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Hok Lee Who Has a Cure for Everything

In the beginning, I was a thief. During the day I looked like every other hardworking soul. But at night, I’d go off with robbers to raid the homes of the rich. I had quite a treasure stowed away when I developed a strange malformation on my cheek. I thought the...

Hiku Goes to Find His Lost Love

She tried to prevent me from leaving. She begged me. She locked the doors of the house. She wailed and wept. But my mother had warned me not to stay long with the people by the sea. I had already fallen in love with the hula dancing, the drums and songs, the joyful,...

Soldier Who Avoids Bureaucracy

I'm just a simple private but I've found the king's ring. He's promised a large sum for money for it and I plan to return it. But how? If I report it to regimental headquarters, the matter will have to go all the way up the ranks. It will go from the sergeant to the...

Doctor Upon Whom Everyone Depends

I never make house calls. I can afford to stay home and see my patients here. The only exception I ever made was for a king who offered me a great sum of money to come to his court. A thorn in his foot had become infected. I told him the wound could not be healed, not...

Quietly Flowing Stream

I flow past the hut of a poor fisherman, shunning the glare of the sun and the noise of the towns. I stream past trees and under bushes, listening to the song of the birds. One day, when the fisherman came to cast his nets, I brought him a crystal cradle. He slipped...

King Who Loses His Wife

Perhaps I tried too hard to please my neighbors. I was too kind. I created false expectations, rivalries and the jealousies. The long and the short is, I was always at war. Shortly after I married, I lost a hard battle and we had to retreat behind the walls of my...

Queen of the Fishes

I had sent the little girl-fish on such an arduous adventure to reclaim my crown that I began to doubt she would ever return. My lady-fishes had started to become restless. "I am tired of staying here," said one. Her colors changed with every anxious twist of her...

Old Man by the Roadside

I have a bit of magic, oh, yes, I do, and it is quite special. Nothing like you'd see in a magic show. No, I don't like to make a spectacle. I just stand by the road, and I ask questions, like I did the other day, when the peasant's three sons walked past me, one...

Hospitable Blacksmith

One evening, there was a knock on my door, and two tall, astonishingly handsome strangers stood before me. They asked for a night's lodging. How could I refuse them? Before we sat down to eat our meal, there was another knock on the door. This time, it was a poor...

White Dove Prince

When she was lost in the forest, and without food, I appeared to her as a white dove. I gave her the key that opened a tree where she found bread and milk, a warm bed, and the clothes of a princess. Then I asked her to fetch me a plain ring from an old woman who lives...

Forest Hut Where Food Is Free

I am a simple hut in the forest. I was useful to no one for a long time, except for the occasional band of robbers, or wanderers who happened by. Then one day, I was repaired. I was given a new door and a new window. I was cleaned from cellar to rafters. The hearth...

Court Physician

"Here comes the Satin Surgeon! Look at the Satin Surgeon! Long live the Satin Surgeon!" You would think it was Christ coming into town on his mule for all the fuss the people made when he arrived. This "Satin Surgeon" claims to be able to heal the emperor's illness. I...

Mother of Sheaths

I am a well-known enchantress in this region of the world. I live in a cave that is lined with sheaths. Bring me your knife and I will put it in its sheath. One day, a messenger of the Archduke of Placenza came to me. His master had lost his reason and the doctors...

Maiden with the Water of Life

I came down the mountain carrying my pitcher filled with the Water of Life. On my way, a few drops of the precious water slopped onto the stones underneath my feet. All at once, the stones changed into young men and women! They shouted with joy and crowded around me,...

Prince Grip

It was not easy for me to catch that bird named Grip. I underwent many ordeals to bring him to my father so that the bird's song might heal his blindness. When the bird began to sing, my father's eyes opened and he saw again. I saw, too. I saw that I had done a lot of...

Mother Who Makes a Changeling Laugh

The baby in my cradle is not mine! He has a large head and huge, staring eyes. He won't move. He just eats and drinks. My neighbor says, "Make him laugh, and then you'll see who he is. Do something that will amuse him. For example, boil water in a couple of eggshells....

Surviving Sister

Now that I have come into the forbidden room, I see what the wizard Fitcher has done with my sisters. They are lying in a basin, cruelly murdered and cut into pieces. I will not to succumb to the horror. I will see them whole. Start somewhere. Anywhere. I drop to my...

Footless Princess

When I became lost in the forest, I was seized by a giant. He cut off my feet and then he left me to bleed to death. I would have died there, but then my sister Kisa the Cat came along, and she returned my feet to me. In so doing, she performed an act of kindness that...

Healing House in the Wild Wood

I can be found in a great, wild forest. Nothing can harm my occupants. They are under the protection of angels. Here, the devil's work is undone. If you are lost in the wild wood, look for the sign that reads: "All Here Dwell Free." Rest awhile, and heal. The Healing...

Blind Prince

For years I wandered in the wilderness, a blind man, eating roots and berries. I wept for the loss of my wife. I should have taken her away sooner. I should have protected her. Where had she gone? What had happened to her? I was blind in every way. I had been...

Princess Who Is Fairer-Than-A-Fairy

When I went into the strange, suspended palace, I found the prince fast asleep. I told him everything that had happened and how dangerous and difficult the way had been. I told him twenty times but he did not wake! Then I remembered the golden pomegranate that was...

Eldest of the Old Sisters

I live in a turf hut, far from land that any man knows. There are great distances between myself and my sisters, so, as you might imagine, I hardly ever greet anyone at my door. Today, though, a young man came to the house. He said he was looking for the Sister of the...

Sharp-Sighted Sorceress

The princess is looking for the eyes of her true love. I can see where they are. They've been eaten by dogs. I can see where the dogs live, and I know what I must give to the dogs to make them cough the eyes up. I will go straight away. Her lover Janni is a good...

Cypress Brother

Two cypress trees were planted in front of our house when my twin brother and I were conceived. When he went off to find his fortune, he told me that if one of the cypresses withers, he would be in trouble. Well, it withered, and immediately I went to find him. I...

Doctor’s Servant

My master, a very great doctor, sent me to a peasant's hut with a bottle of medicine for a young girl who is gravely ill. I have dropped it somewhere on the way here, and now the poor child has no hope. I'm standing in the house, feeling miserable, when we hear a...

Sharp-Sighted Raven

We ravens are sharp-sighted so it's not as if we didn't see what happened to Ferko. His older brothers took out both his eyes, broke his legs, and left him to starve in the forest. He's crawled up here to die on the grass under the shade of the gallows where my friend...

Sorrowful, Dying King

I cannot recover from the death of my wife. I lie in bed, laboring for breath, wheezing under the great weight on my chest. What is this? A bird with brilliant plumage is fluttering at my window. She's lighting on the lintel. Her feathers are sky-blue and gold, and...

Well of the Witch-Maiden

Every month when the moon is full, the witch-maiden comes to me. She looks up to the moon, then kneels before me and dips her hands in my water. She bathes her face nine times, then looks up to the moon once more. After that, she walks around me nine times, singing...

King Solomon’s Ring

I am the signet ring of the wisest king who ever lived, and I bear a secret inscription. The one who can interpret it will discover how to destroy the Dragon. Yet no one knows where I am hidden, and there is no one left in the world who is wise enough to decipher my...

Confessional Iron Stove

I've heard more than one confession in my day. The king sends people to me, and I provide a safe place where they can unburden their hearts. He knew that the little goose-girl was keeping something under her hat, and he called her aside. He wanted her to tell him the...

Wind Wizard of Finland

Only a good wind can heal the heart that a bad wind has broken. That's what I told the king's messenger. A week later I flew on the winds to speak directly to the king. Respectfully, I told him that his son's illness was caused by an evil wind. A magic ball had...

Buried Brother

My brother hit me from behind, killed me, and buried me under the bridge. He took the spear that was my protection and married the woman who was my whole world. Years have passed. Yet nothing is hidden from God. I've given a shepherd one of my bones, and he is making...

Golden Ball Returned

Long, long ago, I was enchanted by a wicked fairy, and condemned to keep the shape of a ball until I should meet with two maidens who would take me to their home. But how would I meet anyone human? For hundreds of years I lived in a deep forest, where nothing but wild...