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European Folklore

The Sun and the Wind

The Sun and the Wind once had an argument about which of them could persuade a certain traveler to part with his cloak. Wind began the attack and assaulted him with great violence. But the man, wrapping his cloak still closer about him, doubled his efforts to keep it, and went on his way. Next,… Read More »The Sun and the Wind

The Lion and the Gnat

“Go away, contemptible insect!” said a proud Lion one day to a Gnat that was frisking about in the air near his den. The Gnat, enraged at this unprovoked insult, vowed revenge, and immediately darted into the Lion’s ear. After having sufficiently teased him in that quarter, she quitted her station and retired under his… Read More »The Lion and the Gnat

Androclus and the Lion

In Rome there was once a poor slave whose name was Androclus. His master was a cruel man, and so unkind to him that at last Androclus ran away.

He hid himself in a wild wood for many days; but there was no food to be found, and he grew so weak and sick that he thought he should die. So one day he crept into a cave and lay down, and soon he was fast asleep.

King Alfred and the Beggar

t one time the Danes drove King Alfred from his kingdom, and he had to lie hidden for a long time on a little island in a river.

One day, all who were on the island, except the king and queen and one servant, went out to fish. It was a very lonely place, and no one could get to it except by a boat. About noon a ragged beggar came to the king’s door and asked for food.

King Alfred and the Cakes

Many years ago, there lived in England a wise and good king whose name was Alfred. No other man ever did so much for his country as he; and people now, all over the world, speak of him as Alfred the Great.

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.