The Forbidden Knot

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

It was a bad year for the fishing vllage. The catches had been poor ever since autumn, and by spring the larders were empty. Fish is to the fisherman what grain is to the peasant. When there is no fish, the whole village goes hungry.

The fishermen gathered together and racked their brains. What could they do? It was too early in the year to go out to sea, but to stay at home would mean certain ruin.

So they thought and thought, then resolved to try their luck.

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The Sea Bride

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

Once upon a time there was a little house on the seashore, and in it lived a poor fisherman. All that his large family had to eat was the fish he caught in the sea.

Then it came to pass that for eight days in a row his nets caught nothing but mud and seaweed. They all went hungry. On the ninth day the fisherman went out to sea with the first rays of the sun. But on this day too his nets did not bring in a single fish. The poor man was in despair. How could he return home empty-handed to his starving children? And the sun was already low in the sky.

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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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