You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘nature’ tag.

ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 50
In Issue 50 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the Celtic story about how a hard-hearted woman shoos away a stray dog and how another woman shows kindness and compasion to another. The tale tells of which of the two women the fairies rewarded and whom they did not.
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”.
 
A Fairy Dog

A Fairy Dog

 

Two San Bushman Tales

Two San Bushman Tales

ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 46

 
In Issue 46 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates two legends from the bushmen of the Namib Desert. The stories are “How the Coming of a Snake Announces a Death in the Family” and “The Resurrection of the Ostrich.” Both legends are a mix of Bushmen folklore and customs and show how intertwined everyday life in the Namib is with the bush-lore by which the bushmen live.
 
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”.
 
46-bushman-rock-art46-snake-clear

NOT far from the summit of Hualalai, on the island of Hawaii, in the cave on the southern side of the ridge, lived Hina and her son, the kupua, or demigod, Hiku. All his life long as a child and a youth, Hiku had lived alone with his mother on this mountain summit, and had never once been permitted to descend to the plains below to see the abodes of men and to learn of their ways. From time to time, his quick ear had caught the sound of the distant hula drum and the voices of the gay merrymakers. Often had he wished to see the fair forms of those who danced and sang in those far-off cocoanut groves. But his mother, more experienced in the ways of the world, had never given her consent. Now, at length, he felt that he was a man, and as the sounds of mirth arose on his ears, again he asked his mother to let him go for himself and mingle with the people on the shore. His mother, seeing that his mind was made up to go, reluctantly gave her consent and warned him not to stay too long, but to return in good time. So, taking in his hand his faithful arrow, Pua Ne, which he always carried, he started off.

This arrow was a sort of talisman, possessed of marvellous powers, among which were the ability to answer his call and by its flight to direct his journey.

Thus he descended over the rough clinker lava and through the groves of koa that cover the southwestern flank of the mountain, until, nearing its base, he stood on a distant hill; and consulting his arrow, he shot it far into the air, watching its bird-like flight until it struck on a distant hill above Kailua. To this hill he rapidly directed his steps, and, picking up his arrow in due time, he again shot it into the air. The second flight landed the arrow near the coast of Holualoa, some six or eight miles south of Kailua. It struck on a barren waste of pahoehoe, or lava rock, beside the water-hole of Waikalai, known also as the Wai a Hiku (Water of Hiku), where to this day all the people of that vicinity go to get their water for man and beast.

Here he quenched his thirst, and nearing the village of Holualoa, again shot the arrow, which, instinct with life, entered the courtyard of the alii, or chief, of Kona, and from among the women who were there singled out the fair princess Kawelu, and landed at her feet. Seeing the noble bearing of Hiku as he approached to claim his arrow, she stealthily hid it and challenged him to find it. Then Hiku called to the arrow, “Pua ne! Pua ne!” and the arrow replied, “Ne!” thus revealing its hiding-place.
This exploit with the arrow and the remarkable grace and personal beauty of the young man quite won the heart of the princess, and she was soon possessed by a strong passion for him, and determined to make him her husband.

With her wily arts she detained him for several days at her home, and when at last he was about to start for the mountain, she shut him up in the house and thus detained him by force. But the words of his mother, warning him not to remain too long, came to his mind, and he determined to break away from his prison. So he climbed up to the roof, and removing a portion of the thatch, made his escape.

When his flight was discovered by Kawelu, the infatuated girl was distracted with grief. Refusing to be comforted, she tasted no food, and ere many days had passed was quite dead. Messengers were despatched who brought back the unhappy Hiku, author of all this sorrow. Bitterly he wept over the corpse of his beloved, but it was now too late; the spirit had departed to the nether world, ruled over by Milu. And now, stung by the reproaches of her kindred and friends for his desertion, and urged on by his real love for the fair one, he resolved to attempt the perilous descent into the nether world and, if possible, to bring her spirit back.

With the assistance of her friends, he collected from the mountain slope a great quantity of the kowali, or convolvulus vine. He also prepared a hollow cocoanut shell, splitting it into two closely fitting parts. Then anointing himself with a mixture of rancid cocoanut and kukui oil, which gave him a very strong corpse-like odor, he started with his companions in the well-loaded canoes for a point in the sea where the sky comes down to meet the water.

Arrived at the spot, he directed his comrades to lower him into the abyss called by the Hawaiians the Lua o Milu. Taking with him his cocoanut-shell and seating himself astride of the cross-stick of the swing, or kowali, he was quickly lowered down by the long rope of kowali vines held by his friends in the canoe above.

Soon he entered the great cavern where the shades of the departed were gathered together. As he came among them, their curiosity was aroused to learn who he was. And he heard many remarks, such as “Whew! what an odor this corpse emits!” “He must have been long dead.” He had rather overdone the matter of the rancid oil. Even Milu himself, as he sat on the bank watching the crowd, was completely deceived by the stratagem, for otherwise he never would have permitted this bold descent of a living man into his gloomy abode.

The Hawaiian swing, it should be remarked, unlike ours, has but one rope supporting the cross-stick on which the person is seated. Hiku and his swing attracted considerable attention from the lookers-on. One shade in particular watched him most intently; it was his sweetheart, Kawelu. A mutual recognition took place, and with the permission of Milu she darted up to him and swung with him on the kowali. But even she had to avert her face on account of his corpselike odor. As they were enjoying together this favorite Hawaiian pastime of lele kowali, by a preconcerted signal the friends above were informed of the success of his ruse and were now rapidly drawing them up.

At first she was too much absorbed in the sport to notice this. When at length her attention was aroused by seeing the great distance of those beneath her, like a butterfly she was about to flit away, when the crafty Hiku, who was ever on the alert, clapped the cocoanut-shells together, imprisoning her within them, and was then quickly drawn up to the canoes above.

With their precious burden, they returned to the shores of Holualoa, where Hiku landed and at once repaired to the house where still lay the body of his beloved. Kneeling by its side, he made a hole in the great toe of the left foot, into which with great difficulty he forced the reluctant spirit, and in spite of its desperate struggles he tied up the wound so that it could not escape from the cold, clammy flesh in which it was now imprisoned. Then he began to lomilomi, or rub and chafe the foot, working the spirit further and further up the limb.

Gradually, as the heart was reached, the blood began once more to flow through the body, the chest began gently to heave with the breath of life, and soon the spirit gazed out through the eyes. Kawelu was now restored to consciousness, and seeing her beloved Hiku bending tenderly over her, she opened her lips and said: “How could you be so cruel as to leave me?”

All remembrance of the Lua o Milu and of her meeting him there had disappeared, and she took up the thread of consciousness just where she had left it a few days before at death. Great joy filled the hearts of the people of Holualoa as they welcomed back to their midst the fair Kawelu and the hero, Hiku, from whom she was no more to be separated.

 

Gaugin-Woodcut-Frontis

 

 

 

 

 

“Maruru” Woodcut by Gaugin

OOLAH the lizard was tired of lying in the sun, doing nothing. So he said, “I will go and play.” He took his boomerangs out, and began to practise throwing them. While he was doing so a Galah came up, and stood near, watching the boomerangs come flying back, for the kind of boomerangs Oolah was throwing were the bubberahs. They are smaller than others, and more curved, and when they are properly thrown they return to the thrower, which other boomerangs do not.
Oolah was proud of having the happy Galah to watch his skill. In his pride he gave the bubberah an extra twist, and threw it with all his might. Whizz, whizzing through the air, back it came, hitting, as it passed her, the Galah on the top of her head, taking both feathers and skin clean off. The Galah set up a hideous, cawing, croaking shriek, and flew about, stopping every few minutes to knock her head on the ground like a mad bird. Oolah was so frightened when he saw what he had done, and noticed that the blood was flowing from the Galah’s head, that he glided away to hide under a bindeah bush. But the Galah saw him. She never stopped the hideous noise she was making for a minute, but, still shrieking, followed Oolah. When she reached the bindeah bush she rushed at Oolah, seized him with her beak, rolled him on the bush until every bindeah had made a hole in his skin. Then she rubbed his skin with her own bleeding head. “Now then,” she said, “you Oolah shall carry bindeahs on you always, and the stain of my blood.”
“And you,” said Oolah, as he hissed with pain from the tingling of the prickles, “shall be a bald-headed bird as long as I am a red prickly lizard.”
So to this day, underneath the Galah’s crest you can always find the bald patch which the bubberah of Oolah first made. And in the country of the Galahs are lizards coloured reddish brown, and covered with spikes like bindeah prickles.
*******

From: Australian Legendary Tales
ISBN: 978-1-907256-41-7
URL: http://abelapublishing.com/australian-legendary-tales_p23332607.htm

OOLAH THE lizard

Once upon a time, the Ojibways were a great nation whom the fairies loved. Their land was the home of many spirits, and as long as they lived on the shores of the great lakes the woods in that country were full of fairies. Some of them dwelt in the moss at the roots or on the trunks of trees. Others hid beneath the mushrooms and toadstools. Some changed themselves into bright-winged butterflies or tinier insects with shining wings. This they did that they might be near the children they loved and play with them where they could see and be seen.

But there were also evil spirits in the land. These burrowed in the ground, gnawed at the roots of the loveliest flowers and destroyed them. They breathed upon the corn and blighted it. They listened whenever they heard men talking, and carried the news to those with whom it would make most mischief. It is because of these wicked fairies that the Indian must be silent in the woods and must not whisper confidences in the camp unless he is sure the spirits are fast asleep under the white blanket of the snow.

The Ojibways looked well after the interests of the good spirits. They shielded the flowers and stepped carefully aside when moss or flower was in their path. They brushed no moss from the trees, and they never snared the sunbeams, for on them thousands of fairies came down from the sky. When the chase was over they sat in the doorways of their wigwams smoking, and as they watched the blue circles drift and fade into the darkness of the evening, they listened to the voices of the fairies and the insects’ hum and the thousand tiny noises that night always brings.

One night as they were listening they saw a bright light shining in the top of the tallest trees. It was a star brighter than all the others, and it seemed very near the earth. When they went close to the tree they found that it was really caught in the topmost branches.

The wise men of the tribe were summoned and for three nights they sat about the council fire, but they came to no conclusion about the beautiful star. At last one of the young warriors went to them and told them that the truth had come to him in a dream.

While asleep the west wind had lifted the curtains of his wigwam and the light of the star fell full upon him. Suddenly a beautiful maiden stood at his side. She smiled upon him, and as he gazed speechless she told him that her home was in the star and that in wandering over all the earth she had seen no land so fair as the land of the Ojibways. Its flowers, its sweet-voiced birds, its rivers, its beautiful lakes, the mountains clothed in green, these had charmed her, and she wished to be no more a wanderer. If they would welcome her she would make her home among them, and she asked them to choose a place in which she might dwell.

The council were greatly pleased; but they could not agree upon what was best to offer the Star Maiden, so they decided to ask her to choose for herself. She searched first among the flowers of the prairie. There she found the fairies’ ring, where the little spirits danced on moonlight nights. “Here,” thought she, “I will rest.” But as she swung herself backwards and forwards on the stem of a lovely blossom, she heard a terrible noise and fled in great fear. A vast herd of buffaloes came and took possession of the fairies’ ring, where they rolled over one another, and bellowed so they could be heard far on the trail. No gentle star maiden could choose such a resting-place.

She next sought the mountain rose. It was cool and pleasant, the moss was soft to her dainty feet, and she could talk to the spirits she loved, whose homes were in the stars. But the mountain was steep, and huge rocks hid from her view the nation that she loved.

She was almost in despair, when one day as she looked down from the edge of the wild rose leaf she saw a white flower with a heart of gold shining on the waters of the lake below her. As she looked a canoe steered by the young warrior who had told her wishes to his people, shot past, and his strong, brown hand brushed the edge of the flower.

“That is the home for me,” she cried, and half-skipping, half flying down the side of the mountain, she quickly made her way to the flower and hid herself in its bosom. There she could watch the stars as well as when she looked upward from the cup of the mountain rose; there she could talk to the star spirits, for they bathed in the clear lake; and best of all, there she could watch the people whom she loved, for their canoes were always upon the water.

ISBN: 978-1-907256-15-8

http://abelapublishing.com/american-indian-fairy-tales_p23332602.htm

Once Upon A Time there was once a happy king. Great or small, maid or man, every one was happy in his kingdom, everyone was joyful and glad.

 

Once this monarch saw a vision. In his dream there hung from the ceiling in his house a fox suspended by the tail. He awoke, he could not see what the dream signified. He assembled his

viziers, but they also could not divine what this dream presaged.

 

Then he said: Assemble all my kingdom together, perhaps some one may interpret it.’ On the third day all the people of his kingdom assembled in the king’s palace. Among others came a poor peasant.

 

In one place he had to travel along a footpath. The path on both sides was shut in by rocky mountains. When the peasant arrived there, he saw a serpent lying on the path, stretching its neck and putting out its tongue.

 

When the peasant went near, the serpent called out: ‘Good day, where art thou going, peasant?’ The peasant told what was the matter. The serpent said:

‘Do not fear him, give me thy word that what the king gives, thou wilt share with me, and I will

teach thee.’

The peasant rejoiced, gave his word, and swore, saying: ‘I will bring thee all that the king presents to me if thou wilt aid me in this matter.’

The serpent said: ‘I shall divide it in halves, half will be thine; when thou seest the king, say: “The fox meant this, that in the kingdom there is cunning, hypocrisy, and treachery.”‘

 

The peasant went, he approached the king, and told even what the serpent had taught. The king was very much pleased, and gave great presents. The peasant did not return by that way, so

that he might not share with the serpent, but went by another path.

 

Some time passed by, the king saw another vision: in his dream a naked sword hung suspended from the roof. The king this time sent a man quickly for the peasant, and asked him to come.

The peasant was very uneasy in mind. There was nothing for it, the peasant went by the same footpath as before.

 

He came to that place where he saw the serpent before, but now he saw the serpent there no more. He cried out: ‘O serpent, come here one moment, I need thee.’

He ceased not until the serpent came. It said: ‘What dost thou want? what distresses thee?’ The

peasant answered: ‘Thus and thus is the matter, and I should like some aid.’ The serpent replied: ‘Go, tell the king that the naked sword means war–now enemies are intriguing within and without; he must prepare for battle and attack.’

 

The peasant thanked the serpent and went. He came and told the king even as the serpent had commanded. The king was pleased, he began to prepare for war, and gave the peasant great

presents. Now the peasant went by that path where the serpent was waiting. The serpent said: ‘Now give me the half thou hast promised.’

 

The peasant replied: ‘Half, certainly not! I shall give thee a black stone and a burning cinder.’ He drew out his sword and pursued it. The serpent retreated into a hole, but the peasant followed it, and cut off its tail with his sword.

 

Some time passed, and the king again saw a vision. In this vision a slain sheep was hanging from the roof. The king sent a man quickly for the peasant. The peasant was now very much

afraid. And he said: ‘How can I approach the king?’ Formerly the serpent had taught him, but now it could no longer do this; for its goodness he had wounded it with the sword.Nevertheless, he went by that footpath. When he came to the place where the serpent had been, he cried out: ‘O serpent, come here one moment, I want to ask thee something.’

 

The serpent came. The man told his grief. The serpent said: ‘If thou givest me half of what the king gives thee, I shall tell thee.’

He promised and swore. The serpent said: ‘This is a sign that now everywhere peace falls on all, the people are become like quiet, gentle sheep.’

 

The peasant thanked it, and went his way. When he came to the king, he spoke as the serpent had instructed him. The king was exceedingly pleased, and gave him greater presents. The peasant returned by the way where the serpent was waiting. He came to the serpent, divided everything he had received from the king, and said: ‘Thou hast been patient with me, and now I will give thee even what was given me before by the king.’

He humbly asked forgiveness for his former offences. The serpent said: ‘Be not grieved nor troubled; it certainly was not thy fault. The first time, when all the people were entirely deceitful, and there was treachery and hypocrisy in the land, thou too wert a deceiver, for, in spite of thy promise, thou wentest home by another way. The second time, when there was war everywhere, quarrels and assassination, thou, too, didst quarrel with me, and cut off my tail. But now, when peace and love have fallen on all, thou bringest the gifts, and sharest all with me. Go, brother, may the peace of God rest with thee! I do not want thy wealth.’ And the serpent went away and cast itself into its hole.

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/georgian-folk-tales_p23332619.htm

 

Georgian Folk Tales

Once upon a time, on the edge of a mountain, lovely as the entrance to paradise, see, coming along, and descending toward the valley, three flocks of young lambs, driven by three young shepherds; one is an inhabitant of the plains of Moldau, the other is Hungarian, the third is from the Vrantcha Mountain. The Hungarian and the Vranchian have held counsel together, and have resolved that at sunset they will kill their companion, on account of his riches, for he owns more horned sheep than they do, his horses are better trained than theirs, and his dogs more vigorous. Yet, for three days past, there is in his flock a fair young sheep, with white silky wool, who will no longer eat the tender grass of the prairie, and moans all day long.
“My poor little sheep, you who were so fat and well! how is it that for three days you have done nothing but groan and moan? don’t you like the prairie grass, or are you ill, my dear little lamb?”
“Oh, my beloved shepherd, lead thy flock to that thicket, there will be grass for us, and shade for thee; master, dear master! call near you without delay, one of your best and strongest dogs, for the Hungarian and the Vranchian have resolved to kill you at sunset!”

“Dear little sheep of the mountains, if thou art a prophetess, if it is written that I am to die in the bosom of these pastures, thou wilt tell the Hungarian and the Vranchian to bury me near this spot, not far from this enclosure, so that I may always be near you, my beloved lambs,–either here, or behind the shepherd’s hut, so that I may always hear the voice of my faithful dogs. Thou wilt tell them this, and thou wilt place at the foot of nay grave a little flute of elm wood, with its accents of love; another of bone, with its harmonious sounds; another of reeds, with its passionate notes; and when the wind blows across their pipes bringing out plaintive music, then my flock will assemble round my tomb, and weep for me, tears of blood.”

“Take care thou dost not tell them of my murder! tell them I have married a beautiful Queen, that at the moment of our union, a star fell, that the sun and moon together held the crown over my head, that I exist no longer for them. But if ever thou meetest, if ever thou comest near, a poor old mother, running across the fields, weeping and asking, ‘who amongst you have seen a young shepherd, with face as fair as milk, with moustache yellow as ripe corn, with waist so slight that it would pass through a ring, with raven hair, and eyes like mulberries?’–then my little sheep, take pity on her, and tell her that I have married a daughter of the King who lives at the entrance of paradise, but say nothing to her of the falling star!” Here ends the fragment.

http://www.abelapublishing.com/roumanian-fairy-tales-and-legends_p23332656.htm
ISBN: 978-0-956058-49-2

Once upon a time, there was once a poor Gypsy with a very beautiful daughter, whom he guarded like the apple of his eye, for he wanted to marry her to a chieftain. So he always kept her in the tent when the lads and lasses sat of an evening by the fire and told stories, or beguiled the time with play and dance. Only a dog was the constant companion of this poor maiden. No one knew whom the dog belonged to, or where he came from. He had joined the band once, and thenceforth continued the trusty companion of the poor beautiful maiden.

It befell once that her father must go to a far city, to sell there his besoms, baskets, spoons, and troughs. He left his daughter with the other women in the tents on the heath, and set out with the men for the city. This troubled the poor girl greatly, for no one would speak to her, as all the women envied her for her beauty and avoided her; in a word, they hated the sight of her. Only the dog remained true to her; and once, as she sat sorrowfully in front of the tent, he said, ‘Come, let us go out on the heath; there I will tell you who I really am.’ The girl was terrified, for she had never heard of a dog being able to speak like a man; but when the dog repeated his request, she got up and went with him out on the heath. There the dog said, ‘Kiss me, and I shall become a man.’ The girl kissed him, and lo! before her stood a man of wondrous beauty. He sat down beside her in the grass, and told how a fairy had turned him into a dog for trying to steal her golden apples, and how he could resume his human shape for but one night in the year, and only then if a girl had kissed him first. Much more had the two to tell, and they toyed in the long grass all the livelong night. When day dawned, the girl slipped back with the dog to her tent; and the two henceforth were the very best of friends.

The poor Gypsy came back from the city to the heath, merry because he had made a good bit of money. When again he must go to the city to sell his besoms and spoons, the girl remained behind with the dog in the camp, and one night she brought forth a little white puppy. In her terror and anguish she ran to the great river, and jumped into the water. When the people sought to draw her out of the water, they could not find her corpse; and the old Gypsy, her father, would have thrown himself in too, when a handsome strange gentleman came up, and said, ‘I’ll soon get you the body.’ He took a bit of bread, kissed it, and threw it into the water. The dead girl straightway emerged from the water. The people drew the corpse to land, and bore it back to the tents, in three days’ time to bury it. But the strange gentleman said, ‘I will bring my sweetheart to life.’ And he took the little white puppy, the dead girl’s son, and laid it on the bosom of the corpse. The puppy began to suck, and when it had sucked its full, the dead girl awoke, and, on seeing the handsome man, started up and flew into his arms, for he was her lover who had lived with her as a white dog.

All greatly rejoiced when they heard this marvellous story, and nobody thought of the little white puppy, the son of the beautiful Gypsy girl. All of a sudden they heard a baby cry; and when they looked round, they saw a little child lying in the grass. Then was the joy great indeed. The little puppy had vanished and taken human shape. So they celebrated marriage and baptism together, and lived in wealth and prosperity till their happy end.

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/gypsy-folk-tales–book-one_p23332620.htm

ISBN: 978-0-956058-48-5

Once upon a time the things in this story happened, and if they had not happened then the story would never have been told. But that was the time when wolves and lambs lay peacefully together in one

stall, and shepherds dined on grassy banks with kings and queens.Once upon a time, then, my dear good children, there lived a man. Now this man was really a hundred years old, if not fully twenty years more. And his wife was very old too—how old I do not know; but some said she was as old as the goddess Venus herself. They had been very happy all these years, but they would have been happier still if they had had any children; but old though they were they had never made up their minds to do without them, and often they would sit over the fire and talk of how they would have brought up their children if only some had come to their house.One day the old man seemed sadder and more thoughtful than was common with him, and at last he said to his wife: ‘Listen to me, old woman!’
‘What do you want?’ asked she.
‘Get me some money out of the chest, for I am going a long journey—all through the world—to see if I cannot find a child, for my heart aches to think that after I am dead my house will fall into the hands of a stranger. And this let me tell you: that if I never find a child I shall not come home again.’
Then the old man took a bag and filled it with food and money, and throwing it over his shoulders, bade his wife farewell.
For long he wandered, and wandered, and wandered, but no child did he see; and one morning his wanderings led him to a forest which was so thick with trees that no light could pass through the branches. The old man stopped when he saw this dreadful place, and at first was afraid to go in; but he remembered that, after all, as the proverb says: ‘It is the unexpected that happens,’ and perhaps in the midst of this black spot he might find the child he was seeking. So summoning up all his courage he plunged boldly in.

How long he might have been walking there he never could have told you, when at last he reached the mouth of a cave where the darkness seemed a hundred times darker than the wood itself. Again he paused, but he felt as if something was driving him to enter, and with a beating heart he stepped in.

For some minutes the silence and darkness so appalled him that he stood where he was, not daring to advance one step. Then he made a great effort and went on a few paces, and suddenly, far before him, he saw the glimmer of a light. This put new heart into him, and he directed his steps straight towards the faint rays, till he could see, sitting by it, an old hermit, with a long white beard.
The hermit either did not hear the approach of his visitor, or pretended not to do so, for he took no notice, and continued to read his book. After waiting patiently for a little while, the old man fell on his knees, and said: ‘Good morning, holy father!’ But he might as well have spoken to the rock. ‘Good morning, holy father,’ he said again, a little louder than before, and this time the hermit made a sign to him to come nearer. ‘My son,’ whispered he, in a voice that echoed through the cavern, ‘what brings you to this dark and dismal place? Hundreds of years have passed since my eyes have rested on the face of a man, and I did not think to look on one again.’.

‘My misery has brought me here,’ replied the old man; ‘I have no child, and all our lives my wife and I have longed for one. So I left my home, and went out into the world, hoping that somewhere I might find what I was seeking.’

Then the hermit picked up an apple from the ground, and gave it to him, saying: ‘Eat half of this apple, and give the rest to your wife, and cease wandering through the world.’
The old man stooped and kissed the feet of the hermit for sheer joy, and left the cave. He made his way through the forest as fast as the darkness would let him, and at length arrived in flowery fields, which dazzled him with their brightness. Suddenly he was seized with a desperate thirst, and a burning in his throat. He looked for a stream but none was to be seen, and his tongue grew more parched every moment. At length his eyes fell on the apple, which all this while he had been holding in his hand, and in his thirst he forgot what the hermit had told him, and instead of eating merely his own half, he ate up the old woman’s also; after that he went to sleep.

When he woke up he saw something strange lying on a bank a little way off, amidst long trails of pink roses. The old man got up, rubbed his eyes, and went to see what it was, when, to his surprise and joy, it proved to be a little girl about two years old, with a skin as pink and white as the roses above her. He took her gently in his arms, but she did not seem at all frightened, and only jumped and crowed with delight; and the old man wrapped his cloak round her, and set off for home as fast as his legs would carry him.

When they were close to the cottage where they lived he laid the child in a pail that was standing near the door, and ran into the house, crying: ‘Come quickly, wife, quickly, for I have brought you a daughter, with hair of gold and eyes like stars!’
At this wonderful news the old woman flew downstairs, almost tumbling down ill her eagerness to see the treasure; but when her husband led her to the pail it was perfectly empty! The old man was nearly beside himself with horror, while his wife sat down and sobbed with grief and disappointment. There was not a spot round about which they did not search, thinking that somehow the child might have got out of the pail and hidden itself for fun; but the little girl was not there, and there was no sign of her.
‘Where can she be?’ moaned the old man, in despair. ‘Oh, why did I ever leave her, even for a moment? Have the fairies taken her, or has some wild beast carried her off?’ And they began their search all over again; but neither fairies nor wild beasts did they meet with, and with sore hearts they gave it up at last and turned sadly into the hut.

And what had become of the baby? Well, finding herself left alone in a strange place she began to cry with fright, and an eagle hovering near, heard her, and went to see what the sound came from. When he beheld the fat pink and white creature he thought of his hungry little ones at home, and swooping down he caught her up in his claws and was soon flying with her over the tops of the trees. In a few minutes he reached the one in which he had built his nest, and laying little Wildrose (for so the old man had called her) among his downy young eaglets, he flew away. The eaglets naturally were rather surprised at this strange animal, so suddenly popped down in their midst, but instead of beginning to eat her, as their father expected, they nestled up close to her and spread out their tiny wings to shield her from the sun.

Now, in the depths of the forest where the eagle had built his nest, there ran a stream whose waters were poisonous, and on the banks of this stream dwelt a horrible lindworm with seven heads. The lindworm had often watched the eagle flying about the top of the tree, carrying food to his young ones and, accordingly, he watched carefully for the moment when the eaglets began to try their wings and to fly away from the nest. Of course, if the eagle himself was there to protect them even the lindworm, big and strong as he was, knew that he could do nothing; but when he was absent, any little eaglets who ventured too near the ground would be sure to disappear down the monster’s throat. Their brothers, who had been left behind as too young and weak to see the world, knew nothing of all this, but supposed their turn would soon come to see the world also. And in a few days their eyes, too, opened and their wings flapped impatiently, and they longed to fly away above the waving tree-tops to mountain and the bright sun beyond. But that very midnight the lindworm, who was hungry and could not wait for his supper, came out of the brook with a rushing noise, and made straight for the tree. Two eyes of flame came creeping nearer, nearer, and two fiery tongues were stretching themselves out closer, closer, to the little birds who were trembling and shuddering in the farthest corner of the nest. But just as the tongues had almost reached them, the lindworm gave a fearful cry, and turned and fell backwards. Then came the sound of battle from the ground below, and the tree shook, though there was no wind, and roars and snarls mixed together, till the eaglets felt more frightened than ever, and thought their last hour had come. Only Wildrose was undisturbed, and slept sweetly through it all.

In the morning the eagle returned and saw traces of a fight below the tree, and here and there a handful of yellow mane lying about, and here and there a hard scaly substance; when he saw that he rejoiced greatly, and hastened to the nest.
‘Who has slain the lindworm?’ he asked of his children; there were so many that he did not at first miss the two which the lindworm had eaten. But the eaglets answered that they could not tell, only that they had been in danger of their lives, and at the last moment they had been delivered. Then the sunbeam had struggled through the thick branches and caught Wildrose’s golden hair as she lay curled up in the corner, and the eagle wondered, as he looked, whether the little girl had brought him luck, and it was her magic which had killed his enemy.
‘Children,’ he said, ‘I brought her here for your dinner, and you have not touched her; what is the meaning of this?’ But the eaglets did not answer, and Wildrose opened her eyes, and seemed seven times lovelier than before.

From that day Wildrose lived like a little princess. The eagle flew about the wood and collected the softest, greenest moss he could find to make her a bed, and then he picked with his beak all the brightest and prettiest flowers in the fields or on the mountains to decorate it. So cleverly did he manage it that there was not a fairy in the whole of the forest who would not have been pleased to sleep there, rocked to and fro by the breeze on the treetops. And when the little ones were able to fly from their nest he taught them where to look for the fruits and berries which she loved.
So the time passed by, and with each year Wildrose grew taller and more beautiful, and she lived happily in her nest and never wanted to go out of it, only standing at the edge in the sunset, and looking upon the beautiful world. For company she had all the birds in the forest, who came and talked to her, and for playthings the strange flowers which they brought her from far, and the butterflies which danced with her. And so the days slipped away, and she was fourteen years old.

One morning the emperor’s son went out to hunt, and he had not ridden far, before a deer started from under a grove of trees, and ran before him. The prince instantly gave chase, and where the stag led he followed, till at length he found himself in the depths of the forest, where no man before had trod.

The trees were so thick and the wood so dark, that he paused for a moment and listened, straining his ears to catch some sound to break a silence which almost frightened him. But nothing came, not even the baying of a hound or the note of a horn. He stood still, and wondered if he should go on, when, on looking up, a stream of light seemed to flow from the top of a tall tree. In its rays he could see the nest with the young eaglets, who were watching him over the side. The prince fitted an arrow into his bow and took his aim, but, before he could let fly, another ray of light dazzled him; so brilliant was it, that his bow dropped, and he covered his face with his hands. When at last he ventured to peep, Wildrose, with her golden hair flowing round her, was looking at him. This was the first time she had seen a man.
‘Tell me how I can reach you?’ cried he; but Wildrose smiled and shook her head, and sat down quietly.

The prince saw that it was no use, and turned and made his way out of the forest. But he might as well have stayed there, for any good he was to his father, so full was his heart of longing for Wildrose. Twice he returned to the forest in the hopes of finding her, but this time fortune failed him, and he went home as sad as ever.

At length the emperor, who could not think what had caused this change, sent for his son and asked him what was the matter. Then the prince confessed that the image of Wildrose filled his soul, and that he would never be happy without her. At first the emperor felt rather distressed. He doubted whether a girl from a tree top would make a good empress; but he loved his son so much that he promised to do all he could to find her. So the next morning heralds were sent forth throughout the whole land to inquire if anyone knew where a maiden could be found who lived in a forest on the top of a tree, and to promise great riches and a place at court to any person who should find her. But nobody knew. All the girls in the kingdom had their homes on the ground, and laughed at the notion of being brought up in a tree. ‘A nice kind of empress she would make,’ they said, as the emperor had done, tossing their heads with disdain; for, having read many books, they guessed what she was wanted for.

The heralds were almost in despair, when an old woman stepped out of the crowd and came and spoke to them. She was not only very old, but she was very ugly, with a hump on her back and a bald head, and when the heralds saw her they broke into rude laughter. ‘I can show you the maiden who lives in the tree-top,’ she said, but they only laughed the more loudly.
‘Get away, old witch!’ they cried, ‘you will bring us bad luck’; but the old woman stood firm, and declared that she alone knew where to find the maiden.
‘Go with her,’ said the eldest of the heralds at last. ‘The emperor’s orders are clear, that whoever knew anything of the maiden was to come at once to court. Put her in the coach and take her with us.’

So in this fashion the old woman was brought to court.
‘You have declared that you can bring hither the maiden from the wood?’ said the emperor, who was seated on his throne.
‘Yes, your Majesty, and I will keep my word,’ said she.
‘Then bring her at once,’ said the emperor.
‘Give me first a kettle and a tripod,’ asked the old w omen, and the emperor ordered them to be brought instantly. The old woman picked them up, and tucking them under her arm went on her way, keeping at a little distance behind the royal huntsmen, who in their turn followed the prince.

Oh, what a noise that old woman made as she walked along! She chattered to herself so fast and clattered her kettle so loudly that you would have thought that a whole campful of gipsies must be coming round the next corner. But when they reached the forest, she bade them all wait outside, and entered the dark wood by herself.

She stopped underneath the tree where the maiden dwelt and, gathering some dry sticks, kindled a fire. Next, she placed the tripod over it, and the kettle on top. But something was the matter with the kettle. As fast as the old woman put it where it was to stand, that kettle was sure to roll off, falling to the ground with a crash.

It really seemed bewitched, and no one knows what might have happened if Wildrose, who had been all the time peeping out of her nest, had not lost patience at the old woman’s stupidity, and cried out: ‘The tripod won’t stand on that hill, you must move it!’
‘But where am I to move it to, my child?’ asked the old woman, looking up to the nest, and at the same moment trying to steady the kettle with one hand and the tripod with the other.
‘Didn’t I tell you that it was no good doing that,’ said Wildrose, more impatiently than before. ‘Make a fire near a tree and hang the kettle from one of the branches.’
The old woman took the kettle and hung it on a little twig, which broke at once, and the kettle fell to the ground.
‘If you would only show me how to do it, perhaps I should understand,’ said she.

Little Wild Rose Peeped Down

Quick as thought, the maiden slid down the smooth trunk of the tree, and stood beside the stupid old woman, to teach her how things ought to be done. But in an instant the old woman had caught up the girl and swung her over her shoulders, and was running as fast as she could go to the edge of the forest, where she had left the prince. When he saw them coming he rushed eagerly to meet them, and he took the maiden in his arms and kissed her tenderly before them all. Then a golden dress was put on her, and pearls were twined in her hair, and she took her seat in the emperor’s carriage which was drawn by six of the whitest horses in the world, and they carried her, without stopping to draw breath, to the gates of the palace. And in three days the wedding was celebrated, and the wedding feast was held, and everyone who saw the bride declared that if anybody wanted a perfect wife they must go to seek her on top of a tree.

————–
From “The Crimson Fairy Book” edited by Andrew Lang
ISBN: 978-1-909302-11-2
URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/the-crimson-fairy-book_p23332665.htm

‘How astonishingly cold it is! My body is cracking all over!’ said the Snow-man. ‘The wind is really cutting one’s very life out! And how that fiery thing up there glares!’ He meant the sun, which was just setting. ‘It sha’n’t make me blink, though, and I shall keep quite cool and collected.’

Instead of eyes he had two large three-cornered pieces of slate in his head; his mouth consisted of an old rake, so that he had teeth as well. He was born amidst the shouts and laughter of the boys, and greeted by the jingling bells and cracking whips of the sledges.The sun went down, the full moon rose, large, round, clear and beautiful, in the dark blue sky.

‘There it is again on the other side!’ said the Snow-man, by which he meant the sun was appearing again. ‘I have become quite accustomed to its glaring. I hope it will hang there and shine, so that I may be able to see myself. I wish I knew, though, how one ought to see about changing one’s position. I should very much like to move about. If I only could, I would glide up and down the ice there, as I saw the boys doing; but somehow or other, I don’t know how to run.’

‘Bow-wow!’ barked the old yard-dog; he was rather hoarse and couldn’t bark very well. His hoarseness came on when he was a house-dog and used to lie in front of the stove.

‘The sun will soon teach you to run! I saw that last winter with your predecessor, and farther back still with his predecessors! They have all run away!’

‘I don’t understand you, my friend,’ said the Snow-man. ‘That thing up there is to teach me to run?’ He meant the moon.
‘Well, it certainly did run just now, for I saw it quite plainly over there, and now here it is on this side.’
‘You know nothing at all about it,’ said the yard-dog. ‘Why, you have only just been made. The thing you see there is the moon; the other thing you saw going down the other side was the sun. He will come up again tomorrow morning, and will soon teach you how to run away down the gutter. The weather is going to change; I feel it already by the pain in my left hind-leg; the weather is certainly going to change.”I can’t understand him,’ said the Snow-man; ‘but I have an idea that he is speaking of something unpleasant. That thing that glares so, and then disappears, the sun, as he calls it, is not my friend. I know that by instinct.’

‘Bow-wow!’ barked the yard-dog, and walked three times round himself, and then crept into his kennel to sleep.

The weather really did change. Towards morning a dense damp fog lay over the whole neighbourhood; later on came an icy wind, which sent the frost packing. But when the sun rose, it was a glorious sight. The trees and shrubs were covered with rime, and looked like a wood of coral, and every branch was thick with long white blossoms. The most delicate twigs, which are lost among the foliage in summer-time, came now into prominence, and it was like a spider’s web of glistening white. The lady-birches waved in the wind; and when the sun shone, everything glittered and sparkled as if it were sprinkled with diamond dust, and great diamonds were lying on the snowy carpet.
‘Isn’t it wonderful?’ exclaimed a girl who was walking with a young man in the garden. They stopped near the Snow-man, and looked at the glistening trees. ‘Summer cannot show a more beautiful sight,’ she said, with her eyes shining.
‘And one can’t get a fellow like this in summer either,’ said the young man, pointing to the Snow-man. ‘He’s a beauty!’
The girl laughed, and nodded to the Snow-man, and then they both danced away over the snow.
‘Who were those two?’ asked the Snow-man of the yard dog.
‘You have been in this yard longer than I have. Do you know who they are?’
‘Do I know them indeed?’ answered the yard-dog. ‘She has often stroked me, and he has given me bones. I don’t bite either of them!’
‘But what are they?’ asked the Snow-man.
‘Lovers!’ replied the yard-dog. ‘They will go into one kennel and gnaw the same bone!’
“Are they the same kind of beings that we are?’ asked the Snow-man.
‘They are our masters,’ answered the yard-dog. ‘Really people who have only been in the world one day know very little.’ That’s the conclusion I have come to. Now I have age and wisdom; I know everyone in the house, and I can remember a time when I was not lying here in a cold
kennel. Bow-wow!’
‘The cold is splendid,’ said the Snow-man. ‘Tell me some more. But don’t rattle your chain so, it makes me crack!’
‘Bow-wow!’ barked the yard-dog. ‘They used to say I was a pretty little fellow; then I lay in a velvet-covered chair in my master’s house. My mistress used to nurse me, and kiss and fondle me, and call me her dear, sweet little Alice! But by-and-by I grew too big, and I was given to the
housekeeper, and I went into the kitchen. You can see into it from where you are standing; you can look at the room in which I was master, for so I was when I was with the housekeeper. Of course it was a smaller place than upstairs, but it was more comfortable, for I wasn’t chased about and teased by the children as I had been before. My food was just as good, or even better. I had my own pillow, and there was a stove there, which at this time of year is the most beautiful thing in the world. I used to creep right under that stove. Ah me! I often dream of that stove still! Bow-wow!’
‘Is a stove so beautiful?’ asked the Snow-man. ‘Is it anything like me?’
‘It is just the opposite of you! It is coal-black, and has a long neck with a brass pipe. It eats firewood, so that fire spouts out of its mouth. One has to keep close beside it quite underneath is the nicest of all. You can see it through the window from where you are standing.’
And the Snow-man looked in that direction, and saw a smooth polished object with a brass pipe. The flicker from the fire reached him across the snow. The Snow-man felt wonderfully happy, and a feeling came over him which he could not express; but all those who are not snow-men
know about it.
‘Why did you leave her?’ asked the Snow-man. He had a feeling that such a being must be a lady. ‘How could you leave such a place?’
‘I had to!’ said the yard-dog. ‘They turned me out of doors, and chained me up here. I had bitten the youngest boy in the leg, because he took away the bone I was gnawing; a bone for a bone, I thought! But they were very angry, and from that time I have been chained here, and I have lost
my voice. Don’t you hear how hoarse I am? Bow-wow! I can’t speak like other dogs. Bow-wow! That was the end of happiness!’
The Snow-man, however, was not listening to him anymore; he was looking into the room where the housekeeper lived, where the stove stood on its four iron legs, and seemed to be just the same size as the Snow-man. ‘How something is cracking inside me!’ he said. ‘Shall I never be able to get in there? It is certainly a very innocent wish, and our innocent wishes ought to be fulfilled. I must
get there, and lean against the stove, if I have to break the window first!’
‘You will never get inside there!’ said the yard-dog; ‘and if you were to reach the stove you would disappear. Bowwow!’
‘I’m as good as gone already!’ answered the Snow-man. ‘I believe I’m breaking up!’
The whole day the Snow-man looked through the window; towards dusk the room grew still more inviting; the stove gave out a mild light, not at all like the moon or even the sun; no, as only a stove can shine, when it has something to feed upon. When the door of the room was open, it flared up-this was one of its peculiarities; it flickered quite red upon the Snow-man’s white face.
‘I can’t stand it any longer!’ he said. ‘How beautiful it looks with its tongue stretched out like that!’
It was a long night, but the Snow-man did not find it so; there he stood, wrapt in his pleasant thoughts, and they froze, so that he cracked.
Next morning the panes of the kitchen window were covered with ice, and the most beautiful ice-flowers that even a snow-man could desire, only they blotted out the stove. The window would not open; he couldn’t see the stove which he thought was such a lovely lady. There was a cracking and cracking inside him and all around; there was just such a frost as a snow-man would delight in. But this Snow-man was different: how could he feel happy?
‘Yours is a bad illness for a Snow-man!’ said the yard-dog. ‘I also suffered from it, but I have got over it. Bow-wow!’ he barked. ‘The weather is going to change!’ he added.

The weather did change. There came a thaw. When this set in the Snow-man set off. He did not say
anything, and he did not complain, and those are bad signs. One morning he broke up altogether. And lo! where he had stood there remained a broomstick standing upright, round which the boys had built him!
‘Ah! now I understand why he loved the stove,’ said the yard-dog. ‘That is the raker they use to clean out the stove! The Snow-man had a stove-raker in his body! That’s what was the matter with him! And now it’s all over with him! Bow-wow!’

And before long it was all over with the winter too! ‘Bowwow!’ barked the hoarse yard-dog.
But the young girl sang: Woods, your bright green garments don! Willows, your woolly gloves put on! Lark and cuckoo, daily sing—February has brought the spring! My heart joins in your song so sweet; Come out, dear sun, the world to greet!

And no one thought of the Snow-man.

————-
From “The Pink Fairy Book”
ISBN: 978-1-907256-75-2
URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/the-pink-fairy-book_p23332676.htm