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Witch Who Utters a Curse

You might wonder why I let the girl come and live with me in the first place. She'd been raiding my garden for the parsley. Ate so much of it, her mother called her "Parsley". I told her mother to let her come and live with me and she could have as much parsley as she...

Queen Riding through a Winter Wonderland

On the happiest day of my life, I was riding through the falling snow on a sleigh that was lit by the setting sun. Rushing along through the fir trees in the steaming breath of the horses, I felt like a great white swan, feather-light and wing-borne. “Oh joy and...

Queen Who Plays the Lute

"Why not enjoy the happiness and stability we have?” I asked my husband. “Can you not find a way to live in peace?" He could not. He was restless. He wanted to try his strength in battle against some enemy and win honor and glory. He went out, called his army...

Spinning Maiden with a Golden Thread

I glanced up from my spinning and I saw the prince sitting on his horse, looking at me through the window. The setting sun blazed on his face, and when he turned away, the room had become so warm! I went to the window and opened it. I watched him ride away for as long...

Red Shoes

Who cares what "good Christian people" say? We know what we mean to Karen. Did you know that in the beginning, the poor girl had no shoes at all? That’s right. She went barefoot or wore old wooden clumpers that chafed her instep until her feet bled. The old...

Frog Who Wears a Rose Leaf Crown

I live in a tent, on an island, in a pond in the middle of a magnificent garden. My skin is as green as grass, and I wear a rose leaf on my head instead of a crown. I may look like a frog, but I know who I am, and I am not a frog. I am a princess, and the lion who...

Hall of Prisoners

What I contain in my spacious vault has not been seen for a long time. My floors are covered in polished stones and inscribed with symbols that are known only to magicians. Hollow niches are cut into my walls, and they hold glass vases where people’s spirits are...

Princess Who Serves a Soldier

I kept having the same dream that a little black dwarf came into my room and carried me to the house of a soldier. He was angry with my father for dismissing him after years of faithful service. He made me do everything he commanded, and then at dawn, when the cock...

Raven Princess

My mother has turned me into a raven, and though I have told a young man how to set me free, he can't resist the temptation to eat and drink. For three days, he has failed to stay awake. He has lost his chances now, and so I have left him with several gifts. I have...

Queen Mother of the Raven

My baby daughter was fidgety and noisy and I could not quiet her. She wanted to be in my arms, and every time I put her down, she cried. Finally, I became impatient with her. I went to the window, and when I saw the ravens flying around the palace, I said, "I wish you...

Mirror of Understanding

The Snow Queen calls me the Mirror of Understanding, but I am cracked in a thousand pieces. She has recruited an intelligent little boy named Kay to fit my pieces together, but he has gone quite black and blue with cold. His heart has become a lump of ice, and yet he...

Jorinda

I was walking in the forest with Joringel when he said, "Take care not to go too close to the enchanted castle." I think perhaps we had already come too close, for though the evening sun shone brightly between the tree trunks, the dark green forest and the...

Bird Witch

I am what you might call a collector of birds. Yes, that's it. I have seven thousand cages in my castle, each containing a single bird—rare birds, all of them, rarer than you can possibly imagine. I eat them sometimes, and I keep them if they sing pretty songs. The...

Fed-Up Mother

Enough is enough! I adopted the shepherd's son after his parents died. I thought it would be nice to have someone around the house, especially after my bad illness. Not that I needed a child. I have always enjoyed my own company. I have never felt the least bit lonely...

Dorani Who Goes Home at Night

The weight of my hair had become unbearable, and so one day, I cut off a lock, wrapped it in a leaf, and threw it into the river. It was found by a prince who asked me to marry him. I consented but I made him promise to allow me to go home every night. He did, and we...

Mother of Sheaths

I am a well-known enchantress in this region of the world. I live in a cave that is lined with sheaths. Bring me your knife and I will put it in its sheath. One day, a messenger of the Archduke of Placenza came to me. His master had lost his reason and the doctors...

Evil Magician Ismenor

When the queen came to the tower, I turned her into a marble statue. Ha! I must say, I'm inspired by the pretty ornament. It will serve to mark the place where her precious king is imprisoned. I think I'll go to the Isle of Swans and turn all the queen's people into...

Airy Fairy Girouette

Yes, well you can call me Airy Fairy if you wish. Some people call me Inconstancy, but my formal name is Girouette. Yes, I think that's it. I like to change my name. I'm never sure about anything. I have one idea, and then it is replaced by another, and I simply...

Witch with Powerful Hair

I live in a fine castle. Light blazes from every window. I sit in the hall on a golden chair, and when young adventurers find me, I turn them to stone. How do I do that? Ha. You wonder, do you? I will tell you this: the power is in my hair. It only takes a single hair...

Kay

Nothing looked beautiful to me anymore. Everything I looked at was flawed! I only liked snowflakes. They were perfect and regular. Then one day I got caught in a snow storm, and a great lady drove up to me in her sled. Her fur and cap were made of ice, and she shone...

Pitchfork

Evening was drawing near and the giant would be back soon. The princess had told the young man how to use me to clean the stables. Turn me upside down! Use the handle, not the fork! But when he got to work, he picked me up in the ordinary way. What was he trying to...

Roebuck Brother Who Must Be Hunted

I can't resist the bugle-horn. When the hunters call, I feel as if I'm jumping out of my skin. My sister must let me out of the house, and I must run. The king chases me through the wood, all day long, and I try to escape him. Yesterday, however, the game changed. The...

Shepherd with a Flower

I never saw anything so beautiful as that delicate flower growing in the field. I could not help myself. I picked it, carried it home, and laid it with great care inside my chest. Ever since then, when I come home at the end of the day, the inside work is done. The...

Iron Castle

I am made of iron, and I hold all the wizard's possessions. I have recently received an army of men who have turned to stone. On the wizard's command, the soldiers froze. One was caught in the act of running away, another was brandishing a sword, and another was...

Well of the Witch-Maiden

Every month when the moon is full, the witch-maiden comes to me. She looks up to the moon, then kneels before me and dips her hands in my water. She bathes her face nine times, then looks up to the moon once more. After that, she walks around me nine times, singing...

Hands

We were once lords and ladies but now we're just hands. That's all you see. Our bodies have been invisible ever since our dear mistress was turned into a cat. Still, we do our best to serve, here in the castle, hidden in the Forest of Gloom. Someone has sounded the...