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European Folklore

If Only I Could Shiver

A father had two sons, the elder of whom was forward and clever enough to do almost anything; and so, the younger son was ignored. If anything was to be done, the elder had at all times to do it; but sometimes the father would call him to fetch something in the dead of night, and perhaps the way led through the churchyard or by a dismal place, and then he used to answer, “No, father, I cannot go there, I am afraid,” for he was a coward.

Bearskin and the Devil

There was once upon a time a young fellow who enlisted for a soldier, and became so brave and courageous that he was always in the front ranks when it rained blue beans. As long as the war lasted all went well, but when peace was concluded he received his discharge, and the captain told him he might go where he liked. His parents meanwhile had died, and as he had no longer any home to go to, he paid a visit to his brothers and asked them to give him shelter until war broke out again. His brothers, however, were hard-hearted, and said, “What could we do with you? We could make nothing of you; see to what you have brought yourself”; and so, turned a deaf ear.

The Shroud

The Shroud

There was once a mother who had a little boy of seven years old, who was so handsome and lovable that no one could look at him without liking him, and she herself worshipped him above everything in the world.

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.