The Bear Who Married a Peasant’s Daughter

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

Once upon a time there lived an old peasant. He was not badly off except that his wife had died leaving him alone with their only daughter.

Now, all of the peasant’s kin, not counting some in-laws, lived far away from him, and one day making up his mind to pay them a visit, he left his daughter at home by herself and drove away.

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The Kindhearted Lad and His Four Friends

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

Once upon a time there lived a man and his son. One day it so happened that there was no bread left in the house, so the father gave the son a ruble to buy some. The son took the money and set off for the market.

He walked and he walked and what did he see but a peasant beating his dog so hard that it looked as if he meant to kill it.

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The Six Toothless Men and A Squinteyed One

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

In the village of Shortlegs, at the foot of Mount Hammer, not far from Lake Spoon, there lived six Toothless Men and a Squinteyed one.

The six Toothless Men did not get on with the Squinteye.

One day they were crossing a meadow, and seeing Squinteye’s bull, fell on hi and killed him.

When his bull failed to return that night Squinteye went to look for him. He looked and he looked and he found him lying the field, dead. He skinned the bull, put the skin in a cart and brought it home.

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Strakalas and Makalas

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

Strakalas and Makalas were neighbours. They got on well together and were friends from their earliest years. If one of them killed a pig or celebrated a christening he never forgot to invite the other. It was with good reason that the villagers said that if Strakalas were made king, Makalas would be sure to share his throne.

But what was bad was that the two friends were as stubborn as mules and rare braggarts to boot! Should Strakalas, without stopping to think, remark that in America cows had wings and flew like birds he’d never go back on it, no matter what you did, but keep repeating it till doomsday. And should Makalas declare that in Turkey drills and hammers grew in the fields he’d insist it was so even if you threatened to kill him for it.

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A Lord’s Promises

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

In a certain land there lived a lord who was a cheat and a swindler. He was always tricking his workmen and robbing them, and to one of them, a cheerful, highspirited youth, he had not paid his wages for three years on end.

Now, this young workman was walking along the river bank one day when he met a man coming toward him.

“Where are you coming from?” asked the workman.

“From where the road takes its beginning.”

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