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A collection of six fairy tales and folk tales from around the world.

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Published by fieryarrowgirl, 2019-05-04 14:48:19

A World of Stories

A collection of six fairy tales and folk tales from around the world.

Table of Contents 1
Preface 7
The Child of the Evening Star 11
The Tree of Life 15
Molly Whuppie 18
The Four Dragons 21
Anansi and Turtle have a Meal 23
Why the Kangaroo Hops on Two Legs
Further Reading


When I was small, I read a book of fairy tales with stories dedicated to girl heroes. None
of the stories made much of an impact on me, with one notable exception: M​ olly Whuppie​.

I’m not sure why M​ olly Whuppie​ stood out to me - perhaps it was because of the
character herself, with her fiery, self-reliant attitude. Perhaps the story’s plot, which was an
interesting conglomerate of different elements from various fairy tales. Perhaps the fact that its
main characters consisted of three sisters, something I could connect with and recognized as a
reflection of my own life. Whatever it was, Molly Whuppie’s story stuck with me. Years later, I
still remember every detail about it.

One of Molly Whuppie’s most important characteristics was her swift, deft reactions to
problems. She executed plans and maneuvers with ease and grace. She saved her sisters
multiple times and demanded justice from everyone. In the climax of the tale, Molly was able to
cross the “Bridge of a Single Hair” because she was so swift and light of foot.

I sometimes find myself thinking about Molly, channeling her energy into something I’m
doing. I often think about her when I am in stressful situations: navigating in an unfamiliar city
during rush hour, performing a musical piece, or completing another seemingly herculean task.
Whenever I remember Molly, I find myself executing each maneuver with ease and grace,
breathing calmly as I run across my own "Bridge of a Single Hair."

Molly Whuppie​ is a simple story, but it has taught me to be calm in high-stress situations,
to breathe deeply, and to do the best I can, as that is all I can do. Perhaps I could have learned
from a parent, mentor, or even personal experiences that I should remain calm and graceful in
all my trials, but ​Molly Whuppie​ taught me those lessons painlessly and completely. M​ olly
Whuppie​ engrained them into the essence of my being. I believe I would be hard-pressed to
learn to so perfectly and innately respond to crises from any other source.

Sometimes we run across such tiny influential stories, stories that stick with us even
when we don’t recognize it. Those stories have an incredible power to teach lessons that would
be difficult to teach even through personal experience. I believe stories have the power to teach
us lessons which influence our very souls, in ways no other physical experiences can.

Here I have compiled six folk and fairy tales, one from each major sector of the world.
My hope is that at least one story will stick out to you, and whether you are 8 or 80 it will
become a story for you personally. My hope is that the story will carry you through tough times,
that you will remember what you are capable of because of the hero and what they are capable
of. My hope is that your story will truly become your story. My hope is that you remember the
fine details of it with ease. My hope is that you will be able to pass it on through "The Magic of
Storytelling," be it to children, friends, or mentors. My hope is that if none of these stories speak
to you, you will be inspired to search for more until you find one. My hope is that your own ​Molly
Whuppie​ will be imprinted in your mind and that it will feel like coming home whenever you
remember it.
And yes. I have added M​ olly Whuppie​ to this book.

The Child of the Evening Star


North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec
This version of T​ he Child of the Evening Star​ was retold by W.T. Larned and abridged by Corina

Once upon a time, on the shores of the great lake, there lived a hunter who had ten beautiful
young daughters. They were so beautiful that many handsome, brave young men came to court

One by one, the daughters were wooed and married, until nine of them had chosen husbands.
Only one daughter remained, the youngest, Oweenee—the fairest of them all. She was gentle
and beautiful, kind and modest.

But quiet as she was, Oweenee had a spirit of her own. More than one suitor had found this out.
Many a young man, confident that he could win her, went away crestfallen when Oweenee
began to laugh at him. Oweenee seemed hard to please. She turned down every handsome,
brave suitor she came across.

Her father, who loved her dearly and wished her to be happy, was puzzled. "Tell me, my
daughter," he said to her one day, "Is it your wish never to marry? The most handsome young
men in the land have sought you in marriage, and you have sent them all away—often with a
poor excuse. Why is it?"

"Father," Oweenee said, "It seems somehow as if I had the power to look into the hearts of men.
It is the heart of a man, and not his face, that really matters. I have not yet found one youth who
in this sense is really beautiful."

Soon after, a strange thing happened. There came into the little village an Indian named Osseo,
many years older than Oweenee. He was poor and ugly, too. Yet Oweenee married him.

How the tongues of her nine proud sisters did wag! "Have you lost your mind, you spoiled girl?"
they asked

Of course, they could not know what Oweenee had seen at once—that Osseo had a generous
nature and a heart of gold, and that is why Oweenee loved him.

Now, though Oweenee did not suspect it, Osseo was really a beautiful youth on whom an evil
spell had been cast. He was in truth the son of the King of the Evening Star—that Evening Star
which shines so gloriously in the western sky, just above the rim of the earth, as the sun is
setting. Little did they know that the poor, ugly Osseo had really descended from that star.

One day, there was a large feast in a neighboring village. Oweenee and her family was invited
to attend. They set out together—the nine proud sisters, with their husbands, walking ahead,

much pleased with themselves and their finery, and all chattering like magpies. But Oweenee
walked behind in silence, and with her walked Osseo.

The sun had set; in the purple twilight, over the edge of the earth, sparkled the Evening Star.
Osseo, pausing, stretched out his hands toward it, as if imploring it for pity. When the others
saw him, they all laughed at him.

"Instead of looking up in the sky," said one of the sisters, "he had better be looking on the
ground. Else he may stumble and break his neck." Then calling back to him, she cried
mockingly: "Look out! Here's a big log. Do you think you can manage to climb over it?"

Osseo made no answer, but when he came to the log he paused again. It was the trunk of a
huge oak-tree blown down by the wind. The tree-trunk was not a solid one, but hollow, and it
was so wide, a man could walk through it with ease.

There was something mysterious and magical in the appearance of the great hollow trunk, and
Osseo gazed at it a long time.

"What is it, Osseo?" asked Oweenee, touching him on the arm. "Do you see something that I
cannot see?"

But Osseo only gave a shout and leaped inside the log. Moments later, the figure of a man
came out from the other end. Could this be Osseo? Yes, it was he—but how transformed! No
longer bent and ugly, no longer weak and ailing, but a beautiful youth—-vigorous and straight
and tall. His enchantment was at an end.

But the evil spell had not been completely lifted. Oweenee seemed to take the curse upon
herself. Her glossy black hair turned white, deep wrinkles lined her face; she walked with a
feeble step, leaning on a staff. When Osseo had regained his youth and beauty, she, in turn,
had suddenly grown old.

"O, my dearest one!" he cried. "Better far had I remained as I was; I would gladly have borne the
insults and laughter of your people rather than you should be made to suffer."

"As long as you love me," answered Oweenee, "I am perfectly content."

Then he took her in his arms and caressed her, vowing that he loved her more than ever for her
goodness of heart, and together they walked hand in hand, as lovers do.

When the proud sisters saw what had happened they could scarcely believe their eyes. They
looked in envy at Osseo, who was now far more handsome than any one of their husbands, and
much their superior in every other way. But the hard-hearted sisters had no pity for Oweenee.
Instead, it rather pleased them to see that she could no longer dim their beauty.

The feast began, but Osseo was unhappy. He stared blankly at the sky.

Suddenly, a silence fell on all the company. Music began to play, beautiful, mysterious, and
magical. Osseo, however, knew this music as a voice he understood, a voice from the sky itself,
the voice of the Evening Star.

These were the words that he heard: "Suffer no more, my son, for the evil spell is broken, and
hereafter no magician shall work you harm. Before you is a dish on which my light has fallen,
blessing it and giving it a magic virtue. Eat of this dish, Osseo, and all will be well."

So Osseo tasted the food, and slowly, the tent began rise into the air; up, up toward the stars.
Higher and higher it rose.Osseo sat gazing at Oweenee. He saw her beauty suddenly restored,
her clothing becoming as colorful as a rainbow in the sky.

The nine proud sisters and their husbands were all changed into birds. The men became robins,
thrushes and woodpeckers. The sisters were changed into various birds with bright plumage;
the four who had chattered most now appeared in the feathers of the magpie and blue jay.
Together, Osseo and Oweenee caught the birds in a cage of silver.

Higher and higher the tent flew, into and above the clouds, up, up, up—till at last it settled gently
on the land of the Evening Star. Osseo and Oweenee saw the King of the Evening Star,
Osseo’s father. His robes flowed with ethereal beauty and stardust was sprinkled over his

"Welcome my dear children," he said. "Welcome to the kingdom in the sky that has always
awaited you. The trials you have passed through have been bitter, but you have borne them
bravely, and now you will be rewarded for all your courage and devotion."

The happy pair fell upon their knees, and kissed his hands in gratitude.

"But these birds," said Osseo, rising and pointing to the silver cage. "Is this the work of the same
evil sorcerer, Wabeno, who put the curse of old age on me?"

"No," answered the King of the Evening Star. "It was my own power, the power of love, that
caused your tent to rise into the sky. It was my power that transformed the jealous sisters and
their husbands into birds. They were hateful and scornful, and mocked the weak and old. For
this, they have been punished, but here in the silver cage they will be happy enough. Here they
may freely strut and twitter to their hearts' content. They shall be well cared for."

And with these words, Osseo and Oweenee came to live in the kingdom of the Evening Star.
Eventually, Wabeno, the magician who had cursed Osseo, lost his power to harm.

Meanwhile a little son had come to make their happiness more perfect, a boy with the dark,
dreamy eyes of Oweenee and the strength and courage of Osseo.

The Kingdom of the Evening Star was a wonderful place for a little boy to live, the sky so close
and beautiful around him. But he was lonely, and at times he looked on the Earth where his

mother and father had come from, wondering what it was like. Were the little boys and girls on
Earth nice to play with, he wondered? Was the earth pretty, with so many people living on it?

His mother told him stories of that far-away land,with its lovely lakes and rivers, great, green
forests, yellow, rolling prairies, and everywhere, animals of every kind.

Sometimes he would sit near the silver cage of birds, peeking into the one bit of Earth-life he
knew. One day, he had a strange idea. He would open the door of the cage and set the birds
free. They would fly back to Earth, and perhaps he could follow. Then his father and mother
would allow him to stay on Earth and play with all the little boys and girls!

He could not quite see how it would all end, but the next thing he knew, he had opened the door
and released the birds.

But oh, what a terrible mistake! The birds poured out of the cage, feathers flying everywhere.
What would his grandfather say? How could he explain it all? "Come back, come back!" he
called, but the birds paid him no heed.

"Come back, I tell you!" he cried, stamping his foot and waving his little bow. "Come back, I say,
or I'll shoot you." But the would not obey him.

So he lifted his little bow, fitted an arrow, and let it fly. So well did he aim that the arrow hit the
wing of a bird, and its feathers fell all around. The bird was not much hurt, but a tiny trickle of
blood came out from where the arrow had hit.

Now, no one who lives in the stars is ever permitted to shed blood of any creature, large or
small. So when the few drops fell upon the Evening Star, everything was changed. The boy
found himself sinking slowly downward toward the Earth, and now he could see the hills and
lakes that his mother had told him of. He landed on a grassy bank and watched as his family’s
tent slowly descended as well. In it were his father and mother, Osseo and Oweenee—returned
to earth, to live once more among human men and women. They had learned many things in
their life upon the Evening Star, and the children of Earth would be better for the knowledge.

And then the enchanted birds came fluttering down, and as each one touched the earth, they
returned to their human state - though not quite as before, for they were now only dwarfs.

They are now called Little People, Pygmies, or Puk-Wudjies, and are quite happy, though seen
only by a few. Fishermen, they say, would sometimes get a glimpse of them—dancing in the
light of the Evening Star, on the sandy, level beach of the Great Lake.

The Tree of Life


This version of ​The Tree of Life​ was retold by Russell Maddicks and edited by Corina Flake

Many moons ago, the great Caroni valley was called Uek-tá, which means land of the
mountains. That was because in the vast plains watered by the rivers Yuruaní, Tiriká and Aichá,
arose the mountains Iru-tepui, Aparmán, Apakará, Chimaté and Auyan-tepui, the motionless
spirits of the plains that Wei, the Sun, would hide himself behind every night, and from where
the breezes came which rustled the Moriche palms that dotted the savannah.

At the edge of the valley was the jungle, closed off by gigantic trees covered with lianas and
reverberating with animal sounds. The jungle was far away, but the brown immensity of the
plains made it appear closer.

In this land of mountains lived five brothers: Makunaima, who was big and bad, Zigué, which
means chigger; Wacalambé, a whirlwind; Anzikilán, a partridge; and Ma'nápe, which means
melon seed.

In that far off time, there were no conucos (gardens), because people did not know how to grow
things and had not learnt to hunt or fish yet. The five brothers were always very hungry and
could find no way to sate their hunger.

Close to where they lived, resided a man called Akuli (an agouti). Later on he became a rodent
and that is how we know him today.

Back then Akuli was very light and ran all over the place, sometimes passing through the thick
vegetation bordering the savannah to enter the jungle.

One day Akuli ventured quite far into the jungle when he saw a huge tree he had never noticed
before. It was the marvellous Wazacá tree, which produced several kinds of plantains as well as
papaya, cashew, maize and many other fruits and vegetables.

Akuli was filled with awe looking at that tree. It was so big he couldn't see all of its trunk in one

He had a taste of all the delicious fruits and vegetables and - in a very happy mood - he marked
the place where it grew so he could always find it when he wanted to.

So, every day, as the valleys of the Aichá and the Kuaná were lit up by the sun, Akuli went off
into the jungle, found his marvelous tree and ate the fruit until he could eat no more. Then he
went home, telling nobody about what he had found.

But one day, Makunaima noticed how well Akuli looked and suspected that something had to be
making him so fat.

So he waited until night time, when Akuli returned from one of his forays and slyly said to him,
"Why don't we turn in, brother-in-law? We should do it now as the wind is bringing the breeze
from the Moriche palms."

Akuli thought it was a good idea and fell straight into a deep sleep. Makunaima carefully opened
his mouth so as not to wake him and saw that he had a bit of fruit stuck between his teeth; a
small piece of Wazacá plantain - a long, delicious and magnificent plantain.

Akuli was so fast asleep he didn't notice anything.

At the end of the night as Wei rose again over the mountains, Makunaima called Kali (Guianan
squirrel), who was also a man at that time, and told him to follow Akuli and not to let him out of
his sight until he discovered where Akuli was getting the fruit.

So Kali went with Akuli into the heart of the forest, pretending not to spy on him, and every now
and then he asked him, "What tree is this? What's this other one called?"

But Akuli didn't answer him, and even when they passed in front of the tree with all the fruits -
which many parrots and macaws were feasting on - he did not stop as usual, and so Kali never
learnt where it was.

Makunaima was furious when he learned of Kali's failure and decided to send his brother
Ma'nápe the next day, believing that he was smarter and would discover Akuli's secret.

Ma'nápe agreed to accompany the other two and together they entered the jungle. They went
quite far, passing many bushes and trees, but Akuli did not stop at any of them.

At last they stopped in front of the Zaú tree, whose fruit has a very nasty taste, and to play a
trick on Ma'nápe, Akuli said to him, "You can stay here and collect the fruit from this tree. We
are going to continue on to see if we can find another one."

Without replying, Ma'nápe stayed where Akuli told him to.

Meanwhile Akuli and his companion carried on walking and eventually arrived at the place
where the Wazacá tree stood.

Akuli stopped there and and said, "This is the tree that has all the different fruits. Look how
many there are on the floor. Why don't you eat them?"

But Kali said: "It looks to me like the ones up there are better. I'm going to go up and get some."

"There are also lots of wasps up there and they will sting you," said Akuli. "Better not to climb

But Kali was very stubborn and he climbed as best he could up the enormous trunk until he
reached the first branches, bent under the weight of the fruit, which cast shadows on the ground
like giant condors with hundreds of heads.

Just as Kali reached out for a large plantain, one of the best fruits, he felt a terrible buzzing
around him as a cloud of wasps swarmed all over him and stung him on the eyelids.

Kali fell to the ground dazed and in pain. He said to Akuli, "Oh, friend, that stuff about the bees
was right, and for not listening to you look what's happened to me!" And that is why Kali has had
swollen eyelids ever since.

When Makunaima saw Kali with his eyes all swollen he thought something odd must have
happened. He was also angry with Ma'nápe for stupidly staying where they had told him and for
not discovering anything. So he said, "Tomorrow, after sunrise, you will go with them; but when
they get ahead of you hide yourself on side of the trail and find out where they are hiding the
plantains. Then you can eat them anytime you want as well."

Ma'nápe did as his brother had told him and protected by the branches of a manzanillo tree,
waited for the other two to return. But Akuli suspected something was up that day and hid the
fruits further away, in a more isolated spot than usual.

So when they approached the place where Ma'nápe was lying in wait for them, they were not
carrying any fruit in their baskets or their hands, and there was no sign they had eaten anything
- not even in their mouths.

Several times Ma'nápe tried the same ruse, but he was always outsmarted by Akuli and Kali,
and many suns passed without him finding anything.

Then Makunaima said to him, "Don't hang back on the path. You have to follow them wherever
they go. That's the only way you can catch them out."

Ma'nápe agreed and next time they entered the jungle when they got to the spot where they
used to leave him, he said to Akuli, "This time I shall come with you further."

Akuli tried all his tricks to shake off Ma'nápe, but seeing that he couldn't do it he led him to the
tree and showed him all the fruits.

There it was. The world tree.

Thicker and taller than any other tree, it was like a great mountain in the middle of the jungle.
The knots in its bark were like rocky gorges embedded in the trunk. So lush was its vegetation
that the sunlight stopped when Wei passed over the top of its high canopy.

In the halflight that penetrated past its branches, wasps, parrots, macaws and many other birds
fought over the delicious fruits, which gave off a fragrant aroma and never ran out.

Ma'nápe was struck dumb as he tried to take it all in and then he turned to the others and said
angrily, "How could you come here every day and fill your bellies without telling anybody?"

"Don't be angry," said Akuli apologetically. "We only wanted to play a trick on you."

But Ma'nápe wasn't listening. He was too busy nibbling away at the fruits that were on the floor
and the ones he could reach from the lowest branches.

When he was full he made basket of palm fibres so he could take some to his brother.

"Mind the wasps," Akuli warned, seeing him climb up the tree.

But Ma'nápe said that they would not sting him, and so it was. The wasps let him pick the fruit
without attacking him.

When the basket was full, Ma'nápe marched happily back to the valley and told Makunaima
everything that had happened and all about the strange tree that produced every kind of fruit.

And Makunaima was happy and the brothers ate and ate until they were full.

Molly Whuppie

Celts and Pikes

Scotland, Ireland, United Kingdom, northern France
This version of ​Molly Whuppie​ was retold by Corina Flake

There once lived a poor woodcutter and his wife. They had so many children, they couldn’t
afford to feed them all. So they sent their three youngest children out into the woods to fend for
themselves. All day the three girls walked, searching for a place to stay. Finally, they found a
cottage and ran to knock at the door.

An ogress answered. The girls begged her to let them stay, but she said, "My husband is an
ogre. He’ll eat ye if he sees ye here."

At that, the two oldest were quite willing to turn away, but the youngest, Molly Whuppie by
name, was brave and bold. She pleaded to the ogress to only let them stay for supper, for
surely they would be long gone by the time the ogre came home. Finally, the ogress gave up
and let them in.

Soon, the ogre came home. When he saw the girls, he told his wife he would grind their bones
into flour.

The ogress smacked him with her cooking spoon and said, "These are my guests, man. Ye
won’t eat them."

The ogre grunted in anger, but he was cleverer than he seemed, and he had a plan. He told
Molly that she and her sisters should stay in his cottage for the night. "Surely," the ogre said, "ye
need a place to put your head on this night."

That night, he called his three daughters to him and put three chains of gold around their necks.
Then he called Molly Whuppie and her sisters to him and put three chains of straw around their
necks. Then he sent them to bed.

But Molly Whuppie was clever. She lay awake and thought and thought and thought. When all
was silent in the cottage, she switched the chains, taking the gold chains from the daughters of
the ogre and giving them the straw chains instead, so that she and her sisters wore gold chains
while ogre’s three daughters wore straw chains. Then she lay still, pretending to sleep as she
waited for the ogre.

And it was a good thing Molly was so clever, for not a few minutes went by before the ogre
came into the room. He felt about the necks of each of the girls, feeling for the chains of gold
and straw. He took the girls with straw chains and locked them in the cellar to wait until morning,
when he could make sure they were quite dead and then he could eat them! He thought himself
very clever, and he went to bed. But he was no match for Molly Whuppie.

Molly woke her sisters and together they escaped the ogre’s cottage. All night they traveled as
far from the cottage as they could, and in the morning they found themselves before a
magnificent castle.

"Shall we see if there is someone to help us?" Molly asked, and they crossed the drawbridge
into the castle.

As it happened, in the castle lived a king whose kingdom had been terrorized by the same ogre
Molly had just outsmarted. So when the royal guards heard Molly’s tale, they brought her before
the king and said, "Here is a wee lass who has outsmarted the ogre."

The king was amazed and invited Molly and her sisters to stay in the castle, for if they could
outsmart the ogre, they could protect his kingdom.

Later, the king pulled Molly aside. "You have done well, lass. But if you could manage slightly
better - if you could steal the sword which the ogre hangs above his bed - I would have your
eldest sister marry my eldest son."

Molly looked at her eldest sister and at the eldest son of the king and saw they were good for
one another, so she agreed to the king’s challenge.

That night, Molly returned to the ogre’s cottage and snuck in. Silently she tread through the
cottage, taking care not to make the slightest creak of the boards. Carefully, she climbed on the
ogre’s bed and reached for the sword hanging just an arm’s-width away. She got a hold on it
and climbed off the bed, creeping away as silently as she had entered. But in her fear to be
caught, she rattled the sword against its scabbard, and the ogre awoke.

With a roar, he began to chase Molly. She ran as fast as her legs would carry her, the sword
over her shoulder. Just before the ogre got too close, she reached a chasm with no bridge. She
could not cross! But Molly was bold, clever, and daring, and she thought up a plan faster than a
horse can blink. She pulled a single hair from her head and threw it across the chasm, where it
landed to form the Bridge of a Single Hair. Molly was so light of foot she was able to scamper
across it with ease, but the ogre was too heavy.

"Woe be to ye, Molly Whuppie, if ever you come here again!" he yelled, shaking his fist.

Molly laughed. "Twice yet, gaffer, twice yet I’ll come again!"

Then she returned to the king and presented him with the ogre’s sword. The king was pleased,
and that night, there was feasting. The king’s eldest son and Molly’s eldest sister were married.

But later, the king pulled Molly aside. "You have done well, lass. But if you could manage
slightly better - if you could steal the purse of gold which the ogre hangs from his belt - I would
have your second sister marry my second son."

Molly looked at her second sister and at the second son of the king and saw they were good for
one another, so she agreed to the king’s challenge.

That night, Molly returned to the ogre’s cottage and snuck in. She silently crept through the
cottage to the ogre’s room. Carefully, she climbed on the ogre’s bed and reached for the purse
at his belt. She got a hold on it and yanked it away, but as she leaped aside, the ogre awoke.

With a roar, he began to chase Molly. She ran as fast as her legs would carry her, the purse
jangling with gold coins. Just as the ogre was close enough to grab her, she reached the chasm
with the Bridge of a Single Hair. Molly was so light of foot she was able to scamper across it with
ease, but the ogre was too heavy.

"Woe be to ye, Molly Whuppie, if ever you come here again!" he yelled, shaking his fist.

Molly laughed. "Once yet, gaffer, once yet I’ll come again!"

Then she returned to the king and presented him with the ogre’s purse. The king was pleased,
and that night, there was feasting. The king’s second son and Molly’s second sister were

But later, the king pulled Molly aside. "You have done well, lass. But if you could manage
slightly better - if you could steal the jeweled ring which the ogre wears upon his finger - I would
have you marry my youngest son."

Molly looked at the youngest son of the king and saw he was the nicest young man she had
ever seen, so she agreed to the king’s challenge.

That night, Molly returned to the ogre’s cottage and snuck in. She silently crept across the
floorboards and into the ogre’s room.. Carefully, she climbed on the ogre’s bed and eased the
ring off of his hand. Right as she got it off, the ogre awoke and grabbed her.

"So I’ve caught ye finally!" he cried. "Tell me, Molly Whuppie, if I had done to you what you have
done to me, how would you punish me?"

Molly paused, for though she was bold, she was clever. Then she said, "I would tie you up in a
bag with a pair of shears, a dog, a cat, a needle, and a spool of thread. I would hang the sack
up on a nail so you could never escape. Then I would find the biggest club in the forest and beat
you with it!"

"And that is what I will do to you!" the ogre yelled, and he did as she said.

He stuffed Molly into a sack with a pair of shears, a dog, a cat, a needle, and a spool of thread.
He hung the sack up on a nail. Then he went to find the biggest club in the forest to beat Molly

But Molly was a clever lass, and so brave. She was afraid, but she laughed and said, "Och, if
only everyone could see what I see!"

The ogre’s wife was curious. "What, Molly? What is it that ye see?"

But Molly made no answer. She only repeated, "Och, if only everyone could see what I see!"

The ogre’s wife begged Molly to let her see, too, so eventually Molly cut the sack open and
slipped out. She helped the ogre’s wife into the bag and sewed it up using the needle and spool
of thread.

But the ogre’s wife could see nothing but blackness! "Molly," she cried, "what did you see? I
cannae see anything in this sack!" But Molly made no reply, and the ogre’s wife was stuck.

Soon, the ogre returned with the biggest club in the forest and he began to beat the sack.

"Stop, man!" his wife yelled. "I’m your wife, not the lass!"

But the ogre could not hear her for the howls of the dog and the mewlings of the cat.

When he finally did hear his wife, he roared with anger, for his ring was gone. This was Molly’s
cleverness, for she had run off with the ogre’s ring while he had been busy beating the sack.
Oh, what a clever and bold lass she was!

The ogre gave chase, but he was too far behind to catch her. When the pair reached the chasm
with the Bridge of a Single Hair. Molly was so light of foot she was able to scamper across it with
ease, but the ogre was too heavy.

"Woe be to ye, Molly Whuppie, if ever you come here again!" he yelled, shaking his fist.

Molly laughed. "Worry no more, gaffer, never again shall I come again!"

Then she returned to the king and presented him with the ogre’s ring. The king was pleased,
and that night, there was feasting. Molly and the king’s youngest son were married. The ogre
was never seen again, and to this day there may not be anyone happier than Molly, her sisters,
and the sons of the king.

The Four Dragons


This version of T​ he Four Dragons​ was taken from ​​ and edited by Corina

Once upon a time, there were no rivers and lakes on earth, but only the Eastern Sea, in which
lived four dragons: the Long Dragon, the Yellow Dragon, the Black Dragon and the Pearl

One day the four dragons flew from the sea into the sky. They soared and dived, playing at
hide-and-seek in the clouds.

"Come over here quickly!" the Pearl Dragon cried out suddenly.

"What is it?" asked the other three, looking down in the direction where the Pearl Dragon

On the earth they saw many people putting out fruits and cakes, and burning incense sticks.
They were praying! A white-haired woman, kneeling on the ground with a thin boy on her back,
murmured, "Please send rain quickly, God of Heaven, to give our children rice to eat."

The four dragons saw quickly that there had been no rain for a long time. The crops withered,
the grass turned yellow and fields cracked under the scorching sun.

"How poor the people are!" said the Yellow Dragon. "And they will die if it does not rain soon."

The Long Dragon nodded. Then he suggested, "Let us go and beg the Jade Emperor for rain."

So saying, he leapt into the clouds. The others followed closely and flew towards the Heavenly
Palace. As he was in charge of all the affairs in heaven on earth and in the sea, the Jade
Emperor was very powerful. He was not pleased to see the dragons rushing in. "Why do you
come here instead of staying in the sea and behaving yourselves?" he demanded.

The Long Dragon stepped forward. "The crops on earth are withering and dying, Your Majesty,"
he said. "I beg you to send rain down quickly!"

The Jade Emperor nodded, pretending to agree. "All right. You four go back to the sea, and I
will send some rain down tomorrow."

"Many thanks, Your Majesty!" the four dragons responded, and they happily returned to the sea.

But ten days passed, and not a drop of rain came down. The people suffered more, some eating
bark, some grass roots, some forced to eat white clay when they ran out of anything else. The
people wailed their prayers to the heavens, seeking mercy and an end to the drought.

Seeing all this, the four dragons felt very sorry, for they knew the Jade Emperor only cared
about pleasure, and never took the people to heart. They could only rely on themselves to
relieve the people of their miseries. But how to do it?

Seeing the vast sea, the Long Dragon said that he had an idea.

"What is it? Out with it, quickly!" the other three demanded.

"Listen, brothers, is there not plenty of water in the sea where we live? We should scoop it up
and spray it towards the sky. The water will be like rain drops and come down to save the
people and their crops," said Long Dragon.

"It is a good plan!" said the others as they clapped their hands.

"But," said the Long Dragon after thinking a bit, "we will be blamed if the Jade Emperor learns of
this. Perhaps a great punishment will fall upon our heads."

"I will do anything to save the people," the Yellow Dragon said resolutely.

"Then let us begin. We will never regret it," said Long Dragon.

Black Dragon and Pearl Dragon were not to be outdone. They flew to the sea, scooped up
water in their mouths, and then flew back into the sky, where they sprayed the water out over
the earth. The four dragons flew back and forth, making the sky dark all around. Before long the
sea water became rain pouring down from the sky.

"It's raining! It's raining! The crops will be saved!" the people cried and leaped with joy. They
offered prayers of gratitude with their incense.

On the ground the wheat stalks raised their heads and the sorghum stalks straightened up.

Before long, the God of the Sea discovered these events and reported them to the Jade

The Jade Emperor was enraged, and ordered the heavenly generals and their troops to arrest
the four dragons. "How dare the four dragons bring rain without my permission!" he roared.

Being far outnumbered, the four dragons could not defend themselves, and they were soon
arrested and brought back to the heavenly palace.

"Go and get four mountains to lay upon them so that they can never escape!" The Jade
Emperor ordered the Mountain God.

The Mountain God used his magic power to make four mountains fly there, whistling in the wind
from afar, and pressed them down upon the four dragons.

Even imprisoned as they were, they never regretted their actions. Determined to do good for the
people forever, they turned themselves into four rivers, which flowed past high mountains and

deep valleys, crossing the land from the west to the east and finally emptying into the sea. And
so China's four great rivers were formed -- the Heilongjian (Black Dragon) in the far north, the
Huanghe (Yellow River) in central China, the Changjiang (Yangtze, or Long River) farther south,
and the Zhujiang (Pearl) in the very far south.

Anansi and Turtle have a Meal

Akan, Ashanti

Ghana, Caribbean nations
This version of A​ nansi and Turtle have a Meal​ was taken from​ and was edited by Corina Flake

Anansi is a trickster spider from West Africa. He does not like to work, and so he tries to get all
the other animals to do the work for him! He usually does not succeed. He also does not like to
share his things, so he often tries to trick the other animals so he gets everything and they get
nothing! In this, too, he often does not succeed, as we shall see.

One day, Anansi’s wife collected some lovely yams from the garden and cooked them with
utmost care. Anansi was so excited to eat the yams. They smelled so good! But somehow, he
managed to wait until lunchtime.

Just as he was about it sit down with his wife and three children to consume his delicious meal,
he heard a knock at his door. Anansi was irritated and opened the door hurriedly, ready to eat
his yams and not wanting to deal with visitors. At the door stood Turtle.

Turtle had spent all day travelling and working hard. He looked very tired and hungry.

“Hello Anansi, What are you cooking? I can smell something very delicious,” Turtle said.

“Oh! My wife has have cooked some yams for lunch,” Anansi said reluctantly.

“Oh, may I please stay for lunch? I am hungry and tired because of all my travelling and hard
work,” Turtle said.

Anansi did not want to share his food with Turtle. But it was a custom in the country that one
must be hospitable, and this included sharing food with visitors! So Anansi could not refuse.
Nevertheless, he was determined not to share his delicious yams with Turtle, and he thought of
a tricky plan so he could be rid of Turtle.

“Please have a seat and enjoy your meal,” Anansi said to Turtle.

So Anansi, his family, and Turtle sat down at the table. Turtle was about to help himself to a
share of the yam when Anansi suddenly stopped him.

“Don’t you know that you must clean your hands before you touch your meal? Please wash your
hands before you eat,” Anansi instructed Turtle.

Turtle took a look at his hands and saw that they were full of dirt as he has been travelling and
working for a very long time. “Anansi, I see that you are right,” he said.

So Turtle went to a nearby river and returned after washing his hands.

By then, Anansi had already started the meal. “The yams were getting really cold so my family
and I started lunch without you. Please join us now,” Anansi said.

However, even this time when Turtle reached for his meal, Anansi stopped him by giving him
the same reason. “Turtle, my friend! Do you not have courtesy? You must clean your hands
before you touch your meal! Please wash your hands before you eat at my table.

Poor Turtle saw that his hands had become dirty once again as he walked back from the river to
the house.

Turtle was very hungry and tired by now, but he was polite. He still went back to the river to
wash his hands. This time he was determined not to let his hands get dirty. He was careful and
walked only on the grass to keep his hands clean. But by the time he reached the table, Anansi
and his family had already finished all the food!

“I am sorry, my friend,” Anansi said, though he was not truly sorry. “The yams became cold, and
my wife and children needed to eat.”

Turtle was angry and humiliated. “Thank you for the lovely lunch. I would like to invite you over
to my home for a meal someday,” Turtle said and left.

A few days had past and Anansi started thinking about Turtle’s invitation. He was tempted to go
for a sumptuous meal at Turtle's place. Anansi also knew that if he went to Turtle’s house, his
wife would have to do all the work to get food for his family. Of course, his wife already did all
the work, for Anansi did not like to work! But this did not occur to Anansi. And besides, he knew
that Turtle was a wonderful cook.

So one day, Anansi went to the bank of the river under which Turtle had his house and stood
there at dinner time.

Turtle saw him and said, “Hello Anansi! Thank you for coming. Please have dinner with me.”
Turtle invited Anansi inside his house, which was underwater.

Anansi could not wait any longer and quickly dived into the water. But alas, as a spider, he was
too light and could not swim deep into the water. Meanwhile, Turtle was ready with the delicious

Anansi tried every possible measure to go under the river; he tried a running jump, a belly flop
and a high dive, but could not go beneath the surface of the water.

Anansi started thinking hard and finally decided to pick up some rocks and put them in the
pockets of his jacket. His plan was successful and this time Anansi reached straight to Turtle’s
house after diving underwater.

Anansi was impressed to see the delicious spread and was about to dig into the first bite when
Turtle stopped him. “Dear Anansi,” he said, “kindly remove your jacket before you touch the
food. In our custom we do not eat with our jackets on.”

Anansi saw that even Turtle was not wearing his jacket. So he removed his jacket which was full
of rocks and pebbles and within no time he went rushing up to the surface of the water.

Down below the surface, Anansi could see Turtle slowly consuming the lovely meal. Anansi felt
sad and slowly climbed out of the water.

But after all, it was only as he deserved!

Why the Kangaroo Hops on Two Legs
Or​, Bohra the Kangaroo


This version of W​ hy the Kangaroo Hops on Two Legs​ was retold by Michael J Connolly and
abridged by Corina Flake

Long, long ago, in the dreamtime, Bohra, the kangaroo, stood on four legs like a dog and had
two front teeth, canines, like a dog. In fact, Bohra was very similar to a dog back then. One of
the few differences was that Bohra enjoyed eating his meals at night, unlike a dog.

One night as he was eating, Bohra saw a number of fires in the trees ahead of him and he
heard sounds of many voices singing. Curious, he moved forward to see what he could see.

As he got closer, he saw strangely marked figures dancing round and round a firelit circle. The
voices grew louder and louder as boomerangs clicked faster and faster and then the noise died
away into silence. The figures stopped dancing and disappeared into the bush. Then, again, the
voices rose and the dancing built.

As Bohra had watched them, he felt a strong desire to dance too. He reared himself on his
hind-legs balancing himself with his tail and jumped round and round the ring behind the last
man, searching for a way to join the dance.

The men turned and saw Bohra standing on his hind-legs and looked in wondering terror at him,
for with his immense height and sharp teeth, Bohra presented an intimidating figure indeed.

But upon realizing Bohra meant no harm, the men began to dance again. Bohra just tried to do
as they did, standing on two feet and leaping around.

Slowly, Bohra realized that none of the men were dancing with him, but watching him dance
alone. For this, he was very proud, and he danced all the harder, trying to prove he was a good
dancer - as good as anyone else. Perhaps he was better than the rest of them; after all he was
the only dancer the group of men had actually stopped to watch.

Suddenly, the men went away and left Bohra in the ring of fire by himself. Bohra felt affronted at
first, for how could they have left his performance? But after a long interval, the men came back.

Now each of them were wearing rough looking tails of grass bound around their waist belts.
They began jumping round the ring as Bohra had done, this time with their long grass tails
wagging behind them. The men leaped with happiness, for they had learned a new dance
based on Bohra’s dance.

When they stopped, an old tribal wirinun told Bohra that because he had come to their sacred
corroboree without being asked, he must be punished.

But the men did not want to kill Bohra or punish him too severely because, while he had been
uninvited, he had shown them a new dance which they very much liked. Time passed as the
men discussed ways in which they could punish Bohra properly.

They came to the conclusion that as punishment, Bohra’s tribe for ever after would move
jumping on their hind-legs with their forefeet to be used as hands and their tails used to balance
them. This honored the dance and punished Bohra sufficiently.

The tribal wirinun then made Bohra a tribal brother. As such, Bohra must forever keep silent
their secret rites. As part of Bohra’s initiation into the tribe, his canine teeth were knocked out
and his tribe, to this day, have never had these teeth since.

Ever since this day, the men of the Bohra tribe have put on their false tails and danced the
kangaroo dance at sacred corroborees as when Bohra was bewitched into going on two legs.
Bohra there began the way which all kangaroos have had to follow since.

This was how the kangaroos learned to hop as they do, on two feet.

Further Reading

Here are some of my favorite resources for fairy tales and even some of my favorite tales which
I could not include in this book!

Storynory​ - ​​ - a website with fairy tales, some classic novels, and many original
tales, all read aloud by delightful readers on audio.

Fairy Talez​ - ​​ - a website listing over 2,500 fairy tales and folk tales, listed in
various regions on earth.

World of Tales​ - w​​ - stories around the world told for children, listed in various
regions on earth.

Anansi and the Plantains​ - a story in which Anansi tries to trick Turtle again, this time
pretending to work for plantains! How does Anansi still get the most plantains in his family
despite sitting at the table without even one?

1001 Arabian Nights​ - a collection of stories from Arabia, beginning with the story of
Scheherazade, a clever young woman who saves the women of her nation through storytelling.

Andrew Lang’s F​ airy Books​ -​ each book, with all stories retold by Andrew Lang, has a
collection of fairy tales from many regions around the world. The stories are longer and more
complex and are generally not ideal for younger children. I would suggest 9-12 as an ideal age
to begin reading these books.

Childcraft, ​The How And Why Library​, volume II -​ this volume of tales has many different
fairytales from around the world with vibrant, colorful pictures.

Hungarian Folktales ​-​​ - in the
1970s, a Hungarian TV series was created called Hungarian Folktales. Recently, a Youtube
channel was created which has all the episodes of these folktales on Youtube in English.

D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths​ and ​Norse Gods and Giants​ - a large book of Greek myths,
beautifully told, with delightful pictures. The book of Norse myths is very similar because it’s by
the same author.

Loyal Books​ - ​​ - 7,000+ Free Audio Books and eBooks. Not all the recordings
are beautiful because it’s all volunteer work, but for the most part it’s helpful.

The Empty Pot​ - a Chinese fairy tale about a young boy who wants to become the next
Emperor. My favorite retelling is by Demi.

The Seventeen Camels​ - an Arabian folktale told like a riddle which could help teach fractions.

Coyote Stories​ - h​ ttps://​ - stories from many American
Indian tribes about a trickster spirit, Coyote.

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