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Song of the Ballad-Singer

Walking along the road, the wandering ballad-singer came upon a girl with a black bowl over her head. "Oh, girl with the black bowl over your head, why do you sit weeping by the roadside?" he asked. “I weep because the world is hard," she said. "I am hungry and tired....

Crow Who Saves a Prince

When I was flying over the forest I saw a freshly killed ox lying in the clearing. What good fortune! I swooped down, landed on the carcass, and began to peck at the flesh. Just then a fox caught me in his mouth and ran with me to a lion who was sitting at the...

Hans and the Locked Door

One fine summer morning when I was sixteen, I left my parents and set off to make my fortune. I had nothing but the clothes I wore on my back. After I had been walking for some time, I met an old, white-bearded man coming along the footpath. Neither I nor the old man...

Giant Friend

One day when my friend and I came into the castle, I smelled a man. It's a distinct odor that some giants find appetizing. We found him in the treasure room, filling his little coat with pieces of gold. "Let's cook him for supper," said my friend. But he was a scrawny...

Christopher the Smith

When I was in the bar having a few drinks, a few mates told me about the princess who lay dead in the church. The king needed a sentinel to stand guard over her. The men who did the watch were gone or dead by morning. In either case, they weren’t there to collect...

Prunella

A witch stole me when I was seven years old. She wanted a servant, and now she is looking for an excuse to get rid of me. "Take this basket," she said the other day. "Go to the well, and bring it back to me filled with water. If you don’t I will kill you." Of course...

Dick Whittington’s Cat

My master, Mr. Whittington (I wouldn't think of calling him Dick) is badly abused by the cook. After living my whole life on the street, I have never met such an ill-natured hussy as that woman. When she's not basting or roasting, she's beating Mr. Whittington...

Dame Fortune

Fortunatus hardly remembers having fortune. His father squandered it before he was ten. At sixteen, he went off to find his own fortune. He found work as a page for the Earl of Flanders, and before you knew it, he had won the heart of the Earl's daughter. They were...

Wife of Theodorus

My husband Theodorus should have been the happiest man in the world. He had everything he could wish for: wealth, a beautiful wife, (if you don't mind me saying), and a wonderful son. We loved him dearly and we took great pleasure in living by the sea. But poor...

Retired Sweeping Girl

All my life, I've done the same thing. I've swept the house, and I've left the sweepings on the heap outside. Then, a few days ago, I found a letter on the heap. It was an invitation from the fairies to attend the christening of one of their own. You can’t ignore an...