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East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon   By:

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Retold by Gudrun Thorne Thomsen

Illustrated by Frederick Richardson


In recent years there has been a wholesome revival of the ancient art of story telling. The most thoughtful, progressive educators have come to recognize the culture value of folk and fairy stories, fables and legends, not only as means of fostering and directing the power of the child's imagination, but as a basis for literary interpretation and appreciation throughout life.

This condition has given rise to a demand for the best material in each of these several lines. Some editors have gleaned from one field; some from several. It is the aim of this little book to bring together only the very best from the rich stores of Norwegian folk lore. All these stories have been told many times by the editor to varied audiences of children and to those who are "older grown." Each has proved its power to make the universal appeal.

In preparing the stories for publication, the aim has been to preserve, as much as possible, in vocabulary and idiom, the original folk lore language, and to retain the conversational style of the teller of tales, in order that the sympathetic young reader may, in greater or less degree, be translated into the atmosphere of the old time story hour.



East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Taper Tom

Why the Bear is Stumpy Tailed

Reynard and the Cock

Bruin and Reynard Partners

Boots and His Brothers

The Lad Who Went to the North Wind

The Giant Who Had No Heart in His Body

The Sheep and the Pig Who Set Up Housekeeping

The Parson and the Clerk

Father Bruin

The Pancake

Why the Sea is Salt

The Squire's Bride


The Princess Who Could Not Be Silenced

The Twelve Wild Ducks

Gudbrand on the Hillside

The Princess on the Glass Hill

The Husband Who Was to Mind the House

Little Freddy with His Fiddle

[Illustration: "Are you afraid?"]


Once on a time there was a poor woodcutter who had so many children that he had not much of either food or clothing to give them. Pretty children they all were, but the prettiest was the youngest daughter, who was so lovely there was no end to her loveliness.

It was on a Thursday evening late in the fall of the year. The weather was wild and rough outside, and it was cruelly dark. The rain fell and the wind blew till the walls of the cottage shook. There they all sat round the fire busy with this thing and that. Just then, all at once, something gave three taps at the window pane. Then the father went out to see what was the matter, and, when he got out of doors, what should he see but a great White Bear.

"Good evening to you!" said the White Bear.

"The same to you," said the man.

"Will you give me your youngest daughter? If you will, I'll make you as rich as you are now poor," said the Bear.

Well, the man would not be at all sorry to be so rich; but give him his prettiest lassie, no, that he couldn't do, so he said "No" outright and closed the door both tight and well. But the Bear called out, "I'll give you time to think; next Thursday night I'll come for your answer."

Now, the lassie had heard every word that the Bear had said, and before the next Thursday evening came, she had washed and mended her rags, made herself as neat as she could, and was ready to start. I can't say her packing gave her much trouble.

Next Thursday evening came the White Bear to fetch her, and she got upon his back with her bundle, and off they went. So when they had gone a bit of the way, the White Bear said, "Are you afraid?"

"No, not at all," said the lassie.

"Well! mind and hold tight by my shaggy coat, and then there's nothing to fear," added the Bear.

So she rode a long, long way, till they came to a great steep hill. There on the face of it the White Bear gave a knock, and a door opened, and they came into a castle, where there were many rooms all lit up, gleaming with silver and gold, and there too was a table ready laid, and it was all as grand as grand could be... Continue reading book >>

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