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Cold Lady

One winter evening, I put my seven children to bed and tucked them in warmly. Then I went to join my husband in the next room. The charcoal glowed in the hibachi and all the doors of the house were tightly shut, for it was bitterly cold outside, and the first big...

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...

Old Woman Who Was Saved by a Gazelle

The wonderful gazelle killed a seven-headed snake and freed the slaves imprisoned in this house. Even my master the sultan owes his riches to the gazelle. Because of the gazelle, he married the sultan's daughter. But when he became a rich sultan, he forgot the...

Princess Under the Control of a Dragon

I received a message that a young man had come to the gate. The gatekeeper wouldn't let him enter the town. I went down to see who had arrived, and, to my amazement, there stood the only man I have ever loved! I took his hand, drew him to the palace, and in a few...

Prince Who Loves a Pea-Hen

I have fallen in love with a pea-hen! I met her when I was keeping watch because every night my father’s golden apple trees were getting stripped of their fruit. I woke at midnight and saw nine golden pea-hens land in the tree. The ninth hen fluttered to the ground...

Princess Sacrificed to a Dragon

I was led to the shore in a great procession and tied to a stake. Soon the dragon arrived, skimming swiftly along the waters. I prepared myself for death but then a fox came trotting along the shore. He drew the brush of his tail along the surf and scattered salt...

Cat Spirit of the Mountain

I am the Spirit of the Mountain. This is MY mountain. I leave the villagers in peace so long as they supply me with my annual meal of one young maiden. This year, they have fastened her to a large cask that stands in a forest temple. I have been eagerly awaiting this...

Uninvited Crab Fairy

It was me who brought the queen to the fairy palace. Me! I introduced her to the fairies who granted her wish to have a child. They gave her a posy of jeweled flowers and told her that she could invoke the fairies at any time by speaking the flowers' names. When she...

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...

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...

Deceiving Princess

I wish I had the handsome skipper for a husband. I'd much prefer to sail the seas with him than to be pent up on dry land with a boring old soldier king! All I have to do is put the king to sleep. Then I'll call the skipper and we'll throw him overboard. Easily done!...

Beaten-Up Irishman

Some thanks I get! After three horrific nights in the castle, I broke the spell on the princess, and woke everybody up. Many of the men had been asleep for over a decade. I gave them a meal, filled their pockets with silver and gold, and watched them leave. When I...

Briar Rose in the Tower

On my fifteenth birthday, the king and the queen were not at home. They had left me in the castle, quite alone! I ran round to look into all sorts of places that had been forbidden to me. I looked into bed-chambers and rooms. I peered into closets and under...

Goose Girl

My servant has stolen my identity and she has warned me that she will kill me if I tell the truth. I am trying to stay hidden, but my hair is very thick and golden, and I can't keep it under my hat! The wind knows who I am. Even Conrad the goose boy knows that I am...

Guilty Father

I gave in to my wife's demands. I could give you all sorts of excuses. I could say there was no point arguing with her. I could say that she forced me. Or that I was prepared to do anything to have peace in the house. But nothing will excuse me for doing what I did. I...

Julia

My beloved thinks he is stronger than the river siren, Yara. He thinks that he can withstand her powerful pull, and that the danger is over. It is far from over! He won't be able to resist going into the forest when she calls him tonight. I'm certain he will go to the...

Crab Prince

I meet my twelve friends in an underground palace, and we dine together at a long table. Then we raise a glass, and we each make a toast to the health of our mothers and fathers. When I raise my glass, I make a different kind of toast. A health to my dearest lady....

Mother-in-Law Who Steals Babies

Who is my son's new wife, anyway? She comes from nowhere. She doesn't deserve to be queen. She can't even speak! She won't speak, that's what I think. She's a schemer, and I'm going to expose her. I know what I'll do. I'll take her baby. She'll go to sleep tonight and...

Princess of the Golden Roof

The merchant took me onto his boat and showed me all the fabulous golden wares that he had made for me. I was so dazzled that I did not notice the ship sail until we were on the high seas! I would rather die than be carried away by a merchant. Yet he seized my hand...

Betraying Waiting Maid

Ha! The princess doesn't see that she has lost the precious handkerchief that holds her mother's blood. I watch it go tumbling downstream. Now I have her in my power! "Don't even think about getting back up on your high horse," I tell her. "Your horse is mine. And...

Merchant Father

I can tell you firsthand that the wealthiest merchant can lose his fortune overnight, and fall into the direst poverty! My house burned to the ground quite suddenly. My six sons and six daughters fortunately survived the fire, but all the splendid furniture, the...

Nun

After I left the cloister, I met up with a couple of fellows who had lost their way. We traveled together through the forest and came to an old, abandoned castle. We decided to make it our own kind of home. I agreed to look after the house while the other two went out...

Magician of the Lamp

Once I get ahold of the lamp, I will be all-powerful! All I have to do is find a boy who's fool enough to go down into the earth and get it for me. Oh, I've got a bright idea. A very bright idea! I'll approach that little boy, Aladdin, and I'll pretend to be his uncle...

Aladdin

One day when I was playing in the streets, a stranger came up to me. He asked me if I was the son of Mustapha the tailor. "I am, sir," I said, "but he died a long time ago." The man put his arms around me and told me he was my uncle. "Go tell your mother I'm coming,"...

Woman Who Loses Everything

I begged him not to go, but he had to leave me. But it was too late! He had trusted me to keep his secret. But I had betrayed him. I shed light on him before he was ready to be seen. And all because of my mother’s suspicions! "Where will I find you?" I cried. He said...