I hadn’t heard of this story before so I was super excited to get reading it.
It’s about a wealthy city called Stavoren that was on the short of Zuyder Zee. It had a fine harbour that carried goods from distant lands. All of the merchants became so rich that they ate from silver dishes. The richest was a lady who lived in an amazing house. She wore rubies, pearls and slept on a golden bed that was carved with peacocks. Despite her grandeur she wasn’t happy. She always wanted more to prove that she was richer than everyone else.
She called for the captain of the fleet and asked him to find her the most precious thing in the world. For months and months, he searched for something precious but he had no idea what to give to the lady. The crew suggest bread because no one could live without it. He bought sacks and sacks of wheat and gave it to the lady. She flew into a rage and demanded that he should throw it over the edge as she could live without it.
A boy stepped forward and said that he would love to eat some because his mother couldn’t feed him. The nasty lady glared at him and told him it was hers and nobody could eat it. She ordered the crew to chuck it over the edge. The captain told her she’d regret it one day. She took the ring from her finger and dropped it into the harbour. she told the crew that the ring would return to her before she ever begged for something.
At supper the next evening, when the lady cut into the fish she found her ring. She was shocked. A messenger arrived and told her that all of her ships had been wrecked in a storm. That night, her house was also struck by lightning. Every thing was destroyed and no one was willing to help her.
Without her fortune, the lady found herself begging for bread on the street. (Karma?) At the bottom of the harbour, the wheat grains began to grow up through the water, blocking ships from passing in and out. After a short period of time all of the merchants of Stavoren were ruined and themselves begging for bread, despite the fact that at the harbour the lady’s wheat was growing but wasn’t able to offer them a single grain!
Next Fairy Tale- Persephone
I have heard this story so many times that I could tell it without even looking at the text. However, I gave this story a read for this feature and thought about how it carries wit it a good message for young children.
If you don’t know the story of the Little Red Hen then it’s all about a red hen who finds some wheat and decides to plant it and then turn it into bread eventually. Through all the steps, she asks for help from the lazy farmyard creatures around her. They don’t help her plant the wheat, cut the wheat, thresh the wheat, carry the flour to the mill or bake the bread. Each time, the Little Red Hen had to be an independent hen and do it herself! When it came to eating the bread, the lazy farmyard creatures were ready to help her eat it. She simply told them that she had done all of the work so she was going to eat it all with her chicks to help her! 🙂
I loved this story so much growing up and I still think that it is utterly charming!
Next Fairy Tale- The Ship Of Wheat
I hadn’t read this story before but I really enjoyed reading it. I love a good story about friendship and that’s what I got!
It centres around Androcles who was a Roman slave that belonged to a very harsh master. He worked hard, but he was treated awfully. He had to sleep on the floor and eat out of the dog’s bowl. One night, after a severe beating, Androcles decided to flee. He ended up in a cave and lay down to rest. Unbeknown to Androcles, he was around a lion. The lion growled at him, but didn’t leap to devour him. Instead the lion limped and lay down. Androcles was a good person and couldn’t see any creature suffer. He carefully studied the lion’s paw and then took out a thorn that was embedded within its paw. The lion gratefully licked Androcles.
A few days later, the master’s men were riding by. They saw Androcles and took him off to prison. Androcles was told that runaways went into the emperor’s arena. A week later, he was taken into the arena. There was nowhere to hide. Androcles heard a ferocious roar. He closed his eyes and waited to be attacked. However, he felt two paws land on his shoulders and a tongue licking his face. It was the lion! Androcles greeted his old friend.
When the emperor heard Androcles’s story, he told him that he had earned his freedom by his kindness. He was told to take the lion back to the mountains where he belonged.
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- The Little Red Hen
This week’s fairy tale was all about friendship. It centred around Nolbu and Heungbu. They lived together with their families in their father’s house. Nolbu who was the eldest of the two, was selfish and cruel, whilst his brother was the opposite. When their father died, Nolbu threw his younger brother out of the house and kept all of their father’s fortune to himself. Heungbu lived in a hovel and hard to work hard to provide for his family. He did this without moaning.
One Autumn, the harvest was particularly bad. Heungbu went to beg his brother for food, but he was faced with his awful sister-in-law. She refused to give him food and struck him with the rice ladle. He asked her to do it again, so she did. Heungbu scooped up the rice from his cheeks and was able to feed his family.
Heungbu also saved a young swallow that had fallen from its nest. The swallow never forgot the kindness, and in the Spring when it returned it dropped seeds into his hand. Heungbu planted the seeds on his thatched roof. Before long it started to grow. They produced bright flowers and then three plump gourds. The gourds would feed them for weeks. When the three gourds were cut into they contained rice, gold coins and timber and nails to build a house. Heungbu and his family now had food to eat and a place to stay.
Nolbu heard of Heungbu’s fortune and was immediately jealous. He found a swallow’s nest, broke its leg and then bandaged it up again. Once more the swallow dropped seeds in a garden, but this time it was not good fortune… The gourds that grew had wicked goblins inside. they stole his money and tore down his house. Nolbu and his wife begged Heungbu for some help. Heungbu being the wonderful person that he was welcomed them with open arms. They soon learnt kindness from Heungbu!
Next Fairy Tale- Androcles and The Lion
This was a random one this week but one I found highly enjoyable, if a little disturbing!
It centres around a lonely hunter who hadn’t caught anything for many days. He padded his kayak around desperately looking for fish. One day he came across a tiny, deserted bay. The hunter thought his luck might change. He went ashore and built himself a snow house. When he had finished, he paddled out to the middle of the bay and lowered his fishing hook into the water. After many hours, he hadn’t caught anything. He was about to give up when he felt a tug on the fishing line. He thought it was a huge fish, but in fact it was a skeleton, draped in weeds. It had sea worms writhing from its eye sockets and crabs clinging onto its ribs. The hunter scream and dropped the rod.
Shaking, the hunter tried to get back to the shore (unaware that the skeleton was still hooked onto the fishing line!) At the shore, the hunter grabbed his rod and ran towards the snow house. The skeleton followed him rollings its skull from side to side. The hunter reached the snow house and breathed a sigh of relief. After calming himself, he thanked the spirits for keeping him safe. When he lit his oil lamp, he realised that there was a jumbled pile of bones on the floor.
The skeleton didn’t stir. The hunter was too afraid to move. He felt great sadness for the skeleton. He started to untangle the fishing line from the skeleton’s bones, untangling them and laying them out as a body should peacefully lay.
When he had finished, he realised that the skeleton was a woman. He wondered who she was. As the hunter settled to sleep, he dreamt and a tear ran down his cheek. The skeleton woman caught his salty tear in her mouth. She slipped a hand inside his chest and pulled out his heart (!!!!)
She played his heart like a drum. She sang for everything to return to her, playing and singing for her body to return back and make her whole. When this had happened, she put the hunter’s heart back into his chest. When the hunter woke up, a beautiful woman was next to him. He believed his luck had truly changed and that he’d never be lonely again!
Next Fairy Tale- The Weaving Maiden and The Oxherd
I hadn’t heard of this fairy/folk tale before, but I absolutely loved it. We’ve had all sorts of sneaky animals, here on Fairy Tale Friday and this time we have a sneaky spider and a turtle that gets its own back. Karma!
It’s all about a Turtle who was out for a walk on a hot summer’s day. He begins to feel hungry so asks Anansi the spider man for some food. Anansi was eating delicious yams and he said because he had grown the yams he wasn’t going to share them with the Turtle. Turtle explained that it wasn’t very kind to refuse food to anyone that came to your home. Anansi agreed, but then told Turtle he must go to the river to wash his hands. He did so but when he returned Anansi sent him back again. Whilst Turtle was gone, he ate the yams so finally there weren’t any left for Turtle. Anansi said that he hoped Turtle and enjoyed his lunch. Turtle was fuming and was determined to pay him back. He offered to return the favour and Anansi stupidly accepted.
The next day, Anansi went to the Turtle’s creek. Turtle told him to dive down to get the food. Anansi realised that every time he went to sit down, he felt himself shooting up to the top again. He wasn’t heavy enough to stay at the bottom of the creek. Anansi put some stones in his pockets to weigh him down, but Turtle told him he couldn’t wear his jacket at the table! As soon as Anansi took the jacket off he shot to the surface again. As he coughed and spluttered, Turtle popped up and said ‘I hope you enjoyed your lunch, Anansi. It was so good that there’s nothing left!’
Next Fairy Tale- Skeleton Woman
This week’s fairy tale is a Japanese story. It centres around two brothers.
Prince Fire Flash was a fisherman and his brother, Prince Fire Fade was a skilled hunter. One day Prince Fire Fade suggested that they swap work for the day. Prince Fire Flash wasn’t keen on the idea, but he went with it. Both of them weren’t very successful. Prince Fire Fade had lost the fish hook in the sea. He made five hundred fish hooks out of his sword, but Prince Fire Flash refused to accept them. He made another five hundred but Prince Fire Flash was too angry. He wanted his own.
Prince Fire Fade was very upset. The Wise Old Man came along and asked him why he was so unhappy. Prince Fire Fade told him the story of the fish hook. The Wise Old Man gave Prince Fire Fade a boat made out of plaited bamboo leaves. He told him to sail out until the boat began to sink. Under the sea he’d meet the Sea King’s daughter who would tell him what to do.
Prince Fire Fade did exactly that. He came across Princess Pearl who he was fascinated by. Princess Pearl saw Prince Fire Fade’s reflection in the well. She ran to tell her father. Her father knew of Prince Fire Fade because he was such a great hunter. They invited him to stay. Prince Fire Fade settled into life with Princess Pearl and her family. They fell in love and he forgot the reason why he had come.
A few years later, Princess Pearl questioned her husband as to why he had such a faraway look in his eyes. He told her of his brother’s lost fish hook. The princess offered her help. She summoned the creatures of the sea and asked them to find the fish hook belonging to Prince Fire Flash. A lobster explained the Tai had been complaining of something stuck in his throat. It turns out that it was the fish hook. Princess Pearl managed to release the Tai of the fish hook. Prince Fire Fade knew it was time to return the fish hook to his brother.
Prince Fire Fade was given two jewels by the Sea King. One ruled the flow of the tide and the other the ebb. The Sea King explained that if Prince Fire Flash was still angry, then he could bring out the tide-flowing jewel and he will be drowned. If he asks for forgiveness, the tide-ebbing jewel would save him.
Prince Fire Flash was still angry with him, so out came the tide-flowing jewel. As the sea surrounded Prince Fire Flash he begged for forgiveness. The tide-ebbing jewel saved him. The brothers reunited. Prince Fire Fade build a house and Princess Pearl came to live there, bringing the news that she was going to have a baby!
Next Fairy Tale- The Boots of Hunain