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Dragon Who Raids the Sheepfold

I was dashing down the road with my booty one night when I heard the word, “Stop.” I turned around and saw a little man who said, “I am Stan Bolovan, who eats rocks all night and feeds on flowers all day. If you meddle with those sheep, I will carve a cross on your...

Gopani-Kufa the King

One day when I was hunting, I came upon a strange sight. A python had wrapped himself around an antelope, and the antelope had stabbed the python. He had pinned him to a tree. The python couldn't move, and the antelope couldn't get his horn out of the tree. Each of...

Evil Enchanter Disempowered

How did he do it? That nothing of a boy must have found the princess I shut into The Castle of the Golden Sun. How did he get there? It wasn't on any map. And why would he listen to the princess? She wasn't attractive. I had turned her into a withered old crone. Yet...

Devil with the Red Feather

I'm sorry to say, things didn't go tickety-boo in the graveyard last night. I'd come to take the soul of a hard-hearted farmer who never did any good with his money. When I came whistling in (like the evil wind I am), who did I find at the grave but two scoundrels!...

Boy Who Wants to Know His Father

When I was only two years old, my mother took me with her into the woods to gather branches for the fire. It was spring-time and I can still remember the delight I took in the flowers that carpeted the forest. Then all of sudden, two men sprang out of the thicket, and...

Husband of a Woman Who Doesn’t Want to Spin

I wanted my wife to do what the other women do: spin, but she wouldn’t. Whatever I gave her to spin, she never finished, and whatever she spun, she didn’t wind, but left it tangled on the bobbin. One day when I had gone into the forest to chop some wood to make her a...

Prince Who Releases the Fish

Taking the chance that I might be able to cure my father's blindness, I gathered a crew and we set sail. The physician gave us a hundred days to catch the Golden-Headed Fish, and for a hundred days we caught nothing. On the eleventh hour of the hundredth day, I cast...

Stone Witch

Oh, that pair! How furious they made me! I couldn't grab them. They ran from me. They tangled me up in a forest. Then they threw a lake between us. They slowed me down, sure, but they didn't stop me! I reached the castle, climbed up over the garden wall, and got to...

Hans the Mermaid’s Son

I've been in service long enough. I'm tired of doing menial work for little men who are trying to kill me. I'll take my gold and silver back to my father the smith. And then I'll say farewell to mortal men and return to my mother in the sea. Hans the Mermaid's Son in...

Old Eric

No one dares to fish in Devilmoss Lake! It's my lake! I'll soon be rid of this impertinent human! That's what I thought when I rose up and grabbed him from behind. I dragged him to the bottom, and I was about to stamp him to death when he said, "Oh, could you wait...

Peasant Who Was Tricked by the Tanuki

I caught the Tanuki and hung the beast from the rafters. Then I told my wife that when I got home from work, we would kill him and cook him for dinner. I was feeling pretty good about myself when I returned to the forest. When I got home, I was ravenous, and my wife...

Beauty’s Father

I have lost everything. I have even lost hope. I spent a miserable night crouched in the hollow of a tree while the storm raged around me. The howling wolves kept me awake all night, not to mention the howling voices in my mind. I have nothing to give my children....

Hansel Lost in the Forest

I wasn't worried about being abandoned in the forest by our parents. I said to Gretel, "Just wait until the moon rises, and then we will see the crumbs of bread I've strewn about, all along the path. They will show us our way home." When the moon came out, we went...

River-Sucker

I'm designed to suck up rivers, but when the giant ordered me to "suck up the sea,” I did my best. I drank till I nearly burst. Then, after all my efforts, the sea just filled in again. It was clear to me that the giant would never catch what he was after. But he’d...

Ogre

I had great power, more power than any mere king. I owned all the land around my castle for as far as the eye could see. One day I had a visit from a strange-looking Cat who wore a large pair of boots and had a bag strapped around his neck. He was very well-spoken so...

Abandoned Sweetheart

Roland went away to see his father and make arrangements for our wedding. I had nowhere to go, and so I decided to stay in the field. I used the magic wand to turn myself into a red stone land-mark. I waited and I waited for Roland to return. He never came back. At...

Galifron the Giant

I am as tall as a tower and I eat people the way a monkey eats chestnuts. I talk so loud that anyone who listens becomes deaf. What GREATER prince could there be? If that golden-haired princess does not marry me, I'll lay waste to her country, carry her off, and do...

Burning Skull

Shadows live here. They swallow the light of candles, torches, and ordinary flames. Vasilisa holds me high over all the shadows in the room. I stare them down. My light burns them. They scuttle like roaches, but I see where they hide. All night I see them. I see them...

Dragon of the Gloomy Cavern

I am yellow and green, my claws are scarlet, and my tail is so long that it lies in a hundred coils. My brother and I guard the entrance to the Gloomy Cavern that leads to the Fountain of Health and Beauty. If you were to pass us and get into the cavern you would find...

Captured Unicorn

I meant to skewer the little man to a tree but instead I skewered myself. When he cut off my horn, I lost my power, and now am I being led, by a cord, to the king. The Captured Unicorn in The Brave Little Tailor, Blue Fairy Book. Illustration by Kay Nielsen.

Prince Ahmed

I shot my arrow farther than my brothers, but since it could not be found, the hand of the princess went to my second eldest brother, Ali. My eldest brother was so upset about losing the contest that he renounced all his rights to succession and went off to become a...

Ferko’s Wolf

I ran up to my dear friend Ferko who had healed my injured leg. He was sitting on the stump of a tree, all by himself. "If I can help you in any way, say the word," I said. Ferko not only needed me. He needed all the wolves to come to his aid. Not a problem. I told...

Blundering Fairy

Oh, I have made the most AWFUL blunder! I had the best intentions. I just wanted to help the people of the island. I had taken them under my protection so, invisibly, I went from house to house to see what the people wished for. The children longed to be grown up, and...

Knight Who Uses a Mirror to Meet a Dragon

The princess, bound to a tree, was waiting for the dragon to come and destroy her. I borrowed a horse and rode in with a huge mirror. I put it against the trunk of a tree, took the maiden's veil, and covered the mirror with it. I told her to hide behind the mirror,...

Nixy in the Mill Pond

I help mortal men. I save them from misfortune. I come to them when they're desperate. I only ask to have something for myself. It's not enough to have a woman's comb, or her flute, or even her golden spinning wheel. I want her man. I had him for a little while. And...

Ungrounded Prince

From the time I was born, no one would allow me to touch the ground lest I fell into the power of something very wicked. I myself developed a great fear of the earth. One day, while out hunting, my saddle broke and I crashed to the earth. Moreover, I went through the...

King Frost

Silent weeping. That's what caught my attention. Breath in the crisp air. Something to freeze. She was sitting by the fir-tree. Crisp, crackle! I lit beside her. "Do you know who I am?" "All hail to you, great king," said she. Her voice shivered. "Are you warm,...

Failed Prince on a White Horse

I was the golden boy. I was strong, handsome, and clever. Sun-Hero, they called me. Then one night, both my parents had the same dream. A girl dressed in red came to them and said, "If you truly wish your son to be a Sun-Hero, in deed as well as in name, then send him...

Toy Soldier

I am one of twenty-five tin soldiers. We are all brothers, born of the same old tin spoon. We shoulder our muskets and look straight ahead, splendid in our red and blue uniforms. We all look exactly alike. I am the only one who is different. I was the last to be cast...

Helpless White Horse

We cut a pretty picture when we left on our quest. My rider, dressed in shining armor with his golden hair flying behind him. Me, with my white mane blowing in the wind. My tail was braided with gold threads, and I wore bright new shoes. A picture is all it was, I'm...

Vizier’s Son

Some wedding night! I get in bed with my gorgeous bride, and then an evil demon whips into the room, snatches the bed, and drops us down in the room of a young fellow who orders the demon to throw me out into the cold! That's it. I won't stay married to the Sultan's...

Raging Dame Gothel

I separated the child from the evils of the world. I gave her everything! And how does she thank me, wretched girl? She lets a man into the tower. Haaah! The worm's gotten into the apple. She's no good to me. I chopped off her hair and cast her away to the desert. Now...

Troll Hag

When I got into power and married the king, I put a spell on his little son. The boy's name was Ring. I turned him into a dog and he would stay a dog. He could never break the spell. Another prince named Ring would have to befriend him and allow him to sleep at his...