Locks in fairytales and poetry

Locks and keys play a vital part in some fairytales that are still told today.

Consider the Tales from the Thousand and One Nights. In the story of Ali Baba and the forty thieves, the portal to the treasure chamber was opened with the code words, “Open sesame.”

In Swedish folk tales, we have the Castle that Stood on Golden Posts. A cat transformed itself into a loaf of bread in the keyhole of a giant’s castle, keeping the giant from getting into his home. “Unlock the door!” the giant yelled, but instead the cat told him about its many adventures, until the sun went up and the giant burst.

Photo by the author.
Photo by the author.


A Swedish folk poem, “A song about a frightful murder,” is about a crime of passion, where a man breaks open a lock and axe-murders his girlfriend and the strange man with her. He then drowns himself “in the blue waves.”

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