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! 🙂
An extract from A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016)