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1001 Stories Collection

The Enchanted Book

1001 The Enchanted Book Sergiu Vălenaș
Added on 23rd August 2020

Oral tradition Polish folktale

A folktale where hard work, willingness, dedication - and reading - triumph over evil.


A miller has three daughters. The youngest is the prettiest, the nicest and the most industrious. When a beggar-woman stops at the miller’s home, her gift of reading earns her a bed for the winter. The youngest daughter attends to the beggar-woman’s lessons. When the sisters are captured by an evil enchanter only the youngest sister, who listened and learnt to read, is able to decode the counter-spells and save them all from captivity.

Why we chose it

A story with many familiar themes and characters - an evil enchanter, a wise old woman, a three sisters - the two oldest frivolous but the youngest diligent and hardworking. It is this willingness and dedication of the youngest - as well as the power of reading - that saves them when evil is encountered.

Where it came from

The Enchanted Book was originally part of a collection of Polish folktales published in 1954.

Where it went next

The story was retold by: Janina Porazińska in a book translated into English in 1987 by Bozena Smith and illustrated by Jan Brett

Associated stories

Other stories about siblings and virtue or kindness rewarded include The Enchanted Tapestry, (retold by R. D. San Souchi); Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters (J. Steptoe)

Added on 23rd August 2020

Oral tradition Polish folktale