Nye's characteristic sly, spoofing overlay is missing from this straight retelling of three traditional tales from three different cultures. The first has a boy named Thomas, born in Scotland ""about 1225,"" ambling along with the anachronistic thought of catching a trout for his tea. Instead he meets the Queen of Elphame, who takes him to her Otherworld kingdom and keeps him there for seven years, teaching him to be a poet. ""She taught him that a poet [has] the power to see likenesses where others see opposites""--a lesson Nye seems to have taken to heart, judging from the surplus of similes in this frilly little piece that has neither tension nor incident. (Contrast Nye's Taliesen, 1967: now there was the making of a bard.) The second selection here is a respectable but unexceptional telling of the Orpheus-Eurydice story, and the third, ""Urashima Taro,"" concerns a Japanese fisherman taken to the bottom of the sea to live luxuriously with a turtle-turned-princess (turned turtle, to complete the tale). This last could make a satisfactory read-aloud, but so would many others like it. An extra.