Anna Wahlenberg is identified as one of Sweden's most popular writers, a claim substantiated by the fourteen fanciful tales newly translated here. Each devolves upon a situation that's ingenious and intriguing: the old king cured of his phobia about claws by a little girl who cuts her fingernails; the field cleared of stones by the stupid lady giants conned into thinking them amethysts; the goat whose delight in helping twist his golden fleece into thread reunites him with his master. Representing the range between poignancy and common sense are two of the best stories, ""The Queen,"" in which Adelgunda, credited with the power of seeing into men's hearts, is forced to bare her own love for Sigmund in order to save him from the dishonor her veiled eyes imply: and ""The Magpie with Salt on Its Tail,"" centering on a capricious ""enchanted"" bird and the boy who, trying to satisfy her conditions, actually earns all that he intended to wish for. The author, too, takes her magic with a grain of salt, as well as a leavening of humility -- in his grandmother's house, little Puttilutt's splinter takes priority over the king's blocked windpipe. Ingenuous wisdom -- a charming collection.