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A fantastic tale of the demon-haunted forests of 13th C. Germany. In the Dale of the Dragon, or Der Tal des Drachen, lives a young man named Jerome, the hero of our story. In the surrounding forest lives the witch Martha and her twin ravens which speak of Satan, who even makes an appearance to tempt Jerome to the dark side of life.

But what is a haunted forest if it doesn’t have robber barons and outlaws, and what would our story be without Agnes the maiden, who is, of course, in distress. Who is the mysterious Saint of the Dragon’s Dale – a powerful, mysterious figure with a dark secret. Will he ride in to save the day, or will he be too late.

To find the answers to these, and any other questions you may have, download this little book and find out for yourself.

Format: ebook – Kindle.Mobi, ePub, PDF
Download link: https://folklore-fairy-tales-myths-legends-and-other-stories.stores.streetlib.com/en/william-s-davis/the-saint-of-the-dragons-dale-medieval-action-and-adventure/

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A Creation Legend of Manabozho

A Creation Legend of Manabozho

ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 67

 

In Issue 67 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the American Legend of the time Manabozho made the land. Manabozho was out hunting with two wolves. One left him and chose his own path while the other stayed to hunt with Manabozho. How did the legend come about you ask? Well you’ll just have to download and read the story to find out!

 

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.

 

eBook link: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anon_E_Mouse_A_LEGEND_OF_MANABOZHO_A_Native_Americ?id=YzUODAAAQBAJ

 

INCLUDES LINKS TO 8 FREE DOWNLOADS

 

Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.

ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 39

In Issue 39 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the Norse legend of the wolves Skoll (repulsion) and Hati (hatred) and how, and why, they each chase the moon and the sun across the sky ensuring night follows day.

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.

This book also has an educational component with “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”.

FOLLOW THIS LINK: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anon_E_Mouse_THE_WOLVES_SK%C3%96LL_AND_HATI_A_Norse_Leg?id=qGKdDAAAQBAJ

The Wolves Skoll abd Hati - Cover

The Wolves Skoll and Hati – Cover

A tale of self-sacrifice and selflessness.

 

I

 

Odin, the Allfather, sat one day on his high air-throne, and looking around him, far and wide, saw three fierce monsters. They were the children of the mischievous fire-god Loki, and Odin began to feel anxious, for they had grown so fast and were getting so strong that he feared they might do harm to the sacred city of Asgard. The wise father knew Loki had given strength to these dreadful creatures, and he saw that all this danger had come upon the Æsir from Loki’s wickedness.

 

One of these monsters was a huge serpent, that Odin sent down into the ocean, where he grew so fast that his body was coiled around the whole world, and his tail grew into his own mouth. He was called the Midgard serpent.

 

The second monster was sent to Niflheim, the home of darkness, and shut up there.

 

The third, a fierce wolf, named Fenrir, was brought to Asgard, where Odin hoped he might be tamed by living among the Æsir, and seeing their good deeds, and hearing their kind words; but he grew more and more fierce, until only one of all the gods dared to feed him. This was the brave god, Tyr. He was a war-god, like Thor, and is sometimes called the Sword-god. Tyr was loved by all because he was so true and faithful.

 

Each day the dreadful wolf grew larger and stronger, till all at once, before the Æsir thought about it, he had become a very dangerous beast.

 

Father Odin always looked troubled when he saw Fenrir, the wolf, come to get his evening meal of meat from Tyr’s hand, and at last one night, after the wolf had gone growling away to his lair, Odin called a meeting of the Æsir. He told them of his fears, saying they must find some plan for guarding themselves and their home against this monster. They could not slay him, for no one must ever be killed, and no blood must be shed, within the walls of the sacred city.

 

Thor was the first to speak: “Do not fear, Father Odin, for by to-morrow night we shall have Fenrir so safely bound that he cannot do us any harm. I will make a mighty chain, with the help of my hammer, Miölnir, and with it we will bind him fast!”

 

When the Æsir heard these words of Thor, they were glad, and all went home rejoicing—all save the Allfather, who was still troubled, for he well knew the danger, and feared that even the mighty Thor would find this task too much for him. But Thor seized his hammer, and strode off to his forge. There he worked the whole night long, and all through Asgard were heard the blows of Miölnir and the roaring of the bellows.

 

The next night, when the Æsir were gathered together, Thor brought forth his new-made chain, to test it. In came Fenrir, the wolf, and everyone was surprised to see how willingly he let himself be bound with the chain. When Thor had riveted the last links together, the gods smiled, and began to praise him for his wonderful work; but all at once the wolf gave one bound forward, broke the great chain, and walked off to his lair as if nothing had happened.

 

Thor was much disappointed, still he did not lose courage. He said to the Æsir that he would make another chain, yet stronger. Again he set to work, and for three nights and three days the great Thor worked at his forge without resting.

 

While he worked his friends did not forget him. They came and looked on while he was busy, and, as they watched the mighty hammer falling with quick blows upon the metal, they talked to Thor or sang noble songs to cheer him; sometimes they brought him food and drink. One visitor, who was no friend, fierce Fenrir, the wolf, sometimes put his nose in at the door for a moment, and watched Thor at work; then, as he went away, Thor heard a strange sound like a wicked laugh.

 

At last the chain was finished, and Thor dragged it to the place of meeting. It was so heavy that even the mighty Thor could hardly lift it, or drag it as far as Odin’s palace of Gladsheim. This time Fenrir was not so willing to be bound; but the gods coaxed him, and talked of his great strength, and told him they were sure he would easily break this chain also. After a while he agreed to let them put it around his neck.

 

This time Thor was sure the chain would hold firm, for never before had such a strong one been made. But soon, with a great shake and a fierce bound, the wolf broke away, and went off to his lair, snarling and showing his wicked teeth, while the broken chain lay on the ground.

 

Sadly the Æsir came together that night in Odin’s palace, and this time Thor was not the first to speak; he sat apart and was silent.

 

First spoke Frey, the god of summer and king of the fairies. “Hearken to me, O lords of Asgard!” he said. “I have not won a brave name in battle, like the noble Tyr, neither have I done such mighty deeds as the great Thor and others of our heroes. Instead of fighting giants and monsters, I have spent most of my life in the woods, among the flowers, listening for hours to the birds. Many things have I watched, some perhaps that my brothers thought too small to be worthy of notice. I have learned many lessons, and the greatest of them all is to know how much power there is in little things, and to see how often the work, done quietly, and hidden from the eyes of men, is the finest and the most wonderful. Since we cannot make a chain strong enough to bind Fenrir, let us go to the little dwarfs, who work in silence and in darkness, and ask them to make us a chain!”

 

The Allfather’s troubled face grew brighter as he heard Frey speak, and he bade him send a messenger quickly to the dwarfs, to order a chain made as soon as possible.

Thor Chaining Fenrir from Asgard Stories - Children's tales from Norse Mythology

Thor Chaining Fenrir

 

II

 

So Frey went out, leaving the Æsir in their trouble, and came to his own lovely home, Alfheim. There everything was bright and peaceful, and the little elves were busy and happy. Frey found a trusty messenger, and sent him with all speed to the dwarfs underground, to order the new chain, and to return as soon as he could bring it. The faithful servant found the funny little dwarf workmen all busy in their dark rock chambers, far down inside the earth, while at one side, in a lighter place, sat their king. The messenger bowed before him, and told him his errand.

 

The dwarfs were a wicked race, but they were afraid of Odin, for they had not forgotten the talk he once had with them, when he sent them down to work in darkness underground, and since that time they never had dared disobey him. The dwarf king said it would take two days and two nights to make the chain, but it would be so strong that no one could break it.

 

While the busy dwarfs were at work, the messenger looked about at the many wonderful things: the great central fire which burns always in the middle of the earth, watched and fed with coal by the dwarfs; above this, the beds of coal, and bright precious diamonds, which the dwarfs took from the ashes of the fire. In another place he watched them putting gold and silver, tin and copper, into the cracks in the rocks, and he drank of the pure, underground water, which gives the Midgard people fresh springs.

 

After two days this messenger returned to the dwarf king. The king, holding out in his hand a fine, small chain, said to the messenger: “This may seem to you to be small and weak; but it is a most wonderful piece of work, for we have used in it all the strongest stuff we could find. It is made of six kinds of things: the noise made by the footfall of cats, the roots of stones, the beards of women, the voice of fishes, the spittle of birds, the sinews of bears. This chain can never be broken; and if you can once put it on Fenrir, he will never be able to throw it off.”

 

Odin’s messenger was glad to hear this, so he thanked the dwarf king, and promising him a large reward, he went on his way back to Asgard, where the Æsir were longing for his return, and were all rejoiced to see him with the magic chain.

 

Now Father Odin feared that Fenrir would not let them bind him a third time, so he proposed they should all take a holiday, and go out to a beautiful lake to the north of Asgard, where they would have games and trials of strength. The other gods were pleased with this plan, and all set out in Frey’s wonderful ship, which was large enough to hold all the Æsir with their horses, and yet could be folded up small enough to go in one’s pocket.

 

They landed on a lovely island in the lake, and after the races and games were over, Frey brought out the little chain, and asked them all to try to break it. Thor and Tyr tried in vain; then Thor said, “I do not believe anyone but Fenrir can break it.”

 

Now the wolf did not want to be bound again; but he was very proud of his strength, and, for fear of being called a coward, said at last he would let them do it, if he might hold the right hand of one of the Æsir in his mouth while they bound him, as a sign that the gods did not mean to play any tricks.

 

When the gods heard this, they looked at each other, and all but one of them drew back. Only the brave, good Tyr stepping forward, quietly put his hand into Fenrir’s mouth. The other gods then put the chain around the beast, and fastened it to a great rock. The fierce creature gave a leap to free himself, but the more he struggled the tighter grew the chain. The Æsir gathered about him in joy to see this, but their hearts were filled with sorrow when they saw that their noble Tyr had lost his right hand; the dreadful wolf had shut his teeth together in his rage, when he found he could not get free.

 

Thus the brave Tyr dared to risk danger for the sake of saving others, and gave up even his right hand to gain peace and happiness for Asgard.

 

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From: ASGARD STORIES

ISBN: 978-1-907256-XX-X

http://www.abelapublishing.com/asgard.html

 

A percentage of the profits will be donated to UNICEF

 

Asgard Stories - Children's tales from Norse Mythology

 

 

There was once a little Kid whose growing horns made him think he was a grown-up Billy Goat and able to take care of himself. So one evening when the flock started home from the pasture and his mother called, the Kid paid no heed and kept right on nibbling the tender grass. A little later when he lifted his head, the flock was gone.

 

He was all alone. The sun was sinking. Long shadows came creeping over the ground. A chilly little wind came creeping with them making scary noises in the grass. The Kid shivered as he thought of the terrible Wolf. Then he started wildly over the field, bleating for his mother. But not half-way, near a clump of trees, there was the Wolf!

The wolf and the kid from Aesop's fables for Children

The Kid knew there was little hope for him.

 

“Please, Mr. Wolf,” he said trembling, “I know you are going to eat me. But first please pipe me a tune, for I want to dance and be merry as long as I can.”

 

The Wolf liked the idea of a little music before eating, so he struck up a merry tune and the Kid leaped and frisked gaily.

 

Meanwhile, the flock was moving slowly homeward. In the still evening air the Wolf’s piping carried far. The Shepherd Dogs pricked up their ears. They recognized the song the Wolf sings before a feast, and in a moment they were racing back to the pasture. The Wolf’s song ended suddenly, and as he ran, with the Dogs at his heels, he called himself a fool for turning piper to please a Kid, when he should have stuck to his butcher’s trade.

 

MORAL: Do not let anything turn you from your purpose

 

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From ÆSOP FOR CHILDREN

To be published as a paperback and ebook during the summer of 2012

 

A percentage of the profits will be donated to Cecily’s Fund – educating Zambian children orphaned by Aids.

 

 

 

 

There was once upon a time a man and woman who had three fine-looking sons, but they were so poor that they had hardly enough food for themselves, let alone their children.  So the sons determined to set out into the world and to try their luck.  Before starting their mother gave them each a loaf of bread and her blessing, and having taken a tender farewell of her and their father the three set forth on their travels.

The youngest of the three brothers, whose name was Ferko, was a beautiful youth, with a splendid figure, blue eyes, fair hair, and a complexion like milk and roses.  His two brothers were as jealous of him as they could be, for they thought that with his good looks he would be sure to be more fortunate than they would ever be.

One day all the three were sitting resting under a tree, for the sun was hot and they were tired of walking.  Ferko fell fast asleep, but the other two remained awake, and the eldest said to the second brother, ‘What do you say to doing our brother Ferko some harm?  He is so beautiful that everyone takes a fancy to him, which is more than they do to us.  If we could only get him out of the way we might succeed better.’

‘I quite agree with you,’ answered the second brother, ‘and my advice is to eat up his loaf of bread, and then to refuse to give him a bit of ours until he has promised to let us put out his eyes or break his legs.’

His eldest brother was delighted with this proposal, and the two wicked wretches seized Ferko’s loaf and ate it all up, while the poor boy was still asleep.

When he did awake he felt very hungry and turned to eat his bread, but his brothers cried out, ‘You ate your loaf in your sleep, you glutton, and you may starve as long as you like, but you won’t get a scrap of ours.’

Ferko was at a loss to understand how he could have eaten in his sleep, but he said nothing, and fasted all that day and the next night.  But on the following morning he was so hungry that he burst into tears, and implored his brothers to give him a little bit of their bread.  Then the cruel creatures laughed, and repeated what they had said the day before; but when Ferko continued to beg and beseech them, the eldest said at last, ‘If you will let us put out one of your eyes and break one of your legs, then we will give you a bit of our bread.’

At these words poor Ferko wept more bitterly than before, and bore the torments of hunger till the sun was high in the heavens; then he could stand it no longer, and he consented to allow his left eye to be put out and his left leg to be broken.  When this was done he stretched out his hand eagerly for the piece of bread, but his brothers gave him such a tiny scrap that the starving youth finished it in a moment and besought them for a second bit.

But the more Ferko wept and told his brothers that he was dying of hunger, the more they laughed and scolded him for his greed.  So he endured the pangs of starvation all that day, but when night came his endurance gave way, and he let his right eye be put out and his right leg broken for a second piece of bread.

After his brothers had thus successfully maimed and disfigured him for life, they left him groaning on the ground and continued their journey without him.

Poor Ferko ate up the scrap of bread they had left him and wept bitterly, but no one heard him or came to his help.  Night came on, and the poor blind youth had no eyes to close, and could only crawl along the ground, not knowing in the least where he was going.  But when the sun was once more high in the heavens, Ferko felt the blazing heat scorch him, and sought for some cool shady place to rest his aching limbs.  He climbed to the top of a hill and lay down in the grass, and as he thought under the shadow of a big tree.  But it was no tree he leant against, but a gallows on which two ravens were seated.  The one was saying to the other as the weary youth lay down, ‘Is there anything the least wonderful or remarkable about this neighbourhood?’

‘I should just think there was,’ replied the other; ‘many things that don’t exist anywhere else in the world.  There is a lake down there below us, and anyone who bathes in it, though he were at death’s door, becomes sound and well on the spot, and those who wash their eyes with the dew on this hill become as sharp-sighted as the eagle, even if they have been blind from their youth.’

‘Well,’ answered the first raven, ‘my eyes are in no want of this healing bath, for, Heaven be praised, they are as good as ever they were; but my wing has been very feeble and weak ever since it was shot by an arrow many years ago, so let us fly at once to the lake that I may be restored to health and strength again.’  And so they flew away.

Their words rejoiced Ferko’s heart, and he waited impatiently till evening should come and he could rub the precious dew on his sightless eyes.

At last it began to grow dusk, and the sun sank behind the mountains; gradually it became cooler on the hill, and the grass grew wet with dew.  Then Ferko buried his face in the ground till his eyes were damp with dewdrops, and in a moment he saw clearer than he had ever done in his life before.  The moon was shining brightly, and lighted him to the lake where he could bathe his poor broken legs.

Then Ferko crawled to the edge of the lake and dipped his limbs in the water.  No sooner had he done so than his legs felt as sound and strong as they had been before, and Ferko thanked the kind fate that had led him to the hill where he had overheard the ravens’ conversation.  He filled a bottle with the healing water, and then continued his journey in the best of spirits.

He had not gone far before he met a wolf, who was limping disconsolately along on three legs, and who on perceiving Ferko began to howl dismally.

‘My good friend,’ said the youth, ‘be of good cheer, for I can soon heal your leg,’ and with these words he poured some of the precious water over the wolf’s paw, and in a minute the animal was springing about sound and well on all fours.  The grateful creature thanked his benefactor warmly, and promised Ferko to do him a good turn if he should ever need it.

Ferko continued his way till he came to a ploughed field.  Here he noticed a little mouse creeping wearily along on its hind paws, for its front paws had both been broken in a trap.

Ferko felt so sorry for the little beast that he spoke to it in the most friendly manner, and washed its small paws with the healing water.  In a moment the mouse was sound and whole, and after thanking the kind physician it scampered away over the ploughed furrows.

Ferko again proceeded on his journey, but he hadn’t gone far before a queen bee flew against him, trailing one wing behind her, which had been cruelly torn in two by a big bird.  Ferko was no less willing to help her than he had been to help the wolf and the mouse, so he poured some healing drops over the wounded wing.  On the spot the queen bee was cured, and turning to Ferko she said, ‘I am most grateful for your kindness, and shall reward you some day.’  And with these words she flew away humming, gaily.

Then Ferko wandered on for many a long day, and at length reached a strange kingdom.  Here, he thought to himself, he might as well go straight to the palace and offer his services to the King of the country, for he had heard that the King’s daughter was as beautiful as the day.

So he went to the royal palace, and as he entered the door the first people he saw were his two brothers who had so shamefully ill-treated him.  They had managed to obtain places in the King’s service, and when they recognised Ferko with his eyes and legs sound and well they were frightened to death, for they feared he would tell the King of their conduct, and that they would be hung.

No sooner had Ferko entered the palace than all eyes were turned on the handsome youth, and the King’s daughter herself was lost in admiration, for she had never seen anyone so handsome in her life before.  His brothers noticed this, and envy and jealousy were added to their fear, so much so that they determined once more to destroy him.  They went to the King and told him that Ferko was a wicked magician, who had come to the palace with the intention of carrying off the Princess.

Then the King had Ferko brought before him, and said, ‘You are accused of being a magician who wishes to rob me of my daughter, and I condemn you to death; but if you can fulfil three tasks which I shall set you to do your life shall be spared, on condition you leave the country; but if you cannot perform what I demand you shall be hung on the nearest tree.’

And turning to the two wicked brothers he said, ‘Suggest something for him to do; no matter how difficult, he must succeed in it or die.’

They did not think long, but replied, ‘Let him build your Majesty in one day a more beautiful palace than this, and if he fails in the attempt let him be hung.’

The King was pleased with this proposal, and commanded Ferko to set to work on the following day.  The two brothers were delighted, for they thought they had now got rid of Ferko for ever.  The poor youth himself was heart-broken, and cursed the hour he had crossed the boundary of the King’s domain.  As he was wandering disconsolately about the meadows round the palace, wondering how he could escape being put to death, a little bee flew past, and settling on his shoulder whispered in his ear, ‘What is troubling you, my kind benefactor?  Can I be of any help to you?  I am the bee whose wing you healed, and would like to show my gratitude in some way.’

Ferko recognised the queen bee, and said, ‘Alas!  how could you help me?  for I have been set to do a task which no one in the whole world could do, let him be ever such a genius!  To-morrow I must build a palace more beautiful than the King’s, and it must be finished before evening.’

‘Is that all?’ answered the bee, ‘then you may comfort yourself; for before the sun goes down to-morrow night a palace shall be built unlike any that King has dwelt in before.  Just stay here till I come again and tell you that it is finished.’  Having said this she flew merrily away, and Ferko, reassured by her words, lay down on the grass and slept peacefully till the next morning.

Early on the following day the whole town was on its feet, and everyone wondered how and where the stranger would build the wonderful palace.  The Princess alone was silent and sorrowful, and had cried all night till her pillow was wet, so much did she take the fate of the beautiful youth to heart.

Ferko spent the whole day in the meadows waiting the return of the bee.  And when evening was come the queen bee flew by, and perching on his shoulder she said, ‘The wonderful palace is ready.  Be of good cheer, and lead the King to the hill just outside the city walls.’  And humming gaily she flew away again.

Ferko went at once to the King and told him the palace was finished.  The whole court went out to see the wonder, and their astonishment was great at the sight which met their eyes.  A splendid palace reared itself on the hill just outside the walls of the city, made of the most exquisite flowers that ever grew in mortal garden.  The roof was all of crimson roses, the windows of lilies, the walls of white carnations, the floors of glowing auriculas and violets, the doors of gorgeous tulips and narcissi with sunflowers for knockers, and all round hyacinths and other sweet-smelling flowers bloomed in masses, so that the air was perfumed far and near and enchanted all who were present.

This splendid palace had been built by the grateful queen bee, who had summoned all the other bees in the kingdom to help her.

The King’s amazement knew no bounds, and the Princess’s eyes beamed with delight as she turned them from the wonderful building on the delighted Ferko.  But the two brothers had grown quite green with envy, and only declared the more that Ferko was nothing but a wicked magician.

The King, although he had been surprised and astonished at the way his commands had been carried out, was very vexed that the stranger should escape with his life, and turning to the two brothers he said, ‘He has certainly accomplished the first task, with the aid no doubt of his diabolical magic; but what shall we give him to do now?  Let us make it as difficult as possible, and if he fails he shall die.’

Then the eldest brother replied, ‘The corn has all been cut, but it has not yet been put into barns; let the knave collect all the grain in the kingdom into one big heap before to-morrow night, and if as much as a stalk of corn is left let him be put to death.

The Princess grew white with terror when she heard these words; but Ferko felt much more cheerful than he had done the first time, and wandered out into the meadows again, wondering how he was to get out of the difficulty.  But he could think of no way of escape.  The sun sank to rest and night came on, when a little mouse started out of the grass at Ferko’s feet, and said to him, ‘I’m delighted to see you, my kind benefactor; but why are you looking so sad?  Can I be of any help to you, and thus repay your great kindness to me?’

Then Ferko recognised the mouse whose front paws he had healed, and replied, ‘Alas I how can you help me in a matter that is beyond any human power!  Before to-morrow night all the grain in the kingdom has to be gathered into one big heap, and if as much as a stalk of corn is wanting I must pay for it with my life.’

‘Is that all?’ answered the mouse; ‘that needn’t distress you much.  Just trust in me, and before the sun sets again you shall hear that your task is done.’  And with these words the little creature scampered away into the fields.

Ferko, who never doubted that the mouse would be as good as its word, lay down comforted on the soft grass and slept soundly till next morning.  The day passed slowly, and with the evening came the little mouse and said, ‘Now there is not a single stalk of corn left in any field; they are all collected in one big heap on the hill out there.’

Then Ferko went joyfully to the King and told him that all he demanded had been done.  And the whole Court went out to see the wonder, and were no less astonished than they had been the first time.  For in a heap higher than the King’s palace lay all the grain of the country, and not a single stalk of corn had been left behind in any of the fields.  And how had all this been done?  The little mouse had summoned every other mouse in the land to its help, and together they had collected all the grain in the kingdom.

The King could not hide his amazement, but at the same time his wrath increased, and he was more ready than ever to believe the two brothers, who kept on repeating that Ferko was nothing more nor less than a wicked magician.  Only the beautiful Princess rejoiced over Ferko’s success, and looked on him with friendly glances, which the youth returned.

The more the cruel King gazed on the wonder before him, the more angry he became, for he could not, in the face of his promise, put the stranger to death.  He turned once more to the two brothers and said, ‘His diabolical magic has helped him again, but now what third task shall we set him to do?  No matter how impossible it is, he must do it or die.’

The eldest answered quickly, ‘Let him drive all the wolves of the kingdom on to this hill before to-morrow night.  If he does this he may go free; if not he shall be hung as you have said.’

At these words the Princess burst into tears, and when the King saw this he ordered her to be shut up in a high tower and carefully guarded till the dangerous magician should either have left the kingdom or been hung on the nearest tree.

Ferko wandered out into the fields again, and sat down on the stump of a tree wondering what he should do next.  Suddenly a big wolf ran up to him, and standing still said, ‘I’m very glad to see you again, my kind benefactor.  What are you thinking about all alone by yourself?  If I can help you in any way only say the word, for I would like to give you a proof of my gratitude.’

Ferko at once recognised the wolf whose broken leg he had healed, and told him what he had to do the following day if he wished to escape with his life.  ‘But how in the world,’ he added, ‘am I to collect all the wolves of the kingdom on to that hill over there?’

‘If that’s all you want done,’ answered the wolf, ‘you needn’t worry yourself.  I’ll undertake the task, and you’ll hear from me again before sunset to-morrow.  Keep your spirits up.’  And with these words he trotted quickly away.

Then the youth rejoiced greatly, for now he felt that his life was safe; but he grew very sad when he thought of the beautiful Princess, and that he would never see her again if he left the country.  He lay down once more on the grass and soon fell fast asleep.

All the next day he spent wandering about the fields, and toward evening the wolf came running to him in a great hurry and said, ‘I have collected together all the wolves in the kingdom, and they are waiting for you in the wood.  Go quickly to the King, and tell him to go to the hill that he may see the wonder you have done with his own eyes.  Then return at once to me and get on my back, and I will help you to drive all the wolves together.’

Then Ferko went straight to the palace and told the King that he was ready to perform the third task if he would come to the hill and see it done.  Ferko himself returned to the fields, and mounting on the wolf’s back he rode to the wood close by.

Quick as lightning the wolf flew round the wood, and in a minute many hundred wolves rose up before him, increasing in number every moment, till they could be counted by thousands.  He drove them all before him on to the hill, where the King and his whole Court and Ferko’s two brothers were standing.  Only the lovely Princess was not present, for she was shut up in her tower weeping bitterly.

The wicked brothers stamped and foamed with rage when they saw the failure of their wicked designs.  But the King was overcome by a sudden terror when he saw the enormous pack of wolves approaching nearer and nearer, and calling out to Ferko he said, ‘Enough, enough, we don’t want any more.’

But the wolf on whose back Ferko sat, said to its rider, ‘Go on! go on!’ and at the same moment many more wolves ran up the hill, howling horribly and showing their white teeth.

The King in his terror called out, ‘Stop a moment; I will give you half my kingdom if you will drive all the wolves away.’  But Ferko pretended not to hear, and drove some more thousands before him, so that everyone quaked with horror and fear.

Then the King raised his voice again and called out, ‘Stop!  you shall have my whole kingdom, if you will only drive these wolves back to the places they came from.’

But the wolf kept on encouraging Ferko, and said, ‘Go on!  go on!’ So he led the wolves on, till at last they fell on the King and on the wicked brothers, and ate them and the whole Court up in a moment.

Then Ferko went straight to the palace and set the Princess free, and on the same day he married her and was crowned King of the country.  And the wolves all went peacefully back to their own homes, and Ferko and his bride lived for many years in peace and happiness together, and were much beloved by great and small in the land.

————————-

From THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK – compiled and edited by Andrew Lang

ISBN: 978-1-907256-88-2

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_yfb.html

The Yellow Fairy Book

Today we remain in West Africa and take a tale from the Yoruba people. It is entitled:

 

AKITI THE HUNTER – A Yoruba tale from West Africa

 

A FAMOUS hunter and wrestler named Akiti boasted that he was stronger than any other man or animal. He had easily overcome a giant, a leopard, a lion, a wolf, and a boa-constrictor, and as nobody else opposed his claim, he called himself “the King of the forest.”

Wherever he went, he sang his triumphant wrestling-song, and everyone feared  and respected him. But he had forgotten the Elephant, who is a very wise animal and knows many charms. One day the Elephant challenged him and declared that he had no right to call himself “King,” as the Elephant himself was the monarch of the forest and could not be defeated.

Akiti thereupon flung his spear at his enemy, but because of the Elephant’s  charm, the weapon glanced off his hide and did him no harm. Akiti next tried his bow and poisoned arrows, and his hunting-knife, but still without effect.

However, the hunter also possessed a charm, and by using it, he changed  himself into a lion and flew at the Elephant, but the Elephant flung him off. Next he became a serpent, but he could not succeed in crushing the Elephant to death.

At last he changed himself into a fly, and flew into the Elephant’s large  flapping ear. He went right down inside until he came to the heart, and then he changed himself into a man again and cut up the heart with his hunting-knife. At last the Elephant fell dead, and Akiti stepped out of his body in triumph, for he was now without question “the King of the forest.”

 

——————

From Yoruba Legends

ISBN – 978-1-907256-33-2

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_yor.html

 

NOTE: The Yoruba people are descendants from a variety of West African communities. They are united by Geography, History, Religion and most importantly their Language.  Many years ago, before African slavery, the Yoruba people inhabited an area which stretched, along the coast of West Africa, all the way inward and down to Angola in South West Africa.

 

AUTUMN nights on the upper Missouri river in Montana are indescribably beautiful, and under their spell imagination is a constant companion to him who lives in wilderness, lending strange, weird echoes to the voice of man or wolf, and unnatural shapes in shadow to commonplace forms.

 

The moon had not yet climbed the distant mountain range to look down on the humbler lands when I started for War Eagle’s lodge; and dimming the stars in its course, the milky-way stretched across the jewelled sky. “The wolf’s trail,” the Indians call this filmy streak that foretells fair weather, and to-night it promised much, for it seemed plainer and brighter than ever before.

 

“How — how!” greeted War Eagle, making the sign for me to be seated near him, as I entered his lodge. Then he passed me his pipe and together we smoked until the children came.

 

Entering quietly, they seated themselves in exactly the same positions they had occupied on the previous evenings, and patiently waited in silence. Finally War Eagle laid the pipe away and said: “Ho! Little Buffalo Calf, throw a big stick on the fire and I will tell you why the Kingfisher wears a war-bonnet.”

 

The boy did as he was bidden. The sparks jumped toward the smoke-hole and the blaze lighted up the lodge until it was bright as daytime, when War Eagle continued:

 

“You have often seen Kingfisher at his fishing along the rivers, I know; and you have heard him laugh in his queer way, for he laughs a good deal when he flies. That same laugh nearly cost him his life once, as you will see. I am sure none could see the Kingfisher without noticing his great head-dress, but not many know how he came by it because it happened so long ago that most men have forgotten.

 

“It was one day in the winter-time when Old-man and the Wolf were hunting. The snow covered the land and ice was on all of the rivers. It was so cold that Old-man wrapped his robe close about himself and his breath showed white in the air. Of course the Wolf was not cold; wolves never get cold as men do. Both Old-man and the Wolf were hungry for they had travelled far and had killed no meat. Old-man was complaining and grumbling, for his heart is not very good. It is never well to grumble when we are doing our best, because it will do no good and makes us weak in our hearts. When our hearts are weak our heads sicken and our strength goes away. Yes, it is bad to grumble.

 

“When the sun was getting low Old-man and the Wolf came to a great river. On the ice that covered the water, they saw four fat Otters playing.

 

“‘There is meat,’ said the Wolf; ‘wait here and I will try to catch one of those fellows.’

 

“‘No! — No!’ cried Old-man, ‘do not run after the Otter on the ice, because there are air-holes in all ice that covers rivers, and you may fall in the water and die.’ Old-man didn’t care much if the Wolf did drown. He was afraid to be left alone and hungry in the snow — that was all.

 

“‘Ho!’ said the Wolf, ‘I am swift of foot and my teeth are white and sharp. What chance has an Otter against me? Yes, I will go,’ and he did.

 

“Away ran the Otters with the Wolf after them, while Old-man stood on the bank and shivered with fright and cold. Of course the Wolf was faster than the Otter, but he was running on the ice, remember, and slipping a good deal. Nearer and nearer ran the Wolf. In fact he was just about to seize an Otter, when SPLASH! — into an air-hole all the Otters went. Ho ! the Wolf was going so fast he couldn’t stop, and SWOW! into the airhole he went like a badger after mice, and the current carried him under the ice. The Otters knew that hole was there. That was their country and they were running to reach that same hole all the time, but the Wolf didn’t know that.

 

“Old-man saw it all and began to cry and wail as women do. Ho! but he made a great fuss. He ran along the bank of the river, stumbling in the snowdrifts, and crying like a woman whose child is dead; but it was because he didn’t want to be left in that country alone that he cried — not because he loved his brother, the Wolf. On and on he ran until he came to a place where the water was too swift to freeze, and there he waited and watched for the Wolf to come out from under the ice, crying and wailing and making an awful noise, for a man.

 

“Well — right there is where the thing happened. You see, Kingfisher can’t fish through the ice and he knows it, too; so he always finds places like the one Old-man found. He was there that day, sitting on the limb of a birch-tree, watching for fishes, and when Old-man came near to Kingfisher’s tree, crying like an old woman, it tickled the Fisher so much that he laughed that queer, chattering laugh.

 

“Old-man heard him and — Ho! but he was angry. He looked about to see who was laughing at him and that made Kingfisher laugh again, longer and louder than before. This time Old-man saw him and SWOW! he threw his war-club at Kingfisher; tried to kill the bird for laughing. Kingfisher ducked so quickly that Old-man’s club just grazed the feathers on his head, making them stand up straight.

 

“‘There,’ said Old-man, ‘I’ll teach you to laugh at me when I’m sad. Your feathers are standing up on the top of your head now and they will stay that way, too. As long as you live you must wear a head-dress, to pay for your laughing, and all your children must do the same.

 

“This was long, long ago, but the Kingfishers have not forgotten, and they all wear war-bonnets, and always will as long as there are Kingfishers.

 

“Now I will say good night, and when the sun sleeps again I will tell you another story. Ho!”

 

From “Indian Why Stories”

ISBN: 978-1-907256-26-4

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_iws.html

 

 

 

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