The Washerwoman and The Count

A Lithuanian fairy tale, this version is from Tales of The Amber Sea, compiled and translated by Irina Zheleznova in 1974.

One day some washerwomen from a count’s estate were out on the lake rinsing their washing, and they began talking amongst themselves.

“I will only marry a man who is tall and has blue eyes,” said one.

“And I’ll only marry a man who is rich,” said another.

“I don’t care if I’m showered with gold and dressed in silks, I’ll never marry an old man and one I don’t love,” said the youngest and prettiest of them.

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Mannikin Long Beard

A Lithuanian tale, this version is taken from the 1938 anthology Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards by Frances Jenkins Olcott.

In a certain village there was once a Land owner who had a wife. Though married long years, they had no child. Both of them grieved very much over this.

At last, however, the wife had a little son, whom she named Martin. The mother loved the child very much. He grew up to be so strong that no one could overcome him. When he was twenty years old, he felt a great longing to journey through the world, and begged his Father to have a smith make him a strong iron staff. Except for that, he did not want anything.

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The Dragon of the North

An Estonian fairy tale, this version was published in the Yellow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, in 1894.

Very long ago, as old people have told me, there lived a terrible monster, who came out of the North, and laid waste whole tracts of country, devouring both men and beasts; and this monster was so destructive that it was feared that unless help came no living creature would be left on the face of the earth. It had a body like an ox, and legs like a frog, two short fore-legs, and two long ones behind, and besides that it had a tail like a serpent, ten fathoms in length. When it moved it jumped like a frog, and with every spring it covered half a mile of ground.

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Spruce, Queen of The Grass Snakes

A Lithuanian fairy tale, this version is from Tales of The Amber Sea, compiled and translated by Irina Zheleznova in 1974.

Long, long ago, in times gone by, there lived an old man and an old woman. They had twelve sons and three daughters the youngest of whom was called Spruce.

One summer evening the sisters went for a bathe. They swam and splashed about, and, having had their fill of it, climbed out on shore and reached for their clothes. Spruce looked, and there, coiled up in the sleeve of her shift, she saw a grass snake! What was she to do? Her older sister snatched up a stake in order to chase it out but the grass snake turned to Spruce and said in a human voice:

“Spruce my dear, promise to marry me and then I’ll crawl out myself.”

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The White Deer

A Latvian fairy tale, this version was published in ‘Fairy Tales from the Soviet Union’ in 1986.

Once upon a time there were two brothers. They grew up together as strong as two oaks by the river. One day their father said to them, “Tell me what trade you would choose.”

His sons thought it over and then said, “We’d like to be carpenters. But we’d much rather be hunters and hunt geese and wild ducks.”

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