From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
A stepmother secretly hates her two step-kids, a boy and a girl, so she transforms the boy into a little fish and the girl into a little lamb.
Then she tells the cook to slaughter the lamb to feed to guests, but he figures out that something is up when the lamb and fish bid each other farewell.
So he takes the critters to a nearby wise woman who transforms them back into humans and sends them to live in the forest, away from the awful stepmother.
Tale 142: Simelei Mountain
A poor man observes twelve men entering a mountain by calling, "Semsi Mountain, Semsi Mountain, open up!" When they leave, he gives it a go and takes a bunch of treasures back with him.
His rich brother is jealous, and gets the secret out of the no-longer-poor brother.
When the rich brother arrives at the mountain, though, he forgets what to say to open the mountain, calling out, "Simelei Mountain, Simelei Mountain, open up" instead.
When the robbers find him there, they assume that he's the one who's been stealing their treasure, so they kill him.
Tale 143: Going Traveling
A young man goes traveling, determined to repeat one phrase whenever someone talks to him. Unfortunately, this little habit constantly earns him beatings (such as when he says "Not much, not much" when meeting some fishermen who are annoyed that he's commenting on how little they've caught that day).
After getting the snot kicked out of him so much, he returns home to his mother, promising never to travel again.
Tale 144: The Donkey
A king and queen are childless, and wish for a child.
Since that always goes well in fairy tales, nobody should be surprised that they got a child…who is a donkey.
They raise him as best they can, and he learns the lute. Not too shabby, for a donkey.
He goes to another kingdom and is received well by the king, who gives the donkey his daughter in marriage. We can't help but wonder what she thinks of the match.
On the wedding night, he throws off the donkey skin and turns out to be a handsome young man. The princess invites her father to spy on them at night (creepy), and the king throws the donkey skin into the fire.
The young man is ashamed without his skin at first, but he stays with his new bride and everyone's happy.
Tale 145: The Ungrateful Son
A guy's about to eat some roasted chicken when he sees his father approaching the house.
Being a selfish dude, he hides the chicken until his father leaves.
When he goes to fetch it, however, it's turned into an ill-tempered toad that sits on his face for the rest of his life.
Tale 146: The Turnip
A poor man plants some seeds, and one of them grows up to be a giant turnip. He takes it to the king, who rewards him richly.
The man's brother, who's rich and greedy, plans to get an even better reward by bringing the king things that outrank a turnip: riches, gold, and so on.
The king can't think of anything nicer than his new turnip, so he gives that to the rich brother, who becomes ticked off at his brother for besting him.
He hires thugs to kill him, but the brother escapes by talking someone into taking his place in the sack.
Tale 147: The Rejuvenated Little Old Man
A blacksmith hosts the Lord and Saint Peter in disguise for dinner one night.
When a sick old man comes begging, the Lord decides to make him youthful by throwing him on the forge.
The blacksmith decides to try this with his old mother-in-law the next day, but instead it melts off her face.
The grotesque sight is so alarming that two women give birth to babies that aren't actually human.
They run away and start the species of apes.
Seriously, guys, Shmoop did not make that up.
Tale 148: The Animals of the Lord and the Devil
God and the devil are each creating animals, like they do.
The devil makes goats, but at first they have long hairy tails, which get tangled in briars, so the devil bites off their tails rather than keep having to disentangle them.
The goats get into God's nice plants, so God sends the wolves to destroy them.
The devil is pissed about this, and denied the opportunity to get compensation, he pokes out the goats' eyes and replaces them with his own.
That's why goats have freaky-looking eyes.
Tale 149: The Beam
A magician is performing tricks, making it look like a rooster is lifting a beam.
However, a clever girl sees through the illusion and tells everyone that it's just a straw, not a beam.
The magician returns for his revenge when she's older and about to get married: he makes her think he's walking through water, so she lifts her skirts when she's in a field of blue flowers. Everyone laughs at her until she flees.
Man, reality TV has nothing on fairy tales.
Tale 150: The Old Beggar Woman
An old woman is going around begging.
When she reaches a door where a young man is warming himself by the fire, he invites her to come in.
Her rags catch on fire, but he doesn't put her out.
We're not sure why he is enough of a jerk to let an old woman burn to death, but that's the way this cookie crumbles.