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European Folklore

The Fawn and the Ghost

One day, a little brother took his little sister by the hand and said, “Since our mother died, we have had no happiness; our stepmother beats us every day, and if we come near her, she kicks us away with her foot. Our meals are the hard crusts of bread that are left over; and the little dog under the table is better off, for she often throws it a nice bit. May Heaven pity us. If our mother only knew! Come, we will go forth together into the wide world.”

The Singing Bone

In a certain country there was once great lamentation over a wild boar that laid waste the farmer’s fields, killed the cattle, and ripped up people’s bodies with his tusks. The King promised a large reward to anyone who would free the land from this plague; but the beast was so big and strong that no one dared to go near the forest in which it lived.

The Robber Bridegroom

There was once on a time a miller, who had a beautiful daughter, and as she was grown up, he wished that she was provided for, and well married. He thought, “If any good suitor comes and asks for her, I will give her to him.” Not long afterwards, a suitor came, who appeared to be very rich, and as the miller had no fault to find with him, he promised his daughter to him.

Godfather Death

A poor man had twelve children and was forced to work night and day to give them even bread. When therefore the thirteenth came into the world, he knew not what to do in his trouble, but ran out into the great highway, and resolved to ask the first person whom he met to be godfather.

The Burglar’s Ghost

I am not an imaginative man, and no one who knows me can say that I have ever indulged in sentimental ideas upon any subject. I am rather predisposed, in fact, to look at everything from a purely practical standpoint, and this quality has been further developed in me by the fact that for twenty years I have been an active member of the detective police force at Westford, a large town in one of our most important manufacturing districts.

The Phantom Toe

I am not a superstitious man, far from it, but despite all my efforts to the contrary I could not help thinking, directly I had taken a survey of my chamber, that I should never quit it without going through a strange adventure. There was something in its immense size, heaviness and gloom that seemed to annihilate at one blow all my resolute skepticism as regards supernatural visitations. It appeared to me totally impossible to go into that room and disbelieve in ghosts.

The Emperor’s Wooing

The little town of Caub is very old. Above it in olden days rose the Castle of Gutenfels. Here many years ago lived Philip, Count of Faulkenstein and his only sister, Guda. This brother and sister were orphans, and lived together there happily.

Bird of Paradise

There once lived in the monastery at Heisterbach a kindly monk, of great learning and simple manners. He had studied for many years that he might settle some doubts that troubled him. He had observed that people grow tired of even the best of things. They desire to behold new scenes, to hear new music, and to taste new dishes.

Pot of Hot Porridge

In the beautiful land of Switzerland is a little town named Zurich. Not far from here is the larger city of Strasburg. The people of Zurich had long looked with envy on the larger city and wanted to become a part of it. At last they decided to send an appeal to the magistrates. This they did, but the great magistrate of Strasburg bluntly refused the honor of such a union.

The Lady of Stavoren

There was once, we are told, a fine tract of land where now roll the waves of the Zuyder Zee. On the very spot where now the fishermen anchor their boats and fish, there stood a beautiful city. It was protected from the sea by great dykes.