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Children of the Foam

We were playing with the Moon Fairy and laughing in the surf when a fisherman came walking along the beach. He appeared lost. We quieted, but the Moon Fairy hadn't seen him and she was still playing with us when the man approached her feather robe. It hung on the...

Magpie of Heaven

The Weaving Maiden was such a dutiful worker, she would never leave her loom. Her father said, "You should go out and have some fun!" She said, “Sorrow, age-long sorrow, shall come upon the Weaving Maiden when she leaves her loom." Her father put no stock in old...

Rai-Taro, Son of Thunder

In the cool of the evening, my father and I walked upon the ramparts of the Castle of Cloud as we often did. My father was a great and mighty god of Thunder and all the Elements. From the ramparts we viewed the doings of men upon the Land of Reed Plains. North and...

Generous Tailor

I told the goldsmith he shouldn't do it! But he wouldn't listen to me. He insisted on going back to the place where the little folk were dancing. We had found them once, and they sent us away with coal in our pockets. By morning, the coal had turned to gold. The old...

Red Shoes

Who cares what "good Christian people" say? We know what we mean to Karen. Did you know that in the beginning, the poor girl had no shoes at all? That’s right. She went barefoot or wore old wooden clumpers that chafed her instep until her feet bled. The old...

Mirror of Understanding

The Snow Queen calls me the Mirror of Understanding, but I am cracked in a thousand pieces. She has recruited an intelligent little boy named Kay to fit my pieces together, but he has gone quite black and blue with cold. His heart has become a lump of ice, and yet he...

Listening Moon

When she came to my door, I said the same thing to her as the Sun had said. "I have seen you in your cottage, and I have seen you in your palace. I have seen you everywhere you are." Then I asked her, "Do you, rich as you are, need help?" Weeping, she told me her...

Bloody Knife

My blade shines brightly as long as everything is going well for the ones who keep me. However, if something happens to any one of them, my blade will run with blood. I am not just made of steel, you see. If my relations suffer, I bleed. The Bloody Knife in The Water...

Simple Son of a Man with Strange Eyes

My father has strange eyes. One is a laughing eye, and the other is a weeping eye. My two older brothers and I have grown up afraid to ask him why he has such strange eyes. Well, we're grown men now, getting ready to find our fortune, and we'd like to know. My older...

Protective Godmother

I was heartbroken when I heard that the queen had died in childbirth. The poor king! He was beside himself with grief. He invited me to be the child's godmother, and I rushed to the christening. I looked at that sweet elf in his cradle, and, right away, I named him...

Fisherman Who Catches a Flounder

I go out fishing in the sea every day, and I don't catch much of anything. Then today, when I was sitting in the boat with my rod, the line suddenly caught. It went down, down, down, and I drew it up, up, up. I had a Flounder on my line! I landed him in the boat, and...

Pea Under Mattresses

Many people come to the Museum to see me in my glass case. I am not just any pea. I am the Pea. I was buried under twenty mattresses (and twenty eiderdowns), and I could still be felt! I am the thought that does not go away. The truth that disturbs sleep. The grit in...

Red Tulip

I have had three awakenings. First, there was the crack of my husk when the kernel burst, deep in the earth. I grew and grew, stretching my neck out through the soil. Then there was the crack of the light, the first ray of the sun. Finally there was the third crack,...

Paper Dancer

I do pirouettes on the table in front of a cardboard castle while little boys play with their toy soldiers on the floor. The castle has little windows, and I can see inside them when the breeze spins me round. In front of the castle, cardboard trees gaze at their...

Parrot of the Beast

When the girl came into our room of parrots and cockatoos, she had songbirds from the aviary perching on her shoulders and her head. I squawked. "Awk! Hello, pretty bird. Pretty songs. Awk!“ "Aren't you a handsome fellow!" she said, opening my cage door. "You might...

Magpie

The Water Lily has been singing her sad song endlessly. Alas! bewitched and all forsaken, ‘Tis I must lie for ever here! My beloved no thought has taken To free his bride, that was so dear. The Thrush sang: "How stupid men are!...

Dick Whittington’s Cat

My master, Mr. Whittington (I wouldn't think of calling him Dick) is badly abused by the cook. After living my whole life on the street, I have never met such an ill-natured hussy as that woman. When she's not basting or roasting, she's beating Mr. Whittington...

Nurse of the Confined Princess

The king is so terrified that something will happen to his daughter that he refuses to let her leave the palace. He keeps her shut in her rooms like she's some kind of prisoner. Of course I understand how bitterly she hates her confinement. I've listened to her...

Prince in the Tower

The king is ailing, and he wants me to marry before he dies. I have not met a woman I could imagine as my wife. He tells me to go up the staircase to the top of the tower and look carefully at what I find there. I haven't been up here before. I unlock an iron door...