Fairy Tale Friday: Nix Nought Nothing
Once upon a time there was Queen who gave birth to a son whilst her warrior King husband was off slaying infidels. Not wanting to christen the boy until his father came home, the silly Queen told everyone to call her son Nix Nought Nothing.
Some years later, the King was finally returning home (the long way) and came to a large river he could not possibly ford on his own. A giant appeared and offered to carry him safely to the other shore in exchange for “Nix Nought Nothing.” Having no idea that he had a son at all let alone one with such a ridiculous name, the King agreed to the giant’s request. When he arrived home and realized what was afoot, the King foisted his gardener’s son on the giant. This (of course) backfired when the gardener’s son revealed who he was to the giant who promptly killed and ate him. Seeing what had happened to the gardener’s son, the King and Queen were for some reason compelled to give up their son who went to live with the giant.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, the giant had a daughter of normal proportions and unsurpassed loveliness. (Shocker, I know.) Nix Nought Nothing and the giant’s daughter soon fell in love. Whenever the giant gave Nix Nought Nothing (who, yes, had still not gained a proper name!) some impossible task to complete, the lovely giant’s daughter used her genetic giant magic (just go with it) to help him do it. Unfortunately, one day her magic went awry and they were forced to flee from the giant’s wrath. On the bright side, her magic did help them escape and, using Nix Nought Nothing’s flask to create a tsunami wave, she successfully killed the giant/her father.
As they neared Nix Nought Nothing’s kingdom, the giant’s daughter grew suddenly weary and told Nix Nought Nothing to go on without her and she would wait for him in a tree. (Totally normal!) Nix Nought Nothing went on and came upon the gardener’s wife who not only recognized the returned prince but blamed him for what had happened to her own son. Being a bit of a magician herself, she cursed Nix Nought Nothing who immediately fell into an enchanted sleep.
Meanwhile, the giant’s daughter still waited in the tree until the gardener found her and told her of what had happened. She immediately hastened to the castle and told the King and Queen about all the shenanigans going on in their very garden. They were very shocked, but happy that their son had been able to return home (sort of), and ordered the gardener’s wife to remove the curse. This she grudgingly did and Nix Nought Nothing and the giant’s daughter were married on that very day.
Moral of the Story? Always name your child something sensible and also avoid sacrificing your servant’s children to save your own. Seriously now, royalty, it’ll only come back to bite you in the butt.
Adapted from Joseph Jacobs’ “English Fairy Tales.”