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 a longer one than usual, but a sweet one.
It centres around Greta and her mother. They were very poor with only an old hen to lay eggs and a stony garden to grow vegetables. One day when the North Wind was blowing strong, Greta’s mother wondered what was going to become of them with no money for food or firewood. Greta said she’d make some soup but there wasn’t any food to be found. She found some handfuls of flour and set out to make a cake for her mother. However, the North Wind blew it away. Angry, Greta chased after the wind.
Greta came across a cave at the foot of a mountain. It was the home of the North Wind. Greta asked for her flour back, but the North Wind gave her a cloth instead. The North Wind told her that if she put it on the table and said ‘Feed Me’ it would give her all the food she wanted. Greta thought that was a good exchange so she took the cloth, thanked the North Wind and headed for home. Greta had travelled too far to get back in a day, so she stopped at an inn. She instructed the cloth to feed her and it did.
When the innkeeper saw what she could do, he waited until Greta was asleep and swapped the cloth for an old pillowcase. At home, the next morning, nothing happened when she spread the ‘cloth.’ Nothing happened. Infuriated, Greta went back to the North Wind and told it that the cloth was no longer working. The North Wind gave Greta a goat. It said when she said ‘Make gold!’ it would make as much gold as she needed. Greta once again, stopped at the inn and was robbed by the terrible innkeeper. A reluctant goat was put in place.
Once again, Greta returned to the North Wind. The North Wind realised that it wasn’t the goat that it had given Greta. The North Wind gave Greta a broom to sweep away her troubles. Greta was grateful and realised where her troubles were coming from. The innkeeper once again gave Greta a bed, getting ready to steal her broom. However, when he came to steal the broom, Greta instructed the broom to sweep her troubles away. The broom beat the man and his wife. They told her to take her cloth and goat and leave!
All’s well that ends well! 🙂
Next Fairy/Folk Tale Friday- The Raja And The Rice
This week’s fairy tale is an American story. It’s one I’ve heard of before but I had no idea it was American.
It’s all about the seasons. The story starts with autumn days being cold with signs of winter along the way. All the birds flew away to a warmer place, but one little bird couldn’t fly. He thought the trees would keep him warm for the winter. He asked a silver birch, but she said she had her leaves to look after. He asked an oak, but the oak said he didn’t want anyone to eat his acorns. The bird continued on to ask a willow, but the willow tree told him that she never welcomed strangers. The bird felt sad and sure he’d never be sheltered.
Then the spruce, the pine and the juniper tree all offered the bird shelter and food. That night, the North Wind blew and blew the leaves from all of the trees but the ones that had the bird on. The kindness of the trees that sheltered the bird is never forgotten; for whilst others lose their leaves, those three always remain green.
Next Fairy Tale Friday- The Gifts Of The North Wind
I hadn’t heard of this Buddhist story before, so it was a pleasure to read it for the first time.
It centres around two kings (obviously!) There’s Brahmadatta, King of Benares and King Mallika, his neighbour. Both Kings believed that they treated their people fairly. One day, both Kings unbeknown to each other disguised themselves as merchants to find out if there were any complaints about their kingdoms.
They travelled for many days without hearing any complaints, until they both came to the edge of their kingdoms and met at the same spot. As there was no room to pass, the chariots halted and the drivers shouted at one another to move as they were carrying a King. They couldn’t decide who should pass first if the Kings were equally as great as each other. They suggested the youngest first- but both Kings were the same age. Then they suggested the smallest kingdom give way to the largest- but the kingdoms were the same size. King Mallika’s driver suggested that the most just ruler should pass. King Mallika’s driver said that his master conquered the fierce with his mighty sword and the wicked with greater wickedness. King Brahmadatta’s driver explained that he would pass then because his master conquered the fierce with calmness and the wickedness with goodness.
It was then that they realised the wise, peaceful King Brahmadatta should have right of way! 🙂
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- Why The Evergreens Keep Their Leaves
I feel bad posting this story under ‘Fairy/Folk Tale Friday’ as it is a Bible story and to many it might be offensive to call it a Fairy or Folk Tale. My reasoning for including it in is purely because it is in my collection of tales that I am using for this feature.
I’m pretty sure lots of people know the story of Jonah and The Whale but in the spirit of these posts I will do a summary.
God was unhappy with how people in Nineveh were living. They had learnt wicked ways and weren’t living good lives. God asked Jonah to tell the people to change their ways. Jonah agreed that he would do so, but he actually disobeyed God and sailed to Tarshish. Jonah hid on a boat because he knew he was disobeying God. A storm soon started and Jonah realised that this was his punishment. He told the sailors to throw him overboard, which they didn’t want to initially, but in the end did so, because they didn’t want to lose their lives.
God wouldn’t have seen Jonah drown, so he sent a whale to swallow him whole. Inside the whale’s belly, Jonah thanked God for saving him. After 3 days, God commanded the whale to spit Jonah onto the shore. God asked Jonah to carry out his work in Nineveh like he had initially asked him to. Jonah did so this tie. He was surprised at how well the people listened.
Jonah waited outside the city walls to see if Nineveh would be destroyed. God made him a leafy vine to make sure he had shade from the hot sun. He sent a worm to eat the roots and the vine died. Jonah felt sad for the vine. God told him that he felt sorry for the vine even though he didn’t plant or water it. God explained to Jonah that he had pity for the people in Nineveh. Jonah realised then that he had an unforgiving heart and God loved his people…so the city of Nineveh was saved.
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- The Two Kings
This particular tale was quite a touching one! It centres around James Hogg who as well as shepherd he became a famous writer. His stories are still read today. Lots of his stories were about shepherds and the dogs who helped them. This story is about his favourite sheepdog.
James Hogg, Scottish poet/writer
It’s a story about a dog he named Sirrah. When James first came across him, he was being dragged along the road with a rope around his neck. He was starved and beaten. James convinced the owner to give him to James for a guinea. The deal was done. People close to James laughed because Sirrah was untrained and looked a mess.
Sirrah was eager to learn and James tried hard to teach him. Sirrah worked hard and before long he became a full working sheepdog. Friends had to admit that they were wrong about Sirrah’s capabilities. Something that Sirrah wasn’t good at was singing. He used to make an awful noise!
One night, in lambing season, the lambs broke loose and the whole herd escaped. James was desperate for Sirrah’s help. The other shepherds and their dogs searched and searched for the lambs but they couldn’t find them. The dogs returned, all but Sirrah. They were prepared to go tell the farmer what had happened to the lambs, but another shepherd said to wait, as Sirrah might bring them back. James went searching for his dog, convinced he would find its body. What he found was an assembly of lambs led by Sirrah! What a lovely ending! 🙂
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- Jonah And The Whale