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The Folktale Project

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Who says you're too old for a good fairy tale? Reading original versions of folktales and fairy tales from around the world every Monday through Friday, this podcast is for everyone who has a love of the mystery that surrounds us and the ways we try to explain it.




The Magic Cask

Once upon a time there was a man who dug up a big, earthenware cask in his field. So he took it home with him and told his wife to clean it out. But when his wife started brushing the inside of the cask, the cask suddenly began to fill itself with brushes.

Duration: 00:03:27

The Nix of The Mill Pond

There was once upon a time a miller who lived with his wife in great contentment. They had money and land, and their prosperity increased year by year more and more. But ill-luck comes like a thief in the night, as their wealth had increased so did it again decrease, year by year, and at last the miller could hardly call the mill in which he lived, his own. He was in great distress, and when he lay down after his day’s work, found no rest, but tossed about in his bed, full of care. One...

Duration: 00:14:36

The Dog and The Wolf

A gaunt Wolf was almost dead with hunger when he happened to meet a House-dog who was passing by. “Ah, Cousin,” said the Dog. “I knew how it would be; your irregular life will soon be the ruin of you. Why do you not work steadily as I do, and get your food regularly given to you?”

Duration: 00:02:40

The Green Picture

In a cellar in Green Street, Schenectady, there appeared, some years ago, the silhouette of a human form, painted on the floor in mould. It was swept and scrubbed away, but presently it was there again, and month by month, after each removal, it returned: a mass of fluffy mould, always in the shape of a recumbent man.

Duration: 00:04:42

Iktomi and The Fawn

In one of his wanderings through the wooded lands, Iktomi saw a rare bird sitting high in a tree-top. Its long fan-like tail feathers had caught all the beautiful colors of the rainbow. Handsome in the glistening summer sun sat the bird of rainbow plumage. Iktomi hurried hither with his eyes fast on the bird.

Duration: 00:11:57

The Nuns of Carthage

At Carthage, New York, where the Black River bends gracefully about a point, there was a stanch old house, built in the colonial fashion and designed for the occupancy of some family of hospitality and wealth, but the family died out or moved away, and for some years it remained deserted.

Duration: 00:03:52

Daughter and Stepdaughter

A widowed peasant with a daughter married a widow who also had a daughter: so they each had a stepchild. The stepmother was a wicked woman and constantly nagged the old man, 'Take your daughter off to the forest, to a hut. She'll spin more yam there." What could he do? He did as the woman said, carted his daughter off to the forest hut and gave her steel, flint and tinder, and a bag of millet, saying, "Here is fire; keep the fire burning and the porridge boiling, sit and spin, and let no...

Duration: 00:06:22

Our Lady's Little Glass

Once upon a time a waggoner’s cart which was heavily laden with wine had stuck so fast that in spite of all that he could do, he could not get it to move again.

Duration: 00:02:38

Clumsy Hans

Out in the country there was an old mansion where an old squire lived with his two sons, who were so witty that they thought themselves too clever for words. They decided to go out and propose to the King's daughter, which they were at liberty to do, for she had announced publicly that she would take for a husband the man who had the most to say for himself.

Duration: 00:10:11

The Lion and The Mouse

Once when a Lion was asleep, a little Mouse began running up and down upon him; this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him, and opened his big jaws to swallow him.

Duration: 00:03:40

The Monster Mosquito

They have some pretty big mosquitoes in New Jersey and on Long Island, but, if report of their ancestry is true, they have degenerated in size and voracity; for the grandfather of all mosquitoes used to live in the neighborhood of Fort Onondaga, New York, and sallying out whenever he was hungry, would eat an Indian or two and pick his teeth with their ribs.

Duration: 00:03:30

The Tree-Bound

It was a clear summer day. The blue, blue sky dropped low over the edge of the green level land. A large yellow sun hung directly overhead. The singing of birds filled the summer space between earth and sky with sweet music. Again and again sang a yellow-breasted birdie—”Koda Ni Dakota!” He insisted upon it. “Koda Ni Dakota!” which was “Friend, you’re a Dakota! Friend, you’re a Dakota!” Perchance the birdie meant the avenger with the magic arrow, for there across the plain he strode.

Duration: 00:14:42

The Beam

There was once an enchanter who was standing in the midst of a great crowd of people performing his wonders. He had a cock brought in, which lifted a heavy beam and carried it as if it were as light as a feather. But a girl was present who had just found a bit of four leaved clover, and had thus become so wise that no deception could stand out against her, and she saw that the beam was nothing but a straw...

Duration: 00:03:21

The Owl Tree

One day in October, 1827, Rev. Charles Sharply rode into Alfred, Maine, and held service in the meeting-house. After the sermon he announced that he was going to Waterborough to preach, and that on his circuit he had collected two hundred and seventy dollars to help build a church in that village. Would not his hearers add to that sum? They would and did, and that evening the parson rode away with over three hundred dollars in his saddlebags. He never appeared in Waterborough.

Duration: 00:04:41

The Two Cakes

I have always heard say, that he who gives pleasure finds it: the bell of Manfredonia says, “Give me, I give thee”: he who does not bait the hook of the affections with courtesy never catches the fish of kindness; and if you wish to hear the proof of this, listen to my story, and then say whether the covetous man does not always lose more than the liberal one.

Duration: 00:15:13

Mr. Vinegar

Mr and Mrs Vinegar lived in a vinegar bottle. Now, one day, when Mr Vinegar was from home, Mrs Vinegar, who was a very good housewife, was busily sweeping her house, when an unlucky thump of the broom brought the whole house cutter-clatter, cutter-clatter, about her ears. In an agony of grief she rushed forth to meet her husband. On seeing him she exclaimed, 'O Mr Vinegar, Mr Vinegar, we are ruined, we are ruined: I have knocked the house down, and it is all to pieces!'

Duration: 00:08:04

The Boy Who Became a Stone

One day a little boy named Elonen sat out in the yard making a bird snare, and as he worked, a little bird called to him: "Tik-tik-lo-den" (come and catch me).

Duration: 00:03:48

The Little Folks' Presents

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...

Duration: 00:06:58

The Palace in the Coulds

Ikkor, the Jewish vizier of the king of Assyria, was the wisest man in the land, but he was not happy. He was the greatest favorite of the king who heaped honors upon him, and the idol of the people who bowed before him in the streets and cast themselves on the ground at his feet to kiss the hem of his garment. Always he had a kindly word and a smile for those who sought his advice and guidance, but his eyes were ever sad, and tears would trickle down his cheeks as he watched the little...

Duration: 00:12:59

The Phantom Dummer

Colonel Howell, of the king’s troops, was a gay fellow, framed to make women false; but when he met the rosy, sweet-natured daughter of farmer Jarrett, near Valley Forge, he attempted no dalliance, for he fell too seriously in love. He might not venture into the old man’s presence, for Jarrett had a son with Washington, and he hated a red-coat as he did the devil; but the young officer met the girl in secret, and they plighted troth beneath the garden trees, hidden in gray mist. As Howell...

Duration: 00:06:23

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