A Tale for All Seasons


A Tale for All Seasons

by Kurt Kauter -- Adapted for telling to students by Spellbinders Storyteller Sandy Magnuson

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Once upon a time, a very long time ago, a sparrow looked at its friend, the dove, and asked a rather interesting question. “Tell me. What is the weight of a snowflake?” The dove answered, “Nothing. Nothing more than nothing.” The sparrow persisted. “In that case, please let me tell you a marvelous story. A […]

Molly’s Pilgrim

A story written by Barbara Cohen as adapted for oral telling by Germaine Dietsch

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Molly was miserable at the school in Winter Hill. In Winter Hill her classmates laughed at her… they laughed at the way she talked and the way she dressed. Elizabeth laughed most of all which was so embarrassing to Molly that she never raised her hand to answer a question.  But sometimes the teacher, Miss […]

The Twelve Months

A Slav Fairy Tale as retold by Alexander Chodsvko

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There was once a widow who had two daughters, Helen, her own child by her dead husband, and Marouckla, his daughter by his first wife. She loved Helen, but hated the poor orphan because she was far prettier than her own daughter. Marouckla did not think about her good looks, and could not understand why […]

The Fisherman and His Wife

A tale from the Brothers Grimm

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Once there was a fisherman and his wife. They lived in a small hut on a hill overlooking the ocean. Everyday the fisherman went down to the ocean to fish. One day he caught a beautiful fish. He was about to take the fish home when the fish spoke to him. “Please kind sir, if […]

The dog and the wolf

A Tale from Ukraine

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Once upon a time on a farm in the Ukraine, there lived a family who owned a flock of sheep and several acres of land. For years the family’s faithful sheepdog, Sirko, herded the sheep into the faraway pastures every day at dawn. In the evening, he herded them back to the barn. Sirko worked […]

The Three Army Surgeons

A grisly Grimm's Fairy Tale

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Three army surgeons, who thought they knew their art perfectly, were traveling about the world. When they came to an inn where they wanted to pass the night. The host asked from where they came, and where they were going? “We are roaming about the world and practicing our art.” “Show me what you can […]

The Magic Pomegranate

As retold by Peninnah Schram in the book Jewish Stories One Generation Tells Another

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Once there were three brothers who loved adventure. One day they decided to go on a journey, each one to a different country, and to meet again on a certain day ten years later. Each brother was to bring back with him an unusual gift. The oldest brother decided to go to the East. When […]

The Woman and the Stone

Unknown Author

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An old woman was traveling from her village to her sister’s village, a day’s journey she made every month. As she stepped across the stream on the way there, she noticed something shining in the water. She stooped and picked up a magnificent stone. She knew it must be a jewel of some kind. Perhaps […]

The Three Laughs

Jewish (Hasidic - Poland)

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When the Baal Shem Tov laughs three times during the Sabbath meal, his disciples ask him to explain. He was inspired by an elderly bookbinder who sang and danced on the Sabbath in celebration of his many years of marriage. The man is recognized for celebrating his true love for his wife, even if on […]

Conquering Fear

A folk tale found in many parts of the world

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Once upon a time, there lived a boy who was so shy and fearful of the world around him that his family called him Miobe, frightened one. “Why do you call me that?” the boy asked his grandfather. The old man laughed. “Because you are afraid,” he answered. The boy’s grandmother, his mother, his father […]

A Native American Folktale Mahto was a very small bear when he came into this world. He was born in a cave deep within the earth and was not big enough to harm anybody. His mother called him Mahtociqala in the language of the people. When his mother awoke from her long sleep, she took […]

The Magic Paint Brush

A Chinese folk tale

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Once upon a time, there was a young man called Ma Liang. He was poor and kind and liked drawing so much that he drew pictures everywhere. One night, he dreamed that an old man gave him a magic paintbrush and asked him to use it to help poor people. When he woke up, he […]

The Good Thunder

A tale from Japan

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Folks say that Rai-den, the Thunder, is an unloving spirit, fearful and revengeful, cruel to man. These are folks who are mortally afraid of the storm, and who hate lightning and tempest; they speak all the evil they can of Rai-den and of Rai-Taro, his son. But they are wrong. Rai-den Sama lived in a […]

Pride Goeth Before A Fall

A Tale from India

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In a certain village there lived ten cloth merchants, who always went about together. Once upon a time they had travelled far afield, and were returning home with a great deal of money which they had obtained by selling their wares. Now there happened to be a dense forest near their village, and this they […]

Anansi’s and Turtle’s Feast

A West African Folktale

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One day during the holidays the spider everyone knows as Anansi, the famous trickster, was just about to sit down to enjoy a meal when Turtle crawled past his house. Turtle had been traveling all day long, and he was terribly hungry. When he smelled Anansi’s cooking, his mouth began to water, and he imagined […]

A Variation of a Story Told by Heather Lyle At the Koebel Library Storytelling Festival October 2003 I had great success with this story with first graders. It was a nice story when I heard it at Koebel and the audience there participated happily. The first graders, however, laughed and even slapped the floor they […]


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  A Greek Myth Arachne was a beautiful maiden and the most wonderful weaver that ever lived.  Her father was well known throughout the land for his great skill in coloring.  He dyed Arachne’s wools in all the colors of the rainbow.  Since Arachne and her father lived far out in the countryside, she set her […]

Screen of Frogs

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A Japanese Folk Tale as retold by Sheila Hamanaka LONG AGO in Japan there lived a wealthy boy named Koji. For as far as the eye could see, the fields and lakes and mountains belonged to Koji’s family.  From his great house he saw the peasants working from sunup to sundown.  They gave all the […]

Author Unknown There was once a king who offered a prize to the artist who could paint the best picture of peace.  Many artists tried.  The king looked at all the pictures.  After much deliberation he was down to the last two.  He had to choose between them. One picture was a calm lake.  The […]

When Eulenspiegel Baked Owls and Monkeys

A tale from Germany

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On one of his travels, Till came to the city of Braunschweig and looked for an inn that he’d heard about. Not finding it, he stopped at a bakery and asked the baker how he might locate it and the baker gave him very good and clear directions. However, when done, the baker asked, “By […]

The Origin of the Night Sky

a tale from the Cochiti Pueblo in northern New Mexico

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A long time ago, after the great flood, the people emerged from the Underworld. The woman who was called Our Mother gathered the people together and instructed them on where they should go to make their new home. This woman was called Our Mother because no one knew of anyone who was older than her. […]

Two Friends and One Horse

An Israeli Tale rewritten by Yoel Perez copyright 2001 and adapted by Laura Simms

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Two men, neighbors and friends, named Nabek and Dagar, lived near a great desert. Nabek had an incomparable horse. It was beautiful and as graceful as a deer. Dagar dreamed of having his friend’s horse. Day and night, he could not stop thinking about the horse. Finally, he went to Nabek and asked him to […]

The Ghost Who Was Afraid of Being Bagged

A humorous ghost story from Bengal

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Once on a time there lived a barber who had a wife. They did not live happily together, as the wife always complained that she had not enough to eat. Many were the curtain lectures which were inflicted upon the poor barber. The wife used often to say to her mate, “If you had not […]

The Rich Man’s Guest

A tale from Turkey

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Many years ago there lived a very wise king in a country far from here.  One day while he was out riding he passed a beautiful house. “Who lives in that house?” he asked. “O king,” answered the servant, “the richest man in the country lives there.  He gives the most wonderful feasts every day […]

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