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Wizard of a Man

The Tsar kept me under lock and key for years, and do you know why? Because I am a wizard of a man, yes indeed! A mere peasant made me of copper, with iron hands and a steel head. I am virtually indestructible. One day a boy walked past my prison grate. I recognized...

Pinkel the Thief

I took all the power away from the witch. Ha! First, I got her lantern. Then I got her goat with the tinkling bells, and finally, I stole her golden cloak. I jumped into the boat and rowed away from the island. She ran down to the shore, screaming: "Is that you,...

King Who Wants a Lantern

I hired a page named Pinkel to serve my son. I liked Pinkel. He was clever and amusing, and he saw everything that passed under his eye. One day, I went to the stables to make my weekly check on the horses. We had recently hired two brothers, and they had groomed the...

Tall-Tale Telling Tailor

People say I tell tall tales and I do admit that I can sometimes exaggerate. I'm not adverse to stretching the truth if it makes a good tale, but what I am about to tell you is not a word of a lie! The other day, I left the workshop and went wandering through the...

Noble Ass

I knew I wasn’t like anyone else. I was very awkward. But I had never thought about my difference until I became a young lord. Then one day I went walking and happened to see my image in the mirror of a clear pond. I was a donkey! From the tip of my ears to the brush...

Unfaithful Ferdinand

I met Faithful Ferdinand riding by on his white horse. When he told me his name, I said, "What do you know about that? I'm Ferdinand, too. Unfaithful Ferdinand." We rode together to town. He was impressed by the fact I knew everything that people were thinking, and...

Goose Girl Changing Clothes

I were drivin' the geese in the forest when this beautiful lady comes along, walkin' on foot. She asks me, "Is this the castle of the green knight?" "Yep," says me. "But the knight is very ill and if he ain't cured in three days, he's sure to die." The lady turned...

Blacksmith of Norroway

I live at the bottom of a glass hill. You can't go around it. You have to go over it. I will make you a pair of iron shoes that will do the job. In exchange, however, I will ask you to serve me for seven years. I watched a young woman come to the hill. She was sobbing...

Rat’s Wife

Reach up to the stars, that's my motto! Why does my husband insist that our daughter marry a rat? Who cares that he has a long moustache and comes from an ancient line of noble rats? Why marry a rat in the first place? Why not rise up in the world, marry someone above...

Blood-Stained Climber

The other suitors tried to climb the glass mountain by using horses that were shod with sharp nails. They didn't make it. Even the golden knight didn't make it. When he hit bottom, I heard his bones rattle in his battered golden armor like dry peas in a pod. I went...

Hazelnut Child

My mother is a worrier. She doesn't think that anything could possibly become of me. I am so little. But I know what I'm meant to be. And I know how to get around. Of course I don't use my own feet. I use the horse's feet. I get up under the saddle and prick the horse...

Frog in the Well

Somebody's crying. What a racket! Wah, wah, wah, waaaaaaah! I swim to the surface and I see the king's daughter sitting by the well. I try to be courteous about it. "What ails you?" I ask. "You're weeping so hard that a stone would show pity." "It's my ball," she...

Box that Holds a Baby

In the beginning, I was just an ordinary box, built to hold the body of a dead infant. Then one day, the king picked me up! He lifted me out of the ordinary and gave me an extraordinary role. He put a living baby into me, and threw me into deep water. I did not sink....

Rat Driver

I am very familiar with cages, and there I was, trapped again, only this time with two surly prisoners. They were certain we were going to starve, but I had been around this block before. "No, no, we'll be freed soon enough," I said. "You'll see." Then, sure enough,...

Tom’s Seven League Boots

When an ogre puts us on, we grow to the size of his feet. When little Tom puts us on, we shrink to the size of his feet. We can be worn by anyone, and we will take you over fields and forests in a single bound. A word of caution, though. Don't take too many steps,...