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The Magic Maiden

Region: Baltic countriesEstonia

Author: Adaptation of folktale by Frances Jenkins Olcott

Original Language: German

Translator: Translated by the author

Characters: Elsa; Kiisiki; 

Genre: Folklore, Fairytales

Descriptors: magic; maidens 

Age: 7+ years old


“The Magic Maiden” is a supernatural fairy tale from Estonia. In this story, in the middle of a fancy dinner party, a rich woman declares that she will adopt a peasant girl, Elsa, as a playmate for her daughter Kiisiki. The woman has a mysterious old man make a clay doll version of Elsa, brought to life with a drop of her blood, to send back to Elsa’s village in her stead so that her parents will not realize their real daughter is missing. This short story comes from the collection Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards: Pagan Mythology, Shamanism, and Magic from Finland, Lapland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania written by Frances Jenkins Olcott. The selection of stories come from English and German sources and have been literally translated, which can feel a little awkward at times when read in English. Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards hosts 41 stories of East Baltic folklore about magic, wizards, witches, and more! Children ages 7 and up will be delighted by these magical tales. 

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