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ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 40
In Issue 40 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the Armenian legend of ARTASHES AND SATENIK and a famous battle between the Alans and the Armenians which had an altogether more peaceful outcome. He also recites the Armenian poem, THE TEARS OF THE ARAXES, a famous poem about the Araxes river and how it weeps tears for the lost people of Armenia.
This issue also has a “Where in the World – Look it Up” section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story, on map. HINT – use Google maps.
Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.
It is believed that folklore and tales are believed to have originated in India and made their way overland along the Silk and Spice routes and through Central Asia before arriving in Europe. Even so, this does not cover all folklore from all four corners of the world. Indeed folklore, legends and myths from Africa, Australia, Polynesia, and some from Asia too, are altogether quite different and seem to have originated on the whole from separate reservoirs of lore, legend and culture.
Low and brown barns, thatched and repatched and tattered,
Where I had seven sons until to-day—
A little hill of hay your spur has scattered….
This is not Paris. You have lost the way.
You, staring at your sword to find it brittle,
Surprised at the surprise that was your plan,
Who shaking and breaking barriers not a little,
Find never more the death-door of Sedan.
Must I for more than carnage call you claimant,
Paying you a penny for each son you slay?
Man, the whole globe in gold were no repayment
For what you have lost. And how shall I repay?
What is the price of that red spark that caught me
From a kind farm that never had a name?
What is the price of that dead man they brought me?
For other dead men do not look the same.
How should I pay for one poor graven steeple
Whereon you shattered what you shall not know?
How should I pay you, miserable people,
How should I pay you everything you owe?
Unhappy, can I give you back your honour?
Though I forgave, would any man forget?
While all the great green land has trampled on her
The treason and terror of the night we met.
Not any more in vengeance or in pardon,
One old wife bargains for a bean that’s hers.
You have no word to break: no heart to harden.
Ride on and prosper. You have lost your spurs.
G. K. Chesterton 1917
From POEMS of the GREAT WAR raising funds for the Royal British Legion (the equivalent of the Returned Servicemen’s Association or Veterans Association)
The cry of “STOP THE WAR” is not new. It was happening as far back as 1900…..
1886 – gold had been discovered in South Africa and the dominant nation on earth wanted it! Sound familiar…..?
The Boer War (1899 – 1902) was but a dress-rehearsal for WWI – when forces from across the world were mobilised to ensure that a precious commodity “stayed in the right hands”.
But just as soldiers who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have written poetry about the conflict, so too did soldiers who fought in the Boer War. This volume contains 26 poems about the conflict, the men and the leaders from both sides.
Download your free copy at http://abelapublishing.com/boer-war-lyrics–a-free-ebook_p26851983.htm
This week we have two poems from the Hyaku-nin-isshiu, or ‘Single Verses by a Hundred People’, were collected together in A.D. 1235. They are placed in approximate chronological order, and range from about the year 670. Perhaps what strikes one most in connection with the Hyaku-nin-isshiu is the date when the verses were written; most of them were produced before the time of the Norman Conquest (of Britain – AD 1066), and one cannot but be struck with the advanced state of art and culture in Japan at a time when Europe was still in a very elementary stage of civilization.
The Collection consists almost entirely of love-poems and what the editor calls picture-poems, intended to bring before the mind’s eye some well-known scene in nature; and it is marvellous what effect little thumbnail sketches are compressed within thirty-one syllables. Some show the cherry blossoms which are doomed to fall, the dewdrops scattered by the wind, the mournful cry of the wild deer on the mountains, the dying crimson of the fallen maple leaves, the weird sadness of the cuckoo singing in the moonlight, and the loneliness of the recluse in the mountain wilds; while those verses which appear to be of a more cheerful type are rather of the nature of the ‘Japanese smile’, described by Lafcadio Hearn as a mask to hide the real feelings.
From: A Hundred Verses from Old Japan
THE IMPERIAL ADVISER YAKAMOCHI
Wataseru hashi ni
Oku shimo no
Shiroki wo mireba
Yo zo fuke ni keru.
WHEN on the Magpies’ Bridge I see
The Hoar-frost King has cast
His sparkling mantle, well I know
The night is nearly past,
Daylight approaches fast.
The author of this verse was Governor of the Province of Kōshū, and Viceroy of the more or less uncivilized northern and eastern parts of Japan; he died A.D. 785. There was a bridge or passageway in the Imperial Palace at Kyōto called the Magpies’ Bridge, but there is also an allusion here to the old legend about the Weaver and Herdsman. It is said, that the Weaver (the star Vega) was a maiden, who dwelt on one side of the River of the Milky Way, and who was employed in making clothes for the Gods. But one day the Sun took pity upon her, and gave her in marriage to the Herdboy (the star Aquila), who lived on the other side of the river. But as the result of this was that the supply of clothes fell short, she was only permitted to visit her husband once a year, viz. on the seventh night of the seventh month; and on this night, it is said, the magpies in a dense flock form a bridge for her across the river. The hoar frost forms just before day breaks. The illustration shows the Herdboy crossing on the Bridge of Magpies to his bride.
From: A Hundred Verses from Old Japan
(ONO NO KOMACHI)
Hana no iro wa
Utsuri ni keri na
Waga mi yo ni furu
Nagame seshi ma ni.
THE blossom’s tint is washed away
By heavy showers of rain;
My charms, which once I prized so much,
Are also on the wane,
Both bloomed, alas! in vain.
The writer was a famous poetess, who lived A.D. 834-880. She is remembered for her talent, her beauty, her pride, her love of luxury, her frailty, and her miserable old age. The magic of her art is said to have overcome a severe drought, from which the country suffered in the year 866, when prayers to the Gods had proved useless.
The first and last couplets may mean either ‘the blossom’s tint fades away under the continued downpour of rain in the world’, or ‘the beauty of this flower (i.e. herself) is fading away as I grow older and older in this life’; while the third line dividing the two couplets means, that the flower’s tint and her own beauty are alike only vanity. This verse, with its double meaning running throughout, is an excellent example of the characteristic Japanese play upon words.
From: A Hundred Verses from Old Japan
Books Yellow, Red, and Green and Blue,
All true, or just as good as true,
And now here’s the Pink Book just for YOU!
Hard is the path from A to Z,
And puzzling to a curly head,
Yet leads to Books—Green, Blue, and Red.
For every child should understand
That letters from the first were planned
To guide us into Fairy Land
So labour at your Alphabet,
For by that learning shall you get
To lands where Fairies may be met.
And going where this pathway goes,
You too, at last, may find, who knows?
The Garden of the Singing Rose.
Penned by Andrew Lang as an introduction to his Pink Fairy Books – now part of a 3 book set.
SARU MARU, A SHINTO OFFICIAL or SARU MARU TAIU
Oku yama ni
Momiji fumi wake
Naku shika no
Koe kiku toki zo
Aki wa kanashiki.
HEAR the stag’s pathetic call
Far up the mountain side,
While tramping o’er the maple leaves
Wind-scattered far and wide
This sad, sad autumn tide.
NOTE: Very little is known of this writer, but he probably lived not later than A.D. 800. Stags and the crimson leaves of the maple are frequently used as the symbolism of autumn.
NAKAMARO ABE or ABE NO NAKAMARO
Ama no hara
Mikasa no yama ni
Ideshi tsuki kamo.
WHILE gazing up into the sky,
My thoughts have wandered far;
Methinks I see the rising moon
Above Mount Mikasa
At far-off Kasuga.
NOTE: The poet, when sixteen years of age, was sent with two others to China, to discover the secret of the Chinese calendar, and on the night before sailing for home his friends gave him a farewell banquet. It was a beautiful moonlight night, and after dinner he composed this verse. Another account, however, says that the Emperor of China, becoming suspicious, caused him to be invited to a dinner at the top of a high pagoda, and then had the stairs removed, in order that he might be left to die of hunger. Nakamaro is said to have bitten his hand and written this verse with his blood, after which he appears to have escaped and fled to Annam. Kasuga, pronounced Kasunga, is a famous temple at the foot of Mount Mikasa, near Nara, the poet’s home; the verse was written in the year 726, and the author died in 780
From: A HUNDRED VERSES FROM OLD JAPAN
A percentage of the profits will be donated to the CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE APPEAL.
Today we take a brief branch away from our usual folkore and fairy tales and have a look at three poems from the book WHEN HEARTS ARE TRUMPS. The verse in this volume were selected from works that had appeared in various periodicals, LIFE, TRUTH, TOWN TOPICS, VOGUE, and MUNSEY’S MAGAZINE during the five years 1893-1898 and whose editors kindly gave Tom Hall permission to republish them. So popular was this collection of poetry, that it had at least six editions. Read on and enjoy……….
THE OLD-FASHIONED GIRL.
There’s an old-fashioned girl in an old fashioned street,
Dressed in old-fashioned clothes from her head to her feet;
And she spends all her time in the old-fashioned way
Of caring for poor people’s children all day.
She never has been to cotillon1 or ball,
And she knows not the styles of the Spring or the Fall;
Two hundred a year will suffice for her needs,
And an old-fashioned Bible is all that she reads.
And she has an old-fashioned heart that is true
To a fellow who died in an old coat of blue,
With its buttons all brass,—who is waiting above
For the woman who loved him with old-fashioned love.
1 The Cotillion was a popular 18th and 19th century dance in the French Courts that preceded the Quadrille style of dancing.
– – – – – – –
A RHYMING REVERIE.
It was a dainty lady’s glove;
A souvenir to rhyme with love.
It was the memory of a kiss,
So called to make it rhyme with bliss.
There was a month at Mt. Desert,
Synonymous and rhymes with flirt.
A pretty girl and lots of style,
Which rhymes with happy for a while.
There came a rival old and bold,
To make him rhyme with gold and sold.
A broken heart there had to be.
Alas, the rhyme just fitted me.
– – – – – – –
Oh, whence, oh, where
Is Vanity Fair?
I want to be seen with the somebodies there.
I’ve money and beauty and college-bred brains;
Though my ‘scutcheon’s not spotless, who’ll mind a few stains?
To caper I wish in the chorus of style,
And wed an aristocrat after a while
So please tell me truly, and please tell me fair,
Just how many miles it’s from Madison Square.
It’s here, it’s there,
Is Vanity Fair.
It’s not like a labyrinth, not like a lair.
It’s North and it’s South, and it’s East and it’s West;
You can see it, oh, anywhere, quite at its best.
Dame Fashion is queen, Ready Money is king,
You can join it, provided you don’t know a thing.
It’s miles over here, and it’s miles over there;
And it’s not seven inches from Madison Square.
– – – – – – –
From WHEN HEARTS ARE TRUMPS compiled by Tom Hall
Click on the URL for more info, a table of contents and to order in USD or GBP.
A percentage of the profits will be donated to The BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION.