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Stories, Tales, Myths, and Legends

Stories, Tales, Myths, and Legends

By Nathan Hansen
Explore what defines cultures throughout the world—their stories, tales, myths, and legends. This podcast provides a new story, tale, myth, or legend each episode for you to listen to and think about.
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A Case of Trespass

Stories, Tales, Myths, and Legends

A Case of Trespass
This episode is a story from 1897 written by Lucy Maud Montgomery and is titled "A Case of Trespass." She was in her early twenty's when it was published. L.M. Montgomery went on to publish over 500 short stories and poems and is most famous for the Anne of Green Gables series. If you liked this podcast, check out the episode some of my coworkers at the library put together on "Anne of Green Gables" on the podcast "The Book isn't Necessarily Better"
January 01, 2022
The Eyes Have It
"A little whimsy, now and then, makes for good balance. Theoretically, you could find this type of humor anywhere, Bot only a topflight science-fictionist, we thought, could have written this story, in just this way..." ~Science Fiction Stories introduction to Philip K. Dick's "The Eyes Have It."
October 23, 2021
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
The short story in this episode  was published by the San Fransisco Examiner in 1890. The author is Ambrose Bierce and the story is titled “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge."
September 11, 2021
The Star and the Lily
This episode covers two short stories that are titled "The Star and the Lily." Published nearly four decades apart, each story covers a unique cosmology as they unfold. One explains why we find water lilies where they are, the other explains why garden lilies bloom when they do.
September 04, 2021
The Paradise of Children
This episode is myth from antiquity retold by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It comes from his “Wonder Book” and is titled “The Paradise of Children.” You may have heard of Pandora's box, this myth is where that idiom originates.
August 14, 2021
The Master Cat; or Puss in Boots
This tale is from a translation from Charles Perrault’s original French version of his 1697 book “Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals: more commonly known as Tales of Mother Goose and is titled “the Master Cat; or Puss in Boots.For more about the podcasts visit
August 01, 2021
The King and the Fisherman
This Persian fairy tale comes from a book published in 1906 titled, The Cat and the Mouse:A Book of Persian Fairy Tales.
June 10, 2021
Wild Horse Hunter
This story was published in, “The Boy Scouts Book of Campfire Stories” that was printed in 1921. The title of the story is, “Wild Horse Hunter” by author Zane Grey.You can see resources for many of the stories, tales, myths, and legends read on this podcast at
May 16, 2021
Anger on Mt. Wudang
This episode explores a tale from one of my real-life adventures. It's from a trip I took with my son to Mt. Wudang in China.
April 24, 2021
The Origin of Death
This is a story that was recorded by Albert D. Hesler from his interactions with the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It was collected in Helser's book titled, African Stories, published in 1930 and is titled “The Origin of Death.” 
April 04, 2021
The Choice of Hercules
This is an original adaptation of Nathan's based on the work of Xenophon. In book two chapter one of Memorabilia, Xenophon has a short excerpt regarding the choice of Hercules, it is this excerpt that has been adapted and expanded upon.
March 10, 2021
Flight From Time
This episode explores the genre of Science Fiction. This story was found in the winter 1949 edition of the pulp science fiction magazine, Planet Stories. It was written by Alfred Coppel and is titled "Flight From Time."Alfred Jose De Arana-Marini Coppel was an American author from Oakland California. After he served as a Fighter pilot during world war II, he started a prolific career as a writer. He went on to become one of the most prolific pulp authors of the 1950’s and 60s, pounding out short stories and novels across multiple genres. He topped the bestseller list with a suspense thriller titled “Thirty-Four East” in 1974.
March 03, 2021
The Bet
This episode is a reading of a work by the Russian writer Anton P. Chekhov. I found this story in a publication titled, “Best Russian Short Stories” compiled by Thomas Seltzer in 1917. The contribution from Chekhov from this compilation is titled, “The Bet." I hope you enjoy!
February 21, 2021
The Story of the Old Man Who Made Withered Trees to Blossom
This piece of Japanese folklore, recorded by Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, was originally published in 1871 in a book titled, “Tales of Old Japan.” The piece of folklore I’ll be reading from it is a fairy tale titled, “The Story of the Old Man Who Made Withered Trees to Blossom.” 
February 18, 2021
The Little Mermaid
This episode is a reading of a classic tale written by Hans Christian Anderson titled, "The Little Mermaid." If all you know is the Disney version, you are in for a tale that is much darker, I hope you enjoy.
February 10, 2021
Cat in the Rain
This piece wasn’t even on my radar until I read about it a week or two ago in George Saunders new book “A Swim in a Pond in the Rain,” even though it is from one of my favorite authors. It was published in 1925 and is titled, “Cat in the Rain” by Ernest Hemingway. 
January 29, 2021
The Cask of Amontillado
Written by Edgar Allan Poe and published in 1846, The Cask of Amontillado is a particularly macabre representation of the darkest thoughts of humanity.If you are looking for additional resources from the podcast, you can visit to find them.
January 18, 2021
Please enjoy this reading of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis. Kafka's work wasn't recognized as influential until after his death, but now it has influenced many writers and film makers.If you want to find out more about the readings on the Stories, Tales, Myths, and Legends podcast visit
January 11, 2021
The Doorway
"A discerning critic once pointed out that Edgar Allen Poe possessed not so much a distinctive style as a distinctive manner. So startlingly original was his approach to the dark castles and haunted woodlands of his own somber creation that he transcended the literary by the sheer magic of his prose. Something of that same magic gleams in the darkly-tapestried little fantasy presented here, beneath Evelyn Smith's eerily enchanted wand." Fantastic Universe, September, 1955.To see resources pertaining to the Stories, Tales, Myths, and Legends podcast visit
December 29, 2020
A Visit From St. Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas)
This week I'm taking a slight departure from our normal readings to bring you one of the most recognizable pieces of English poetry. Please enjoy this reading of Clement Clark Moore's, "A Visit From St. Nicholas."
December 21, 2020
The Snow Maiden
Please enjoy this old Russian legend that I ran across in The Pearl Story Book published in 1919. I think that if you listen to it you may find some interesting parallels to other pop culture figures surrounding this time of year.If you want to engage with discussion questions and find exercises associated with this story head over to for additional resources.
December 14, 2020
The Snowdrop
 This story is by the Danish author Hans Christian Anderson. His most recognizable work is perhaps “The Little Mermaid.” Anderson’s work laid the foundation for many children’s classics including The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Winnie-the-pooh by A.A. Milne. This tale, titled “The Snowdrop” was published in 1866. I hope you enjoy.If you liked listening to this story and want to see discussion questions and exercises related to it please visit 
December 07, 2020
The School Days of an Indian Girl
This story is from an influential Native American writer. Zitkala-Sa, also known as Red Bird or by her anglicized name, Gertrude Bonnin, was a member of the Dakota Sioux. She was taken from her home at the age of eight by missionaries. While this story, from book titled American Indian Stories was published in 1921, portions of it were published earlier and her actual experiences in Indian boarding schools began in 1884. I hope you enjoy her story titled, “The School Days of an Indian Girl.”Visit for discussion questions, exercises, and additional resources related to this story.
December 01, 2020
The Christmas of the Future
I ran across this story a couple of weeks ago written by Frank Sullivan. It was published in 1933 in a book titled “A Pearl in Every Oyster.” Given that Thanksgiving is the kickoff of the Christmas season, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on what the people of the past thought a modern Christmas might look like. I’ll let you be the judge of how close Sullivan came to what it looks like in his short story, “The Christmas of the Future.”If you would like discussion questions and exercises related to this story visit,
November 23, 2020
A Moonlight Fable
“A Moonlight Fable” was written by H.G. Wells and published in his book, A Door in the Wall and Other Stories. Although the book was published in 1911, this story first appeared in Collier’s Weekly in April 1909 under the title, “The Beautiful Suit.”Wells is widely recognized as one of the fathers of science fiction, and was nominated four times for the Nobel Prize in Literature.Visit for more resources.
November 16, 2020
First Love
This story is by a Spanish author named Emilia Pardo Bazan. Published in 1898 in a collection of stories titled, First Love and Other Fascinating Stories of Spanish Life, the story explores some of the social norms in the Spanish culture of the time. I hope you enjoy “First Love” by Emilia Pardo Bazan.You can read this story, engage with discussion questions, and find student resources on my website at
November 09, 2020
Why Lightning Sometimes Strikes
"Why the Lightning Sometimes Strikes" is a cosmological myth from the Haudenosaunee people. It was collected by Mabel Powers and was published in her book Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children in 1917.For resources regarding this video including the text version, discussion questions, and exercises that relate to the story, visit my website at:
November 02, 2020
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
This is the last installment of October's classic ghost and horror stories so I thought I would end it with an American staple, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving. Published in 1820, it quickly became a favorite of everyone and Disney later made a softer, shorter, animated movie about it. That was my only experience with the story until I sat down to read it for you, and the pacing and tone of the original is much different. I hope you enjoy.
October 27, 2020
At The Gate
This story, written by Myla Jo Closser, is a different look at what happens at the pearly gates. Taken from the unique perspective of a dog, this ghost story is less frightening and more endearing.
October 19, 2020
The Yellow Wallpaper
In this episode of Stories, Tales, Myths, and Legends, I will read "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Gilman was a particularly influential writer, and this story has been held up as an illustration of how we as a society dealt with women's mental health issues. As you listen think about how this story is over 120 years old, and we haven't come very far from where we were.
October 12, 2020
Ghost of Buckstown Inn
Throughout October I'll be reading old ghost and horror stories. This one was written by Arnold M. Anderson and was published in 1904 by J.S. Ogilvie Publishing Company.
October 05, 2020
The Enchanted Wine Jug; or, Why the Cat and Dog are Enemies
Please enjoy this Korean tale titled "The Enchanted Wine Jug."
September 28, 2020
The Nightingale and the Rose
Listen to "The Nightingale and the Rose" by Oscar Wilde.
September 21, 2020
The Farmer and the Badger
This episode is a reading of “The Farmer and the Badger” translated from Japanese by Yei Theodora Ozaki. This story was published in her book titled, “Japanese Fairy Tales” published in Tokio in 1908. Ozaki published three other books where she liberally translated the old stories and fairy tales of Japan. Even though she steeped herself in Japanese traditional stories, she bucked the cultural norms by refusing an arranged marriage, leaving her father’s house, and becoming a teacher and secretary to support herself. She later married a Japanese politician named Yukio Ozaki. 
September 14, 2020
The Screen Maiden
This episode features a Japanese story preserved by Lafcadio Hearn in his book titled, Shadowings which was published in 1900. Hearn also went by the pen name Koizumi Yakumo. His works focus on Japanese culture. His most famous work is, Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things which was later made into the movie Kwaidan by Masaki Kobayashi.
September 07, 2020
The Three Golden Apples
Please enjoy Nathaniel Hawthorne's interpretation of the Greek myth of the three golden apples read by Nathan Hansen. Published in 1851, this classic tale has had generations on the edge of their seats! Nathaniel Hawthorne is also the author of The Scarlet Letter, Twice Told Tales, and The House of Seven Gables.
August 31, 2020
The Magic Bon Bons
This reading of "the Magic Bon Bons" by L. Frank Baum comes from his book titled American Fairy Tales published in 1901 by the George M. Hill Company.
August 24, 2020
Three Little Men in the Wood
This is an original adaptation of the Grimm's fairy tale, "Three Little Men in the Wood." This story is adapted from Grimm's Fairy Tales, edited by Frances Jenkins Olcott, published by the Penn Publishing Company in 1922.The original publication can be viewed at:
August 20, 2020