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Pine from Heaven

A Deity from High Heaven planted me. It was so long ago that the crane cannot remember it, and the tortoise knows it only by hearsay from his great-grandmother. Lightly, lightly, the Deity came by way of the Floating Bridge, bearing me in his right hand. Lightly,...

Bee Who Knows How to Help

Prince Ivan, he comes to pieces so easily! He sat on a stone by the sea and wept while Baba Yaga's mares stood in water up to their necks. We herded them with our stingers. Ivan didn't see a thing, he was so lost in his own torment. After the sun set, I flew up to him...

Princess Who is Taken Aboard

I asked my father to allow me to go to the port so I could see the ship of Ivan the merchant's son. To be honest, I was just as interested in Ivan as I was in his ship. I took my nurses, governesses and maidservants with me, and they lingered on deck while Ivan showed...

Porcelain Maiden

I went swimming with my friends, and when we came out of the lake I couldn't find my clothes! I knew where I had stashed them. They were dazzling white. There wasn't any other explanation except that they had been stolen! My friends stopped helping me when they...

Enchanted Knife

If you hold me up in a meadow so that the sun shines on my blade, the whole meadow will be lit up by my rays, and the horses in the meadow will approach of their own free will. I can cut through brass. I am no ordinary knife, not when I am in the hands of the one who...

Princess with an Enchanted Knife

A young man came to speak to my father, the emperor. He asked for my hand, and said that he would only marry a girl with royal blood running in her veins. I watched him from behind the curtain and I thought I had never seen any man more handsome. My father gave him a...

Prince Who Desires the Desirable Princess

When I wanted something, I had to have it, and if I couldn't have it, I became very upset. When I first saw the portrait of the princess Desiree, I wanted her to be my wife and no other wife would do. I refused to go through with my father's arrangements to marry...

Panther Who Covets Shoes

I was walking along the road one day when I met a jackal. He seemed to me to be a very distinguished fellow in his fine shoes. "Excuse me," I said politely. "But I cannot help admiring your shoes. Do you mind telling me who made them?" "Yes, they are very nice, aren't...

Prince Who Meets a Girl Wearing a Wreath

I was riding through the forest one day when I heard strange birds singing. I had never heard such tiny, sweet songs. Who could possibly be making that shower of sound? I came close to the place, tied my horse to a tree, and followed the sound to a girl who was...

White Sword of Light

The giants are always fighting over me, but once they have me in hand, they just put me away. I have grown somewhat lackluster. I am currently in the custody of the Seven Big Women of Dhiurradh. A handsome youth has come into the castle. I can hear him saying that he...

Gille Mairteau the Fox

I watched him journey over the hills. I watched him ford the rivers and cross a wide plain. He couldn't find the blue falcon. The sky grew dark, and all the birds sought their nests, but Ian Direach had none of his own. He lay down under some bushes until sleep came...

Shasasa Who Gives the Power Away

My father became wealthy overnight. How? That’s what I wanted to know. How did stone buildings with golden rooftops spring up along the Zambesi River while the people slept? Where did the herds of cattle come from? How did the river become crowded with fish? My father...

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...

Queen Who Keeps the Wild Man

My husband and I were amazed to see the wild man that the huntsman caught. His body was red-brown like rusty iron, and his hair hung down over his face and down to his knees. My husband put him in a cage in the courtyard. He gave me the key and I kept it under my...

Princess Who Chooses Her Husband

I insisted that I choose my own husband from the men in the country. I would not allow my father to choose for me, much to his annoyance. The young men arrived—tall, short, dark, fair, rich, and poor. They stood in rows in the courtyard while I passed before them all,...

Subbar Khan

I heard that there was a madman in the market, asking if anyone had patience to sell. Patience? How curious! I wanted to see the fellow, so my attendants went and brought him to me. "My master wants patience as a present for his daughter," said the madman. "Well, I...

Little King Loc Meets a Human Girl

Abeille, the human girl, was carried to me by the gnomes on a litter made of moss and twigs. She had wounded her foot. She was very big, and very beautiful, and I was willing to grant her every wish. What did she want? A pair of shoes, she said. I struck the earth...

Bald Suitor

My mother thinks that I will get nowhere in the world because I'm idle and we are penniless, and, worst of all, I'm bald. Well, I never had much passion for anything until I saw the princess riding by the other day. Her face was veiled but from the moment I caught a...

Fish Man

The troll turned me into a fish and I sprang into the river. No use fighting against the stream. I let it carry me out to sea. At the end of the current, I found myself at the bottom of the ocean, outside a palace made of glass. I peered into the rooms and halls. The...

Snow Man

I take pride in being cool and collected. I'm a Snow Man, after all. But something at the very core of me cracks. It's always cracking, and I find myself longing for something that is not at all becoming of a Snow Man—the hot stove! I look through the window of the...

Helga Who Names Her Husband

I honestly do not know where the name Habogi came from. It popped into my mind when my father asked me to name my future husband. I had a name in mind but then a voice in my head whispered, "Marry nobody who is not called Habogi." I found the name strange and...

Tiny Bell

Ring me once and you'll summon the king of the eagles. Ring me twice and the king of foxes will come to you. Ring me three times and the king of fishes will appear. I belong to the fairies, and if you have me in your possession, then you have distinguished yourself as...

Guest at the Fiery Feast

The king married a snow-daughter who could not stand the heat. She had a fire-brother who could not stand the cold. The king made an underground house of ice for his queen, and he had a huge oven built for the fire-brother so he could live comfortably. One day, the...

Princess on the Glass Hill

Ah, he's a handsome youth in his copper armor. I hope he makes it to the top of the glass mountain. I just might marry him. Yes, I think I would! He is more attractive every moment! What is he doing? Why is he turning around? Doesn't he find me attractive? Well, have...

Witch-Maiden

With the help of King Solomon's magic ring, I can do all sorts of things. I don't understand all the secret signs engraved on the ring. But I do know that if I put it on the little finger of my left hand, I can fly like a bird. If I put it on my ring finger, I am...

Crab Princess

It was the strangest wedding ceremony you could possibly imagine. Picture me, a princess, making my vows to a Crab who sat on a golden cushion wearing a golden robe! On our wedding night, he told me that he is a Man by night, a Crab by day, and an Eagle whenever he...

Prince with a Mirror

When I was fifteen, I woke up one day and found a mirror had been placed in my room. It was not large, and it had a black frame. When I looked into it, I did not see my own reflection. Instead, I saw the face of a girl as lovely as the dawn. She, like me, was coming...

Bee Palace

Get a whiff of me! The bees made me out of the most exquisite flowers that ever grew. I stand on a hillside outside the walls of the city. My roof is made of crimson roses, my windows are lilies, my walls are white carnations, my floors glow with auriculas and...

Witch’s Son Bensiabel

My mother, who is a witch, kidnapped a girl named Prunella, and she grew up into a very beautiful young woman. I know, because I am the witch's son. Prunella has never seen me, though. One day my mother told Prunella to take a basket to the well and bring it back. She...

Prince in the Tower

The king is ailing, and he wants me to marry before he dies. I have not met a woman I could imagine as my wife. He tells me to go up the staircase to the top of the tower and look carefully at what I find there. I haven't been up here before. I unlock an iron door...

Sea Tower Princess

One day, when I was standing on the balcony of my sea tower, the most extraordinary figure rose out of the water. He seemed to be some kind of a man, with a bluish face and long, sea-green hair. He swam towards the tower, and I was amazed to see that the sharks took...

Witch of Albatroz

Mine is the castle of Albatroz. Woe to the one who disturbs the echoes who sleep here! We do not encourage guests. There's a commotion outside. Someone is blowing a horn and knocking on the door. He's shouting, "Is there anyone home? Anyone who will give a knight some...

Princess Who Changes a Letter

In the heat of the afternoon, when everyone had gone to sleep, I left the governor's house and went walking in the garden. I rambled about in my favorite nooks and crannies, and when I turned a corner, I came upon a man sleeping under a tree. I nearly tripped over...