Salt and Water

Once, a king asked his three daughters, how much they loved him. The first daughter said, “I love you as much as my eyes.” The second daughter said, “I love you as much as my heart.” The king was very happy to hear this and rewarded the daughters for loving him so much. But when the third daughter said, “I love you as much as salt and water,” the king was so angry that he ordered his men to throw her out of the kingdom.

The princess went to live in another kingdom. Meanwhile, the prince of that kingdom fell in love with her and asked her to marry him. The princess invited her father to the wedding. During the dinner, she ordered that the food be served to her father without salt and water. All the guests enjoyed the feast but the princess’s father could hardly eat. Then the princess went to him and said, “Do you realize the importance of salt and water?” The king realised his mistake and asked to be forgiven for punishing her.

The Evil Cook

Queen Matilda had no children. She was very unhappy and prayed to God. Soon God answered her prayers and blessed her with a son and said that whatever he wished for would be granted.

One day, when the queen was asleep, the wicked cook took the child away from the sleeping queen. “Sire, the queen has allowed the wild beasts to take the child away!” he told the king. As proof, he put hen’s blood on the queen’s apron. The king was furious. “You deserve to be punished for such a cruel deed. How can a mother neglect her child? You will live in the high tower without any food or water!” proclaimed the king to the queen. But God sent two angels who brought food for her twice a day.

Soon the king’s son grew up. “I Wish for a palace and a pretty maiden as a companion,” said the boy to the cook. Fearing that the prince might wish to be with his father one day and thus his wicked deed would be exposed, the cook told the maiden to kill the boy in his sleep. But the girl could not kill an innocent boy. She told the boy about the cook’s evil plan. The boy cursed him and turned him into a black poodle.

He set out in search of his mother. After finding her he declared, “Mother, I will go to Father and tell him the truth.” He presented himself at the king’s court the next day and told him about the cook’s treachery. The king begged for forgiveness and ordered, “Throw the cook into the deepest, darkest dungeon! He shall never see light again.” The three lived in happiness thereafter.

The King of the Lake

A very brave warrior one day decided to go out to look for adventure. Soon, he came to a lake with a bridge over it. On the bridge was a snake, as big as a tree. But the fearless warrior crossed the river by jumping over the snake. Suddenly, the snake took the form of a man. He was the king of the lake.

The king declared, “I have been waiting for a warrior brave enough to face the fierce snake that I had become. I will take you to my kingdom where you will have to perform a task for me.”

The brave warrior agreed and went with the king. The water of the lake parted to make way for them and they went into the water. When they reached the lake kingdom, they found a huge dragon with eyes of fire and a flaming tongue. The king told the warrior to kill the dragon. The warrior aimed a shot at the dragon’s fiery eyes and killed it. The king rewarded him with gold.

The Carabao and the Snail

Once there was a carabao. One day, the carabao went to a river where he met a snail. He mocked at the snail and said, “You are so slow.” The snail replied, “No, I am not. I can easily beat you in a race.” The surprised carabao said, “Let’s race and see who beats whom.” Soon the race began. The carabao was fast. He covered a long distance and soon the snail was nowhere to be seen. So he called out, “Hey, Snail! Where are you?” Another snail, which was nearby, thought that the carabao was calling him, answered, “Here I am.” The carabao was surprised that the snail could run as fast. He started running faster. Every time he stopped to call, some other snail answered him. So he kept on running until he dropped dead.

Aladdin

Once there lived a poor widow and her son, Aladdin. One day, Aladdin’s uncle, Mustafa, came to visit them. He said, “Sister, why don’t you let Aladdin come and work for me?” They agreed and Mustafa took Aladdin along with him. They walked in the desert and came to a cave. The cave was full of riches and treasures but Mustafa was afraid to go inside. He wanted Aladdin to go in and get him the treasures instead. “Go inside,” commanded Mustafa, “and find me the jewels. You will also find a lamp. Bring it to me.”

Aladdin went inside and found more riches than he could ever imagine. He found a beautiful ring and wore it on his finger. He also collected as many gems as he could, but before he could come out of the cave, Mustafa said, “Quick! Just hand me all, the jewels and the lamp!” Aladdin refused. Angry at the refusal, his cruel uncle blocked the entrance of the cave and left.

Aladdin sat in the dark and cried. Then he saw the old lamp and decided to light it. While cleaning it, he rubbed the lamp and out came a genie! “Master, I shall grant you three wishes,” he said. Aladdin said, “Take me home!” In seconds, Aladdin was with his mother, counting the gems he had brought from the cave. Aladdin also brought the ring along with him and when he rubbed it, out came another genie! “Master, I shall grant you three wishes!” said the genie. “Make us rich and happy!” said Aladdin. And Aladdin and his mother lived happily.

One day, Aladdin saw the sultan’s daughter and fell in love with her. He went to the palace with gems and asked for her hand in marriage. The king agreed to this. After marriage, Aladdin showered the princess with all the riches and gave her a huge palace to live in. When the sultan died, Aladdin ruled the kingdom. He was just and kind hearted and everybody was happy under his rule.

Meanwhile, Mustafa came to know how Aladdin found the magic lamp and became rich. He wanted to take the lamp back. So, one day, when Aladdin was away, Mustafa came to the palace dressed as a trader. He cried out, “Get new lamps for old ones! New lamps for old!” Hearing this, the princess took out the magic lamp and gave it to him. She did not know that the old lamp was indeed magical. She bought a shiny new lamp instead. Mustafa gladly took the lamp and went away. He then commanded the genie, “Send Aladdin’s entire palace into the deserts in Africa!” And saying this, Mustafa, along with the princess in the palace, were sent to Africa. Aladdin, on coming back, found his wife and house missing. He searched for the palace for three long days. Finally, he rubbed his magic ring and asked the genie, “Please take me to my princess!” The genie agreed. When he met his wife, Aladdin and the princess decided to trick Mustafa.

One night, the princess said to Mustafa, “I don’t think Aladdin will ever find me here! I might as well live as your slave for I am certain he is dead now!” Mustafa was very happy and ordered for a feast. During the feast, the princess got Mustafa drunk and he fell into a deep sleep.

In the meantime, the princess took the magic lamp to Aladdin. Together, they asked the genie of the lamp to take the entire palace back to Aladdin’s kingdom. The genie then killed Mustafa and Aladdin and the princess lived happily ever after.

The Singer and the Dolphin

Arion was a handsome singer who lived in the city of Corinth. One day, Arion was returning with precious jewels, which he had won at a competition, when he met some wicked sailors. “Hand over the jewels and you may go,” they said. Arion started to sing, and hearing his voice the pirates fell into a stupor listening to him.

A dolphin too swam up to the ship. “I will carry you on my back to the place you wish to go,” it said. When the pirates regained their senses, they spread the rumour that Arion had stolen their goods. Meanwhile, Arion reached Corinth and gathered his own army. He attacked the pirates and won the battle. In memory of this event, a grand statue of Arion and the dolphin was constructed at Corinth. It is still a famous landmark.

Last Dream of the Old Oak

There once was an old oak tree that had lived through centuries. He was proud to be called the oldest tree in the world. He often thought how lucky he was to enjoy the beauty of nature for so long while mortals could enjoy it only for a few decades.

The tree looked back at his life and thought about all that he had seen though the ages–the sun, the moon, the seas and all the animals–bright and beautiful.

He had seen famous kings, beautiful queens and lots of fierce wars. But he had a last wish–he wanted to grow taller, touch the clouds, feel the stars, and see the heavens above.

However, when the harsh winter months approached, the tree lost all his leaves and his roots became frail. Then one Christmas morning as church bells rang, the oak tree died. God had heard the oak tree and fulfilled his wish to touch the sky. He brought the oak tree to heaven.

How Men Got Fire

Once some American Indians, who lived in a forest, needed a fire. They had seen one before but didn’t know how to light one. A rabbit came to their rescue and promised to go to the weasel, who often lit a fire.

One night, the rabbit went to the weasel’s house where the weasel and his friends were having a bonfire. He covered his head with a cloth and joined the party. While dancing, the rabbit placed the cloth over the fire. Soon the cloth caught fire, and he ran away with it.

Meanwhile, the weasels understood his trick and chased him. But how could they catch the fast rabbit? They prayed to the rain god to extinguish the fire but the clever rabbit hid himself under a tree.

When the rains stopped, he went to the American Indians and gave them the fire.

The Top and the Ball

A whipping top and a ball were kept in a small box. The ball was made of expensive leather and was multicoloured while the whipping top was made of ordinary wood. The whipping top loved the ball and hoped to marry it one day.

The ball was very proud of its looks. She refused to marry the top. One day, a young boy was playing with the ball. While playing, he kicked it so hard that it flew out of sight, never to be found again. The top was heartbroken and very upset. Five years passed but the ball didn’t return and the top was alone.

Meanwhile, the top was also painted with different colours and looked beautiful. One day, it fell into a garbage dump where it saw something that looked familiar. It was the ball-tattered and torn!

The ball recognised the top and wanted to marry him. But the top said, “You refused to marry me when I looked bad and ugly. Now I shall do the same.

Battle of the Crabs

A number of crabs used to live along the shore. “The waves make so much noise that we are unable to sleep,” said one crab. “We should fight and defeat them!” declared another. They gathered their army and were on their way when they met a small shrimp. “Oh, you poor things! You think you can fight with the huge waves? You are too tiny,” the shrimp mocked.

The crabs begged the shrimp to fight on their side. While leading the army the shrimp pointed to the spear on his head and said, “This powerful weapon shields me from the waves.” The foolish crabs believed him and kept admiring the shrimp for his courage. Then a huge wave came rushing towards them and killed all the crabs, but the clever shrimp survived. He told the sad tale to the crab’s children.

Till today, one can find crabs scurrying towards the waves to fight it, but when their courage fails they hurry back to the shore.