Once upon a time, long long ago, in the days when good stories were far more beautiful and far harder to come by, a king was asked by his spoilt but beloved princess daughter to give her a fairy tale. In answer to her request, he bestowed upon her a mysterious golden toy. Below you will find a perfectly faithful reproduction of it. Like all good princesses, she played diligently with her new plaything, until she revealed the tale it contained, a magnificent story of all-encompassing revulsion and allure.

Can you discover the fairy tale in the image? You will find there both the title of the story and the key plot point.



The fairy tale is not, of course, hidden in the png file itself, but rather in the thing which it represents, and this quite exactly. It should, for instance, be possible to build a physical version of the toy from which the solution might be obtained; no part of the toy is irrelevant to this solution.

Hint 2:

Since this puzzle seems to have attracted some further interest, let me reiterate my point that this is essentially a mechanical puzzle. While it is difficult to hint the details of the puzzle's mechanism without giving the problem away, the essential mechanical processes involved are already hinted in the flavourtext. While I have stated a physical version might be built, simple pen-and-paper work should also yield a solution - it might help not to get too hung up in precise lengths and angles, while keeping careful track of where different physical components might lie.

Hint 3:

I'm wary of placing bounties or posting too many hints on my old questions to avoid making a nuisance of myself with puzzles that aren't very interesting, but since this puzzle has garnered ongoing attention, and has attracted (another!) bounty placed by some kind stranger, first @Swati, now @costello (as well as a downvote...), I'll post another clearer hint.

The image is all you need to solve the puzzle (although some of the physical details of the mechanical processes involved are obscurely hinted in the flavourtext). I reiterate that a working physical model of this puzzle could be built. The pictured state is one possible arrangement of the machine, and the solution state(s?) may be found by manipulating the machine. @SeptaCube has performed a manipulation of the image (rotating the thick lines) which is crucial to obtaining the solution - what is now required is to rationalise and finetune this manipulation (using the other components of the image - black and white dots, thin lines, and pattern at lower right). There is one wrinkle, which is the obvious elongation of the image (initially unintentional and an artifact of the program I used to construct the image), but which is easily corrected (by stretching the image, assuming near-right angles are right, and interpreting the elongation as a perspective view of the physical toy). The arrow at lower right does not need to be stretched in the same manner. Once this stretch is performed, the puzzle is mathematically precise to the pixel (hence the mathematics tag), but this is not necessarily the desired method, for even without it it is still solveable by hand - some tweaking of @Septacube's image should start to show some recognizable shapes.

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    $\begingroup$ There is a face in the image with a very pointed chin. $\endgroup$ – John Brookfields Jun 1 '20 at 9:27
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps it's time for a hint? $\endgroup$ – mbjb Jun 7 '20 at 10:44
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    $\begingroup$ @mestackoverflow Done! $\endgroup$ – Anon Jun 7 '20 at 12:19
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps another hint? This looks like a very nice puzzle and it would be great if it was solved! $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Aug 5 '20 at 20:58
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    $\begingroup$ "I'm wary of placing bounties or posting too many hints on my old questions to avoid making a nuisance of myself with puzzles that aren't very interesting" - I think people are definitely interested (I know I am), just haven't figured out a starting point! I'd recommend adding hints until it's solved - better to make the puzzle too easy than to leave it unsolved, IMO. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Oct 16 '20 at 15:57

Rotating each black segment / set of segments around the corresponding point in ways that make sense give this image:

enter image description here

When turned upside down, this seems to resemble the straw and brick houses in the three little piggies story, making that the answer.

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    $\begingroup$ You're well and truly on the right track, although finding the actual solution will require a slightly more systematic approach. Your answer doesn't take into account many of the visual components of the image, nor does it really tell us the title of the story and plot point; your fairy tale doesn't really match the flavourtext either I feel. Your approach though is good - rationalise it (using the rest of the image data) and you should be closer to the solution. $\endgroup$ – Anon Sep 30 '20 at 6:42
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    $\begingroup$ In fact, with a few tweaks to your own solution, an alternative image might start to appear... $\endgroup$ – Anon Sep 30 '20 at 6:44
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    $\begingroup$ Spoiler fixed for you - feel free to make any further edits as required :) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Sep 30 '20 at 6:57
  • $\begingroup$ Rot 13: Gur guvat gung’f ernyyl obgurevat zr vf ubj aba-fcrpvsvp gur qbgf ner. Gur yvarf V haqrefgnaq ner (V guvax?) whfg hfrq nf ybbfr pbaarpgbef, ohg gur qbgf qba’g frrz gb yvar hc jvgu nalguvat... N qrprag puhax yvr ba yvarf, ohg V gevrq gb cbvag gur oynpx cbvag yvarf va gur qverpgvba bs gur juvgr qbgf, naq fvzvyne guvatf, ohg abguvat... $\endgroup$ – SeptaCube Sep 30 '20 at 7:10
  • $\begingroup$ Also thanks for fixing my answer Stiv. $\endgroup$ – SeptaCube Sep 30 '20 at 7:12

I think the story is:

"The Princess and the Frog"

When you rotate the pieces around to form shapes, and then rotate them to point the "arrow" in the direction of the arrow on screen, they form what looks like a princess head (like, with little pigtails) and an origami-looking frog. And there's a single line between them which looks like a princess kissing a frog. In addition, the puzzle text hints at "revulsion and allure" which seems pretty appropriate.

Here's the image:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Lbh'er zhpu pybfre guna zvtug or gubhtug, nygubhtu V nqzvg V'z univat gebhoyr frrvat gur cevaprff (V nffhzr vg'f lbhe funcr ba gur gbc yrsg?). Bapr gur fbyhgvba vf sbhaq, lbh'yy frr jul lbhe nafjre vf fb pybfr (ng yrnfg va gur raqcbvag). $\endgroup$ – Anon Oct 17 '20 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ Lbhe vqrn bs ebgngvat gur funcrf gb cbvag gbjneqf gur neebj vf vagrerfgvat, naq juvyr abg ragveryl pbeerpg vf ba gur evtug genpx. Fb sne, obgu choyvfurq fbyhgvbaf unir vaibyirq ebgngvat gur guvpx oynpx cvrprf nq ubp; gur tbny vf gb svaq gur fgevpg culfvpny ynj tbireavat gurve ebgngvba (nygubhtu gur vzntrf bs obgu @frcgnphor naq lbhefrys ner pybfr rabhtu gung n srj zber nq ubp ebgngvbaf zvtug fgneg gb fubj n zber erpbtavfnoyr vzntr). $\endgroup$ – Anon Oct 17 '20 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ Creuncf vg jbhyq uryc lbh vs V erzvaqrq lbh gung na ragveryl culfvpny zbqry bs gur chmmyr pbhyq or znqr, naq gbyq lbh gung va guvf zbqry, lbh jbhyq abg arrq gb ebgngr gur guvpx oynpx yvarf lbhefrys (naq cbvagrq bhg gung nyy-rapbzcnffvat erihyfvba naq nyyher zvtug uvag gb fbzr fcrpvsvp culfvpf)... $\endgroup$ – Anon Oct 17 '20 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Anon Lrnu, zl vavgvny gubhtug jnf gung vg jnf ersrerapvat zntargvfz, juvpu znxrf n gba bs frafr tvira gur pbaarpgvat juvgr naq oynpx qbgf. V fcrag n juvyr gelvat gb trg fbzrjurer jvgu gung naq jnf hanoyr gb. $\endgroup$ – kristinalustig Oct 17 '20 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ Gur guvat gung'f ernyyl guebjvat zr bss vf gung fbzr bs gur "zntargf" yrg'f pnyy gurz? Nera'g pbaarpgrq gb nalguvat, fb V pna'g svther bhg jung V'z fhccbfrq gb qb jvgu gurz. Naq sbe fbzr bs gur funcrf, vg'f hapyrne vs vg'f n fvatyr jubyr funcr be gur cvrprf ner crezvggrq gb zbir vaqrcraqragyl. Onfvpnyyl, V srry yvxr V qba'g unir rabhtu vasbezngvba gb fbyir guvf chmmyr. Lbh xrrc fnlvat naq uvagvat gung gur cvpgher vf zngurzngvpnyyl cerpvfr ohg gung qbrfa'g uryc vs V pna'g svther bhg gur haqreylvat zrpunavfzf. :-/ $\endgroup$ – kristinalustig Oct 17 '20 at 15:48

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