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Lily on the Other Side

I stood in a vessel of water in front of a rounded lattice window when Takewaki and his lady love came into the room. They sat together on the white mats. An ancient woman came with saké in a silver flagon. She brought silver drinking-cups and provided everything that...

City Swallow

When I flew to my nest in the forest, I met a country sparrow who had made her nest next to me, under the eaves of an abandoned hut. I had inherited the nest from my parents, and they had left it to me, so I hoped to make it my home. I asked the country sparrow how...

Mother Duck

Down by the edge of the canal, in a forest of great burdocks, I built my first nest and laid my first eggs. I laid six of them. Five were white and perfect, but the sixth was an ugly grey color. It puzzled me, that egg. How did it come to be so different from the...

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...

Lion Minister

For years I have been the favorite of the king. I know all sorts of concealed and secret things. The king has recently brought twelve huntsmen into his service. He doesn't know that they are girls, but I do. When I tell him, the king doesn't believe me, so I suggest...

Sister Who Lives in a Tree

My brother and I made our homes in trees when we were children, but after my father went to war and my mother fell ill and died, our tree forts became our homes. We lived happily for some time in our hollow oaks. Then one day, a wild ogress came along and uprooted us....

Iwanich in the Apple Tree

A celebrated magician gave magic seeds to my grandfather. The magician said that they would grow into the finest golden apple trees in the world. He warned my grandfather that if one unripe fruit were plucked from the tree, the rest would become rotten at once. The...

Great Gloomy Wood

In the darkest part of my interior, where the trees are thickest, a witch lives in a stone hut. She has outgrown it. She can hardly fit into it. She has to lie down with her head at the door and her feet in the corners. She has no friends. Not even her cat and her dog...

Hidden Hut of the Spinners

I am hidden in the trees, and I shelter three sisters who spin from dawn to dusk. No one sees them, except the sun by day, the moon by night, and the eyes of the stars. And me. I see them. I see how they work with no rest. I see how the old woman hoards the gold flax...

Tom Thumb

My mother and father are very poor. They collect bundles of kindling to sell at the market, but they don't make enough money to feed us boys. I'm the youngest and I've just turned seven. My eldest brother is ten, and there are seven of us in all. I don't know how my...

Ali Baba

I'm cutting wood in the forest when suddenly I hear the sound of an army riding towards me. I scramble up the nearest tree and I see forty men riding fast, sending up a cloud of dust. They stop right under my tree, dismount, and tie their horses. Then their finely...

Slave Morgiana

My lamp went out so I have gone into the yard to get oil from a pot. As I am leaning over the jar, I hear a voice from inside the jar, whispering, "Is it time?" I stifle a gasp. Then I understand. The oil merchant who is staying with us is a robber, and his band of...

Mother of Snow-White and Rose-Red

An angel guards my children. That's why I'm not afraid to let them play and sleep in the woods. Truly, I tell you, they will not be harmed. For instance, one morning, after they had slept through the night in the forest, they woke and saw a figure in a shining white...

Fairy Paribanou

My compassionate husband has brought a sick woman into the house. I know she is an imposter who will be nothing but trouble, but he doesn't see it. He says, "My princess. as I do not remember that I ever contrived to injure anybody, I cannot believe that anybody would...