Getting Untangled

STORIES

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 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 […]

The King Who Was Fried

from the Punjab

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Once upon a time, a very long time ago indeed, there lived a King who had made a vow never to eat bread or break his fast until he had given away a hundredweight of gold in charity. So, every day, before King Karan–for that was his name–had his breakfast, the palace servants would come […]

A Greek Myth Hercules was a famous hero in ancient Greece who was made to perform twelve great tasks.  One of these was to kill the Lernean Hydra. From the murky waters of the swamps near a place called Lerna, the hydra would rise up and terrorize the countryside. The hydra was a monstrous serpent […]

Juan Bobo and the Robbers

A tale from Puerto Rico

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Once upon a time many years ago, there was a boy who was so lazy that he seemed stupid. Although he really tried to behave himself, he did nothing but say and do silly things. That is why the whole world, except his intelligent and hard-working mother, called him Juan Bobo. “Go to the market […]

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 […]

Why the Leaves Have Many Colors in Autumn

A Wyandot (Huron) Legend

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Bear was selfish and proud. He often made trouble among the Animals of the Great Council. When he heard that Deer had walked over the Rainbow Bridge into the sky land he was angry. “I will punish the deer,” he said. Bear went to the Rainbow Bridge. He leaped along its beautiful way of glowing […]

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.

A Tale for All Seasons

by Kurt Kauter -- Adapted for telling to students by Spellbinders Storyteller Sandy Magnuson

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Once upon a time, a very long time ago, a sparrow looked at its friend, the dove, and asked a rather interesting question. “Tell me. What is the weight of a snowflake?” The dove answered, “Nothing. Nothing more than nothing.” The sparrow persisted. “In that case, please let me tell you a marvelous story. A […]

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 Red Fish

A Tale from Turkey, Adapted by Laura Simms copyright 2001

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A kind fisherman once caught a bright shining red fish. It was so lovely, he took pity on it and instead of cooking it or selling it, he decided to take the fish home as a pet. He dug a hole in the floor of his house, filled it with water, and put the fish […]

The Legend of the Bluebonnet

A Comanche Legend

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Long ago in the land we now call Texas there was a drought.  It had not rained for a long, long time.  The ground was so dry and parched that nothing grew and the animals and the Comanche Indian people who lived there were dying of hunger. The people had danced and drummed and prayed […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Strawberries

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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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

A Purse of Gold

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Author Unknown A beggar found a leather purse that someone had dropped in the marketplace. Opening it, he discovered that it contained 100 pieces of gold. Then he heard a merchant shout, “A reward! A reward to the one who finds my leather purse!” Being an honest man, the beggar came forward and handed the […]

The dog and the wolf

A Tale from Ukraine

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Once upon a time on a farm in the Ukraine, there lived a family who owned a flock of sheep and several acres of land. For years the family’s faithful sheepdog, Sirko, herded the sheep into the faraway pastures every day at dawn. In the evening, he herded them back to the barn. Sirko worked […]

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 North Wind and the Sun

Unknown Author

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Once in a far-away time on a cool winter day the North Wind and the Sun were having an argument about who was the strongest. “Let us decide by having a contest,” said the Sun. They looked down from the sky and saw a man walking on a winding road. He was wearing a warm […]

The Lion and the Beetle

As retold by S.E. Schlosser

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Lion was very proud and very vain.  He loved to stomp around the savannah, roaring and growling whenever he saw his animal subjects – Giraffe or Hyena or Elephant or Gazelle or Ape – to show what a mighty Lion he was. “I am a Very Mighty King!” he roared.  And his subjects all bowed low […]

The Sticky Sticky Pine

A Japanese tale

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Once there was a woodcutter. He was very poor but very kind. Never would he tear off the living branches of a tree to make firewood.  Instead he would gather only the dead branches on the ground.  He knew what happened when you tore a branch off a tree. The sap, which is the blood […]


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