Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Kindness against darkness: Halloween folktales of caring

I like Halloween stories that go beyond mere fright. Maybe because I used to be an anxious child, and jump tales made me cringe in advance; maybe because I never liked horror for horror's sake. When I started developing a Halloween repertoire as a storyteller visiting the USA, I was drawn towards stories that were less about the creatures of darkness, and more about how we face them.

This year, since the world is increasingly full of darkness anyway, I decided to post a selection of stories where scary things are balanced out with kindness and understanding. So, here is my Top 5.

The black kitty
W. B. McCarthy: Cinderella in America (University Press of Mississippi, 2007.)
Polish-American folktale about a boy who is believed to be simple by his brothers, and yet he ends up breaking a curse on a castle and its residents. He does so by hugging a black kitten (an enchanted princess named Katie), and whispering "my kitty, my black kitty" even when dragons, storms, ghosts, and devils descend on the castle to scare him.

The wee little tyke
Ruth L. Tongue: Forgotten folk-tales of the English counties (Routledge, 1970.)
A girl finds a small black stray dog, and takes him home. The entirely family is cursed by a witch, and the home is a horrible place; cow doesn't give milk, hens don't lay eggs, etc. The wee little dog breaks the curses one by one, and chases the witch away. The family decides to adopt the pup, despite his heartbreaking worries: "But... I'm small!" "But you have sharp teeth!" "But... I'm black!" "So is our cat!"

(Bonus: These two tales can also be used to encourage people to get over their superstitions about adopting black pets.)

The skull
Ruth Manning-Sanders: A book of ghosts and goblins (Dutton, 1969.)
Folktale from Tirol. An orphan girl runs away from her cousin's, and comes across a castle in the woods. The castle is inhabited by a woman's skull that she makes friends with despite all the eerie things going on around it. At night, the girl hugs the skull and holds on to it even when the headless skeleton of an evil man tries to tear it away from her. Her bravery and caring breaks the curse on the woman's ghost, and the girl inherits the castle.

Drinking companions
Pu Songling: Strange stories from a Chinese studio (London, 1880.)
Chinese story of possible traditional origins. A fisherman makes friends with a mysterious person who turns out to be the ghost of a drowned man. After a long time of sharing drinks every night, the ghost tells him that the next person to drown in the river is about to take his place. But when the next person turns out to be a mother and child, the ghost saves them, extending his own time in limbo. As a reward, he is assigned to be a minor deity in a nearby village, and continues his friendship with the fisherman. 
My storytelling mentor, Cathryn Fairlee, has a lovely version of this story that features husband and wife.

The count and the servant
(Source in Hungarian)
Hungarian folktale. A count dies, but his ghost haunts the family home every night. A servant who loved him while he was alive decides to find out why his master can't rest in peace. He pretends to be a ghost as well, and spends the night haunting and talking together with the count's ghost. The count confesses that he has hidden treasure that he wanted to leave to his family. When the servant helps him uncover the treasure, the ghost thanks him, and goes to his eternal rest.
I heard Heather Forest tell this one in Jonesborough once.

Have a great Halloween, everyone!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Forests full of forgotten folktales (Following folktales around the world 89. - England)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

I could not get access to any collections that cover all parts of the UK in one volume, so I decided to do them separately.
Forgotten Folk-tales of the English Counties
Ruth L. Tongue
Routledge, 1970.

This book instantly became one of my all-time favorite folktale collections; it is full of enchanting and unknown stories. Ruth Tongue's vast folklore collection burned down in 1966, after which she began to salvage what she could, by writing stories down from memory, and copying scorched pieces of paper. Some of these had been sent to her before and she did not even have time to read them, so it was a close call for them to be lost forever. Luckily, we now have them printed in this book, and they are a treasure trove!
The book contains 90 stories, grouped into three parts of 6 sections each. The sections are thematic (e.g. "Ghosts and Curses", "Witches and Evil Spirits," or "Rhozzums"). Each story comes with sources and notes, and there is a list of them compiled by county.


I found a lot of new favorites. I fell in love with The Vixen and the Oakmen, where trees and plants helped a fox get away from hunters and home to her husband. I encountered again the Elder Tree Witch, a fascinating and creepy story that I also included in my own book. Trees kept popping up in many of the best stories: Timbertoes and Silvertoes was about the friendship of an oak and a birch, The Wonderful Forest saved a girl from an evil king hunting her, and the Green Ladies of One Tree Hill punished two men who cut them down. There were many tales about apple trees specifically; they were often protected by fairies, or fairy horses (Lazy Lawrence) from greedy people.

Several stories that featured helpful animals. I loved the Wee Little Tyke, a tiny black dog that was adopted by a family and defended them fiercely from the curses of a witch. A little boy was helped by a donkey, a cat, and a dog to rescue her baby sister who had been taken through The Fairies' Mist Gate (lovely Christmas story, by the way). A mother was also helped by a horse, a hound, and a lap dog (!) in the fight against a Grim to save her daughter. In Food and fire and company a little old lady was helped by an invisible being around the house.
There were some stories that almost brought me to tears. Next to the wee little tyke, such a story was Poor Mall's Pilgrimage, the sad tale of a girl sold to a lord for a night, and then bullied mercilessly by her village. Eventually a strong and brave priest came along that protected her from the villagers, and carried her on his back to see her baby boy who'd grown up to be the bishop of Canterbury.
There were some ancient tales in the book too, such as one about the Wild Hunt, summoned unwittingly by a boy who blew into Herne's Horn. Or the Dragon of Solway, killed by people who dug stakes into the beach at low tide, and impaled the monster; a story that appears in indigenous traditions around the world. Dragons featured into a few stories, among them the one that got banished not once, but twice - first, by a monk on Winlatter Rock, and second, by Thee Valiant Lads who chased it into the Blue John Mines (this is how I found the book in the first place).
There were many other supernatural beings included in the book - quiet, deepwater mermaids (Asrai), the legendary Black Dog, it's cousin the Dog of the Hills, second cousin the Daisy Dog (actually a Pekingese), Black Annis the blue-faced hag, the Shuck, water ponies (shoopiltee), and fair folk under dozens of names (grig, boggarty, silky, etc.).
Even Robin Hood appeared in one story. We are in England, after all...


The story of the Seven Swans took an unexpected turn: One was wounded by a hunter, turned into a girl, and was carried away by him - but when she recovered, she turned back into a swan, chased him out of the house, and her swan sisters drowned him (just sayin'). The tale of the Cheshire cheese that went to heaven after rolling away from the priest and dividing itself among the needy reminded me of all the rolling pancake / gingerbread man tales.
Ruth Tongue suggests that the In my pocket story was probably known to J. R. R. Tolkien. It is about the friendship of a dumb giant and a smart dwarf, the latter of which hides in the pocket of the former, and beats a wizard at a game of riddles.

Where to next?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Diversity in the Netherlands (Following folktales around the world 88. - Netherlands)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

The Flying Dutchman
And other folktales from the Netherlands
Theo Meder
Libraries Unlimited, 2007.

The book contains 126 Dutch tales, legends, and other stories, carefully selected by the author not only to reflect the diversity of narrative genres from fairy tale to urban legend, but also to showcase the cultural diversity of the Netherlands. The introduction tells us about the history and culture of the country, including traditions, foodways, and mentality. We learn important things like how Dutch tradition has few heroes, the Flying Dutchman was actually originally an English literary story, and tulips came from Turkey. The tales, on the other hand, are definitely typical of the country, as they are selected and translated from the Dutch Folktale Database. I was especially impressed that the book naturally includes urban legends as part of folklore. Each story came with notes, including sources and storyteller names, tale type numbers, and comments.


I liked the story of The king and the soldier, which reminded me of the famous anecdote about Hadrian. The soldier met the disguised king on his way to the royal court, planning on demanding his payment or beating the ruler's face in with a rock. They became friends, went through some adventures, and all was well in the end.
The Lady of Stavoren
Among the legends I especially liked the White Women of the Hill of Lochem - they were helpful and terrifying at the same time, and a young man had to face them in order to win the hand of her beloved (who helped him escape death). of course a version of the Flying Dutchman was still included in the book (as per the title), and so was the most famous actual Dutch legend, the Lady of Stavoren. She ordered a captain to bring her the most precious thing in the world, but when he delivered wheat, she ordered it to be thrown overboard - and soon was punished for her pride. Among the mythical creatures, the Basilisk of Utrecht was the most interesting; as usual, someone defeated it with a mirror.
The best stories were found among the urban legends and anecdotes. For example, one explained why February has fewer days (because he lost some on cards to January and March), and another How people learned to eat potatoes (by a lord putting up a "to be consumed by the king only" sign, prompting people to steal the exotic plant). I also liked the one about Two witches in the wine cellar, in which two young witches said the incantations wrong, got trapped in a cellar, and got terribly drunk. The story did not end well for them, but it was very entertaining. So was another witch story, that of an Enchanted ship that was stolen by the captain's wife every night, so that she could make a magical journey to China.


Another kind of
Flying Dutchman
Hansel and Gretel found a Chocolate house - after they had been sent to gather firewood by their widowed mother, and got lost in the woods. There were other familiar tale types as well, such as the Magic Flight, Beauty and the Beast, Mother killed me father ate me, and even a fun mix of Frau Holle and Snow White, in which a stepdaughter named Bertha first took refuge in the house of seven monkeys, and then the monkeys blessed her with a prince for a husband. I was intrigued to find a variant of Snow White and Rose Red, which is a rare tale type (in this case, the bear-prince was hunted by fifty evil Dwarves).
Similar to other Northern traditions, there was a legend about Why the sea is salt (in this case, a giant salt ship sunk in it), and even some tales similar to Irish traditions, such as a Changeling story, and the classic Hunchback and the Little People.
A significant part of the book was taken up by urban legends and anecdotes - some famous ones among them, including the Vanishing Hitchhiker. It was an added bonus that I read the tale of the Circus Bear the same day when I also heard it told live by a Transylvanian storyteller, who heard it from a Georgian teller...
Among the trickster tales there were some classics too, such as Why Bear has a short tail (blame it on Fox), the Fake Baptism (also Fox), and even an Anansi story out of the blue - apparently Anansi made the trip from the colonies to the Netherlands. I also encountered human tricksters, such as a clever man named Jan, along with big names such as Tijl Uilenspiegel and Nasreddin.

Where to next?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Blame it on Reynard (Following folktales around the world 87. - Belgium)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

Folk tales of Flanders
Jean de Bosschère
Dodd, Mead & Co., 1918.

The book contains twenty-four Flemish folktales, and several beautiful, colorful, occasionally grotesque illustrations. In some cases, the tales had been re-written to fit the sensibilities of the era and an audience of children - in one of the stories, a wife was hiding her "nephew" from her husband, instead of a lover, and in some cases severe punishments were also omitted (although they did unceremoniously hang the Fox). It is a book for children, so it contains no notes or sources, but most of the tale types are easily recognizable, and the author re-told them in an enjoyable, entertaining style.


My favorite tale in the book was that of The peasant and the Satyrs. It is rare to find Satyrs in tales outside of Greece, so I was excited for them; in this case, they took the Devil's place in a known tale type (or maybe the other way around?). A poor man got lost in the woods in the winter, and found a little cottage where a Satyr family lived. They invited him in, but when they saw him blowing on his hands to get them warm, and blowing on his soup to make it cool, they concluded he must be a powerful being, for being able to blow both hot and cold...

How the goldfinch got its colors was a lovely tale about how the angel tasked with painting the birds forgot about the finch, and had to paint it with colors taken from other species. This was not the only bird legend in the book; the usual "who can fly higher?" contest here happened between Eagle and Goldcrest. The latter became King of the Birds, but only after they tried to imprison it, and Owl let it escape.

The Goldcrest also led the winged creatures' army in the Battle of Birds and Beasts, which was won by the winged ones - a wasp stung Reynard the Fox, who was holding his tail up as a standard, and the beast thought they had been defeated.
Probably the most famous story included in the book was The Trial of Reynard the Fox. Reynard was called to King Lion's court to answer for his many tricks and crimes. Bruin the Bear, and Tybert the Cat failed to fetch him (he outsmarted both), but eventually Blaireau the Badger managed to get him to court. Reynard, being the quintessential trickster, managed to turn his confession into an accusation against other animals, offered the King some fake treasure, got away, and even had time to kill Hare and send his head back to the King. At the end, he was caught and hanged in some other kingdom. Reynard tales are usually very dark for a trickster...


Sponsken (Little Sponge) and the Giant reminded me of an American Jack tale; our hero outsmarts a giant, and then teams up with it to defeat a bear, a boar, and a unicorn (!) and win a princess. However,the princess did not want to marry him, so the king found him another, willing bride. Go figure.
The Musicians of Bremen in this case were known as The choristers of St. Gudule - they set out to start a singing career in their old age. Another similar gang started out fleeing from The end of the world, but ended up finding a king's lost ring, and making a lot of money together.
Hansel and Gretel - in this case, Jan and Jeanette - found a Sugar-candy House in the woods, owned by an old lame wolf. The wolf chased them until they crossed a rived, helped by some ducks. When the wolf asked the ducks to ferry him across too, they dumped him into the river.
I was reminded of a Nasreddin tale by The peasant and his ass, in which a foolish man was tricked into believing he was dead, and that his donkey had turned into the captain of the guard.
Ups and downs, in which Fox got Goat to go down into a well, was familiar from the tales of Uncle Remus. Trickster, as we have already seen, was always Fox, specifically a fox named Reynard. He fulfilled the role of Puss in Boots for Poor Peter, and he rescued the knight who saved an ungrateful dragon, by tricking the dragon into going back into the trap. He also tricked Wolf in a "fake baptism" tale type (where he repeatedly sneaked out to steal lard from their shared pantry), and convinced Bear to use his long tail for ice fishing (which is why bears have stumpy tails now).

Where to next?
The Netherlands!

Monday, October 8, 2018

The mysterious Mélusine (Following folktales around the world 86. - Luxembourg)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

I once again ran into the problem of not finding any folktale collections from Luxembourg in any of the languages I read. Which, in this case, was especially frustrating, because there is even a beautiful stamp series of Luxembourg fairy tales - except, I could not locate most of the stories depicted in them. So, here are seven tales that I did manage to scavenge up:
The bag, the pipe, and the hat
(From here)
It is a short, simple version of the Fortunatus tale type. A young man receives three magic items, but a princess wins them from him playing cards. Eventually, he is helped by an old woman and some magic, horn-growing apples in getting the items back.

Michel Michelkleiner's good luck
(L. Bødker, C. Hole, G. D'Aronco: European Folk Tales)
A young man is robbed in the woods and trapped inside a barrel, but with the (unwitting) help of a fox he manages to break free, and he even scares the bandits that robbed him enough that they take off, leaving all their gold behind.

Master Sly
(L. Bødker, C. Hole, G. D'Aronco: European Folk Tales)
Seven rich farmers want to get rid of a poor man, but he repeatedly outwits all of them. He makes fortune out of them killing his mother, destroying his oven, and trying to drown him in a pond - and in the end, in true trickster fashion, he even gets them to jump into the pond themselves.

The beautiful Melusina
(From this great website)
Luxembourg's most famous legend, and one of the best known around medieval Europe; the origin story of the House of Luxembourg. Count Siegfried encounters Melusina, a water-fairy, and falls in love with her; she promises to marry him if he builds a castle by her pool, and does not look at her on Saturdays. After sven children and many years of marriage, the husband does take a peek, and sees Melusina in the bath with her fish tail. She leaves him, and has been haunting the Luxembourg castle ever since, waiting for someone to set her free.

Melusina (soldier's legend)
(Also from here)
Melusina appears to a soldier who is on guard at night, and tells him how he can break the curse on her. He would have to take a key out of the mouth of a fiery serpent - but he is too scared in the last minute, and Melusina remains lost.

The mysterious Mélusine
(Also from here)
In this version Mélusine's day off is the first Wednesday of every month. After her husband's betrayal she moves to the Alzette river, or to caves under the castle. She spends her time knitting, but she only does one stitch every seven years - which is just as well, because if she finishes her work, Luxembourg will crumble.

The wolf of Doncols
(From here and here)
The only tale from the stamp series that I found. It is a local legend about a famous figure, a wandering peddler who told wild tales about how he managed to single-handedly fight and kill many a dangerous wolf (proving it by wearing a wolf pelt on his head).

Where to next?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Down the research mole rat hole

Every year, various organizations in Hungary announce natural treasures of the year, to raise awareness of the country's flora and fauna, and gather resources for conservation. We have Bird of the Year, Mammal of the Year, Wildflower of the Year, etc. Since it is by now a very popular tradition, I decided that this year I'd make a storytelling program that contained stories for all these natural treasures; I named the idea Wonders of the Year, and got right down to research.

Just to show you what I was trying to find stories for:

Bird: Peregrine falcon
Tree: Mountain ash
Wildflower: Marsh gentian
Mineral: Fluorite
Fish: Asp
Insect: Emperor dragonfly
Mammal: Mole rat
Reptile: Viviparous lizard
Herb: Lavender
Fungus: Lion's mane

The idea was to find one story for each, and then take the whole show to educational settings. Since I had a fairly busy year, the program did not really come together until the end of September, when we have the national Night of Research: Research institutions, universities and museums are open all night, and have all kinds of exciting science-related programs. A friend of mine, Dr. Beáta Oborny, biologist and storyteller, suggested that we should take the show to the university's own Natural History Museum; she'd provide the exciting factual information for each natural treasure, and I'd tell the stories. So we did.

In the end, the research process was not at all what I'd expected. Falcons show up in lots of stories, but none mentioned a peregrine specifically (in Hungarian, "falcon" used to refer to this particular species to begin with, other falcons had other names), and of course I had to give up on the "viviparous" part of the lizard very early on. Mole rats rarely ever come to the surface, so the folklore on them was pretty scant as well. But on the other hand, delving deeper into nature stories did bring up some unexpected, delightful surprises.

I tracked down some Bulgarian folk songs in which a girl is forced to marry a dragon, only to find out that her husband has no power over gentian flowers, and she uses them to escape; bonus in the story was the way the dragon's marriage entourage arrived at her house, and the dragon women re-braided her hair "in their fashion, like a dragon." Fluorite seemed like a lost cause from the get-go, but then I learned about the famous Blue John mines in England, which just happen to have a fabulous dragon legend attached to them (courtesy of Ruth Tongue, from Forgotten Folktales).
In the cases where I could not find the exact species, I did my best to improvise. For example, lizards appear in many stories; I almost fell for one where Lizard helps find the stolen Sun, but then I found out that this particular species is known for living in colder climates and habitats, and is the northernmost reptile known in Europe. In the end, I tracked down a Hungarian folktale (a variant of the Frog Princess) where a girl, turned into a lizard, lived at the edge of the world, and ventured into underground kingdoms to help a prince acquire magical items. Similarly, I went all the way to Japan to find some worthwhile mentions of the lion's mane mushroom. There it is associated with the yamabushi monks, and it just so happens that there is a well known Japanese comedy that features such a monk trying to pray an infestation of demon mushrooms away.

The hardest challenge, in the end, was the mole rat. It has been chosen as Mammal of the Year because building the wall on our southern border (*cough*useless*cough*) cut its habitat in half, and now it is severely endangered. Because it rarely ever comes above ground, there is not much folklore attached to it, and the one that exists is pretty bad. In some parts of Hungary it was believed that killing one with your left hand gave you healing powers (not for the poor creature, obviously). Other than that, I found some beliefs that children born from sibling incest live as mole rats for 7 years (weremolerats, hey!), although the word they use for mole rat could also just be a word for a mythical creature. In the end, I found a newspaper clipping from 1927 in which a mole rat was found on the road by someone, captured, lost, found again, and eventually made it into town from where the local doctor sent it on to London. Using all these small moving parts, I made up a story from the mole rat's perspective, and spiced it up with interesting details about these fascinating creatures.

I am proud to report that in the end I managed to find stories for all ten things on the list; most of them traditional folktales and legends, with some creative additions. It was tons of work, and I didn't even get to tell all of them in one show, but I had great fun with working on it. I still have three months to take it to other venues... and I can't wait to find out what treasures we'll have on the list for next year!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Fairy godmothers all over the place (Following folktales around the world 85. - France)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

Folktales of France
Geneviève Massignon
University of Chicago Press, 1968.

This great collection contains 70 French folktales, organized by the major regions of France. I especially liked it because it does not contain the well-known 18th and 19th century literary French fairy tales, but rather, real folk stories gathered from the people by folklorists. As such, the stories are sometimes a little unruly, often humorous, occasionally cruel, and several of them contain comments from the original storyteller. The book opens with a long Foreword, detailing the history of folklore collections in French (as well as the bitter feud between collectors), and a shorter Introduction about the tales included. The end of the volume has extensive notes for each story, a bibliography, a motif list and a tale type index.


The story of La Ramée was both shocking and amusing. It is a classic "make the princess laugh" story, except here the mouse, the beetle, and the cricket all joined the poor boy on their own volition, and did not only help him win the princess, but also rescued him from being devoured by an elephant (yup), and managed to give the other contestant violent diarrhea...
All through the collection, magical godmothers kept making an appearance. Many of them were fairies, but the Virgin Mary also frequently featured into tales. I especially liked Golden Hair, a version of the Frog Bride, in which we got to find out how the girl became a frog in the first place. Apparently, she used to be a goddaughter of the Virgin, but ran a way with a prince. The prince remained faithful to his frog bride, and completed his father's tasks with the help of the Virgin to get to marry her in the end.
I also loved the Three deserters, a very elaborate and exciting version of Fortunatus, from the Pyrenees. Three brothers, on the run from the army, won three magic items from a haunted castle, then won the same princess three times with their items, except she kept taking the items and kicking out the suitors. Eventually she got her comeuppance, the items were recovered, and the youngest brother married the lady of the haunted castle.
Fanfinette and the prince was a particularly gruesome version of the Basil Girl. At first, the prince tried to sleep with her, but she managed to get away; then he tired to kill her multiple times, but she always survived. She even managed to convince the court that the prince gave birth, so that he would have to take care of the babies of women he'd slept with. In the end, Fanfinette was forced to marry him, but managed to trick him one last time. The story does end in "happily ever after," which I did not like, but the rest was both horrible and intriguing.
A much lovelier tale was that of the Four friends (Little Goose, Tiny Black Kitten, Curly Lamb, and Heifer-ready-to-deliver) who all set out together to find various things (a cure for a headache, for example), and ended up stumbling upon a lonely old woman in a cottage. They moved in, cheered her up, and lived happily ever after.
The last tale in the book was that of A boy promised to the Devil - who, once he found out what promise his parents had made, instead of resorting to the usual trickery, straight up dueled the Devil and beat him.


There were several familiar tale types in the book. I really liked the hero who defeated a Seven-headed monster with a white stick, while wearing a coat of thirty-six colors. I also encountered Magic Flights (more than one), Beauty and the Beast, stolen golden apples (in this case, oranges), a boy who saw a dream (and became a bishop), Tom Thumb, The devil's golden hairs, Puss in Boots (who married not one, but two daughters of the king), a cursed princess in a shroud (Jean of Bordeaux), Rumpelstiltskin (here called Mimi Pinson), and Prince Thrushbeard (who had no reason to mess with the princess since she agreed to marry him right away, but whatever).
This being a collection of French tales, there was also a Red Riding Hood variant (Boudin-Boudine),with a boy instead of a girl, and with Grandma chasing the wolf out of town with a broom instead of being devoured. One of the best versions of the Rooster's Diamond I have seen so far, Half Chicken, told about a poor little hen who was bullied by the other hens, so she set out, made friends (Wolf, River, and Fire), and won herself a kingdom. The girl and the thief was another one of those stories where a bandit terrorized a girl for years until she managed to get rid of him (I mentioned this one from Italy). The wolf scalded by hot water was up against a married couple this time, who helped each other multiple times. A hiding-from-the-princess story, Princess Elisa, was solved by a hero who turned into an ant, and hid in the princess' garters.
As far as tricksters go, here God himself tricked the Devil to pick the tops of the bottoms of the crop. There was also a classic Fox vs Wolf story, with Fox secretly eating all the butter, and getting Wolf to try to fish with his tail in an ice hole.

Where to next?