This week’s tale is based in Italy. It centres around a good King who wanted all of the people in his kingdom to be treated fairly. He asked for a towetr to be built in Atri and a bell to be hung in it. When it was finished, all of the people gathered in the town square to see the King visiting it. The King explained that the bell was for everyone in the town. Its rope would be long enough for anyone to reach. If they were treated badly they had to ring the bell and the judges would come straight away and set things right. The people of Atri with this and for many years every injustice was put right. People learnt that it was best to be kind and fair and the bell wasn’t rung often.
One morning, the town mayor saw that the bell rope had been frayed and he told his secretary that it must be be replaced. There wasn’t a rope maker in Atri so they had to send away for a new one to be made. In the meantime, they used a grapevine that grew in the mayor’s garden. So it was replaced.
The next morning, everyone was woken by the bell ringing loudly. They got to the town square, but instead of someone ringing the bell they saw an old horse trying to eat the leaves of the grapevine. Every single time he tugged at the vine, he puled on the bell. The Judge wondered what was going on. He was told that it was the horse. The horse was starved. The judge asked who he belonged to and it was told that he used to belong to the old soldier that lived on the hill. He had worked on the farm until he was too old and weak to pull the plough. Instead of keeping him warm and rested, its master turned him away. The old soldier was brought to the square and was shamed for treating the horse so badly when it had worked so hard for him. The judge told the soldier that the horse had a right to be looked after.
The old soldier realised his wrongdoings and promised the horse that he’d be well treated from now on. The judge was very happy that even a horse could pull the bell of Atri to ensure justice was done!
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon
This story is set when the world had just been made. An old women (why are the characters always old?) had a big garden full of banana trees. It was too difficult for the woman to pick the bananas, so she asked the biggest monkey in the forest to do it for her. She told him that if he picked all of her bananas he could keep half of them. The biggest monkey agreed and picked every banana for her. He divided the bananas into piles. He gave himself the long, fat bananas and gave her the small, wrinkled ones. When the woman realised what had happened, she was determined to get her own back.
The woman took some wax and made a figure of a boy. She dressed him up, put bananas in a basket on his head and stood him by the side of the road. The biggest monkey swung by and although he already had a lot of bananas, he wanted more. He demanded some from the boy, but of course, the boy didn’t answer. The monkey reached out to knock the basket off the boy’s head, but instead his hand stuck into the wax. The monkey insisted that the boy let him go and give him a banana. He reached up with his other hand and that stuck too. He was so cross that he kicked the boy… of course, his foot got stuck and he fell down with a bump. The monkey insisted that the boy should release him before he knocked all the bananas out of his basket. He kicked hard with his other foot and got stuck in the wax!
The biggest monkey tugged so hard that all of the bananas toppled out, but he couldn’t reach a single one. He howled and yelled until other monkeys ran out of the wood. He demanded that they should release him, but they could not release the monkey. The smallest monkey had an idea. The monkeys climbed to the top of the trees and asked the sun to melt the little wax boy. They did just that and the sun began to melt the wax boy.
The woman was impressed with how clever the monkeys had been, she gave up the banana trees to them. She decided to move to a place where she could grow something for herself. The monkeys claimed the trees!
Next Fairy Tale/Folk tale- Rama and Sita
This week’s tale is all about a Raja. He was content with his palace and never really stepped outside to see how his people lived. One year, the rice harvest was really bad. The farmers still brought rice to the palace storehouse so the Raja could enjoy his fine food, but there wasn’t enough to feed the people. People took to begging on the street.
One day, an old man came to the palace with a present for the Raja. He said it was a game of great skill that he called ‘chess’. The Raja was immediately intrigued because he loved games. The old man showed him the chess pieces and told him that the finest piece was His Highness himself riding on his favourite elephant. The Raja wanted the old man to teach him how to play.
Every day the old man went to the palace, through the streets crowded with starving people to teach the Raja how to play chess. It wasn’t long until the Raja was very skilled. The Raja asked the old man what he could possibly give him as a token of gratitude. The old man asked for some rice. The Raja laughed at the man and told him he could have anything he wanted. The old man humbly told the Raja that rice was all that he wanted, enough for the chess game.
The Raja thought this was odd. He was told to put one grain on one square, two on two and so on. The Raja did as he was told and soon enough the chess board was full, so he put some into a casket for the old man. The old man ended up with 32,868 grains by the end of the second row and for the next square twice as much. The next day, the servants brought the rice and the Raja counted. The Raja continued until the last grain had gone. He told the servants to fetch the grain from the farmers.
The old man informed the Raja that there was a famine in the land. He told the Raja that there isn’t enough rice to feed even the hungriest child. The Raja was troubled and realised he had neglected his people. He was troubled that he had given the rice to the old man. But the old man told him that he never wanted it for himself, he was putting a bowl of rice to every hungry person outside the palace doors.
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- Why The Bananas Belong To The Monkey
This week’s fairy tale was an Indian story. It’s a cute little story about a water-bearer who walked down to the stream with two large pots hanging from a poke across his shoulders, to get water for his master’s house.
The water-bearer walked for many years until he was old a bent and ready for a younger man to take over. One of the pots had started to crack. Just as the man was about to pass on his job, the cracked pot asked why he had never been replaced. The water-bearer took the pot to the stream to answer the question. Along the way, he pointed out the flowers that grew on the pot’s side of the path. The water-bearer told him that he planted them because he knew the pot would always water them. He told the pot, that it was the pot’s flaws that helped him appreciate the beautiful flowers. That’s why he never replaced the pot!
Next Fairy Tale- Spring and Autumn
This week’s fairy tale is one I hadn’t come across before, but it is a lovely one with a moral which I’m finding is common for quite a few fairy/folk tales.
It centres around three young hunters who come across a rabbit. They already have a lot of game but shoot at the rabbit anyway. They are surprised when their arrows come back with no blood. They shoot again but the rabbit has disappeared. In its place is an old man. The old man is sick and asks for their help. They refuse to help him, not realising the man is following them. The old man sees skin hanging on a pole which shows that there’s a clan within the lodges. He asks for some help from the wolf clan but they don’t want any sickness around them. The same happened with the beaver, turtle, deer, hawk, snipe and heron. No one wanted to help him. 😦
The man came across the bear clan. The bear clan mother saw how sick the man was and welcomed him inside. She gave him food and warmth. The next day, the old man told the woman which herbs to fetch to heal him. Soon he was healed. The man stayed with the bear clan for a few days more becoming sick again. This time the old man told her which roots to getch. She did so. Every single time the man fell ill, he could tell the woman what to get. Before long, the woman knew more about healing than anyone else.
The man told the woman that he was sent from the Great Spirit to teach her how to heal. He told her that she was the only one that helped him out. He had imparted his knowledge and now all of the clans would come to the bear clan because they were the most knowledgeable and the greatest.
Before the woman knew it, the man had disappeared. All she saw was a rabbit running away.
Next Fairy Tale- The Glass Knight
For this week’s fairy tale I looked at the Irish tale of The Pot Of Gold. I looked at this one as tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.
This story centres around a character called Donal O’Malley. He was walking along one day when he heard some hammering and tapping. It turns out it was a leprechaun. Donal was very excited as he knew that if you found a leprechaun, they had to tell you where they’d hidden their pot of gold. He was desperate to be rich. The leprechaun tried to delay telling Donal where his pot of gold was. However, he tricked Donal. He took him to the middle of a cabbage field and showed him a specific spot where the pot of gold was buried. Donal needed a spade to pick up the cabbage to retrieve the gold.
Donal decides to tie a red ribbon around the cabbage and rushes off to get a spade. Before he goes, he warns the leprechaun not to touch the cabbage. The leprechaun promises but whilst Donal goes away, the leprechaun ties red ribbons around all of the other cabbages. How crafty!
When Donal returns, there’s no sign of the leprechaun. All Donal can hear is a chuckle and the tap and hammer of the leprechaun…
Next Fairy Tales- Gelert The Hound and The Bird Wife