There was once a poor old fisherman, and one year he was not getting much fish. On a day of days, while he was fishing, there rose a sea-maiden at the side of his boat, and she asked him, "Are you getting much fish?" The old man answered and said, "Not I." "What reward would you give me for sending plenty of fish to you?" "Ach!" said the old man, "I have not much to spare." "Will you give me the first son you have?" said she. "I would give ye that, were I to have a son," said he.
Once upon a time there was a king and a queen, who were very sorry that they had no children, - so sorry that it cannot be told.
Once upon a time there was a miller who left no more riches to the three sons he had than his mill, his ass, and his cat. The division...
Long, long ago, before ever a blue flax-flower bloomed in Holland, and when Dutch mothers wore wolf-skin clothes, there was a little princess, very much beloved by her father, who was a great king, or war chief.
When good King Arthur reigned, there lived near the Land's End of England, in the county of Cornwall, a farmer who had one only son called Jack.
In the days of the great Prince Arthur, there lived a mighty magician, called Merlin, the most learned and skilful enchanter the world has ever seen. This famous magician, who could take any form he pleased, was travelling about as a poor beggar, and being very tired, he stopped at the cottage of a ploughman to rest himself, and asked for some food.
There was once a man who went into the forest to gather wood, and saw a snake crushed under a large stone. He raised the stone a little with the handle of his axe and the snake crawled out.
There was once upon a time a King who had no children. Now this King went and laid him down to rest at a place where four roads met, so that every one who passed had to step over him.
A poor blind Brahman and his wife were dependent on their son for their subsistence. Every day the young fellow used to go out and get what he could by begging. This continued for some time, till at last he became quite tired of such a wretched life, and determined to go and try his luck in another country.
A certain man had a donkey, which had carried the corn-sacks to the mill indefatigably for many a long year; but his strength was going, and he was growing more and more unfit for work.
Hans had served his master for seven years, so he said to him, "Master, my time is up; now I should be glad to go back home ...
There was once a mighty emperor and empress. Both were young and handsome, and as they desired the blessing of children they did every thing that was necessary to secure it, that is they went to the witches and philosophers and asked them to read the stars to find out whether they would have children or not.
There was once an old man and an old woman. The old woman had a hen and the old man had a rooster.