Boyling and Girlchen were brother and sister, and lived with their mother Annalisa and wicked stepfather Kobold at the edge of the only bamboo forest in pre-industrial Bavaria. One night, as they lay awake in their tiny bed in the other room, unable to sleep for hunger, they heard their parents talking in the kitchen.
“We cannot make enough money cutting and selling bamboo,” said Kobold, who was in fact a goblin that had taken the form of a man. “We are all going to starve to death.”
“I assume you have some plan, or you wouldn’t have brought this up,” said Annalisa sharply. She had come to realize her new husband wasn’t very nice, and had taken to reading the tortuously complex pre-industrial Bavarian divorce laws when he wasn’t around. Continue reading →
Once upon a time there was a woodcutter who had three somewhat ordinary-looking daughters. The eldest daughter liked to fish. Her mother said, “You will always be able to feed your family with the fish you catch.” The second daughter liked to make pots out of clay. Her mother said, “You will always be able to feed your family by selling your pots.” The youngest daughter liked to fly kites. Her mother said, “You will never feed your family; all you do is fly kites and climb trees to get them down.”
One day the woodcutter said to her daughters, “It is time you went out into the world to seek your fortunes. Here is some food for your journey.” To the eldest she gave half a cold chicken. To the second she gave half a wheel of cheese. To the youngest she gave half a crust of stale bread. Then she sent them out one at a time, a day apart. Continue reading →