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 Luck Egg

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

Once on a time, in a great wood lived a poor man with his wife. God had given them eight children, and when a ninth was born, they were not overjoyed. But God had sent the child, so they had to receive him and give him Christian baptism. But there was no one willing to stand as godfather to such a poor child.

“I will take him to the Church anyway,” thought the Father. “The Pastor may do as he chooses, christen him or not.”

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