Sword and Sorcery illustration by the artist Juan Artola Miranda.

Short Stories with Long Shadows

I am Juan Artola Miranda, a fabulist living in the Mexican Caribbean. I made this site to collect and tell all manner of tales, most of them old, passed down for thousands of years. Myths, legends, fables, parables, and fairy tales told around campfires in languages long forgotten, eventually written down in archaic, exotic tongues.

The bodies of these storytellers died long ago, but their spirits can still haunt us if we let them. I will attempt to translate and retell their stories in a way that retains those spirits.

Some of the moral lessons in these stories are strange, even reprehensible. They're an underground passage into a darker time when all light was made of fire.

I will keep a list of the stories here.

Illustration of a woman in zebra-fur clothes storming through the jungle. Painted by Juan Artola Miranda.


Fables are an ancient form of storytelling, as old as language itself. They're short stories with clear moral lessons. They usually have animals as the main characters. They're often quite dark.

Aesop's Fables

Aesop is said to have lived in Ancient Greece around the 5th Century BCE. He wrote the most influential fables in the history of the world. He may not be real.

Aesop told over 700 fables, some of which have aged better than others. I may eventually get around to publishing all of them, but I've started with the ones with moral lessons that still resonate today:

Eastern Fables

Around the same time that Aesop was telling his fables, the Panchatantra was being slowly assembled in India. After Aesop, it's the most significant collection of fables in history.

While Aesop preferred short stories with clear moral lessons, the Panchatantra takes a different approach. The fables are longer, the animals have more personality, and the stories are riddled with poetry (which I've removed).

European Fables

Russian Fables

Russia has a staggeringly rich history of fables, short stories, and literature in general. I will expand this section soon.

Latin American Fables

Latin American fables aren't nearly as influential as Greek or Indian ones, but this is where I live, so these are the ones I know and write.

American Fables

I haven't yet begun to delve into the depths of American fables. I'm not sure what I'll find. I will keep this section updated.

African Fables

Africa is a goldmine of goldmines, and also fables. I'll add more here as I discover them. This first one is quite good.

Middle-Eastern Fables

I don't know very much about Middle-Eastern fables yet. As I learn, I'll post more.


A traveller and a citizen argue with one another in a crowded marketplace. Painted by Juan Artola Miranda.


Parables are short stories used to get people pondering morality or spirituality. The moral lessons aren't as straightforward as they are in fables. And, unlike fables, the characters are usually human.

Secular Parables

Parables are often thought of as being spiritual, but they aren't always. For example, Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island, also wrote parables, including the famous story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. I'll begin with a short one of his that I like very much.

Religious Parables

Parables are particularly prevalent in religious texts, notably in the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, and the Babylonian Talmud. I'll include some of those here.


Illustration of a fairy tale tavern. Painted by Juan Artola Miranda.


Folktales are passed down orally from older generations to younger ones. They're usually about the everyday experience of everyday people, conveying traditional wisdom along with social norms and values.

So far, most of these stories are Jewish, but that's only because I've been reading A Treasury of Jewish Folklore. Most of these folktales are quite clever, with great twists. I think you'll enjoy them.


Painting of a fairy tale princess. Painted by Juan Artola Miranda.

Fairy Tales

Similar to fables and parables, fairy tales are a genre of folklore passed down from generation to generation. They exploded in popularity in the 19th century due to authors like the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.

What makes fairy tales unique is that they're fantasy stories written for entertainment. You won't find explicit moral lessons. Instead, you'll find dark tales of fairies, wizards, giants, and ogres.

However, even when we're reading fantasy for entertainment, we prefer stories that feel real. And so, the fairy tales that stand the test of time often resonate with us on a deeper level.

  • Sleeping Beauty is a classic French fairy tale originally written by Charles Perrault in 1697. It is not the same as the Disney version. This is my translation, with the language somewhat modernized yet still keeping to the original plot and spirit.
  • Puss in Boots is a classic Italian fairy tale written by Giovanni Francesco Straparola in 1550. Again, it is not the same as the Disney story. This is my translation. I've modernized the language while keeping the plot and tone the same.
  • The Yabebiri River Crossing is a Uruguayan fairy tale written by Horacio Quiroga in 1918. I've translated it into English and retold it in my own words. The plot and pacing are the same.
  • The Emperor's New Clothes is a Danish fairy tale originally written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837. I've translated it into English and retold it in my own words, as is the tradition with fairy tales like these.
  • The Little Mermaid is another fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen. It's completely unlike the Disney version. It's dark, sad, and hauntingly beautiful.


Painting of a ferocious leopard and an Ethiopian hunter hiding in the jungle.

Just-So Stories

Just-So Stories are fanciful origin tales explaining how certain facts of nature came to be. They were first popularized by the British-Indian author Rudyard Kipling in 1902 in his book Just So Stories.


Painting of a two-headed woman, a king, and a tiger. Painted by Juan Artola Miranda.

Myths & Legends

Myths are traditional stories rooted in a culture's belief system, so think of gods, goddesses, and heroic beings. All cultures have these belief systems, and so all cultures have their myths, though some are more influential than others. Similar to parables, they give us moral guidance.

A legend is what happens when history and myth become intertwined. They're semi-historical stories that are passed down through generations. They're told as if they're true or at least plausible.

I may focus on these next, beginning with the legends of El Dorado, King Arthur, Zorro, and Robin Hood.