Stories To Solve: Folktales From Around The World

Brief folktales in which there is a mystery or problem that the reader is invited to solve before the resolution is presented. How can a thirsty crow drink from an almost-empty pitcher? How does arresting a stone help a judge find a boy’s stolen money? This artfully illustrated book presents fourteen intriguing mysteries from world folklore. Each brain-teasing tale is followed by a simple explanation of the solution, while notes at the back of the book describe the origins of these classic mysteries.

Ten Old Men and a Mouse

The synagogue was once a busy, bustling place, but now only ten old men come to tend it and pray each day. Then one day, a little scritch-scratch betrays the first new member in years: a tiny mouse who has taken up residence among the holy books. Of course, a trap must be set, but who will do it? Al volunteers, but in the morning the mouse is still there, and is just a little more appealing than he was before. Day after day, the men become more engaged, until the mouse has a bed, pictures on the wall, and a little carpet, not to mention all the treats the men bring. Then comes the biggest surprise of all. He is a she, giving the ten old men reason to celebrate with peach schnapps — and to plan a trip to the country where they find the perfect place to release their numerous charges. Back at the synagogue, fall turns to winter. The ten old men miss their mice until a little scritch-scratch returns.

The Problem with Chickens

The ladies of Iceland have a problem: the birds lay their eggs in nooks on the sides of steep cliffs, so the ladies have a very difficult time getting any of the eggs for baking. They go to town to buy chickens to lay eggs for them instead. For a while, everyone is happy, and there are plenty of eggs to bake plenty of yummy things. But the ladies’ problems are far from solved, for the more time the chickens spend with the ladies, the more they begin to act like them too, until eventually they stop laying eggs all together. Now this is a problem indeed, but the clever ladies will find a solution.

How the Ladies Stopped the Wind

Iceland is a very windy place.Going for a walk can be challenging. The ladies in one village, with the help of the chickens, set out to stop the wind. But the hungry sheep have other plans. Why aren’t there any trees in the Icelandic countryside? This original tale will tell you why and leave you smiling at the determination of the ever singing Icelandic ladies and their steadfast chickens.

Four Hens and a Rooster

Four hens live on a chicken farm. A little rooster lives there, too. “What a nice little rooster you have here,” everyone says when they come to visit. Indeed, it seems so for a while. But then the rooster begins to take more food for himself, and the hens get less. When the hens try talking to him about fairness, they’re not prepared for his reaction. The rooster turns into an egotistical barnyard bully, and the hens are worse off than before. Finally, the oldest hen puts her foot down: “We can’t go on like this. We must do something.”