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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The Young Man Who Would Have His Eyes Opened

An Estonian fairy tale, this version was published in the Violet Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, in 1901.

Once upon a time there lived a youth who was never happy unless he was prying into something that other people knew nothing about. After he had learned to understand the language of birds and beasts, he discovered accidentally that a great deal took place under cover of night which mortal eyes never saw.

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The Maiden of the Milky Way

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

Ah! Beautiful was Linda the lovely daughter of Uko. She showed all the skypaths to the little birds, when they came flocking home in the springtime or flew away in autumn. She cared as gently and tenderly for the little birds, as a mother cares for her children. And just as a flower bespangled with a thousand drops of dew shines and smiles in the morning sunshine, so Linda shone while caring for her little winged ones.

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The Twelve Brothers, Twelve Black Ravens

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

There was once a lord whose wife died and left him twelve sons and one daughter.

A little time passed by and the lord decided to marry again. His choice fell on a woman who was a witch. Said she to him:

“If you want me to marry you you must kill your sons, burn their bodies, wrap the ashes in paper and send them to me. But you can spare your daughter.”

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