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European-American Folklore

The Lark and her Chicks

The Lark and her Chicks

    A Lark made her nest in a field of young wheat. As the days passed, the wheat stalks grew tall and the chicks, too, grew in strength.

    The Crow and the Pitcher

      In a spell of dry weather, when the Birds could find very little to drink, a thirsty Crow found a pitcher with a little water in it.

      The Goose that Laid Golden Eggs

      The Goose That Laid Golden Eggs

        There was once a countryman who possessed the most wonderful goose you can imagine, for every day when he visited the nest, the goose had laid a beautiful, glittering egg of pure gold.

        The Fox and the Grapes

        The Fox and the Grapes

          A Fox one day spied a beautiful bunch of ripe grapes hanging from a vine trained along the branches of a tree. The grapes seemed ready to burst with juice, and the Fox’s mouth watered as he gazed longingly at them.

          The Lion and the Mouse

            A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws. A timid little Mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her fright and haste to get away, ran across the Lion’s nose.

            The Ants and the Grasshopper

              One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and begged for a bite to eat.

              The Boy Who Cried Wolf

              The Boy Who Cried Wolf

                A Shepherd Boy tended his master’s Sheep near a dark forest not far from the village. Soon he found life in the pasture very dull. One day as he sat watching the Sheep and the quiet forest, and thinking what he would do should he see a Wolf, he thought of a plan to amuse himself.

                A Gift from St. Nicholas

                A Gift from Saint Nicholas

                  Claas Schlaschenschlinger was a wealthy cobbler living on New Street in New Amsterdam. He was a contented bachelor who could afford eight – eight mind you! – pairs of breeches and he had a little side business selling geese. He cut quite a figure in New Amsterdam society, and was happy being single, until he met the fair Anitje! She was as pretty as a picture, and Claas fell head over heels for her. He was not her only suitor, by any means. The local burgomaster was also courting the fair Anitje. But the burgomaster was a stingy, hard man, and in the end, Anitje gave her heart and hand to Claas…

                  A Cave of Skulls

                  A Cave of Skulls

                    Near the upper Hiawassee is a cave where a pile of human skulls was found by a man who had put up his cabin near the entrance. For some reason, which he says he never understood, this farmer gathered up the old, bleached bones and dumped them into his shed.

                    Jack O'Lantern

                    Jack O’Lantern

                      After a long day of unlucky hunting, I found myself stuck in the middle of the marshlands for the night, without a flashlight or a lantern to guide my stumbling steps. So I settled beside a fallen log to rest until daylight. As I tossed and turned, I recalled the story my great-uncle told me about a ghost that haunted the marshlands.

                      Playin’ Piano

                        Dah-dah-dum-dum-BLAT!
                        Charlie winced when his wife hit the wrong note on the piano for the thirty-second time that day. He knew it was the thirty-second time because he’d kept count as he went about his daily chores, cleaning the lighthouse, checking the supplies, mending the rowboat.
                        Charlie blamed himself for his wife’s latest obsession. He should never have taken Myrtle to attend the concert when that high-flutin’ concert pianist came to town…

                        Dueling fiddlers

                        Dueling Fiddlers

                          There was once a man named Joost who was plodding home on Saturday night, his fiddle under his arm. He had been playing for a wedding in Flatbush and had been drinking schnapps until he saw stars on the ground and fences in the sky; in fact, the universe seemed so out of order that he seated himself rather heavily on this rock to think about it.

                          Bloody Mary, Quite Contrary

                          Bloody Mary, Quite Contrary

                            “Mary, Mary…” the half-heard whisper woke her in the darkness before dawn. 
                            Darkness.  How appropriate.  These days, it seemed as if her whole life was in darkness. 

                            turnabout is fair play

                            Turnabout is Fairplay

                              Everyone laughed at jumpy Uncle Phil, who believed the world was largely populated with monsters and ghosts and spooks and witches and werewolves. But he was considered harmless, and no one much bothered about the poor fellow. Until one summer when a new family moved to town with two naughty sons.

                              Going Courting

                                J. Dawson had two goals in life: to find a rich vein of gold and to find a bride. So far, he hadn’t had any luck either with the gold or the ladies. His smooth, eastern manners seemed rather sissy and irritating among the rough miners and rowdy residents of a wild western town. He’d courted the schoolteacher, the local farmers’ daughters, and even took to visiting a few of the other entertainers at the saloon. All to no avail.

                                Where's my liver?

                                Where’s My Liver

                                  “Go straight to the store and don’t fool around,” his mother said sternly as she handed over the money. “Your father’s boss is coming to dinner tonight and we’re having his favorite meal of liver and onions. It’s important that we make a good impression, so get the best liver they’ve got.”

                                  The Gulls

                                    In the year of our Lord 1848, vast swarms of crickets descended upon our settlement. Twas a judgment upon us, yea certain, for how else could you explain the desecration of our crops, the dimming hope of survival for the coming winter?

                                    Old Granny Tucker

                                      There were just the two of us—Mama and me. The only other relative we had was a cousin — old Granny Tucker. Mama never talked about Granny Tucker, and we never visited her, though, because Granny Tucker was a witch

                                      Adventure On the Rogue

                                        We were up-river with a tour group looking at all the natural beauties here on the Rogue River when I spied a young sasquatch hiding in the shadow of a tree near a gravel bank. I swung the tour-boat around so we could get a better look, and all the tourists exclaimed and took pictures. It’s not too unusual to see a sasquatch in the spring. That’s the time they migrate through here to their summer stomping grounds up North…

                                        Satin Dress

                                          She worked in a box factory, and her salary was not large. She made just enough to cover the cost of food, shelter, and the clothes on her back. So when she received an invitation to a fancy-dress party from an old friend, she did not know what she should do. Here was her chance at last to shine a little, to experience how the other half lived, but she had no money to buy a dress, or even the material to make one.

                                          Three Billy Goats Gruff

                                          Three Billy Goats Gruff

                                            Snippity-snip, snap and swill,
                                            The tale begins upon a hill…
                                            The air was crisp and cool. The sky was an endless blue. The green meadow grass swayed in a gentle breeze. And Big Billy Goat Gruff was bored.

                                            The Golden One

                                              He was a bright, sunny child from birth, with blond curls and a sweet smile and fabulous, shining blue eyes. Everyone who met him loved him. The whole church and farming community watch with joy as he took his first steps, said his first words, became a mischievous toddler and then a bright and lovable schoolboy.

                                              Fatal Glass Eye

                                                My friend Liverpool Jarge was a small man, wiry and tough, but soft-spoken. Jarge had one glass eye that was an ugly shade of blue which clashed something terrible with his real eye, which was brown. Then one day Jarge met up with a glassblower, a real artist, who make him a special red eye with a star.

                                                The Shaggy Dog

                                                  There once was a woman traveling home from England who lost her pooch somewhere between Salem and Springfield. He was just about the shaggiest dog in the entire world; so shaggy you couldn’t tell which end was which until his tail started wagging…

                                                  Jean Sot Guards the Door

                                                    One day, Jean Sot’s mother wanted to go to town.
                                                    “Now Jean,” she said, “I want you to guard the door.
                                                    “Yes, Mama,” Jean Sot agreed.

                                                    The Greenhorn and the Mule Egg

                                                      Well now, there was a chap that got real sick of working in the big city. One day, he quit his job, packed up his wife and kiddies, and hi-tailed it out to Kansas to become a farmer. Bought a big parcel of land with a grand old barn and some fields just ready to plow and plant…

                                                      Jack and the Corn Stalk

                                                        Once, a Kansas farmer sent his son Jack to check on the growth of the corn in the field. Now Jack was not a tall lad, so he decided to take a ladder with him. When he found a nice big stalk of corn, he leaned the ladder against it and climbed up until he could reach the first joint. From there, he proceeded to the top of the cornstalk, and looked out over the field. There was enough corn there for a rich harvest…

                                                        La Corriveau

                                                          Marie-Josephte Corriveau was a beautiful but ruthless woman. She married a good-looking man but soon grew bored with him. So late one evening, she stunned her husband with a blow to the head, then took a whip to his horse, which trampled him to death. The death was ruled an accident and La Corriveau was free to marry again.