Little Princess Tuvstarr and the Forest Tarn

Many recognize the painting of Little Princess Tuvstarr by the famous Swedish illustrator John Bauer, but the story behind the painting is not as well known. The original story was written by Helge Kjellin and published in 1913 together with Bauer's illustrations. A tragic tale, it tells of Little Princess Tuvstarr’s first adventure in the woods and how she lost her golden heart in the forest tarn. Obsessed with trying to find her lost heart, she spent the rest of her days trapped under the enchantment of the forest tarn, staring into the dark water for so long that she finally grew into a white tuvstarr flower. So ends the original story. However, there is another ending to Little Princess Tuvstarr’s story that few have heard, and in order to tell it, we will have to go back to the very beginning, when the princess was growing up at Dream Castle…
Here, you can listen to my own telling of the story, inspired by my own personal journey into the deepest, darkest part of the wood. This story is aimed for adults and adolescents (over the age of 10). The Swedish word skogstjärn translates directly into forest tarn. The word tarn, in English, is more commonly used to describe a mountain lake; however, the word is etymologically rooted in the Old Norse tjörn, a language rooted in a land of deep forests and skogstjärnar, forest tarns. Here, the word elk refers to the Eurasian elk (moose, in American English).


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