Silver Hoof


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. […]


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 […]

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 […]

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 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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Earth Shake

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a parable by Aaron Shepard Once on an island far, far to the east-or maybe to the west-there were three brothers. In those days, everyone on that island lived in caves. But the three brothers were not happy about it. “Why must we live in a cave?” the oldest asked their mother. “It is because […]

A Tale from Ukraine Once upon a time an old man and his wife lived together in a little village. They might have been happy if only the old woman had had the sense to hold her tongue at proper times. But anything which might happen indoors, or any bit of news which her husband […]

We Are All One

A Chinese Tale

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Long ago, there was a rich man with a disease in his eyes. For many years, the pain was so great that he could not sleep at night. He saw every doctor he could, but none of them could help him. “What good is all my money?” he groaned. Finally, he became so desperate that […]

The Apples of Youth and the Living Water

A warrior adventure tale from Russia

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In a certain kingdom, in a certain land, there lived a Tsar, and he had three sons. The eldest was named Fedor, he second was named Vasilli, and the youngest was named Ivan. This Tsar was in his old age, and his eyesight was poor. And he heard that beyond three-nine lands, into the three-tenth […]

The Monster That Grew Small

By Aaron McEmrys

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Far to the south, beyond the great river, there was a small village, where a boy lived with his uncle.  The uncle was known far and wide as “The Brave One,” for he was a mighty hunter, but the boy was called “Miobi,” which meant, basically – “Scaredy-Cat” because he did not like to hunt, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Jabu and the Lion

A Traditional Zulu Story

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“Kwasuka sukela…” There was a young herdboy named Jabu (jah’-boo). He took great pride in the way in which he cared for his father’s cattle. And his father had many cows – over 25! It was quite a task to keep these silly creatures out of trouble, away from the farmers mealies (corn) and out […]

as retold by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss in Children Tell Stories. Katonah, New York: Richard C. Owen Publishers, Inc., 1990 Once there lived a man who was both greedy and sly. If he needed a thing, like a horse or a sheep, he would not work to get it. He would steal it from […]

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 […]

A Jewish Folktale Long ago people often lived in walled cities that were one or two days apart by foot. People often spent their entire lives within the walls of one city. To venture outside the walls was considered frightening and dangerous. Our story is about a man who lived within one of those cities […]

The Sheep, the Lamb, the Wolf, and the Hare

A tale from Tibet

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Once upon a time there lived an old sheep in a low-lying valley of Tibet, and every year she, with her lamb, were in the habit of leaving the valley during the early months of summer, and going up on to the great northern plateau, where grass is plentiful, and where many sheep and goats […]

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