Mary Grassell Hurricane, West Virginia USA

Mary Grassell

'Peer Gynt and the Green Princess'

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Fairy Tale and Artist's comments ...

Mary Grassell - Hurricane, West Virginia USA

I have always loved the story of Peer Gynt and the music Edvard Greig composed for Ibsen's play about him. This print, his meeting with the daughter of the Mountain King, portrays one aspect of Peer's adventures.

Peer Gynt is a Norwegian Fairy Tale about a lazy, good-for-nothing, young man named, of course, Peer Gynt. Peer have always loved was notorious in his laziness, and the story of Peer his mother, Ace, a widow, was sad because she had no one to help her with the work as Peer was never home.

One day, after a hunt, he and his mother went to a wedding in the village. There he met and fell in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Solveig. But Solveig's parents stood firm in not letting her near Peer. His reputation was that bad. Peer became distraught and stole the bride at the wedding, which caused him to get into so much trouble.

The trouble was so great that he had to leave the village and wander the world. First off, in the great forest, he meets the Green Princess who takes Peer to her home inside the mountain on the back of a pig. This is the image depicted in the print. Peer is happy to be going home with the beautiful princess astride a huge pig!

The problem was that the princess was the daughter of the Mountain King, the king of the trolls. The trolls immediately surrounded Peer in the mountain, but Peer was not afraid because he thought he loved the Green Princess. In order to marry his daughter, the king directed Peer to grow a tail, never to see the light of day again, and to make his eyes into slits like the Trolls. Peer did not want to do this.

The trolls closed in, but just then Peer heard church bells and the trolls and the mountain melted away. Peer then went on to other adventures in Mongolia and Arabia. He had fun, but he started to remember his mother, Ace, and his beautiful girl Solveig, and became homesick.

As an old man, he finally went home looking for his mother, whom he found to have died from a broken heart shortly after he left home. But then, at his house, instead, he found Solveig who welcomed him as she had waited for him for a lifetime. They were married and Peer finally settled down and became a good man and husband.

The story is a warning to young men about the dangers of the loneliness of an undirected life. Ibsen made the tale into a play, and Greig made the tale and the play into a beautiful piece of music known as the "Peer Gynt Suite." This tale was chosen because it has always been one of my favorites, as well as the music.