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Young Fool Who Makes a Wise Wish

I begged my brothers to let me go with them when they set out to see the world, but they would have nothing of it. We’d all been given a wish, and we were told to make sure it was our best wish. My two elder brothers wished that every time they put their hands in...

Hungry Giant

Oh, I was hungry. I stood outside my hut, howling with hunger. I was ready to eat anything, even my own child. Then who do I see coming towards me out of the forest but a man. Not much meat on him, but enough to quiet my groaning belly. "It is well that you have come,...

Cinderwench

My stepsisters have taken my room and now I live in a drafty garret, and I sleep on a straw bed. My stepmother calls me Cinderwench and so do her daughters, although the youngest, who is not quite as mean, calls me Cinderella. I haven’t eaten much for days. I’m not...

Poor Brother

It's Christmas Eve and we have no food in the house. I go to my rich brother's house, and I ask him for a piece of bread or meat. He throws a ham at me and says, "You can have the whole ham if you promise to go straight to Dead Man's Hall." I don't why he says that,...

Tempted Queen

I had a passion for traveling and exploring, so when my daughter was only a few weeks old I went to visit a certain mountain about which I had heard many marvelous tales. I set out with a number of attendants, and on the way we passed by an old castle. It was said to...

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...

Tom Thumb’s Mother

My husband thinks that we should leave our little boys in the forest when they're out tying fagots tomorrow. I can't do it! Yet, we're so desperately poor. Not one of them is old enough to earn a living. The youngest is puny, and he hardly ever speaks a word. When he...

Dragon of the North

I have a voracious appetite, and it can't be satisfied. I'm eating all the living creatures on the planet, and I will not stop until I have consumed them all. I jump like a frog, so you won't know where I'm coming from. I have the body of an ox and the tail of a...

Orphan Herd-Boy

I was sitting with my flocks one night when I heard the sound of crying. I got up and followed the sound, and what did I find but a giant who had hurt his foot trying to uproot an oak. He wanted me to bind his foot, and I did, and now he has rewarded me in the most...

Starving Cobbler

I couldn't make a living as a cobbler, for all my hard work. My wife and I went without eating, but that couldn't go on forever. Finally I borrowed a neighbor's fishing rod and went out to fish in the stream. I was there for days and didn't hook anything, and then one...

Wild Ogress

What does Prince Ring mean, bringing me all this fancy stuff? Does he truly expect me to make my own wedding dress? I don't want to sew! I want meat, raw meat! I'm starving to death! Where is that good-for-nothing brother of mine? He's supposed to be here by now, and...

Old Veil-Maker

My two daughters and I are very poor. We live in a small village near the sea, and we seldom leave the house. We work all day long making veils for ladies. Every morning, I take the veils over the bridge and sell them in the city. I buy our food for the day and then I...

Child Left to the Wolves

My sister went into the woods and she never came back. Something must have eaten her. Where am I going to get more food? Now I've gone into the woods and I've eaten all the nuts I can find. The snow is coming, and, oh, I'm so cold! The wolves are howling, and I'm...

Craving Mother

How I wanted to get pregnant! I didn't think I could, and then I conceived, thank God. Now, every day, I sit by the window and look out over the gardens at the back of the house. Our neighbor has a glorious garden, full of beautiful flowers and herbs. Nobody can get...

Hansel Lost in the Forest

I wasn't worried about being abandoned in the forest by our parents. I said to Gretel, "Just wait until the moon rises, and then we will see the crumbs of bread I've strewn about, all along the path. They will show us our way home." When the moon came out, we went...

Hungry Wolf

I have a charming voice. It causes women to become weak-kneed around me. Old and young, it works with them all. I especially like them young, though, like that little Red-Cap. What a morsel! You have to approach gently. Don't show your appetite. "Good day, little...