Once upon a time there lived a King and a Queen, who didn’t differ much from all the other kings and queens who have lived since time began, except they had no children, and this made them very sad indeed.
Now it so happened that the King had to go and fight battles in a far country, and he was away for many long months. And lo and behold! While he was away the Queen at long last bore him a little son. As you may imagine she was fair delighted, and thought how pleased the King would be when he came home and found that his dearest wish had been fulfilled. And all the courtiers were fine and pleased too, and set about at once to arrange a grand festival for the naming of the little Prince. But the Queen said, “No! The child shall have no name till his father gives it to him. Till then we will call him ‘Nix! Naught! Nothing!’ because his father knows nothing about him!”
Freddy sat thinking on the seat under the trees. It was a wide, white seat, about four feet long, sloping from the sides to the middle, something like a swing; and was not only comfortable but curious, for it was made of a whale’s bone. Freddy often sat there, and thought about it for he was very much interested in it, and nobody could tell him anything about it, except that it had been there a long time.
“Poor old whale, I wonder how you got here, where you came from, and if you were a good and happy creature while you lived?” wondered Freddy, patting the old bone with his little hand.
Translated from an old Romanian folk story and as dark as the darkest night. You have been warned.
Once upon a time there were twin girls, Stela and Sorina. They were brave little girls, and had no fear of the dark, nor of spiders and other crawling things. Where other young ladies and even young boys would cower, Stela and Sorina would walk with their heads held high. They were good girls, obedient to their mother and father and to the word of God. They were the best children a mother could ask for, and this was their undoing.
A tailor and a goldsmith were traveling together, and one evening when the sun had sunk behind the mountains, they heard the sound of distant music, which became more and more distinct. It sounded strange, but so pleasant that they forgot all their weariness and stepped quickly onwards. The moon had already arisen when they reached a hill on which they saw a crowd of little men and women, who had taken each other’s hands, and were whirling round in the dance with the greatest pleasure and delight.
Once there was a girl, she was a good girl, but she was very, very greedy. She would eat anything. She would eat cows, dogs – she would even eat the earth from under your feet.
One day, her parents decided that they had had enough; she was eating them out of house and home. ‘Go away’, they said. ‘You are too greedy. We don’t want you anymore. Go and find yourself a rich husband who can afford to feed you.’