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The Khan's Daughter (a Mongolian folktale)

Book: The Khan's Daughter by Laurence Yep

Ages: 7+

Relationship to country: This is a folktale from Mongolia

Book in a nutshell: A shepherd goes on an adventure to find his future wife


 This book is kind of a strange story, but we really enjoyed it! My sister and I thought the cover was very beautiful, and we ready this one way in advance of getting to Mongolia. We read it so many times, and I have been drawing pictures at my desk of the girl on the cover. But now that we finally made it to Mongolia, we can't find the book anymore! Hopefully we'll get everything right for this post.

This book is about a shepherd named Mongke. Mongke's father tells him that he will become rich and marry a khan's daughter. A khan is kind of like a king in Mongolia. Mongke finds this hard to believe since he is a poor shepherd and isn't getting rich. But he wants to prove his father right, so he sets off to find the khan's daughter even though he doesn't have any money yet.

When he finds the khan, the khan tells him he needs to do three tasks to marry his daughter. The tasks are all pretty much impossible. I think that the khan thinks that Mongke will just fail at the tasks and then he won't be able to marry his daughter. The first task was to steal all of the treasure from the demons. Before he left, the queen gave Mongke some seeded bread and some regular bread. She told him to eat the seeded bread on the way there and the regular bread on his way back. But Mongke didn't like seeded bread, so he actually ate the regular bread on the way there. When he got to the demons, he was scared and ran away and dropped his bag with the bread in it. The demons smelled the bread and ate it up. Actually the seeded bread that was leftover was poisoned! The queen had tried to poison Mongke! The demons were defeated from the poisoned bread, and Mongke could easily take their treasure.

In the last task, there is a twist in the story, where the khan's daughter tricks everyone and kind of gets to help decide who she is going to marry for herself. I think kids will enjoy this story and also its beautiful pictures.