by Anusha Natarajan & Nita Kulkarni
1) The Snow Queen
Once upon a time, there was an evil troll who made a magic mirror that caused everything to look hideous. It turned the most gorgeous landscapes into what appeared to be ugly “boiled cabbage fields.” The troll tried lifting the mirror to heaven, but the higher it rose, the more it shook. The mirror eventually fell and shattered into a million pieces. These splinters (which were no larger than a grain of sand) were blown around and got into peoples’ eyes and hearts, making them only see ugliness.
Years later, neighbors Kai and Gerda, grew vegetables and roses. They could get to each other’s houses by crossing the gutters of their building, and they would often play in their garden together. Kai’s grandmother would always tell the both of them stories of a Snow Queen. One day, when Kai and Gerda were playing together, a small piece of the mirror got into Kai’s eyes, and he became mean and aggressive towards everyone and everything around him.
The following winter, Kai went sledding and saw a beautiful woman in white. She kissed him on the head twice- one to numb the pain, and the second to make him forget about Gerda and his family. A third kiss on the head would kill him. The Snow Queen took him in her sled to her ice palace. People in their village concluded that Kai died in the nearby river. Gerda, heartbroken, went out and asked everyone about Kai’s whereabouts. She offered the river her new shoes, and the river told her that Kai did not die in the river. Gerda found an old sorceress who wanted Gerda to stay with her forever. As Gerda cried, a tear dropped to the ground, and she pictured the underworld. However, Kai wasn’t there, so she realized that he must be alive.
Later, Gerda asked a crow where Kai was, and he said that Kai was in an ice palace. Finally, after a long journey, Gerda arrived at the ice palace and she saw Kai lying on a frozen lake. She ran up to him and kissed him on the head. Kai turned back to normal, and he cried all of the glass pieces out of his eyes. They both returned home and lived happily ever after!
2) The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is from an underwater kingdom and lives with the sea king (her father) and her 5 sisters. She is the youngest out of the 5 sisters. When a mermaid reaches a certain age, she is allowed to swim near the surface to get a glimpse of the world beyond. When it’s Little Mermaid’s turn, she sees a handsome prince and immediately falls in love with him. Then, a storm comes and hits the prince, and the Little Mermaid saves him from drowning.
The Little Mermaid then questions her grandmother if humans can adapt to the water environment and live there forever. Her grandma says that humans don’t have that long of a life span compared to mermaids. So the Little Mermaid visits the Sea Witch, who sells the potion, which replaces her tail with legs. The Sea Witch warns the mermaid that when she drinks the potion, she will not be able to return to the water.
The Little Mermaid finishes drinking the potion and finds the prince. Then, she dances with him, and he explains to her that he is getting married with the girl from the neighboring kingdom. When he had mistakenly assumed that the princess had rescued him, he had fallen in love. When Little Mermaid receives this news, her heart breaks. So she commits suicide and dies.
3) Rumpelstiltskin (also spelled Rumplestiltskin)
Once there was a miller who wanted to be more popular, so he told the king that his daughter could spin straw into gold. The king brought the girl to a tower filled with straw and shut her inside. He told her that she must spin all the straw into gold or he would behead her. She almost gave up until an imp-like creature came into the room and spun all the straw into gold in return for her necklace.
The next morning, the king put more straw in the room for the girl to spin. The imp-like creature came again and spun the straw into gold in return for her ring. The third day, the king took the girl to an even larger room, filled with more straw. He said that if she could fill the room with gold, then she could marry his son, but if she failed she would die. Sadly, she had nothing left to pay the strange imp creature so he demanded her first born child in return for all the gold.
The king kept his promise and married his son to the Miller’s daughter. When the child was born, the imp demanded her to hand over the child, but the girl, who was now queen, proposed that she can give him all her wealth and keep her child. The imp had no interest in the riches, but he told the girl that if she could guess his name in three days, she could keep her child.
On the first two days, she failed at guessing, but on the third day a messenger was in the woods and heard the imp say, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll go to the king’s house, nobody knows my name, I’m called “Rumpelstiltskin.” Rumpelstiltskin came to the castle and the girl told him his name as the messenger told her. Rumpelstiltskin, infuriated, flew away on a ladle.