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Kind Sister

I have learned that no matter what world you find yourself in, whether you are on earth or in the underworld, you must be kind. Not for your own sake, but for the sake of other creatures. Oh, do not think for a moment that one creature is lower than another. A cat is...

Crossroads

I am a crossroads in a great forest. Both my footpaths lead to the capital. One will take seven days and the other will take two days, but there are no signs to tell you which is which. How does one prepare? A shoemaker and a tailor paused to discuss the matter. The...

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...

Red Mountain

If you wonder why I am red, ask one of the villagers who live perched on my cliffs. Those good people will tell you that my color comes from the hue of the princess, whose beauty shines through seven veils and through my walls. No one has ever beheld her face. She...

Returning Husband

When I came home from my journey, I saw my wife out in the garden with another man. I was about to shoot him with my bow and arrow when I remembered something an old man had said to me when we were drawing water from a well: "Patience is the first step on the road to...

Monkey Brother

When we meet in the trees, my brother tells me that Subbar Khan is dying. Terrible news, since he is our protector! "The humans don’t why he is dying," says my brother. "But the birds know that he was poisoned by the glass that Kupti, the king's daughter, put into his...

King Presented with a Riddle

I announced that my daughter was to be wed straight away, and a crowd of eager suitors assembled at the palace. I was trying to figure out how to select the most suitable partner for the spoiled girl when a farmer stepped forward. "You will know that the tiger, who is...

Magic Book

The queen wants to know what will destroy the power of the dark magician Ismenor. Can she understand the words that are written on my pages? She leans against the wall at the foot of Ismenor's tower, drained of all her powers. I must be explicit. "Get ahold of the...

Don Giovanni

Ah, I could write volumes about what it was like to go for three years without washing, combing my hair, or shaving my beard. I became a pariah! Little did anyone know that in my purse I possessed all the gold I desired. It was a good experience to be rich and poor at...

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...

Prince Grip

It was not easy for me to catch that bird named Grip. I underwent many ordeals to bring him to my father so that the bird's song might heal his blindness. When the bird began to sing, my father's eyes opened and he saw again. I saw, too. I saw that I had done a lot of...

Servant Who Uncovers the King’s Secret

The king is uncommonly wise. No secret can be hidden from him. He seems to be able to glean information from the very air. He also has a strange custom. Every day after dinner, when the table is cleared, and no one else is present, I bring him one more dish. I do not...

Shabby Inn

I stand on the roadside, facing a much more well-frequented inn than myself. The windows are brightly lit, and music and merriment pour from inside. The noise gets louder as the night goes on, and the people who stay there live in riot and revel. I do not deny that I...

Hand-Mill

I can grind out anything you want: a light, a table cloth, a feast with beer, and all kinds of good things. I come from the Hall of the Dead, and the water that turns me will never freeze. A word of caution, though. Don't get me going if you don't know how to make me...

Queen’s Seed

I grow into the finest apple in the whole world. I was so precious to the queen that when a magician stole me, the queen died. The magician gave me to a king, and he planted me in his orchard. Again, I grew into the finest apple in the whole world. But alas, he could...

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....

Ungrounded Prince

From the time I was born, no one would allow me to touch the ground lest I fell into the power of something very wicked. I myself developed a great fear of the earth. One day, while out hunting, my saddle broke and I crashed to the earth. Moreover, I went through the...

An Ordinary Ass

I'm not precious, okay? Diamonds and rubies don't fall out of my mouth when you say the word, "bricklebrit." I'm just an ordinary working mule. I don't get special treatment in the landlord's stable. Nobody feeds me the best oats and hay. When Antonio mistook me for...

Bobino

My father, who is a rich merchant, sent me off to learn from a great master who could teach me foreign languages. I spent quite a few years with him, and now I've returned home. My father is not proud of me. He's furious because I've learned the language of the birds...

Sharp-Sighted Raven

We ravens are sharp-sighted so it's not as if we didn't see what happened to Ferko. His older brothers took out both his eyes, broke his legs, and left him to starve in the forest. He's crawled up here to die on the grass under the shade of the gallows where my friend...

Lake

Listen to me. It's the Lake speaking. If you want to avoid being eaten by the Serpent King of this island, here's what you must do. Take off your clothes and spread them on the path that leads from the water to the lord's castle. It pleases the king to glide over...

Old Toad

When the princess told us that she had set out to find her long-lost prince, we toads rejoiced. We had been waiting a long time for her to arrive! We gave her supplies for the long journey ahead. May she be reunited with her long-lost prince, and may the kings...

A VERY Old Woman

Oh, I know where the Devil lives. He lives with his grandmother in the woods, in a tumbledown house made of rocks. The grandmother is a kind old bird. Very wise. Of course, the Devil doesn't know that. He thinks the old woman is just another one of his captives. Silly...

Fairy Truth

I am here to grant the good king a wish, and, true to character, he doesn't ask anything for himself. He wants something for his son. "Most certainly," I say. "I can give him riches, good looks, power, and so on. What will it be?" "None of those," says the king. "I...

Tom’s Seven League Boots

When an ogre puts us on, we grow to the size of his feet. When little Tom puts us on, we shrink to the size of his feet. We can be worn by anyone, and we will take you over fields and forests in a single bound. A word of caution, though. Don't take too many steps,...