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 was a short Scottish story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It’s set on a winter’s day when the Thunder Hag came riding across the sea in her black chariot. It was drawn by four fierce red hounds. The sky was dark as night and the hounds howled as the Thunder Hag raced over the hills and moors. The Thunder Hag was throwing fireballs that set the forests on fire. Everyone was terrified. The next day, the Thunder Hag returned again burning trees and setting heather alight. The king sent his warriors to kill her but they were petrified by the teeth of her fierce hounds. On the third day, the Thunder Hag returned again causing chaos across the land. The king sent for the hero, Conall Curlew. He agreed to defeat her today or tomorrow.
Conall climbed a mountain and waited for the Thunder Hag. When she came, she was hidden by the black clouds around her chariot and he couldn’t slay her. The next day, he went into the fields and separated the lambs, calves and foals from their mothers. Then he returned to the mountain top to wait for her once more. The Thunder Hag soon arrived and heard the animals crying for their young. She was so curious that she poked her head out of the cloud. As soon as she had done this, Conall threw his spear. She screamed and fell back into her chariot. She told her hounds to fly west and she was never seen again!
Next Fairy/Folk Tale- The Bell Of Atri
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