Every kid asks “Why?” Every culture has an answer.

Sweet Jan (Scandinavia): A boy named Jan refuses to eat anything but sugary treats. One day, a giant storms the village and licks every villager. Jan is the sweetest, and so the giant tucks Jan into his lip like snuff while he chops wood.


Die Dadskinnen-Girl (Germany): A girl doesn’t make her bed, causing her father to become so disappointed that he skins himself and creates a new daughter out of his skin.

Annakpok, The Boy Who Was Indifferent Toward The Moon (Inuit): To prepare children for the unfairness of the world, the Inuit told the story of Annakpok, a boy who was indifferent toward the moon and was never brought to justice for it.


Pietro E La Fathead, or Pietro And The Fathead (Italy): Originally found in a 15th-century book of Venetian fairytales, Pietro E La Fathead remains a staple of Italian folklore. When young Pietro is sent to fetch a loaf of bread from the market, he ends up spending the coins on a Chicago Bulls Fathead wall decal. Pietro is sent to bed without supper.

The Jealous Ant Who Took Too Long To Back Out Of His Parking Spaces (Russia): Russians tell a tale to their children about a jealous insect (usually an ant or a moth) who always takes too long to back out of his parking spaces. One day, he is flipping through the radio stations in his Escalade instead of backing out, which causes a major traffic jam. A giant rabbit jumps into the passenger seat and commits suicide, which causes the jealous ant to also commit suicide. The irony of the story is that the Escalade is still parked, and the traffic jam remains.


The Strange Orbs (Spain): Strange orbs float into a boy’s mouth every day until he is completely filled with orbs. His best guess is that it’s because he didn’t wash his hands before dinner.