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Firefly in the Peony Pond

We were dancing to the song of the frogs on the breath of the still pond when Lady Aya came out into the garden with her maidens. The moon had risen, round and silver. Lady Aya said, “The moon is a love-lorn lady; but have you seen her faint sister who is sadder and...

King Who is Left Alone

What am I to do? My wife, the mother of my sons, has been taken away by Koschei the Deathless. My two elder sons have gone off to search for her and they haven't returned. And now my youngest, Ivan, is asking for my blessing to go on his own search. How can I give it...

Birch Tree at the Crossroads

I stand with two other birch trees at the crossing of three roads. One day three princes came along with their bows and arrows. The eldest took an arrow and shot it into my trunk. Turning to his brothers he said, “Let's each mark one of these trees before we go our...

Spinning Maiden with a Golden Thread

I glanced up from my spinning and I saw the prince sitting on his horse, looking at me through the window. The setting sun blazed on his face, and when he turned away, the room had become so warm! I went to the window and opened it. I watched him ride away for as long...

Youngest Dancing Princess

I had a feeling that someone was following me. I could feel his breath on my neck. Then my dress caught on something. “Who’s that?” I cried, turning around. “Who’s holding my dress?” “Don’t be stupid,” hissed my older sister who was going down the steps ahead of me....

Subjugated Queen

Oh, I was so afraid, don't you see? Once my husband died, I had no protection at all, and so, when I was caught by the robber chief, what could I do but obey his commands? "Make me king and kill your son or I will kill you," he said. "How can I kill my son?" I cried....

Queen Who Wants to Keep Her Child

My husband has shut me in a tower with my baby girl so that she will not be taken by the fairies. I promised her to them, and now the fairies are furious. I have betrayed them! They've unleashed a dragon and it's ripping through countryside and eating everyone. The...

Elf Maiden

When we arrived on the island, my sister and I brought a basket of provisions to the hut. As we were going back to the ship, I noticed the form of a man crouching behind a bundle of sticks. We were frightened, but he looked at us with peaceful eyes. We drew closer,...