Table of Contents:

- El perro negro de El Escorial (Spain)
- The Kelpie's Wife (Scotland)
- The Haunted Swamp (Denmark)
- The Skogsra (California)
- The Iele (Romania)
- The Legend of La Llorona (New Mexico)
- The Selkie (Canada)
- The Xocoyoles (Mexico)
- Mae Nak Phra Khanong (Thailand)
- The Green & The White Lady (Scotland)
- The Old men of Painswick (England)
- Mula-Sem-Cabeça (Brazil)
- Inês de Castro (Portugal)
Lidérccsirke (Hungary)
- Die Mittagsfrau (Germany)
Mamiña (Chile)
- l'Ankou
- Ridder Coenraedt (Holland)
- The albino cannibals of Los Gatos (
- The white Deer

El perro negro de El Escorial

Submitted by: Anonymous
Country: Madrid, Spain

Special places always hold many stories. That is why special places are always misunderstood. But extraordinary things happen at those places, and that is why they have many legends and unusual records. I like to talk about those, so be my guests for this tale.

The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial, in Madrid’s mountain range, is a very special place. The Good King decided to build it to thank God for a victory in battle and enigmatic things happened from the very beginning.

The chroniclers say that when the architects were wandering through the mountains trying to find the most suitable place for the building a terrible storm started. Instead of taking shelter, the architects decided to go on with their duty. Then, a ray struck the ground just in front of them, and that is how the location of the monastery was decided.

Many stories are told about this amazing place; a curious one is that of it being a Hell-Gate. This belief started when the Monastery was in early construction. The first thing to be built was the church and the convent, since the monks of the order of Hieronymus took residence there from the very beginning. One day, a sudden stormcloud came down from the mountain hiding the sun; a thunder deafened the valley and a ray struck the building, into the sacristy, causing a big fire that lasted for several days. After the thunder, the cloud vanished and the sun came out again. Some people said then that the Devil had visited the place that day in complaint for the holy building. This thought was strengthened when some months later, the first monk who attended to suffocate the fire, the clock maker, died of an unknown sickness.

But my favorite story is that which took place just a little after that.

About a month after the fire, the monks began to hear terrifying howls in the night, and the howling happened every night and could be heard from everywhere in the Monastery. As days passed, some of the monks also said that in the moonlight they have seen a huge black dog dragging a thick noisy chain that gave impossible jumps on the scaffoldings. People in the town grew uneasy and began to wonder about the dog, saying things like that it was an adversity omen, the Cerberus set free by the Devil after his failure in destroying the temple by fire, or the Devil himself that, in the shape of a dog, tried to scare away the monks by keeping them from sleeping. The story grew so famous that reached the capital, where opportunistsicpeople took the chance to spread the story the dog was a vengeful spirit send to complain on the taxes imposed to build the Monastery. All this talking worried the King, who decided to investigate the matter by himself.

On the night of June the 21st, the terrible howling of the dog coming from undergrounds of the construction, under the King’s chamber, reached such an intensity that the monks took refuge in the Sacristy to pray. One of them, however, bravely went down and, aided by other three monks, caught the dog by a leather collar it wore. It was a big animal, yet thin, as if it had not eaten properly in a while. It was wearing a collar from which it hanged a thick chain, as if the animal had escaped from his master’s house by breaking it; the collar showed that the animal belonged to a member of the court but not which member, and no one ever claimed for it.

When the dog was shown to the King, to calm his people, he decreed it to be hanged from one of the convent’s windows until it rotted away, so everyone could see that it was nothing but a regular stray dog. This stopped the gossip, and nobody ever heard the dog howling… but, apparently, the King himself.

When the good King was about to die in terrible pain, he asked about the dog to his last adviser. When the man said that the dog had not been seen since it was hanged the King told him: ‘I see it and hear it everywhere, its barking wakes me up in the middle of the night. We must make spells to keep it from returning; it scares me.’
Almost three centuries later, a writer would say, without mentioning his source, that the King also saw the dog several times during his life, when someone close to him was about to die.

The Kelpie's Wife

Submitted by: Anonymous
Country: Scotland

There once was a Kelpie's wife, who lived beneath the loch with her baby son, whom she loved dearly. The Kelpie's wife loved her husband but she missed the warmth of the sun and her family, for the Kelpie had stolen (this is the custom of Kelpies who steal their wives) her away from them without so much as a farewell.

One day, when her husband was out hunting victims, the cold and the darkness became unbearable and she fled to the surface, leaving behind her baby son, for she knew the Kelpie loved his son and would care for him. Once at the surface she basked in the warmth of the sun and soon made her way to her parents cottage. Her family were overjoyed to see her, for they thought she had died and so they held a great Celidh.

The Celidh dragged on into the night and the Kelpie's wife soon forgot her husband and child with the joy of being reunited with her family. During the night there came a great storm and suddenly, from outside the cottage, they could hear the champing of a horse's hooves.

Her husband had found his wife gone and was furious, for he loved her so greatly that he viewed her escape as the ultimate crime. Taking the form of a black stallion he banged on the cottage door but he could not enter, for he had not been given permission to enter and cross the threshold. He called for her in rageful screams. The Kelpie's wife was frightened and also sad for she loved her husband but wished to stay with her family. Eventually, during the night, they heard a great 'thud' as something hit the door. After this, there was silence.

In the morning when the Kelpie had returned to the loch, they found lying on the ground, the decapitated head of the Kelpie's son. In revenge for his wife's betrayal he had slain his only son. This was the price to pay for breaking a Kelpie's heart. The Kelpie's wife lived contently and was never again bothered by the Kelpie, who had learnt his lesson of love.

The Haunted Swamp

Submitted by: Carina
Country: Denmark

Where my father lives, there's a swamp, and my mother once told me this tale:

When there is fog in the swamp, the bog woman is brewing her ale, and the elves are dancing. Any human who passes by the elves, will be offered some of their wine and asked to dance with them. If he accepts, a beautiful elven woman will dance with him. When he puts his arm around the elf's back, he will notice her back is hollow, but by that time, it'll be too late for him to run. The elves will kidnap him, and bring him to their underground city, where they will keep him as a slave until the day he dies. No-one has ever escaped the hands of the elves.

Apart from the elves, there is also the Nixe, who lives in the lake and lures you to him with his beautiful Violin music. When he catches you he brings you to his underwater-house and eats you. There are the trolls who turn to stone should they be hit by sunlight and the wights who'll keep you as a pet. And every time she told me the story she would always, when the story ended, tell me this: "Don't ever go into the swamp alone, and don't even LOOK over there when its foggy, so they wont take you away." Thus I was scared to death by the swamp when I was younger.

The Skogsra

Submitted by: Brett Williamson

The Skogsra, or more easily pronounced Sjora, is a Swedish water spirit that lives in the woods and is known to either help men with good hunting or lead them astray. It is always seen in a forest and always by a body of water most usually looking like a beautiful woman brushing her hair and sometimes having a tail.

There was something I was told by my mother's grandmother about a story that she was told by her father.

From the time he was little he went hunting with his father, the boy became an excelent marksman, and by the time he was 16 he had the skills of a veteran-pro twice his age. One day he went out to hunt by himself with his dog Kysa and as the dog went for something to drink, it was a beautiful young woman he saw. All he could do was stare for the longest time until he was noticed so he went over and introduced himself to the young woman, she never gave him her name.

So the days went on and the boy, who was slowly becoming a man, fell in love with this woman. Until one day, as he went into the woods, he saw her with someone else. The man became furious and confronted the woman, then she became furious and suddenly disappeared. On his way home it became extremely dark and he lost his way and his dog, Kysa. Two days past and still he found no way out of the woods, then something caught his eye; 't was the woman he had fought with and thought he loved.

He goes to talk with her and apologizes about his behavior but then he sees a tail out of nowhere. Well actually out of the back of her dress. So he askes her and she, once again, becomes very angry and attackes him. He yells at her and runs off. Three more days went by and still he could not find his way home out of the woods. Finaly home at last, he runs inside and tells his father about what has happened and his father explained him about what he had met. He understood.

Years later he fell in love with a Romanian girl and lived a long and happy life in America. But he could never forget the face of the woman he almost gave his heart to. And of course there was a scar he could not forget.

The Iele

Submitted by: Iulia (From the Romanian people)
Country: Romania

Not so long ago, living anywhere in the countryside, you could often hear words such as “Oh dear, such a pity of this boy! He must have been charmed by the Iele”.
Ielele are often described as very beautiful girls with charming powers, extremely talented dancers (usually in groups of three, seven or twelve), and living in nice and isolated places; small flowering meadows, in the forests or sometimes at abandoned crossroads or homes. The life in the forests gives them all they need; feeding themselves with the fruits and herbs and drinking clear water from the cold mountain springs.

Some say they are protectors of nature and their place of living is a sacred one, others say they are just mischievous spirits, taking revenge on people for having seen them or interrupting their ritual.

One thing is for sure, they do like dancing and singing! The beautiful girls have twinkling bells on their ankles and go dancing in the forests at night, when the moon is high. Their dance is light; some even say they dance in the air, flying. Oh, and when they dance…they do dance charmingly, with yellow flowers in their hair, holding hands in a fast hora (a very fast traditional circle dance from the Carpathian – Balkan region, encountered mostly in Romania and Bulgaria). Many say that where they have danced, next morning, you can see the burned ground and grass in the form of a circle. In this place, there will hardly be any vegetation growing again and if it grows, no animal would want to eat it.

Many legends in many different regions in Romania speak about young boys and men who have been caught spying on them. The Ielele took their revenge by charming, seducing and taking their minds away (making them crazy). If you hear them singing you will turn deaf, and if you answer to them when they call your name, you will lose your voice. This is the punishment a human receives when interfering with the natural course of a sacred ritual performed by the Iele.

There are many folk songs, poems and “zicatori” (popular sayings) about common people’s encounters with these beings, some good, some bad, some as the people’s heart.

(* grammar note: “Iele” – always used in plural. There is no singular term, since they are always seen as a small collectivity. “Ielele” is the articulated form.)

La Llorona

Submitted by: Bryan (From the Hometown Tales Podcast)
Country: New Mexico

I was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Founded in 1598 it is the oldest continually-inhabited town in the United States. That's a lot of history. That also means a lot of people have been dying here - leaving behind ghosts and ghost stories - for over 400 years.

Growing up in a town where every night feels haunted - where a child believe that looking out of a bedroom window at night means you might see something else staring back at you - makes you afraid of the dark. And no other tale has had a more chilling effect on my friends and I than the Legend of La Llorona.

There seems to be several versions of the tale, even in modern day New Mexico, where the "wailing woman" is said to still haunt the hills around Santa Fe.

There are too many versions to list here, but they all share a common thread: a cautionary tale of consequences to making a bad decision.

One version says that La Lorna was a widow woman of the 18th century, living near the village of Santa Fe. La Lorna was so intent on finding a new husband, that she neglected her children and her family duties, spending most of her time in the saloons and gambling halls of Santa Fe, intent on finding a man to care for her. She didn't seem to care that, lately, Apaches from the nearby the hills, who often raided homesteads, had been seen. It was during one of her night on the prowl for a man that her children were brutally murdered in an Apache raid, drowned and dumped in a nearby irrigation ditch.

Another version of the story has it that La Llorna was a young beautiful girl who fell in love with a bad man. After giving this man two beautiful children, he turns and find another young girl to run off with. Knowing how much her husband loves his children, La Llorona herself drowns her children to spite him.

Either way it happens, the children die and La Llorona drowns herself in despair. The tormented soul of La Lorna now forever walks the river beds - arroyos - of Santa Fe to, wailing in anguish over the loss of her children.

"Mis Ninos! Donde estan mis ninos?" ("My children! Where are my children?")

Alone at night, of course, before you see her, you’ll always hear that terrifying wailing. Is she looking for her children? What we were told was that she would be happy to find simply any child alone in the arroyos. So we almost never walked to dry river beds, especially at night.

Ironically, it was this centuries old tale of death that kept so many children alive. The legend could have began as a very practical method of keeping us kids out of the arroyos. In the rainy month of August, arroyos could fill up in seconds with a flash flood, leaving anyone in them doomed. It's a classic Boogeyman tale: be good or the boogeyman will get you. Instead, we were told stay out of the dry riverbeds during flashflood season of you'll be swept away by the Wailing Woman.

The Selkie

Submitted by: Kiera Tauro
(The following story was presented as a ballad.)

Walking on an island, on a day both bright and clear
He spied a creature on the rocks and quickly wandered near.
The seal had not yet seen him and he saw it shed its skin
And like butterflies from the cocoon, a lady stood within.

The skin it lay abandoned like yesterday’s disguise,
And careful not to startle he stood and met her eyes –
As black as the ocean and as wild as the sea,
Full of wonder, like a curious child she gazed back at me.

A whisper brought him closer and a touch to her side
Their voices rose and fell, matching the pounding of the tide.
Conversation faded and love grew in its place,
She said “I must go,” with a smile upon her face.

“I will meet you on the morrow, but to the sea I must go.”
And skin in hand, the lady left for the water down below.
He came back every morning and she left him every night,
But soon he had an idea that would keep her in his sight.

Reluctant to consider it, but more to see her leave
The skin would be stolen, was the plan he would weave.
“For without the skin she could not go back to the sea,
And thus would be content to stay ashore with me.”

And so one day while she slept, her head against his chest
He slipped out from beneath her and stole it from her breast.
Carefully it was hidden and he was back afore she woke,
But soon her eyes had opened and softly she spoke:

“My skin you have stolen, and the sea that was my life,
I am damned to live on land, and this can only lead to strife.”
The days seemed to last forever, and she wandered as if lost,
But she vowed to find her skin, no matter what the cost.

Long she searched to no avail and soon she gave up hope,
For without the comfort of the waves she found she could not cope.
Little more than a shadow she sat above the tide,
Watching the place once called home as quietly she cried.

Her silence did not please him and he loved her less each day,
His beautiful wild selkie girl had begun to fade away.
Not a word was spoken but still she seemed to plead
For the skin long since taken, for his avarice to recede.

And though he loved her less, he refused to let her go,
For she was his and did not belong to the sea down below.
The seasons kept on changing, and all fondness seemed to fade,
When the lady heard a whisper coming from the glade,

The forest spirit had seen her and noticed her distress,
And knew that to make her smile, her skin she must possess.
So he had searched and he had found the skin that she had worn,
And presenting it to her, he saw that she did no longer mourn.

Eyes aglow, a whispered thanks, and quickly she did go,
As she often did in dreams, to the sea down below.
Never thinking to return and never looking back,
She slipped between the waves into water deep and black.

It wasn’t until she was gone that he finally he saw,
As wonderful as it had seemed, his plan possessed a flaw.
He had loved her because she was beautiful and because she was free,
But the only lover that she could know was the loveless sea.

The Xocoyoles

Submitted by: Juan Ruben Juarez Macias

Those who lived a long time ago will tell you about a man who did not believe in the word of his ancestors. They told him storms with thunder and lightning were created by young children up in the sky; the so called xocoyoles.

Xocoyoles are the very young children who die at birth or before being baptized. Wings sprout from their shoulders and they are sitting on the hills and the crags. The legend tells that these pequeñitos (the small children) were doing various kinds of work: some poured water from big pitchers so rain might fall upon the lands and make crops grow. Others created hailstones and threw them down from the clouds, and still others created mighty thunderclaps and lightning by slamming their ropes on the clouds.

But one man did not believe the legend. One day, after a great tempest had passed over the countryside, he went to a hill planted with ocotes-trees (Pinus montezumae) to cut firewood. When he arrived there he saw a naked child, its two wings were stuck in the branch of an ocote.
The man was very much surprised, especially when the child said to him: "If you give me my rope that has fallen on the ground, I will cut up this entire tree into firewood, so you can take it."
"Really, will you do that?" the man asked.
"Yes, I will do this for you."
The man soon joined several sticks and branches with which he could reach the top of the tree and thus give the rope to the stuck xocoyol. The child, having his rope again in his hands, told the man he should leave and return the next day to collect the firewood. The man thus went and when he was gone the xocoyol used his regained rope to create thunderclaps and lightning. Because of the force the ocote-tree splintered and broke, a perfect pile of firewood was the result. When the small child finished his work he flew away to his place in the sky and his brother xocoyoles.
The following day the man returned to the hill and found the huge pile of firewood, he looked for the xocoyol but did not see him anywhere.

From this day onwards he believed all the stories his grandparents told him.

Mae Nak Phra Khanong

Submitted by: Virginie-Pairaya Pithon

Long ago, when King Mongkut reigned over Thailand and when Bangkok was still known as “The Venice of the Far East” a young woman known as Nak lived with her beloved husband Maak near the Phra Khanong canal. The young couple were very much in love and believed that nothing would ever tear them apart.

One day all of this changed. Thailand was at war, and she needed all the soldiers that she could get. Maak was conscripted into the Royal Army, and had no choice but to leave Nak and their unborn baby behind. In the subsequent war Maak was very badly injured, and while he was being nursed back to health Nak and her baby son died in childbirth.

Months would pass before Maak was able to return to his home near the Phra Khanong canal. When he did finally return, he went home to find his wife and son waiting there to greet him. Nak looked even more beautiful than he had remembered, and his baby son was healthy. Maak was very happy. Unbeknownst to him, the ghost of Mae Nak had enslaved him with a spell. Her love for him was so great that she wanted to create the illusion of a normal life, an illusion so perfect that he would stay with her forever.

When the neighbours realized what was happening they all tried to warn Maak that the woman he was living with couldn’t be Nak – that Nak had died in childbirth and that the woman he was living with had to be a ghost. Maak scoffed at these stories, unable to believe that his Nak was anything else than what she presented herself to be. Although Maak hadn’t believed any of the people who had come to warn him, the ghost of Mae Nak was not going to let them get away with it – or give anyone else the opportunity to take her husband away from her. Every single person who had warned Maak about his wife met with a macabre end… all of them suffered strange unexplained deaths. Some of them went through grisly fatal accidents, while others were found with their bodies drained of blood. Despite all these strange occurrences, Maak refused to believe that there was anything wrong with his wife.

One evening while Mae Nak was cooking for her husband, she dropped a chopped up piece of lime. It fell through a hole on the floor, rolling onto the ground below. Wanting to finish her cooking quickly Mae Nak neglected to be careful. She extended her arm to an unnatural length so that she could retrieve the piece of lime – but what she had not realized was that her husband Maak had seen everything.

With the sickening realization that his neighbours had been right, Maak plotted his escape while at the same time struggling to maintain the pretence that he was unaware of her true nature. One night, Maak tells his wife that he needs to go outside to urinate. Mae Nak, suspecting nothing wrong, did not try to stop him. Once outside Maak broke a little hole in an earthen jar filled with water so that Mae Nak would hear it and think he was urinating. As soon as he was sure that Mae Nak had fallen for his trick, Maak ran away from the village.

When Mae Nak discovered what had happened she became incensed. She set about hunting Maak down, but it was too late. Maak had sought shelter in the temple Wat Mahabut, and no matter how much Mae Nak tried, she could not enter this holy place. In her grief and fury Mae Nak terrorized the villagers that had helped her husband escape.

The villagers who lived in fear of Mae Nak searched far and wide for an exorcist powerful enough to get rid of Mae Nak. When they did, the exorcist trapped the grieving ghost in an earthen jar which was then thrown into the canal in the hopes that the ghost would never haunt the villagers again.

Unfortunately this was not to be. A fisherman and his wife further down the canal came across this mysterious jar one day while fishing and accidentally released the angry spirit within. Mae Nak was soon terrorizing the village just as before, when a venerable old monk was called forth to help them. This monk foretold that Mae Nak would be reunited with her husband in their next life. Upon hearing this, the ghost voluntarily agreed to stop killing and to pass on to the afterlife where she waits for her one and only beloved.

Another version states that the monk instead of telling Mae Nak that she’ll be reunited with her husband in her next life, exorcises her and then traps her spirit in a bit of bone from her dead body’s forehead. This bone he carried around with him until the day he died, and supposedly it is currently in Royal possession.

The Green & The White Lady

Submitted by: Eilidh Ellery
Fife, Scotland

White Lady legends are a common theme in the folklore of many countries. A female ghost haunts the scene of a betrayal, usually they have been wronged by a husband or lover. However, sometimes the Lady is the one who does the betraying. The White Lady of Kemback is believed to be the Widow of Myles (or Malise) Graham, a 15th century Scottish magnate. It is said that she gave up her husband under torture for the assassination of King James I of Scotland at Perth in 1437. Many a prayer was said, but still she wanders the woods of ash, oak and gean (wild cherry) around what once was her estate...

Besides The White Lady there also is The Green Lady of Dura Den. Green ladies - called Gruagach in Scots- are ghosts associated with water, much akin to Banshees. Often portrayed as a woman under enchantment; more fae than ghoulie (ghost/ghoul). Usually they protect a home or area, but they can also be malevolent depending on the story or storyteller. A young woman dressed all in green can be found in Dura Den down by the waters of the Burn; soaked to her pale, death-tinged skin with water weed for hair. It is said that she died when she flung herself from a window to escape a fire, but tragically fell into the swollen stream and drowned. On some nights you can smell the smoke and hear the crackle of the flames whilst faint, ghostly images of that flaming tower flicker and fade as she plummets to her doom, screaming. Others have seen her swinging from the brig (bridge) as if hanged.

Note: Eilidh added to these stories that ; "The Green Lady is sometimes called The Grey Lady, so she may not actually be a protective spirit. The two ladies may be linked and could in fact refer to the same apparition.

The Old men of Painswick

Submitted by: Tabitha
Country: Gloucestershire, England

A pilgrim was travelling across the Cotswold Hills when he reached the village of Painswick, which is well known for its pure air and the tall yew trees in its churchyard. As he was climbing along the hill towards the village, he chanced upon an old, old man sitting upon a stone and crying his eyes out.

“What’s the matter, father?” asked the courteous young pilgrim.
“Why, my old father’s given me such a lathering!” came the reply. “He’s beaten me so hard I can’t hardly stand upright.”

The pilgrim, naturally, thought the old man a little mixed in the head. But understanding the old fellow to be getting a little too elderly for his good, he said “You oughtn’t to be out be yourself on your lonesome. I’ll help you get back to your home.” And the pilgrim hoisted the old man up onto his back and carried him off over the hill to Painswick.

Presently they reached a neat little farmhouse. The little old man squirmed uncomfortably upon the pilgrim’s back. “This would be my home,” he said uncertainly. “But I’m most afeared of father.”
“I’m sure your father won’t hurt you,” replied the pilgrim, certain that fathers surely dead can’t hurt their old children, and he knocked upon the door.

Almost instantaneously the door was opened, and who should open it but an even older old man, with bright black suspicious eyes and a beard longer than his arm. He held the doorknob in his hand, and a big ash stick in his other, and the little old man upon the pilgrim’s back flinched in horror. The pilgrim felt his passenger stirring, and said, to smooth the situation and bring the world to order: “Why, grandfather, surely you mean this little fellow no harm? He’s been running away from home, and crying something pitiful upon the hills, saying his father’s lamming him.”

“Why should I not lam him, dreadful creature that he is?” cried the old man. “Look into our garden and espy his poor old granfer up there in the tree, risking his old tender neck to get us cherries, while this rascal here tosses stones at him! And all in some manner of fun…this ash stick has some words to say to this delinquent!”

With that the old fellow leaped from the pilgrim’s back and took off fast as a galloping hare, with his old sire in hot pursuit. The pilgrim stood, left alone, not daring to peer into the garden to find the cherry tree, or its ancient harvester, before setting quickly back on his way. “Surely,” he said to himself as he tried to ignore the bellowing father and his son speeding away into the distance “they must live forever at Painswick.”


Submitted by: Anonymous
Country: Brazil

The mula-sem-cabeça, translated to English as: mule without head, is a legend in Brazilian folklore. Its origin is European, but very evident throughout Brazil.
It is similar to a mule in size and shape, but for one peculiarity, it is without a head and it spits fire by its neck. It's hooves are shod with horseshoes which are silver or steel and the mule is most commonly a brown or black color.
According to the legend, any woman who is dating a priest would be transformed into this monster. Thus women should see the priests as a kind of "holy" instead of as a man. If committed any sin with the thought of a priest in their mind or with the priest himself they would become a 'Mula-sem-cabeça'.
This curse can only be broken if someone removes the bridle, and the woman will reappear, sorry for her "sins."

Inês de Castro

Submitted by: Michele Mendonça
Country: Portugal

Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Portugal, a true love story marvelled and shocked the hearts of all.

It all started when the prince, heir to the crown, married a Portuguese princess, fell in love with a beautiful Spanish maiden named Inês de Castro, who had just arrived in court to be the queen's maid.

So strong was the love he felt for her and so in love she found herself since the day she first saw him that they started to meet in the secret places of the castle and on the beautiful gardens and fields and hills of the kingdom. Not only tree and river, moon and light witnessed the fire and passion between these two, so in love, but soon peasants and warriors alike took a notice of such joy as well. And before long the news of this forbidden love reached the ears of the king himself. Now the king was not happy, oh he wasn’t! He ordered his son to stop seeing this woman. But the prince didn’t. He had found true love and promised her they would always be together, forever.

One day the sad news of the princes's death spread throughout the kingdom and all took pity on her. The prince was disturbed with her death but inside of him a joy and a hope was born with the thought of him marrying Inês, so big was his love. He asked his father the king, he begged. And three times he was refused. Three times his dream was shattered. The King forbade him to ever see Inês again as she was not a suitable wife for the future King to be.

The prince's sadness grew but he never stopped meeting beautiful Inês. How could she not be the one for him, just because she was not Portuguese, he asked himself. He believed they were meant to be together. They were secretly happy and soon fathering children. When the rumour of these children reached the King's ears he became afraid that the future of the Portuguese crown would be in risk. So the King ordered the murder of Inês de Castro.

And so the legend tell us that when the prince heard of Inês death, his heart sunk into such pain and despair that he declared war against his own father. He stated that he had secretly married Inês so it was his wife who was murdered while she should have been the lawful queen. He then had her body exhumed and in a macabre ceremony of love, death and loyalty he forced his entire court to swear allegiance to her as a queen and kiss her lifeless hand.

And so they all did. And it is told that the Prince made a promise that they would be together till the end of the world so they were both buried, together in exquisitely sculpted marble coffins depicting scenes of their lives. And this is true for I have seen the graves myself. According to the legend, at the Last Judgment, Peter and Inês will look at each other as they rise from their graves.


Submitted by: Daniel Kristofy
Country: Hungary

The "Lidérccsirke" (ghost chicken) is a Hungarian (and Slowakian) creature depicted in folklore . It is said that when a black chicken's first egg is smaller than regular, it will become a ghost chicken. It is important that one will hatch the egg himself, or else it will bring death upon his family. The chicken, once fully grown, fulfills its owner's wishes, except wishes for money because old Hungarian money had a cross printed on the back of the coin and as this chicken is somehow a devil's manifest, it could not touch holy materials.
If someone does not want to own a "Lidérccsirke" they can get rid of it by throwing the unhatched egg over one's shoulder, doing so while standing in front of the house.

Die Mittagsfrau

Submitted by: Christin Hanusch
Country: Germany

In former times the Sorben, who came from poor rural families, lived from agriculture and cattle breeding. Back in those days people had to work very hard to make a living. In the summertime, when the sun burned high in the sky, many were on the fields harvesting grain. When the sun was at its zenith, in local vernacular named; "zur Mittagszeit" (midday), one was supposed to return home for a small pause. It was said, otherwise the Mittagsfrau (midday woman) would appear and with her sickle cut off the heads of anyone still working or, at least, leave them behind in a very confused state.

One day, a young women was working on the fields. As she was completely in the rhythm of her work, she did not notice the time passing by and before she knew the clock struck twelve. When she finally stopped she noticed there was no living soul working on the fields anymore and the sun was burning at its highest point. Suddenly, out of nowhere a tall and slim woman appeared by her side. She was dressed in a white, linen cloth which flew in the wind as she came closer. When the woman in white was slowly raising her sickle in the air, the girl knew her time had come. However, she did not want to die and in fear she begged the women for a last chance.
The Mittagsfrau stopped for a moment and then asked the girl if she could tell her all she knew about flax-processing. This the girl did and she told the Mittagsfrau all that her mother had ever taught her about the process.
While talking, time went by and before they knew the church's clock struck one. As noon-time past the white shape vanished and no trace was to be found anymore of the Mittagsfrau.

She would not catch her prey that day.


Submitted by: Lenka Brejcha Avila
Country: Chile

It is said, an Incan princess who was losing her eyesight was brought to a lagoon between the Andes-mountain ranges and the Tamarugal-pampas. The princess was submerged in the water several times, and shortly after, she began to notice that she was regaining her vision. From that moment on, that lagoon was called Mamiña, wich means as much as "Girl of my eyes" in Quechua, Incan language.
For years the lagoon saw the arrival of Incan caravans, whose only intention was to find relief and remedy in its waters.


Submitted by: Marie-Véronique
Country: Brittany

An Ankoù is the personification of Death, he looks like a skeleton, he wears a black hat, a black coat and he holds a scythe. The Ankoù travels in an old barrow with grinding wheels which you can hear from afar, but you will not be able to see him. His assistants are called the black men.
When an Ankoù reaps a soul away , one of the assistant must carry the soul which looks like a dark, black dog to the "Hell Gate", a place which is called in Breton language; "Yeun Elez", and is situated in a marsh in a dale in the Montagne d'Arrée. To this place, no one dares to go, not even in full daylight. The Black man must throw the black dog in the Yeun Elez. But the dog often barks, bites and resists.

Sometimes, some people who are doomed to die soon will meet an Ankou on their way, he can take the apparence of a rich man, or a poor woman, and give you an appointment which you will accept because you are unaware of the danger; When the time comes of the meeting, it is the grinding song of the rusty wheels you can hear in your farm yard, by then it is too late...

Ridder Coenraedt

Submitted by: Myrthe Tielman
Country: Holland

A long, long time ago, in those days when knights still rode around on their horses, princesses were locked up in stone towers and ghosts roamed around at night, there was a castle, somewhere in the middle of this country . The castle was named 'Huys te Haer' and in this castle lived a knight. He was called Coenraedt.
Everyone knows the stories of handsome, noble and chivalrous knights, but Coenraedt was nothing like that. In fact Coenraedt was a very mean and evil man. Coenraedt thought of no one else but himself. He was arrogant, he believed himself to be the most important person and other people were nothing but common folk. When the villagers had problems, he refused to offer help. He was the Knight after all and the others were nothing more than farmers and workers.

One day knight Coenraedt pulled on his harness and went for a ride on his horse. He passed the gateway, crossed the moat and rode around in the surroundings of the castle the whole day long, to make as many people as possible see him, and see how important a knight he really was. Eventually, when it was getting darker, he returned to the castle. He was almost home when he heard a voice speaking:

"Knight Coenraedt, Knight Coenraedt! I am so tired, I am so hungry and I am so cold. May I sleep in your stable?" The voice said.

"Who dares to speak my name!" Knight Coenraedt called savagely and he looked around to see who was there. He even found his name to important to be spoken by a peasant.

For a moment there was silence but then the voice was heard again.

"Knight Coenraedt, I am so hungry, I am so cold and I am so tired. May I sleep in your stable?"
Knight Coenraedt looked around again and now discovered the man. He was only a poor pilgrim.

"You are so tired, so hungry and you are so cold? " Repeated he sneering
"And what do I have to do with that? I am knight Coenraedt and I am far to important to care about poor pilgrims!"

After saying this, Coenraedt fiercely rode away on his horse. But knight Coenraedt was in such a rush that he rode too fast. While crossing the bridge, just before the gateway his horse slipped and both, the horse and rider ended up in the moat which surrounded the castle.
The horse was later found back in the pastures, but the harness wearing knight Coenraedt was never found again. The villagers sometimes say; "during the evening you can still hear an echo near the moat. The ghost of knight Coenraedt still roams round at this place, forever repeating the words of people passing by. This is his punishment for sneering at a poor pilgrim."

Pride comes before the fall

The albino cannibals of Los Gatos

Submitted by: Tommy Gleason
Country: California

I grew up in a town called Los Gatos. It used to be called Forbes Mill, but with all the cats in the hills (mountain lions) loudly meowling all the time, our earlier locals decided to give it that quaint Spanish name. Anyways, on the main road exiting town there's a spot where two statues are set to the entrance to a side road. We used to drive by there all the time. These two tall cats, twice as tall as any man, seem to guard this dark road up into the overgrown hills.

"What's up there?" I once asked my uncle Charlie. "Oh, you don't want to go up there!" said he, suddenly turning and looking at me with wide-set eyes, a look of genuine fear on his face. At once he had my full attention, my ears listening intently. "Why?" said I, "What's up there?" "Well..." said he, "you can go up for quite a ways... At first it's sunny and bright, not too many trees." He seemed to wander off, quiet now, thinking... "So," said I, "what's wrong with that?" "What's wrong with that!?!," he said, "If they catch you, they'll EAT you!!"

I then wondered just what it could be that he was talking about. "But the bears... They're gone! And the mountain lions aren't really around any more, are they?" said I. "Oh, it's not the cats or the bears that'll get ya," said uncle C, it's THEM!!"

But who's "them?" said I, now starting to wonder if perhaps he was just pulling one on me. Uncle Charlie slowly looked me over, evidently seeing the scam I was beginning to consider. "The people up there..." he said in a hushed whisper... they're... they're strange. Something wrong with them." I leaned in closer, not wanting to miss a word. Uncle Charlie knew how to play this 9 year-old kid. "What's wrong with them?" said I. "They usually only come out at night," said he, "but if you get into a real shady area under those trees, they'll come out to get ya!" My eyes widening, I stared at him expectantly. "They're all white, with pink eyes," he said. "They're really, really tall too. They're called 'Albinos,' and they love the dark. They'll sneak up quietly on you, and if they catch you, they'll drag you away to a feast with all the other Albinos."
Still I said not a word, my thoughts now full of horrid imaginings of what might happen to me... "At the feast they prepare a big pile of sticks and leaves," said uncle Charlie, "and they'll drag you to it and put you up on it, all tied up. You can't get away, there's too many of them, and they're always looking at you with their hungry pink eyes!" I shivered inside. Something made me look back out the rear window at the gathering darkness, wondering if they'd come out to get me. Uncle C must've known what I was thinking too, because then he said "Yes, and if you play outside too late, and it gets dark, you might not see them coming... They'll catch you. They'll drag you away up into them dark hills... It doesn't matter how hard you scream, nobody, but nobody DARES to come out to face them. Then they'll stack up their wood, drag you up and tie you to it, and light up their bonfire. They'll cook you alive. And then it's probably good that you're dead, because just before they eat you, their pink eyes open wide, and they start singing...

'Blooody Bones, Bloody Bones, I'm gonna eat me some BLOOOODY BONES!!!!'"

Uncle Charlie had woven his words well. I now filled in all the blanks to my wonderings with a curdling fear, knowing that if I didn't get inside before dark, there would be more than simply the boogieman to contend with.

I grew up with that, the telling and the re-telling of the Albinos. The questioning of where else they might live. The look of fear when I heard something unexpected in the dark outside.....

The white deer

Submitted by: Chloé
Country: France

Originally this story came from an old French song/ballad probably first written during the (late) Middle Ages as, at this time, cruel fairy tales and legends were "fashionable". There are, of course, several versions of this tale.

It starts with a young lady and her mother going to the woods together. The mother was joyful but her daughter looked rather sad and thoughtful.

"Why are you always sighing Marguerite?" asked the mother.
"I've kept a secret for long and never found the courage to tell you about it before. During the day I'm a girl but at night I change into a white deer, hunted by barons and princes. But the worst of them all is my own brother Renaud. Please mother, go promptly and tell him to stop his dogs and hunters at least until tomorrow at noon.

And so did her mother: "Where are your dogs Renaud and your gentle hounds?"
"They are in the woods mother, hunting down the white deer"
"Stop them my son! I beg you. Stop them immediately!"
He ordered to call back the hounds and to end the chase. Three times the copper cornet called but when it sounded for the third time the white deer was already dead.

"Let's prepare the deer for tonights dinner" Renaud then ordered.
As soon as the skinner started to cut her in pieces, he saw not a white deer but a fair and pale maid. But he remembered his instructions and decided to finish his work anyway.

Later on the banquet was ready and in a crowded room all the barons and princes had come.
"We are now all together except my beloved sister Marguerite..." started Renaud.
Suddenly he was interrupted by the quiet but cold voice of the young girl.
"Oh, don't wait for me, I was the first one to sit. My head is in a dish, my heart hangs on a hook. My blood is spread all over the kitchen floor, my bones are burning on the coal. It's me who was served for dinner, I'm the one you've been eating."