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Skeleton Woman Walks the Ocean Floor

I walk the ocean floor,thin as a bone knife,slice throughthe sun’s fractured radiancetoward a narrow crevasse,glimpse a split second ofblue. Climbing out is easy Unweightedmy body is only a memory. Nimble as a crazy needleI weave in and outof piles of ice. The...

Ivan Who is Cut to Pieces

He can't take her from me! I don't care if he's Koschei the Deathless! He can cut me to pieces, I don't care. I will come back for Marya Morevna. I can't live without her! As it happened, he did chop me to pieces. He put the pieces of me in a barrel, smeared it with...

Horse Resurrected

The Emperor buried me when he was young, and forgot all about me. But his old nurse didn't. When the Emperor's third son Petru went looking for a truly good horse, she told him to go and fetch a scrap from my old reins. She sprinkled them with incense, and instructed...

Loving Dog

I lived with an old couple who had no children of their own. They doted on me and I never left their sides. One hot summer day when the old man was working in the garden, I caught the scent of something a little way off. I sniffled and scratched at the spot. Then I...

Frog Who Wears a Rose Leaf Crown

I live in a tent, on an island, in a pond in the middle of a magnificent garden. My skin is as green as grass, and I wear a rose leaf on my head instead of a crown. I may look like a frog, but I know who I am, and I am not a frog. I am a princess, and the lion who...

Constellation of Stars

We were consulted when the boy was born, and then everybody knew that the prince's life would come to an end at the age of sixteen. On his sixteenth birthday, the lad disappeared while hunting in the forest. The men searched the woods, but soon gave up, believing that...

King of the Golden Mountain

I found a huge, coiled snake in the most remote room of an enchanted castle. The snake spoke and said, "Have you come, oh, my deliverer?" She was a maiden, rejoicing to see me. "I have waited twelve years for you," she said. "My kingdom is bewitched, and you must set...

Peter Bull

I was born as a bull calf and I was very much loved by the peasant and his wife. They believed that I was wise, and that I understood everything they said to me. I was gentle and playful, and they grew so fond of me that they named me Peter Bull and sent me to the...

Swallow Messenger

A prince and a princess live in the castle on top of the glass mountain. I am their only messenger. I carry messages back and forth from them to the people below. The prince is very fortunate, because he scaled the glass mountain, while thousands of other suitors did...

Niece of the Bereft Husband

Uncle told us a strange story. He said that when they had gone out to the camp, his wife had turned into a doll. He took us to the site where they had camped, and, to our amazement, we saw a life-sized doll lying under the skins. At first we couldn't believe it. We...

Starvation Tower

Until Martin was imprisoned in me, I was known as Starvation Tower. Martin, however, was a different sort of prisoner. He had good friends, a cat and a dog. They stole biscuits for him and then they brought him a magic ring. He could do anything he wanted with that...

Healing Serpent

The king has been locked in the burial vault with his dead wife. He tries to stretch out his days. He eats his provisions slowly. Every day, a bite of bread, a sip of wine. We serpents hear him moaning in grief and pain as death draws near. Then we devise a plan. My...

Juniper Tree

When the sweet child lay the bones of her brother at my feet, I began to stir myself. My branches parted and moved and I clapped them together and rejoiced! From deep in my roots, a mist rose around me with a fiery, burning center. A beautiful bird flew out of the...