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Girl-Fish

When I was just a foolish girl, I caught a fish. It spoke and said that if I didn’t throw it back into the river, something dreadful would happen to me. I didn’t listen. I brought it home. My mother told me to throw it back in the river because a speaking...

Princess Who Follows a Blood Trail

I was sure that the walls of the room had been built thickly enough to prevent a ray of candlelight from entering, but it did enter, and my husband was turned into a dove. When I came to him, he was sitting on the bed. “For seven years I must fly about the...

Witch-Maiden Sister

My two sisters and I sat around a table in our underwater palace and raised our shell cups to make a toast. One of my sisters drank to the health of a youth who wasn’t the least perturbed when she, in the form of a corpse, had tried to grab him from the grave....

Bald Suitor

My mother thinks that I will get nowhere in the world because I’m idle and we are penniless, and, worst of all, I’m bald. Well, I never had much passion for anything until I saw the princess riding by the other day. Her face was veiled but from the moment...

Old Friend of Sparrow

I am an old man with a hard-hearted wife, and she’s only gotten meaner over the years. I try to ignore her. I light my pipe and go sit out on the porch. I listen to birdsong and tune my ears to something else other than her scolding tongue. Now she’s done...