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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...

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...

Discharged and Penniless Soldier

I had been discharged from the army without a penny to my name, and I wandered into the forest. After I'd walked for a little while, I met a little man who asked me why I looked so sad. I told him I was hungry, and I had no money. He said, "If you will hire yourself...

Grey Man in the Enchanted Castle

I am the only one alive in this enchanted castle. If you find me here in my locked room, I will show you how to break the spell. The tasks are inscribed on a stone table. Look here. There are three. No one has even completed the first task, let alone all three. Shall...

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...

Blindfolded Cobbler

I open my stall early today and get myself a prime spot near the gates of town. Then a beautiful young woman approaches me. A vision! She puts a piece of gold in my hand and tells me to take my needle and thread and follow her. I assume she has some stitchwork for me...

Blacksmith of Norroway

I live at the bottom of a glass hill. You can't go around it. You have to go over it. I will make you a pair of iron shoes that will do the job. In exchange, however, I will ask you to serve me for seven years. I watched a young woman come to the hill. She was sobbing...

Elf Maiden

When we arrived on the island, my sister and I brought a basket of provisions to the hut. As we were going back to the ship, I noticed the form of a man crouching behind a bundle of sticks. We were frightened, but he looked at us with peaceful eyes. We drew closer,...