Writer: Otto Betz
Publishing House: Kösel
Date of Publication: 1987
Rating: 5 stars
*All quotes and titles translated by me. Taken from the Greek edition.*
‘’Is the course of our fate irreversibly defined from the very start? Can we do nothing to fight against blind destiny, or are we, as human beings, the responsible makers of our fortune, freely deciding our course?’’
Fate is the force that rules over our lives. At least, this is what every tale in every civilization would want us to believe. Could it be true? Are we just pawns, puppets in the hands of a powerful lady that gives us nothing but trouble (most of the time) ? Or are we free to choose and our ‘’fortune’’ is just the natural outcome of our choices? Whatever we may believe, the tales in this lovely collection show us that Lady Luck is an opponent difficult to defend against.
What Is Written Is Written: A tale from the Caucasus about a king that tries to change the course of fate but finds out that his daughter has a mind of her own, after all.
The Mysterious Old Man: Three brothers, an old hermit and a fortunate girl. A clever Serbo-Croatian tale.
The Wondrous Rings: A princess asks for three rings. Rings that contain the light of the stars, the flickering of the moon and the brightness of the sun. A prince that tries to satisfy her wish and win her hand. A beautiful tale from Serbia.
No one Can Escape Death: Death is all powerful. None can escape him. An atmospheric tale from Persia.
The Jealous Sister: A dark tale from Albania of a sister who tries to harm her niece out of twisted jealousy.
The Unfortunate Girl: An Italian tale about a girl who could not escape her evil fate no matter where she went. The only solution is to gain her Fate’s trust.
How To Change the Twists of Fate: When a girl develops strange inclinations, her mother’s swift decisions manage to save her daughter from disgrace. A tale from Greece.
The Poor Peasant and His Fortune: You don’t gain anything by being idle. More often than not, our Fate needs a little extra power to start responding. A clever Greek tale.
The Story of The Cunning Young Man: In this funny tale from Croatia, a poor young man uses his intelligence to form cunning plans and live like the son of the Tsar. The problem is that the Tsar will come to know of it. And love will fix everything in the end. This tale was my favourite in the collection.
The Gifts of Fate: A haunting Kurdish tale that reminded me of the myth of Eros and Psyche, with an interesting twist of fate.
This collection is a beautiful combination of stories where Fate has the upper hand and fables where Fortune succumbs to the intelligent human brain. It is interesting to see how each country views the function of Fate in our lives. No matter what your personal views on this subject are, don’t hesitate to read this collection, a series of tales full of choices, cunning plans, fortune, and love.
‘’But the yarn of fate will unfold, even if someone fights against it like a lion.’’