This fairy tale is all about a man and his wife that were so poor that their children didn’t have any shoes and went to bed early. One winter’s evening, the man heard some taps at his window. He went outside to investigate and it was a white bear. He asked whether he could help the bear and the bear said that he would help the man if he gave him one of his daughters. The bear would make the man rich. The man thought about it but said that he couldn’t give away one of his daughters. The bear began to walk away but he head a voice. It was Eva, the man’s youngest daughter. She said she’d go with the bear if the bear made her dad rich. The bear told Eva to climb onto his back to keep her warm.
The bear took Eva through the forest. Inside a cave was a warm fire and dinner waiting. After dinner, the bear took Eva to a room with a four poster bed and pillows. Just before falling asleep, Eva heard somebody come into the room. She asked if it was the bear but all she heard was a gentle snore.
Time passed and Eva spent more and more time with the bear. She grew really happy with him and began to love him but she did miss her family. He told her she could visit her family with him but not to listen to any of her mother’s advice as that would bring her bad luck. Eva and her family had a wonderful reunion. She told them about the bear and the visitor that came into her room at night. Her mother advised her to light and candle whilst the visitor slept so that he could have a look at him.
That night, Eva ignored what the bear had told her and lit a candle when the visitor came. she was surprised to see a handsome prince lying by her bed. As she leant over him, some candlewax fell onto him. The prince woke up and was annoyed with Eva. He explained to her that his stepmother had bewitched her. He had to love with her for a year without being seen to break the curse. Now he had to marry the stepmother’s daughter who was a troll princess! The prince said he could be found in a castle that was east of the sun and west of the moon. Then the prince disappeared.
Eva set off to find the castle. She walked for days until she came across an old woman carrying a golden apple. The woman did not know where to find the castle, but she gave Eva the golden apple. Eva walked on and met another old woman who was carrying a golden comb. Again, the woman didn’t know where to find the castle but she offered Eva the golden comb. The next woman that Eva came across was sitting at a golden spinning wheel. The woman told Eva that only the North Wind knew how to get to the castle. She gave Eva the golden spinning wheel.
Eva searched until she found the North Wind. The North Wind took Eva up to the castle and blew her beneath the castle window. The troll princess really wanted the golden apple and Eva asked to stay the night with the prince as a trade. The troll princess agreed but gave the prince a sleeping potion. The next day the troll princess asked for the golden comb, but again a potion had been administered to the prince. By the third day, the troll princess was after the golden spinning wheel. The prince was suspicious of his troll princess and only pretended to take the potion. Eva was delighted to see the prince awake and told him what had happened.
The prince told Eva that she could save him. He told his stepmother that he would marry the girl who could wash the candlewax off his shirt. The troll princess made it filthy. As soon as Eva touched the shirt it became clean again. The prince said he would marry Eva and the stepmother and the troll princess were so angry they exploded on the spot!
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- Uncle Martin
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!
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- Conall And The Thunder Hag
This tale was set back when the Earth was first made. The world was cold and dark and life was hard for people and animals. One day a Raven called everyone to a great gathering. He had heard that there was something called ‘fire’ on the other side of the world. It created light and heat. The animals weren’t sure what light and heat was, but they knew that if the other side of the world had it that they should have it too.
Fox suggested that they should share some of the fire with the other side of the world. Possum suggested that because he was a great hunter he would find the fire and bring some back in his tail. Possum journeyed to the other side of the world and got some fire, but it of course, quickly burnt all of his hair and then went out. Possum returned without any fire and that’s why to this day, all possums have bare tails. Buzzard decided to have a go, but his head feathers soon burnt out. This is said to be why buzzards have bald, red heads. (Ha!) Finally, Grandmother Spider suggested that she should go. Raven wasn’t convinced as Possum and Buzzard had failed. Grandmother Spider insisted that even though she was small, she was skilful.
Grandmother Spider went down to the river and found some clay which she shaped into a bot. Then she took a thorn and made a small hole in the lid. She put the pot on her back and fixed it with thread. She spun a web all the way to the other side of the world. The fire was easy to find. She put a piece in the clay plot and closed the lid again. She followed her way back along the web back to the gathering.
The rest of the animals were amazed when she returned as the fire blazed brightly once Grandmother Spider had removed the lid. For the first time, they saw each other with the light from the fire. They felt warmth on their fur, feathers and skin. Raven asked who would look after the fire. Possum and Buzzard backed away, having being literally burnt by the fire. The people stepped forward and said they’d look over it.
Grandmother Spider taught the people how to tend to the fire to keep it alive. She spun a web high up into the sky and threw sparks from her pot to make the sun, the moon and the stars so there was enough light and warmth for the whole world!
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- The Woodcutter And The Wolf
This little tale takes place in West Africa and it centres around a hunter who had three sons. The hunter took his spear and bow and arrow across his back one day and set off to go hunting. His wife was soon to have another child. The hunter hadn’t arrived home by sunset. His wife and sons waited for him all night but he didn’t appear. Several days later, the wife told her sons to go and look for him. They set out to look for their father but they found no signs of him. As weeks passed, they thought of the hunter but never spoke of him. A baby girl was soon born.
As the baby girl grew to a child, her first words surprisingly were ‘Where is my father?’ The mother felt awful to have forgotten her husband and sent her sons to look for them once more. At last, the sons found some bones with their father’s spear and bow and arrows lying by them. The first son knelt down and breathed on his father’s bones. The bones started to twitch. They rolled towards each other and joined themselves into a skeleton. (Ok, I’m a little creeped out!)
The second son knelt down and breathed onto the skeleton. His father’s muscles and flesh grew back again and covered the bones. The third son breathed on the body. The hunter inhaled deeply and opened his eyes. He asked the boys what had happened. The boys told him he was dead, but now he could come home once more. The hunter and his sons returned home and there was a great celebration.
After the meal, the hunter sat down by the fire and carved a piece of wood. The three sons watched as he carved all sorts of animals, bird, trees and flowers. The hunter made a fine black cow’s tail and fixed it onto the wooden handle. The daughter asked what it was. He told her it was a cow-tail switch that would keep the flies away. He said it was for the person that had brought him back to life.
The three sons said it was them, but the hunter brought his daughter closer and told her that she was the one who brought him back to life. She had remembered him and as long as a man is remembered, he is never really dead.
Next Fairy Tale/Folk Tale- How Grandmother Brought Fire
This week’s tale begins in Autumn when the forest was busy with birds. We meet a boy running along the woodland trail happy to feel the warm sun on his face. He noticed something hanging from the branch of a bush. He wondered what it was. The boy worked out that it as a little cradle board, smaller than his thumb. He lifted it down and held it in his hands. A tiny baby popped out which surprised him. The boy realised that the baby needed someone to look after it. The boy told the baby that he would take it home to his mother who already had nine children but wouldn’t mind looking after it too.
The boy tried to leave, but he could not move his feet as he wished. He kept on circling the bush. The boy heard a sharp cry and a very small woman begged him for her baby. He realised that the tiny woman really loved her child and that’s why the boy could not leave with the baby. He put the baby on her back, safe where it belonged. The little woman told the boy to take off his necklace of beads and threaded a bright stone from her bag onto his necklace. She told him that they give the stone to people who protect the weak. She said it would bring him whatever he wanted. The little woman told him he was a king and good boy. If he continued to wear the stone, one day he might be a mighty chief. The woman then jumped onto an oak tree and disappeared.
The boy ran down the woodland trail and from that day on the boy had incredibly good luck in every single thing that he did. The old people of his tribe decided to call him Luck-in-all-moons. Luck-in-all-moons always protected his families and the weak. He had a good heart. The elders of the tribe eventually made him a chief because of his ability to serve his people well. They said he stood strong like the pine tree and his feet were planted deep in wisdom. He was then called the Pine-Tree Chief. The Pine-Tree Chief thought of the tiny baby and was always grateful.
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- The Gift Of A Cow-Tail Switch
Welcome to a Halloween special, here on Fairy Tale Friday!
The Buried Moon
In this tale, wicked things haunted the watery marshlands. At night, the eerie lanterns would lure travellers away from the paths where creatures were waiting in bogs and pools to drag them away to an awful fate. The Moon wondered whether this way all true, so she wrapped herself into a black coat and stepped down to the marshland. She crept closer to the marsh, but her foot slipped. She reached out for a branch to save herself but woody fingers grabbed her around the wrist and gripped her tight. The Moon fought to get free. She heard a frightened voice near her, heading towards the bog. The Moon heard the creatures waiting to grab him. The Moon shook the hood from her shining hair, casting bright moonbeams across the marsh. All of the creatures shrieked and squirmed back into the bog. The man cried with joy at seeing the path. He rushed back to safety without really looking at the light that had saved him. The Moon was alone without any chance of help. She put the hood over her head once more.
As soon as it was dark, the creatures emerged and plucked at her with bony fingers. They hated her light. They wanted to bury her deep in the pool at the foot of a tree and put a stone on top of her. They left a ghostly lantern to mark the place that the had kept her. After a few days, people realised that the Moon was not appearing in the sky. The creatures became bold and clawed up people’s houses.
The man soon realised he had seen the Moon and she had saved him from a death. The men of the marshland heard his tale and hurried to the wise woman of the village for advice. The wise woman told them they had to go to the marsh and look for a coffin, a cross and a candle. There they would find the Moon. She told them to put stones in their mouths for they hadn’t to speak a word until they were home again.
The men did as the wise woman had said. They saw two crossed branches and a ghostly lantern flickering like a candle. They lifted the stone and the marsh was flooded with light. The Moon leapt up and flooded the marsh with light. The Moon since shone brightly for the people of the marshland than anyone else.
The Shortest Ghost Story In The World
Well, this one didn’t take me long to read at all. Two sentences! A man woke up in the middle of the night in a fright! He reached out for the matches to light a candle…and the matches were put into his hand!
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- How The Pine-Tree Chief Got His Name
The only thing I don’t really like about my A Year Full Of Stories is when I come across a religious story (like Jonah and The Whale previously). I guess it does also say ‘legend’ on the front cover, so Rama and Sita could be one that the author has labelled a legend. Perhaps I’m just being over sensitive! I know Rama and Sita very well after teaching it for several years in Religious Education.
It centres around Rama and Sita are newly married. Rama’s stepmother wanted her own son to be on the throne. She tricked the King into believing this too and made him banish Rama from the kingdom for fourteen years. Rama and Sita left the palace to find a new home. They lived in a forest where they were very happy together.
One day, Sita spotted a golden deer and asked Rama to catch it for her as a companion. Rama left his brother Lakshmana to look after Sita and off he went. Sita heard Rama cry out and told Lakshmana to go find him. He drew a circle around her with an arrow and told her to stay inside to keep safe. An old man staggered up to the house asking Sita to help her. She stepped outside the circle, but as soon as she had done so, the man disappeared and in his place rose the great demon king Ravana. He said he would have her as a wife. He swept her up in his chariot and took her away.
As they flew through the sky, Sita started to drop parts of her jewellery for Rama to be able to follow. As Rama returned, he realised what had happened. He found the jewellery and started to follow the trail but soon enough, the jewels ran out. As he went through the forest, he came across Hanuman the monkey king. Rama had once helped him out so Hanuman was eager to help. Hanuman called of his monkey friends to search for the prisoner. It was Hanuman who found Sita on an island far from the shore.
Hanuman’s monkeys made a brdge to the island. Rama was able to lead the animal army over to the island. There was a fierce battle. In the end, Rama shot Ravana through the chest and he fell dead to the floor. Rama and Sita were reunited. Fourteen years had passed, so they could go back to their kingdom. Along the way, they saw a thousand sparkling lights in their kingdom, out to welcome the beloved Prince and Princess home.
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- The Buried Moon AND The Shortest Ghost Story In The World