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King of Snakes with Healing Power

When I came into my palace with my retinue, we were shocked to find a man lying on my bed. He had fallen fast asleep. My soldiers were ready to kill him right away, but he was hardly older than a boy. "Leave him alone," I told my men, and I slid onto my seat. "Wake...

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...

Fairy Godmother of Dotterine

A terrible war broke out, and the king and his army were beaten back until finally they retreated to the town and prepared for a siege. It lasted so long that food supplies ran out, and even at the palace there was nothing to eat. My goddaughter was weak and...

Gift Horse

If ever there was a gift horse, it's me. I'm waiting in a castle for Ferdinand, who has just celebrated his fourteenth birthday. Imagine his surprise when he sees a white horse standing in a castle, a castle to which he alone has the keys. Imagine his surprise when he...

Silent Princess

I have heard many stories from many men. I have heard about their adventures. I have heard their complaints and accusations. For a long time, I have been sitting here listening beneath my seven veils. No man has ever engaged me. Then one day, an amusing young fellow...

Princess Coming Out of Isolation

When the green knight stopped coming to the castle, I became frantic. What happened to my love? Surely he did not give his heart to another. Yet, what could I know, isolated on that lonely island? It was the only place where I could live safely, out of the reach of my...

Maiden Betrothed to a Lindworm

I did not want to marry the lindworm! He had eaten his two other brides! I did nothing to deserve being wed to such a monster. I ran to my mother's grave and I prayed earnestly for her help. Then I became very peaceful and fell asleep. When the sun woke me in the...

Queen Who Eats a Plant to Conceive

I cannot give my husband a child, and now he has gone away. If I have a child by the time he returns, he said, he will love me "beyond measure," but if I do not, he will part with me forever. I won't be having a child with him away, now, will I? Unless he wishes me to...

Martin’s Wooing Mother

Martin, my son, well, he can do just about anythin', except when it comes to woo-in'. He wanted his old mother to go an' do it fer him. So I went to the king, oh yes I did. I marched right up them steps, and ain't nobody could stop me, though I won't say they didn't...

Princess in the Great Forest Castle

When men come to my castle, I offer them food, drink, and rest. When they go to sleep, they do not wake. Sixteen years have passed and my castle is overflowing with sleeping men. I wonder what would happen if a man came in and refused my offer to eat and drink? What...

Seventh Dwarf

She came to rest in my bed. My bed! The most beautiful princess in the world! I would not wake her, oh no, not for anything. Now, every night, I sleep with the other dwarves, one hour with each, so that no one's rest is disturbed. Only my rest is disturbed. It is...

Mother Holle

She's becoming homesick, sweet girl, though the conditions up there on the surface are no better than the ones down here. Everything in time. She has served me well, and I have enjoyed her company. I take her hand and I lead her to a large, open door. She stands on...

Gingerbread House

I'm made of sugar and spice and everything nice, but I wish I wasn't so charming and sweet because a witch is using me as a trap. Two little children have come along, a boy and a girl. It's easy to see that they're starved. They shout for joy when they see me, and...

Old Forest Guardian

I've seen a lot of winters come and go. Indeed, I am so old that you might easily mistake me for another tree in the forest. I am grey, gaunt, and crooked as my staff. But ignore me at your peril! The huge, wild forest you are entering is full of ravenous beasts. How...

Abandoned Youth

I have been surviving alone on this island for months. Winter has come, and I've collected all the driftwood I can. I'm standing on the shore and looking out towards the mainland, thinking of Christmas Eve last year and the fun I had celebrating with my friends....

King with a Wild Daughter

My daughters asked me if I would bring them gifts when I returned from my tour of the country. I was only too happy to oblige, of course. My youngest daughter asked for a wreath of wildflowers, which seemed simple enough to find. However, neither the markets nor the...

Lion Under a Tree

We lions each have our own tree on the island. It is our place. On this island, the serpent is king, and all the plants of the world grow and flourish together. Now, however, men are coming, and everything is about to change. Lion Under a Tree, The Seven-Headed...

Jack the Giant-Killer

I've had it with giants. There was one who lived on St. Michael's Mount, off Cornwall, who was eighteen feet high and nine feet round. He would come over to the mainland and help himself to people's farm animals whenever he wished. I set out to destroy him, and I did....

Faithful John

I promised the dying king that I would instruct his little son in all that he should know. I would be a father to him, serve him faithfully, and never desert him. Those were easy promises to make, but there was one more. The king said: “After my death you must show my...

Beast’s Rose

I grow on a hedge that lines the path to the stable of the Beast. We are releasing an exquisite fragrance here where the sun shines and the birds sing and the howling winter cannot reach us. The merchant who has spent the night in the castle has experienced the...

Edible Rose Stalk

I've grown up overnight in the north-west corner of the queen's garden. I'm standing under a two-handled goblet that the queen placed here, upside down, when she came last night at sunset. Now, in the palest gleam of the dawn, two roses are bursting from my stalk. One...

Old Woodcutter

I’m an old man and my beard is long and white but I still have the strength to chop Yule logs. So far, the work has kept me outside the Hall of the Dead. One night a young man came by. He was holding an ham and heading into the Hall. He greeted me and I asked him...

Doorkeeper

You will find me behind a rock door under the ridge of the giant's mountain. If you knock on my rocky wall, I will come out with sparks flying from my eyes and nose. I guard the tax the giant collects from the little people. Ask for no more than you can carry. If you...

Clock

Beauty had gone home and the Beast had fallen gravely ill. Beauty's sisters could care less that she had come home, but her father and brothers begged her to stay. She felt an urgency to leave but she didn’t act on it. Every morning when she rose she meant to say...