The God of Thunder


The God of Thunder

A Tale from Taiwan

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Long, long ago, in ancient times, the gods watched closely over the land and its people. One god, Lei Kung, paid special attention to anyone who committed a crime. Lei Kung traveled across the land, visiting every village, town and hamlet. He was watching out for those who did evil. People feared Lei Kung. He […]

Fin M’Coul

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an Irish tale from the retelling by Tomie De Paola In olden times, when Ireland’s glens and woods were still filled with fairies and leprechauns, giants, too, lived on that fair Emerald Isle.   One of the finest of those big folk was Fin M’Coul, who was wed to the lovely great lass, Oonagh.  They made […]

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 Star Talers

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

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Once upon a time there was a little girl whose father and mother had died, and she was so poor that she no longer had a room to live in, nor a bed to sleep in, and at last she had nothing else but the clothes she was wearing and a little piece of bread […]

A Great Flood

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 A Native American Tale In ancient times, there were so many people in the land that they lived everywhere. Soon hunting became bad and food scarce, so that the people quarreled over hunting territories. Even in those days, the people were skilled in making fine canoes and paddles from cedars, and clothing and baskets from […]


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A Japanese Folktale A long time ago, there was a young man who lived in a small village. One day as he was on his way home from working in the fields, he discovered something amazing: the most beautiful clothes he had ever seen. He wanted the clothes very badly, so he quietly put them […]

A Tale for Earth Day Students in a high school class who had been discussing environmental challenges said to their teacher, “It’s such a worldwide problem, what can we do about it?”  In response their teacher told them this old tale: Once there was a wise old man. He was so wise he could answer […]

The Peddler of Swaffham

A tale from England

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Long ago, in the village of Swaffham, in the county of Norfolk, in England, there lived a peddler who had the same dream night after night after night. In his sleep he heard a voice that told him to go to London Bridge and there to stand until he would hear joyful news. At first […]

The Flood Story

A Philippine Folktale

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Once upon a time, when the world was flat and there were no mountains, there lived two brothers, sons of Lumawig, the Great Spirit. The brothers were fond of hunting, and since no mountains had formed there was no good place to catch wild pig and deer, and the older brother said: “Let us cause […]

The Rare Book

author unknown

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There was a young boy who loved to read books. He read everything he could get his hands on. He loved going to his favorite bookstore and browsing through the new titles. One day, the boy realized that he had read everything the store had to offer. He confronted the owner and asked if he […]

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 Foolish Lion and the Clever Rabbit

A Panchatantra Story from India

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The Foolish Lion and the Clever Rabbit Once upon a time, there lived a cruel lion by the name of Bhasuraka, in a dense forest. He was very powerful, ferocious and arrogant. He used to kill the animals of the forest to gratify his hunger. This action of the lion became the cause of worry […]

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 Trolls and the Great Big Cat

A Norwegian Tale

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Once upon a time in a village in the snowy Norwegian mountains, there lived a tailor and his family. They were known throughout the village as being the kindest of families, always willing to help out when a neighbor was down on his luck. And yet, their own luck was not so good. Every year […]

An African-American Folktale as Retold by  S. E. Schlosser One day, Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox and Brer Coon and Brer Bear and a lot of other animals decided to work together to plant a garden full of corn for roasting. They started early in the morning and raked and dug and raked some more, […]

The Ogre Who Played Pick-up Sticks

Mary Ann Janson

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Enjoy listening to this great audio recording by Mesa County Spellbinders storyteller Mary Ann Janson.

The Emperor’s Flowers

A Chinese Folktale

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Once upon a time there lived in China young man named Chang. He was intelligent and sincere, and more than anything, he loved flowers. Nothing pleased him more than watching the lilacs, lilies and peonies as they bloomed in the springtime. In the winter he anticipated the appearance of the beautiful narcissus. He could not […]

Martha and the Meadowlark

Lev Ropes

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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 […]

Getting Untangled

Reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on December 14, 2005

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Once upon a time, an actual sunny Sunday morning in December 2005, a man was fishing for crabs in open waters about 18 miles off the coast of San Francisco. A humpback whale that appeared to be in distress captured the fisherman’s attention. He was experienced enough to know that the whale was probably 50 […]

Two Friends

A tale from Africa

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Two boys were born on the very same day in an African tribe, and they grew up to be firm friends. Ndemi was the rich one. Jinjo was poor. They looked so alike that nobody could tell the one from the other. After spending his youth in the usual tribal pursuits – grass cutting, hunting […]

This old folktale is told in many cultures in a variety of versions but always with the same message.  This version is based on one from New Mexico. There was once a time when a very old grandfather came to live with his son and his son’s wife and their son.  The grandfather was too […]

The Dog and the Pig

A tale from India as retold from 'When the World was Young', by Verrier Elwin.

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A man kept two animals — a dog and a pig. He kept them in the hope that they would help him in his work. But he was sorely disappointed. All they did was eat and eat and eat. They did nothing else. Finally, the man decided to get strict. He told the animals to […]


This story was retold by Jesterbear from a Tuscan folktale collected by Italo Calvino Italian Folktales (1956), translated into English by George Martin (1980)

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Once upon a time there was a wealthy nobleman. He lost his wife in childbirth and became so filled with remorse and bitterness he had to leave. He took his newborn daughter to be raised by a farmer’s family. In the beginning, the farmer was reluctant to take on the burden. “I have children of […]

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