How a Man Stepped Into His Wife’s Shoes

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

A nagging husband was always telling his wife what an easy time she had of it.

“I am in the field all day working like a mule,” he would say to her, While you loll about the house and fritter away the time. You do live in clover, I must say!”

Said his wife in reply one day:

“Well, then, why don’t you and I change places? I’ll go out to the field for the day and you’ll stay at home and take care of the house. Then we’ll see whose life is easier.”

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How the Birds and Animals Dug a Bed for the Daugava

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

Long, long ago all the birds and animals got together to dig a bed for the river Daugava. They set to work, and the rabbit said that he would run ahead and show them where the river bed was to lie. This he did, but, like all rabbits, he ran in circles and zigzags, and that is why there are so many loops and turns to the Daugava.

Just behind the rabbit came the mole. He worked very hard and dug the first furrow, and he was richly rewarded for it, getting a coat of very soft and shiny black velvet that he wears to this day.

All the birds and animals did their bit. The only one who refused to come and help was the oriole.

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The King of the Mushrooms

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

Once upon a time some men out hunting for mushrooms in the forest found one that was bigger than any they had ever seen before. They began pulling it out of the ground when lo! – a little old man sprang out from under it. No larger than a finger he was with a beard twice that size. The little old man rushed off but the men ran after him. They caught him and asked who he was.

Said the little old man:

“I am king of all the mushrooms growing in this forest.”

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