Androcles and Lion


An Aesop Fable A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee, but finding that the lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to […]

The Legend of Saint Valentine

One of our favorite versions of the legend of this saint

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(There are many versions of the legend of St. Valentine. The following is one of our favorites.) Valentine was a physician and a priest in 3rd century Rome in the realm of Claudius II (Claudius the Cruel). Claudius felt threatened by Christians and threw them into jail on any pretext he could find. Claudius was […]

Mussa and Najib

while this version is as retold by Sarah Malone, we would like more information on its origin if yo have an idea

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Mussa and Najib were friends.  Mussa was the wealthy one, but Najib was his faithful partner. One day Mussa needed to go on a great long journey across the desert.  He prepared well for the journey bringing his servants and his camels, and he invited Najib to go along. The two men decided this was […]

Anansi Goes Fishing

 An African Folk Tale

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There was a year when it didn’t rain.  Because it didn’t rain, the gardens didn’t grow, and nobody had any food to eat.  Everybody was hungry.  Anansi had a lot of spider children.  He had big spider children, middle-sized spider children, little spider children, even baby spider children, but they were all hungry.  And they […]

Great Joy

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A Buddhist Tale from India Once, long ago, a poor brahmin was given an ox calf in repayment for a debt. The calf was the Buddha in an earlier birth. The brahmin delighted in the tiny creature and cared for it well. And the ox, with the man’s care, grew and grew. When fully grown […]

The King’s Apple

An Ethiopian Folktale

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Once upon a time a farmer named Yonas was picking fruit in his orchards when he came upon the most exquisite apple he had ever seen. It was perfectly round, exquisitely red, and it smelled heavenly. Surely it was heaven sent, and it deserved to be admired and loved. Before long he came to the […]

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

From the Brothers Grimm

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There was a king who had twelve beautiful daughters. They slept in twelve beds all in one room; and when they went to bed, the doors were shut and locked up; but every morning their shoes were found to be quite worn through as if they had been danced in all night; and yet nobody […]

The Man Who Had No Story

a tale from Ireland

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Once there was a man who lived in Barr an Ghaoith long ago, his name was Brian Ó Braonachain. He would cut rods, make them into baskets, and sell them. One day there wasn’t a rod he hadn’t already cut, made into a basket, and sold; Brian didn’t know what to do. There was a […]

The Smell of Baking Bread

A version of this folk tale exists in just about every European, Middle Eastern and Asian folk tradition.

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Once upon a time, in a time long ago in a land far away, a poor man walked down the streets of a village, weak with hunger. As he passed the village’s bakery, he paused to smell the aroma of baking bread. Hmmmm, it was delicious. He took another deep breath. “Ahhhh. Wonderful.” Then he […]

Excerpts from an Ojibwa Legend told to Henry R. Schoolcraft  Long, long ago, in a beautiful part of this country, there lived an Indian with his wife and children. He was poor and found it hard to provide food enough for his family. But though needy, he was kind and contented and always gave thanks […]

Why Butterflies Can’t Fly Straight

Retold from a Tewa Indian Legend

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One day Coyote’s wife wanted to do some cooking. She needed salt for the food she was making. She asked coyote, her husband, who was taking one of his many naps to go to the salty lake and fill a bag with some salt crystals from the shore. The lake was a long walk from […]

Yu’pik (a Native Alaskan tribe) myth about the orgin of earthquakes One time Spider Woman and her sister were arguing about who should cook food there in the sky camp, one would pull the food and try to jerk it away from her sister.  When Negury’aq, Spider Woman’s husband returned from hunting he heard all […]

Tricksters Tricking Tricksters

Lev Ropes

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The Legend of Chrstmas Tinsel

This story is a retelling of an old German legend about the origin of Christmas tree tinsel, based on a version by Shirley Climo titled Cobweb Christmas

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Long ago in Germany there lived a little old lady whom everyone called Tante. That means “auntie” in German. Tante lived in a tiny cottage at the edge of the forest with her animals to keep her company. There was her canary for singing, her cat for purring and a dog who slept by the […]

The Happy Mirror

A tale from Japan

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A long, long time ago there lived in a quiet spot a young man and his wife. They had one child, a little daughter, whom they both loved with all their hearts. I cannot tell you their names, for they have long since been forgotten; but the name of the place where they lived was […]

The Tongue-Cut Sparrow

A tale of empathy and greed from Japan

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Once upon a time there lived an old man and an old woman. The old man, who had a kind heart, kept a young sparrow, which he tenderly nurtured. But the dame was a cross-grained old thing; and one day, when the sparrow had pecked at some paste with which she was going to starch […]

The Four Dragons

A Chinese tale

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Once upon a time, there were no rivers and lakes on earth, but only the Eastern Sea, in which lived four dragons: the Long Dragon, the Yellow Dragon, the Black Dragon and the Pearl Dragon. One day the four dragons flew from the sea into the sky. They soared and dived, playing at hide-and-seek in […]

Stone Flower

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A tale from Russia A long time ago in one Urals village there lived a famous craftsman named Prokopyich. He made jewelry and other things from malachite and was renowned as the best gem carver in the Urals. The rulers ordered him to teach some boys his profession, but none of them was talented enough. […]

Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky

A folktale from Africa

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Many years ago, the sun and water were great friends, and they both lived on the earth together. The sun very often used to visit the water, but the water never returned the visits. At last the sun asked the water why he never visited. The water replied that the sun’s house was not big […]

Till Eulenspiegel Finds a Cure

A tale from Germany

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Till Eulenspiegel was a cunning fellow. The son of a peasant, people say he was born in Brunswick, Germany, and they tell tales of the day of his birth. It was clear from the start, people say, that Till would be a mischief maker. After all, he had three baptisms. First, he was baptized in […]

The Magic Pumpkins

An Ukrainian Folktale

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There were once two brothers, Yura and Mikhailo, who grew up in a poor family and knew nothing save need and want. The time came for them to marry, and Yura, the elder of the two, knowing that she was rich, took an old maid to wife while Mikhailo, the younger brother, married a poor […]

Silver Hoof

A tale from Russia

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A long time ago, there was an old widowed hunter named Kokovanya. He was lonely so he adopted Daryonka, a poor little orphan girl. When he took Daryonka into his home with him, he also let her bring her scrawny kitten. Kokovanya, Daryonka, and the kitten were not rich but they had a good life. […]

An African American Folktale as Retold by S.E. Schlosser One fine morning, Brer Fox decided to plant him a patch of goober peas. He set to with a will and before you know it, he had raked and hoed out a beautiful patch of ground and he put in a fine planting of peas. It […]

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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