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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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 Fleetfooted Princess

An Estonian fairytale, this version is from Tales of The Amber Sea, compiled and translated by Irina Zheleznova in 1974.

n a certain kingdom there lived a princess, and so beautiful was she that her fame spread throughout the whole wide world. From all sides, from the south and the north, the east and the west, wooers came to plead for her hand, and at the gate of the royal palace horsemen of noble birth mounted on their best chargers appeared again and again. But matchmaking was not so easy a matter for them as it is in our day when a suitor need fear nothing even if he spends the morning going round to seven different houses asking for the hands of seven different maids. The young men who wanted to marry the beautiful princess had to be very brave indeed. For the princess had feet that were as light and fleet as the wind and she vowed to her father that she would only marry a man who was her match in this and more, being able not only to overtake but to outdistance her. Now, this would not have been so bad had the princess not added another condition to this, and that was that any suitor she beat in a race be put to death at once.

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