fbpx

Story Themes Results

Your Search Results

Mother of a Boy Who Can’t Learn

After my husband died, I was very poor, and I had only one child, my little boy Hassebu. When it was time for him to learn to read, I sent him to school. He did not learn to read in school, and so he was put into a shop to learn how to make clothes. But he did not...

Mirror from Kioto

I hung in a fine shop in Kioto, one of many metal mirrors that glittered in the sunshine. An aging and handsome man came along. “Oh, the pretty silver moons!” he said. Tentatively, he reached for me. He looked into my face and turned as white as rice. He sat on a seat...

King Who Never Tasted Salt

An audacious fellow came in today and presented me with something he called "Russian salt." He wanted to trade it in the city. I'd never heard of such a thing as salt. It looked like nothing more than a pile of white sand. I sent him away but later when I sat down to...

Prince Who Meets a Girl Wearing a Wreath

I was riding through the forest one day when I heard strange birds singing. I had never heard such tiny, sweet songs. Who could possibly be making that shower of sound? I came close to the place, tied my horse to a tree, and followed the sound to a girl who was...

Mother of a Great Son

My child, my wonderful child! How could have he have come from me? He was not like the other children. He grew quickly into a tall, strong boy who spoke like a grown man. He did not speak often.  One day I asked him, "My child, by what name shall we know you?" He...

Kindly Old Robber Woman

You won't believe me when I tell you this, but here's how I got free of them robbers. Two men came to the door lookin' for food, an' I said, I says: "You can't come in here, there's robbers living here and they'll be home for their supper any minute." Didn't stop the...

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...

Earthworkers

The king's youngest daughter is our princess, and we serve her. When she comes into the forest and summons us: "Earthworkers, come out!" we appear from under every root and stone. When she asks for help, we ask no questions. If she wants the forest cut down and the...

Star Dress

I don't think that the princess has a clue what to wear, or who she is, or who she wants to be! Yet I am her brightest dress. I shine even more brightly than her golden dress, or her silver dress. Why does she keep us hidden in a nutshell? Why does she go around...

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...

Milkmaid Queen

Our little empire is even smaller than Petaldo's parents' kingdom. It's really only a dairy farm, but we are very happy. Every day, I go to the dairy, and, in addition to making my cheeses, I make a little barley cake and a tiny cream cheese. Then I put them under the...

Dena the Oil-Seller

I was poor, but worse than poor, I couldn't keep any money in my pockets. I had borrowed from a banker who was charging me interest, and my debt had tripled. Business was bad, I couldn't sell my oil, and I couldn't pay the banker. He kept coming round to my house...

Prince Loved by the Undine Queen

I spent seven years living under the lake with the ravishing green-haired queen. She wanted to marry me, but I only thought of Abeille. "It is only Abeille I wish to marry," I said repeatedly. "Let me go home. Please." I might as well have been talking to the wind....

Abeille Meeting the Little People

When Youri and I were children, we decided to go up the mountain and climb to the lake where the undines lived. It was hard going, and I became hobbled by a stone in my shoe. At last, I grew too weary to climb on, and, besides, it was getting dark. I lay down on a...

Sultan’s Daughter at Her Wedding Feast

I did not wish to marry the son of the vizier, or, rather, I did not think it possible to marry anyone other than the man my father had chosen for me. For that reason, I hardly let my heart fly to the young man I saw resting under a tree when I went riding by with my...

Old Man without a Heart

I didn't tell my young bride where I kept my heart. I lied to her. I said that I kept it under the bed cloth. Later I found her embroidering flowers on the quilt. How quaint. I said, "No, my dear, it's not under the bed cloth. It's in the--" "Where, dear husband?" "It...

Catherine Reconsidering Her Destiny

No matter where I go or how hard I try to please my employers, Destiny always finds me. Just when I've put everything in order, she flies in, tears up the house, and leaves everything in pieces. I run away in shame. Now I work for a lady who has asked me to climb a...

Fisherman Who Catches a Flounder

I go out fishing in the sea every day, and I don't catch much of anything. Then today, when I was sitting in the boat with my rod, the line suddenly caught. It went down, down, down, and I drew it up, up, up. I had a Flounder on my line! I landed him in the boat, and...

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...

Shepherd with a Flower

I never saw anything so beautiful as that delicate flower growing in the field. I could not help myself. I picked it, carried it home, and laid it with great care inside my chest. Ever since then, when I come home at the end of the day, the inside work is done. The...

Dove of Peace

When the dwarves put the princess in the crystal coffin, the forest fell silent, and it has been silent ever since. First, the Owl came and watched over her. Then the Raven came and watched. When the Raven's time ended, I came and settled on the shoulder of the dwarf...

Briar Rose in the Tower

On my fifteenth birthday, the king and the queen were not at home. They had left me in the castle, quite alone! I ran round to look into all sorts of places that had been forbidden to me. I looked into bed-chambers and rooms. I peered into closets and under...

Astonished Cobbler

Times had become so lean that I could no longer afford the leather to make shoes. I had only enough material to make one last pair. That night, I cut out the shoes, intending to stitch them in the morning, and I went to bed. I had done everything I could as well as I...

Witch’s Son Bensiabel

My mother, who is a witch, kidnapped a girl named Prunella, and she grew up into a very beautiful young woman. I know, because I am the witch's son. Prunella has never seen me, though. One day my mother told Prunella to take a basket to the well and bring it back. She...

Snow White

When I discovered that the new queen wanted to kill me, I fled to the forest where I have found refuge living seven dwarves. They are miners who know the treasures of the mountain, but they say they treasure me more than all the treasure they mine. I cannot imagine...

Spinning Daughter

My father has bragged to the king that I can spin straw into gold. Now the king has locked me in a room, and I must show that I can do it. I can’t spin straw into gold. It’s an impossible task! Why did my father insist on bragging about me? I didn’t want the king’s...

Beauty’s Father

I have lost everything. I have even lost hope. I spent a miserable night crouched in the hollow of a tree while the storm raged around me. The howling wolves kept me awake all night, not to mention the howling voices in my mind. I have nothing to give my children....

Cauldron

I am one of three cauldrons hidden in the house of a giant. We contain copper, silver and gold, and our metal boils without a fire beneath. Imagine how much heat we hold. One day a young prince came into my room. He knew he wasn't supposed to enter, but he was too...

Scoffing Brother

My father draws back the curtain to show us my brother's wife, and I cannot contain my laughter when I see, not a woman, but a cat, primly sitting on a crystal chair. Haha! Then, with the softest paw, she touches the crystal and it shivers into a thousand splinters....

Well-Bred Prince

My father isn't ready to give the throne to any of his three sons. Instead he sends us away on quests for things that are impossible to find. I don't protest. It's a waste of breath. And besides, I'm far too well-bred. The funny thing is, I enjoyed the quests. 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...

Princess of the Golden Roof

The merchant took me onto his boat and showed me all the fabulous golden wares that he had made for me. I was so dazzled that I did not notice the ship sail until we were on the high seas! I would rather die than be carried away by a merchant. Yet he seized my hand...

Lilliputian Child

“Let's go and play hide and seek in the hair of the Man-Mountain!” My friend was already running in the direction of the palace square. I was pretty sure that we would be safe. My mother and father had said that he was an exceedingly gentle giant who had gained the...

Emperor’s Mirror

The emperor is looking at himself and saying, "Oh, how beautifully the clothes fit! What material! What color! What a gorgeous suit!" I take it he means his birthday suit, because he isn't wearing a stitch! He takes one last look at me as if he wants me to speak. I am...

Prince with a Mirror

When I was fifteen, I woke up one day and found a mirror had been placed in my room. It was not large, and it had a black frame. When I looked into it, I did not see my own reflection. Instead, I saw the face of a girl as lovely as the dawn. She, like me, was coming...

Glass Slipper

I have been taken into the custody of a young prince who has put me on the table beside his bed. He stares at me, day and night, trying to figure out how my mistress could have danced in glass, and whether or not she was real. Yet I am the evidence that she was real,...

Naming Father

I was sitting on the front steps with my three daughters one night after the farm work had been done. They were grown up and it was time to be thinking about marriage. Jovially, I asked my eldest if she had decided what her husband's name will be. Names are important,...

Helga Who Names Her Husband

I honestly do not know where the name Habogi came from. It popped into my mind when my father asked me to name my future husband. I had a name in mind but then a voice in my head whispered, "Marry nobody who is not called Habogi." I found the name strange and...

Swallow Messenger

A prince and a princess live in the castle on top of the glass mountain. I am their only messenger. I carry messages back and forth from them to the people below. The prince is very fortunate, because he scaled the glass mountain, while thousands of other suitors did...

Preserving Water

I have been used to preserve the Old Fairy's remaining eye and tooth—ugh! Such foul work! Why have I been turned to such a purpose when the Old Fairy does nothing with her powers but torment the innocent? Now I am only too happy to break free from the crystal jars,...

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...

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...

Tiny Bell

Ring me once and you'll summon the king of the eagles. Ring me twice and the king of foxes will come to you. Ring me three times and the king of fishes will appear. I belong to the fairies, and if you have me in your possession, then you have distinguished yourself as...

Mother of the Hazelnut Child

Oh, we tried so hard to have children! Every day I was down on my knees, begging Heaven to hear my prayer. "Please give me a child to care for, even a tiny child. I would be happy with a child the size of a hazelnut!" Heaven granted my wish. My little son slept in the...

Disgusted Princess

When that odious little frog tried to force his way into my bed, he crossed the line. I picked him up and slammed him against the wall with all my might! He fell to the floor, and the next thing I knew, a prince stood before me. The spell had broken, and it would not...

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...