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.


The Storyteller, Franz von Defregger, 1871

I was fond of Tommalise by Hans Christian Andersen


Tommalise by Vilhelm Pedersen

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.

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