Fairy Tale/Folk Tale Friday- Persephone

I have to admit that I’m not great at Ancient Greek tales. I’ve never really read them before or heard/learned about them. I even pronounced Persephone incorrectly once, swiftly corrected by my sister and fellow blogger, Beth. It was good to read this short story in the collection! This particular retelling is from A Year Full Of Stories so if there are some differences there to the version you know, then that’s why!

It centres around Mighty Zeus who was the King of Gods. He lived at the top of mountain Olympius. He watched over all the Gods and Goddesses and the lives of the people below the mountain. His brother, Hades, was the King of the Underworld. He was the God of the deep earth and everything in it.

Zeus and Hades had a sister named Demeter, who gave life to plants and trees. She was the Goddess of the Harvest. Hades felt lonely in his silent kingdom. He went to ask Zeus how to find a wife. Zeus told him that Demeter had a beautiful daughter called Persephone who would be perfect, but she would have to be stolen away from her mother. Let me get this straight? Zeus encouraged Hades to steal their niece?

Hades watched Persephone and fell in love with her. He waited until she was picking flowers alone and commanded the earth to split open. He leapt into his chariot and swept Persephone down into the Underworld.

Demeter searched for her daughter but couldn’t find her. Meanwhile, Hades was trying to win Persephone’s heart, but all she wanted was to be reunited with her mother. Demeter lost all of her joy without her daughter and the plants began to fail. Zeus noticed that the poeple of the world would be hungry. He sent his messenger, Hermes down to Hades and asked him to let Persephone return to his mother. Hades didn’t want to disobey his brother. Before Persephone left he offered her a scarlet pomegranate. She felt sorry for him living alone. Before Hermes could stop her, she ate four pomegranate seeds. Hermes explained that anyone who eats in the Underworld must stay there.

Persephone was happy to be reunited with her mother, but had to tell her about the pomegranate seeds. Demeter tried to plead with Zeus. He could offer her a compromise. He told her that for each seed that Persephone ate in the Underworld, she should spend one month with Hades who loved her. For the rest of the year, she would return to her mother.

Each year, in the Spring and the Summer, Demeter and Persephone are reunited, bringing life and growth to the plants. In the Autumn, Persephone returns to the Underworld. Demeter mourns for her daughter and the leaves fall, die and the Earth is cold and bare.

Next Fairy/Folk Tale- Whuppity Stourie

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Fairy/Folk Tale Friday- The Ship Of Wheat

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

Fairy/Folk Tale Friday- The Little Red Hen

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

 

Fairy Tale Friday- Androcles And The Lion

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.

Aww ❤

Next Fairy/Folk Tale- The Little Red Hen 

Fairy Tale Friday- Heungbu and Nolbu

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

Fairy Tale Friday- Elephant and The Rain Spirit

This week’s fairy tale was all about an elephant. He was very proud of being the largest and strongest animal. He was very boastful about it and no-one ever dared to argue with him. The Rain Spirit heard the elephant boast and questioned how Elephant could possibly be greater than him. Elephant insisted that because he had a mighty trunk and tusks and could shake the earth that he was the greatest in the land. The Rain Spirit argued that he filled the lakes so that animals could drink. Elephant was adamant that he could look after himself. The sky cracked with thunder and the Rain Spirit said that he would leave him to his own fate then!

When the rainy season arrived, there was no rain to fill the lakes and water the plants. The animals grew thirsty and hungry. They came to see Elephant who they insisted should give them food and drink. Elephant told them to ask Crow to make rain. Crow tried but couldn’t produce enough rain. Elephant claimed the last waterhole for himself.

The next day, while Elephant was looking for food, the other animals approached the waterhole. Tortoise said it was Elephant’s drink so they must not drink it. Lion did not take any notice of Tortoise. He drank and the others followed, slurping and lapping up all of the water until it was gone.

Elephant returned, feeling super thirsty, and flew into a rage when he realised all of ‘his’ water had gone. The animals argued and fought with one another. Elephant was so angry with Tortoise that he picked him up and ate him!

Suddenly, the sky grew dark. The Rain Spirit asked what all of the noise was about. Elephant asked for some help as Elephant was the greatest in the land, but The Rain Spirit was the greatest in the sky. The Rain Spirit burst out laughing and his laughter rained down and filled the lakes and watered all of the plants. When he heard the rain, Tortoise gave Elephant such a fierce butt with his head that Elephant coughed him out again!

Next Fairy Tale- Heungbu and Nolbu 

Fairy Tale Friday- The Weaving Maiden and The Oxherd

This fairy tale is centred around a beautiful maiden called Orihime who lived on the banks of the Silver River of Heaven. She was the daughter of the Sky God. All day long, Orihime sat by the loom, weaving colourful silken threads to make clothes for her father. Orihime’s skills were admired by all of the Gods. She was known as the Weaving Maiden. Orihime worked so hard that she had no time to spend with the other maidens or look for a husband herself. Her father worried about her but he couldn’t persuade her to step away from the loom and enjoy the pleasures of life.

One day, her father told her that he’d found a husband for her. He brought her to the oxherd, Hikoboshi, who looked after his beasts along the Silver River. She immediately fell for him. They married and Orihime was very happy. She didn’t want to sit at the loom anymore. She wanted to dance, sing and laugh with her husband whilst he tended to his oxen.

The Sky God waited for his daughter to return to her duties, but she never did as she had found happiness with her husband and her life. He grew angry because he wanted her to weave his spring kimono. He asked her three times but she just smiled and played around with Hikoboshi in the blossom trees. The Sky God eventually banished Hikoboshi to the other side of the Silver River.

Orihime was devastated, she cried until she couldn’t shed anymore tears. It didn’t matter how much she begged, the Sky God would not listen to her. Orihime continued to make clothes for her father, but everything that she made was drab. Eventually, he felt sorry for his daughter and compromised. He said that on the seventh day of the seventh month he would summon all the magpies from the ends of the earth to build a bridge across the Silver River.

Every year on the 7th July, Orihime’s eyes sparkle brightly in the sky as she laughs once more with her love. If the rain falls, the magpies don’t spread their wings and the Weaving Maiden has to wait for a year to meet her love!

Next Fairy Tale- Elephant and The Rain Spirit