The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

Click the image above to fetch a new random story.

Old Woodcutter

I’m an old man and my beard is long and white but I still have the strength to chop Yule logs. So far, the work has kept me outside the Hall of the Dead.

One night a young man came by. He was holding an ham and heading into the Hall. He greeted me and I asked him where he was going with his ham at this late hour.

“I am going to Dead Man’s Hall, if only I am on the right track.”

“Oh! Why, yes, you are right enough, for it is here,” I said. “When you get inside they will all want to buy your ham because they don’t get much meat to eat there.” I told him not to sell it unless they gave him the hand-mill that stood behind the door. “It’s useful for almost everything, but you’ll have to learn how to stop it,” I said. “When you come out, I’ll teach you.”

When the young lad came out of the Hall, he was holding the hand-mill. It would grind out anything he wished for, but if he didn’t learn how to stop it, it would turn into his worst nightmare.

The Old Woodcutter in Why the Sea is Salt, Blue Fairy Book. Picture by Adolf von Menzel.