Is there any statement or evidence that The Tale of the 3 Brothers is based on the fairly tale The Wishing-Table, the Gold-Ass, and the Cudgel in the Sack ( Tischlein deck dich, Goldesel und Knüppel aus dem Sack). Which in my opionion share some elements:

  • 3 brothers
  • receive magical items
  • which 2 of them backfire and only 1 makes the owner happy
  • one of the items is an unbeatable weapon (kugel vs elder wand)
  • more?
  • 2
    It's worth noting that this is in a very broad tradition of tales featuring three brothers, two of whom make bad choices and are justly rewarded, and the third of whom makes a good choice and receives his due. The best-known of this class, of course, involves two brothers who build their houses out of flimsy materials, and one who builds his out of brick. There might have been a wolf involved somewhere....
    – Adamant
    Aug 16, 2016 at 5:54
  • 1
    @Adamant Love the comment, but for me this fairy tale is told when I was younger, so when reading HP I immediatly thought of this story.
    – Thomas
    Aug 16, 2016 at 7:07

1 Answer 1


JK Rowling has said in a Web chat that this tale was influenced (to some degree) by Chaucer's "The Pardoner's Tale."

Jessie: Were the deathly hallows based on any realworld myth or faerie tale

J.K. Rowling: Perhaps ‘the Pardoner’s Tale’, by Chaucer.

She is widely read though and does not deny borrowing from a wide range of mythologies to form her world.

You may also find the Wikipedia article Harry Potter influences and analogues interesting, they cite their sources well and break down the admitted degree of influence effectively.


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