So I've long been interested in folklore, fairy tales, fables, etc and have read quite a number of them, especially Slavic Tales where I draw most of my inspiration. I am pretty proud of these tales I've written and I hope to write more in the future once my mind stops feeling so dried up in the creativity department. Anyways, a good number of my friends and family enjoyed these short stories and thought I should share them.
How the Dog became Man's Best Friend
Once upon a time a man and his daughter lived in a rural country side where he tended to his farm on a daily basis. His crops were always kept well and his livestock produced plenty of goods. His cows delivered plentiful milk while his chickens laid many eggs. However, he was still living a simple life and only made enough to survive, simply put he was poor.
However one day while tending to the coop, the man was surprised to find three golden eggs in one of the nests. Overjoyed, the man quickly ran outside to tell his daughter the good news. When he came back inside however. the golden eggs were gone and the prized chicken that laid them was nowhere to be seen except for a couple of loose feathers.
The man sunk in despair as he collected the feathers. Now he would really be in for it. He could handle no longer being rich but now he just made a liar of himself by telling his daughter he'd be able to marry her off to a prince when he was still just a poor farmer. He sat down and began to wept, not sure how to face his daughter again.
A rooster, the mate of the prized chicken looked at the man with sympathy and pecked him lightly on the head.
"Ow," the man rubbed his head, "What was that for?"
"You will solve nothing sitting here wallowing in self-pity! Go and find my wife!" scolded the rooster. He looked around the coop, "I didn't see who took her but maybe someone else did. Why don't you ask around?"
"You're right, thank you," responded the man as he got back up, still clutching the feathers in his hand.
Nobody inside the coop seemed to know what happened. All the chickens were still in a state of panic and shock, none would speak. The rooster stayed behind to try and calm them down while the man headed outside of the coop and wandered around the farm asking the other animals.
First he came across the cat, sitting lazily in a tree. The man called up to it, "Cat! Are you awake? I need to ask you something."
Grumpily, the cat stirred and looked down at the man with only one eye open and yawned, "Yeah? What do you want?"
"That's some way to talk to me," the man muttered but decided to ignore the cat's tone as he went on, "my prized chicken was stolen along with its eggs. Did you see anyone enter or leave the coop?"
Bored and disinterested the cat just stared at the farmer for a second then turned back to sleep without answering the question.
The man turned red with embarrassment and anger, "That good for nothing… why do I keep him around?" the man sighed and pressed on.
Next he came across the pigs who were splashing about in mud, wrestling each other. They didn't even notice the man approach them. He called out to the pigs, "Pigs! Could you stop rough housing for a moment? I have something important to ask."
"Oh is it feeding time already?" the pigs happily answered back, not really listening to what the man had to say.
"No, I already fed you an hour ago! I am looking for my prized chicken, it was stolen from the coop. Have you seen anything?" the man persisted.
"No food? Oh well..." the pigs retreated back to their playing in the mud, ignoring the man.
Once again the man turned red with embarrassment and anger, "All they care about is food, so much for caring about the hand that feeds them," the man sighed and pressed on.
He tried each and every animal on the farm but would come across similar answers. All of his animals were selfish and unwilling to help. None of them would give an answer. How could a stranger come on to the farm and not a single one of them noticed? Perhaps they did notice but didn't care enough to tell. The cows were too busy grazing. The horses were busy being full of themselves as they complimented each other on their beautiful manes. The sheep saw the common theme on the farm was to ignore the man and so they followed everyone else and said nothing useful either.
Desparate and annoyed, the man went out for a walk in the woods hoping to come across the answer himself. He heard a loud noise and stopped to listen. It was barking. The man ran over torward the sound and came across a dog. The dog looked up at the man and happily wagged its tail. "Oh you came!" the dog lolled its tongue. "I was beginning to think nobody would come."
"What is the matter, dog?" asked the man.
"Well I was chasing a fox when my paw got stuck in this crack here, could you help me?" the dog asked.
"Certainly!" the man brushed aside his annoyances and worked to pull the dog's paw free. After a minute it was out and the dog jumped for joy then circled around the man.
"Alright, I'm free!" the dog grinned. "Say you look troubled, friend. Is there anything I can do to help you?"
"Huh?" the man was confused by the question, used to the selfishness of his own animals.
"You look pretty down, friend. I can sense these things. Come on you can tell me, I'd love to help! After all you helped me, so that means we are friends right?" the dog nodded, its simple logic being enough for the animal.
The man chuckled, still pleasantly surprised. "Well don't you have a fox to chase? Don't let my worries trouble you."
"Nonsense!" the dog bumped its nose at the man to knock some sense into him. "Friends always have time to help each other out."
"Well if you say so," the man gave in and told the dog his tale -- how his prized chicken was stolen, the golden eggs lost, and that he already promised his daughter the wealth. He went on to tell the dog how the animals on his farm were so spoiled they didn't even lift a nose to help him.
Dog listened attentively and faithfully, never once dozing off or spacing out in the middle of the story. It listened to the whole tale in its entirety and at the end it stood up and began to walk off torward the woods.
The man sighed, taking the dog's leave as a sign of disinterest. But then to his surprise the dog turned around and barked. "This way," the dog said quite sternly. "That fox I was chasing had your chicken. We had better get it back before it's too late. "
Astonished, the man quickly ran after the dog, following it through the woods. They worked together to track the fox. The man would point out footsteps and when the trail was lost the dog would pick it up again through smell. Eventually they found themselves outside the fox's den. A loud squawk came from inside -- the chicken was in danger. Without further instruction, the dog insitinctively leapt inside the den. Growling and howling could be heard and before long an orange bushy tail fled from the den. The fox trodded off, not daring to look the man in the eye. Just a moment afterward, the dog was a few steps behind carrying the chicken gently in its mouth. It set the chicken down harmlessly in front of the man.
The man pat the dog on the head, "Good work, dog."
In return the dog simply wagged its tail then went back inside the den to fetch the eggs for the man as well. "Looks like you can keep your promise to your daughter after all."
The man and the dog returned to the farm with the prized chicken and golden eggs. When they got there the animals were still lost in their own worlds and didn't even notice the man was gone. Sighing the man shook his head but returned the chicken to its coop then headed back outside noticing the dog still waited faithfully at the farm's gate.
"Why don't you come in, dog?" the man queried.
"It would be rude, I might startle the animals as a stranger," the dog replied.
"Nonsense," the man grinned, "Any friend of mine is always welcome on the farm."
Dog wagged its tail and headed inside the farm.
A month later, the man kept his promise to his daughter and she was married off to a prince, living happily ever after as a princess. The man himself however decided he was happier with the farm life and remained a simple man with his friend the dog. Although the animals around the farm may not always listen to him, the dog was always at his side as a faithful companion.
That is how the dog became man's best friend.
The Three Brothers and the Ice Dragon
In a kingdom in the north where winter was eternal, there stood a grand castle carved from ice. Within the keep was an elderly king and his three sons and their many attendents. The king's health was failing and so he summoned his three sons to a council so that they could hear his request.
On his his bed with a raspy voice, the king turned to the young men and spoke, "My sons, my time in this world is not long. With each passing day my bones become more brittle and I am slowly fading away. There is still the matter of who should rule the kingdom in my place. I do not wish for you to have a bloody civil war among each other fighting for such a title and so I propose now for each of you to swear to me you will follow my wishes."
Each son responded in unison, "I swear, father."
"Good…" continued the sickly old man. "Then I have a task for the three of you to accomplish. He who accomplishes this task first will then be king and the other two brothers his left and right hands. Agreed?"
Each son responded in unison, "I agree, father."
The king slowly sat up to lean against his pillow as he delivered the task to the princes. "Then listen carefully I only have the breath to say this once. In the cave east of here resides a dragon. This dragon is said to be holding a woman captive, if you can resue her and woo her then I shall make you both King and Queen of this kingdom. "
Eager to set off and prove themselves, the men bid their father farewell and took their leave. They each took a horse and rode their way eastward, together. As they galloped they talked among each other, each boasting they would be king except for the youngest who remained quiet.
"I will surely be King of this land," boasted the oldest prince. "I am the strongest of all three of us and I am well trained in a sword. Slaying a dragon will be a simple task." He flexed his muscles as evidence to his claim and indeed he was the biggest and strongest of the trio.
The middle brother who was far skinnier protested, "Father didn't say anything abot slaying the dragon, not everything in this world requires brawn you know." He scoffed as he looked up from the book he was reading while riding. "Trickery and beguile is more often than not sufficient."
"Reason with a dragon, are you mad?" roared the eldest in laughter.
"I am quite serious," the middle brother pursed his lips, unamused at his brother. "Dragons are said to be intelligent creatures so why not treat it like one instead of your barbaric methods. Besides even if you do need to best the dragon in combat, simply going toe to toe with one is certain death, You would need tactics or magic."
In response the eldest brother grunted, "Well we'll see whose method works best when the time comes." He looked over at the youngest prince, who was still somewhat just a boy, he only had just become a man and barely had any hair on his face to show for it. "Giving uo already? Have you no boasts as well?" the eldest smirked teasingly.
The youngest brother did not fluster and remained calm. "What do I have to boast? It is true you are the strongest, and he is the smartest. I have no talent to claim as my own."
The middle brother was a little more sympathetic, "Then why did you come with us if you already knew you would have no chance?"
"You are my brothers," the youngest replied meekly, "I am here to give you my support, whatever it is I can do to help."
Both older brothers remained quiet, the youngest was a hard person to tease when he was so honest and humble.
After three days and three nights, the brothers arrived just outside the cave. Each dismounted his horse and gathered outside the entrance to speak once more. "Well here we are," the oldest announced. "Now then since I am so sure your tongue will fail, how about I let you speak with the dragon first. Then when you fail, I will enter and fight it."
"That is fair of you, brother," the middle brother replied. "After all I wouldn't be able to speak to a corpse."
"Where shall I remain?" asked the youngest.
Both older brothers exchanged glances. They did not wish to see their younger brother become a casualty in their quest even if he came all this way to support them. Finally the oldest spoke up, "Remain out here. We don't wish to see you hurt."
The youngest frowned, but nodded and stayed outside. Meanwhile the middle brother entered the cave, with the oldest following shortly behind, his sword sheathed.
Inside the cave was a large blue dragon sleeping peacefully. Its tail curled around its large body and twitched in it sleep, shaking the cave with each deadly swing. It snored soundly, smoke flaring from its nostrils with each exhale. Above the dragon was a cage with a woman inside. The woman had long beautiful red hair and a flowy green dress. She spotted the two men with her emerald jade eyes but her rosy red lips remained frozen in fear, unwilling to speak lest she awoke the dragon. Instead she pointed down at the dragon's claw. Inside a ring of keys was hanging from one of its nails.
Both brothers exchanged glances of amusement. This would be easier than they thought. They came all this way ready to outsmart or slay a dragon and it was asleep. Now came a new problem, how would they decide which one would fetch the keys and become king?
The oldest proposed to settle the matter with a flip of a coin. His younger brother however seemed to protest, weary the noise may wake the dragon. The oldest shrugged. "If it does, then I guess I will kill it and claim my spot as a King. This way you at least have a chance."
Feeling deceited, the middle brother glared at his older brother but could not deny the logic and so he agreed. Tails. The oldest brother smirked and pocketed the coin and began to set out torward the dragon, tip toeing all the way. Suddenly, the dragon's tail whipped forth swooping torward the eldest prince and slamming straight into his torso.
"Aaaaah!" the oldest screamed as he was hurled across the cave.
The dragon opened one eye lazily seeing now it had guests. "Hm, did I hit something? Oh nevermind, I see I have a guest." It's large reptilian eyes glanced at the middle brother. "Well I'd get up to fetch you some tea, but I'd rather stay where I am, it is nap time."
"Please nevermind my brother," the middle brother began, "his thick skull doesn't know better and he thought it'd be a good idea to disturb a dragon. Would you care for a chat?"
"I said I'd rather sleep," the dragon answered back grumpily, its tail was still twitching.
"Yes, well," the middle brother was already starting to feel defeated, the dragon was quite intimidating now that it was awake. "You see, I am interested in that maiden up there. Is there anyway you would let her go?"
"Her?" the dragon's one opened eye rolled up at the maiden. "She is the future queen of this kingdom, how could I just give her up? You must earn her hand in marriage."
"Isn't there anythign you wish, something I could fetch for you?" the middle brother persisted.
"Hmmm..." the dragon seemed to ponder the question. After a moment it replied, "Very well then. I suppose I could trade it for another human royalty, but not just any will do. How about your dear younger brother?"
"What?" the middle brother shook nervously, "Why him?" The dragon did not answer and remained staring coldly and sleepily at him. The middle brother furrowed his brow and finally gave in. "Very well, I will give you him." He wanted the kingdom, and this way he'd be able to get it without bloodshed and with his own skin entact. It was the only choice. He proceeded back up the cave to fetch the youngest brother.
Meanwhile the eldest brother recovered from the dragon's surprise tail whip attack and staggered back torward the dragon. As he looked around he noticed the middle brother was no longer in the cave and he assumed he fled in terror. "Heh, coward never knew how to fight." He drew his blade from its sheath and pointed it at the dragon. "You got me by surprise before. This time you're mine and you won't get the best of me!"
"Oh you're still here?" the dragon yawned boredly. "Very well, do your worst."
With a charge, the oldest brother rushed at the dragon and swung his sword violently. While still laying down in its napping position the dragon whipped its tail in a fury, knocking the warrior back without a single scratch on itself. Then it shook its head, "I grow bored of you." It finally opened its other eye and was awake now as it reared its head back up and opened its fearsome jaws. When its head snapped forward once more a burst of icy mist erupted from its mouth and froze the oldest brother solid.
After the quick battle, the middle brother returned with the youngest and they both spotted their elder as a frozen sculpture in the middle of the cave. The youngest brother's eyes widened in horror while the middle brother looked down ashamed he was not there to save him while he was attempting his petty scheme at the throne.
"I've brought you him as you asked," the middle brother shook his head and tried to regain his composure. He may as well see this to the end then.
The dragon put its head down sleepily again now, it did not see either of the remaining brothers as a physical threat. "I thought you'd have run off after seeing what I did to your brother. Now you're willing to lose both of your brothers and remain all alone in the world?" the dragon was amused.
"I..." the middle brother looked away shame faced. He trailed off and did not finish speaking nor did he finish handing over his brother.
The youngest made no remark and seemed to be looking around the cave studying the situation. He glanced hard at the frozen figure of his oldest brother and could have swore he saw him blink inside the solid ice. He whispered to his middle brother, "Do not lose hope just yet, we still have a chance if you are willing to follow as I say."
The middle brother looked back in surprise. He never seen his younger sibling so serious. He was calm and had confidence despite this powerful dragon yet he had no strength nor intelligence like his own. He was a sight to behold. The middle brother could only nod, still stunned by this commanding aura.
In return the youngest prince whispered a plan into the middle brother's ear and then after sometime he approached the dragon, carrying nothing but a small dagger. Meanwhile the middle brother stayed behind and quickly flipped through a book.
The dragon once again batted only a single eye, "You plan to fight me with that toy? You might seriously slay me with laughter from the tickles it will cause."
The youngest stared back at the dragon, "A dagger is all I need to finish you."
"Oh, boastful aren't you? Perhaps you inherited that thick skull from your brother who is now my favorite ice sculpture!" the dragon snorted with laughter and glances torward the frozen older brother who was suddenly hit by a burst of flame. Ice began to melt into a puddle as the oldest brother stumbled forward.
"About time you casted that spell," the oldest muttered as he looked over to the middle brother who had his head buried in a book still.
"Yeah, yeah," the middle brother muttered back as he continued to scan the pages.
"What?" the dragon roared, "I will just freeze you again!"
"Eyes on me!" the youngest cried out as he stabbed the dragon in the throat with the dagger.
The dragon cried out in pain and threw its head back unable to use its ice breath with the pierced throat.
"Catch!" shouted the youngest once more as he withdrew the short blade and threw it torward the defrosted brother.
"You want me to slay the beast with this puny dagger?" the oldest was skeptical as he caught the dagger. "Your strike was well placed and true but it was still only a wound. A true sword is needed to slay such a beast!" Unfortunately his own sword was turned to ice with him and became ruined once he was recovered.
"Trust me," the youngest answered back.
The oldest couldn't argue with that tone and did as he was told, dropping his own broken sword and he held out the tiny dagger.
"Now!" commanded the youngest as he pointed torward the dragon. "Attack it!"
At this moment the dragon recovered from the hit and it was no longer playing around with the trio of princes. It got more serious and now stood on all four claws bracing itself for any attack. Its jaws opened wide ready to freeze the entire room in its deadly breath.
The oldest brother leapt torward the dragon and as he did, the middle brother casted yet another spell that struck the tiny knife. The knife expanded as it was heading torward the dragon's neck and eventually it grew one hundred times its old size becoming a massive sword. It sliced through the dragon easily, decapitating it. Its massive skull fell on the floor, shaking the cave. The oldest dropped the massive sword and it became a small dagger once more which the youngest retrieved and pocketed as he approached the dragon's corpse.
Both of his elder brothers stood behind him, the oldest to his right, and the middle to his left. Each prodded him forward, the oldest first observed, "You did well, little one. We would not have made it out of here alive without you."
The middle brother added, "You have only showed care for the both of us throughout this whole ordeal. Meanwhile both of us, your elders, were too caught up in the competition and would have sacrificed each other."
While smiling, the youngest said nothing of his deserved praise and simply stepped forward to claim the ring of keys from the dead dragon's grasp. Taking the appropriate key he freed the maiden from her jail and seeing how brave he was during the fight she immediately fell for him.
He later became king and took her as his queen. Both of his brothers remained faithfully at his side as his left and right hand, there was never a quarrel over the throne and everyone lived happily ever after.