The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

Click the image above to fetch a new random story.


One day, the most beautiful princess came up the river in a barge. She and several servants built a small home on an island in the middle of the river.

It was a very lonely place for her to be. Nobody ever came up this part of the river. Every day, she would come and swim in the blue-green pool where I wallowed. Then she would stretch herself on a rock to dry her beautiful brown skin in the sun.

Hiding in the reeds, I watched her. I didn’t want to scare her, so I kept myself submerged in the water with only my eyes and my ears peeking out. With every passing day I fell more and more in love with that beautiful, lonely princess.

I know how it sounds. Preposterous! A hippopotamus falling in love with a princess? The idea that she would ever love me could not be imagined.

Then one day I overheard two herons having a conversation while they fished in the reeds. They were talking about a magician who lived up in a cave above the third cataract. He could grant wishes. He could turn one form into a different form. A bat into a butterfly, a rat into a fish.

Might the magician be able to turn me into something a princess could love? Oh, how my heart longed to visit him! But how would I ever get up those great cataracts?

I set off, determined to change myself, no matter how many years it would take. Even if I died trying.

The Hippo in The Blue Faience Hippopotamus, Egyptian Fairy Tale by Joan Grant. Image by Michelle Tocher.