Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The Legend of La Befana

A Christmas tale from Italian Folklore retold by La

La Befana was an old woman who lived in a small village in Italy. She was known throughout the village for her wonderful baking and the cleanliness of her kitchen. She was often seen sweeping the area in front of her home. And many had heard her say that she was so busy baking and cleaning that she rarely had time to do anything else.

One winter day, while La Befana was sweeping in front of her home, three travelers stopped to ask her for a drink of water. They told La Befana that they were astrologers (they were often called the three wise men) who were following a star to the birth place of the Christ child. She kindly gave them water and then invited them to dinner.

After dinner the astrologers prepared to continue their journey and asked her if she would like to come with them to see the Christ child. La Befana shook her head saying that she could not possibly take the time needed for such a journey. She was secretly itching to get back to her cleaning and cooking. She stood at her door and watched them leave.

La Befana went back to her sweeping. But hours later she began to feel that she had made a mistake. Maybe she should have gone with the 3 astrologers to see the Christ child. La Befana decided to follow them.

She quickly grabbed a basket and filled it with baked goods of all kinds. She then put on her shawl and with her basket and broom hurried off into the night practically running to catch up with the wise men.

La Befana traveled through the night but never caught up with the wise men. It is said that she ran and ran until she and her broom were lifted up into the air!

Ever since that night, La Befana is believed to fly through the night or run over the roofs in Italy on Epiphany eve. She stops at the home of every child, leaving them treats in their stockings if they are good and a lump of coal if they are bad.

She hopes that one of the children she visits will be the christ child.

Copyright LLL, Storyteller/Storysinger
story and recipe originally posted at StorytellingCookingandKids.blogspot.com

The name Befana is said to be a mispronunciation of the Italian word epifania which stands for epiphany. La Befana still visits the children of Italy on the eve of January 6, Epiphany. She fills their stockings with candy or a lump of coal. It is also believed that she sweeps the floor before she leaves. Many households leave her a small glass of wine and a small plate of goodies.




Biscotti - twice-baked (biscottare means to bake twice) biscuits
Biscotti are a traditional italian sweet that La Befana might have baked.

The following is a very simple biscotti recipe that "cheats" just a little.

Ingredients:
1 box dry cake mix (your choice of flavor)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 stick melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla (or your preferred flavor)

Optional:
¾ cup chopped nuts, dried fruit or chocolate pieces

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
Pour your cake mix and flour into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add the eggs, butter and vanilla.
Mix on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in nuts or chocolate if desired.

This dough will be very stiff but will not stick to the bowl when properly mixed. The consistency will be like children’s play dough.

Divide dough into two halves.
Roll each half into a log, and place on a lined 11” x 15” x 1” baking pan.
Gently press the top of the cookie log into a rectangle, about 3 inches wide.
Repeat with the second half of the dough.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove cookie pan from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Do not turn the oven off.

Remove cookies from baking pan and cut into 1 inch piece logs.
You will be cutting this on the width.

Place cookies on their cut side on the lined baking pan.
Place pan back into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.
Store cooled cookies in an airtight container.

Biscotti are delicious dipped in hot chocolate or coffee.
Bon Appetit!!

Pssssssst!! Here are a few biscotti variations:

yellow cake mix - chopped red and green dried cherries - almond extract.

butter pecan cake mix - sliced pecans - maple extract.

golden cake mix - sliced dried apricots - toasted slivered almonds - almond extract.

vanilla cake mix - sliced dried cranberries - almond extract.

spice cake mix - walnuts - grated orange zest

spice cake mix - sliced crystalized ginger pieces.

chocolate cake mix - chocolate piece or chips, freeze first so they retain their shape during baking.

lemon cake mix - toasted slivered almonds.

german chocolate cake mix - chopped hazelnuts - semisweet chocolate - 1/2 Tsp. ground cinnamon.

devil's food cake mix - white chocolate chips - chopped dried sweetened cherries - almond extract.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


There once lived a poor family without enough food to eat or enough wood for their fire. The mother decided to go into the forest to search for pine cones.
She was planning to use the pine cones to build a fire for her family, and she was also hoping she could sell some of them to get money to buy food.

After walking for hours, the mother finally reached the forest and started gathering pine cones into her basket.
Suddenly, she heard a voice say, "Why are you stealing my pine cones?"
With that, an elf appeared beside her.

She explained her sad story to the elf.
With a crooked smile, the elf said, "Go into the next forest. The pine cones there are much better."

Hesitantly, the mother set off to the next forest, which was even farther away. When she reached it, she was very tired. She leaned against a tree and sat her basket on the ground.

No sooner had she set down her basket, and dozens of pine cones started falling to the ground. Filled with renewed energy, she gathered all the pine cones into her basket and returned home.

Tired again, once she returned home, she set down the basket for a moment on her doorstep. When she looked down at the basket of pine cones, they had all turned to silver.

The family would never be poor again.

Because of this legend, many people believe that a silver pine cone is lucky. It is customary to keep one on your dresser or hearth to make sure good fortune comes your way.




SUPER SIMPLE CRAFT:

Silver Pine Cones
you will need:
Pinecones
Silver paint or silver spray paint
Glitter (optional)

Directions
Use paint or spray paint to coat the pines cones with silver color.
You may then let them dry or while still wet sprinkle them with glitter.

That's it!
Use the pinecones as decoration around the house, or as a christmas tree decoration or give a silver pine cone and a copy of this legend as a gift.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Greensleeves


There are many ways to tell a story.
One of my favorite ways, okay I have lots of favorite ways, but my most favorite way is by singing.
And a good place to get a singable story, other than some of the kids songs, is to check out ballads.
There are many ballads that can be used for storytelling ( check out my blog on The Twa Sisters) or as the basis for your own cante fable.

Greensleeves has a long history, beginning with its first mention in 1580 as a "new northern dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves."
The song was mentioned twice in Act Two, Scene One of Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor.
The tune for Greensleeves is used for the Christmas song "What Child is This?". (The lyrics for "What Child is This?" were written around 1865 by Englishman William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898). It is unknown who merged Dix's lyrics with the "Greensleeves" tune.)

A reading of the lyrics [of Greensleeves] shows that it is not a sweet, innocuous love song, but a plea from a 16th century gentleman to his bored mistress. There are countless versions of the lyrics, including fourteen Cavalier songs and John Gay wrote lyrics to the tune for The Beggar's Opera. The verses to Greensleeves seem endless.
.

I suppose I should mention that it is commonly believed that Greensleeves was composed by King Henry VIII of England (1491-1547) for his lover and future queen consort Anne Boleyn. Anne, the youngest daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, rejected Henry's attempts to seduce her. This rejection is supposedly referred to in the song. Is this story true??? Who knows? But it is a great story.
I can definitely see someone (moi?) telling the story of Henry and Anne while inserting verses of Greensleeves in appropriate places.

(You can find the music for Greensleeves at 8notes.com or at Guitar Chords Magic )

I have included 2 vid versions of Greensleeves (why? because I am a youtubeaholic).
The first is very traditional. The second, located at the bottom of this post is a very modern jazzy, bluesy version.
I have also written out two different lyrics. The first is obviously very old.
The second is more like what you would sing today.

(to cut off blog music go to the bottom of the blog)
The King Singers singing Greensleeves acapella.


Greensleeves
A new Courtly Sonet, of the Lady Green
sleeues. To the new tune of Greensleeues.


Greensleeues was all my ioy,
Greensleeues was my delight:
Greensleeues was my hart of gold,
And who but Ladie Greensleeues.

Alas my loue, ye do me wrong,
to cast me off discurteously:
And I haue loued you so long
Delighting in your companie.
Greensleeues was all my ioy,
Greensleeues was my delight:
Greensleeues was my heart of gold,
And who but Ladie Greensleeues.

I haue been readie at your hand,
to grant what euer you would craue.
I haue both waged life and land,
your loue and good will for to haue.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

I bought three kerchers to thy head,
that were wrought fine and gallantly:
I kept thee both boord and bed,
Which cost my purse wel fauouredly,
Greensleeues was all my ioie, &c.

I bought thee peticotes of the best,
the cloth so fine as might be:
I gaue thee iewels for thy chest,
and all this cost I spent on thee.
Greensleeues was all my ioie, &c.

Thy smock of silk, both faire and white,
with gold embrodered gorgeously:
Thy peticote of Sendall right:
and thus I bought thee gladly.
Greensleeues was all my ioie, &c.

Thy girdle of gold so red,
with pearles bedecked sumptuously:
The like no other lasses had,
and yet thou wouldst not loue me,
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Thy purse and eke thy gay guilt kniues,
thy pincase gallant to the eie:
No better wore the Burgesse wiues,
and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Thy crimson stockings all of silk,
with golde all wrought aboue the knee,
Thy pumps as white as was the milk,
and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Thy gown was of the grossie green,
thy sleeues of Satten hanging by:
Which made thee be our haruest Queen,
and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Thy garters fringed with the golde,
And siluer aglets hanging by,
Which made thee blithe for to beholde,
And yet thou wouldst not loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

My gayest gelding I thee gaue,
To ride where euer liked thee,
No Ladie euer was so braue,
And yet thou wouldst not loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

My men were clothed all in green,
And they did euer wait on thee:
Al this was gallant to be seen,
and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

They set thee vp, they took thee downe,
they serued thee with humilitie,
Thy foote might not once touch the ground,
and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

For euerie morning when thou rose,
I sent thee dainties orderly:
To cheare thy stomack from all woes,
and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Thou couldst desire no earthly thing.
But stil thou hadst it readily:
Thy musicke still to play and sing,
And yet thou wouldst not loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

And who did pay for all this geare,
that thou didst spend when pleased thee?
Euen I that am reiected here,
and thou disdainst to loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Wel, I wil pray to God on hie,
that thou my constancie maist see:
And that yet once before I die,
thou wilt vouchsafe to loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Greensleeues now farewel adue,
God I pray to prosper thee:
For I am stil thy louer true,
come once againe and loue me.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.
Finis.
Greensleeves: a more modern version

Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.

Chorus:
Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

Your vows you've broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.

chorus

I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave,
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.

chorus

If you intend thus to disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.

chorus

My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.

chorus

Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
but still thou hadst it readily.
Thy music still to play and sing;
And yet thou wouldst not love me.

chorus

Well, I will pray to God on high,
that thou my constancy mayst see,
And that yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me.

chorus

Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me.

chorus

A very jazzy, bluesy version of Greensleeves by Vanessa Carlton




Net Sources:
Music Garden
Wikipedia
Greensleeves the Ballad
A Brief History of Love Songs
Mudcat Cafe
Minstrels Greensleeves
The Tudors
The Comtemlator's Short History of Broadside Ballads
THe Music of the 16th Century Broadside Ballad

My blog on The Twa Sisters

Friday, November 21, 2008


THANKSGIVING NIGHT

T'was the night of Thanksgiving
But I just couldn't sleep.
I tried counting backwards.
I tried counting sheep.

The leftovers beckoned - the dark meat and white,
But I fought the temptation with all of my might.

Tossing and turning with anticipation,
The thought of a snack became infatuation.

So I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door,
And gazed in the fridge, full of goodies galore,

I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.

I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
Until all of a sudden, I rose off the ground.

I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky,
With a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie.

But I managed to yell as I soured past the trees,
"Happy eating to all, pass the cranberries, please.

May your stuffing be tasty, may your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump.

May your yams be delicious, may your pies take the prize,
May your Thanksgiving dinner stay off your thighs."

Anonymous.



THANKSGIVING by Jack Prelutsky

The turkey shot out of the oven
and rocketed into the air.
It knocked every plate off the table
and partly demolished a chair.

It ricocheted into a corner
and burst with a deafening boom,
then splattered all over the kitchen
completely obscuring the room.

It stuck to the walls and the windows.
It totally coated the floor.
There was turkey attached to the ceiling
where there'd never been turkey before.

It blanketed every appliance.
It smeared every saucer and bowl.
There wasn't a way I could stop it
that turkey was out of control.

I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure
and thought with chagrin as I mopped,
that I'd never again stuff a turkey
with popcorn that hadn't been popped.
•••••


I ATE TOO MUCH

"I ate too much turkey,
I ate too much corn,
I ate too much pudding and pie,
I'm stuffed up with muffins
and much too much stuffin',
I'm probably going to die.

I piled up my plate
and I ate and I ate,
but I wish I had known when to stop,
for I'm so crammed with yams,
sauces, gravies, and jams
that my buttons are starting to pop.

I'm full of tomatoes
and french fried potatoes,
my stomach is swollen and sore,
but there's still some dessert,
so I guess it won't hurt
if I eat just a little bit more."
JackPrelustsky.com




I found these recipes while fooling around on the net.
I thought they might be fun to try!


Skillet cranberries
(serves 4 to 6)

"Colonial cooks made this delight in a skillet with legs (about eight inches tall). It was cooked directly over hot coals. The electric (or gas) stove isn't nearly so romantic as an 18th century working fireplace, but much more efficient."

Ingredients
1 pound fresh cranberries
2 cups brown or white sugar
21/4 cup rum

Directions
Dump the fresh cranberies in to your indispensable black iron skillet (or oven proof dish).
Sprinkle the cranberries with sugar, cover the skillet, and place in a 250 degree oven.
After one hour remove the lid (use foil if you don't have a lid) and pour in the rum.
Continue cooking until the rum evaporates.
And please do not stir unless you have to absolutely have to. Stirring breaks up the cranberries, serves 4 to 6.

Submitted by Sonja Welch, aka The Community Chef, publishes her recipes in the The Community Bank quarterly newsletter "KITE TALES".




Pumpkin Apple Soup
Recipe submitted by chef Richard Catania of The Award winning Hearth n' Kettle Restaurants of Plymouth, Ma. and Cape Cod.

PUMPKIN APPLE SOUP
Ingredients
1 lb. 5 oz. Pumpkin Puree
1/4 tsp. Clove
1/4 lb. Apple Sauce
1-1/4 lb. Butter
2-1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
3 qt. Chicken Stock
2-1/2 tsp. Ginger
1-1/2 cups Brown Sugar
2 qt. Light Cream (Hot)

Directions
METHOD:
Cook all ingredients until smooth and hot -- simmer 15 minutes. Finish with cream.

Saturday, November 15, 2008



A picture once was shown,
In which one man, alone,
Upon the ground had thrown
A lion fully grown.

Much gloried at the sight the rabble.
A lion thus rebuked their babble:—

That you have got the victory there,
There is no contradiction.
But, gentles, possibly you are
The dupes of easy fiction:
Had we the art of making pictures,
Perhaps our champion had beat yours!"


Until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.
African Proverb

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Forever Trap

I came across this story on a storytelling listserv.
The story was posted by Wayfayer Tomm.
I think this story has a message for all of us.

The Forever Trap

Sometimes are like other times and other times are like no time at all.

One morning that was like no other morning except maybe this morning.
Owl was returning from a long night, of exploring and studying and thinking and other types of work, that owls do in the quiet of the night.

As Owl was returning home he saw a Hunter sneaking through the low morning mist and the tall grass at the base of the big banyan tree.

Owl watched as the Hunter tied a shinny glass bottle.
To the root that stuck out from the base of the big banyan tree.

And Owl thought that that was more than just a little strange.
I mean, what the heck, the shinny glass bottle wasn't going to run away or
anything.

As soon as the Hunter finished tying up the shinny glass bottle he reached his hand into his pocket and he took some things out.

He put them into the bottle then the Hunter crept carefully and quietly off into the low mist and tall grass.

After the Hunter had left everything became really quiet.
Nothing happened for a long time while Owl's eyes closed and he took a well-earned nap.

Owl was almost dreaming when suddenly he heard a clittering and a clattering, a chittering and a chattering from the base of the big banyan tree.

"Oh me, oh my, oh me, oh my, oh my goodness, oh my goodness! I'm trapped, this bottle has me trapped and I'll be trapped forever!"
"Eeeeee! I'll never get loose, I'll never get loose! I want to get loose and I want to get loose right now!!

"Oh me oh my", on and on went the chittering and the chattering, on and on when the clittering and the clattering as owl looked down to the base of the big banyan tree.

He saw Monkey just a pulling and a tugging and a jumping up and a jumping down, a running back and a running forth with his hand stuck inside the shinny glass bottle that was tied to the root that stuck out from the bottom of the big banyan tree.

Owl quickly flew down to get a closer look at the situation and as he looked through the clear sides of the shiny glass bottle, he could see right away what was causing Monkey to have his hand stuck in the shiny glass bottle.

Inside the bottle were many nuts which were Monkey's favorite food.
Monkey had his hands wrapped around three or four of the nuts which was why Monkey could not pull his hand back through the small opening at the top of the shiny glass bottle.

"You have your hand filled with nuts," said Owl to Monkey.

And Monkey said back " I found them, I found them, they're my nuts, they're my nuts and I want to eat them right now!"

"You have your hand stuck in the bottle," said Owl, again, to Monkey.

Monkey said back, " Oh me, oh my, oh me, oh my, oh my goodness this bottle has me trapped! I'm trapped and I'll be trapped forever!"
"EeeK I want to get loose and I'll never get loose I want to get loose and I want to get loose right now!

"Well, let loose of the nuts and you can take your hand out of the bottle." said Owl to Monkey.
And Monkey said back "They're my nuts, they're my nuts! I found them, they're mine and I want them right now!"

Owl told Monkey " If you drop the nuts they will still be in the shiny glass bottle
and you will be able to get your hand out of the bottle and you can decide what to do next while the nuts are still safe in the bottle which you will still be
holding."

Monkey looked around to be sure there was no one else near him and Monkey open his hand and he dropped the nuts and slowly withdrew his hand from the bottle.

When his hand was out of the bottle Monkey started to jump up and down
Shouting joyfully, "I'm free! I'm free! Thank you Owl! Oh thank you Owl! I
don't know how to thank you enough."

And with those words Monkey went running up the big banyan tree until he got
to the end of the rope. Which was tied to the shiny glass bottle, which was tied to the root that stuck out of the base of the big banyan tree.

Well, the rope snapped tight and it pulled Monkey off of balance and he fell to the ground with a big thump and a bounce and a little bump.

And monkey started yelling at Owl. "You tricked me, you tricked me! They're my nuts, they're my nuts, I want them and I want them right now!"

Owl waited until Monkey calmed down and then told him, "If you turn the
bottle upside down, all those nuts will fall out and you will be able to eat them."

So Monkey slowly turned the shiny glass bottle upside down.
Out of that bottle flowed more nuts than any one monkey could eat at any one sitting.
Monkey was so happy that he started to jump up and down shouting joyfully, "My nuts, my nuts! Oh thank you Owl, thank you! I don't know how to thank you enough!

"Well", said Owl "Those nuts look awfully good. There are more than you can eat. Maybe you will share a few of those nuts with me."

Monkey shouted "They're my nuts, they're my nuts! I found them, they're mine and I want them and I want all of them!"

And he tried to pick up all the nuts at one time and to run off with them but there were more nuts then any one monkey could carry.
The more nuts that Monkey tried to pick up the more nuts that he dropped until out of complete frustration Monkey stopped and asked "What am I going to do? What am I going to do? Oh Owl, what am I going to do?"

Well Owl cocked his head to one side and he looked at Monkey.
Then Owl cocked his head to the other side and he looked at Monkey some more.

Then Owl said " Monkey if you put all the nuts back in the bottle there will
not be any left on the ground."

Monkey grabbed at the nuts and quickly put them all back in the bottle

Then Owl said "Those nuts look good enough to eat."
Monkey said "And I want to eat them right now!"

Monkey reached his hand into the bottle and rapped his greedy little fingers around three or four nuts, when he found that he couldn't pull his hand out of the bottle.

He said "Oh me, Oh my, oh me, oh my, oh my goodness, oh my goodness I'm
trapped! This bottle has me trapped and I'll be trapped forever! I'll never get loose, I want to get loose and I want to get loose right now!"

Owl just looked at Monkey and Owl said "Monkey, that bottle is not what will
keep you trapped forever."


Then Owl unfolded his wings and flew off to his home where he got good days
sleep.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Two Frogs based on a Russian Fable

A wonderful message for all of us!!
(blog music can be turned off at the bottom of the page)

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Classic and too too funny!!
(go to bottom of blog to cut off music)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Rainbow



The Origin of the Rainbow
A Native American Legend - Nation Unknown

Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel: all claimed that they were the best, the most important, the most useful, the favorite.

GREEN said: "Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees, leaves - without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority."

BLUE interrupted: "You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing."

YELLOW chuckled: "You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun."

ORANGE started next to blow her trumpet: "I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and pawpaws. I don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you."

RED could stand it no longer. He shouted out: "I am the ruler of all of you - I am blood - life's blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy."

PURPLE rose up to his full height. He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: "I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me - they listen and obey."

Finally, INDIGO spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just as much determination: "Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace."

And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening - thunder rolled and boomed. Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.

In the midst of the clamor, rain began to speak: "You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don't you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me."

Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands. The rain continued: "From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace. The rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow."

And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.

Story found at Story-Lovers.com
•••••



Rainbow at the beginning of the blog found at MissouriSkies.org

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Just the thing to get you in that Halloween mood!!!

SCENE I. A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron

Thunder. Enter the three Witches

First Witch

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.

Second Witch

Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch

Harpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time.

First Witch

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch

Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Enter HECATE to the other three Witches

HECATE

O well done! I commend your pains;
And every one shall share i' the gains;
And now about the cauldron sing,
Live elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

Music and a song: 'Black spirits,' & c

HECATE retires

Second Witch

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

Enter MACBETH

MACBETH

How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
What is't you do?

ALL

A deed without a name.

MACBETH

I conjure you, by that which you profess,
Howe'er you come to know it, answer me:
Though you untie the winds and let them fight
Against the churches; though the yesty waves
Confound and swallow navigation up;
Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down;
Though castles topple on their warders' heads;
Though palaces and pyramids do slope
Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
Of nature's germens tumble all together,
Even till destruction sicken; answer me
To what I ask you.

First Witch

Speak.

Second Witch

Demand.

Third Witch

We'll answer.

First Witch

Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths,
Or from our masters?

MACBETH

Call 'em; let me see 'em.

First Witch

Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten
Her nine farrow; grease that's sweaten
From the murderer's gibbet throw
Into the flame.

ALL

Come, high or low;
Thyself and office deftly show!

Thunder. First Apparition: an armed Head

MACBETH

Tell me, thou unknown power,--

First Witch

He knows thy thought:
Hear his speech, but say thou nought.

First Apparition

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff;
Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.

Descends

MACBETH

Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;
Thou hast harp'd my fear aright: but one
word more,--

First Witch

He will not be commanded: here's another,
More potent than the first.

Thunder. Second Apparition: A bloody Child

Second Apparition

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!

MACBETH

Had I three ears, I'ld hear thee.

Second Apparition

Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.

Descends

MACBETH

Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?
But yet I'll make assurance double sure,
And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;
That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
And sleep in spite of thunder.

Thunder. Third Apparition: a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand
What is this
That rises like the issue of a king,
And wears upon his baby-brow the round
And top of sovereignty?

ALL

Listen, but speak not to't.

Third Apparition

Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:
Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him.

Descends

MACBETH

That will never be
Who can impress the forest, bid the tree
Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! good!
Rebellion's head, rise never till the wood
Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart
Throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art
Can tell so much: shall Banquo's issue ever
Reign in this kingdom?

ALL

Seek to know no more.

MACBETH

I will be satisfied: deny me this,
And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.
Why sinks that cauldron? and what noise is this?

Hautboys

First Witch

Show!

Second Witch

Show!

Third Witch

Show!

ALL

Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;
Come like shadows, so depart!

A show of Eight Kings, the last with a glass in his hand; GHOST OF BANQUO following

MACBETH

Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo: down!
Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls. And thy hair,
Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.
A third is like the former. Filthy hags!
Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!
What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?
Another yet! A seventh! I'll see no more:
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass
Which shows me many more; and some I see
That two-fold balls and treble scepters carry:
Horrible sight! Now, I see, 'tis true;
For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me,
And points at them for his.

Apparitions vanish
What, is this so?

First Witch

Ay, sir, all this is so: but why
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
And show the best of our delights:
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antic round:
That this great king may kindly say,
Our duties did his welcome pay.

Music. The witches dance and then vanish, with HECATE

Night on Bald Mountain from Disney's Fantasia



Toccata and Fugue in D Minor from Disney's Fantasia (1940)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I tell a similar tale titled "Better Wait Til Martin Comes".
The kids and adults love it!!
This story is from a 1970's record album called "Scary Spooky Stories".
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yes, yes...this is related to storytelling.
I keep telling you that EVERYTHING is related to storytelling...or STORYTELLING is related to everything.
(Listen to your storyteller!)

Stories can help people learn, absorb, remember and share information and ideas. Stories motivate, persuade, inform and inspire. Compelling stories have far-reaching emotional impact. And stories can demonstrate what success looks and feels like, painting a clear picture of how we might need to change the way we think and do things.
from The-Storytellers.com
I figured they had said it so well there was no need for me to change it.
This vid is from TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)an invitation-only event where the world's leading thinkers and doers gather to find inspiration.
If you do not see the vid, you may see something that says player 7 or player 8. Just hit one of those and the vid should pop up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"A song ain’t nothin’ in the world but.....

"A song ain’t nothin’ in the world but a story just wrote with music to it." —Hank Williams, Sr.

One of my favorite Hank Williams,Sr. songs (Cold Cold Heart) sung by a wonderful singer.


My other favorite Hank,Sr. song...Long Gone Lonesome Blues. Lovin' it!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

You have to be a storyteller......

to truly appreciate this joke!


A professional storyteller comes home to a burned down house.

His sobbing and slightly-singed wife is standing outside.

"What happened, honey?" the man asks.

"Oh, John, it was terrible," she weeps. "I was cooking, the phone rang.
It was a booking agent wanting to hire you for an event.
Because I was on the phone, I didn't notice the stove was on fire.
It went up in second. Everything is gone.
I nearly didn't make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is..."

"Wait! Back up a minute," The man says.
"A booking agent wants to hire me?"


When I read this I thought, "Yep, that's just what I'd be thinking!"
My next thought would be "OMG! My books!"



As you can see, fluffy was found but she was never quite the same.


I got this joke from Mike Miller, Full Contact Storyteller and Professional Silly Person

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I have tried to leave this story as I found it in Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm published in 1886. Only a very few changes have been made in language or description.


There was once a soldier who for many years had served the king faithfully. But when the war came to an end, it was decided that he could serve no longer because of the many wounds which he had received.

The king said to him, "You may return to your home, I need you no longer, and you will not receive any more money, for he only receives wages who renders me service for them."
Then the soldier, who knew no other way to earn a living, went away greatly troubled, and walked the whole day, until in the evening he entered a forest.

When darkness came on, he saw a light, which he went up to, and came to a house wherein lived a witch.
"Do give me one night's lodging, and a little to eat and drink," said he to her, "or I shall starve."

"Oho!'" she answered, "who gives anything to a cast-away soldier? Yet I will be compassionate, and take you in, if you will do what I wish."

"What do you wish?" said the soldier.

"That you should dig all round my garden for me, tomorrow."

The soldier consented, and next day labored with all his strength, but could not finish it by the evening.

"I see well enough," said the witch, "that you can do no more today, but I will keep you yet another night, in payment for which you must tomorrow chop me a load of wood, and chop it small."

The soldier spent the whole day in doing it, and in the evening the witch proposed that he should stay one night more.

"Tomorrow, you shall only do me a very trifling piece of work. Behind my house, there is an old dry well, into which my light has fallen, it burns blue, and never goes out, and you shall bring it up again."

Next day the old woman took him to the well, and let him down in a basket.
He found the blue light, and made her a signal to draw him up again.
She did draw him up, but when he came near the edge, she stretched down her hand and wanted to take the blue light away from him.

"No," said he, perceiving her evil intention, "I will not give you the light until I am standing with both feet upon the ground."

The witch fell into a passion, let him fall again into the well, and went away.
The poor soldier fell without injury on the moist ground, and the blue light went on burning, but of what use was that to him?
He saw very well that he could not escape death.
He sat for a while very sorrowfully, then suddenly he felt in his pocket and found his tobacco pipe, which was still half full.

"This shall be my last pleasure," thought he, pulled it out, lit it at the blue light and began to smoke. When the smoke had circled about the cavern, suddenly a little man stood before him, and said,"Lord, what are your commands?"

"What are my commands?" replied the soldier, quite astonished.

"I must do everything you bid me," said the little man.

"Good," said the soldier, "then in the first place help me out of this well."

The little man took him by the hand, and led him through an underground passage, but he did not forget to take the blue light with him. On the way the little man showed him the treasures which the witch had collected and hidden there, and the soldier took as much gold as he could carry.

When he was above, he said to the little man, "Now go and bind the old witch, and carry her before the judge."
In a short time she came by like the wind, riding on a wild tom-cat and screaming frightfully.
Nor was it long before the little man reappeared.
"It is all done," said he, "and the witch is already hanging on the gallows."
"What further commands has my lord?" inquired the little man.

"At this moment, none," answered the soldier, "You can return home, only be at hand immediately, if I summon you."

"Nothing more is needed than that you should light your pipe at the blue light, and I will appear before you at once."
Thereupon the little man vanished from the soldier's sight.

The soldier returned to the town from which he had come.
He went to the best inn, ordered himself handsome clothes, and then bade the landlord furnish him a room as handsome as possible.
When it was ready and the soldier had taken possession of it, he summoned the little man and said, "I have served the king faithfully, but he has dismissed me, and left me to hunger, and now I want to take my revenge."

"What am I to do?" asked the little man.

"Late at night, when the king's daughter is in bed, bring her here in her sleep, she shall do servant's work for me."

The little man said, "That is an easy thing for me to do, but a very dangerous thing for you, for if it is discovered, you will fare ill."
But the soldier would not be dissuaded and so the little man left.
When twelve o'clock had struck, the door sprang open, and the man carried in the princess.

"Aha! Are you there?" cried the soldier, "get to your work at once! Fetch the broom and sweep the chamber."
When she had done this, he ordered her to come to his chair, and then he stretched out his feet and said, "Pull off my boots."
He then made her pick them up and clean and brighten them.
She did everything he bade her, without opposition, silently and with half-shut eyes.
When the first cock crowed, the little man carried her back to the royal palace, and laid her in her bed.

Next morning when the princess arose she went to her father, and told him that she had had a very strange dream.

"I was carried through the streets with the rapidity of lightning," said she, "and taken into a soldier's room, and I had to wait upon him like a servant, sweep his room, clean his boots, and do all kinds of menial work. It was only a dream, and yet I am just as tired as if I really had done everything."

"The dream may have been true," said the king. "I will give you a piece of advice. Fill your pocket full of peas, and make a small hole in the pocket, and then if you are carried away again, they will fall out and leave a track in the streets."

Unseen by the king, the soldier's little man servant was standing beside him when he said that, and heard all. At night when the sleeping princess was again carried through the streets, some peas certainly did fall out of her pocket, but they made no track, for the crafty little man had just before scattered peas in every street there was. And again the princess was compelled to do servant's work until cock-crow.

Next morning the king sent his people out to seek the track, but it was all in vain, for in every street poor children were sitting, picking up peas, and saying, "It must have rained peas, last night."

"We must think of something else," said the king. "Keep your shoes on when you go to bed, and before you come back from the place where you are taken, hide one of them there, I will soon contrive to find it."

The little man heard this plot, and at night when the soldier again ordered him to bring the princess, revealed it to him, and told him that he knew of no expedient to counteract this stratagem, and that if the shoe were found in the soldier's house it would go badly with him.
"Do what I bid you." replied the soldier, and again this third night the princess was obliged to work like a servant, but before she went away, she hid her shoe under the bed.

Next morning the king had the entire town searched for his daughter's shoe. It was found at the soldier's, and the soldier himself, who at the entreaty of the little man had gone outside the gate, was soon brought back, and thrown into prison.

In his flight he had forgotten the most valuable things he had, the blue light and the gold, and had only one ducat in his pocket. And now loaded with chains, he was standing at the window of his dungeon, when he chanced to see one of his comrades passing by.
The soldier tapped at the pane of glass, and when this man came up, said to him, "Be so kind as to fetch me the small bundle I have left lying in the inn, and I will give you a ducat for doing it."
His comrade ran thither and brought him what he wanted.

As soon as the soldier was alone again, he lighted his pipe and summoned the little man.
"Have no fear," said the latter to his master.
"Go wheresoever they take you, and let them do what they will, only take the blue light with you."

Next day the soldier was tried, and though he had done nothing wicked, the judge condemned him to death.
When he was led forth to die, he begged a last favor of the king.

"What is it?" asked the king.

"That I may smoke one more pipe on my way."

"You may smoke three," answered the king, "but do not imagine that I will spare your life."

Then the soldier pulled out his pipe and lighted it at the blue light, and as soon as a few wreaths of smoke had ascended, the little man was there with a small cudgel in his hand, and said, "What does my lord command?"

"Strike down to earth that false judge there, and his constable, and spare not the king who has treated me so ill."

Then the little man fell on them like lightning, darting this way and that way, and whosoever was so much as touched by his cudgel fell to earth, and did not venture to stir again.

The king was terrified. He threw himself on the soldier's mercy, and merely to be allowed to live at all, gave him his kingdom for his own, and his daughter to wife.

Yes, that is the end of the story.
Part of me wants to add something more to it and a part of me thinks……well, what more is there to say???
What do you think??

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Two Ways to Settle an Argument - Peace Tales


Problem:
One Cookie.
Two Kids.

Solution:
One child divides the cookie in half.
The other child gets first choice of halves.

American Folk Advice from Peace Tales
by Margaret Read MacDonald


HOW TWO BOYS SETTLED A QUARREL

Flying Squirrel and Lightning Bow were brothers.
They lived by Singing River, and they played from sunrise to sunset.
They were as happy as the day was long.

In the summer, they fished and swam in Singing River, and they shot their arrows into chipmunk and woodpecker holes.
Sometimes they played "Dodging Arrows," a game their mother had taught them.

In the winter, they jumped into snowdrifts and rolled until they became red with cold. Then they would send their snow-snakes skimming over the hard crust of snow.
(Snow-snakes were small rods of wood, polished smooth with resin, oil, or wax. They could be thrown long distances. Their father--could throw a snow-snake a mile and a half. But the snow-snakes he used were eight feet
long and tipped with lead.)

It was the Moon of Berries. Flying Squirrel and Lightning Bow were six years old. And not once in all their lives had they quarreled.

One morning, Flying Squirrel and Lightning Bow planned a foot race.
Seven times they were to run.
Three times, Flying Squirrel reached the goal first.
Three times, Lightning Bow had outrun him.
The seventh race was so close that each boy claimed the victory.
No one saw them run, so no one could decide the game.
For the first time in their lives the boys quarrelled.

The boys voices became louder and louder as they became more and more angry.

Their mother, was baking corn bread on the coals of their fire, when the sound of angry voices reached her ears.
She stepped to the door. "For shame!" she called. "Both of you come here."
When the boys reached their mother, they saw that she was holding three sticks.
"These are Argument sticks" she said, "They will help you settle your disagreement."
Then she showed the boys how to set up the sticks so they would stand for many days.
"Now go into the woods, set up your sticks, and leave your quarrel there. When the Berry Moon has passed, you will return and see if the sticks are still standing. If they lean toward the rising sun, Lightning Bow is right. If they lean toward the setting sun, Flying Squirrel is right. If they have fallen down, neither of you are right and neither won."

Lightning Bow and Flying Squirrel went into the woods and set up their
sticks.
Then they began to throw balls with willow wands, and soon they were happy again.

The sun had risen and set many times.
The Berry Moon had passed.
It was the Thunder Moon when the boys mother said to them, "Today you may go into the woods and see if your sticks are still standing."

Hand in hand, the two little boys ran into the woods.
They found only a heap of rotting sticks.
Flying Squirrel and Lightning Bow stood and looked at the sticks.
They thought and thought.

"What did we set up the sticks for?" each asked of the other.
And for the life of them they could not remember what they had quarrelled about, and why they had set up the sticks!

Retold by LaurenLanita original story found in Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children @ Project Gutenberg





Here's a wonderful list of books that deal with a variety of difficult situations......stress, conflict resolution, methods of dealing with fear, death, etc. As well as topics like peace, tolerance and unity.
Finding Comfort in Books

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's My Birthday!!!

Yeah...really...it is!
So I decided to put up a fun story about a little girl looking for the perfect birthday gift.

Pssst! Here's my other Happy Birthday to Me!! Blog



Nikini was a little girl. She lived with her mother and father, in a house near the woods. She was very friendly with the animals in the woods. One evening, Nikini’s father came home with a big gift box.

“What’s that, Thatha?” Nikini asked her father.

“It’s your mother’s birthday tomorrow,” her father said.

“Oh!” Nikini was very upset.

“How could I forget my Amma’s birthday? She would never forget mine. So I should give her a wonderful gift,” Nikini thought.

“But what shall I give her?” She went into her bedroom and thought. She loved her mother so much that she couldn’t think of anything good enough for a gift for her. She thought and thought until nightfall, but she couldn’t think of anything.

Then a firefly, seeing Nikini by the window, flew to her. “Nikini, what are you doing in the dark?” the firefly asked. “Firefly, it’s my Amma’s birthday tomorrow. She loves me very much. She makes me very happy on my birthdays. So I want to make her happy on her birthday. I want to give her the ‘greatest’ gift of all. But I can’t think of anything as great as my Amma,” said Nikini, sadly.

“I think you should give her the ‘biggest’ gift. Something like the sky, or the ocean,” said the firefly.

Nikini thought for a moment. “Dear firefly, the biggest thing in the world is my Amma’s love. So, I would like to find a gift as big as her love. But how can I find it?” said Nikini.

“You are a very good daughter who tries to give the biggest gift to her mother. So, I will help you. Let’s go out and find it,” the firefly said.

Nikini went out in the dark with the firefly. The firefly showed her the way. They went to the woods. They searched and searched, but they couldn’t find anything as big as her mother’s love.

On the way, a mynah bird who was about to go to sleep, saw Nikini. “Nikini, where are you going in the dark?” the mynah bird asked. “Mynah bird, it’s my Amma’s birthday tomorrow. She loves me very much. She cooks and cleans and works hard with no rest. Her love is the biggest thing in the world for me. So, I should give her the ‘biggest’ gift. But I still couldn’t find anything as big as my Amma’s love,” Nikini said sadly.

“No, I think you should give her the ‘most beautiful’ gift, something like beautiful flowers, beautiful pearls,” the bluebird said. Nikini thought for a moment.

“Dear mynah bird, the most beautiful thing in the world is my Amma. So, I would like to find a flower or a pearl as beautiful as my Amma. But where can I find it?” asked Nikini. “You are a very good daughter. So I will help you,” said the mynah bird and away they went. They went on and on but couldn’t find anything as beautiful as her mother.

They went on until Nikini stumbled upon a rabbit who was fast asleep. “Oh, Nikini, where are you going in the dark?” asked the rabbit, rubbing his eyes.

“Rabbit, it’s my Amma’s birthday tomorrow. She loves me very much. She feeds me, cuddles me and holds me close until I fall asleep. She is the most beautiful thing in the world. So I should give her the ‘most beautiful’ gift. But I still couldn’t find anything as beautiful as my Amma,” said Nikini sadly.
“No, I think you should give her the ‘most precious’ gift in the world, something as precious as the moon and the stars,” said the rabbit.

Nikini thought for a moment. “Dear rabbit, the most precious thing in the world is my Amma. Even if I hang the moon on a necklace, even if I make stars into earrings, they are not as precious as she is. I want to find something as precious as my Amma. But how can I find it?” asked Nikini sadly.

“You are a very good daughter. I will help you find it.” The rabbit went along with the firefly, the mynah bird and Nikini. They went on and on, but they couldn’t find anything as precious as her mother.

On their way, she got entangled in a huge cobweb. Then the spider, who was having a sweet dream in the middle of the night, got up. “Oh, Nikini, where are you going in the dark?” the spider asked.

“Spider, it’s my Amma’s birthday tomorrow. She loves me very much. When I am sick she cries and looks after me without sleep until I get well. She is the most precious thing in the world for me. So I should give her the ‘most precious’ gift. But I can’t find anything as precious as my Amma,” Nikini said sadly.

“No, I think you should give her the gift that would make her ‘the happiest’,” said the spider.
.
“Oh, what would make her happiest?” Nikini thought and thought.

“Something like a delicious cake, a lovely birthday card, a nice pair of shoes, a colorful dress…?” Nikini thought for a while.

“Oh, a beautiful sari!! I think she would like a beautiful sari most. I want to give her the most beautiful sari in the world. I want to find the most beautiful sari for her. And I want to give it to her as she wakes up in the morning and say, “Happy birthday!” But how can I find it? There’s only a little time left, until morning,” Nikini said, impatiently.

“Nikini, you are a great daughter who thinks so much about her mother. Some children don’t even care about their mother’s birthday. They remember about their own birthdays and gifts only. So I will weave a very beautiful sari for you,” said the spider and she started weaving a beautiful sari.

Nikini was very tired after walking all over the woods and not sleeping the whole night. But she was so happy that she didn’t feel sleepy at all. She helped the spider weave the most beautiful sari for her mother.

The firefly flew far away and brought back beautiful flowers to decorate it. The rabbit ran around the woods and brought beautiful colors from flowers, to paint the sari with. The mynah bird shook the branches of trees and they shed dewdrops on it.

Finally, they had made the most beautiful sari in the world. The flowers looked lovely on it, the colors were the prettiest shades, and the dewdrops glittered like gems and pearls.

“This is very beautiful…the most beautiful sari I have ever seen. Amma would surely love this,” Nikini yelled with excitement. They were all happy.

“Let’s go…let’s give this to Amma and wish her a happy birthday,” said Nikini. She hurried towards home with her friends.

As they got halfway, a strong wind blew across the woods and it started to rain heavily. They tried their best to protect the sari from the rain and the wind. But they failed. The sari was torn into pieces.

“Oh, noooooooo!” Nikini screamed. She was so sad that she cried and cried, while getting soaked in the rain.

The dawn arrived, and the sun rose. She heard a voice calling out. “Nikini…Nikini!” someone was shouting.

It was Nikini’s mother, who was searching for her missing daughter. Just then, she saw Nikini crying under a tree. She came running to Nikini.

“Oh, my darling, where have you been? Why are you crying?” she asked.

“Amma, I went searching for a birthday gift for you. I searched for the greatest gift for you, but I couldn’t find it. I searched for the biggest gift for you, but I couldn’t find it. I searched for the most beautiful gift for you, but I couldn’t find it. I searched for the most precious gift for you, but I couldn’t find it. So finally, my friends made me a gift which you would like most. It was a very beautiful sari. But it got caught by the wind and was torn into pieces. I’m so sad that I couldn’t give it to you and make you happy,” Nikini said, still sobbing.

“My darling, do you know what is the most beautiful, most precious and the greatest thing to me? That is my little daughter. What I like most is her love. The love I felt from you today is the greatest, biggest, most precious and the most beautiful gift I’ve ever had in my life,” said her mother and she hugged her.

Nikini was very happy and so were her friends.

All of them went home with her, to celebrate the birthday.

Story found at 4to40.com


Happy Birthday to Me!! Blog

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fearnot.....Jim Henson's The Storyteller

A wonderful storytelling series!
I truly wish that they had made more of them.
I have always appreciated the way that Jim Henson combined the use of puppets and people so effectively.
And it's always good to see some one telling the classic tales.

Fearnot is the story of a boy that goes out to find out what fear is.
This story is especially enjoyable at this time of year!
Enjoy!

Fearnot Part 1


Fearnot Part 2


Fearnot Part 3

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Wolves Within

A grandson came home from school one day and told his grandfather how angry he was at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice.
His grandfather said, "Let me tell you a story."

"I, too, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
But, hate wears you down and does not hurt your enemy.
It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.
I have struggled with these feelings many times.

It is as if there are two wolves inside me: one is good and does no harm.
He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended.
He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf is full of anger.
The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper.
He fights with everyone, all the time, for no reason.
He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great.

It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of then try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The grandfather solemnly replied, "The one I feed."

Origin Unknown (I have seen it with the grandfather said to be Cherokee)
but I found the story at
Story-Lovers.com

Friday, October 3, 2008

Expectations


The People in the Next Town

An old farmer was hoeing in his field, when a traveller came along.
The traveller asked the farmer, "What sort of people live in the next town?"

To this the farmer replied with a question, "What sort of people live where you've come from?"

"Bad. Lazy, good-for-nothing louts. Selfish and untrustwothy - every single one of them. I'm glad I left them and moved away."

"Hmm," replied the old farmer. "I'm afraid you'll find people in the next town to be of the same sort."

This disappointed the traveller, who went on his way.

After some time another traveller called out to the farmer, asking, "What sort of people live in the next town?"

"What sort of people live where you've come from?" asked the farmer.

"The best. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I'm really sad I had to leave them."

"Don't worry," said the farmer. "You'll find the same sort in the next town."

A North American Tale

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Tale of Hope


Four Candles burned slowly.
Their Ambiance was so soft you could hear them speak ....

The first candle said, "I Am Peace, but these days, nobody wants to keep me lit."
Then Peace's flame slowly diminished and went out completely.

The second candle said, "I Am Faith, but these days, I am no longer indispensable."
Then Faith's flame slowly diminished and went out completely.

Sadly the third candle spoke, "I Am Love and I haven't the strength to stay lit any longer."
"People put me aside and don't understand my importance. They even forget to love those who are nearest to them."
And waiting no longer, Love went out completely.

Suddenly...
A child entered the room and saw the three candles no longer burning.

The child began to cry, "Why are you not burning? You're supposed to stay lit until the end."

Then the Fourth Candle spoke gently to the child, "Don't be afraid, for I Am Hope, and while I still burn, we can re-light the other candles."

With Shining eyes the child took the Candle of Hope and lit the other three candles.

Never let the Flame of Hope go out of your life.

With Hope, no matter how bad things look and are...Peace, Faith and Love can Shine Brightly in our lives.

Author Unknown

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Coyote Steals Fire

I happened to find this wonderful vid (on Youtube of course) and I couldn't wait to share it.
The animators tell the story of Coyote Steals Fire without using words.
I think it's very well done.
I have added a written version of the story after the vid.
You'll notice that the written version is different than video. It has more animal characters.


How Coyote Stole Fire (Karuk)

Long ago, when man was newly come into the world, there were days when he was the happiest creature of all. Those were the days when spring brushed across the willow tails, or when his children ripened with the blueberries in the sun of summer, or when the goldenrod bloomed in the autumn haze.
But always the mists of autumn evenings grew more chill, and the sun's strokes grew shorter. Then man saw winter moving near, and he became fearful and unhappy. He was afraid for his children, and for the grandfathers and grandmothers who carried in their heads the sacred tales of the tribe. Many of these, young and old, would die in the long, ice-bitter months of winter.

Coyote, like the rest of the People, had no need for fire. So he seldom concerned himself with it, until one spring day when he was passing a human village. There the women were singing a song of mourning for the babies and the old ones who had died in the winter. Their voices moaned like the west wind through a buffalo skull, prickling the hairs on Coyote's neck.
"Feel how the sun is now warm on our backs," one of the men was saying. "Feel how it warms the earth and makes these stones hot to the touch. If only we could have had a small piece of the sun in our teepees during the winter."

Coyote, overhearing this, felt sorry for the men and women. He also felt that there was something he could do to help them. He knew of a faraway mountain-top where the three Fire Beings lived. These Beings kept fire to themselves, guarding it carefully for fear that man might somehow acquire it and become as strong as they.
Coyote saw that he could do a good turn for man at the expense of these selfish Fire Beings. So Coyote went to the mountain of the Fire Beings and crept to its top. He watched the way that the Beings guarded their fire. As he approached, the Beings leaped to their feet and gazed searchingly round their camp. Their eyes glinted like bloodstones, and their hands were clawed like the talons of the great black vulture.

"What's that? What's that I hear?" hissed one of the Beings.

"A thief, skulking in the bushes!" screeched another.

The third looked more closely, and saw Coyote.
But he had gone to the mountain-top on all fours, so the Being thought she saw only an ordinary coyote slinking among the trees.
"It is no one, it is nothing!" she cried, and the other two looked where she pointed and also saw only a grey coyote. They sat down again by their fire and paid Coyote no more attention.

So he watched all day and night as the Fire Beings guarded their fire. He saw how they fed it pine cones and dry branches from the sycamore trees. He saw how they stamped furiously on runaway rivulets of flame that sometimes nibbled outwards on edges of dry grass. He saw also how, at night, the Beings took turns to sit by the fire. Two would sleep while one was on guard; and at certain times the Being by the fire would get up and go into their teepee, and another would come out to sit by the fire.

Coyote saw that the Beings were always jealously watchful of their fire except during one part of the day. That was in the earliest morning, when the first winds of dawn arose on the mountains. Then the Being by the fire would hurry, shivering, into the teepee calling, "Sister, sister, go out and watch the fire." But the next Being would always be slow to go out for her turn, her head spinning with sleep and the thin dreams of dawn.

Coyote, seeing all this, went down the mountain and spoke to his friends among the People. He told them of hairless man, fearing the cold and death of winter. And he told them of the Fire Beings, and the warmth and brightness of the flame. They all agreed that man should have fire, and they all promised to help Coyote's undertaking.

Then Coyote sped again to the mountain top. Again the Fire Beings leaped up when he came close, and one cried out, "What's that? A thief, a thief!"

But again the others looked closely, and saw only a grey coyote hunting among the bushes. So they sat down again and paid him no more attention.

Coyote waited through the day, and watched as night fell and two of the Beings went off to the teepee to sleep. He watched as they changed over at certain times all the night long, until at last the dawn winds rose.

Then the Being on guard called, "Sister, sister, get up and watch the fire."

And the Being whose turn it was climbed slow and sleepy from her bed, saying, "Yes, yes, I am coming. Do not shout so."
But before she could come out of the teepee, Coyote lunged from the bushes, snatched up a glowing portion of fire, and sprang away down the mountainside.

Screaming, the Fire Beings flew after him. Swift as Coyote ran, they caught up with him, and one of them reached out a clutching hand. Her fingers touched only the tip of the tail, but the touch was enough to turn the hairs white, and coyote tail tips are white still. Coyote shouted, and flung the fire away from him. But the others of the People had gathered at the mountain's foot.
Squirrel saw the fire falling, and caught it, putting it on her back and fleeing away through the treetops. The fire scorched her back so painfully that her tail curled up and back, as squirrels' tails still do today.

The Fire Beings then pursued Squirrel, who threw the fire to Chipmunk. Chattering with fear, Chipmunk stood still as if rooted until the Beings were almost upon her. Then, as she turned to run, one Being clawed at her, tearing down the length of her back and leaving three stripes that are to be seen on chipmunks' backs even today.

Chipmunk threw the fire to Frog, and the Beings turned towards him. One of the Beings grasped his tail, but Frog gave a mighty leap and tore himself free, leaving his tail behind in the Being's hand, which is why frogs have had no tails ever since.

As the Beings came after him again, Frog flung the fire on to Wood. And Wood swallowed it.

The Fire Beings gathered round, but they did not know how to get the fire out of Wood. They promised it gifts, sang to it and shouted at it. They twisted it and struck it and tore it with their knives. But Wood did not give up the fire. In the end, defeated, the Beings went back to their mountaintop and left the People alone.

But Coyote knew how to get fire out of Wood. And he went to the village of men and showed them how. He showed them the trick of rubbing two dry sticks together, and the trick of spinning a sharpened stick in a hole made in another piece of wood.
So man was from then on warm and safe through the killing cold of winter.

story found online at Native American Trickster Tales

Friday, September 26, 2008

Why Eagle is Bald...a Raven Tale

This is a Canadian TV show based on Native American folk tales.
The story is in 3 parts.
Enjoy!





Friday, September 19, 2008

What Women Want.....


"Women wish to be loved not because they are pretty, or good, or well bred, or graceful, or intelligent, but because they are themselves"
Henri Frederic Amiel-1821-1881, Swiss Philosopher, Poet, Critic


I found this quote a few days ago and the first story I thought of was the tale of Sir Gawain and the Lady Ragnell.
Hmmm...okay to be honest the FIRST story I thought of was the Wife of Bath's tale from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales THEN I thought of Sir Gawain and the Lady Ragnell.

The Wife of Bath's tale and The Marriage of Sir Gawain, sometimes titled the Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell, are very similar stories.
In both stories, a male character must look for the answer to the question "What is it that women most desire?" In both stories, if they can not find the answer to the question, they face death. Both characters get the correct answer from an old, not very attractive (understatement), woman.

In Chaucer's tale, a knight is asked this question by Queen Guinevere. If he can find the answer, he will not be killed for his crime (the crime was the rape of a maiden).
In Sir Gawain's story, it is King Arthur who is asked the question by his rival/enemy Sir Gromer.
I have chosen two versions of the story. The first is from Bullfinch's Mythology, The Age of Chivalry and the second is an anonymous text from 1450 translated from the original Middle English.
Enjoy!!

SIR GAWAIN’S MARRIAGE
Once upon a time King Arthur held his court in merry Carlisle, when a damsel came before him and craved a boon. It was for vengeance upon a caitiff knight, who had made her lover captive and despoiled her of her lands. King Arthur commanded to bring him his sword, Excalibar, and to saddle his steed, and rode forth without delay to right the lady’s wrong. Ere long he reached the castle of the grim baron, and challenged him to the conflict. But the castle stood on magic ground, and the spell was such that no knight could tread thereon but straight his courage fell and his strength decayed. King Arthur felt the charm, and before a blow was struck his sturdy limbs lost their strength, and his head grew faint. He was fain to yield himself prisoner to the churlish knight, who refused to release him except upon condition that he should return at the end of a year, and bring a true answer to the question, “What thing is it which women most desire?” or in default thereof surrender himself and his lands. King Arthur accepted the terms, and gave his oath to return at the time appointed. During the year the king rode east, and he rode west, and inquired of all whom he met what thing it is which all women most desire. Some told him riches; some pomp and state; some mirth; some flattery; and some a gallant knight. But in the diversity of answers he could find no sure dependence. The year was well nigh spent when, one day, as he rode thoughtfully through a forest, he saw sitting beneath a tree a lady of such hideous aspect that he turned away his eyes, and when she greeted him in seemly sort made no answer. “What wight art thou,” the lady said, “that will not speak to me? It may chance that I may resolve thy doubts, though I be not fair of aspect.” “If thou wilt do so,” said King Arthur, “choose what reward thou wilt, thou grim lady, and it shall be given thee.” “Swear me this upon thy faith,” she said, and Arthur swore it. Then the lady told him the secret, and demanded her reward, which was that the king should find some fair and courtly knight to be her husband.

King Arthur hastened to the grim baron’s castle and told him one by one all the answers which he had received from his various advisers, except the last, and not one was admitted as the true one. “Now yield thee, Arthur,” the giant said, “for thou hast not paid thy ransom, and thou and thy lands are forfeited to me.” Then King Arthur said:–

“Yet hold thy hand, thou proud baron,
I pray thee hold thy hand.
And give me leave to speak once more,
In rescue of my land.
This morn, as I came over a moor,
I saw a lady set,
Between an oak and a green holly,
All clad in red scarlet.
She says all women would have their will,
This is their chief desire;
Now yield, as thou art a baron true,
That I have paid my hire.”

“It was my sister that told thee this,” the churlish baron exclaimed. “Vengeance light on her! I will some time or other do her as ill a turn.”

King Arthur rode homeward, but not light of heart; for he remembered the promise he was under to the loathly lady to give her one of his young and gallant knights for a husband. He told his grief to Sir Gawain, his nephew, and he replied, “Be not sad, my lord, for I will marry the loathly lady.” King Arthur replied:–

“Now nay, now nay, good Sir Gawaine,
My sister’s son ye be;
The loathly lady’s all too grim,
And all too foule for thee.”

But Gawain persisted, and the king at last, with sorrow of heart, consented that Gawain should be his ransom. So, one day, the king and his knights rode to the forest, met the loathly lady, and brought her to the court. Sir Gawain stood the scoffs and jeers of his companions as he best might, and the marriage was solemnized, but not with the usual festivities, Chaucer tells us:–

“There was no joye, ne feste at alle;
There n’as but hevinesse and mochel sorwe,
For prively he wed her on the morwe,
And all day after hid him as an owle,
So wo was him his wife loked so foule!”

When night came, and they were alone together, Sir Gawain could not conceal his aversion; and the lady asked him why he sighed so heavily, and turned away his face. He candidly confessed it was on account of three things, her age, her ugliness, and her low degree. The lady, not at all offended, replied with excellent arguments to all his objections. She showed him that with age is discretion, with ugliness security from rivals, and that all true gentility depends, not upon the accident of birth, but upon the character of the individual.

Sir Gawain made no reply; but, turning his eyes on his bride, what was his amazement to perceive that she wore no longer the unseemly aspect that had so distressed him. She then told him that the form she had worn was not her true form, but a disguise imposed upon her by a wicked enchanter, and that she was condemned to wear it until two things should happen; one, that she should obtain some young and gallant knight to be her husband. This having been done, one half of the charm was removed. She was now at liberty to wear her true form for half the time, and she bade him choose whether he would have her fair by day and ugly by night, or the reverse. Sir Gawain would fain have had her look, her best by night, when he alone should see her, and show her repulsive visage, if at all, to others. But she reminded him how much more pleasant it would be to her to wear her best looks in the throng of knights and ladies by day. Sir Gawain yielded, and gave up his will to hers. This alone was wanting to dissolve the charm. The lovely lady now with joy assured him that she should change no more; but as she now was so would she remain by night as well as by day.

“Sweet blushes stayned her rud-red cheek,
Her eyen were black as sloe,
The ripening cherrye swelled her lippe,
And all her neck was snow.
Sir Gawain kist that ladye faire
Lying upon the sheete,
And swore, as he was a true knight,
The spice was never so swete.”

The dissolution of the charm which had held the lady also released her brother, the “grim baron,” for he too had been implicated in it. He ceased to be a churlish oppressor, and became a gallant and generous knight as any at Arthur’s court.

from Bulfinch's Mythology_Age of Chivalry,Legends of King Arthur

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I. KING ARTHUR DEVELOPS A PROBLEM
Hark and listen to the life of a rich lord
Who, while he lived, was like no one else
In bedroom or in court.
In the time of Arthur this adventure was,
And he himself, the courteous and royal king.
Of all knighthood he bore away the honor,
Wherever he went.
In his country there was nothing but chivalry:
He loved all brave knights;
Cowards were always disgraced.

Now, if you will listen a bit to my talking,
I shall tell you of Arthur the king
And what once befell him
As he was hunting in Inglewood
With all his bold knights.

Listen to my tale:
The king stood at his deer blind,
Ready with his bow to slay a wild deer,
And his knights sat there beside him.
As the king waited, he became aware
Of a great and beautiful hart standing.
When the men saw the king,
They waited as still as they could.
Then the hart darted off
Into a fern thicket

"Hold still, everyone,
And I will go myself,
Stalking as best I can,"
The king said, taking bow in hand.
Like a good hunter he stooped
Low to stalk the deer.

When he got close,
The hart jumped into a briar patch.
But the king crept closer and closer,
And so it went, until the king had gone,
I would swear, half a mile.
No man went with him.

At last, Arthur let fly an arrow
And hit the hart squarely,
Such was the grace God had sent him.
Down the deer tumbled, wounded,
And fell into a large fern thicket.
The king followed quickly
And savagely killed the deer
As it chewed the grass.

While the king was alone with the deer
Suddenly there came to him a quaint fellow
Armed well and sure--
A knight strong and mighty.
He said these grim words to the king:

"Well met, King Arthur!
You have done me wrong many a year,
And woefully I shall repay you now.
Indeed, you have wrongfully given
My lands to Sir Gawain.
What say you, king, alone as you are?"

"Sir knight, what is your honored name?" said Arthur.

"Sir king," he answered, "Gromer Somer Joure,
I tell you now the truth."

"Ah, Sir Gromer Somer, think you well
that slaying me here will get you no honor.
Remember that you are a knight.
If you slay me now--in this situation--
All knights will refuse you everywhere.
That shame shall never leave you.
Let your anger go and follow reason,
And I shall fix what is amiss--
If you wish--before I go."

"No," said Sir Gromer Somer, "by heaven's king!
You shall not escape by lying.
I have the advantage now.
If I should let you go with mocking,
Another time you will defy me.
I shall not fail in my purpose."

Then said the king, "So God save me!
But, sir, spare my life and ask anything;
I shall grant it you right now.
Shame you shall have in killing my at hunting--
You armed and me like this."

"All this will not help you, surely,"
Said Sir Gromer Somer.
"For I want neither land nor gold, really.
Will you grant me, at a certain day--
Which I will set--to come again as you are?"

"Yes," said the king. "Here is my hand."

"Yes, but, abide, king, and hear me awhile.
First you shall swear
Upon my burnished sword
To tell me when next we meet
What women love best
In field and in town.
And you shall meet me
Here without my sending for you
At the end of twelve months;
And you shall swear
Upon my good sword--
And by the holy cross--
that none of your knights
Will come with you,
Neither friend nor stranger.
And if you fail to bring an answer
You shall lose
Your head for your trouble.
This shall now be your oath.
What do you say, king?
Let's get this over with."

"Sir, I swear to this. Now let me be gone.
Though it is to me very sad,
I swear to you as a true king
To come again at the end of twelve months
And bring you your answer."

"Go your way, King Arthur,
Your life is in my hand, I am sure.
You are not aware of your sorrow.
Yet, wait, King Arthur, a little while.
Be sure you are not beguiled today.
And keep all this in secret;
For if I knew, by the mild virgin,
That you would betray me anywhere,
You would lose your life now."

"No," said King Arthur, "that will not be.
You will not find me an untrue knight.
I would much rather die.
Farewell, sir, ill-met knight.
I will come on the day set,
Even though there be no escape."

Then the king blew his bugle.
Every knight recognized it
And rushed to him right away.
There they found the hart
And the king with a sad face and spirit.
He no longer felt like sport.

"We shall go home to Carlisle.
I don't feel like hunting anymore."

All the lords knew by his look
That the king had met with some disturbance.

The king went to Carlisle
And no man knew
The reason for his sorrow,
For his heart so heavy.
His heart was very heavy,
And in this heaviness he stayed
So long that his knights marveled.

Finally, Sir Gawain said to the king,
"Sir, I am much amazed
And wonder at what makes you sorrowful."

The king answered quickly:
"I shall tell you, Gawain, gentle knight.
In the forest I was today,
And there I met a knight in his armor,
And certain words he said to me
And charged me that I not betray him.
I must keep his council, therefore,
Or else I am a liar."

"Dread not, lord, by the Virgin.
I am not the man who would dishonor you.
Neither in the evening nor the morning,"
Said Sir Gawain.

The king said:
"Truly, I was hunting in Inglewood.
By the cross, you know I killed a deer.
I was alone and there
Met a well-armed knight.
His name, he told me,
Was Sir Gromer Somer Joure.
And therefore I make my moan.
That knight threatened me
And would have slain me in his anger
Except that I spoke well in return.
I had no weapons, so,
Alas, my honor is gone."

"What of it?" said Gawain.

Arthur said; "I do not lie.
He would have slain me without mercy,
He hated me so much. He made me swear
That at the end of twelve months
I shall meet him there again, unarmed,
And to that I pledged my faith.
At that time I must tell him
What women desire most.
Otherwise, I lose my life.
This oath I made to that knight,
And that I would not tell this to anyone.
I had no choice about it.
And I swore I would come in no other clothes
Than those I wore when first we met.
If I fail to answer the question,
I know I shall be killed then and there.
Blame me not for being a woeful man.
All this is my dread and my fear."

"Yea, sir, be of good cheer,"
Said Sir Gawain. "Let your horse be made ready
To ride into a foreign country,
And indeed everywhere
You meet man or woman
Ask of them what they have to answer.
And I shall also ride--another way--
And inquire of every man and woman
And learn what I may
Of every man and woman's answer.
These answers I shall write in a book"

"I grant," said the king quickly,
that this is well advised, Gawain the Good.
Even by the holy cross."

Soon were they both ready,
Gawain and the king.
The king rode one way, Gawain the other.
And they inquired of both men and women
What it is women desire most.

Some said women love to be well dressed;
Some said they love to be well courted;
Some said they love a lusty man
Who will clasp them in his arms and kiss them;
Some said one thing, some said another,
And so Gawain got many an answer.

Soon Gawain had spent many a day,
Having gotten so many answers
That he had a book large indeed.
So he went to the court again.
By that time the king had come back also,
With his book, and each looked
At the volumes the other had written.

"We shall not fail," said Gawain.

"By God," said the king, "I am afraid.
I see I must seek more in Inglewood forest.
I have but a month more to go.
Perhaps I will happen on good news.
This I now think is best."

"Do as you wish," said Gawain.
"Whatever you do, I will be satisfied.
It is good to be on this quest.
Some of these answers will be correct,
Otherwise would be very bad luck."

II. KING ARTHUR MEETS A REALLY UGLY WOMAN

King Arthur rode out his gate
The next day into Inglewood.
There he met with a lady.
She was the ugliest creature
That a man ever saw.
King Arthur surely marveled.
Her face was red, her nose running,
Her mouth wide, her teeth all yellow.
Her eyes were bleary, as large as balls,
Her mouth just as large.
Her teeth hung out of her lips,
Her cheeks were as broad as a woman's hips.
He back was as curved as a lute.
Her neck was long and also thick.
Her hair clotted in a heap.
In the shoulders she was a yard across.
Her breasts would have been a load for a horse.
Like a barrel was she made.
To recite the foulness of that lady
There is no tongue fit.
She had ugliness to spare.

Yet she sat upon a gaily outfitted horse,
With gold and many a precious stone.
This was an unseemly sight
To see so measurelessly foul a creature
Riding so well, I can tell you.

She rode up to Arthur and said:
"God speed, sir king.
I am well pleased
That I have met with you.
I advise you to talk with me
For your life is in my hand.
Only I can prevent your death."

"What do you want with me, lady?"

"Sir, I will gladly speak with you
And tell you good news.
All the answers you have now
Will do you no good.
By the cross you will know that.
What? Did you think I don't know
Your secret? I know all.
Without my help, you are dead.
Grant me, sir king, one thing only.
Then I will promise you your life.
Otherwise, you lose your head."

"Lady, tell me, in few words, what you mean.
I have contempt for your words.
I have no need of you.
In short, tell me what you want, fair lady.
What is your meaning?
Why is my life in your hand?
Tell me, and I shall grant all you ask."

"Truly," said the lady, "I am no villain.
You must grant me a knight to wed.
His name is Sir Gawain.
Then I shall make you a promise.
Tell me: will you save your life
Or is my desire in vain?
If my answer saves your life,
Let me marry Sir Gawain.
Think now, sir king. For it must be so,
Or you are dead. Hurry. Tell me.
Or lose your head."

"Heavens,," said the king,"
I cannot promise you
I will order Sir Gawain to wed.
That all depends on him.
But, since it must be, I will work
At saving my life by trying.
I will tell Gawain my predicament."

"Well," she said, "now go home
And speak nicely to Gawain,
For I may save your life.
Though I am foul, I am lusty.
Through me he can save you.
Or cause your death."

"Alas!" Arthur said, "woe is me
That I should cause Gawain to marry you,
For he will hate saying no.
I've never seen such an ugly woman
Anywhere on this earth.
I don't know what to do!"

"It doesn't matter," sir king, "that I am foul.
Even an owl finds a mate.
This is the only chance you get.
When you come again, for the answer,
I will meet you here,
Or else I know you will be lost."

"Now farewell, lady," said the king.

"Yes, sir," said the lady, "there is a bird
Men call an owl. And yet I am a lady."

"What is your name, I pray you tell me."

"Sir king, I am truly called Dame Ragnell,
Who never yet lied to a man."

"Dame Ragnell, have a good day."

"Sir king, God speed you on your way.
I shall meet you right here.

Thus they departed, fair and well,
And the king came soon to Carlisle,
His heart heavy and sad.

The first man he met was Sir Gawain
Who said to the king,
"Sire, how have you done?"

"Foresooth," said the king, "never as badly.
Alas! I am at the point of killing myself,
For I would be better off dead."

"No," said Gawain, "that must not be.
I would rather be dead myself.
This is very distressing news."

"Gawain, I met the foulest lady today,
Certainly the worst I've ever seen.
She told me she would save my life
But first she wants to have a husband.
Therefore, I moan. I am woebegone."

"Is that all?" said Gawain.
"I shall wed her and wed her again,
Even if she be a fiend.
Even were she as foul as Beelzebub,
I would wed here, I swear by the cross.
Otherwise, I wouldn't be your friend.
You are my honored king
And have done me good many times.
Therefore, I hesitate not
To save your life, my lord. It is my duty.
Otherwise, I would be a false coward.
My service is better than that!"
"Indeed, Gawain, I met her in Inglewood.
I swear, she told me her name.
It is Dame Ragnell.
She said unless I had her answer,
All my labor is in vain.
She said that.
But if her answer helps me,
Then she wants you.
That's what she said.
She promised me that.

"As for this," said Gawain,
"It will not stop me.
I will wed her at the time you set.
I pray you worry no more.
Though she be the foulest person
That ever has been seen on earth,
For you I will not hesitate."

"Oh, thank you, Gawain," said King Arthur.
"Of all knights, you are the best
That I have ever found!
You have saved my life and reputation forever.
I will never stop honoring you
As long as I am king of the land!"

III. ARTHUR GETS HIS ANSWER

Five or six days later,
The king was to make his answer.
The king and Sir Gawain rode out of town,
No men with them, far or near,
But all alone. When the king got to the forest
He said, "Sir Gawain, farewell.
I must go West. You should go no farther."

"My lord, God speed you on your journey.
I wish I could ride with you,
For parting ways makes me quite sad."

The king had ridden only a short distance,
No more than a mile, when we me Dame Ragnell.

"Ah! Sir king! You are welcome here!
I know you come with your answer
That will help you not a little."

"Now," said the king, "since it's the only way,
Tell me your answer and save my life.
Sir Gawain will marry you.
He has promised to save my life,
And you shall have your desire,
Both in chamber and in bed.
Therefore, tell me quickly,
At last, what will help me.
Hurry. I can't wait."

"Sire," said Dame Ragnell,
"Now you shall know
What women want most,
From rich men and poor.
I will tell you the truth.
Some men say we desire to be beautiful.
Or that we desire sex
With as many men as we can find.
Others say we want pleasure in bed.
Others say we want many husbands.
You men just don't understand.
We want an entirely different thing.
We want to be seen as young, fresh.
We want to be flattered cleverly.
Thus you men can win us always
And get what you want.
But there is one thing that is our fantasy,
And that is what you shall know now:
We desire most from men,
From men both rich and poor,
To have sovereignty without lies.
For where we have sovereignty, all is ours,
Though a knight be ever so fierce,
And ever win mastery.
It is our desire to have mastery
Over such a sir. Such is our purpose.
Therefore, go, sir king, on your way,
And tell that knight what I have told you
That we women want most.
He will be angry and harsh
And curse the one who asked you,
For he has lost the battle.
Go, king, and keep your promise.
Your life is safe now in every way.
That much I promise."

The king rode a long time
As fast as he could go,
Through mire and moor and bog,
To the place appointed
To meet Sir Gromer.

Stern words he said to the king:
"Come on, sir king, let's hear
What your answer shall be.
I am prepared."

The king pulled out two books.
"Sir, here is my answer, I dare say,
For some will help those in need."

Sir Gromer looked at each answer.
"No, no, sir king. You are a dead man.
You shall bleed."

"Wait, Sir Gromer," said King Arthur,
"I have one answer that can't miss."

"Let's see it," said Sir Gromer,
Or else, so help me God, as I say,
You death you will have, violently.
That is for sure."

"Now," said the king, "I have seen,
As I guessed, very little kindness, by God.
Here is the answer, the true one--
What women desire most,
From rich men and from poor--
I say that above all things,
Women desire sovereignty. That is what they want.
And that is their greatest desire.
They want rule over the manliest of men,
Then they are happy. This I have learned,
And you are beaten, Sir Gromer."

"And she who told you this, King Arthur,
I pray to God I shall see her burn in fire.
That was my sister, Dame Ragnell.
That old hag! God send her shame!
Otherwise I would have tamed you.
Now I have wasted all my work.
Go where you will, King Arthur,
For now you need not fear me.
Alas! That I ever saw this day!
Now I well know you shall be my enemy.
I will never get the advantage again.
My song shall ever be alas, alas."

"No," said the king, "that much I swear.
Some armor I will ever after have, to defend myself.
That much I promise to God.
You will never find me like this again.
If you do, may I be beaten and bound,
As would be your right."

"Have a good day," said Sir Gromer.

"Farewell," said Sir Arthur. "So may I thrive.
I am glad to have beaten you."



IV. DAME RAGNELL GETS HER MAN

King Arthur turned his horse toward the plain.
And soon he met with Dame Ragnell again,
In exactly the same spot as before.

"Sir king, I am glad we have won!
I told you exactly how it would be!
Now keep to what you have promised.
Since I have saved your life, me and no one else,
Gawain must marry me, Sir Arthur.
It's the only way to be an honorable knight."

"No, lady. What I promised I will not fail to do.
If you will heed my advice, keeping quiet,
You shall have all that you wish."

"No, sir king. I will not do so.
Openly I will wed, or I will leave.
Otherwise, I will be shamed.
Ride on, and I will follow you
To your court, King Arthur, sire.
I will take shame from no man.
Remember how I have saved your life.
Don't argue with me.
If you do, you bring shame on yourself."

The king felt very much ashamed,
But she rode on, despite him,
Until they got to Carlisle.
Into the court she rode, by his side,
For she would spare the feelings of no man.
The king liked it not at all.
All the people wondered greatly
At whence she had come,
Such a foul, ugly thing.
They had never seen such an ugly thing.
She rode right into the hall.

"Arthur, king, fetch me Sir Gawain quickly
Before these knights, that I may be certain
You intend to marry us, for richer or poorer.
In front of all your knights.
That was your promise.
Let's see that you do it.
Bring me my love, Sir Gawain,
As quickly as you can.
I don't want to wait any longer."

Then came forth Sir Gawain the knight.
"Sire, I am ready to do what I promised,
Ready to fulfill all my vows."

"God-a-mercy!" shouted Dame Ragnell.
"For your sake, I wish
I were a good looking woman,
Since you are such a good man."

Then sir Gawain pledged to her his troth,
For richer and for poorer.
He was a true knight.
And Dame Ragnell was happy.

"Alas!" said Dame Guinevere.
And all the ladies of her chamber said the same.
They all wept for Sir Gawain.

"Alas!" said the king and all the knights.
That he should have to wed such a person!
So foul. So horrible. They said
She had long teeth on each side,
Boar's tusks, as long as your hand,
One going up, one down on each side.
And grey hairs. And her lips
Lay like lumps on her chin.
No one had ever seen
A neck like that. She was ugly!
I swear, no one would marry her
For any reason,
Unless there was some sort
Of proclamation or law over the country.

Guinevere summoned the ladies of the land
To help keep this marriage proper,
So it was that the foul lady would be married
Unto Sir Gawain very soon.
The ladies had great pity.
"Alas!" they said. The queen begged
Dame Ragnell to marry early in the morning
And "as privately as possible."
"No," she said. "By heaven's king
That is something I will never do,
No matter what you say.
I will be wedded openly,
For I have an agreement with the king.
Do not doubt: I will not come to the church
Until high mass time, and I will dine
In the open hall, in the middle of everybody."

"I am agreed," said Dame Guinevere,
"But I think it more honorable,
And to your own benefit to do otherwise."

"Well, as to that, lady, God save you,
This day I will have what I want--
I tell you that without boasting."

She made herself ready to go to church,
And all the nobles were there--I'm not lying.
She was dressed in the very best,
Fancier even than Guinevere.
Her dress was worth a king's ransom,
A thousand marks,
The very best gold coins.
That's how richly we was dressed.
Yet for all the clothing she wore,
She still was the ugliest woman I've heard of--
A hog isn't as ugly,
I can say, to keep it short.

After she was married,
Everyone hurried to dinner.
The foul lady sat at the head of the dais.
She was very foul and rude.
Everyone said so.
When the food came,
She ate everything,
Amazing everyone.
Her nails were three inches long
And with them she uncouthly cut her meat.
Therefore she ate alone.
She ate three chickens and three curlews,
And large meat pies she also ate up, indeed.
Everyone there wondered at it.
No food came before her
But she ate it, the foul woman.
Everyone who saw her,
Both the knights and the squires,
Prayed that the devil would gnaw her bones.
So she ate until everything was gone.
Until they brought the finger towels,
As is the custom and fashion.
Many men spoke of diverse foods,
I believe you know there was
Both domestic and wild meat.
There was never a lack in King Arthur's court
Of anything that could be gotten
Either in forest or in field.
There were people there from many lands.



V. A DOMESTIC SCENE



(NOTE: a page of the manuscript is missing here)

"Ah, Sir Gawain, since I have married you,
Show me a little courtesy in bed.
You cannot rightfully deny me that.
Indeed, Sir Gawain," the lady said,
If I were beautiful,
You would act a bit differently.
But you take no heed of marriage.
Still, for Arthur's sake, kiss me at least.
I ask that you do it,
So we can see how you manage."

Sir Gawain said, "I will do more
Than kiss, I swear to God!"
So he turned…
And saw she was
The fairest creature alive.
"Jesus!" he said. "What are you?"

"Sir, I am certainly your wife.
Why are you unkind to me?"

"Ah, lady, I am to blame.
I ask you mercy, fair madam.
I hadn't realized. You are so beautiful,
And earlier you were the ugliest woman
I have ever seen.
I am happy, lady, to see you thus."
So he embraced her in his arms
And began to kiss her
And made great joy, certainly.

"Sir," she said, "thus shall you have me.
By God, choose one--for my beauty will not hold.
Choose whether you will have me
Beautiful in the nights
And as ugly in the days, when men see me,
Or else have me beautiful in the day
And the ugliest woman in the nights.
One or the other you must have. Choose.
Choose, sir knight, which is more important
To your honor."

"Alas!" said Gawain, "the choice is hard.
Choosing the best is difficult.
I don't know what to choose.
To have you beautiful
At night and no more,
That would grieve my heart.
And I would lose my reputation.
But if I choose to have you beautiful in the day,
Then at night I would have slim pickings.
Now, gladly would I choose the best,
But I don't know what in the world to say.
Choose what you think best, happy lady.
The choice I put into your hand.
Do as you want, as you choose.
Untie me when you will, for I am bound.
I give the decision to you.
Body, possessions, heart and everything,
It is all yours, to buy and sell.
This I swear to God."

"Thank you, courteous knight," said the lady.
Of all the earth's knights, may you be blessed.
For now I am worshipped.
You shall have me beautiful both day and night,
And always I shall be fair and bright.
Therefore, grieve not,
For I was transformed through necromancy
By my stepmother, God have mercy on her.
She changed me by enchantment
From my true form--
Until the best of England
Had truly married me
And given me sovereignty
Over his body and all his goods.
Thus I was deformed,
And you, sir knight, courteous Gawain,
Have given me sovereignty indeed.
Never will you be sorry for that.
Kiss me, sir knight, right now,
I pray you. Be glad and make good cheer.
For all has turned out well."

Then they had joy beyond imagination,
The natural way of two people alone.
She thanked God and Mary
That she was recovered from her ugliness.
And so did Sir Gawain.
He made mirth in her bedroom
And gave many thanks to our savior, I can tell you.
With joy and mirth they stayed awake all night.



VI. THE MORNING AFTER

In the morning, the fair maiden went to get up.
"You shall not!" Sir Gawain said.
We will stay here until noon
And let the king call us to lunch."

"I agree," the maiden said,
And thus they went on till mid-day.

"Sirs," said the king, "let us go
To see if Sir Gawain is still alive.
I am very afraid for Sir Gawain,
Afraid the fiend has killed him.
I really must find out.
Go we now. We shall see them get up
And see how they have managed."

So they came to the bed chamber.
"Arise!" shouted the king to Sir Gawain.
"Why do you stay in be so long?"

"Oh, my!" said Gawain. "Surely, sir king,
I would be very happy if you would leave me alone.
For I am very much at ease.
Wait, I shall unlock the door.
Then, I think, you will say I am well fixed.
I am very reluctant to get up."

Sir Gawain arose and took his lady by the hand.
He hurried to the door and opened it.
She stood in a smock by the fire.
Her hair hung to her knees, a red gold.
"Lo, this is my pleasure."
"Lo!" said Gawain to Arthur.
"This is my wife, Dame Ragnell,
The one who saved your life."

Then he told the king and queen
How suddenly her shape had turned.
"My lord, by your leave, I will tell you
How she came to be misshapen."
Then Sir Gawain told it all.

"I thank God!" said the queen.
"I thought, Sir Gawain, you had been harmed.
I was much grieved at heart.
But I see the opposite is the case."

There were games, revelries, playing.
And every man said, "She is beautiful!"

Then the king told them all
How Dame Ragnell saved his life.
"My death had been prepared."
The king told the queen, swearing it was true,
How he had been bested in Inglewood
By Sir Gromer Somer Joure.
He told what that knight had made him swear.
"Otherwise, he would have slain me right there,
Without mercy or measure. This same lady,
Dame Ragnell, saved me from that death.
All for the love of Gawain.

Then Gawain told the king
How her stepmother had deformed her
Until a knight should save her.
And Dame Ragnell told the king
How Gawain had given her sovereignty
Over all he had. Whatever she wanted.

"God save him for such courtesy.
He saved me from villainy and a terrible fate,
One that was both foul and grim.
Therefore, courteous, gracious Gawain,
I shall never anger you. That is certain.
That promise I make to you.
While I live, I shall be obedient.
To God above I promise
That I will never quarrel with you."

"Thank you, lady," said Gawain.
"With you I feel quite content.
And I believe you will do these things."
Gawain said, "She shall have my love.
She will never lack it, for she has been
So kind to me."

The queen said, and the ladies all agreed,
"I swear by Saint John
That she is the fairest in this court.
My love, lady, you shall always have,
As I am a gentle woman,
Because you saved my lord Arthur."

Sir Gawain begot Gyngolyn of the Round Table,
A knight of strength and goodness.

And at every feast where a lady should be,
Wherever she went,
Dame Ragnell won the prize for beauty.

I can tell you without lying
That in all his life Gawain loved none so well.
He acted like a coward, avoiding jousting,
Just so he could be in bed with her day and night.
King Arthur wondered at it.

Dame Ragnell asked the king
For kindness to Sir Gromer.
"Be a good lord to Sir Gromer, indeed.
Fix the matter in which you offended him."

"Yes, lady, that I shall do for your sake,
Though I know he cannot make amends to me
For acting as he did."



VII. NOT SUCH A HAPPY ENDING

Now, to make a short conclusion.
I intend to finish quickly.
This gentle lady lived with Gawain
But five years. I tell you truly,
That grieved Gawain all his life.
Yet in her life she grieved him never.
And no woman was ever dearer to him.

Thus I will stop talking.
She was the fairest lady
In all of England
When she lived.
Even Arthur said so.
Thus ends this adventure of King Arthur--
A man who suffered much in his life--
And of the wedding of Gawain.

Gawain married often in his life
But I have heard men say
He never loved another woman so well.

Thus I have told the story
Of King Arthur's hunting adventure In Inglewood.

Now, God, as you were born in Bethlehem,
Never let our souls be lost in burning fire!
And, Jesus, as you were born of a virgin,
Help the composer of this tale out of sorrow,
And in a hurry if you can.
For he is beset by jailers
With wills wrong and hard
Who keep him locked away.

Now, God, as you are the true royal king,
Help him out of danger who made this tale,
For he has been in it a long time.
Have pity on Your servant.
I give body and soul to your hand,
For my suffering is great.

Here ends The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell
For the Helping of King Arthur.

The Marriage of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell by Anonymous(circa 1450) Adapted from the Middle English by Dr. David Breeden