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Folktales A-Z

A Baker's Dozen

A Baker’s Dozen

    Back in the old days, I had a successful bake-shop in Albany. I had a good business, a plump wife, and a big family. I was a happy man. But trouble came to my shop one year in the guise of an ugly old woman. She entered my shop a few minutes before closing and said: “I wish to have a dozen cookies.” She pointed to my special Saint Nicholas cookies that were sitting out on a tray. So I counted out twelve cookies for her…

    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…

      Eavesdropper

      Eavesdropper

        There is an old tale which claims that at midnight, on Christmas Eve, the cattle will kneel in the barn and speak with one another. Once an old Maryland man decided to test the tale by hiding in the barn at midnight to listen. So he climbed a rope to the window in the hayloft. He lay down on the rough gray boards, covered himself with hay and waited…

        Saint Nicholas and the Children

        St. Nicholas and the Children

          Two little children lived with their old grandmother in a remote place in the Canadian forest. They were twin children—a boy and a girl, Pierre and Estelle by name—and except for their dress it was not easy to tell them apart. Their father and mother had died in the springtime, and in the summer, they had left their old home because of its many sad memories and had gone to live with their old grandmother in a new home elsewhere.

          Ghosts of Red Creek

          The Ghosts of Red Creek

            A small party of gentlemen on the day before a crisp, cold Christmas, started from Gulfport in a large four-wheeled wagon for a thirty-mile drive into the wilderness of pine and a week’s sport after the deer. The tract of pine forest extended for miles with only a few habitations scattered through it. Red Creek drained this region into the Pascagoula River to the eastward.

            Legend of Babouschka

            The Legend of Babouscka

              It was the night the dear Christ-Child came to Bethlehem. In a country far away from Him, an old, old woman named Babouscka sat in her snug little house by her warm fire. The wind was drifting the snow outside and howling down the chimney, but it only made Babouscka’s fire burn more brightly.

              Racing a ghost

              Racing a Ghost

                It was early on Christmas morning when John Reilly wheeled away from a picturesque little village where he had passed the previous night, to continue his cycling tour through eastern Pennsylvania. To-day his intention was to stop at Valley Forge, and then to ride on up the Schuylkill Valley, visiting in turn the many points of historical interest that lay along his route.

                The First Christmas Tree

                The First Christmas Tree

                  At the time when the Christ Child was born all the people, the animals, and the trees, and plants were very happy. The Child was born to bring peace and happiness to the whole world. People came daily to see the little One, and they always brought gifts with them.

                  The Ice King

                  The Ice King

                    Once upon a time there was a village built on the bank of a wide river. During the spring, summer, and autumn the people were very happy. There was plenty of fuel and game in the deep woods; the river afforded excellent fish. But the Passamaquoddy dreaded the months when the Ice King reigned.

                    The Snow Maiden

                    The Snow Maiden

                      Once upon a time there lived a peasant named Ivan and his wife, Marie. They were very sad because they had no children. One cold winter day the peasant and his wife sat near a window in their cottage and watched the village children playing in the snow. The little ones were busily at work making a beautiful snow maiden.

                      No Fear

                      No Fear

                        He had just passed an abandoned missionary Baptist church when the forest grew quiet around him. The cicadas stopped singing, the night creatures went silent, and the breeze died to a whisper. In the silence, he heard something sliding through the trees on his right.

                        Bloody Mary

                        Bloody Mary

                          She lived deep in the forest in a tiny cottage and sold herbal remedies for a living. Folks living in the town nearby called her Bloody Mary, and said she was a witch. None dared cross the old crone for fear that their cows would go dry, their food-stores rot away before winter, their children take sick of fever, or any number of terrible things that an angry witch could do to her neighbors.

                          Raw Head and Bloody Bones

                          Raw Head and Bloody Bones

                            Way back in the deep woods there lived a scrawny old woman who had a reputation for being the best conjuring woman in the Ozarks. With her bedraggled black-and-gray hair, funny eyes – one yellow and one green – and her crooked nose, Old Betty was not a pretty picture, but she was the best there was at fixing what ailed a man, and that was all that counted.

                            First Day of School

                            Haunted Classroom

                              She was brand-new history teacher to the school and had been preparing her first lesson in her mind for weeks. This was her very first teaching job, and she wanted it to go well. The night before classes began, she couldn’t eat and tossed and turned restlessly all night. Up early, she was in her new classroom, sweeping the floor, tidying the desks, and putting up welcome signs just after dawn.

                              The Soldier

                              The Soldier’s Ghost

                                I’d just reached the old the hunting trail that led to the other side of the low gap. It was a short cut that sliced nearly two miles off my trip, which sounded good to me. But I never used the trail at night, because it was reputed to be haunted.

                                Maco Ghost Light

                                Maco Ghost Light

                                  There was once a railroad conductor named Joe Baldwin who was working for the newly rebuilt Atlantic Coast line. The year was 1867, and the railroad had expanded to include a small station in Maco, North Carolina. Joe was assigned to the very last car in the train, and he executed his conductor duties to the best of his abilities aboard his assigned car. Then one night, something went wrong. Terribly wrong.

                                  Phantom Diner

                                  Phantom Diner

                                    A couple were driving through Spokane, Washington one evening. They were hungry and tired and needed a break. Unfortunately, they were also broke. The wife went through her purse and the glove department and under the seats of the car, trying to drum up enough spare change to get them some kind of meal. She’d collect about eight dollars in quarters, dimes, nickels and a few dollar bills when her husband called her attention to a sign post reading: Steak and Eggs – $3.85. It was attached to a motel-diner combination in downtown Spokane.

                                    Bloody Mary Returns

                                    Bloody Mary Returns

                                      My stepmother was vile. I guess most kids think that when their father remarries. But in this case, it was true. She only married Father because he was rich, and she hated children. There were three of us – me (Marie), my middle brother Richard and my youngest brother Charles. We were the price my stepmother Gerta paid for being rich. And we were all that stood between her and inheriting Father’s money when he died. So she took steps against us.

                                      Goblin of Easton

                                      Goblin of Easton

                                        There was once a monk at the mission who loved money and power more than he loved God. He would hear the confession of the good folk who attended the mission, and then would blackmail them into giving him gold and silver to keep their darkest secrets.

                                        La Mala Hora

                                        La Mala Hora

                                          My friend Isabela called me one evening before dinner. She was sobbing as she told me that she and her husband Enrique were getting divorced. He had moved out of the house earlier that day and Isabela was distraught…

                                          Phantom lovers of Dismal Swamp

                                          Phantom Lovers of Dismal Swamp

                                            He couldn’t believe it when she fell ill just a few short weeks before their marriage. His betrothed was beautiful, strong, and healthy, but she just faded away before his eyes. He held her in his arms as she gasped out her last breathe, and was inconsolable long after her body lay buried beside the Dismal Swamp…

                                            What are some Funny Tongue Twisters?

                                              Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
                                              A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
                                              If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
                                              How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?

                                              Halloween Jokes

                                                What do you call a fat Jack-O-Lantern? What’s a vampire’s favorite fast food? Why didn’t the skeleton go to the ball?

                                                The Future

                                                The Future

                                                  She was nervous and excited as she approached the psychic’s store. Normally, she didn’t go in for fortune telling. But her best friend had visited the psychic a few months ago, and everything the woman had predicted came true. Everything!

                                                  Death Waltz

                                                  Death Waltz

                                                    Within an hour of my arrival at Fort Union, my new post, my best friend Johnny came to the barracks with a broad grin and a friendly clout on the shoulder. He’d hurried over as soon as he heard I had come, and we talked ’til sunset and beyond.

                                                    The Fox's Tail: A Fable

                                                    The Fox’s Tail

                                                      A Man caught a Fox, and asked her: “Who has taught you Foxes how to cheat the dogs?”

                                                      Madrone Monkeys

                                                      Madrone Monkeys

                                                        Something people often ask about, and you might be curious also, are the trees you see along the river with the kind of yellowish orange trunk, skin-like bark. They look like someone has been peeling the bark off of them. Those are called Madrone trees, and what gives them that appearance is that’s actually what happens to those trees. The brittle outer bark of the Madrone tree is deftly peeled away, on a regular basis, by the Madrone monkeys that live along the river.