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Old Man Ivansko’s Return from the Underworld

I still have an ache in my shoulder. “Why?” My grandchildren ask me. Well, I tell them, it’s because of Baba Yaga. I released your grandmother from the underworld many years ago. She was trapped down there in a golden castle. I freed her easily...

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...

Wounded Soldier

I was making my way toward the city when I met an old woman on the road. She noticed that I was badly wounded and asked me where I was going. “I really don’t know myself,” I said. I had heard about the kings’ twelve daughters, and how they had been wearing out their...

Ancient Oak

I am hundreds of years old, and so gnarled and twisted that you will think I am monstrous. I am not a monster but beware the demon who is buried under my tree roots. He is trapped in a bottle, and whenever someone approaches, he starts crying, “Let me out! Let...

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...