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Buried Moon

I heard the people on Earth whispering that Things that Dwell in Darkness go about doing harm on the three days when I do not shine. It troubled me. So instead of taking my natural rest, I decided to come down to Earth and see for myself. I wrapped my shining hair in...

Flute of O’Yoné

One night the sweet child O’Yoné stole into the bamboo grove behind the garden. Weeping, she told her story to the forest. Her mother had died and her father had remarried a beautiful woman with a cruel, jealous heart. O’Yoné knew she would to kill her at her first...

Fish Named Djulung-Djulung

A girl came by the river, staggering under the weight of the load on her back. She stopped, dropped her firewood, and hastily stirred the fire that she alone had to keep burning. The day was hot and the river, inviting. She stripped, ran to the water, and jumped in,...

Crystal Fountain

I am a beautiful place in the deep forest. Some people consider me a holy place. They bury their treasure in my caverns, and I keep their secrets. Bathe in my waters and you will emerge refreshed as a newborn. Come back to me again and again. A young woman has been...

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...

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...

Queen Trapped in a Mountain

Koschei the Deathless is not mortal and I doubt that he can be killed. But Prince Ivan is stronger than any mortal I have ever met. He came to my house in the mountain where I was trapped and he picked up Koschei's sword. It weighs two thousand pounds! Not only did he...

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...

Crystal Ball

It is almost impossible to find me. I am buried in the yolk of an egg, which is buried in the womb of a bird, which is buried in the belly of a bull. Who will cut through the bull to reach me? I break all spells and delusions. Hold me in the face of the wicked...

Queen Who Plays the Lute

"Why not enjoy the happiness and stability we have?” I asked my husband. “Can you not find a way to live in peace?" He could not. He was restless. He wanted to try his strength in battle against some enemy and win honor and glory. He went out, called his army...

Crow Who Saves a Prince

When I was flying over the forest I saw a freshly killed ox lying in the clearing. What good fortune! I swooped down, landed on the carcass, and began to peck at the flesh. Just then a fox caught me in his mouth and ran with me to a lion who was sitting at the...

Blind Tailor

When I woke beneath the gallows I did not know where I was. The shoemaker had taken out my eyes in exchange for a bit of bread. He had left me there to die, and that is exactly what would have happened had I not heard two hanged men speaking to one another. "Brother,"...

Circle

A twelve-year-old boy is drawing me around himself. We will not allow any evil to cross the line. When the dwarf comes to take him, the boy says, "What do you want here?" The dwarf ignores him. He wants to speak to the father who is quaking in his boots. They haggle...

Sparrow-Princess

He found me in the bamboo forest, in a spic-and-span house surrounded by a beautiful garden. I saw him emerge from the forest, and I went out to the gate, unlatched it, and welcomed him. "Oh my dear friend!" I cried. "How glad I am that you have found your little...

Murderer Who Revives His Dead Brother

I killed my younger brother thinking that he had slept with my wife. Now I discover that while he did lie with my wife, he did not allow her to touch him. I acted too quickly! I am tormented by remorse. Then I remember the ointment I had from the witch. It heals...

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...

Little Match Girl

I make my living selling matches on the street. They burn so prettily, why won't anyone buy them? I know, because they already have light in their homes, and so much warmth. Oh, what warmth! I don't have any of that. I'm freezing cold but I don't want to go home...

Youngest Kid

When the wolf came in through the door, all seven of us kids scattered. We hid everywhere we could find. I got into the clock-case, and it was the one place the wolf didn't look. By the time my mother came home, the wolf had eaten everyone but me. I whimpered from the...

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...

Owl at the Abyss

The old man had no means to entertain the royal party that was making its way to his camp, and, in his shame, he went to a gorge in the middle of the night. I could see from my post that the good man intended to kill himself. It would be a great loss. His goodness...

Starving Cobbler

I couldn't make a living as a cobbler, for all my hard work. My wife and I went without eating, but that couldn't go on forever. Finally I borrowed a neighbor's fishing rod and went out to fish in the stream. I was there for days and didn't hook anything, and then one...

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...

Fountain of Lions

I stand in the middle of the court of a great castle. The entrance is guarded by four fierce lions. Two are asleep, and two are awake. People believe that the water that flows from me is a sovereign medicine, healing all fevers, even the most dangerous, in less than...

All-Healing Apple

On the surface, I appear like any other ordinary apple, but in fact I am an artificial apple made by a celebrated philosopher. I am able to cure all sick persons of mortal diseases—indeed, if the patient is dying, I will immediately restore said person to vigorous...

Fountain of Health and Beauty

To find me you must go to the Gloomy Cavern. It will make you very sad. In the acrid smoke, you must meet and defeat two dragons with fiery eyes. If you succeed, you will find a hole crawling with toads and snakes. Go down into it, and at the bottom of the hole, you...

Dame Carp

I am leaping after flies when I land hard on the earth. I lie in the grass, gasping for air. Then two hands slide underneath me, and I am raised up. I prepare myself to be killed and eaten. But no, I am gently lowered into the cool, refreshing water. I sink to the...

Stranger

On my way through the desert to Damascus, I had grown too hot and tired to carry on. I came to a castle, and I sat down to rest in its shadow. Then I heard a voice call to me softly from the window above me. "Are you a man or a ghost?" I answered, "I am a man, and a...

Shepherd Who Survived the Flood

How did we survive being overwhelmed by the flood? The good witch turned me into a frog, and my wife into a toad. We were carried on the water, but it tore us apart and carried us far away from one another. When the flood ended, we resumed our natural shapes, but we...