Search Results for 'fairytales'

Once there was a young warrior

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear.

She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly.

But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle.

The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other.

The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons.

The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, "May I have permission to go into battle with you?"

Fear said, "Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission."

Then the young warrior said, "How can I defeat you?"

Fear replied, "My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power."

In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. 

by Pema Chödrön

Link: GoodReads

Category: Stories

Tradition: Buddhism

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · Buddhist · warrior · teacher · mentor

Where is God

"Where is God?" asked the disciple.
"Everywhere, in everyone and everything," said his Guru.
Later, as the disciple was going home, he saw an elephant charging towards him.
"Get out of the way, get out of the way," shouted the elephant-driver. "He has gone mad!"
But the disciple thought: "God is everywhere. He is in the elephant and he is in me. Would God attack God? No, therefore the elephant will not attack me."
He stood where he was. The elephant picked him up in his trunk and flung him aside. Fortunately, he landed in a haystack and was not too badly hurt. But he was terribly shaken and confused.
When the Guru and the other disciples came to help him and take him home, he said, "You said God is in everything, but see what the elephant did to me!"
"It is true that God is in everything," said his Guru. "He is in the elephant, but he is also in the mahout who kept telling you to get out of the way. Why didn't you listen to him?"

by Anon - Bengali folktale

Link: Saromama

Category: Stories

Tradition: Hinduism

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · Bengali · awareness · teacher · mentor · immanence

Jewish Stories

Stories from the Midrash, Hasidic stories, stories of sages and mystics, contemporary stories, fables and parables, and more.


Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Judaism

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · Jewish · Judaism

Aaron's World of Stories

Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, Tall Tales, Trickster Tales, Animal Tales, Myths, Legends ~ East Asian, Southeast Asian, Asian Indian, African, Middle Eastern, Scandinavian, North American, South American  

Link: Aaron's World of Stories

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology

American folklore

Everything from Brer Rabbit to Native American stories 

Link: American folklore

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology


Folktales for children 

Link: Pitara

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · children

The hummingbird saves the world

One day an elephant saw a hummingbird lying flat on its back on the ground. The bird's tiny feet were raised up into the air.
"What on earth are you doing, Hummingbird?" asked the elephant.
The hummingbird replied, "I have heard that the sky might fall today. If that should happen, I am ready to do my part in holding it up."
The elephant laughed loudly and mocked the little bird. "Do you think those itty-bitty feet could hold up the sky?"
"Not alone," admitted the hummingbird. "But each of us must do what he can and this is what I can do myself."

Category: Stories

Tradition: None

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · attitude · influence

Stone Cutters

During the Middle Ages, a traveler once came upon a place in France where a great deal of building work was going on. He began talking with the stone cutters and asking them about their work.
He approached the first worker and asked, "What are you doing?"

The man, very disgruntled, and obviously unhappy in his hard toil, replied, "I'm cutting these huge boulders with the simplest of tools and putting them together in the way I've been told to do. I'm sweating in this heat and my back is hurting. What's more, I'm totally bored, and I wish I didn't have to do this hard and meaningless job."

The traveler moved on quickly to interview a second worker. He asked the same question: "What are you doing?"

The worker replied, "Well, I have a wife and children at home, so I come here every morning and I work these boulders into regular shapes, as I'm told to do. It gets repetitive sometimes, but it helps to feed my family, and that's all I want."

Somewhat encouraged, the traveller went on to a third worker. "And what are you doing?" he asked.

The third worker responded, with shining eyes, as he pointed up to the heavens, "I'm building a cathedral!"

Category: Stories

Tradition: None

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · Christian · attitude · mindfulness

How Much Does a Snowflake Weigh?

It was deep winter and the snow was falling steadily upon the hillside.

A tiny mouse crept out of its hole for a little break in its long winter sleep.

Drowsily, the little mouse looked around and twitched its whiskers, and would have gone back to sleep inside its hole, had not a tiny voice echoed from somewhere out there in the white winter world: "Hello, little mouse. Can't you sleep?"

The mouse looked around and caught sight of a tiny bird sitting, shivering, on a bare branch just overhead. "Hello, Jenny Wren," said the mouse, pleased to find some company on this bleak day. "I just came up for a bit of air before I go back to sleep for the rest of the winter."

But it was so good to find company that for a while, the mouse and the wren sat there together, huddled beneath the lowest branches of a pine tree, watching the snow falling and enjoying a little congenial conversation. "How much do you think a snowflake weighs?" the mouse asked the wren suddenly.

"A snowflake weighs almost nothing," the wren replied. "A snowflake is so insignificant, it carries almost no weight at all. How could you possibly weigh a snowflake?"
"Oh, I disagree," said the mouse. "In fact, I can tell you that last winter, around this time, I woke up from my winter dreaming and came out here for a breath of fresh air, and because I had no companions and nothing better to do, I sat here counting the snowflakes as they fell. I watched them settling on these branches, and covering the pine needles with a blanket of whiteness. I got as far as two million, four hundred and ninety-two thousand, three hundred and fifty-nine. And thenwhen the very next snowflake fell and settled on the branch, and the branch dropped right down to the ground and all the snow slid off it. So you see, just that one last snowflake weighed enough to make the branch sink down and all the snow slide off. So a snowflake does weigh something. It does make a difference!"

The wren, who was only a tiny, little bird herself and didn't think she had much influence on the great, big world around her, pondered for a long time over the mouse's story. "Perhaps," she thought to herself, "it really is true that just one little voice can make a difference."

Category: Stories

Tradition: None

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · snowflake · mouse · Nature · children · wren · winter · influence

Three Questions

It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid, and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake.

And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to any one who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do.

And learned men came to the King, but they all answered his questions differently.

In reply to the first question, some said that to know the right time for every action, one must draw up in advance, a table of days, months and years, and must live strictly according to it. Only thus, said they, could everything be done at its proper time. Others declared that it was impossible to decide beforehand the right time for every action; but that, not letting oneself be absorbed in idle pastimes, one should always attend to all that was going on, and then do what was most needful. Others, again, said that however attentive the King might be to what was going on, it was impossible for one man to decide correctly the right time for every action, but that he should have a Council of wise men, who would help him to fix the proper time for everything.

But then again others said there were some things which could not wait to be laid before a Council, but about which one had at once to decide whether to undertake them or not. But in order to decide that one must know beforehand what was going to happen. It is only magicians who know that; and, therefore in order to know the right time for every action, one must consult magicians.

Equally various were the answers to the second question. Some said, the people the King most needed were his councillors; others, the priests; others, the doctors; while some said the warriors were the most necessary.

To the third question, as to what was the most important occupation: some replied that the most important thing in the world was science. Others said it was skill in warfare; and others, again, that it was religious worship.

All the answers being different, the King agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions, he decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom.

The hermit lived in a wood which he never quitted and he received none but common folk. So the King put on simple clothes, and before reaching the hermit's cell dismounted from his horse, and, leaving his bodyguard behind, went on alone.

When the King approached, the hermit was digging the ground in front of his hut. Seeing the King, he greeted him and went on digging. The hermit was frail and weak, and each time he stuck his spade into the ground and turned a little earth, he breathed heavily.

The King went up to him and said: 'I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important and need my first attention?' The hermit listened to the King, but answered nothing. He just spat on his hand and recommenced digging.

'You are tired,' said the King, 'let me take the spade and work awhile for you.'

'Thanks!' said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the King, he sat down on the ground.

When he had dug two beds, the King stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit again gave no answer, but rose, stretched out his hand for the spade, and said:

'Now rest awhile -- and let me work a bit.'

But the King did not give him the spade, and continued to dig. One hour passed, and another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the King at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said:

'I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so, and I will return home.'

'Here comes some one running,' said the hermit, 'let us see who it is.'

The King turned round, and saw a bearded man come running out of the wood. The man held his hands pressed against his stomach, and blood was flowing from under them. When he reached the King, he fell fainting on the ground moaning feebly. The King and the hermit unfastened the man's clothing. There was a large wound in his stomach. The King washed it as best he could, and bandaged it with his handkerchief and with a towel the hermit had. But the blood would not stop flowing, and the King again and again removed the bandage soaked with warm blood, and washed and rebandaged the wound. When at last the blood ceased flowing, the man revived and asked for something to drink. The King brought fresh water and gave it to him. Meanwhile the sun had set, and it had become cool. So the King, with the hermit's help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. Lying on the bed the man closed his eyes and was quiet; but the King was so tired with his walk and with the work he had done, that he crouched down on the threshold, and also fell asleep -- so soundly that he slept all through the short summer night. When he awoke in the morning, it was long before he could remember where he was, or who was the strange bearded man lying on the bed and gazing intently at him with shining eyes.

'Forgive me!' said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw that the King was awake and was looking at him.

'I do not know you, and have nothing to forgive you for,' said the King.

'You do not know me, but I know you. I am that enemy of yours who swore to revenge himself on you, because you executed his brother and seized his property. I knew you had gone alone to see the hermit, and I resolved to kill you on your way back. But the day passed and you did not return. So I came out from my ambush to find you, and I came upon your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them, but should have bled to death had you not dressed my wound. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now, if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons do the same. Forgive me!'

The King was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend, and he not only forgave him, but said he would send his servants and his own physician to attend him, and promised to restore his property.

Having taken leave of the wounded man, the King went out into the porch and looked around for the hermit. Before going away he wished once more to beg an answer to the questions he had put. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before.

The King approached him, and said:

'For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man.'

'You have already been answered!' said the hermit still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him.

'How answered? What do you mean?' asked the King.

'Do you not see,' replied the hermit. 'If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug these beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards, when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business. Remember then: there is only one time that is important -- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!'

by Leo Tolstoy

Link: The Story of the Taoist Farmer

Category: Stories

Tradition: None

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · Russian · awareness · mindfulness

Anansi stories

Traditional African stories 

Link: Anansi stories

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Other

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · African · Anansi

Sufi stories and poetry

Sufi stories and poetry from the mystical Islamic tradition of Sufism 

Link: Sufi stories and poetry

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Sufism

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · Sufi · poetry · poems

Taoist stories

Taoist Stories don’t always have a clear moral; they serve to let us know that there are two ways of seeing this world: one, where we add up all the calculations, make judgements based on appearance and all the reasonable assumptions our senses come to – and another, where we can see straight to the heart of the matter, bypassing all the usual criteria and using our inner sight. 


Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Taoism

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · Taoist · Taoism

Taoist stories at Tom Thumb

Taoism always chooses images like water and childhood to observe that we can be partners with the universe; it's the original 'go with the flow' philosophy. 

Link: Tom Thumb

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Taoism

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · Taoist · Taoism

The Taoist Farmer

There was once a Taoist farmer. One day the Taoist farmer’s only horse broke out of the corral and ran away. The farmer’s neighbors, all hearing of the horse running away, came to the Taoist farmer’s house to view the corral. As they stood there, the neighbors all said, "Oh what bad luck!" The Taoist farmer replied, "Maybe."

About a week later, the horse returned bringing with it a whole herd of wild horses, which the Taoist farmer and his son quickly corralled. The neighbors, hearing of the corralling of the horses, came to see for themselves. As they stood there looking at the corral filled with horses, the neighbors said, "Oh what good luck!" The Taoist farmer replied, "Maybe."

At that same time in China, there was a war going on between two rival warlords. The warlord of the Taoist farmer’s village was involved in this war. In need of more soldiers, he sent one of his captains to the village to conscript young men to fight in the war. When the captain came to take the Taoist farmer’s son he found a young man with a broken leg who was delirious with fever. Knowing there was no way the son could fight, the captain left him there. A few days later, the son’s fever broke. The neighbors, hearing of the son’s not being taken to fight in the war and of his return to good health, all came to see him. As they stood there, each one said, "Oh what good luck!" The Taoist farmer replied, "Maybe."

by Kent Moreno

Link: Pediatric Services

Category: Stories

Tradition: Taoism

· stories · folktales · fairytales · legends · myth · myths · mythology · Taoist · Taoism