3. Bedtime Stories


Once upon a time, a young man’s father died.  Aladdin, as that was the young man’s name, took his father’s place in running the family store with his mother.  One day, a stranger walked into the store.

“I am your uncle,” said the stranger to Aladdin.  “I have come to see you.”

“But my father never spoke of a brother,” said Aladdin.

Aladdin’s mother turned around. “My husband had no brother,” said she to the stranger, narrowing her eyes.

“I assure you it is true,” said the stranger. “Years ago your husband and I agreed that if something should happen to him, since I have been very fortunate in my life, I would help to bring the same good fortune to your family.”

The mother was interested.  “What do you have in mind?” she said.

“I know of a secret place that holds many riches,” said the stranger.  “I will take your son. With the wealth he will find there, you and he will be set for life.”

And so the mother agreed.  The old man and the boy traveled for days throughout the desert.  At last they came to a cave. “You must know that I learned a bit of magic in my life,” said the old man to Aladdin.  “Don’t be surprised by anything you might see.”

They stepped inside the cave.  Pitch-black it was. The old man shook open his fist and a ball of light suddenly appeared, brightening the cave.  Under the light with one long finger, he drew the shape of a circle over the ground. He pulled from his pocket some red dust and threw it over the circle, and at the same time said some magic words.  The earth trembled a little before them. The floor of the cave cracked open, and the cracks grew wider and deeper. Then up from below the ground rose a giant white quartz crystal and it filled the circle. 

“Do not be alarmed,” said the magician.  “Under this giant white crystal lies a treasure that is to be yours.”    

He chanted a few magic words and the giant crystal rose up several feet in the air, moved to the side and landed.  Aladdin peered into the hole. He saw steps that led down to a dark hole.

 “Fear nothing,” said the magician to Aladdin. “But obey me. Go down, and at the foot of the steps, follow a long hall.  You will walk through a garden of fruit trees. You must touch nothing of them. Walk on till you come to a large flat stone and on the stone will be a lighted lamp.  Pour out the oil in the lamp and bring it to me. Now go!”Aladdin from The Arabian Nights Tales

Aladdin slowly stepped down the stairs.  Through the garden of fruit trees and marvelous to behold, the trees held fruits that sparkled and shone. He could not help but reach out and touch one. 

Then – too late – he remembered what his uncle had said. But nothing terrible happened. So he figured he might as well put the fine jewel-fruit in his vest pocket.  Then he plucked another and another jewel-fruit, till all his pockets were filled.

Aladdin came to the large flat stone, and on it was a lighted lamp, just as his uncle had said.  He poured out the oil and took it back to the opening of the cave.

Aladdin called out, “Here I am, Uncle!”

The magician called out in a great hurry, “Give me the lamp!”

“Just as soon as I’m up,” said Aladdin, wondering why the magician seemed in such a hurry.  

“No, give me the lamp NOW!” cried the old man, reaching down his hand.  For you see, the only way the lamp could come out of the cave was as a gift, from one person to another. 

The magician knew this, and he wanted to get the lamp from the boy as soon as he could, and then kill him.  Aladdin felt a chill in the air. Something was wrong. Somehow he knew he must not give up that lamp.  

“Let me up first,” said Aladdin.  “Then will I give you the lamp.”

Aladdin felt a chill in the air.  Something was wrong.

The magician was furious. He fell into a rage and barked out more magical words.  The giant white quartz crystal rose up, hovered over the hole and landed. All went dark below. Aladdin was trapped!

For two days, Aladdin despaired.  “Why didn’t I just hand over this old lamp?  Who cares about it, anyway?  Whatever might have come of it, it couldn’t have been worse than this!  What was I thinking?”

Rubbing the lamp, he moaned, “Oh, how I wish I could get out of here!”

At once, a huge Genie rose up into the air.  “You are my master!” boomed the Genie. “Was that your first wish – to get out of this cave?  Three wishes are yours to command.”Genie of the Magic Lamp

Aladdin’s mouth fell open, amazed. He mumbled yes, of course!  More than anything he wanted to get out of the cave and go home!  The very next moment, Aladdin was outside his own home, still holding the lamp and with all his jewel-fruits in his vest pockets.  

His mother could not believe the tale her son told her.  “Magic lamp?” she laughed. “That old thing?” She took the lamp, grabbed a rag, and started to clean it.  “If there were really a Genie in this old lamp, I would say to it, ‘Genie, make a feast for my son and me, and serve it on plates of gold!’”

You can imagine the mother’s surprise!  The Genie rose up out of the lamp, and a feast fit for a king weighed down her kitchen table, on plates of glimmering gold.


Mother and son enjoyed a feast like no other.  Then the mother washed and sold the gold plates, and bought necessary things to live.  From then on, Aladdin and his mother lived well.

One day, Aladdin thought to himself, “Why think small?  With my jewel-fruits, I could marry the princess and become the prince of this land!”

His mother laughed.  “You can’t just go to a palace with some fine gifts and expect to marry the princess!”  But Aladdin urged her to try. They wrapped some of the jewel-fruits in silk cloth, and the mother went to the palace.

The guards stopped her at once.  But as she insisted she had something very valuable for the Sultan, they let her in.

They wrapped some of the jewel-fruits in silk cloth.

Said the Sultan, “What have you brought me in those silk rags?”

She showed him the jewel-fruits.  The Sultan was impressed. “But if your son is as worthy of my daughter as you say, he must bring me 40 golden trays of the same gems, carried in by servants.”

The mother went home and told her son the Sultan’s demand.  “It’s no problem,” said Aladdin. “Call for the Genie and make your second wish.” And so his mother rubbed the lamp and made her second wish.  Before long, she was at the steps of the Sultan’s palace with 40 golden trays of the jewel-fruits, carried in by as many servants.

The Sultan was pleased.  “But you cannot think this is enough to win the hand of my daughter!” he said. “To truly win my favor, your son must build a golden palace for he and my daughter to live.”

The Mother brought back this news, too.  So for her third wish, the Mother asked the Genie to create a golden palace.  The next morning, right outside the Sultan’s bedroom, appeared a huge golden palace, gleaming in the sun.

Aladdin from The Arabian Nights Tales

Meanwhile back at Aladdin’s home, his Mother said, “It is time for you to go, my son, to meet your princess.”  Her wishes spent, she gave him the lamp.

The next morning, the Sultan called for his daughter.  “Look at this palace!” he said, pointing out the window.  “This is the husband for you!”

“What do you mean, Father?” said his daughter.  “What do you know about this man? Have you ever met him?”

“What’s there to know?” said the Sultan.  “He can make a golden palace appear overnight.  He’s even more powerful than my royal adviser, the Vizier.”

“What’s there to know?” said the Sultan. “He can make a golden palace appear overnight.”

 “Yesterday, your Vizier was most powerful man in the kingdom,” said his daughter, “and I was to marry him.  Today, this stranger is the most powerful one and I’m to marry him. Why do you think it matters to me who’s the most powerful?”

 Aladdin Princess Jasmine

“It matters to ME!” said the Sultan.  In a lower voice he said, “Daughter, you’re just excited to get such a fine husband.”

“I can’t believe this!” The princess threw her arms up in despair, and she left.

In her dressing room, the princess groaned.  To Nadia, her lady-in-waiting, she said, “My father is determined to marry me off, no matter what!”

 “But Madam,” said Nadia, “isn’t this wonderful stranger an excellent match for you?”

The princess sighed.  She looked at her lady-in-waiting.  “You don’t know how lucky you are,” she said. “I would rather live your life than be handed off in this way.”

“And I would rather live yours,” said Nadia.  The two of them stared at each other for a couple of moments.  They were about the same height, with the same color hair. With all the scarves maidens like them wore…

“Let’s do it!” they said together.  And the two of them changed clothes.

Just then, Aladdin was riding to the Sultan’s palace on a white horse, ready to meet his bride.  The Sultan warmly greeted him.

“Let’s do it!” they said together.

“Stay here in my palace until the preparations for your wedding are complete,” he said.  Aladdin could not meet the princess until their wedding day. He caught a glimpse of Nadia from a distance, covered in scarves, thinking she was the true princess.  Aladdin, the Sultan, and everyone else in the palace waited with growing excitement for the wedding day.

Except for one person.  The uncle-magician who had left Aladdin trapped in the cave was also the Sultan’s Vizier.Aladdin and the Magic Lamp

Thanks to Anonymous Artist

He had recognized Aladdin at once.  He knew there could be only one reason the young man could present all this magic to the Sultan. Aladdin must have escaped from the cave, and with the lamp!  

“I will get my revenge!” swore the Vizier.   “If anyone is to have the lamp, it is ME!” By his magic, he could tell where Aladdin had hidden the lamp.  While Aladdin was sleeping, the Vizier crept in and took it.

“If anyone is to have the lamp, it is ME!”

In a quiet place, the Vizier made his first wish: “Genie, do as I say.  I want you to take Aladdin’s palace to a faraway place in the desert that no one can find!”

What the Vizier did not know was at that very moment, Nadia was exploring Aladdin’s palace.  And there is something else the Vizier did not know. The Genie thought the Vizier had commanded to be taken away also, along with the palace.  So the Genie sent the Vizier, the golden palace, and Nadia inside it, all together to the faraway place in the desert. 

The next morning, the Sultan awoke and saw nothing outside his bedroom window where Aladdin’s palace had stood the day before.  The next moment his servants rushed in, announcing that the princess had disappeared. Furious, he called for Aladdin.

“What have you done?” he yelled in a rage.  “Because of your magic tricks I have lost my daughter!  You must bring her back to me in three days or it will cost you your head!” 

“What have you done?” he yelled in a rage.

Aladdin thought he would simply use his second wish and the Genie would bring back the princess and the castle too. But his magic lamp was gone – he looked everywhere! 

In despair, Aladdin could do nothing but to leave the Sultan’s palace on the white horse he had rode in on. Sadly, he rode from town to town but no one knew anything about a palace that had appeared overnight, no to mention one with a princess inside.  

You may wonder, where was the true princess all this time? Dressed as a servant girl, she had crept out of the palace the very day she had switched clothes with Nadia.  Down to the marketplace she had gone, and there she met an aging merchant. The old merchant told her he was tired from riding so many years from town to town, selling his potions and perfumes. 

The princess was dressed humbly, yet she still carried herself like royalty. She gained the confidence of the old merchant, and when she offered to ride his camel train for him and share what she earned, he was delighted.  That is how our princess found herself up clop-clopping through the desert, selling potions and perfumes from town to town.Aladdin and the Magic Lamp

Two days passed. Aladdin was no closer to finding his lost palace than he had been before he left the Sultan.  Crouched in front of his tent, Aladdin held his head in his hands.  

“Why the sad face?” The princess was riding by and she stopped her camel train.  “Perhaps a potion will make you feel better.”

“Why the sad face?”

 “No, thank you,” said Aladdin.  “The only thing that could help is if I could bring back a princess and find my lost palace.  You see, my palace vanished overnight to a place I know not where. The princess was probably inside it. Oh, this is an impossible task!”

“Maybe not,” said the princess. “In my travels, I heard of a palace in the desert that appeared out of nowhere, not long ago.”

“Really?” said Aladdin.  He looked up. “Do you know where?”

“I think so.  I could take you there.  If we left now, we could get there by morning.”

“I’d be so grateful!” said Aladdin.  He had left all the jewel-fruits with his Mother except one.  This he offered to the camel-rider as payment.

“Oh, keep it,” said she with a wave of her hand.  “It’s no trouble. Bring your horse to ride alongside my camel.”

“Really?” said Aladdin.  He looked up. “Do you know where?”

Riding through the night, the two of them spoke of many things.  Aladdin marveled at the young lady’s easy manner and generous spirit.  He somehow knew she could be trusted. Before long, he told her his story of how he had discovered the magic lamp in the cave and how it had been stolen from him, along with the palace.  

As the morning’s light brightened, they were riding between two very tall walls of rock, rose-colored they were, with thin bands of white and blue.  Suddenly the rock walls ended, and they arrived at a clearing.

“Look!” said the princess, pointing ahead.  “Is that it?”Aladdin and the Magic Lamp

“It is!” Aladdin cried out with joy, recognizing his palace.  “I hope the princess is still in there!” he said.  “Though without my lamp, I have no way to get them both back in time.”

Just then Nadia, who had been carried away along with the palace as you no doubt remember, was looking out the window at the new guests.  To her surprise, she recognized the rider of the camel train as none other than her beloved former mistress. She waved at them both to come to the front door.

The servants let in the guests. Nadia took them to the drawing room and shut the door. She said, “Mistress!  How glad I am to see you!”

“I’m glad to see you too, Nadia.”

Aladdin was amazed. “You two know each other?”

But the princess only said to Nadia, “Tell me, how do you find being a princess?” 

Aladdin was amazed.  “You two know each other?”

 “At first, the gowns were marvelous,” she said.  “Everything I dreamed of! And I liked well enough all the attention I got.  But when I was carried away with this palace, the Vizier came with it, too.  For the last two days he has done nothing but fly about in a rage and smash things. He locked me up in here!”

“That’s terrible!” said the princess.

“There’s more,” said Nadia.  “He said with his lamp, that tomorrow we’ll return to the Sultan’s land and I will have to marry him!”  

“He said…with his lamp?” Aladdin and the princess looked at each other.

The princess turned to Nadia. “Wait a minute!  I have a plan.” 

The princess turned to Nadia.  “Wait a minute! I have a plan.”

The princess gave Nadia one of the sleeping potions in her stock.  She told Nadia that when the Vizier returned that night, she must pour the sleeping potion into his wine.  He would fall into a sleep so deep that he would not be awakened by any noise. That is what she did.  When the wicked man was snoring, Nadia, the princess, and Aladdin searched everywhere for the magic lamp. At last they found it!  

The lamp in his hands again, Aladdin said, “Now I can make a second wish. I am going to wish for this castle and everyone in it to go back to the Sultan’s kingdom – except for the Vizier.”

“Wait!” said the princess.  “Leave me behind, too.” 

Aladdin urged her to come with him, but the princess would have none of it. She liked too well the life of freedom she led.  Aladdin did not like at all that she would be left behind with the Vizier. But she assured him the Vizier would not awaken for hours, and she would have plenty of time to get far away.  

So Aladdin rubbed the lamp and stated his wish to the Genie. Aladdin and the Magic Lamp

In a whoosh, Aladdin, the palace and Nadia were all transported back to the very spot where the palace had stood before.

The Sultan was delighted to have his daughter back, or you might say, the young woman he believed to be his daughter, covered as she was in scarves.  “We will hold the wedding in three days!” the Sultan said to Aladdin.

Yet a sadness was growing in Aladdin’s heart.  Nadia was indeed a nice young woman, and pleasant to look at, too.  But there was something about that woman who rode the camel train, selling perfumes and potions.  He could not get out of his mind the sound of her laugh, her clever mind, and the comfort of her company.  At last, he rubbed the lamp.

“Master,” said the Genie, “Is it mountains of jewels you want for your third wish, power over all the neighboring lands, or the strength of 100 men?”

But there was something about that woman who rode the camel train.

“None of that,” said Aladdin.  “I wish you to take me to that young woman I met, the camel rider, the seller of perfumes and potions.”

“But Master, this is your third and last wish!” said the Genie.  “What if you were to offer this woman your heart, and she didn’t choose you back?  You’ll miss your chance to marry the Sultan’s daughter and become a prince.” 

“I don’t care!” said Aladdin. “I must share with her what is in my heart.  Whatever comes of it, so be it.”

“But Master, this is your third and last wish!” said the Genie.

So Aladdin made his third and last wish and was taken to the true princess.  In her travels, she was not all that far from the Sultan’s land, as it turns out.  Aladdin shared his true feelings to her and she returned the same feelings.

Aladdin and Princess Jasmine

She told him her story – that she had been born a princess but now was happier living as a traveling merchant.  Aladdin said he wanted nothing better than to spend the rest of his days with her by his side. And so they agreed to marry and together ride the camel train, selling potions and perfumes from town to town.  

Then – such surprising news!  Aladdin and the princess learned that the Sultan had suddenly died.  Said Aladdin to his new bride, “Since your father is gone, would you return now to your father’s palace?  We could rule the kingdom together, side by side.”

As a last goodbye to their life on the camel train, Aladdin and the princess mixed a very special magical potion.  In a cloud of smoke, a magic carpet appeared!  And on this magic carpet Aladdin and the princess flew back to the palace.

Nadia was very pleased to see them. She gladly stepped down to serve again as lady-in-waiting to the princess. 

For the rest of their lives, Aladdin and the princess ruled the kingdom wisely and well.  And they lived happily ever after, as should you.

3. Bedtime Stories

The Velveteen Rabbit

Velveteen Rabbit Story

A soft and fluffy Velveteen Rabbit lived in a toybox in a Boy’s room.  Each day, the Boy opened the toybox and picked up Velveteen Rabbit. And Velveteen Rabbit was happy.

Then newer, brighter toys came into the toybox.  They had special tricks.  Some could move when the Boy pushed a button.  Others bounced high. 

Velveteen Rabbit had no special tricks or buttons. No wonder the Boy started to choose these other new toys.  The Velveteen Rabbit

At night, when the toys were back all in the toy box, the other toys talked with pride about the fine things they could do. Velveteen Rabbit was quiet.  There was not much to say.

Only one other toy in the toy box was like Velveteen Rabbit.  Cowboy Horse was also a soft, fluffy toy.  But he was old.  Most of his hair was worn away.  He had only one eye left.

 Skin Horse

Cowboy Horse said to Velveteen Rabbit, “Soft toys like us are really the lucky ones.  We get loved the most.  And when soft toys get loved and loved, we can become Real.”

“What is Real?” said Velveteen Rabbit.

“Being Real is the best,” said Skin Horse.  “You can move when you want to move. When you are Real, if you are loved, you can show your love back.”

One day Nana, who took care of the Boy, flew open the lid of the toy box.  She said in a busy tone, “Oh, dear!  That walking doggie is missing. I must find something else for the Boy!”  In a second, Velveteen Rabbit was plopped down onto the bed with the Boy.Boy and toy

This began another happy time for Velveteen Rabbit.  Each night the Boy would hold Velveteen Rabbit close in his arms.  In the morning, the Boy would show Velveteen Rabbit how to make rabbit holes under the sheets.  If the Boy went outside to a picnic, or to the park, Velveteen Rabbit would come with him, too.  

After awhile, with the hugging and holding, much of Velveteen Rabbit’s fur got matted down.  Its pink nose grew less pink with all the Boy’s kisses.  But Velveteen Rabbit did not care.  It was happy.

One day the Boy became sick.  His forehead got very hot.  The doctor came and went.  Nana walked back and forth in fear.  Day after day, the Boy stayed in bed.   There was nothing for Velveteen Rabbit to do but to stay in bed, too, day after day.  

Then at last, the Boy got better.  Such joy in the house! The doctor said the Boy must go to the shore.  How wonderful! thought Velveteen Rabbit.  Many times the Boy had talked happily about the shore, and told of its white sands and big blue ocean.  

“What about this old bunny?” Nana asked the doctor.New toys

“That old thing?” said the doctor.  “It’s full of scarlet fever germs.  Burn it at once!  Get him a new bunny.”

So Velveteen Rabbit was thrown into a sack along with the Boy’s bed sheets and old clothes and a lot of junk.  The sack was carried to the backyard.  The gardener was told to burn the whole thing.

But the gardener was too busy with picking the beans and peas before nightfall, so he left the sack behind.  “I will take care of it tomorrow,” he said.  The sack was not tied at the top, and Velveteen Rabbit fell out.  The next day when the gardener picked up the sack to take it away to be burned, Velveteen Rabbit was not in it.

Then it started to rain.  Velveteen Rabbit was sad.  So far away from the Boy, never again to be nice and cozy together, and now soaking wet!  A tear fell from Velveteen Rabbit’s eye, over his cheek.  It plopped onto the grass.

All at once, at the spot where the tear fell, a flower grew up.  Then the bud of the flower opened.  A tiny Fairy!Fairy

“Little Rabbit,” said the Fairy.  “Do you know who I am?”

“I wish I did,” said Velveteen Rabbit.

“I am the Fairy that takes care of toys that are well loved,” said the Fairy.  

By then, Velveteen Rabbit was shabby and gray.  The boy had loved off all of its whiskers.  The pink lining in the ears had long turned grey. Its brown spots, once fresh and bright, were now faded and hard to see.

“It is time now for me to make you Real,” said the Fairy.  

“I think I remember Real,” said Velveteen Rabbit.  Now, what was it Cowboy Horse had said?  Ah yes.  When you are Real, you can move when you want to move.  If you are loved, you can love back.

With one touch of the Fairy’s wand, Velveteen Rabbit felt different.  Tickly.  All of a sudden, each one of its two legs sewn together tight, could move!

 The Velveteen Rabbit

A fly landed on Velveteen Rabbit’s head and it was itchy.  As quick as a wink, that foot was up at the Velveteen Rabbit’s head to scratch it off.

“So this is being Real”! “I can move when I want to move!”

“I will show you some new friends,” said the Fairy.  And the Fairy took Velveteen Rabbit where several rabbits ran and hopped about.  Soon they were all great friends.

The Velveteen Rabbit

Time went by.  The Boy was back from the shore.  He was all better now. 

One day, the Boy went to the backyard to play.  From the trees nearby, a few rabbits hopped out.  One rabbit was brown all over, and another one was all white.  A third rabbit had brown spots, most of them faded.  That one hopped the closest to the Boy.the Velveteen Rabbit

The Boy thought, “Why, this rabbit looks just like my old Bunny that was lost when I was sick.  I loved that Bunny!”

What he didn’t know was that it was his very own Bunny, come back to see the boy. For he was the reason the Velveteen Rabbit had become Real.

3. Bedtime Stories

Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow Story

Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow Legend Story

In all the land, none was better with a bow and arrow than Robin Hood.  He lived with his band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest.  That was the King’s woods where King John kept his royal deer.

A few years before, King Richard had ruled the land.  This King let the poor come into Sherwood Forest to hunt the deer to feed their families. But the time had come for King Richard and his army to leave England.  And then King John stepped up to the throne.  

“Bad King John,” as this king would become known by, did not want anyone to come into Sherwood Forest.  Why should he – when he wanted to be able to hunt the royal deer whever he wanted?  From then on, he made it known throughout the land that anyone seen hunting in Sherwood Forest would be grabbed at once and thrown into prison.

Robin Hood did not like that one bit.  That is why he had moved into Sherwood Forest.  He dressed in green from cap to boots so the trees of Sherwood Forest could hide him as he hunted the King’s deer. Other brave men came into Sherwood Forest, too.  One by one they joined Robin Hood and became his Merry Men.

Robin Hood and his Merry Men would hide when rich nobles and dukes passed through the woods.  Then all at once, they would jump out and rob those rich men. Then he would give the money to the poor.

But the rich men who were robbed were not happy about it!  They told Bad King John what was going on in Sherwood Forest. “Something must be done!” they roared.  The King put the Sheriff of Nottingham in charge of Sherwood Forest. It would be his job to catch Robin Hood – once and for all!

But the man in green was too quick.  His Merry Men would warn him each time they saw the Sheriff of Nottingham or one of his guards in the woods, and Robin Hood would escape or hide.

So the Sheriff came up with a new plan.  “I will call for a great contest,” he said, “to find out who is the best in the land with a bow and arrow. The winner will go home with a Golden Arrow.”

The Sheriff said in a low voice, “If I know Robin Hood, he will not be able to stay away from such a contest. And when he comes, we will catch him!”

“Robin Hood, don’t go to the contest!” said Little John.  Of all the Merry Men, Robin Hood trusted Little John the most. “Can’t you see this is a trap? When they see you, they will grab you.”

Robin Hood said nothing.  In his heart, he wanted to go.

On the day of the contest, ten fine bowmen lined up.  The round target was so far away it was almost impossible to see its black and red circles.  One by one, each young man shot his best arrow. Most of them missed.  Some landed on the target, but none came close to the center.

The Sheriff turned to one of his guards.  “Do you see him? Is he here?”

“No, Sire.  Robin Hood has red hair.  None of the ones who are shooting has red hair.”

“That wimp!” said the Sheriff.  “He fears me!  He didn’t have the guts to come.”

Two bowmen were left.  The first was William, the Sheriff’s man.  With care, William, took aim.  His arrow landed at the very center of the target – a bull’s eye!  The crowd cheered for William.

It was time for the last bowman.  He too, took careful aim, and his arrow also sailed through the air.  It landed right through William’s bull’s eye arrow, cutting it in half!  In a flash, the bowman let go of two more arrows. Each one flew to where the Sheriff sat, pinning him to his seat, one arrow on each side!  

The Sheriff did not know what was going on.  Then the man in green pulled off his disguise and threw it on the ground.  

“Get him, you fools!” shouted the Sheriff.  “It’s Robin Hood!”

But our hero jumped over the wall to a horse waiting for him.  He was gone – he had escaped!

This tale is one of the many adventures of Robin Hood, the most loved hero in all of England, and one of the most loved heroes in all the world.

3. Bedtime Stories

Bambi Story: A Life in the Woods

One day a deer was born.  His name was Bambi.  His mother washed him all over with her tongue.

“Bambi,” she said.  “My little Bambi.”

The young Bambi was curious about everything.  He learned he was a deer, and so was his mother.  He learned there are other deer in the forest, and someday he would meet them. He learned the trails his mother followed were made by the deer. Bugs and critters, sounds and smells. So many wonders to explore!Bambi A Life in the Woods

Sometimes on a trail, suddenly his mother would stop still.  She would open her ears wide and listen from all directions. First- over there! Then- here!  Bambi would wait.  At last, when she said, “It’s all right.  There’s no danger. We can go,” then the two of them would start on the trail again.  But he did not know why they had to do this. 

One day, his mother took him to the meadow for the first time.  He started to run out to the open clearing but she jumped right in front of him.  “Stop!” said she. “Stay here.  I must go out first. Wait till I call for you.  But if I start to run, you must turn around and run back into the woods very fast.  Do not stop.  Do you understand me?” 

Bambi’s mother slowly stepped out into the open meadow.  She sniffed all around.  She looked this way and that, alert and carefully.  After awhile she said, “It’s fine, Bambi.  Nothing to worry about.  Come on!” He bounded out to meet her. 

Oh, what a bright sun!  Back in the woods, Bambi had seen a stray sunbeam every now and then, but here the hot bright sun warmed him all over.  He felt marvelous and jumped high into the air.  Each time he landed on grass softer than any grass he had ever felt.  Then he leaped back up again, over and over.

In some places the flowers were so thick, they made a sweet carpet.   But what was that tiny thing dancing in the air?  “Look, Mother!” said Bambi.  “The flower is flying.” Why, that flower must have needed to dance so much, Bambi thought, that it broke right off its stem to rise up and dance in the air.

“That’s not a flower, Bambi,” said the mother, “it’s a butterfly.” 

Then – Thump, thump, thump!  On a rock was a young hare, a rabbit, thumping its foot. 

“Hello, there!” smiled Hare, raising one tall ear. “Want to play?”

“Sure!” said Bambi. 

“Catch me!”  Hare hopped off the rock into the grass, hop-hopping away. Bambi was a bit faster at running and jumping, but Hare was better at hiding, so the two of them had a fine time.    Bambi A Life in the Woods

On top of the flowers, a tall, fluffy black and white tail was sliding over to them.  “Why, I’d know that tail anywhere!” said Hare.  “It’s my friend Skunk.  He’s under the flowers.  Skunk?”  And sure enough, a black and white head popped up.

“This is Bambi,” said Hare.  Soon the three of them were exploring the meadow, sniffing its rich deep smells.Bambi A Life in the Woods

After awhile, Hare and Skunk had to go home.  Bambi looked around.  “Mother! Where are you?”  At the far side of the meadow he saw her, with a creature that looked just like her.

“Bambi, come meet my sister Ena,” called Bambi’s mother.  “And her two little ones.”  Bambi hopped over.  Two fawns, little Faline and her brother Gobo, were running in and out of their mother’s legs.   

Faline gave a leap and landed right in front of Bambi, then jumped back to Gobo.  With care, Bambi stepped up to her.  Faline hopped off to one side and Gobo followed.  Soon the three of them were chasing each other up and down the grass. 

“Now run off and play, all of you,” said Bambi’s mother.

Every day after that, the three young deer played and chattered.  They raced and chased, they nibbled many strawberries and blueberries on the bushes, and sometimes they just talked.

One day, Bambi said, “Do you know what danger means?”

“Something very bad,” whispered Gobo. 

“But what is it?” said Bambi.

“I know what danger is,” said Faline.  “It’s what you run away from.”  But soon they were chasing and playing again. 

Bambi’s mother and Ena came up.  “Come on now,” they said. “It’s time to go home.”

Far off at the top of a hill two large proud deer came into view, with enormous heads of antlers. 

Turning to them, Faline said, “Who are they?”

“Those are your fathers,” said Ena.

“If you are smart and don’t run into danger,” said Bambi’s mother to her son, “someday you will grow up as big and handsome as your father. And you will have antlers, too.”  Bambi’s heart swelled with pride.

As Bambi grew, he learned how to sniff the air.  He could tell if his friend Hare was coming, or if a fox had just trotted by.  He could tell if it would rain soon.

One afternoon came a raging storm.  Lightning flashed and thunder crashed.  Bambi thought the end of the world had come.  But when he lay by his mother’s side, he felt safe.

One day when Bambi wandered about in the woods, he came upon a sharp, unpleasant smell.  Curious, he followed it.  It led to a clearing, where stood a strange creature.  He had never seen such a creature.  It stood up on its rear legs, and in its two arms it held something long and black – could it be a third leg?  The smell of the creature somehow filled him with terror. The creature raised its long black arm.  In a flash, Bambi’s mother rushed up to him. 

“Run, Bambi, run!  As fast as you can!” 

Bambi’s mother bounded over shrubs and bushes.  He kept pace beside her till they were back at their leafy home.

Later, Bambi’s mother said, “Did you see the Human?”  Bambi nodded yes.  “That’s the one who brings danger,” she said.  And both of them shuddered.

Bambi was still growing.  The first time he woke to find his mother gone from his side, he was scared.  It was early morning and still dark.  “Mother! Mother!” he called out. A large shadow approached, bigger than his mother’s.  Standing before a pool of moonlight, a Great Old Buck looked proud and stern.

“Who are you calling?” said the Buck with a frown.  “Can’t you take care of yourself?”  Bambi did not dare answer. He lowered his head in shame.   “Look up,” said the Old Buck, “Listen to me.  Watch.  Smell.  Find out for yourself.  You will be fine on your own.”

The leaves fell and Bambi grew even taller. Bambi A Life in the Woods

His mother started leaving him alone more and more, letting him meet other deer and creatures of the forest. Faline, Gobo, Hare and Skunk were still Bambi’s best friends, but he also found other creatures fascinating to watch and sometimes fun to play with.

One wet winter day, the terrible smell of Humans swept across the forest.  The scent was so strong that there had to be many Humans in a group! Most animals quickly fled out of danger.  But some were not as lucky.  With the hunter’s loud noise and great power, many animals were killed and one of them was Bambi’s mother.

After that terrible day, Bambi felt lost.  He wandered about. How could this awful thing have happened?  Suddenly, the Great Old Buck stepped out in front of him. 

“Were you out in the meadow when it happened?” the Old Buck said.

“Yes,” said Bambi. 

“And you’re not calling for your mother?” said the Buck.

Suddenly Bambi felt full of courage.  “I can take care of myself!” he said, looking up.

The Great Old Buck smiled.  “Listen to me,” he said.  “Smell.  Watch. Learn to live and be careful. Find out for yourself.  Now farewell.”  And he vanished into the deep forest. 

Bambi A Life in the Woods

Winter came.  Strong and bitter cold winds swept through the woods.  Deep snow covered the forest floor.  There was little food to eat.  Bambi felt hungry and cold all the time.  Nearly all the bark on the trees had been peeled away by hungry deer.  Still, the cold wind blistered on, day after day.

Gobo had always been smaller than Bambi and Feline.  He shivered all the time.  He could hardly stand up anymore. 

One day a flock of crows flew overhead, yelling loudly.  “Caw!  Caw!”  The geese also screamed in the sky, “Gawk! Gawk!” They warned of the Humans coming – again!

Hare hopped up and down in alarm.  “We’re surrounded!  They are everywhere!” A single boom crashed like thunder, and one goose fell from the sky.  All the animals ran like mad, even the tiny tit mouse.  Another short crash like thunder, and a fox fell down on the forest floor.  Bang! Bang! 

Hare called out to Bambi, “We have to get out of here!”  Bambi and Hare started to bound away.  But was that Gobo, lying in the snow?

“Gobo!” said Bambi. “Where is your mother and Faline?”

“I fell down,” said Gobo.  “I’m too weak.  You go on, Bambi.” 

Another young deer bounded by.  “Bambi, run!  Don’t just stand there if you can run!”  He took off like the wind, and as Bambi ran along, he called behind him, “I will come back for you, Gobo!” Bambi ran and ran.  Soon the sound that boomed as loud as thunder grew more and more distant. 

When Bambi returned to where Gobo had been, there was no trace of him, not even his tracks.  Just big tracks.  Faline and her mother were pacing around the spot.  “What has become of him?” wailed Ena.  But they all knew.  They could smell it. A Human had come and had taken Gobo away.

Weeks passed. At last, little sprigs of fresh green grass popped up through the snow.  Then more and more tufts of green.  What was left of the snow melted away.  On Bambi’s head, he could feel the weight of his fast-growing antlers. 

As the trees and bushes turned green and the weather warmed, all the animals started to act so oddly.  Birds flitted about two by two.  So many creatures large and small were in pairs.  His friend Skunk spent all his time was with a girl skunk and hardly noticed Bambi.  Even his friend Hare seemed in a daze, forever staring at a girl hare and thumping his foot.  

“What’s happened to my friends?” said Bambi.  “I am alone.”  There was a rustling in the leaves behind him.  There stood Faline, but she was grown up now, like he was.  Each of them was thinking, “How different you look!”  They gazed at each other and smiled. 

“It has been a long time since we saw each other,” said Faline. 

“Yes, I know,” said Bambi.  They talked of old times.  “Do you remember playing Tag on the meadow?” said one.  “Do you remember all the berries on the bushes we ate?” said the other.  The two seemed to understand each other perfectly. 

A fat deer came up to them, sniffing the air.

“Sister, don’t you know me?” 

Faline and Bambi turned in amazement.  “Gobo!”  They rushed up to him in joy. 

“So you’re not dead!” said Bambi. 

“Where have you been?” said Faline. 

Gobo told his story.  “I was with a Human.  I have seen a lot more than the rest of you, all together.” Dogs had found him when he lay in the snow, and they barked.  The Human came and carried Gobo to the place where he lived.  “It was as warm as summer inside,” said Gobo.  “Rain may pour outside, but not inside where Humans live.  It is always dry and warm!  And there is always something to eat, too – turnips, hay, potatoes, carrots – yum!”

 “Weren’t you afraid, though?” said Faline.

“No, the Human wouldn’t hurt me.  If he loves you, or if you serve him, he’s good to you,” said Gobo.  “They all loved me there.  The children petted me.”

The Great Old Buck strode out from the bushes.  “What kind of band is that you have on your neck?” 

“It’s a halter I wear,” said Gobo.  “It’s a great honor to wear the Human’s halter.”

“Be silent!” said the Great Old Buck.  “You poor thing.”  He turned and was gone.

One day when Gobo and Bambi were together, they smelled the scent of a Human.  “We must hide, at once!” said Bambi.  “No need for that,” said Gobo.  “The Humans know me.” Then all at once a sharp bang!  And Gobo fell down. 

Fortunately, the Human never came after Gobo.  Instead, when the scent of the Human went away, Bambi pulled his friend to a leafy place where he could rest and be out of danger.  Bambi knew what weeds his mother used to eat to heal a wound faster.  As he brought the weeds to Gobo, he wondered, “Why must this always happen to us?” Bambi thought of the Great Old Buck who had said, “Find out for yourself.” Find out what?

Faline and Ena brought Gobo food and visited with him for hours. Bambi often came by, too, until Gobo was healed. The words from the Great Old Buck still fresh in his head – “Learn to live and be careful.” Bambi was starting to understand. 

Seasons came and went.  Bambi grew still taller.  His antlers were nearly full grown now.  One day, Bambi caught a new warning smell in the air.  It was a hot and smoky smell.  A flock of crows rushed overhead, cawing loudly.  Fire! 

At once, the animals were running, running, as fast as they could.  It wasn’t easy to run away from fire.  Sometimes it seemed to rush in from different directions.  After hours went by of flames and smoke, the fire started to wind down at last.  The smell of fire was fading, too. 

The Great Old Buck stepped in front of Bambi. His head was gray now, but he still bore his antlers with pride.  “Come with me,” he said in a serious way.  “I want to show you something before I go.”

Bambi A Life in the Woods

He led Bambi through the woods to a burned-out village.  Mixed along with the smell of fire was the same awful smell of Humans that had sent terror to their hearts again and again.   

“Do not be frightened,” said the Old Buck.  Closer and closer they went to the village.  “Look, Bambi,” he said.  There in front of them were dozens of huts.  Each one was burned, some almost to the ground, others burned mostly on the roof.  The village was empty. 

“You see, Bambi,” said the Old Buck.  “The houses of the Humans get burned by fire just like the places where we stay in the woods.  The Human isn’t above us.  We are just the same. Do you understand me, Bambi?”

“Fire burns the woods where we live, and it burns the villages of Humans, too,” said Bambi.  “We are not so different from Humans.”

“We both live under the same great powers in this world,” said the Great Old Buck.

“Yes,” said Bambi.

“Now I can go,” said the Great Old Buck.  “Don’t follow me.  My time is up.  Goodbye my son, I loved you so.”

Now Bambi had become a full Buck himself.  His antlers spiked and gleamed in the sun. 

Sometimes he would visit the corner of the woods where he had spent his childhood.  Some of the trails were still there.  Once while wandering there he saw Gobo and his sister, Faline. When he saw Faline, his heart beat faster. He wanted to rush to her.  He gazed after her.  Finally she was gone.  Then he heard the call of two little fawns. 

 “Mother!  Mother!” they called.

“Can’t you stay by yourselves?” said Bambi.  The little brother and sister were too much in awe of the great Buck to answer. Bambi thought, this little fellow pleases me.  He reminds me of the deer face I used to see when I looked in the brook years ago. Perhaps I’ll meet him again.  The little girl is nice, too.  Faline looked like that once.

“Listen to me,” said Bambi to the two fawns.  “You must watch and listen. Find out for yourself.  You will be fine on your own.”

3. Bedtime Stories

The Ugly Duckling Story

The Ugly Duckling

On a farm long ago, a Mama Duck sat on her nest.  “How long must I wait for my babies to hatch?” she said.  “I have to sit here all alone! And no one comes to visit me.”  But what could she do? A Mama duck must keep her eggs warm till they hatch.  

At last, the eggs began to crack.  One by one, yellow ducklings stepped out of their shells.  They shook their wings and said, “Quack, quack!”

“Look at all of you!” said Mama Duck with joy.  “You are all so cute!”

“Quack, quack!” they said.

Mama Duck said, “Come and line up.  We will go down to the lake for your very first swim.”  She counted – one, two, three, four, five. “Oh dear!” she said.  “I should have six ducklings!”

But one large egg was still in the nest. “Well,” said Mama Duck, “it looks like that big egg will take more time.” So she had to go sit on her nest again and wait some more.

The Ugly Duckling

The next day, the big egg started to hatch.  Out came a baby boy bird. But if one may say so, it was an odd-looking thing.  This bird was much bigger than others. He was not yellow at all – he was dark-gray from his head to his feet.  And he walked with a funny wobble.

One of the yellow ducklings pointed.  “What is THAT? He cannot be one of us!”

“I have never seen such an ugly duckling!” said another.  

“How can you say such a thing?” said Mama Duck in a stern voice. “You are only one day old!  Your brother hatched from the very same nest as you did. Now line up. We will go to the lake for your very first swim.”

Yet the other ducklings quacked, “Ugly!  Ugly! Ugly!” The Ugly Duckling did not know why the other ducklings were yelling at him.  He took the last spot in the line.

Each yellow duck jumped in the river and swam behind Mama Duck.  When it was his turn, the Ugly Duckling jumped in and started to paddle, too.  “At least he can swim,” Mama Duck said to herself.

When they left the water and started to play, the Ugly Duckling tried to play with his brothers and sisters, too.  They yelled, “Go away! We will not play with you! You are ugly. And you walk weird, too!”

The Ugly Duckling

When Mama Duck was close by, she would not let them talk in this way.  “Be nice!” she would scold. But she was not always close by.

One day, one of the yellow ducklings said to the Ugly Duckling, “You know what?  You would do us a big favor if you just went away from here!” All of them started to quack, “Get out!  Get out! Get out!”

“Why won’t they let me stay here?” said the Ugly Duckling to himself.  He hung his head down low. “Ah, they are right. I should go.”

That night, the Ugly Duckling flew over the farmyard fence.  He flew till he landed on the other side of the lake.  There he met two grown-up ducks.

The Ugly Duckling

“Can I please stay here for awhile?” said the Ugly Duckling.  “I have nowhere else to be.”

“What do we care?” said one of the ducks.  “Just don’t get in our way.”

“Woof! Woof!”  Suddenly a big hungry dog came tearing by, chasing the two ducks.  They quickly flew up in the air, and their feathers fell down on the ground.  The poor Ugly Duckling froze in fear. The dog sniffed and sniffed at the Ugly Duckling, then turned away.  “I am too ugly even for the big hungry dog to want,” said the Ugly Duckling with his head hung low.

The sky turned dark.  Crack!  A bolt of lightning.  Then came a big storm, with heavy rains pouring down from the sky.  In just moments, the Ugly Duckling was soaked through and through. Then a cold wind started to blow.

“Brrr!” he said with both wings held close to his chest.  “If only there was a place I could get dry.”

All at once, a tiny light blinked far off in the woods.  “Could it be someone’s hut?”

He flew to the door.  “Quack?” said the Ugly Duckling.  The door of the hut creaked open.

“What is all this noise?” said an old woman, looking right and left.  Her eyes were not that good. Then she looked down. “Ah, look at that, it’s a duck!”  She picked up the Ugly Duckling and dropped him inside her hut. “You can stay here, but only if you lay eggs,” she said.

A tomcat and hen crept up to the Ugly Duckling.  “Who do you think you are, coming in here and taking up room by the fire!” said the tomcat.  

“Squawk!” said the hen.  “I do not need anyone else in this hut laying eggs.”

“Do not worry about that,” said the Ugly Duckling.  “I am a boy duck.”

“Then why are you still here?” said the tomcat.  “Did you not hear what the old woman said?”

“Get out of here, pretender!” clucked the hen.  

“Get out!  Get out!“ hissed the tomcat.

The door was still a bit open, so our poor Ugly Duckling slipped out the door, and back into the storm.

“No one ever wants me,” said the Ugly Duckling with a tear in his eye.  

The Ugly Duckling

The storm ended.  Soon he found a new lake.  Looking into the water, the Ugly Duckling saw the reflection of a flock of large white birds flying.  He looked overhead and could not believe what he saw. There, above him, were the most beautiful birds he had ever seen!  Their long white bodies and slender necks seemed to just glide through the sky. He watched until the very last bird had winged its way out of view.  

He stayed at that lake all by himself, and time passed.  The leaves of the trees turned deep red and gold, and then the leaves fell to the ground.  Winter came, setting a blanket of white snow all over. The cold wind and the dark clouds made the Ugly Duckling feel even more sad.

He had to go into the cold, cold lake to fish, but it was getting harder to swim.  The lake was turning to ice. One day, it was all he could do was to paddle the water to keep it from freezing around him, and trapping him in the lake.

“I am so tired!” he said, paddling with all his might.  The ice got thicker and drew closer to him.

In a moment, two giant hands swept him up.  “You poor thing!” said a farmer. He held the Ugly Duckling close to his thick wool jacket and took the bird to his home.  

Never was a warm fireplace more welcome!  For the rest of the winter, the farmer cared for the Ugly Duckling.  Then spring came. Tips of green covered the trees. Short, bright flowers popped up from the ground.  

“It is time for you to go to the lake to swim again, as you were born to do,” said the farmer.  He took the duckling back to the lake where he had found him, and set him with care on the water.

“Gosh, I feel strong,” said the young bird, flapping his wings.  “Why, I never felt as strong as I do right now!”

He heard quiet splashing sounds behind him, and turned around.  A flock of those same beautiful birds he had seen in the sky before landed behind him on the water.

“Do not worry!” he said to them, holding out one wing.  “I will go now. I will not make trouble for you.” A big fat tear rolled down his cheek.  He turned to go away. When he opened his eyes, he saw a reflection in the water of one of those beautiful white birds.  Why was it so close to him? He jumped back. And the reflection jumped back, too.

The Ugly Duckling

“What is this?” he said.  He stretched his neck, and the reflection of the beautiful bird stretched its neck, too.

“Why are you going so soon?” said one of the beautiful birds.  

“Stay here, with us!” said another.  “We’ll be great friends.”

Then, the bird who used to be the Ugly Duckling knew what had happened!  He was no longer an ugly gray bird that wobbled when it walked. 

At one moment, all the swans flapped their wings and took off into the sky. “Come with us,” one called back. “Take the lead!” So he flapped his wings fast and took his place in front of the whole flock.  All his new friends flapped their wings behind him.

“Say!” he said, gliding and dipping through the sky as he sped on.  “Who’s an ugly duckling now? Surely, Not I!”

3. Bedtime Stories


Rapunzel Story

Chapter 1

The Carpenter and His Wife  

ONCE UPON A TIME, there lived a carpenter and his wife.  More than anything, they wanted a child of their own.  At long last, their wish came true –  the wife was going to have a baby!   

From the second floor window of their small house, the wife could see into the garden next door.  Such fine fresh rows of plants and flowers there were!  But no one dared to go over the garden wall to see them up close. For the garden belonged to a witch!

One day the wife was looking down at the garden from her window.  How fresh-looking were those big green heads of lettuce! “It is just what I need to eat!” said the wife to her husband.  “You must go and get me some.”

“But we cannot!” said the carpenter.  “You know as well as I do that the garden belongs to the witch, who lives next door.”

“If I cannot have that lettuce,” said the wife, “I will not eat anything at all!  I will die!”

What could the carpenter do?  Late that night, he climbed over the garden wall. With very quiet steps, he took one green head of lettuce.  With more quiet steps, he went back over the garden wall.  His wife ate up the lettuce right away.  

But eating the lettuce only made her want more! If she could not have more lettuce, she said, there was nothing she would eat at all! So the next night, the carpenter climbed back over the garden wall.  He picked up one more head of lettuce. All at once came a high, loud, voice.  

“STOP!  What do you think you are doing?”

“I…uh…am getting lettuce for my wife,” said the carpenter.

“You thief!” yelled the witch.  “You will pay for this!”

“Please!” said the carpenter.  “My wife is going to have a baby.  She saw your lettuce and wanted it so very much.”

“Why should I care about that?” shouted the witch.

“I will do anything!” said the carpenter.  He thought, “Maybe I can build her something.”  

“You say you will do anything?” said the witch.

“Yes,” he said.

“Fine!” said the witch.  “Here’s the deal.  Go ahead – take all the lettuce you want.  Your wife will have a baby girl.  And when she does, the baby will be mine!”

“What?!” said the carpenter.  “I would never agree to that!”

“You already did!” said the witch.  And she laughed an evil laugh.

Chapter 2

The Tower

Soon the wife had a baby girl, just as the witch had said.  To keep the baby safe from the witch, the carpenter built a tall tower deep in the woods.  He built stairs that led up to a room at the very top, a room with one window.  He and his wife took turns staying with the baby.  

Rapunzel Story

But the witch had a magic ball.  The ball showed her just where the baby was, at the top room of the tower.  One day when the carpenter and his wife were both in the house, she cast a spell over both of them.  They fell into a deep, deep sleep.  And at once, the witch went to the tower.

At the top room, the witch said to the baby, “I will call you Rapunzel. For that is the name of the lettuce that brought you to me.  Now Rapunzel, you are mine!”

But the witch did not know how to take care of a baby.  Rapunzel grew into a child, and the witch did not even know how to cut her hair. The girl’s blond hair grew longer and longer every day.  

All the witch could do was keep the child locked in the room at the very top of the tower.  She told the girl that the world was a very bad place.  That was why she could not leave the tower.

As she grew up, many times Rapunzel said to the witch, “There is nothing here for me to do! Why must I stay in this tower all the time?”

And the witch shouted back, “I already told you so many times! The world is a very bad place.  Now go comb your hair and be quiet.”

“But is it really so bad out there?  Sometimes I hear people laughing down below,” Rapunzel would say sometimes.

At such times the witch would yell, “How many times do I have to repeat myself? Don’t listen to anything you see or hear out there.  The world is much worse than you think!  You will stay in this tower forever, Rapunzel.  So get used to it!”

On her 12th birthday, Rapunzel said to the witch, “I do not care what you say anymore!  I am so tired of staying here alone all the time! When you are gone, I will chip away at the door.  I will make a hole.  I will run down the stairs and outside, no matter what you say!”

“Think again!” said the witch.  With her power, she made all the stairs in the tower fall down.  She made the doors close up.  Now there was no way for Rapunzel to escape!

Chapter 3

A Singing Voice

By then, Rapunzel’s hair had grown very, very long.  Once the stairs were gone, when it was time for the witch to visit her in the tower, she would call from outside, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel!  Let down your hair!”  

Rapunzel Story

Rapunzel would throw her long blond braid out of the window.  The witch would grab hold of her hair like a rope.  And that is how the witch climbed up the tower wall to the window in Rapunzel’s room.

Five more long years went by.  Poor Rapunzel!  She knew she must stay in the room.  All she could do was to sing sad songs out of the window.  Sometimes birds at the treetops would join in her songs.  Then she would feel a bit better.


But not much.

One day, a prince was riding through the woods.  He heard a beautiful singing voice.  Where was it coming from?  He rode closer and closer to the sound.  At last, he came to the tower.  

“This is odd!” he said, looking around the tower wall.  “There is no door at the bottom.  Yet someone is singing at the very top.  How does anyone get in or out of there?”   Each day, the prince came back to the tower.  There was something about that voice that pulled him back.  Who was that young woman singing at the top?  Could he ever meet her?

One day when the prince rode up, he saw an old woman standing below the tower.  He jumped behind a tree to hide.  It was a witch!  He heard her call out, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel!  Let down your hair!”  A long blond braid was thrown out from a window at the very top.  The old woman grabbed onto the braid.  And she climbed the wall to the window at the top of the tower.  

“Ah, ha!” said the prince.  “So that is how it is done!” He waited. 

After a bit, the braid was thrown from the window again.  The witch climbed back down the tower wall.  Then she left.  

The prince waited.  He stepped up to the tower.  In a voice that sounded as much like the witch as he could, he called out, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel!  Let down your hair!” In a moment, the same long blond braid came out of the window.  “It worked!” thought the prince.  He climbed up the wall of the tower.

You can be sure that Rapunzel was very surprised to see the prince climb into her window. She had never seen a person up close before other than the witch, and never a man! “Who are you?” she said in fear.

“Do not worry!” said the prince. “I am a friend.”

“But I do not know you,” said Rapunzel.

“I feel as if I know you,” said the prince.  “Since I have heard you sing songs from up here day after day.  You have a beautiful voice!  And I love it when the birds sing with you, too.”

“Yes, I like that, too,” said Rapunzel.  “It may be the only thing I like, since I must stay here in this same old tower, day after day, my whole life long.” Rapunzel told the prince about the witch.  She told him that since the world was such a very bad place, she must always stay in the tower room.

“But the world is not as bad as she says!” said the prince.  He told Rapunzel about flowers and festivals, games and gardens.  He told her about puppies and puddles, strawberries and secrets.

Many hours went by. At last, Rapunzel said he must go – the witch may come back at any time!  “Very well,” said the prince.  “But I will be back tomorrow.”  Rapunzel threw her braid out the window, and the prince climbed down.

The next day, the prince climbed back up to Rapunzel’s room.  He said, “I have a surprise for you.”  He had brought strawberries for her. 

As she tasted a strawberry Rapunzel thought, “Now I know that what I was told is not true.  The world can be a very fine place!  I must get out of this tower as soon as I can.”  But how?

Chapter 4

Plan to Escape

One day, the prince said, “If only you could get out of this tower.  I can come and go by  climbing up the walls by holding onto your braid.  But once I am down, how can you get down, too?”

“I know!” said Rapunzel.  “Bring me a ball of silk each time you come. I can weave the silk into a ladder.  Silk folds up so small the witch won’t see it.  When the ladder gets long enough to reach the ground, we will both be able to climb out of here.”

“That’s it!” said the prince.  Then he moved closer to Rapunzel.  “We will both be free.  When we are out in the world, will you marry me?”  

“Yes,” said Rapunzel, “I will.”  Every day after that, the prince brought a ball of silk to Rapunzel.  Over time, she weaved the silk into a long ladder.

On Rapunzel’s 18th birthday the witch spoke to her in a sharp voice. “Before you open your mouth this time,” said the witch, “know this.  I am sick and tired of hearing you talk about how alone you are in the tower all the time.  It isn’t go to change, Rapunzel!   Forever!”

“Who says I’m alone in the room all the time?” said Rapunzel.

“What?!” said the witch.  “Who has been up here with you?”

“No one!” said Rapunzel at once, in fear.  “I mean, no one but you!”

The witch did not believe her.  She started to look everywhere in the room for something to prove that someone else had been there.  Soon she found the ladder.  She held it high in the air.  She yelled, “What is the meaning of this?”

“My friend the prince brought me the silk,” said Rapunzel.  

“You will never see this prince again!” yelled the witch.  She took out a knife.  Snip, snap, and Rapunzel’s lovely braid was cut off! 

Holding the braid in one hand, the witch laughed an evil laugh.  With a stroke of her magic, Rapunzel was cast away to a far-away desert. Then the witch stayed in the tower room.  She knew that soon the prince would come back.

Rapunzel Story

Chapter 5

The Last Climb

The witch did not have to wait long.  Soon the prince was calling at the bottom of the tower, in a voice that was supposed to sound like her own, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!”

“So that is how he did it!” thought the witch.  Holding tightly to one end of Rapunzel’s braid, she threw the braid out the window.  The prince took hold and climbed up.  When he got to the window, he was much surprised to see the witch!

“Where is Rapunzel?” he called out.  “What have you done with her?”

“You will never see your Rapunzel again!” yelled the witch.  

The witch pushed the prince so hard that he lost hold of the window.  Down, down, he fell!


The prince landed on some bushes below.  That helped with the fall, but the bushes had sharp thorns.  Some of the thorns went into his eyes.  The prince was blind!

Chapter 6

The Desert

For two years the poor blind prince wandered the world, looking for Rapunzel. From morning to night he called for her, but it was no use.  At last, he reached a desert. One day, he heard a beautiful voice singing.  “Oh!” he thought.  “I know that voice!”  It was his dear Rapunzel!  He went closer and closer to the voice he knew so well.  

“My prince!” called Rapunzel when she saw him.  The two of them hugged tight.  Two tears of joy fell into the eyes of the prince.  All at once, he could see again!

And what happened next, well, I’m sure you can guess!  The prince and Rapunzel went back to the kingdom where the prince lived.  They were married as soon as they could. The prince became king of the land and Rapunzel became queen.  The two of them lived happily ever after.

Rapunzel Story
3. Bedtime Stories

The Sword in the Stone, a King Arthur Legend of the Sword Story

The Sword in the Stone King Arthur Legend of the Sword Story

Long ago in England, a wise and just king ruled the land.  His name was King Uther. Times were good and the people lived well.  King Uther wanted a magician at court. And so he chose the famous Merlin the Magician.  Merlin could see into the future. And he knew those good days were not going to last.

King Uther and the Queen Guinevere had a child, a baby son.  At a castle party for the royal birth, Merlin the Magician took the King aside.  He said, “Sire, there is something you must know. Soon a great darkness will fall over this land.  Your child is in great danger. Let me take the baby far away. I will be sure he stays safe.”

“Merlin!” said the King in surprise. “You are a great magician.  And you are my friend. But there is no way we would let anyone take our child away!”

Sadly, soon after the child’s birth the Queen died.  Not long after, King Uther was killed in battle. That very night, Merlin swept into the castle and took the child.  The next morning, the royal nurse went into the nursery. Alas, an empty crib! In fear, the nurse, the nobles and servants looked everywhere.  But the baby was gone!

For years, there was no king to sit on the throne.  No king to set the laws. Men of high rank fought each other to be king.  Darkness fell over the land. Robbers and bands of wild men ruled the streets of London.  Evil men broke into houses and took what they wanted. Travelers on the roads were jumped and robbed.  The people of England lived in fear.

Yet far away, there was a quiet place.  A good knight, Sir Ector, lived in peace with his two sons.  His first son was named Kay. His younger son Arthur had been adopted as a baby.  Years before, a stranger had come to Sir Ector with a baby. He asked if Sir Ector would raise the child.  The old knight took the baby in his arms, glad for a second child. He named the baby Arthur, and raised the child as his own.

When Arthur was ten years old, the same stranger returned to Sir Ector’s home.  He could read and write, and so Sir Ector hired him to teach his two sons. Kay could not sit still for lessons and he stopped coming.  But Arthur listened with wide eyes. He learned everything. I bet you have guessed by now who that stranger was – none other than Merlin the Magician!  

At the end of each day when Arthur finished his chores, that was time for the lessons.  Merlin would sit with Arthur for hours and teach him about the world. Arthur was a thin lad, not strong like his big brother Kay.  Merlin said not to worry about that. He said what mattered most was to have a heart that was big and strong. Merlin saw how the birds, foxes and deer followed Arthur.  He could see that the boy had a very big and strong heart.

By the time Arthur was 16, his brother Kay had become a knight.  He was now called Sir Kay. Arthur loved nothing more than to serve his brother as a squire.  He kept great care of his brother’s tunic and helmet, his spears and lances.

One day at lesson time, Merlin looked away.  He stood up.

“What is it?” said Arthur.

“The people need hope,” said Merlin.  “Arthur, there is something I must do.  I must go now.”

That night, when the nighttime was at its most dark, Merlin the Magician came to London’s market square.  He stood in the middle of the square. He held both his arms high. And pointed his wand to the stars.

The next morning at dawn, people started to arrive at the market.  There in front of them was something most odd. A block of white marble stood in the middle of the town square.  Resting on the block was a giant stone the size of a very large rock. At the very top of the stone there was a golden sword handle and a few inches of the blade, shining in the sun.  Yet – this was most odd – the rest of the blade was buried deep into the stone. None of this was there the day before!

What’s more, these words could be seen on the top of the blade:

“Whoever pulls out this sword from this stone is the true king of England!”

As soon as the crowd knew about the message, men jumped up to that white marble block. One after another, they gave the sword a yank. Each tried and tried, but the sword stuck fast. It would not move.

One said in gloom, “There is no man alive who could pull out that sword!”

“We’ll see about that!” said a voice in the crowd.  The Duke of Cornwall, dressed in silks and ribbons, stepped up to the white marble block.  “Hear ye, hear ye!” he said. “I call for a tournament to be held, one month from today. Knights from anywhere and everywhere in England are invited to come.  There will be contests and prizes. And a grand feast for all!” The Duke said to his wife, the Duchess, “If I know men, this tournament will draw the strongest, finest knights in all of England!”  

Said the Duchess, “Good idea, my dear.  All we need is one knight who is so strong he can pull that sword from the stone.  Then we will have a king again, at last!”

The people danced and cheered.  At last there was something to feel happy about! News of the tournament traveled fast.  From castle to village, to every far corner of the land. At last, word got to the far-away home of Sir Ector.  Sir Kay heard the news when he was polishing his helmet.

“Arthur!” he called out.  Arthur was once again by the woods, feeding birds from his hand.  He set down a pile of seeds for the birds, and a pile for the squirrels.  Then he ran fast to see his brother.

“There you are!” said Kay.  “There will be a tournament in London.  We must set out at once!”

What great news! Arthur had never been more than a few miles from home.  He would be the best squire ever for his brother! Arthur ran back to the house.  In the courtyard his father was getting the horses ready.

Sir Ector and his two sons rode through London on their way to the tournament.  Riding through the market square, something shiny glinted in the sun. “That sword looks like it goes right into that stone,” said Arthur.  “But how can that be? That’s impossible.” But why were guards standing all around it?

The father and his two sons reached the tournament. Sir Kay ran off to get in line to register.  Sir Ector greeted many old friends – dukes, earls, barons, counts and countesses. Arthur sat in their tent, polishing his brother’s helmet till it shone bright.

A bugle sounded.  The tournament was about to begin! “Get my sword, demanded Kay”  

“Right away,” said Arthur.  But where was it? Arthur looked around in panic.  Kay’s spear, battle-axe, and dagger were right where they should be.  But no sword. “Kay…” he said, “how about a battle-axe?”

“Arthur, I said my sword!”  

“Yes, of course,” said Arthur.  “But just a moment.”

“Be quick about it!” said Kay.

Arthur ran back into the tent.  Maybe he had left Kay’s sword there?  He searched through the bag of armor and weapons.  How could he let such a thing happen? Then he had an idea.

Very fast, Arthur rode back to the market square.  The guards were not there anymore – they must have all gone to the tournament.  

Arthur stepped up on the marble block.  “Let’s see if that sword can get unstuck.”  He took hold of the handle of the sword. He moved the sword a bit.  “Hey!” he said. “It’s looser than I thought.”

With one big tug, the sword slid out.  Arthur was thrown back, but the sword was safe in his hands.  “I will be sure to bring it right back.” He raced to the where his brother was waiting.

“Here it is,” he said, handing the sword to his brother.

Kay took one look.  “Oh!” he said in surprise.

“What is it?” said Arthur.  But his brother was gone. Soon after, he heard his brother’s voice outside the tent.  “Father, I have something to show you.” Kay and his father stepped inside the tent. 

“Look!” said Kay.  He pointed to the sword.

Sir Ector stared.  His face turned white.  “Kay,” said the father, facing his older son, “where did you get this sword?”

“It is mine!” said Kay, holding it close to him.  “I have it now.”

“Kay!” said the Father again in a stern voice.  “I will ask you one more time. Where did you get this sword?”

The young knight’s head dropped down.

“From Arthur,” he said.  “He lost my sword! Somehow he got this one.”

“Arthur?” The father turned to his younger son.  “How is it that you came by this sword?”

“I’m sorry!” said Arthur.  “Father, I will put it back right away.  I only meant to borrow it when I pulled it from the stone.”

“You must take us to where you found this sword.  At once!” The three of them rushed over to the market square.

Arthur climbed up onto the marble block.  “It came from here,” he said. He lifted the sword over his head.  

Then he dropped the blade back into the stone. “Now it’s back.”

“Hey,” said Sir Kay.  “I still need a sword!”  He jumped up onto the marble block.  Grabbing the hilt of the sword, he pulled and pulled.  But it did not move.

Kay shouted to Arthur, “What did you do to it?”

“Nothing!” said the lad.

“You must have done something!” yelled Sir Kay.

“Hush! Both of you!” said the father.  “It is better if no one sees or hears us.”

But it was too late.  A crowd had already started to form.

“Hey! Did you pull that sword out of the stone?” called one.

“Yes,” said Arthur. “I did.”  

“Do it again!” called another from the crowd.  

“Yes, let’s see it!”

Arthur put his hands around the golden handle.  With one tug, the blade slid out.

“Who are you?” called another voice. “What’s your name?”

“Arthur,” said the lad.

“Wait a minute, put that sword back!” A tall knight pushed forward from the crowd.  “Anyone can pull it out, once it’s been pulled!”

“Go ahead.  Put it back, son,” said a voice.  It was the Duke of Cornwall, the one who had called for the tournament.

“All right,” said Arthur. He slipped the blade back into the stone, with ease.

“Let me at that now!” said the tall knight.  He jumped up and grabbed the handle of the sword.  But pull and tug as he might, the sword would not move.  Not even a bit.

Another knight tried.  Then another. But no one could move the sword. Some waited, thinking the longer they pulled the sword, the looser it would get.  But when each man took their turn, the sword did not move for them.

“Let the lad try now,” said the Duke of Cornwall.  “Arthur, go ahead.”

Arthur stepped up to the stone again.  In one motion he freed the sword. This time, he held it high above his head.  The blade flashed in the sun. Amazed, the crowd did not know what to think.

One called out at last.  “He must be our new king!”

“We have a king!” called another. “At last!”

“Stop!” shouted the tall knight.  “Do you really think this skinny boy should rule over all of us?”

“Yes!” said a voice.  All eyes turned around.  It was Merlin the Magician.

“I know this boy. I know his heart.  There is no one in England who has a heart that is bigger and stronger than his.  The sword has told us this young man is to be the next king of England. And there is something else!”

“The lad,” said Merlin, pointing to Arthur, “is the true child of King Uther.  He is the missing baby!”

Cheers began to ring out.  “Hail, King Arthur!” called someone from the crowd.  

Sir Ector fell to his knees.  Then Sir Kay. One person after another fell to their knees, too.  All cheered. At last, a king had been chosen. A fresh young king, and a new day for England!

3. Bedtime Stories

Hansel and Gretel

Once upon a time a brother and sister named Hansel and Gretel lived in a hut in the woods with their father.  Their father was a poor woodcutter.  His wife, their mother, had died when the two children were very young. Their father thought he would not be lonely anymore when he finally re-married.  But the new stepmother made life very hard for Hansel and Gretel.  The children were not allowed to eat until after the stepmother had taken everything she wanted off the plates.  Most of the time, there was only a crust of bread left.  And all day long were hard chores for them to do.

Hansel and Gretel tried to tell their father about this but he would not hear of it.  It seemed the only one he would listen to was his wife.  And all the stepmother talked about was how much trouble it was to have children in the hut, and how much she wished they would go away forever.


Each day there was less and less food for the boy and girl to eat.  Yet the stepmother gave them more and more hard work to do.  One day Gretel begged her father, “Please, Father!  All day long we work hard and we’re hungry!”  But the stepmother slapped her face. “You ungrateful brats!” she yelled.  “You will eat us out of house and home!” 

That night the two children were not allowed to sleep in the hut. Outside in the cold, they shivered and tried to keep each other warm.  Winter was coming, and the clothes they wore were so thin it felt almost as if they had no clothes on at all.

They shivered and tried to keep each other warm.

The next morning when the sun rose, Gretel turned to her little brother. “Hansel,” she said, “we cannot stay here.  We must escape now, today, into the woods!  Surely we will find more to eat when we are on our own than what we get here at home.”

“Do you think?” said Hansel. “But what if we get lost?”

“We won’t!” said Gretel.  “I will take bread.  We will drop breadcrumbs behind us.  If we have to, we can follow the crumbs back home.”

And so the two of them went off into the woods and left their hard life behind. 

They went deeper and deeper into the woods.  Gretel was careful to drop one crumb and then after a bit, another.

But alas!  They looked and looked for any sign of something to eat – an apple tree, pear tree, some nuts on the ground, or even dried-up berries.  There was nothing to eat!  They got hungrier and hungrier. At last, poor Hansel and Gretel knew they must return to their hut or they would surely starve. They would just need to find the breadcrumbs and that would lead them home.   Yet when they looked for breadcrumbs, there were none to be found – all the breadcrumbs were gone! 

A bird whooshed up into the air and in its beak was a large crumb.  Hansel and Gretel were struck with grief – the birds must have taken all their breadcrumbs!  A wolf howled in the distance.  The sun was setting.  Hansel and Gretel were lost and hungry.  Now they were scared, too.

“Gretel,” whispered Hansel in fear, “what will we do?”  She did not know what to say. All she could do was to hug her little brother. Each minute it was getting darker and darker. Again, a wolf howled in the distance. 

All of a sudden, Gretel saw a small light shining far away.  Could it be someone’s hut this deep in the woods?  “We must find out!” cried Gretel.  “Maybe whoever lives there is kind and will take us in.”

The two children sped as fast as they could to the light.

When they got closer, they could not believe their eyes!  If you can imagine – from top to bottom the hut was made all of candy!  From its gingerbread roof, with frosting all over the walls, and with candies tucked into the frosting, what a sight to see!

“Gretel!”  Hansel cried out.  Before Gretel could say: “I bet it will be okay if we have just a little taste,” both of them were already biting off small chunks and licking the sweet candy.

A sharp voice!– “WHO is nibbling on my house?” Hansel and Gretel spun around.  An old witch!

Stunned, Gretel could only curtsy.  “If you please, ma’am,” she said, as sweetly as she could. “There was so much candy on your house.  And we are so hungry!”

“You have that right, MY house!” snapped the witch.  Her voice dropped.  “Well then,” said the witch in a gentler tone, “come inside.  I’ll get something for you to eat.”

Hansel and Gretel looked at each other in delight.  They skipped into the witch’s hut.

They skipped into the witch’s hut.

A fine meal of soup and bread.  As they licked the last crust of bread and looked around the hut, what the brother and sister saw made their hearts turn cold.  Piles and piles of bones in the corners!  Yet the two children were very tired, and so they slept.

The next morning when they woke, Hansel found himself locked in a cage.  The witch roared, “That’s where your brother will stay!  Every day I will fatten him up.  Soon he will make me a fine dinner!”  She laughed and laughed, rubbing her hands with glee.  “Till then,” she said sharply to Gretel, “you will work for me.”

Indeed, Hansel was well fed and Gretel worked hard all day doing chores for the witch. 

Each morning the witch said to the boy, “Show me your finger.  I will feel how plump you are getting.”  For the old witch could not see well.  Hansel held out his finger as he was told.  The witch smiled when she felt how plump he was getting.

“Gretel,” Hansel whispered in fear. “What are we to do? Soon I will be plump enough and the witch will want to eat me!”  His sister wished she had a plan, but could not think of anything. 

“Gretl,” Hansel whispered in fear.  “What are we to do?”

One night when the witch was sleeping, Gretel had an idea.  She picked up a bone from one of the piles on the floor and woke her brother. “Hansel,” she said, “the next time the witch asks to see your finger, hold out this bone to her instead.” 

The next morning, he did just that.  “Hmph!” said the witch, touching the bone and thinking it was the boy’s finger.  “This is going to take longer than I thought!”

“At least I have more time,” Gretel thought. But still, she could not think of any way they could get out of there.

Each morning when the witch said, “Show me your finger,” Hansel held out the thin bone.  One day the witch yelled, “I will not wait another day!  The boy will be my dinner tonight, no matter how skinny he is!”  The witch ordered Gretel to start the fire in the oven at once.  She must get it very hot.  Gretel worked as slowly as she could.  Why was the witch looking at her with such a sly smile? 

“Be a dear,” said the witch with a slow grim.  “Go inside the oven, won’t you?  Tell me if it is hot enough.”

Gretel’s heart skipped a beat.  If she did that, the witch could push her inside and she would eat them both! 

She looked down.  “I am not sure how to tell.”

“Go inside the oven, won’t you?”

“Nonsense!” said the witch.  “Nothing could be easier.  Just go in!”

“Um,” said Gretel slowly, “please show me first?”

“Stupid girl!” snapped the witch.  Mumbling and grumbling, she stepped in the oven.  The moment the witch was inside Gretel quickly slammed the door.

“Gretel!” Hansel cried out.  “You saved us!”  

The sister tried to think fast.  “Where is that key to your cage?”  She looked and looked.  At last she found it at the bottom of a vase.  She freed her brother from the cage right away.  Then she went back to that vase.  For what had she felt under the key?  Why, the vase had precious jewels inside!

Then she went back to that vase.

With their pockets filled with the jewels, they ran outside as fast as they could.  In the daylight they soon found a small path and followed it.  It led to a wider path and that  path led to a road.  They waited by the roadside hoping someone would ride by.  When a horseman trotted up, Hansel and Gretel waved their hands.  When the horseman stopped, the children offered one of the small jewels and the horseman was happy to give them a ride home. 

When the brother and sister opened the door to their home, their father was wild with joy to see them.  He had worried and looked for them night and day since they had vanished.  They learned their stepmother died very soon after they left.  For many years to come, Hansel and Gretel lived very happily with their father in the hut in the woods.

3. Bedtime Stories

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Once upon a time a girl named Goldilocks lived in a house at the edge of the woods. In those days curls of hair were called “locks.”  She was “Goldilocks” because golden hair ran down her head and shoulders.   

One morning Goldilocks was out for a walk when she came across a beautiful bird.  She followed that bird right into the woods, where her mother had said many times she must never go.  But Goldilocks didn’t think of that.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Deeper and deeper into the woods she went. But where was the bird?  It was nowhere to be seen.  Goldilocks looked around.  That’s when she knew she was lost.  

But a house was not far away.  “I wonder who lives there,” she thought, “so deep into the woods.”  She went up and knocked on the door.  No answer.  She knocked again.  Still no answer.  Goldilocks knocked a third time and the door opened. But no one was behind the door.  

“Well, the door is already open,” said the girl. “So I may as well go in.”

“I may as well go in.”

Goldilocks smelled a wonderful smell, and soon knew why. On the table were three steaming bowls of oatmeal.  All of a sudden she realized how very hungry she was.

What Goldilocks did not know, however, is that three bears lived in this house.  In fact, that very morning the three bears had sat down to their bowls of oatmeal but the cereal was too hot.  So they had decided to take a short walk.  They said to each other, “By the time we return home our oatmeal will be perfect.”

Gazing at the steaming bowls of oatmeal, Goldilocks thought, “I’m sure whoever lives here won’t mind if I take just one sip.” She sat at the first chair and took a sip.  “Ah!” she said, “it is too hot.”

She moved to the next bowl and took a sip.  “Ah!” she said, “it is too cold.”

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

She moved to the third bowl and took a sip.  “It is just right!” And before she knew it, the oatmeal was all gone.  

Goldilocks rubbed her tummy.  “I’m full! I must find somewhere to sit that’s more comfortable.”  

She went to the living room.  Three chairs were lined up in a row – one big chair, one medium-sized chair, and a wee little chair.

Three chairs were lined up in a row.

“I’m sure whoever lives here will not mind if I sit on just one chair,” said Goldilocks. She sat on the big chair, but it was too hard. 

“The next chair looks good,” said Goldilocks.  She moved to the medium-sized chair, but it was too soft.

“The wee little chair looks better,” said the girl.  She sat on the little chair and it was just right!  But when Goldilocks leaned back a bit, the chair broke into a dozen pieces.  She plopped right on the floor.

“Oh, no!” Goldilocks wailed. Then she yawned.  There must be somewhere she could lie down for a short nap.

“Oh, no!” Goldilocks wailed.

The girl saw a ladder and climbed it to an attic.  In a row, three beds were lined up – one big bed, one medium-sized bed, and a wee little bed.  

“I’m sure whoever lives here won’t mind if I lay down for just a short nap,” she said.  She laid down on the big bed but it was too hard.  She laid down on the medium-sized bed but it was too soft.  The girl laid down on the wee little bed, and it was just right!  As her head hit the pillow, Goldilocks was fast asleep.

Just then, the three bears came home from their walk.  “Oh, my!” said Mama Bear. “Did either of you leave the front door open?” 

Just then, the three bears came home from their walk.

“Not I,” said Papa Bear. 

“Not I,” said Little Bear.

Slowly the three bears stepped inside and looked around.    

“Most odd!” said Papa Bear, seeing his spoon in his bowl.  “Someone has been eating my oatmeal!”

“Most odd indeed!” said Mama Bear, also seeing her spoon in her bowl.  “Someone has been eating my oatmeal!”

“This is the most odd of all!” said Little Bear.  “Someone has been eating my oatmeal and they ate it all up!”

“This is the most odd of all!” said Little Bear.

The three bears were very surprised, as you can imagine.  With care, they stepped into their living room.

“Do you think someone was sitting in my chair?” said Papa Bear.

“I know someone was sitting in my chair,” said Mama Bear, “because I can see the seat cushion is pushed down.”

“And I know someone was sitting in my chair!” said Little Bear. “Because it’s all broken!”

The three bears were even more surprised at that!  They climbed the ladder to their attic.  

“Someone has been sleeping on my bed,” said Papa Bear, who could see that his blankets were moved.

“Someone has been sleeping on my bed, too,” said Mama Bear, who could also see that her blankets were moved.

“Someone has been sleeping on my bed,” said Little Bear. “And look – she is still there!”

Goldilocks bolted awake.  Three bears were looming over her, and they did not look happy.

“Oh my!” said Goldilocks, jumping out of bed.  As quick as she could, she climbed down the ladder and ran out the front door.

Little Bear chased after her.  “Wait, please!”

Goldilocks stopped and turned around. 

“Tell me,” said Little Bear, “Why did you come inside our house?”

Goldilocks stopped and turned around.

“I guess I didn’t think–,“ said Goldilocks. 

“And why did you eat my oatmeal?” said Little Bear.

“Well I guess I didn’t think–,“ said Goldilocks.

“And why did you break my chair and sleep in my bed?” said Little Bear.

“Well I guess I didn’t think about that, either,” said Goldilocks.

They were silent.

Goldilocks said, “I suppose I could have waited outside your door.”

“We were coming right home,” said Mama Bear.  “We might have invited you in if we knew you were hungry.”

“We might have invited you in.”

“I’m sorry about the chair,” said Goldilocks.  “I guess you saw it broke.”

“Yep,” said Mama Bear with a frown.

“I’m good at fixing things,” said Goldilocks, “If you have glue.”

“Of course we have glue!” said Papa Bear. “What kind of bears do you think we are?”

“I will make it up to you!” said Goldilocks. 

“Come on in then, dear,” said Mama Bear. 

“We’ll start over,” said Papa Bear with a nod.

“Come in, come in!” said Little Bear, jumping up and down.  

With smiles, they skipped together inside the Bear’s house.

3. Bedtime Stories


There once lived a miller with his daughter. When the miller was at work all day turning grain into flour, he loved nothing more than to think up tall tales to amaze people. 

One day the King came to town.  He heard the miller talking about his daughter.  The miller was saying that his daughter was the most amazing girl in their village, if not in all the land.

“You there!” said the King.  “What is so amazing about your daughter?”

The father bowed.  He said, “Your Majesty, my daughter is so clever that she can spin straw into gold!”

“Spin straw into gold?” said the King.  “That is amazing! She must come to my palace.  I will put her to the test!”

“But I mean…” said the miller.  He wished he had not told the King such a thing!  But now it was too late.

So the miller’s daughter had to go to the King’s palace at once.  The King took her to a room piled with straw from floor to ceiling.  He pointed to the spinning wheel in the middle of the room.  He said, “Now get to work!  If by morning you have not spun this straw into gold, you will die!”

The King slammed the door and locked it behind him.  The girl was all alone.


For the life of her, she did not know what to do.  She had no idea how to spin straw into gold! “What will I do?” she called out to the air.  “No one can do such a thing!”

Just then, an odd little man stood before her.  “Did I hear you say, ‘no one’?” he said.

“What?” said the girl, shocked.  “Where did you come from?” 

“Never mind that!” said the imp.  “What matters is I can save your life.  For a price, of course.”

“You can spin straw into gold?” said the girl.  “What kind of price do you have in mind?”  She did not know if she should trust this stranger.

“What you give must be important to you,” said the imp.  “How about that necklace?”

The girl thought, “Indeed, my necklace is very dear to me.  But not as much as my freedom.”  So she said to the imp, “Very well. If by morning you can turn this room full of straw into gold, this necklace is yours.”

The little man got to work.  Very busy he was, all night long.  Whirr, whirr, whirr, until morning.  By then, not one piece of straw was left in the room – all of it was turned into piles of pure gold thread!  

“You did it!” said the girl.

“Of course I did!” snapped the imp.  “Now hand over that necklace!”

“A deal is a deal,” said the girl.  She took off her necklace and gave it to him.  And he was gone.

When the King stepped into the room, he was very glad.  “Look at that!” he said, running the gold thread through his fingers.  “Pure gold!”

“Yes,” said the girl.  “Now if you please, sir.  I’d like to go home now.”

“Not so fast!” said the King.  “I will have my servants bring new straw to fill up a room larger than this one.  You will stay there tonight.  Beware – by morning all the straw must be spun into gold.  If you care about your life!”

“Look at that!” he said, running the gold thread through his fingers.  “Pure gold!”

“But I already–!” said the girl.

“No ‘buts’ about it!” said the King.  And he left, slamming the door behind him.  It locked with a click.

“Oh!” the girl called out.  “I was lucky last night.  It will not happen again.”

“Who says?” said a voice.  The girl turned.  There before her was that odd little man again!

“I will do this job for you,” said the imp, “But you must give me that ring on your finger.”

“I always loved that ring!” thought the girl. “But after all, it is just a ring.”  “All right, she said to the imp.  It’s a deal.”

So the imp spun the straw all night.

By morning, nothing but piles of spun gold thread lay on the floor.  The girl gave the ring to the imp, as she said she would do.

The next morning, the girl felt sure the King would be so happy, he would let her go home.  But alas!  If two rooms of gold look good to a king, three rooms of gold looked even better.  The King took the girl to the biggest room yet.  He had already filled with straw.  He told her she must turn that straw into gold by morning.  Or else!

This time, however, the King said his son was coming back from a long journey that very night.  In the morning he would send his son to the room to see if the work was done.  If it was, she was to marry the prince.  The king thought, “Even if she is a miller’s daughter, I could not find a better wife for my son.”  But he told the girl in a loud booming voice, if she could not do the task, she would marry no one at all for she would die!

He told her she must turn that straw into gold by morning.  Or else!

When the King left, the girl fell into a deep gloom.  How long would this go on?  Would she ever get out? 

When she lifted her head, there was that little man again.  “I bet you knew I would come back,” he said


“I could not know for sure,” said the girl.  “But this time I no longer have anything to give you.  I cannot pay you anymore.”

“We will find a good price,” said the imp. And he went to work, spinning the straw into gold.

“Stop!” said the girl.  “Please!  I have nothing left to pay you.”

But the imp did not stop!  He worked all night long.  Though the girl waved at him and begged him to stop, hour after hour, it was no use.

By morning, the job was done.  “There!” said the imp.  “All done.  Now I will tell you my price.”

“That’s not fair!” said the girl.

“Lots of things are not fair,” said the imp with a shrug.

“Very well,” she sighed.  “What is your price?”

“Oh, nothing right now,” he said.  “But later…. If you become Queen, I will take your first born child.”

“What?!” said the girl in fear.  “I cannot imagine I would ever be Queen.  But even if I were, I would never agree to such a thing!”

“There!” said the imp.  “All done.  Now I will tell you my price.”

“Oh, but you already have.  The straw is spun into gold.  And so the deal is made!” said the imp.  And he was gone.

A moment later, a young man stepped into the room.  “Miss, are you all right?” said the Prince.  “I know how hard my father can be.”

“True, that,” she said, and they smiled.  This young man seemed very different from his father.  

“When I am King,” he said, “I will not rule as he does.”  The Prince looked around.  He saw the large piles of gold, shining on the floor.

“How can you do such a thing?” he said in wonder.  The girl said nothing.  “I was told that if the straw were spun into gold by this morning, you were to marry me.  But know this.  If you really want to get out of here, I will help you.  Do not worry. I will find a way to tell my father.”

This young man was very different!  The girl wanted to get to know him better.  The two stayed in the room and talked about all sorts of things.  Before long, they had fallen in love.  Then he asked her to marry him.  And the girl said yes.

So the two were married.  It was not long after the wedding when the terrible old King died.  The prince became King and the miller’s daughter became Queen.  In time, the new Queen had a baby of her own, a son.  Joy filled the palace.  

Until one day, when the Queen was alone in her room. 

All of a sudden, the imp stood before her. “Give me what you promised!” said the imp, pointing at the baby.  “Now!”

“I never promised it!” said the Queen.  She held her baby tightly. She said, “I will give you gold instead. More gold than you have ever seen.”

“Why do I need gold?” said the little man.  “I can make all the gold I want!”

“Then, I will give you a castle,” said the queen.

“I come and go where I want,” said the imp.  “What do I want with a castle?”

“Then, I will give you servants to take care of you,” said the queen.

“No one takes care of me!” said the imp.  “No one even knows who I am!”

“I will find out who you are,” said the queen.

“Oh, REALLY?” said the imp.  For he knew that no one on earth knew his true name.  

“Very well,” he said.  “I will give you three days.  After three days, if you cannot tell me my true name, the baby is mine.  But if you guess my name, you can keep that baby for all I care. And no one must know about this!  If you say but one word of this to anyone, the baby will be gone forever.”

Three days is a long time to come up with a lot of names, thought the Queen.  And so she agreed.  

The next day, the Queen wrote a very long list of every name she could think of.  That night, in the baby’s bedroom, the imp appeared before her.  “Well?” he said in a loud voice.

The queen read the whole list of names, one by one.  “Could your name be Nathan?” she said.  “Lucas?” “Jacob?  “Hugo?” “Felix?” “Oliver?” As you can imagine, many other names, too.

“Not even close!” laughed the imp.  “See you tomorrow night.”  And he was gone.

The next day, the Queen looked through every book in the royal library.  She found names from faraway places.  Names she had never heard of.  

That night when the imp appeared, the Queen read her list.  

“Perhaps your name is Maximilian,” she said.  “No? How about Gunnar?”  “Alfonso?” “Pointdexter?” And many more.

“This is boring,” said the imp.  “But I will not be bored tomorrow night.  The third night is when that baby is mine!”  He laughed again, and was gone.

That night when the imp appeared, the queen read her list.

The third day, the Queen did not know what to do.  She wished she could tell her husband her woes, but she dare not.  She walked to one side of the room, then back again.  Back and forth, over and over.  “This does not help a thing!” she said.  She put on her royal cape and hood, and walked outside the castle.  

“If I have peace and quiet, maybe I will think of something,” she thought.  The Queen went into the woods.  She followed a brook to a big lake, and went past the lake to the deep forest hidden in the darkness.

All of a sudden, the queen saw the light of a fire far away.  And there was a voice that was hard to make out.  There was something about that voice, too, but what?  She stepped closer.  At last, there in front of a fire, danced a little man.  It was he, the very same imp!  Very quietly, the queen listened.

As the little man danced, he sang:

          Tonight, tonight, my plans I make

          Tomorrow tomorrow, the baby I take.

          The queen will never win the game

          For Rumpelstiltskin is my name!

“Rumpelstiltskin!” said the queen.

That night when Rumpelstiltskin appeared, the queen went through more names.  “Is your name Yusaf?  Bobek? How about Salaman?”

“No, a thousand times, no!” said the imp.  “You are wasting my time.  I will give you one last guess.  Then that is the end!”

“Well, I am sure this is not right.  But could your name be – Rumpelstiltskin?”

“RUMPELSTILTSKIN?” yelled the imp.  “How could you know?”  He was so mad that he stamped his feet.  He stamped them so hard that a very big hole opened in the ground, and he fell right down into it.  And Rumpelstiltskin was never seen again.