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Husband Whose Wife Hears the Call of Death

We travelled a long way to come to a land where there is no death. Now that we are here, I understand why there are not great numbers of people in the land. From time to time people will hear a voice calling them. They can’t resist leaping up and shouting, “I’m...

Crystal Ball

It is almost impossible to find me. I am buried in the yolk of an egg, which is buried in the womb of a bird, which is buried in the belly of a bull. Who will cut through the bull to reach me? I break all spells and delusions. Hold me in the face of the wicked...

Mark the Rich

I would never have let the strangers in through the door. But my little daughter, Anastasia, begged me to let the three old beggars sleep in the house. I could not refuse her, so we let them in and gave them the loft. During the night, Anastasia crept up to the loft...

Apprentice to Fault-Finding Shoemaker

I didn't last a month when I apprenticed with Master Pfriem. My advice is: stay away from that shoemaker! He's that short, grey-haired fellow you see moving through the crowd with his arms wheeling round as if he were rowing a boat. You know the man. The one with the...

Landlord Who Steals from the Devil

I was standing on the porch when I saw the man approaching. What a horror! It looked as if the scare-crow who had been hanging in the fields for ten years had just pulled himself off the stake and stumbled down the road. I called to him. "Where do you you come from?"...

Inuit Brother

When my brother and I were hunting for seals, a skeleton woman approached us. She approached us, clattering over the ice. She wanted to speak to us. We were scared out of our wits, and ran home to our father like little children. The old man was amazed, and now he's...

Lindworm

I was the firstborn prince, but from the moment of my birth, my mother denied my existence. I made my way to the hills and lived off the land. I ate mice, and then I ate rodents, and then I ate lambs, and then I ate children. When my brother set off to marry and take...

Charming

At the first light of dawn, I set out to see the princess Goldilocks. I have promised the king that I will use my charm to persuade her to marry him. I am trying not to remember the king's cruelty to me. Focus on the good things, I tell myself. I ride alone, thinking...

Emperor’s Good Old Minister

When I went in to see the loom, the weavers asked me what I thought of the cloth. "What do you think? Isn't it beautiful stuff?” I was confused. I didn’t see anything. The weavers said to one another, “There is no finer thread in all the world. Anybody who thinks...

King Who Tries to Change His Daughter’s Fate

I used to enjoy going off on lonely adventures. I would disguise myself as a peddler, traveling around with my wares. By this means, I would find out what the common people were saying about me, and how my governors and judges were fulfilling their duties. My other...

Queen of an Ungrounded Child

How I wanted a child! But it would kill me to have one. I couldn't bear to see the child try to walk, stumble, and fall. I can't bear defeat! At last, after twelve years of marriage, I gave birth to a boy, but I could not live to see him suffer. I weakened, and, after...

Lonely Husband

When she stopped hunting with me, life became hard. When I hunted alone, I never had any luck. Then she fell ill and died, and I was left alone in an empty house, far away from our people. Her absence became so unbearable that I made a wooden doll in her image. The...

Queen Mother of a Golden Boy

Well, he failed. So he failed. That doesn't mean he's not the Sun-Hero. He's the Sun-Hero because he came back alive from his quest. No, he didn't bring us a golden apple from the Tree of the Sun, but he is still my golden boy. He himself is the apple, don't you see?...

King Who Doesn’t Like the Prophecy

I like to travel around the kingdom in disguise so I can see what is really going on. I just learned that a village boy has been born with a caul. The villagers believe that such a child is special, and that anything he undertakes will turn out well. They also say...

King Who Orders the Spindles Burnt

I will not allow the thirteenth wise woman to change the fate of my child. Nothing will happen on her fifteenth birthday. She will not prick her finger on a spindle and fall asleep for a hundred years! I will not have any of the queen's women meddling in my daughter's...