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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...

Pinkel the Thief

I took all the power away from the witch. Ha! First, I got her lantern. Then I got her goat with the tinkling bells, and finally, I stole her golden cloak. I jumped into the boat and rowed away from the island. She ran down to the shore, screaming: "Is that you,...

Witch in a Golden Cloak

I'm a famous witch. I live on an island in the center of a large lake. A golden lantern hangs outside my door, but no one comes here. I hear only the sweet tinkling bells on the golden horns of my goat who is feeding nearby. I am sitting by the fire, wrapped in a...

Wasp of Gopani-Kufa

I am Zengi-mizi, the wasp. I am not an ordinary wasp with an ordinary sting, for the father of Gopani-Kufa inhabits me. When Gopani-Kufa needs advice, he takes me out of my little rush basket and asks me a question. I fly around him and hum the answer into his ear....

Mother of a Thief

My son has become a thief. Not an ordinary thief, mind you, but a master-thief. Oh, I wept when I first found out, but then he said that he never steals from the poor. He gives to the poor, and he only takes superfluous things from the rich. Nor will he steal anything...

Poor Brother Who Finds Treasure

My brother is rich and, until just a little while ago, I was poor. What happened? Well, I was wheeling my barrow through the forest one day when I came upon a great, bare, naked-looking mountain. I had never seen it before, and I know that forest pretty well. I stood...

Landlord Who Steals from the Devil

I was standing on the porch when I saw the man approaching. What a horror! It looked as if the scare-crow who had been hanging in the fields for ten years had just pulled himself off the stake and stumbled down the road. I called to him. "Where do you you come from?"...

Queen Who Loses Her Child

We tried to have a child for years, and at last we were blessed with a little boy. One day, at the height of a most intoxicating summer, when my son was sleeping in the garden in his golden cradle, and the king and I were absorbed in planning his future, a dark shadow...

Bad-Mouthed Girl

When the creepy little man came up out of the heather and asked me what I was doing pulling the heather off his roof, I threatened him with my stick. He asked for some of my dinner. "I'll give you dinner!" I shouted. "I'll give you a whack with my stick. How about...

Robber Girl

My mother would take me with her to rob rich people on the road. One night, we waited in the dark like we usually did, and then a coach came along. It lit up the forest like a torch. The robbers set upon it and killed everyone, except for a little girl. My mother, the...

Trapper Lad

I have had to live by my wits. When I first left home, my older brother tried to trap me. He tied me to a tree and left me there to die. When a shepherd came along, I told him that I had been tied to the tree so that it would straighten my crooked back. He said he had...

Red the Robber

We hide in the trees along mountain paths and wait for rich travelers to pass. They think of us as savage beasts who live in mountain caves and holes in the ground. We go by the names of colors—Blue, Grey, Red and so on. There's twelve of us, including our chief, who...