The Cracked Pot


The Cracked Pot

An Indian Folktale

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A water-bearer fills two large clay pots with water from the river many times every day to bring water to the house of his master.  The pots hang by a rope from either side of a wooden yoke across his shoulders.  The pot on one side of the yoke has a crack in it that […]

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, […]


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Cherokee legend of love retold by Gayle Ross in Homespun Tales from America’s Favorite Storytellers, edited by Jimmy Neil Smith retold again by Beverly Brayden, a Spellbinders storyteller Long ago, in the first days of the world, there lived 1st Man and 1st Woman. They lived together as husband and wife in happiness and harmony. […]

An American South story as told by Harris Tobias and with thanks to In the town of Blakeslee, Arkansas, there was a house that everyone knew was haunted. It was an old neglected house on a side street in the oldest part of town. Sometimes, the most wonderful smells issued from the house and […]

Tough, Smart, and the Water Jug

Lev Ropes

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The Frog Princess

Unknown Author

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Once long ago there was a peasant woman who had three sons. Though they were peasants they were well off, for the soil on which they lived was fruitful, and yielded rich crops. One day the sons told their mother they wished to get married. “Do as you like”, said their mother, “but see that […]

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 […]

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 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 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 Stars in the Cottonwood Trees

Plains Indians: Cheyenne and Arapaho

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All things come from Mother-earth. Stars are no exception. They form secretly in the earth and then drift along just under the surface until they find the roots of the magical Cottonwood tree. They enter the roots and slowly work their way up through the tree. Finally they come to rest in the small twigs […]

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 Enchanted Camel

as told by Syrian refugee Mahmoud Fares, 30 years old, from Khan el Sheikh Camp 7 who currently resides in Sidon, Lebanon

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Once upon a time there was a woodcutter who made a living from cutting wood in the forest. One day he went there to collect wood and found a big log too heavy for him to carry on his own. He looked to the right and then to the left and saw a camel who […]

A folktale from India One day Sun, Moon, and Wind went out to dine with their uncle and aunts Thunder and Lightning. Their mother (one of the most distant Stars you see far up in the sky) waited alone for her children’s return. Now both Sun and Wind were greedy and selfish. They enjoyed the […]

Not Our Problem

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Adapted from “Peace Tales” by Margaret Read MacDonald Once upon a time in Persia, a Caliph sat in his palace with his advisor eating rice cakes and honey.  They were leaning out the palace window overlooking the busy marketplace below.  They watched the vendors and shoppers and animals as they moved about. “Come,” said the […]

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 […]

Tortoise, the Birds, and the Feasts

A Tale from West Africa

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There was a famine one time that went on for months. Even Tortoise, who was slow but cunning and full of tricks, had not had a good meal for two months. He could walk a little faster because his body had shrunken so, but that was of no use if he was weak from hunger […]

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 […]

A tale from the Seneca Tribe of the Northeast Woodlands When the world was new, long ago, an old man wandered about the earth. He had long white hair and wherever he stepped the ground froze and became hard as stone. When he breathed the river stopped flowing and the ponds became ice. Plants dried […]

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 […]

Why the Evergreen Trees Keep Their Leaves in Winter

if you have information about the origin of this tale, please let us know

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One day, a long, long time ago, it was very cold; winter was coming and all the birds had flown south to wait for spring. But there was one little bird who had a broken wing and could not fly. He just did not know what to do. He looked all around to see if […]

Gold Tree and Silver Tree

Scottish fairy tale collected by Joseph Jacobs in his Celtic Fairy Tales. It is Aarne-Thompson type to Snow White.

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Once upon a time there was a king who had a wife, whose name was Silver-tree, and a daughter, whose name was Gold-tree. On a certain day of the days, Gold-tree and Silver-tree went to a glen, where there was a well, and in it there was a trout. Said Silver-tree, “Troutie, bonny little fellow, […]

Thanks to drummer Stephen Sharpe and Laurie Loeb for passing on this African folktale Once upon a time, in Africa, the rains didn’t fall one year. So the plants and trees didn’t grow food, so all the animals were very hungry. Now there were four animal friends who remembered there was a magic tree in […]


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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