The Best Wish

“The Best Wish” is really fun to tell, and it’s a great story about what happens when a young man makes a seemingly foolish choice of love over money. The women are the strong characters in this story, and they are the ones who determine the young man’s destiny. The...

Wild Swans

On a winter’s day in the long long ago, in a land between the forest and the sea, a yellow-haired Queen went driving over the new-fallen snow of Yule. Her sleigh was rosy as the setting sun, with yellow birchen runners, and her horses black, with scarlet steamy...

The Face-Changer

The picture above is a Kwakwaka’wakw transformation mask, which, like the story of The Face-Changer, gives us pause to consider the faces we wear, how we might ‘lose face,’ and what we may experience on the journey to find a new face and return to the community. The...

A Father Cuts Off His Daughter’s Arms

“A Father Cuts Off His Daughter’s Arms” is the Xhosa version of “The Handless Maiden.” Versions of the story have been recorded in Europe, in Central and South America, and in the Caribbean. It was told by Nongenile Masithathu Zenani on August  10,1972 in the...

The Rejected Princess

“The Rejected Princess” is a treasure from Chinesiche Volksmärchen, collected and edited by Richard Wilhelm, no. 55 (Jena:Diederichs, 1919) In the time of the Tung Dynasty there was a man called Liu I, who failed his doctoral exams. So he went home. He rode for six or...

The Magic Drum

(This bare-bones, heart-wrenching story comes from the Inuit, and was discovered in Tales of the Igloo, collected by Maurice Metayer, 1972. It is followed by an astonishing poem, written by novelist Annie Jacobsen, who wrote Watermelon Syrup. Annie died in 2005 after...