The book I’m looking for was stories for older aged kids than the grade school library I found it in (our librarian wanted to encourage us). The book had a red hardcover, about 16″ x 8″ and was about 2″ thick. It had an illustration from the first story, I think, on the cover. The only story I remember the title for is The Twelve Princesses. It had stories from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and probably more. When us grade schoolers got on the bus with it the older kids tried to borrow it! It was quite a read and some bits of the story lines were, the stairs to heaven with a trapdoor on one of the ends (Japanese), and the man who escaped a pond/water which he had to pass by putting a shell to his ear which had been filled with a love song by his beloved (Malaysia, I think). I wish I had more specifics.