Tag Archives: tale

The Lady of The Lake

‘ In the late 1800s, in the Adirondacks in upstate New York, there were what were called great Adirondack camps which were these big, elaborate, retreat type of things for wealthy families from New York City and they would spend a few months here during the summers. In one of these families at the campsites, there was a woman who went out onto Lake Placid to go kayaking. Legend has it that she never came back, and the family never found her or solved the mystery of where she was. But, in the late 1900s, at the base of Pulpit Rock, which is now a cliff jumping site, it is also the deepest part of Lake Placid, a team of divers were exploring this area. In the gloom of Lake Placid, there’s no sunlight that reaches the bottom in this part. It was completely dark, and the pair of divers had reached the bottom and found what seemed to be a mannequin… until they realized, there was a chain and anchor strapped to the “mannequin’s” legs, making them aware that this was in fact a real person. At the time, they didn’t know this was the woman who went kayaking decades before and never returned. But they found this woman at the bottom of Pulpit Rock… so, one of the divers went back up to the boat to call for help while the other stayed behind to keep the location of the body. Essentially, because there was no sunlight, and the mineral content of the water at that depth and temperature was just right, such that the skin was preserved almost perfectly, looking like a wax sculpture… But it freaked out the second diver so much that he decided to bring the body back to the surface because he didn’t want to stay there in the dark with this horrifying figure. When he starts bringing the woman up to the surface, the sunlight coming in, the temperature of the water growing warmer, and the changing mineral content caused her body to melt away in his arms… it disintegrates and falls apart. It fades into nothingness right in his hands. So now, in today’s world, when you are climbing out of the lake after cliff jumping, many people say they can feel the lady of the lake grabbing at their feet as they step onto their boats.’ – NZ

This story was told to NZ by his father, during their first family trip to his favorite place on earth, Lake Placid. He and his family went to their cottage up in the Adirondack Mountains and decided to spend their summer day cliff jumping at Pulpit Rock. As they hiked towards the rock his dad shared with him and his brother this legend of the Lady of the Lake. As a little boy, he was horrified of this ghost that lives beneath the water, but also curious as to wether or not he would feel the Lady of the Lake pulling at his ankles when he got back onto his boat. His curiosity got the best of him and nothing could hold him back from cliff jumping. Even to this day, every time NZ goes back he jumps in to try and feel the Lady of the Lake grabbing at him as he escapes the cold water. Now, whenever he takes his friends or family to this spot, he never fails to share and pass this legend onto them to add to their folklore repertoire.

I had never heard of this specific legend, but I have heard many similar ones in the area I grew up in. This piece of folklore offers a legendary tale, a ghost story meant to capture the imagination of those who heard it, a “enter if you dare” tale. It also follows the supernatural elements read in many folklore myths and legends, something that while you can’t prove that it exists, its been told and passed down so many times, there is no reason not to believe it. This legend allows for the local superstition to become tradition and a ritual storytelling experience for those who visit and families who are raised in this area. This story originated as an oral piece of folklore, one can imagine that it was even acted out around campfires in Lake Placid, in which performance is a key aspect of folklore. NZ also noted that he has heard multiple variations of this tale, as when they are passed down orally, they are often changed or even misremembered, thus altering the story for those who continue to share it. The Adirondacks have many myths and legends, and this tale only adds to the mysterious environment the Adirondacks have to many.

Two Oxen

CONTEXT: DM is a current USC student who attended a North Carolina Christian sleep-away camp in the summer of 2011. This is a story that she heard from an elderly woman named Libby. Libby had been raised at the camp, was head of camp for a number of years, and taught Bible Study and Devotional at the camp. DM interprets this story as a warning to choose obedience over freedom. She does not agree with the moral and does not think this was a good story to tell the children at camp.

Okay, this is a story of two oxen. It starts out with two brothers, and they are two wild
oxen that live in the plains a long, long time ago. These two oxen were living happily.
They were brothers, and they lived with their mom, and they had plenty of free space to
roam, and places to explore, and water and food. And then one day, they started seeing
these creatures and objects they had never seen before, because the railroad had been
being built in their area. And these big heavy machines are coming in, and all these
workers and things. And these carriages were coming by and there was a sudden influx
of people and the land around them was being torn up. And one day while the brothers
are out grazing on the field, this carriage comes by, and they get snatched up by the
carriage and are kidnapped into a working ranch that had just been set up nearby. And
the two oxen were basically prisoners. They had to be worked, and whipped, and made
to wear really uncomfortable saddles and people were always trying to ride them or put
yokes on them. So, they’re being put to work, and they have to pull these heavy carts in
the hot sun and are supposed to be really well-behaved, like sharp, come when they’re
called kind of oxen. And one day, one of the brothers while they’re carrying a load, sees
a hole in the side of the fence. And he goes “oh my gosh, now’s our chance, let’s go
escape.” And the other brother goes “No, I want to stay. I’m really proud of all these
beautiful saddles I can wear now, and how strong I’ve gotten, and all these things I
would’ve never been able to do, but I can do now.” And the other brother is like, “You’re
crazy, I’m leaving. I’m out of here. I don’t want to be a prisoner anymore.” And so, he
leaves, and he goes back to the wild. And at first everything is really lovely, and
beautiful and he has plenty of food to eat and water to drink and everything. And then a
couple years down the line a drought comes across the entire land. Everything is
decimated in the wild. The only people who have water are humans ‘cause they knew
how to collect it, and the only people who have food are humans ‘cause the railroad is
bringing stuff through. And so that meant that the other brother who had stayed had
gotten all this food, while the other brother was thirsty and starving and couldn’t find anything. And one day as he was wallowing around in the dust, he looks up and sees
his other brother carrying a whole carriage with this beautiful saddle and bells and
whistles and tassels on him and everything. He’s looking really strong, and his coat is
gleaming, and he just looks at the other brother and then he just keeps on walking.
Because the other one left the path.

ANALYSIS: This story seems to serve as warning to be obedient or suffer the consequences. Since this story was told in the context of a bible study and devotional, it seems that the working ranch may have been meant to represent the challenges of keeping the laws of the religion and remaining faithful even in difficult times, or through trials and tribulations. The suffering of the ox that chose freedom is potentially meant to represent what may happen, or what someone may feel, when they stray from God, or from their religion. This story was told to ten-year-olds who were likely meant to draw a moral from the story, and be like the ox that chose to stay and gained benefits as a result.

Baba Yaga – Russian tale


“My grandmother told me this legend when I was a little girl. I don’t remember all of it super well but this is pretty much what she told me. Baba Yaga is a woman-like creature who I think had chicken legs and she lives in the woods. She is very cruel and really quite ugly. She would scare children and eat them if the went near her home. I was always really quite scared that would happen to me when I was little. She really is very witch-like. But, she also was very knowledgeable, so if you needed something and you came to her with the right gifts she would help you. But you had to be careful because she would play tricks on people, so you had to think everything she said or did for you because you never know if she is playing a trick or not. I remember asking my grandmother one time what you had to bring to her to receive help and she wouldn’t tell me. I think she was scared I would go looking for her and get lost [laughs].”


I was told this story from L, my grandmother, over the phone. I knew she could tell me this story because she had told it to me also when I was very little. Her grandmother (my great-great grandmother) was the one who originally told it to L. L was born and raised in California, but her grandmother was born in Russia.


Although L categorized this story as a legend, it fits more succinctly as a tale. This is a relatively well known tale in Slavic countries. It teaches you to be wary of strangers and careful when receiving something from someone because their motives for helping you are not always clear. It is also used to teach and scare children away from wondering into the woods alone. L who never even lived near the woods, feared Baba Yaga when she was a child. Adults are not usually scared of Baba Yaga the way children are. It is shares similar qualities of other stories from the tale type index, such as the character Baba Yaga, who like many other tales, is a witch who lives in the woods. It is also interesting to note in the version L shared with me, there are no other characters, nor does it center around a plot. The whole tale is who Baba Yaga is and what she does, yet it is not told through the perspective of other characters, such specific children. Other versions might have more details, which might give a deeper look into the lessons behind the tale.

Teeny Tiny Lady


“Once there was a teeny tiny lady and she lived in a teeny tiny house outside a teeny tiny village and she lived with her teeny tiny dog and her teeny tiny cat. One day the teeny tiny lady decided to go to the teeny tiny village to market. On her way home she saw a teeny tiny bone in a teeny tiny field, so she picked up the teeny tiny bone and took it to her teeny tiny house. When she got home she made herself a teeny tiny supper and she sat down to eat it. She heard a noise from her teeny tiny cupboard, very quiet, barely a whisper, ‘give me my bone.’ She shook her head and didn’t pay it much attention and she finished eating her teeny tiny supper. Then she went to her teeny tiny bed and she went to sleep. When she was laying in her teeny tiny bed the teeny tiny lady heard a teeny tiny voice from her teeny tiny cupboard saying, ‘where’s my bone?’ The teeny tiny lady was afraid so she pulled up the teeny tiny blanket to her teeny tiny face. A little bit while later she heard the voice a little bit louder, ‘Where’s my bone?’ The teeny tiny lady covered her head with the blanket and she pushed herself all the way down into her teeny tiny bed. And then she laid there for a while, and then she heard very loudly coming from the cupboard, ‘I want my bone!’ Then the teeny tiny lady stuck her head out of the blanket and she said, ‘You can have it! Take it!’ And she covered her head back up and crouched down into her bed. In the morning she got up and she went to the cupboard and she opened the cupboard and the teeny tiny bone was gone.”


The informant first heard this tale as a child during the 1960s from either her father or uncle, because it was so long ago she can’t remember which. She says that her family enjoyed listening to a show called “Fractured Fairy Tales” one of these tales being “Old Mother Hubbard”,

“Old mother Hubbard, she went to the cupboard, to get her poor dog a bone, and when she got there the cupboard was bare and so the poor dog had none.”

She says that she used to ask questions about the fairytales they heard. The tale was an explanation for why there was no bone in the cupboard because, why would she check the cupboard if she knew there was no bone? She clearly thought there was a bone in the cupboard? 


This tale is used to explain why Mother Hubbard went to check the cupboard and gives context as to why she would think there was a bone in the cupboard for her dog. The use of a tale to explain and give context to another tale is very interesting as one could consider it a sequel, or in this case a prequel. Which shows that tales giving context to folklore are also considered folklore. Of course, the tale itself can be told separately from “Old Mother Hubbard” and be used as a scary story to prevent children from picking things up from the side of the road or taking something that does not belong to them.

Tale – Shimchong: The Blind Man’s Daughter


This is the story about this kind daughter who lives with a blind dad then she hears this announcement that to whoever volunteers to be the live sacrifice to the ocean or the people who have to sail um they will 100 bags of rice to that family because they were too poor and the daughter wanted her dad to be able to survive have food to eat she volunteers to be the live sacrifice so they sail out and at the point where theres a tornado in the ocean the girl dives in to be the live sacrifice and the dad finds out later because suddenly he is gifted with 100 bags of rice but at that point she had already sailed off and jumped into the ocean but the girl jumped in and she sank down into the ocean kingdom the ocean king heard the story and he thought she was very nice for she was a very good daughter and her love for her dad like he thought it was big like he considered it big like he valued her doing so so he decided to send her back up so they put her into this giant lotus and sent her off to up to the surface where she was fund by other fisherman who brought her back to the land back to one of the nobles parties that day the dad was also at the party because in Korea when the nobles throw a party they often open up their front yard and all the food for the people in the village too so it was like a whole party like feast going on and her dad was invited to when the girl entered and when the dad heard her voice he recognized her and when he turned toward her voice he was suddenly able to see again so that’s a happy reunion and this girl falls in love with either the nobles son or something like that the point is they values her actions and sent her back up


This was told by one of my friends who is from South Korea. She explained that this is a well-known fairy tale that everyone has known of from a young age. She liked this story when she was young because the book was “tiny [and] it was easy to carry around.” Looking back she says that it appears to be a “very brutal story for the girl” which she did not notice as a kid. 


This story is a common fairy tale in Korea. It teaches kids from a young age the values of Korean culture. The overall message this story shows is that one should love their parents and make sacrifices for them. This is because even though it seems like a sacrifice at the time it will eventually work in favor of both parties. It also shows that people reward those who are considered good children. The ocean king rewarded the girl for her actions and allowed her to go back to her family.