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Boy Who Offends a Customer

When I was twelve, I would sit with my mother in her market stall where we sold herbs, vegetables, and baskets of fruit. I would cry, "This way, gentlemen! See these lovely cabbages and these fresh herbs! Early apples, ladies! Early pears and apricots, and all cheap....

Princess Who Marries a Pig

I knew from the moment I heard him speak that he was not an ordinary pig. But he was still a pig! And he had come to the castle to marry me. I had no escape. The street was full of pigs. All the pigs in the world had come to the castle that day. What could I do? It...

Queen Who Gives Birth to a Donkey

I wanted a child, and when the child didn’t come, I lamented day and night. “I am like a barren field!” I cried. At last, my wish was granted, but what did I give birth to? Not a human child, but a donkey! Then I wept in earnest. I told my husband to throw it into the...

Blue Light

In the beginning, I belonged to a witch who kept me underground, hidden in her hoard of treasure. Then one day, a solider unearthed me. When he lit his pipe by me, a little black dwarf appeared, and carried out the soldier’s orders. So now my master, who was once a...

Guilty Tailor’s Wife

We had been married for years. Our two children had grown up. Our parents had died, and we finally had the house to ourselves. My husband is a tailor and he had done well enough that he didn't have to work so hard anymore. One morning as he sat at the table in front...

Princess Coming Out of Isolation

When the green knight stopped coming to the castle, I became frantic. What happened to my love? Surely he did not give his heart to another. Yet, what could I know, isolated on that lonely island? It was the only place where I could live safely, out of the reach of my...

Distressed Maid

Why did he do it? Why did he not wait one more day? One more day! But no, he is the king, and the king must have what the king wants! He came in to see his daughter on the day before her fourteenth birthday, and now, instead of being freed from her lonely room, and...

Corva the Witch

Men. Don't have much use for 'em. They don't listen to the earth. They don't hear the cries of the fish in the stream, or the eagle in the air. Naw, I've tested men and found them wanting. I put their skulls on spikes to decorate my fences. Other than that, they're...

Cold-Blooded Stepmother

I didn't ask to raise my husband's daughter. I've got my own, and that's all I need. I can't stand the way the girl fawns. I wish she'd stop trying to please me. She's never going to be my own flesh and blood. And for the sake of God, stop crying! I've had it. I'll...

Disgusted Princess

When that odious little frog tried to force his way into my bed, he crossed the line. I picked him up and slammed him against the wall with all my might! He fell to the floor, and the next thing I knew, a prince stood before me. The spell had broken, and it would not...

Swineherd Prince

I smeared my face with mud and I went to the palace where I worked as a swineherd. On my time off, I made toys for the princess. She had rejected the natural things I had offered her as a prince. So as a swineherd I made her artificial things, trinkets, and she...

Woodcutter

I have nothing but an axe and a couple of mules. Every day I go out into the forest to chop wood, and at the end of the day, the mules carry it to town. I have done this back-breaking work for twenty years. I'm out of bed by five in the morning, summer and winter. My...

Aladdin’s Mother

My son has become so idle! If only his father were alive to give him some manly discipline! Instead, Aladdin has come home with a magic lamp and a genie who grants his every whim. Now I am certain he will never grow up! Aladdin's Mother, in Aladdin and the Wonderful...

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...

Ashamed Father

I have two sons, and one is very clever. I'd rather not talk about the other. Why? Because he shames me, if you must know. He has no fear and his only wish is to know what fear is! What sort of fool goes looking for fear? Besides, how will that make him a living? How...

Princess Cannetella

I refused the best-looking men in the kingdom. It was the little things that offended me. One let food fall from his mouth. Another couldn't get his coat on right. To stop my father from trying to make me a match, I told him that I never meant to marry unless he could...

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...