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Fair Helena Who is Married to Prince Fickle

I am married to Prince Fickle.  He did nothing to deserve me, nor has marriage stopped his wandering eye. But because he is fickle, I can bring his attention back to me with no more than a kiss on the left cheek. It’s all it takes for him to remember who he is and who...

Frog from Osaka

I got restless living in my ditch near the town of Osaka on the seacoast. I decided I wanted to visit Kyoto where the great Mikado had his palace. So one fine morning I set off. The journey was more tiring than I expected. I had gone halfway to the city when I arrived...

Witch Who Makes a Mask

Oh, I've lived a long time, so I have developed quite a bit of magic skill. I like to prepare concoctions and I have acquired a good number of useful tools over the years. One of them is a magic mirror through which I can see anyone, and by which I can take their...

Sack of the Thief

Haha! I’ve bagged a lot of things, but never a parson and his clerk! My master, who’s an accomplished thief, went into the church just after the clock struck twelve. With me in hand, he marched up to the pulpit and began to cry out in a loud, piercing voice: "Hearken,...

Sly Fox

Here's what I said to the young suitor: "You want to outwit a high and mighty princess? You'll need a sly fox!" He's already used up two out of three of the three chances she gave him. He hasn't been able to hide from her. The raven concealed him in her egg, and she...

Tall-Tale Telling Tailor

People say I tell tall tales and I do admit that I can sometimes exaggerate. I'm not adverse to stretching the truth if it makes a good tale, but what I am about to tell you is not a word of a lie! The other day, I left the workshop and went wandering through the...

Noble Ass

I knew I wasn’t like anyone else. I was very awkward. But I had never thought about my difference until I became a young lord. Then one day I went walking and happened to see my image in the mirror of a clear pond. I was a donkey! From the tip of my ears to the brush...

Bad-Mouthed Girl

When the creepy little man came up out of the heather and asked me what I was doing pulling the heather off his roof, I threatened him with my stick. He asked for some of my dinner. "I'll give you dinner!" I shouted. "I'll give you a whack with my stick. How about...

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...

Esben the Fool

I'm not a big fellow like my eleven brothers. I'm just a little guy. My brothers work in the fields and the forest with my father, while I stay home with my mother. My father is getting old and weak now, and my brothers are biting at the bit to go and seek their...

Laughing Princess

I hadn't laughed in such a long time. There was nothing to laugh about. Then this fellow came along holding a goose, and he seemed to be stuck to it, and then the person behind him had become stuck to him, and the person behind him, and so on until there were seven...

Rat Driver

I am very familiar with cages, and there I was, trapped again, only this time with two surly prisoners. They were certain we were going to starve, but I had been around this block before. "No, no, we'll be freed soon enough," I said. "You'll see." Then, sure enough,...

Mother Who Makes a Changeling Laugh

The baby in my cradle is not mine! He has a large head and huge, staring eyes. He won't move. He just eats and drinks. My neighbor says, "Make him laugh, and then you'll see who he is. Do something that will amuse him. For example, boil water in a couple of eggshells....

Old Woman in the Robbers’ Hut

Such a handsome lad he was, oh...there was something about him...what's the word? Special. That's it. He'd gotten lost in the woods and he found our little hut. I told him he couldn't stay here—we're all robbers—and the men would kill him. The fellow was bone tired,...

Martin’s Wooing Mother

Martin, my son, well, he can do just about anythin', except when it comes to woo-in'. He wanted his old mother to go an' do it fer him. So I went to the king, oh yes I did. I marched right up them steps, and ain't nobody could stop me, though I won't say they didn't...

Princess Who Marries a Head

After all the miraculous acts that the old woman's son performed, my father and I agreed to meet him. Perhaps I would marry him after all. The old woman came into the palace, and what do you think she carried with her? Her son's head on a silver platter! I laughed,...

An Ordinary Ass

I'm not precious, okay? Diamonds and rubies don't fall out of my mouth when you say the word, "bricklebrit." I'm just an ordinary working mule. I don't get special treatment in the landlord's stable. Nobody feeds me the best oats and hay. When Antonio mistook me for...

Dick Whittington

I was very little when my father and mother died; so little, indeed, that I never knew them, nor the place where I was born. I strolled around the country, ragged as a colt, until I met with a wagoner who was going to London. He gave me leave to walk beside his wagon...

Galifron the Giant

I am as tall as a tower and I eat people the way a monkey eats chestnuts. I talk so loud that anyone who listens becomes deaf. What GREATER prince could there be? If that golden-haired princess does not marry me, I'll lay waste to her country, carry her off, and do...

River-Sucker

I'm designed to suck up rivers, but when the giant ordered me to "suck up the sea,” I did my best. I drank till I nearly burst. Then, after all my efforts, the sea just filled in again. It was clear to me that the giant would never catch what he was after. But he’d...

Fearless Youth

My older brother was clever. He knew how to manage everything, but I seemed to be stupid. I couldn't understand what people were saying. I didn't seem to be able to learn anything. I heard people say, "He will be a burden on his father!" Whenever something had to be...