm's Fairy Tales

"Old Sultan" (German: Der alte Sultan) is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm (KHM 48).

The tale combines two different Aarne–Thompson-Uther types: ATU 101 ("The Old Dog as Rescuer of the Child") and ATU 103 ("War between Wild Animals and Domestic Animals"). The motif of "The War Between the Village Animals and the Forest Animals", formerly classified as AT 104, was merged with ATU 103 in Hans-Jörg Uther's new classification system in 2004. Another example of ATU 103 tale is the Bohemian "The Dog and the Wolf".'


The tale was published by the Brothers Grimm in a somewhat simpler form in the first edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen (1812), and rewritten in its present form for the second edition (1819). Their source was Johann Friedrich Krause, from the town of Hof in Hessen.


A farmer's dog named Sultan had grown old. One day the farmer told his wife he would kill Sultan. The dog heard. A wolf told him that they would take their child haying the next day, and the wolf would carry him off. Sultan could chase him, and he would free the child. They would be grateful and not kill Sultan.

The wolf's plan succeeded, and the farmer was so grateful that he had his wife make bread soup for the toothless dog so he would not have to chew.

The wolf asked Sultan to overlook his stealing sheep, and Sultan refused. When the wolf tried it, Sultan barked. The wolf challenged him and came with a boar as his second. Sultan could find only a three-legged cat. But the wolf and boar mistook the cat's upraised tail for a sword. When the cat limped they thought she was picking up rocks to throw, so they hid. They were ashamed to be found so frightened and they gave up.

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