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Girl With Her Mother’s Mirror

I was a happy child growing up with my mother and father, but when I was hardly out of childhood, my mother became sick. I did everything I could for her but she got worse and worse, and we knew that she would die. She called me to her bedside one afternoon. She was...

Firefly in the Peony Pond

We were dancing to the song of the frogs on the breath of the still pond when Lady Aya came out into the garden with her maidens. The moon had risen, round and silver. Lady Aya said, “The moon is a love-lorn lady; but have you seen her faint sister who is sadder and...

Pine from Heaven

A Deity from High Heaven planted me. It was so long ago that the crane cannot remember it, and the tortoise knows it only by hearsay from his great-grandmother. Lightly, lightly, the Deity came by way of the Floating Bridge, bearing me in his right hand. Lightly,...

Owner who Finds Something in His Garden

I came out into the garden of my homestead and I noticed that something had been tramping down the corn. I went looking around, thinking a pig must have gotten in. Then I saw some dirty thing lying under the peach trees. “Here’s something! Here’s something! There’s a...

Princess in a Copper Palace

Someone was coming to my copper palace! I laid out a fine dinner and made my guest a comfortable bed. Later when I came down to the dining room, I saw that the food had been eaten. I went upstairs and found my guest resting in bed. I said, "Thou who art in my house,...

Ugly Duckling

I had gone through many trials through the winter. I had suffered loneliness and the frigid cold, but nothing and no one was crueler to me than my own kind. It was very difficult for me to forget the old mother duck who said, "Have you ever seen anything quite as ugly...

Count in Hiding

Under the light of a full moon, I could see the old woman coming down to the well. The light from the orb of the moon over the mountain was so bright that you could have found a needle in the grass. I watched from the tree as the old woman knelt before the well. She...

Maiden Betrothed to Bearskin

My old father came home beaming with happiness. He had paid the landlord. How? A man had helped him, and now, he said, we can help the man. My two sisters and I waited for my father to lead the man into the house, and when we saw him (and smelled him) we recoiled! He...

Ram Singh

I found the entrance to the old well, and I went down a flight of stairs that descended into darkness. They were broad, white slabs of alabaster, gleaming in the shadows. Even the sound of my bare feet on the stone echoed in that lonely place, and when one of my water...

Water Lily

My sisters and I spun gold flax for an old woman who made us work from dawn to dusk. We had never seen a man. The old woman warned us that the sheen would go out of our flax and terrible things would happen if we ever laid eyes on a man. Well, I did lay eyes on a man....

24th Suitor

At last I found the beauty of the world! She had been locked into a remote room of a castle that stood beyond the farthest reaches of the world. But she was not beautiful. She was a bleary-eyed, grey skinned, withering old woman. "This is not my form," she said....

Prince with a Mirror

When I was fifteen, I woke up one day and found a mirror had been placed in my room. It was not large, and it had a black frame. When I looked into it, I did not see my own reflection. Instead, I saw the face of a girl as lovely as the dawn. She, like me, was coming...

Governess of the Monkey Prince

Prince Alphege has disappeared, but I have the strongest feeling that he is still with us. The other day, a green monkey escaped from the palace and sprang through our window. He wouldn't let anyone else near him but my daughter and me. When I looked into his green...

Unrecognized Cinder Girl

When my father asked my stepsisters what they wanted from the fair, they showered him with compliments and requests for jewels and fancy dresses. His eyes almost slid past me. "And you, Cinderella, what will you have?" Cinderella! Had he forgotten my name? Did he...