I hadn’t heard of this story before, so I loved getting stuck into it. I’m loving this collection of stories for introducing me to new stories from around the world.
This story starts with a woodcutter’s wife sending him to the market to buy two loaves of black bread. On his way back, a huge grey wold stepped out onto the path. The wolf growled at the woodcutter. Scared, he threw bits of the bread to the wolf. As the wolf began to eat it, the woodcutter hurried past. Moments later, the wold came after him. The woodcutter tore more bread off. This kept on happening until he reached the edge of the forest and his wife waiting for him at their door. The wife asked where the bread was and he explained that he had given it to the wolf. She was really cross with him for wasting good bread and leaving them for nothing to have with their soup. The woodcutter looked book at the hungry wolf and tossed him the last piece of bread. As they ate their soup, the wife moaned about the wolf and said that she wished he would suffer a terrible fate. She didn’t realise there was a grey shadow outside listening in.
Mons later, the woodcutter returned to the market, hoping to buy a cow after working really hard. However, the cows were too expensive. He was about to go home, but a tall stranger dressed in grey approached him. The stranger told him that he’d gladly give the woodcutter a cow as a gift. The woodcutter questioned his kindness. The stranger smiled and told him that the woodcutter had shown kindness to a hungry wolf and he wanted to repay what was given in equal measure. The stranger also gave the woodcutter a little box a a gift for his wife.
The woodcutter went home, leading the cow through the forest. He was curious as to what was in the box for his wife and had a little peak. As he opened the box, a tall flame leapt out and set fire to the tree. The woodcutter dropped the box and was thrilled he had opened it and not his wife as she would’ve been burnt! The fire spread and wrecked the forest, but the woodcutter didn’t mind. He had a fine cow and became a cheesemaker, living very happily with his wife!
An extract from A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016)
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- Conall And The Thunder Hag