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Queen Who Loses Her Daughter

In the middle of the night, I had the most dreadful dream! My little daughter turned into a dozen roses. As I held the bouquet in my hand, a huge bird swooped in through the window, snatched it, and carried the flowers away! I ran to my daughter’s room with my maids,...

Sakura-ko, Flower of the Cherry

People say I am the most beautiful dancer in Yedo. My father was a samurai, but after he died, my mother and I had no food to eat, so I sold myself into bondage. The money that bought me is called Namida no Kané, which means “the money of tears.” I dwell in the narrow...

Grandmother Wolf

Where had my grandson gone? I searched for him everywhere. While I was searching, I went to Mink’s cottage to buy some sea urchins’ eggs. As soon as I got inside, I saw the wolf skin which I guessed belonged to my grandson. “I knew he was dead – I knew it! I knew it!”...

Mother of an Exiled Princess

Every morning I awake in pain and sorrow. Why, you ask? I had three daughters, the youngest of whom was so beautiful that the whole world looked on her as a wonder. She had a heart as pure as white snow, skin as rosy as an apple-blossom, and hair as radiant as...

Queen Who Goes to Fairyland

I loved my husband but I couldn't conceive a child. We never talked about it, but when we watched other people play with their children, we couldn't hide our sadness. Then one day I went into the park near the castle, and sat alone by a waterfall. I didn't want my...

Ian the Privileged Prince

I was much loved by my mother and father, and I grew up tall and strong and handsome. I learned to run and shoot, and I could swim and dive better than any lad my age in the isles of the west. I knew how to sail, I sang with the harp, and I liked nothing better than...

Knight of Grianaig

My three daughters were as beautiful as they were kind, and much loved by people throughout the isles of the West. Then one day, as they sat on the rocks on the edge of the sea, dipping their feet in the water, a great beast arose from under the waves and swept them...

Lover of the Lost Princess

There was a great crevasse in the king's glass mountain, and he declared that anyone who could cross it without falling into the void would be able to marry his daughter. Well, I loved his daughter already, and I was prepared to do anything for her. When the time came...

Queen Who Loses Her Child

We tried to have a child for years, and at last we were blessed with a little boy. One day, at the height of a most intoxicating summer, when my son was sleeping in the garden in his golden cradle, and the king and I were absorbed in planning his future, a dark shadow...

Listening Moon

When she came to my door, I said the same thing to her as the Sun had said. "I have seen you in your cottage, and I have seen you in your palace. I have seen you everywhere you are." Then I asked her, "Do you, rich as you are, need help?" Weeping, she told me her...

Snowflake

My mother and father wanted a child so much that they made me out of snow, and I came to life. They called me Snowflake. Spring has arrived. The fields are full of flowers. Nightingales sing in the trees, and my friends are playing outside and shouting with glee. The...

Moon Over the Spring

I watch from the sky as the old night-owl flies to the window of the mountain hut. He cries, "Uhu!" three times to summon the old woman's daughter. She steps out into the night air and walks over the meadows and into the valley. She comes to a spring with three old...

Handless Maiden’s Mother

"Why does she have to leave, husband? We have the money to support her for the rest of her life. She doesn't need to go off into the wild forest! How well will she fare, with no hands? You brought this evil upon her, you must fix it!" My husband sits at the table,...

Grieving Shepherdess

I watch my sheep in the meadow. I try not to remember the old days when I was blissfully married to the best of all men. I try not to remember the siren's grip on him and the flood that divided us. Tonight, another shepherd has taken out his flute. He is playing the...

Axe

Some axes have duties they absolutely abhor, and I'm one of them. The miller used me to chop wood, which is what I was made for, but when times got tough, he swung me with increasing desperation. Then he used me to sever the hands from the body of his innocent...

Prince in the Tower

The king is ailing, and he wants me to marry before he dies. I have not met a woman I could imagine as my wife. He tells me to go up the staircase to the top of the tower and look carefully at what I find there. I haven't been up here before. I unlock an iron door...

Prunella’s Mother

I had a daughter, but she disappeared. She was only seven! I was waiting for her to come back from school, and she never came home. My sweet little girl, Prunella, that's what I called her because she always came home with a plum she had picked from a tree.... She'll...

Crab Prince

I meet my twelve friends in an underground palace, and we dine together at a long table. Then we raise a glass, and we each make a toast to the health of our mothers and fathers. When I raise my glass, I make a different kind of toast. A health to my dearest lady....

Wind Wizard of Finland

Only a good wind can heal the heart that a bad wind has broken. That's what I told the king's messenger. A week later I flew on the winds to speak directly to the king. Respectfully, I told him that his son's illness was caused by an evil wind. A magic ball had...

Sun Ball

I have seen many things, and some of them are very dark, but the little princess was my joy. Her beauty astonished me every time I shone on her. She had a favorite toy, a golden ball, the spitting image of me. But then one day, her golden ball disappeared. It was...