It’s In Your Hands


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 […]

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 […]

The Legend of the Dipper

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

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There was once a little girl who had a dear mother, and they lived, quite alone, in a little house in the woods. They were always very happy, but one day the mother grew so ill that it seemed as if she could never be strong and well again. “I must have a drink of […]

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 […]

Guyo’s Feast

An Indonesian folk tale as retold by Sydney Solis

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Once there was a man named Guyo who lived in a little wooden hut by a river. One day he heard that a rich neighbor was having a big feast and had invited everyone in the countryside to attend. Guyo dressed himself in his finest clothing. Then he set out in his canoe and began […]

The Lord of the Cranes

A folktale of giving from China is retold by Kerstin Chen

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There are places in China where the mountains reach all the way up to the clouds. High up on one of these mountains lived a wise old man. His name was Tian, which means “heaven.” There among the clouds lived Tian’s friends, the cranes. Tian fed them and cared for them. The birds told Tian […]

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 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 Long Winter

An Inuit/Canadian Folktale

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Before humans walked the earth, when the world was the land of the animals, a very long winter set in. The sun did not come out for three years. It snowed all the time. The animals were suffering very much from this long winter. The lack of food bad enough, but the lack of heat […]

The Giant’s Stairs

An Irish Legend

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Near the cliff of Carrigmahon on the Irish coast are huge rocks piled up one above another which are known as the Giant’s Stairs, because that is what they look like. The story runs that the giant Mahon MacMahon lived in a cave somewhere hidden among the rocks, that he had climbed up there when […]

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 […]


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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 […]

Plowing the Road

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A tale of elder wisdom from Romania In olden times in some distant country the young folk had come together and decided to get rid of the old men. They did not want their wisdom and their advice, for they were just as clever. They had lived their lives, and that was an end of […]

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 […]

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 Starfish

Adapted from the story by Loren Eisley

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One morning a man was walking down a beach that was covered in dying starfish. The tide the night before had been especially strong and thousands of starfish had been washed up on shore, too far up for them to make it back into the water by themselves. The man shook his head as he […]

The Strange Visitor

From When The Lights Go Out: Twenty Scary Tales To Tell by Margaret Read MacDonald

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There was an old woman sat all alone in her cabin one night spinning her wool. And so she sat, and so she spun, and so she waited for someone to come. Then there came a knocking on the door. Come in! Called the old woman. Screeeeak went the door. And in came a pair […]

A tale from Africa How Anansi Became Keeper of All the Stories Long, long ago, my children, when all the animals lived in the African jungle and spoke politely to one another, Lion, who was King of the jungle, owned all the stories. Now one day, Anansi, the spider, went to Lion and said, “Lion, […]

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 […]

The Sun and the Moon

A folktale from the Philippines

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The Sun and the Moon were married, but the Sun was very ugly and quarrelsome. One day he became angry at the Moon and started to chase her. She ran very fast until she was some distance ahead of him, when she grew tired and he almost caught her. Ever since he has been chasing […]

The Leprechaun’s Gold

This classic Irish tale goes by many names including The Leprechaun and the Red Scarf

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A story for St. Patrick’s Day as retold by Dale Pepin ‘TWAS a fine sunny day at harvest time when young Seamus O’Donnell, walking along the road, heard a tapping sound.  Peering over the hedge, he saw a tiny man in a little leather apron, mending a little shoe. “Well, well, well!” said Seamus to […]

A folk tale from Africa Long, long ago there lived, in a village called Keejee′jee, a woman whose husband died, leaving her with a little baby boy. She worked hard all day to get food for herself and child, but they lived very poorly and were most of the time half-starved. When the boy, whose […]

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 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 […]

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