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ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 89
In Issue 89 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the Russian tale of THE CAT WHO BECAME HEAD-FORESTER. One day a forester sews his one-eyed, one eared cat into a hessian sack and takes it into the forest and throws it away. The cat escapes and goes on to achieve great things. Download and read this story to find out just what happened after that.
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Each 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”.
ONCE long ago there lived a king who had a stupid son. His father sent him to school for many years hoping that he might learn something there. His teachers all gave him up as hopelessly stupid, and with one accord they said, It is no use trying to teach this lad out of books. It is just a waste of our valuable time.
At length the king called together all the wisest men of his kingdom to consult with them as to the best way to make the prince wise and clever. They talked the matter over for a year and a day. It was the unanimous opinion of the wise men of the kingdom that the lad should be sent on a journey through many lands. In this way he might learn many of the things which his teachers had not been able to teach him out of books.
Accordingly the prince was equipped for his journey. He was given fine raiment, a splendid black horse upon which to ride, and a great bag full of money. Thus prepared, he started forth from the palace one bright morning with the blessing of the king, his father, and of all the wise men of the kingdom.
The prince journeyed through many lands. In one country he learned one thing, and in another country he learned another thing. There was no country or kingdom so small or poor that it did not have something to teach the prince. And the prince, though he had been so insufferably stupid at his books, learned the lessons of his journey with an open mind.
After long wanderings the prince arrived at a city where there was an auction going on. A singing bird was being offered for sale. What is the special advantage of this singing bird? asked the prince.
This bird, at the command of its owner, will sing a song which will put to sleep anyone who listens to it, was the reply.
The prince decided that the bird was worth purchasing. The next thing which was offered for sale was a beetle. What is the special advantage of this beetle? asked the prince.
This beetle will gnaw its way through any wall in the world, was the reply.
The prince purchased the beetle. Then a butterfly was offered for sale. What is the special advantage of owning this butterfly? asked the prince.
This butterfly is strong enough to bear upon its wings any weight which is put upon them, was the answer.
The prince bought the butterfly. With his bird and beetle and butterfly he travelled on and on until he became lost in the jungle. The foliage was so dense that he could not see his way, so he climbed to the top of the tallest tree he saw. From its summit he spied in the distance what looked like a mountain; but, when he had journeyed near to it, he saw that it was really the wall which surrounds the land of the giants.
A great giant whose head reached to the clouds stood on the wall as guard. A song from the singing bird put this guard to sleep immediately. The beetle soon had gnawed an entrance through the wall. Through this opening the prince entered the land of the giants.
The very first person whom the prince saw in the land of the giants was a lovely captive princess. The opening which the beetle had made in the wall led directly to the dungeon in which she was confined.
The prince had learned many things on his journey, and among the lessons he had learned was this one: Always rescue a fair maiden in distress. He immediately asked what he could do to rescue the beautiful captive princess.
You can never succeed in rescuing me, I fear, replied the princess. At the door of this palace there is a giant on guard who never sleeps.
Never mind, replied the prince. Ill put him to sleep.
Just at that moment the giant himself strode into the dungeon. He had heard voices there. Sing, my little bird, sing, commanded the prince to his singing bird.
At the first burst of melody the giant went to sleep there in the dungeon, though he had never before taken a wink of sleep in all his life.
This beetle of mine has gnawed an entrance through the great wall which surrounds the land of the giants, said the prince to the captive princess. To escape well not have to climb the high wall.
What of the guard who stands on top of the wall with his head reaching up to the clouds? asked the princess. Will he not spy us?
My singing bird has put him to sleep, too, replied the prince. If we hurry out he will not yet be awake.
I have been confined here in this dungeon so long that I fear I have forgotten how to walk, said the princess.
Never mind, replied the prince. My butterfly will bear you upon his wings.
With the lovely princess borne safely upon the butterflys wings the prince swiftly escaped from the land of the giants. The giant on the wall yawned in his sleep as they looked up at him. He is good for another hours nap, remarked the prince.
The prince returned to his fathers kingdom as soon as he could find the way back. He took with him the lovely princess, and the singing bird, and the gnawing beetle, and the strong-winged butterfly.
His father and all the people of the kingdom received him with great joy. Never again will the prince of our kingdom be called stupid, said the wise men when they heard the account of his adventures. With his singing bird and his gnawing beetle and his strong-winged butterfly he has become the cleverest youth in the land.
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This week’s 2nd African tale comes from Ananzi Stories……
THERE were once upon a time three sisters and a brother. The sisters were all proud, and one was very beautiful, and she did not like her little brother, “because,” she said, “he was dirty.” Now, this beautiful sister was to be married, and the brother
begged their mother not to let her marry, as he was sure the man would kill her, for he knew his house was full of bones. So the mother told her daughter, but she would not believe it, and said, “she wouldn’t listen to anything that such a dirty little scrub said,” and so she was married.
Now, it was agreed that one sister was to remain with her mother, and the other was to go with the bride, and so they set out on their way. When they got to the
beach, the husband picked up a beautiful tortoiseshell comb, which he gave to his bride. Then they got into his boat and rowed away over the sea, and when they reached their home, they were so surprised to see their little brother, for the comb had turned into their brother. They were not at all glad to see him, and the husband thought to himself he would kill him without telling his wife. When night came the boy
told the husband that at home his mother always put him to sleep in the blacksmith’s shop, and so the husband said he should sleep in the smithy.
In the middle of the night the man got up, intending to kill them all, and went to his shop to get his irons ready, but the boy jumped up as soon as he went in, and he said, “Boy, what is the matter with you?” So the boy said, when he was at home his mother always gave him two bags of gold to put his head on. Then the man said, he should have them, and went and fetched him two bags of gold, and told him to go to
But the boy said, “Now, mind, when you hear me snore I’m not asleep, but when I am not snoring then I’m asleep.” Then the boy went to sleep and began to snore, and as long as the man heard the snoring, he blew his bellows; but as soon as the snoring stopped, the man took his irons out of the fire, and the boy jumped up.
Then the man said, “Why, what’s the matter? why can’t you sleep?”
The boy said, “No; for at home my mother always gave me four bags of money to lie upon.” Well, the man said he should have them, and brought four bags of money. Then the boy told him again the same thing about his snoring, and the man bade him
go to sleep, and he began to snore, and the man to blow his bellows until the snoring stopped.
Then the man took out his irons again, and the boy jumped up,
and the man dropped the irons, saying, “Why, what’s the matter now that you can’t sleep?” The boy said, “At home my mother always gave me two bushels of corn.”
So the man said he should have the corn, and went and brought it, and told him to go to sleep.
Then the boy snored, and the man blew his bellows till the snoring stopped, when he again took out his irons, and the boy jumped tip, and the man said, “Why, what’s it now?” The boy said, “At home my mother always goes to the river with a sieve to bring me some water.” So the man said, “Very well, I will go, but I have a cock here, and before I go I must speak to it.”
Then the man told the cock if he saw any one moving in the house he must crow; that the cock promised to do, and the man set off.
Now when the boy thought the man was gone far away, he got up, and gave the cock some of the corn; then he woke up his sisters and showed them all the bones the man had in the house, and they were very frightened. Then he took the two bags of gold on his shoulders, and told his sisters to follow him. He took them to the bay, and put them into the boat with the bags of gold, and left them whilst he went back for the four bags of money. When he was leaving the house he emptied the bags of corn to the cook, who was so busy eating, he forgot to crow, until they had got quite away.
When the man returned home and could not find them in the house, he went to the river, where he found his boat gone, and so he had no way of going after them. When they landed at their own place the boy turned the boat over and stove it in, so that it was of no use any more; and he took his sisters home, and told their mother all that had happened, and his sisters loved him, and they lived very happily together ever afterwards, and do so still if they are not dead.
From: Ananzi Stories
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