Once upon a time (English)
A long, long time ago it was – Fadó, fadó, fadó a bhí ann (Irish)
It’s an old story – बहुत पुरानी बात है – Bahuta purānī bāta hai (Hindi)
There was once – Der var engang (Danish)
My mother would read fairy tales from a large, grey book.
I was fond of Tommalise by Hans Christian Andersen
There was once a woman who wished very much to have a little child, but she could not obtain her wish. At last she went to a fairy, and said, “I should so very much like to have a little child; can you tell me where I can find one?” “Oh, that can be easily managed,” said the fairy. “Here is a barleycorn of a different kind to those which grow in the farmer’s fields…”
And I sank into wonderment.
Image 1 source: http://robvanderwildttellerstalespictured.wordpress.com/
Image 2 source: https://topillustrations.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/vilhelm-pedersen/thumbelina-3/