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Warrior Princess Who Becomes a Man

I dressed like a man, and I went to serve the old Emperor who had been my father's enemy. The Emperor sent me on one mission after another to prove his love for the beautiful Iliane. Finally, Iliane gave the Emperor one more test: to bring back the holy water of...

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...

Magic Book of an Old Man

I sit on a shelf of books in a room that is off-limits to anyone but the old hill-man. I hold secret instructions for shape-shifting. Want to become a whale in the sea, or a deer running through the woods? Want to beguile or seduce others with your physical charms?...

Old Man Who is Swept Away

My son is a powerful leader and an excellent hunter, which is why I was surprised that he came home empty-handed. “I have not returned empty-handed,” he said. “Have I ever done that? No, I brought back enough meat to feed us for many moons. I was tired, though. I left...

Girl-Fish

One day, when I was sitting by the river with my father’s net, I caught a fish. It spoke to me and said that if I didn't throw it back into the river, something dreadful would happen to me. I ignored it and brought it home. When I told my mother what had happened, she...

Enchantress Who Bewitches Her Sons

I had three sons, and they were close to one another. Too close for comfort! I didn't trust them. They were hatching a plot against me. Oh, I was sure of it. They wanted my power. I acted first. I turned my eldest into an eagle and sent him flying in circles around...

Sly Fox

Here's what I said to the young suitor: "You want to outwit a high and mighty princess? You'll need a sly fox!" He's already used up two out of three of the three chances she gave him. He hasn't been able to hide from her. The raven concealed him in her egg, and she...

Long-Bearded Man

The witch who cast a spell on me turned me into an old man with a long white beard. The spell would not break unless I met a girl who loved animals as much as she loved human beings. The witch was certain that I would never meet such a person. But there you are, sweet...

Hospitable Blacksmith

One evening, there was a knock on my door, and two tall, astonishingly handsome strangers stood before me. They asked for a night's lodging. How could I refuse them? Before we sat down to eat our meal, there was another knock on the door. This time, it was a poor...

White Dove Prince

When she was lost in the forest, and without food, I appeared to her as a white dove. I gave her the key that opened a tree where she found bread and milk, a warm bed, and the clothes of a princess. Then I asked her to fetch me a plain ring from an old woman who lives...

Jorinda

I was walking in the forest with Joringel when he said, "Take care not to go too close to the enchanted castle." I think perhaps we had already come too close, for though the evening sun shone brightly between the tree trunks, the dark green forest and the...

Geirlaug Forgotten

When our stepmother came after us, I turned myself into a whale and my beloved friend Grethari, into my fin. Our stepmother turned herself into a shark and we battled in the sea until the water ran red with blood. After a mighty struggle, we killed the shark and she...

Fish Man

The troll turned me into a fish and I sprang into the river. No use fighting against the stream. I let it carry me out to sea. At the end of the current, I found myself at the bottom of the ocean, outside a palace made of glass. I peered into the rooms and halls. The...

Stone Witch

Oh, that pair! How furious they made me! I couldn't grab them. They ran from me. They tangled me up in a forest. Then they threw a lake between us. They slowed me down, sure, but they didn't stop me! I reached the castle, climbed up over the garden wall, and got to...

Maiden with the Water of Life

I came down the mountain carrying my pitcher filled with the Water of Life. On my way, a few drops of the precious water slopped onto the stones underneath my feet. All at once, the stones changed into young men and women! They shouted with joy and crowded around me,...

Hippo

One day, the most beautiful princess came up the river in a barge. She and several servants built a small home on an island in the middle of the river. It was a very lonely place for her to be. Nobody ever came up this part of the river. Every day, she would come and...

Martin in the Gloomy Wood

After a year's work, my employer rewarded me by giving me a choice between a sack of silver and a sack of sand. I took the bag of sand. I don't know why. I thought there must be some kind of magic to it. I went on my way and came into a gloomy wood. In the middle of...

Rat Driver

I am very familiar with cages, and there I was, trapped again, only this time with two surly prisoners. They were certain we were going to starve, but I had been around this block before. "No, no, we'll be freed soon enough," I said. "You'll see." Then, sure enough,...

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...

Dschemila

My cousin Dschemil and I were fleeing the ogre and his dog, but we had the means of throwing obstacles in his way. "They are close upon us!" I cried to my cousin. "Throw the pin!" He threw it behind him, and a dense thicket of thorns sprang up in front of the ogre. I...

Ogre

I had great power, more power than any mere king. I owned all the land around my castle for as far as the eye could see. One day I had a visit from a strange-looking Cat who wore a large pair of boots and had a bag strapped around his neck. He was very well-spoken so...

Old Forest Witch

For a long time, my hut stood empty in the deep, dark forest. Then twelve brothers came along and set up house. They never saw me, but they knew my hut was bewitched because when they arrived, twelve lilies mysteriously appeared in the garden. They took great care...

Whirlwind

I am the mother of furies, a ball of revenge. I right wrongs and wrong rights, break bonds and scatter matter. Nothing matters to me. The last time I got released, I knocked a girl off a horse. She fell into the river. She was meant to drown in the stream, but instead...

Roland Fiddling

We fled the village, me and my sweetheart, but first I said, "Take the witch's magic wand!" It's a good thing she did, because the witch soon came after us in her seven league boots. I turned myself into a lake, and my sweetheart turned into a duck. The witch went...

Goat King

Yesterday, my page and I were hunting in the forest when we became lost. After night fell, we noticed a distant light and followed it to the door of a cave. We knocked, and the door was opened by a stately woman who was pleased to give us lodging. The cave was truly a...

Abandoned Sweetheart

Roland went away to see his father and make arrangements for our wedding. I had nowhere to go, and so I decided to stay in the field. I used the magic wand to turn myself into a red stone land-mark. I waited and I waited for Roland to return. He never came back. At...

Renzolla

I thought, The nerve of that king! He pretends to be smitten by me, but the moment he gets me to his castle, he shoves me into a little turret room with a maid and a pile of flax. Then orders me to spin it! I brought seven thousand golden guineas to this marriage! Is...

Shape-Changing Princess

I am the youngest of twelve sisters, and we are the daughters of King Kostiei, king of the Underworld. Our favorite thing to do is to go to the seashore at sunset, change our shapes into geese, swim in the water, and fly in the dusk. When we leave our dresses on the...

Hare with the Power of Wishes

Well, I didn't know I had the power of wishes! I was just driven by the necessity of finding food, you see, because my grandmother and I had nothing to eat. I spread out my net in the water, and when I went back the next morning, the net was swarming with fish! To...

Princess Who Challenges the Red Knight

The Red Knight was a complete imposter! He stole the right to marry me. But I decided I wouldn't get mad. I would get even! I marched into the hall where the king and his nobles were feasting, and I presented the youth who had fairly and truly won my heart. I said,...

Hummingbird

I flew beside him, hoping he would think of me. He was in a race with a cunning witch who kept slipping past him. But he had the power to change his shape. He wished himself into a pigeon, then a crow, and then a hawk, but still, he fell behind. His eyes grew dim and...

Black Swan Man

I was fishing where I should not have been fishing, and I took something I should not have taken. I fished a baby bunyip out of the water. What is a bunyip? Well, it is a creature that is something between a calf and a seal. I wanted to take it home to my sweetheart,...

Governess of the Monkey Prince

Prince Alphege has disappeared, but I have the strongest feeling that he is still with us. The other day, a green monkey escaped from the palace and sprang through our window. He wouldn't let anyone else near him but my daughter and me. When I looked into his green...

Child Left to the Wolves

My sister went into the woods and she never came back. Something must have eaten her. Where am I going to get more food? Now I've gone into the woods and I've eaten all the nuts I can find. The snow is coming, and, oh, I'm so cold! The wolves are howling, and I'm...

Golden Ball Returned

Long, long ago, I was enchanted by a wicked fairy, and condemned to keep the shape of a ball until I should meet with two maidens who would take me to their home. But how would I meet anyone human? For hundreds of years I lived in a deep forest, where nothing but wild...

Glass Axe

Of course I can't chop wood. I'm made of glass! Swing me against a hard tree, and I'll shatter. Imagine, though, that you were cutting down a paper tree. I could chop down a whole forest of paper trees with my fine edge. You can't chop down a forest with a glass axe....

Water Lily

My sisters and I spun gold flax for an old woman who made us work from dawn to dusk. We had never seen a man. The old woman warned us that the sheen would go out of our flax and terrible things would happen if we ever laid eyes on a man. Well, I did lay eyes on a man....

Enticing Evil Witch

Ha, she's such a pretty bird, the little queen! So fresh and new. Innocent as the dawn! She sits at the window and weeps because the king has gone away. "Why don't you come out into the garden?" I ask, coming to her window and leaning on my staff. "See the butterflies...

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...