1,473 Pages


The Mermaid and the Simpleton

The Wishing Star


A man is walking through a field and finds a wishing star that has fallen from the sky. The star pleads to him to let it go back to join its sisters, but he finds out that it would grant any wish, so he keeps the star. The man is able to quit his job and live comfortably, traveling here and there. He then hears of an opportunity to cure a princess who has been incurable so far, and gain her hand in marriage. The star is able to do it, of course, and he marries the princess. The princess, however, is rude to him, as well as all her servants, and he feels unhappy and homesick.


The man decides to go back to his old job, where the family he was working for was glad to have him back, though they did punish him for leaving in the first place. As the man is back at peace in his field, he sees a woman coming toward him. He doesn't recognize her, so he ignores her and thinks she will go away. She comes up to him and he sees that she is his wife, who is sorry for letting him leave and would rather stay by his side forever. And there they were.

The Thousandth Gift

The Little Birch Tree


A man passes by a little birch tree and the tree realizes that she fell in love with him. She longs for every time he walks by her. One day a witch comes by and the tree tells her of her request, to be human and be with the man she loves. The witch grants her a period of time as a human, with the only goal being to have a man fall in love with her before her time is up so that she can remain a human forever. The tree accepts these terms and goes to work as a servant for the man.


The man had a servant boy that loved the girl, but the boy could see that she loved their master. The man the tree loved, however, seemed to want nothing to do with her other than to compliment the work she did well. On the night the tree had to go back to being a tree, the boy told her of his love. The tree realized she could stay a human now because a human did fall in love with her, but she goes home anyway, back in her previous form.

Little Lady Margaret

The Three Wishes

The Ivory Box


There were two friends, one dealt in trade and the other in carving. They both met a young lady with a maidservant one day and the one in trade believed the lady's story and married her. The lady was really a witch, tossed from home for practicing magic, but she didn't let either one know. The one who dealt in carving could see inward value where his friend could only see outward, so he did not trust the woman. The woman enchanted her husband's ships, so that all the other merchants failed and he himself became very wealthy. The people around them did not trust him anymore because of this. The witch eventually wanted to make sure the friend who carved for a living couldn't reveal her secret, because he was finally able to prove by a lock of her hair that she was a witch, so she caused him to grow increasingly ill and die. Before he could die, he carved an ivory box and left it for his friend, with a note that if he was ever unhappy he should open the box.


The husband to the witch was growing lonely because no one else liked him as his wealth increased. He opened the box one day and found a garden in it with his deceased friend, alive and happy. The two talk for a while before the husband has to leave. Several times the husband goes into the box whenever he feels upset, and leaves in better spirits. The witch was eventually caught and the husband was thought to be an accomplice to her, so the police were going to arrest the both of them. The husband ran and ran with the ivory box through the streets before he leapt into the ivory box to hide and closed the door forever. There he stayed with his friend, and when the police found the box, they couldn't open it and just through it among the flowers.

The Princess's Wedding Garments

The Sea-King's Daughter

Heart of the West Wind



A titled lady lives miserably in her castle and makes her servants and the subjects around her feel miserable too. Yet there is one little boy with red hair that lives with a shepherd and does not understand what she does, so that when she passed by their house, he went out and met her. She takes him in as a servant. There he learns that he is not allowed to do anything but her wishes and feels very unhappy, to the point that he runs away. None of the village people would help him in his escape, so that he is soon caught again. This discourages him from ever attempting it alone again.


A traveling minstrel comes and sees the plight the boy is in and offers to support his escape this time. The boy is eager to go, but all that day the other ladies of the house and even the dog express how much he brightens their lives. In a self-sacrifice to do for others, he stays.

King Florimonde and the Winged Horse

The Magician's Garden


There was an old gardener who could grow any plant well and had the most wonderful garden, but because he lived near a magician, not many people came around to see his garden. The gardener didn't care about the magician, and he didn't care that he didn't get many visitors, because he was happy as long as he could help out his plants.

The magician had an invisibility cloak, that he wore whenever he left his house, and he happened to find a beautiful princess on a journey. He stole her away because he fell in love with her and locked her up in his house. She wasn't too happy, however, because the magician didn't have any normal plants in his garden, and every attempt he made to grow one for her failed. Many princes had tried to reach the princess, meanwhile, but many couldn't climb over the magician's wall, and those that did were turned into animals. The magician happened one day to see his neighbor's garden and took his neighbor back to his house to command him to grow a garden there for the princess.

The gardener didn't care about the magician at all, but decided to grow a garden after seeing how pitiful the plants were there. He soon had a fine garden growing, but during the night an animal came to eat the plants. He stayed up the next night to catch the animal, and caught one, who was a prince that was transformed. The prince was trying to destroy the garden because he didn't want the princess to favor the magician. The gardener says it didn't matter to him, but he wanted his garden unharmed, so the prince didn't bother the garden anymore. This happens for five princes, all the same way.


The princess and gardener hatch a plan for the princess to escape, and the princess finds that the magician's powers lie in a jewel in a chest buried in his yard. The princess realizes the magician may love her truly because he was so honest in telling her this secret. The princess still tells the gardener, who smashes the jewel, causing the house and grounds to disappear and the princes to turn back to normal. The princes each try to set up competitions for the princess's hand and the magician seems too hopeless to care, but the gardener comes up with a point system for the competitions, so that, as it is implied, the magician could finally win and marry the princess.

The Land Beyond the Fire


There were three regular girls who were stuck at home because their father was often away. Two of them were unhappy, because they thought they could never get married if they can't have visitors or go out often. The other didn't show any unhappiness at all about the situation. To their surprise, a man came out of their fireplace asking to see who would volunteer to be his wife. He asks each one in turn to come with him through the fireplace.


The two sisters got what they wished for, but it wasn't the prince behind the fireplace, because they couldn't handle the fire and smoke they thought they saw there. They eventually married good husbands and became wealthy. The third was able to stand the smoke and fire, because she didn't see or feel any at all, and stayed to marry the prince, but she could always visit home whenever she wanted.

Mellilot and Iolanda


A poor couple, named Mellilot and Iolanda, have only one thing that they love and live for, and that is each other. Yet one day as Mellilot was working in the fields, a snake bit him and killed him. Iolanda decided it best to go to the nearby witch and ask for her to bring him back to life. When she goes to the witch, the witch tells her that she can not do it, but there is a place where there is a water that can. Iolanda will have to pay a price for it though, but she doesn't care.


There are three women who guard three gates to the water, and each ask Iolanda what she would pay to get past them. Eventually, they take all her beauty, her eyes, teeth, and hair lose their color, and she gives her husband the water only to find that he doesn't recognize her after her changes. He kicks her out and loses his job while trying to find his wife, which he didn't think she was. She gets her wish in the end, however, when he loses his eyes and recognizes her later by her voice.

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  • The Coloured Fairy Books by Andrew Lang
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