There was a book I had as a child which was a collection of stories from all over the world. It was a very thick hard cover book, the illustrations were numerous and rather realistic looking and in many cases quite scary looking. My mother went to America in 1988 and she bought it for me, I was 8 so my memory is rather hazy. Possibly it had been recently published. The hard cover had illustrations from the different stories all over it and down one side was a young African man hanging upside down with his hands trapped in a shell.
This was a collection of short stories from America, Africa, Germany, India, Norway and Europe among others. The stories were divided by continent in the Contents. Many were original, some were fables and some were excerpts. Some of the stories i definitely recall the book had were Peer Gynt, Scarface (excerpt), Black Bull of Norway, East of the sun and West of the moon and Six Blind Men (India) in which 6 blind men all feel and elephant and each one describes it according to whichever part of the elephant he’s clutched thinking its the sum total of the elephant.
Then there were some which I loved but I don’t recall the titles.
May have been set in North America:
Three sisters who set off in the dead of winter to find the Sun or maybe its the North Pole or the Wind. And are told not to pause their sledge to tie up their coats until they reach the sun’s tent and then not to eat or drink until he enters. The elder two ignore the instructions and cook the meat in his tent and eat it and the second one even goes to sleep on his bed and he throws them out in the snow. The youngest obeys and wins of course.
Japan: An exquisitely beautiful and obedient daughter named Peach Blossom and her father is a warrior of mercurial temperament i think and also very idiotic and at the end he chops off her head.
Another one was about a very lovely little baby girl who’s discovered and as she grows up her skin is supposed to be so delicate it says through her skin her veins showed and through them her bones and within that her febrile artery quivering away. I still recall that line and she’s perhaps impersonated by a false bride because that one rides her horse through some posts and ties it on the first post and the actual bride ties it on the last post.
One story set in Africa in which a young man dives into the river to hunt for shells and his hands are trapped in a massive shell and he drowns I think. Another one was how the world began and it was of Native American origin because the Sun, Earth, Sky, Wind etc were all personalised in it.
If you could help me identify and locate the book I would be eternally grateful. I’ve lost track of how many children’s anthologies I’ve scrolled through hoping to find this particular one. I’m sorry my details are so vague and sketchy and i know the titles I do recollect are in many collections but here’s hoping Loganberry can help me 🙂