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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...

Scholar About to Get Sacked

I came along, riding my horse and singing a merry song when all of a sudden I heard a voice say: “Welcome! You’ve come at just the right time.” I looked around but couldn’t figure out where the voice was coming from. “Who’s calling me?” I said. “Lift your head. I’m up...

Distrustful Mother

When my son told me that he had been staying in an enchanted castle, I wanted to know all the details, of course! The castle was inside a mountain, and everything in the castle had been covered in black. The chairs, tables, benches, and also the three princesses who...

Hard, Judgmental Person

Little brat! How dare she wear RED shoes to her mother’s funeral! What insolence! And they’re not even properly made. I never liked her mother, either. She let that child run around the streets with practically nothing on. Who knows what her mother did to get so sick,...

Spirit in the Bottle

"I am mighty Mercurius! Whoever releases me, him I must strangle!" Idiot! Why did I say that to the fellow? I do not seem to be able to curb my own bravado. Then, to make it worse, I had to prove myself! "Ha! You don't believe that a genius like me can turn myself...

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...

Protective Dying Queen

I was ill many times before I died, but when I knew that I was going to succumb, I called my husband to my bedside and I asked him to make me a promise. "If you marry again, I want you to marry the queen of Hetland. That will ensure the safety of our daughter, and of...

Well-Dressed Emperor

I do not care about my soldiers. I do not care about the arts or the theatre. What I do care about are clothes. I love nothing more than to go walking about and showing off my new clothes. I have a coat for every hour of the day, and if you go looking for me, you will...

King with a Wild Daughter

My daughters asked me if I would bring them gifts when I returned from my tour of the country. I was only too happy to oblige, of course. My youngest daughter asked for a wreath of wildflowers, which seemed simple enough to find. However, neither the markets nor the...

Befuddled Prince

I was hunting in the woods when I saw a bear hiding in the shrubs. I called my dogs to attack it and they ran into the bush, yipping and yelping. Then I heard a voice cry, "Call off your dogs or they will kill me! What harm have I ever done to you?" I was so startled...

Poor Miller

I used to have more money than I knew what to do with. But sorrow comes like a thief in the night, and all of a sudden, I lost everything. I couldn't even call the mill my own. One morning when I went down to the pond, a nixy rose out of water. She called me by name...

Mother of the Hazelnut Child

Oh, we tried so hard to have children! Every day I was down on my knees, begging Heaven to hear my prayer. "Please give me a child to care for, even a tiny child. I would be happy with a child the size of a hazelnut!" Heaven granted my wish. My little son slept in the...

Dismissive Eldest Brother

Now we know who has been eating our apples! A golden bird! My youngest brother tried to shoot it with a bow and arrow, but the bird got away. All he brought back was a feather. My father wants the whole bird, so I said I would get it for him. At the entrance to the...