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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The Gold Axe

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

Once on a time, in a farmhouse, a young Maiden sat spinning by the light of a burning pine-splinter. The farmer’s wife and her daughter–the farmer had been dead for three years–were asleep already, for they were very lazy and liked to play the grand lady.

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The Fool Who Became King

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

In olden times, in the thick of a dark forest, there lived a man who had three sons. The father loved his two elder sons dearly but could not bear his youngest who was ill treated and called a fool by the whole family. No matter what he said or did, the others only laughed at him and insisted that they had never heard of anything so silly. If the elder brothers took a dislike to a piece of clothing he was made to wear it; if a dish was not to their liking he was forced to eat it. Whatever they asked for they got, but not so he who was never given anything he wanted. And if ever there was a household chore they hated doing they passed it on to him.

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Little White Horse

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

There was once a man who had three sons, two were clever, but the youngest was simple. The Father bought each of them two horses.

One day they heard that something was eating up their barley. The first night, the Father sent the eldest son to the field to watch the barley. But he fell asleep and saw nothing.

And the next day, when he came home and his Father asked, “Now what have you seen?” he said, “Nothing.”

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One Hundred Hares

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

In old times there lived a King. He had only one daughter. He would not give her in marriage except to the man who could perform three great tasks even if he were most miserable of beggars. Many tried, but none succeeded.

Now not far away dwelt a poor man who had three sons. The eldest and wisest said:

“I am going to win the Princess.”

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