Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Yule Faeries....A Winter Solstice Story

A group of little Faeries huddled in their home deep under the roots of a giant oak tree. They were safe and snug in their tiny underground cave lined with dandelion fluff, bird feathers, and dried moss.

Outside, the wind blew cold and the snow fell softly down to cover the ground. "I saw the Sun King today," the faerie named Rose said as she pulled her mossy cloak tighter about her. "He looked so old and tired as he walked off through the forest. What is wrong with him?

"The great oak said he's dying" answered Daffodil.

"Dying? Oh, what will we do now?", Little Meadow Grass started to cry, "If the Sun King dies, our little plant friends will not grow. The Birds will not come and sing again. Everything will be winter for ever!" Lilac, Dandelion and Elder Blossom tried to comfort their friend, but they were all very sad. As they huddled together, there was a knock on the tiny door.

"Open up, Faeries," called out a loud voice. "Why are you hiding instead of joining us in our Solstice celebration?" Rose opened the door and the little gnome Brown Knobby pushed inside, shaking the glistening snowflakes off his brown coat and hat.

"We are too sad to celebrate," Daffodil said wiping her eyes, "The Sun King is dying, haven't you heard?"

"He is dead you silly Faeries." Brown Knobby's round dark eyes sparkled with laughter. "Now hurry, or we'll be late for the celebration!"

"How can you be happy and laughing?!" Elder Blossom stamped her little foot and frowned at the gnome. "If the Sun King IS dead, it will be winter always. We will never see the Sun again!"

"Silly little child-Faeries." Brown Knobby grabbed Dandelion by the hand and pulled her to her feet. "There is a secret to the Winter Solstice. Don't you want to know what it is?"

The Faeries looked at him in surprise. "Secret?" they all said. "What secret? We are only new little Faeries, you silly gnome. We've never been to a Solstice celebration before."

"Come and see. Come and see. Get your capes and come with me." Brown Knobby danced and jigged around the room. "Hurry, Hurry, don't be slow! To the Sacred Oak Grove through the snow!" He danced out of the door and disappeared.

"What did that gnome mean?" Rose asked as she gathered up her cloak of dried rose petals held together with cobwebs and lined with goose down.

"I don't know, but the Lady lives in the Sacred Grove." Meadow Grass pulled on her hat.

"Perhaps if we go to see the Goddess, She can explain what Brown Knobby was talking about".

The Faeries left their snug little home and trudged off through the snow toward the sacred oak grove. The forest was dark with only the light of the Moon shining down through the thick fir branches and bare limbs of maple and hawthorn. It was very difficult for them to get through the snow because they were very, very small. As they waded through the wet snow and shivered in the cold wind, they met a fox.

"Where are you going, Faeries?" the fox asked.

"To the sacred grove," they answered, they were cold and shivering.

"Climb on my back and I will take you there swiftly."

The fox knelt down so the Faeries could climb up. Then he raced off through the dark.

"Listen!" Lilac said as they neared the Grove of Sacred trees. "Someone is singing happy songs. A LOT of someones."

The beautiful music carried over the cold, still, moonlit air. It was the most beautiful music the Faeries had ever heard. The fox carried the Faeries right to the edge of the stone altar in the center of the grove, then knelt down.

"Look!" said Elder Blossom as they slid to the snow covered ground. "There is the Maiden and the Mother and the OLD Wise Crone, and many other Little People."

"They are all smiling and happy," said Lilac as she looked around at all the creatures.

"All the animals are here too," whispered Dandelion. "Why are they all looking at the Mother?"

The Faeries moved closer to the three Ladies seated on the altar stone. The Mother held a bundle close in Her arms, smiling down at it. The Maiden reached down and took the Faeries gently in her Hands. She held them close to the Mother so they could see what She held.

"A Baby!" the Faeries cried. " A new little Baby! Look how he glows!"

"He is the newborn Sun King," said the Maiden smiling.

"But Brown Knobby and the old oak tree said the Sun King was dead," the Faeries answered her. "How can this little baby be the Sun King?"

"That is the great secret of the Winter Solstice." The Old Wise One touched the baby's cheek with her wrinkled hand. "Every year the Sun King must come to the sacred grove during the darkest days of winter where he dies. I take his spirit to the Mother who gives him new life again. This is the way for all creatures, not just the Sun King."

" You mean everything lives and dies and lives again? the Faeries looked down in wonder at the baby Sun King, nestled in the arms of the Mother.

" Yes, Little Ones," answered the Old Wise Crone. "There is never an end to life. This is the great mystical secret of the Winter Solstice."

The Faeries laughed because they were so happy.

"I think the little Sun King should have gifts," said Rose. "I will show him where the wild roses bloom in the early summer."

"And, I will teach him to call the birds and listen to the songs of the wind," exclaimed Dandelion.

"When he is older and stronger, " said the Mother, "then the flowers will bloom at his touch, the birds will return to sing their songs, and the air will be warm from his breath, and winter will be gone for a time. Then the Sun King will run and play with you in the forest."

The little Faeries sang to the Baby Sun King, songs of the coming spring, the sweet smelling flowers, the bumbling bees, and all the secrets of the forest. And all the creatures within the sacred grove sang with them. Then the fox took them back to their snug home under the roots of the giant oak tree where they dreamed wonderful dreams, waiting for the warmth of spring and the fun they would have with the little Sun King.

(author unknown)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Lambikin...a tale from India

Once upon a time there was a wee wee lambikin, who frolicked about on his little tottery legs, and enjoyed himself amazingly.

Now one day he set off to visit his granny, and was jumping with joy to think of all the good things he should get from her, when who should he meet but a jackal, who looked at the tender young morsel and said, "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"

But Lambikin only gave a little frisk and said,

To granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so.

The jackal thought this reasonable, and let Lambikin pass.

By and by he met a vulture, and the vulture, looking hungrily at the tender morsel before him, said, "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"

But Lambikin only gave a little frisk, and said,

To granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so.

The vulture thought this reasonable, and let Lambikin pass.

And by and by he met a tiger, and then a wolf, and a dog, and an eagle, and all these, when they saw the tender little morsel, said, "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"

But to all of them Lambikin replied, with a little frisk,

To granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so.

At last he reached his granny's house, and said, all in a great hurry, "Granny, dear, I've promised to get very fat. So, as people ought to keep their promises, please put me into the corn bin at once."

So his granny said he was a good boy, and put him into the corn bin, and there the greedy little lambikin stayed for seven days, and ate, and ate, and ate, until he could scarcely waddle, and his granny said he was fat enough for anything, and must go home.

But cunning little Lambikin said that would never do, for some animal would be sure to eat him on the way back, he was so plump and tender.

"I'll tell you what you must do," said Lambikin. "You must make a little drumikin, and then I can sit inside and trundle along nicely, for I'm as tight as a drum myself."

So his granny made a nice little drumikin, with the wool inside, and Lambikin curled himself up snug and warm in the middle, and trundled away gaily. Soon he met with the eagle, who called out,

Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?

And Mr. Lambikin, curled up in his soft warm nest, replied,

Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin. Tum-pa, tum-too!

"How very annoying!" sighed the eagle, thinking regretfully of the tender morsel he had let slip.

Meanwhile Lambikin trundled along, laughing to himself, and singing,

Tum-pa, tum-too;
Tum-pa, tum-too!

Every animal and bird he met asked him the same question,

Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?

And to each of them the little sly-boots replied,

Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin. Tum-pa, tum-too!
Tum-pa, tum-too; Tum-pa, tum-too!

Then they all sighed to think of the tender little morsel they had let slip.

At last the jackal came limping along, for all his sorry looks as sharp as a needle, and he too called out,

Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?

And Lambikin, curled up in his snug little nest, replied gaily,

Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin! Tum-pa --

But he never got any further, for the jackal recognized his voice at once, and cried, "Hullo! You've turned yourself inside out, have you? Just you come out of that!"

Whereupon he tore open Drumikin and gobbled up Lambikin.

(Bet you thought this was going to end differently....didn't you??)

This version of the story was published by Joseph Jacobs in Indian Fairy Tales (London: David Nutt, 1892)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!!

This is a Halloween classic and I felt I haaaaaad to put it up in case any of you missed it this year.

This video is part 1 of 3 but when it finishes you'll find the other parts at the bottom of the videos screen.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rufty Tufty was a rabbit who wanted to see the world.

"What is the world like?" he said to everyone he met. "It's a big flat place," said his mother. "No, it's square," said his father, and nobody could agree.

One evening Rufty Tufty saw Wise Old Owl sitting in an oak tree. "Mr Owl," he squeaked. "Can you tell me what the world is like?" The old owl looked wise, then he said, "The world is round."

All night Rufty Tufty dreamed of a round world. As soon as he woke up he said "Good-bye" to his family, and set out to see for himself.

He hadn't gone far - hoppity hop, hoppity hop - when he came to the edge of the woods and saw a fence. Slipping through a gap, Rufty Tufty found himself inside a vegetable garden.

As Rufty Tufty looked round the garden, and nibbled at a cabbage, he saw a large round pumpkin.

"The world!" he squeaked to himself, and joyfully hopped over the cabbages to the place where the pumpkin stood.

Rufty Tufty stretched out a paw and patted the pumpkin. "The world is hard," he thought.

Then, giving a jump, he scrambled to the top of the pumpkin and looked all around, then slithered down the other side.

Just then Mr Brown came home and saw Rufty Tufty near his pumpkin.
He shouted and frightened Rufty Tufty so much that the little rabbit scampered back to the Window Woods.

"Mr Owl is right," he told his mother. "The world is round and I have been all over it!"

found at

Monday, October 5, 2009

ONCE UPON A TIME a king had a son named Prince Wicked. He was fierce and cruel, and he spoke to nobody without abuse, or blows. Like grit in the eye, was Prince Wicked to every one, both in the palace and out of it.

His people said to one another, "If he acts this way while he is a prince, how will he act when he is king?"

One day when the prince was swimming in the river, suddenly a great storm came on, and it grew very dark.

In the darkness the servants who were with the prince swam from him, saying to themselves, "Let us leave him alone in the river, and he may drown."

When they reached the shore, some of the servants who had not gone into the river said, "Where is Prince Wicked?"

"Isn't he here?" they asked. "Perhaps he came out of the river in the darkness and went home." Then the servants all went back to the palace.

The king asked where his son was, and again the servants said: "Isn't he here, O King? A great storm came on soon after we went into the water. It grew very dark. When we came out of the water the prince was not with us."

At once the king had the gates thrown open. He and all his men searched up and down the banks of the river for the missing prince. But no trace of him could be found.

In the darkness the prince had been swept down the river. He was crying for fear he would drown when he came across a log. He climbed upon the log, and floated farther down the river.

When the great storm arose, the water rushed into the homes of a Rat and a Snake who lived on the river bank. The Rat and the Snake swam out into the river and found the same log the prince had found. The Snake climbed upon one end of the log, and the Rat climbed upon the other.

On the river's bank a cottonwood-tree grew, and a young Parrot lived in its branches. The storm pulled up this tree, and it fell into the river. The heavy rain beat down the Parrot when it tried to fly, and it could not go far. Looking down it saw the log and flew down to rest. Now there were four on the log floating down stream together.

Just around the bend in the river a certain poor man had built himself a hut. As he walked to and fro late at night listening to the storm, he heard the loud cries of the prince. The poor man said to himself: "I must get that man out of the water. I must save his life." So he shouted: "I will save you! I will save you!" as he swam out in the river.

Soon he reached the log, and pushing it by one end, he soon pushed it into the bank. The prince jumped up and down, he was so glad to be safe and sound on dry land.

Then the poor man saw the Snake, the Rat, and the Parrot, and carried them to his hut. He built a fire, putting the animals near it so they could get dry. He took care of them first, because they were the weaker, and afterwards he looked after the comfort of the prince.

Then the poor man brought food and set it before them, looking after the animals first and the prince afterwards. This made the young prince angry, and he said to himself: "This poor man does not treat me like a prince. He takes care of the animals before taking care of me." Then the prince began to hate the poor man.

A few days later, when the prince, and the Snake, the Rat, and the Parrot were rested, and the storm was all over, the Snake said good-by to the poor man with these words: "Father, you have been very kind to me, I know where there is some buried gold. If ever you want gold, you have only to come to my home and call, 'Snake!' and I will show you the buried gold. It shall all be yours."

Next the Rat said good-by to the poor man. "If ever you want money," said the Rat, "come to my home, and call out, 'Rat!' and I will show you where a great deal of money is buried near my home. It shall all be yours."

Then the Parrot came, saying: "Father, silver and gold have I none, but if you ever want choice rice, come to where I live and call, 'Parrot!' and I will call all my family and friends together, and we will gather the choicest rice in the fields for you."

Last came the prince. In his heart he hated the poor man who had saved his life. But he pretended to be as thankful as the animals had been, saying, "Come to me when I am king, and I will give you great riches." So saying, he went away.

Not long after this the prince's father died, and Prince Wicked was made king. He was then very rich.

By and by the poor man said to himself: "Each of the four whose lives I saved made a promise to me. I will see if they will keep their promises."

First of all he went to the Snake, and standing, near his hole, the poor man called out, "Snake!"

At once the Snake darted forth, and with every mark of respect he said: "Father, in this place there is much gold. Dig it up and take it all."

"Very well," said the poor man. "When I need it, I will not forget."

After visiting for a while, the poor man said good-by to the Snake, and went to where the Rat lived, calling out, "Rat!"

The Rat came at once, and did as the Snake had done, showing the poor man where the money was buried.

"When I need it, I will come for it," said the poor man.

Going next to the Parrot, he called out, "Parrot!" and the bird flew down from the tree-top as soon as he heard the call.

"O Father," said the Parrot, "shall I call together all my family and friends to gather choice rice for you?"

The poor man, seeing that the Parrot was willing and ready to keep his promise, said: "I do not need rice now. If ever I do, I will not forget your offer."

Last of all, the poor man went into the city where the king lived. The king, seated on his great white elephant, was riding through the city. The king saw the poor man, and said to himself: "That poor man has come to ask me for the great riches I promised to give him. I must have his head cut off before he can tell the people how he saved my life when I was the prince."

So the king called his servants to him and said: "You see that poor man over there? Seize him and bind him, beat him at every corner of the street as you march him out of the city, and then chop off his head."

The servants had to obey their king. So they seized and bound the poor man. They beat him at every corner of the street. The poor man did not cry out, but he said, over and over again, "It is better to save poor, weak animals than to save a prince."

At last some wise men among the crowds along the street asked the poor man what prince he had saved. Then the poor man told the whole story, ending with the words, "By saving your king, I brought all this pain upon myself."

The wise men and all the rest of the crowd cried out: "This poor man saved the life of our king, and now the king has ordered him to be killed. How can we be sure that he will not have any, or all, of us killed? Let us kill him." And in their anger they rushed from every side upon the king as he rode on his elephant, and with arrows and stones they killed him then and there.

Then they made the poor man king, and set him to rule over them.

The poor man ruled his people well. One day he decided once more to try the Snake, the Rat, and the Parrot. So, followed by many servants, the king went to where the Snake lived.

At the call of "Snake!" out came the Snake from his hole saying, "Here, O King, is your treasure; take it."

"I will," said the king. "And I want you to come with me."

Then the king had his servants dig up the gold.

Going to where the Rat lived, the king called, "Rat!" Out came the Rat, and bowing low to the king, the Rat said, "Take all the money buried here and have your servants carry it away."

"I will," said the king, and he asked the Rat to go with him and the Snake.

Then the king went to where the Parrot lived, and called, "Parrot!" The Parrot flew down to the king's feet and said, "O King, shall I and my family and my friends gather choice rice for you?"

"Not now, not until rice is needed," said the king. "Will you come with us?" The Parrot was glad to join them.

So with the gold, and the money, and with the Snake, the Rat, and the Parrot as well, the king went back to the city.

The king had the gold and the money hidden away in the palace. He had a tube of gold made for the Snake to live in. He had a glass box made for the Rat's home, and a cage of gold for the Parrot. Each had the food he liked best of all to eat every day, and so these four lived happily all their lives.

from More Jakata Tales by Ellen C. Babbitt published in 1922

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another story in written and musical form :)

A young girl was trudging along a mountain path, trying to reach her grandmother's house. It was bitter cold, and the wind cut like a knife. When she was within sight of her destination, she heard a rustle at her feet.

Looking down, she saw a snake. Before she could move, the snake spoke to her. He said, "I am about to die. It is too cold for me up here, and I am freezing. There is no food in these mountains, and I am starving. Please put me under your coat and take me with you."

"No," replied the girl. "I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite me, and your bite is poisonous."

"No, no," said the snake. "If you help me, you will be my best friend. I will treat you differently."

The little girl sat down on a rock for a moment to rest and think things over. She looked at the beautiful markings on the snake and had to admit that it was the most beautiful snake she had ever seen.

Suddenly, she said, "I believe you. I will save you. All living things deserve to be treated with kindness."

The little girl reached over, put the snake gently under her coat and proceeded toward her grandmother's house.

Within a moment, she felt a sharp pain in her side. The snake had bitten her.

"How could you do this to me?" she cried. "You promised that you would not bite me, and I trusted you!"

"You knew what I was when you picked me up," hissed the snake as he slithered away.

(course in my version the man/woman/child then uses her last bits of strength to beat/stomp the crap out of the snake before she dies...saying if I gotta go so do you......apparently I'm not all that nice)

Here's the musical version of this story.
Love this song but not too crazy about the graphics!

On her way to work one morning
Down the path along side the lake
A tender hearted woman saw a poor half frozen snake
His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew
"Oh well," she cried, "I'll take you in and I'll take care of you"

"Take me in tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in, tender woman," sighed the snake.

Now she wrapped him all cozy in a coverture of silk
And then laid him by the fireside with some honey and some milk
Now she hurried home from work that night as soon as she arrived
She found that pretty snake she'd taken to had been revived.

"Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in, tender woman," sighed the snake

She clutched him to her bosom, "You're so beautiful," she cried
"But if I hadn't brought you in, by now you might have died"
Now she stroked his pretty skin again and then kissed and held him tight
But instead of saying thanks, the snake gave her a vicious bite!

"Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in for heaven's sake
Take me in, tender woman," sighed the snake.

"Now I saved you," cried the woman
And you've bit me, even why?
And you know your bite is poisonous and now I'm going to die"
"Ah shut up, silly woman," said that reptile with a grin
“Now you knew darn well I was a snake before you brought me in "

Please, take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in, tender woman," sighed the snake, sighed the snake

“Take me in tender woman
“Come on in you pretty snake…
Come on in, yeah, come on in you pretty snake…

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I just love they way some folks retell stories!!
This version of Peter Cottontail by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross is a favorite of mine.
Hope you like it!

Don't ya just love these gadgety things??? it just me?? :(


Okay...this is my fave song by them...well mostly sung by Annie Ross.
You really need to listen to it when all three of them are singing it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Journey

A wealthy merchant comes to the town where a Rabbi, famous for his wisdom, lives and he asks to be allowed to meet him.

A meeting is arranged and the merchant is ushered into the Rabbi's house.

When he looks around he is flabergasted.

"Where is your fine furniture? Where is your silver and fine dishes?"

"I might ask you the same thing," the Rabbi says. "Where are your fine things? Where is your silver and dishes and furniture?"

"But, but but..I am am travelling. I cannot be weighed down with those things. I am on a journey! "

"There, I knew you would understand! ...For I too am on a journey."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

ONCE upon a time, ever so many years ago, Truth suddenly vanished from out of the world.

When people perceived this, they were greatly alarmed and at once sent five wise men in search of Truth.
They set out, one in this direction and one in that, all plentifully equipped with traveling expenses and good intentions.
They sought for ten long years.
Then they returned, each separately.
While still at a distance, they waved their hats and shouted that they had found Truth.

The first stepped forward and declared that Truth was Science.
He was not able to finish his report, however; for before he had done, another thrust him aside and shouted that that was a lie, that Truth was Theology and that he had found it.
Now while these two were at loggerheads--for the Science man replied to the attack vigorously--there came a third and said, in beautiful words, that Love was Truth, without a doubt.
Then came the fourth and stated, quite curtly, that he had Truth in his pocket, that it was Gold, and that all the rest was childish nonsense.
At last came the fifth.
He could not stand on his legs, gave a gurgling laugh, and said that Truth was Wine. He had found Truth in Wine, after looking everywhere.

Then the five wise men began to fight, and they pummeled one another so lustily that it was horrible to see.

Science had its head broken, and Love was so greatly ill-treated that it had to change its clothes before it could show itself again in respectable society.

Gold was so thoroughly stripped of every covering that people felt awkward about knowing it; and the bottle broke and Wine flowed away into the mud.

But Theology came off worst of all: everybody had a blow at it and it received such a blasting that it became the laughingstock of all beholders.

And people took sides, some with this one and some with that, and they shouted so loud that they could neither see nor hear for the din.

But far away, at the extreme end of the earth, sat a few and mourned because they thought that Truth had gone to pieces and would never be made whole again.

Now as they sat there, a little girl came running up and said that she had found Truth. If they would just come with her--it was not very far--Truth was sitting in the midst of the world, in a green meadow.

Then there came a pause in the fighting, for the little girl looked so very sweet.
First one went with her; then another; and ever more... At last, they were all in the meadow and there discovered a figure the like of which they had never seen before.

There was no distinguishing whether it was a man or a woman, an adult or a child.

Its forehead was pure as that of one who knows no sin; its eyes deep and serious as those of one who has read into the heart of the whole world.

Its mouth opened with the brightest smile and then quivered with a sadness greater than any could describe.

Its hand was soft as a mother's and strong as the hand of a king; its foot trod the earth firmly, yet crushed not a flower.

And then the figure had large, soft wings, like the birds that fly at night.

Now at they stood there and stared, the figure drew itself erect and cried, in a voice that sounded like bells ringing:

"I am Truth!"

"It's a Fairy Tale!" said Science.

"It's a Fairy Tale!" cried Theology and Love and Gold and Wine.

Then the five wise men and their followers went away, and they continued to fight until the world was shaken to its center.

But a few old and weary men and a few young men with ardent and eager souls and many women and thousands of children with great wide eyes: these remained in the meadow where the Fairy Tale was.

Ewald, Carl. "The Story of a Fairy Tale." Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, translator. 1905.

The story can also be found in Spells of Enchantment: The Wondrous Fairy Tales of Western Culture, edited by Jack Zipes.

I first heard this story told by Jack Zipes when he was a guest on
The Art of Storytelling with Children
He said that he felt this story was very relevant today and I believe that I have to agree with him.

the picture at the top of the blog is In Truth There Is Love by Elvira Amrhein

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Walnuts and Pumpkins: a story & a recipe

Nasreddin Hodja was lying in the shade of an ancient walnut tree.
His body was at rest, but, befitting his calling as an imam, his mind did not relax. Looking up into the mighty tree he considered the greatness and wisdom of Allah.

"Allah is great and Allah is good," said the Hodja, "but was it indeed wise that such a great tree as this be created to bear only tiny walnuts as fruit? Behold the stout stem and strong limbs. They could easily carry the pumpkins that grow from spindly vines in yonder field, vines that cannot begin to bear the weight of their own fruit. Should not walnuts grow on weakly vines and pumpkins on sturdy trees?"

So thinking, the Hodja dosed off, only to be awakened by a walnut that fell from the tree, striking him on his forehead.

"Allah be praised!" he exclaimed, seeing what had happened. "If the world had been created according to my meager wisdom, it would have been a pumpkin that fell from the tree and hit me on the head. It would have killed me for sure! Allah is great! Allah is good! Allah is wise!"

Never again did Nasreddin Hodja question the wisdom of Allah.

I love Nasreddin tales!
Sometimes called Nasreddin or Mulla Nasreddin or Nasreddin Hodja and a host of other name and different spellings but by any name Nasreddin tales are always entertaining and subltly educational.
For more information click here to go to Wikipedia's Nasreddin page

Walnut and Pumpkin Drop Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup solid pack pumpkin puree
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease cookie sheets or you can line them with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in vanilla, egg and pumpkin.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir into mixture until well blended.

If using fresh cranberries cut them in half otherwise stir cranberries into mixture along with the orange zest and walnuts.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Cake is Mine!....a Korean folk tale

Once upon a time an old man lived with his wife.
One day, after he had held a service in memory of his ancestors, one of their neighbours sent them a present of some food.
He sent them cooked rice and vegetables, but only one cake.
They were unwilling to divide it, and so they agreed that the first to speak should forfeit the cake.

So they left it on the table, and sat gazing at it in silence.

Just then a thief broke into the house, and when he saw the old man and his wife sitting there in silence he concluded that they must be blind and deaf.
So he calmly helped himself to everything he could find, and then began a violent assault on the old woman.

But her husband just sat and watched in silence.

At last his wife could stand it no longer.
She shouted at him, "You heartless old man! You sit there quietly while this fellow beats me!"

Then the old man said, "The cake is mine," and coolly popped it into his mouth.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Musical Moment....

Merrie Melodies cartoon featuring "Tales from Vienna Woods" (Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald, Op. 325) with Bugs and Elmer followed by the "Blue Danube" (An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314) by Johann Strauss.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

(another fabulous TEDTalk :P )
David Holt: The stories and song of Appalachia

Folk musician and storyteller David Holt plays the banjo and shares photographs and old wisdom from the Appalachian Mountains. He also demonstrates some unusual instruments like the mouth bow -- and a surprising electric drum kit he calls "thunderwear."
David Holt is also a four-time Grammy Award-winning folk musician.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Iconic Poetry and "If I Controlled the Internet"

TedTalks strike again!!
Winding up National Poetry Month, I have a sample of Storyteller and poet Rives, the star of the special "Ironic Iconic America" and a regular on HBO's Def Poetry Jam.
Here he is at the 2008 TEDTalks giving a 3-minute story of mixed emoticons and at the 2006 TEDTalks reciting If I Controlled the Internet...fabulous!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Still I Rise.....National Poetry Month continues

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Road Not Taken
written by Robert Frost(1915)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I have always Looooooved this poem!!!
But I found out awhile back that apparently it doesn't mean what it appears to mean....Figures!
That would be waaaay to easy.
The word is that...

This poem is usually interpreted as an assertion of individualism, but critic Lawrence Thompson has argued that it is a slightly mocking satire on a perennially hesitant walking partner of Frost's who always wondered what would have happened if he had chosen their path differently.

Hmmm...I like my interpretaion better!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April is National Poetry Month!

I know that all of you are just soooo excited about this announcement.
And you should is your excuse to quote poetry to folks you know and even those you don't...know.
Yep, you have my permission (I know you've been waiting for it) to randomly quote poetry to any and everyone.
Full poems, scraps of poems, children's poems....whatever works for you!
Alrighty then! Now that I've made that announcement, here are a few of my fave poems and throughout the month I will be throwing up a few more....Enjoy!!

"I'm Nobody"

I ’M nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Emily Dickenson


I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:

I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

"A Dream Deferred"

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

"Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.

I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.

I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.

I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.

I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Spindle, The Shuttle, and The Needle

There was once a girl whose father and mother died while she was still a little child. All alone, in a small house at the end of the village, dwelt her godmother, who supported herself by spinning, weaving, and sewing.

The old woman took the forlorn child to live with her, kept her to her work, and educated her in all that is good.

When the girl was fifteen years old, the old woman became ill, called the child to her bedside, and said, "Dear daughter, I feel my end drawing near. I leave you the little house, which will protect you from wind and weather, and my spindle, shuttle, and needle, with which you can earn your bread."
Then she laid her hands on the girl's head, blessed her, and said, "Only preserve the love of God in your heart, and all will go well with you."
Thereupon she closed her eyes, and when she was laid in the earth, the maiden followed the coffin, weeping bitterly, and paid her the last mark of respect.

And now the maiden lived quite alone in the little house, and was industrious, and spun, wove, and sewed, and the blessing of the good old woman was on all that she did.

It seemed as if the flax in the room increased of its own accord, and whenever she wove a piece of cloth or carpet, or had made a shirt, she at once found a buyer who paid her amply for it, so that she was in want of nothing, and even had something to share with others.

About this time, the son of the king was traveling about the country looking for a bride. He was not to choose a poor one, and did not want to have a rich one.

So he said, "She shall be my wife who is the poorest, and at the same time the richest."
When he came to the village where the maiden dwelt, he inquired, as he did wherever he went, who was the richest and also the poorest girl in the place. They first named the richest. The poorest, they said, was the girl who lived in the small house quite at the end of the village.

The rich girl was sitting in all her splendor before the door of her house, and when the prince approached her, she got up, went to meet him, and made him a low curtsy. He looked at her, said nothing, and rode on.

When he came to the house of the poor girl, she was not standing at the door, but sitting in her little room. He stopped his horse, and saw through the window, on which the bright sun was shining, the girl sitting at her spinning-wheel, busily spinning. She looked up, and when she saw that the prince was looking in, she blushed all over her face, let her eyes fall, and went on spinning.
I do not know whether, just at that moment, the thread was quite even, but she went on spinning until the king's son had ridden away again. Then she went to the window, opened it, and said, "It is so warm in this room", and she looked after him as long as she could distinguish the white feathers in his hat.

Then she sat down to work again in her room and went on with her spinning, and a saying which the old woman had often repeated when she was sitting at her work, came into her mind, and she sang these words to herself "Spindle, my spindle, haste, haste thee away, and here to my house bring the wooer, I pray."

And what do you think happened?
The spindle sprang out of her hand in an instant, and out of the door, and when, in her astonishment, she got up and looked after it, she saw that it was dancing out merrily into the open country, and drawing a shining gold thread after it. Before long, it had entirely vanished from her sight.
As she had now no spindle, the girl took the weaver's shuttle in her hand, sat down to her loom, and began to weave. The spindle, however, danced continually onwards, and just as the thread came to an end, reached the prince.
"What do I see," he cried, "the spindle certainly wants to show me the way, turned his horse about, and rode back with the golden thread."

The girl however, was sitting at her work singing, "Shuttle, my shuttle, weave well this day, and guide the wooer to me, I pray."

Immediately the shuttle sprang out of her hand and out by the door. Before the threshold, however, it began to weave a carpet which was more beautiful than the eyes of man had ever yet beheld. Lilies and roses blossomed on both sides of it, and on a golden ground in the center green branches ascended, under which bounded hares and rabbits, stags and deer stretched their heads in between them, brightly-colored birds were sitting in the branches above, they lacked nothing but the gift of song. The shuttle leapt hither and thither, and everything seemed to grow of its own accord.

As the shuttle had run away, the girl sat down to sew. She held the needle in her hand and sang, "Needle, my needle, sharp-pointed and fine, prepare for the wooer this house of mine."
Then the needle leapt out of her fingers, and flew everywhere about the room as quick as lightning. It was just as if invisible spirits were working, it covered tables and benches with green cloth in an instant, and the chairs with velvet, and hung the windows with silken curtains. Hardly had the needle put in the last stitch than the maiden saw through the window the white feathers of the prince, whom the spindle had brought thither by the golden thread.

He alighted, stepped over the carpet into the house, and when he entered the room, there stood the maiden in her poor garments, but she shone out from within them like a rose surrounded by leaves.
"You are the poorest and also the richest", said he to her. "Come with me, you shall be my bride."
She did not speak, but she gave him her hand. Then he gave her a kiss, led her forth, lifted her on to his horse, and took her to the royal castle, where the wedding was solemnized with great rejoicings.

The spindle, shuttle, and needle were preserved in the treasure-chamber, and held in great honor.

written by the Brothers Grimm

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today, March 12th is "Pick a Flower Day"...hmmm or maybe that's "Plant a Flower Day" (whichever!).
Anyway, in honor of this day, I thought I would find a story about a flower.
There's nothin' like a good greek myth.
By the way the official flower for March is the Daffodil.

Daffodil lore:
While daffodils can be taken to say, "My fond hopes have been dashed by your behavior," they mostly say, "You're the only one. The sun is always shining when I'm with you."
As a spring flower that blossoms when the sun begins to shine, it expresses the joy one has when in the presence of one’s partner, signifying love, regard, and respect.

A woman giving daffodils to a man has noticed that he is chivalrous.


Echo was a beautiful nymph, fond of the woods and hills, where she devoted herself to woodland sports. She was a favourite of Diana, and attended her in the chase. But Echo had one failing; she was fond of talking, and whether in chat or argument, would have the last word. One day Juno was seeking her husband, who, she had reason to fear, was amusing himself among the nymphs. Echo by her talk contrived to detain the goddess till the nymphs made their escape. When Juno discovered it, she passed sentence upon Echo in these words: "You shall forfeit the use of that tongue with which you have cheated me, except for that one purpose you are so fond of- reply. You shall still have the last word, but no power to speak first."

This nymph saw Narcissus, a beautiful youth, as he pursued the chase upon the mountains. She loved him and followed his footsteps. O how she longed to address him in the softest accents, and win him to converse! but it was not in her power. She waited with impatience for him to speak first, and had her answer ready. One day the youth, being separated from his companions, shouted aloud, "Who's here?" Echo replied, "Here." Narcissus looked around, but seeing no one, called out, "Come." Echo answered, "Come." As no one came, Narcissus called again, "Why do you shun me?" Echo asked the same question. "Let us join one another," said the youth. The maid answered with all her heart in the same words, and hastened to the spot, ready to throw her arms about his neck. He started back, exclaiming, "Hands off! I would rather die than you should have me!" "Have me," said she; but it was all in vain. He left her, and she went to hide her blushes in the recesses of the woods. From that time forth she lived in caves and among mountain cliffs. Her form faded with grief, till at last all her flesh shrank away. Her bones were changed into rocks and there was nothing left of her but her voice. With that she is still ready to reply to any one who calls her, and keeps up her old habit of having the last word.

Narcissus's cruelty in this case was not the only instance. He shunned all the rest of the nymphs, as he had done poor Echo. One day a maiden who had in vain endeavored to attract him uttered a prayer that he might some time or other feel what it was to love and meet no return of affection. The avenging goddess heard and granted the prayer.

There was a clear fountain, with water like silver, to which the shepherds never drove their flocks, nor the mountain goats resorted, nor any of the beasts of the forests; neither was it defaced with fallen leaves or branches; but the grass grew fresh around it, and the rocks sheltered it from the sun. Hither came one day the youth, fatigued with hunting, heated and thirsty. He stooped down to drink, and saw his own image in the water; he thought it was some beautiful water-spirit living in the fountain. He stood gazing with admiration at those bright eyes, those locks curled like the locks of Bacchus or Apollo, the rounded cheeks, the ivory neck, the parted lips, and the glow of health and exercise over all. He fell in love with himself. He brought his lips near to take a kiss; he plunged his arms in to embrace the beloved object. It fled at the touch, but returned again after a moment and renewed the fascination. He could not tear himself away; he lost all thought of food or rest. while he hovered over the brink of the fountain gazing upon his own image.

He talked with the supposed spirit: "Why, beautiful being, do you shun me? Surely my face is not one to repel you. The nymphs love me, and you yourself look not indifferent upon me. When I stretch forth my arms you do the same; and you smile upon me and answer my beckonings with the like." His tears fell into the water and disturbed the image. As he saw it depart, he exclaimed, "Stay, I entreat you! Let me at least gaze upon you, if I may not touch you." With this, and much more of the same kind, he cherished the flame that consumed him, so that by degrees be lost his colour, his vigour, and the beauty which formerly had so charmed the nymph Echo.

She kept near him, however, and when he exclaimed, "Alas! alas!" she answered him with the same words. He pined away and died; and when his shade passed the Stygian river, it leaned over the boat to catch a look of itself in the waters. The nymphs mourned for him, especially the water-nymphs; and when they smote their breasts Echo smote hers also. They prepared a funeral pile and would have burned the body, but it was nowhere to be found; but in its place a flower, purple within, and surrounded with white leaves, which bears the name and preserves the memory of Narcissus.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

What's Opera...Doc?

I decided that we all needed a little culture (okay maybe just me) so, of course, I thought of opera and Bugs Bunny!
And...YES it is related to storytelling.
Opera tells a story...nyaaah, nyaah!!

And now a little ballet (yeah,'s tells a story too...I told you everything is storytelling!)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Pancake...a Norwegian Folk Tale

(in honor of Pancake Day, February 24th)

Once upon a time there was a good housewife, who had seven hungry children. One day she was busy frying pancakes for them, and this time she had used new milk in the making of them. One was lying in the pan, frizzling away -- ah! so beautiful and thick -- it was a pleasure to look at it. The children were standing round the fire, and the husband sat in the corner and looked on.

"Oh, give me a bit of pancake, mother, I am so hungry!" said one child.

"Ah, do! dear mother," said the second.

"Ah, do! dear, good mother," said the third.

"Ah, do! dear, good, kind mother," said the fourth.

"Ah, do! dear, good, kind, nice mother," said the fifth.

"Ah, do! dear, good, kind, nice, sweet mother," said the sixth.

"Ah, do! dear, good, kind, nice, sweet, darling mother," said the seventh. And thus they were all begging for pancakes, the one more prettily than the other, because they were so hungry, and such good little children.

"Yes, children dear, wait a bit until it turns itself," she answered -- she ought to have said "until I turn it" -- "and then you shall all have pancakes, beautiful pancakes, made of new milk -- only look how thick and happy it lies there."

When the pancake heard this, it got frightened, and all of a sudden, it turned itself and wanted to get out of the pan, but it fell down in it again on the other side, and when it had been fried a little on that side too, it felt a little stronger in the back, jumped out on the floor, and rolled away, like a wheel, right through the door and down the road.

"Halloo!" cried the good wife, and away she ran after it, with the frying pan in one hand and the ladle in the other, as fast as she could, and the children behind her, while the husband came limping after, last of all.

"Halloo, won't you stop? Catch it, stop it. Halloo there!" they all screamed, the one louder than the other, trying to catch it on the run, but the pancake rolled and rolled, and before long, it was so far ahead, that they could not see it, for the pancake was much smarter on its legs than any of them.

When it had rolled a time, it met a man.

"Good day, pancake!" said the man.

"Well met, Manny Panny," said the pancake.

"Dear pancake," said the man, "don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you."

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, I must run away from you too, Manny Panny," said the pancake, and rolled on and on, until it met a hen.

"Good day, pancake," said the hen.

"Good day, Henny Penny," said the pancake.

"My dear pancake, don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you," said the hen.

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, and from Manny Panny, I must run away from you too, Henny Penny," said the pancake, and rolled on like a wheel down the road. Then it met a cock.

"Good day, pancake," said the cock.

"Good day, Cocky Locky," said the pancake.

"My dear pancake, don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you," said the cock.

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, from Manny Panny, and Henny Penny, I must run away from you too, Cocky Locky," said the pancake, and rolled and rolled on as fast as it could. When it had rolled a long time, it met a duck.

"Good day, pancake," said the duck.

"Good day, Ducky Lucky," said the pancake.

"My dear pancake, don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you," said the duck.

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, from Manny Panny, and Henny Penny, and Cocky Locky, I must run away from you too, Ducky Lucky," said the pancake, and with that it fell to rolling and rolling as fast as ever it could. When it had rolled a long, long time, it met a goose.

Good day, pancake," said the goose.

"Good day, Goosey Poosey," said the pancake.

"My dear pancake, don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you," said the goose.

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, from Manny Panny, and Henny Penny, and Cocky Locky, and Ducky Lucky, I must run away from you too, Goosey Poosey," said the pancake, and away it rolled. So when it had rolled a long, very long time, it met a gander.

Good day, pancake," said the gander.

"Good day, Gander Pander," said the pancake.

"My dear pancake, don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you," said the gander.

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, from Manny Panny, and Henny Penny, and Cocky Locky, and Ducky Lucky, and Goosey Poosey, I must run away from you too, Gander Pander," said the pancake, and rolled and rolled as fast as it could. When it had rolled on a long, long time, it met a pig.

Good day, pancake," said the pig.

"Good day, Piggy Wiggy," said the pancake, and began to roll on faster than ever.

Nay, wait a bit," said the pig, "you needn't be in such a hurry-scurry; we two can walk quietly together and keep each other company through the wood, because they say it isn't very safe there."

The pancake thought there might be something in that, and so they walked together through the wood; but when they had gone some distance, they came to a brook.

The pig was so fat it wasn't much trouble for him to swim across, but the pancake couldn't get over.

"Sit on my snout," said the pig, "and I will ferry you over."

The pancake did so.

"Ouf, ouf," grunted the pig, and swallowed the pancake in one gulp, and as the pancake couldn't get any farther -- well, you see we can't go on with this story any farther, either.

(Story found in Round the Yule Log: Norwegian Folk and Fairy Tales published in 1881, written by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, Pannekaken, translated by H. L. Brækstad)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Day for Love....

This has been one of my favorite love poems since I read it in grade school....

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..."
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints,
I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life!

And, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Most Wonderful.......a Love Story...sorta

A Bridegroom for Miss Mole...a tale from Korea

By the river Kingin stands the great stone image, or Miryek, that was cut out of the solid rock ages ago. Its base lies far beneath the ground and around its granite cap, many feet square, the storm clouds gather and play as they roll down the mountain.

Down under the earth, near this mighty colossus, lived a soft-furred mole and his wife. One day a daughter was born to them. It was the most wonderful mole baby that ever was known. The father was so proud of his lovely offspring that he determined to marry her only to the grandest thing in the whole universe. Nothing else would satisfy his pride in the beautiful creature he called his own.

Father Mole sought long and hard to find out where and what, in all nature, was considered the most wonderful. He called in his neighbors and talked over the matter with them. Then he visited the king of the moles and asked the wise ones in his court to decide for him. One and all agreed that the Great Blue Sky was above everything else in glory and greatness.

So up to the Sky the Mole Father went and offered his daughter to be the bride of the Great Blue, telling how, with his vast azure robe, the Sky had the reputation, both on the earth and under it, of being the greatest thing in the universe.

But, much to the Mole Father's surprise, the Sky declined. "No, I am not the greatest. I must refer you to the Sun. He controls me, for he can make it day or night as he pleases. Only when he rises, can I wear my bright colors. When he goes down, darkness covers the world, and men do not see me at all, but the stars instead. Better take your charming daughter to him."

So to the Sun went Mr. Mole and though afraid to look directly into his face, he made his plea. He would have the Sun marry his attractive daughter. But the mighty luminary, that usually seemed so fierce, dazzling men's eyesight and able to burn up the very grass of the field, seemed suddenly very modest. Instead of accepting at once the offer, the Sun said to the father, "Alas! I am not master. The Cloud is greater than I, for he is able to cover me up and make me invisible for days and weeks. I am not as powerful as you think me to be. Let me advise you to offer your daughter to the Cloud."

Surprised at this, the Mole Father looked quite disappointed. Now he was in doubt as to what time he had best propose to the Cloud, -- when it was silvery white and glistening in a summer afternoon, or when it was black and threatening a tempest. However, his ambition to get for his daughter the mightiest possible bridegroom prompted him to wait until the lightnings flashed and the thunder rolled. Then, appearing before the terrible dark Cloud that shot out fire, he told of the charms of his wonderful daughter and offered her as bride.

"And why do you come to me?" asked the Cloud, its face inky black with the wrath of a storm and its eyes red with the fires of lightning.

"Because you are not only the greatest thing in the universe, but you have proved it by your terrible power," replied the Father Mole.

At this the Cloud ceased its rolling, stopped its fire and thunder and almost laughed. "So far from being the greatest thing in the world, I am not even my own master. See already how the Wind is driving me. Soon I shall be invisible, dissolved in air. Let me commend you to the Wind. The Master of the Cloud will make a grand son-in-law."

Thereupon Papa Mole waited until the Wind calmed down, after blowing away the clouds. Then telling of his daughter's accomplishments and loveliness, he made proffer of his only child as bride to the Wind. But the Wind was not half so proud as the Mole Father had expected to find him. Very modest, almost bashful seemed the Wind, as he confessed that before Miryek, the colossal stone image, his power was naught.

"Why, I smite that Great Stone Face and its eyes do not even blink. I roar in his ears, but he minds it not. I try to make him sneeze, but he will not. Smite him as I may, he still stands unmoved and smiling. Alas, no. I am not the grandest thing in the universe, while Miryek stands. Go to him. He alone is worthy to marry your daughter."

By this time the Mole Father was not only footsore and weary, but much discouraged also. Evidently all appreciated his shining daughter; but would he be able, after all, to get her a worthy husband?

He rested himself a while and then proceeded to Miryek, the colossus of granite as large as a lighthouse, its head far up in the air, but with ears ready to hear. The Mole Father squeaked out compliments to the image as being by common confession the greatest thing on earth. He presented his request for a son-in-law and then in detail mentioned the accomplishments of his daughter, sounding her praises at great length. Indeed, he almost ruined his case by talking so long.

With stony patience, Miryek listened to the proud father with a twinkle in his white granite eyes. When his lips moved, he was heard to say, "Fond Parent, what you say is true. I am great. I care not for the sky day or night, for I remain the same in daylight and darkness. I fear not the sun, that cannot melt me, nor the frost that is not able to make me crumble. Cold or hot, in summer or in winter time, I remain unchanged. The clouds come and go, but they cannot move me. Their fire and noise, lightning and thunder, I fear not. Yes, I am great." Then the stone lips closed again.

"You will make, then, a good bridegroom for my daughter? You will marry her, I understand?" asked the proud father as his hopes began to rise, though he was still doubtful.

"I would gladly do so, if I were greatest. But I am not," said Miryek. "Down under my feet is the Mole. He digs with his shovel-like hands and makes burrows day and night. His might I cannot resist. Soon he shall undermine my base and I shall topple down and lie like common stone along the earth. Yes I by universal confession, the Mole is the greatest thing in the universe and to him I yield. Better marry your daughter to him."

So after all his journeying, the lovely daughter's father sought no further. Advised on all sides, and opinion being unanimous, he found out that the Mole was the greatest thing in the universe. His daughter's bridegroom was found at home and of the same family of creatures. He married her to a young and handsome Mole, and great was the joy and rejoicing at the wedding. The pair were well-mated and lived happily ever afterward.

found in The Unmannerly Tiger and Other Korean Tales written by William Elliot Griffis published in 1911

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wonderful Fairytale

Saturday, January 24, 2009

TET, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year 2009, begins January 26th.
2009 is the Year of the Water Buffalo.
more information about the Vietnamese New Year can be found here
and here

Emperor Hung-Vuong had many sons.
Some pursued literary careers. Others excelled in martial arts.
The youngest prince named Tiet-Lieu, however, loved neither.
Instead, he and his wife and their children chose the countryside where they farmed the land.

One day, toward the end of the year, the emperor met with all his sons. He told them whoever brought him the most special and unusual food would be made the new emperor. Almost immediately, the princes left for their homes and started looking for the most delicious food to offer the emperor. Some went hunting in the forests and brought home birds and animals which they prepared into the most palatable dishes. Some others sailed out to the open sea, trying to catch fish, lobsters and other much loved sea food. Neither the rough sea nor the violent weather could stop them from looking for the best gifts to please the emperor.

In his search, Tiet-Lieu went back to the countryside. He saw that the rice in his paddy fields was ripe and ready to be harvested, Walking by a glutinous rice field, he picked some golden grains on a long stalk. He brought them close to his nose and he could smell a delicate aroma.

His entire family then set out to harvest the rice, Tiet-Lieu himself ground the glutinous rice grains into fine flour. His wife mixed it with water into a soft paste. His children helped by building a fire and wrapping the cakes with leaves. In no time, they finished, and in front of them lay two kinds of cakes: one was round and the other was square in shape.

The round cake was made with glutinous rice dough and was called "banh day" by Tiet-Lieu. He named the square shaped cake "banh chung" which he made with rice, green beans wrapped in leaves. Everybody was extremely happy with the new kind of cakes.

On the first day of Spring, the princes took the gifts of their labor and love to the emperor. One carried a delicious dish of steamed fish and mushrooms. Another brought with him a roasted peacock and some lobsters. All the food was beautifully cooked.

When it was Tiet-Lieu's turn to present his gifts, he carried the "banh chung" and his wife carried the "banh day" to the emperor. Seeing Tiet-Lieu's simple offerings, other princes sneered at them. But after tasting all the food brought to court by his sons, the emperor decided that the first prize should be awarded to Tiet-Lieu.

The emperor then said that his youngest son's gifts were not only the purest, but also the most meaningful because Tiet-Lieu had used nothing except rice which was the basic foodstuff of the people to make them. The emperor gave up the throne and make Tiet-Lieu the new emperor. All the other princes bowed to show respect and congratulated the new emperor.


Rice cake (or Banh Chung) and Banh Day are two types of delicacies which are very popular with the Vietnamese people. Banh Day is served regularly at festivals and ceremonies. It is a rounded, convex cake of glutinous or nep rice, which resembles white dough, soft and sticky. Its cupola-shaped top is said to resemble the shape of the heavenly vault. Banh Chung is served particularly at Vietnamese New Year's festival, which occurs during the first three days of the first month of the lunar calendar. It is a square cake, wrapped in banana leaves and tied with lacings of flexible bamboo slivers. It is a very rich food for the interior contains a filling of bean paste to which may be added small bits of pork meat, both fat and lean. This filling, which is amply seasoned, is pressed between layers of glutinous rice. Its square shape is considered a symbol of the thankfulness of the Vietnamese people for the great abundance of the Earth, which has supplied them with nutritious food throughout the four seasons of the year.

story and info found @

I've provided 2 Bahn Chung Recipes and one really wonderful Youtube vid.
Both recipes take HOURS to prepare. The vid shows a woman preparing the leaves and making the rice cakes.

Very interesting vid, showing the use of leaves to make a box for the rice cake.

Banh Chung
(Vietnamese New Year's cake)

Preparation time: 45 to 55 minutes
(plus overnight soaking)
Cooking time: 4 3/4 hours
(plus 1 hour to cool)

2 cups sticky rice
1/4 cup dried mung beans, hulled
6 ounces boneless pork shoulder or roast, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup water
Plastic wrap
Aluminum foil

How to make vietnamese New Year's cake (banh chung)
Place rice in one bowl and mung beans in another. Cover each with water and soak overnight. (*)
In a large bowl, combine pork, onions, fish sauce, and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes.
While pork mixture is marinating, drain rice and beans thoroughly. Add salt to rice and stir well.

In a skillet or wok, heat oil over medium heat. Add pork mixture and stir-fry until meat is cooked through but still tender, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine mung beans and about 1 cup water. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, or until soft. Remove from heat, drain, and mash beans with a potato masher or fork.

On a countertop, spread out a piece of plastic wrap about 17 inches square. On top of this, place a sheet of aluminum foil of the same size.
Place almost half of the sticky rice in the middle of the foil and shape rice into a square layer.
Top rice with a layer of beans, using half of them.
Place pork slices on top of beans.
Add remaining beans and top off with most of the remaining rice.

Wrap cake by bringing together two edges of foil and plastic wrap. Fold edges over twice and flatten against the side of the packet
Tuck remaining rice into the two open ends of the packet, covering up beans and meat. Fold the open ends as if you were wrapping a gift.

Place packet, folded side down, on another large sheet of plastic wrap and wrap tightly.
Tie securely with a long piece of heavy string or twine, lengthwise and crosswise. The packet should be square or rectangular.

Place packet in a large stockpot full of water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 4 hours, adding water if necessary.
Remove from heat and cool for 1 hour.

To serve, slice wrapped packet into 4 slices. Unwrap, arrange on a plate, and serve.
Serves 4

(*) When traditional banh chung is prepared in Vietnam, the rice absorbs a slight green color from the banana leaves in which the cakes are wrapped. If youlike a little color in your dish, simply add a drop of green food coloring to the rice and water before leaving to soak.
recipe found at

Banh Chung (Vietnamese Rice Cake)
Recipe #110166 | 7 hours | 1 hour prep |
Vietnamese Lunar New Year(Tet) will never be complete without this cake. It's very heavy, very filling. It takes a LONG time to cook. You read right that it takes 6 hours. And overnight soaking of rice and beans!
SERVES 8 (change servings and units)

200 g glutinous rice, soaked overnight
100-150 g mung beans, soaked overnight
100 g pork, cut into chunks,seasoned with
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

1) You will also need: Strings and 6 phrynium leaves or aluminum foil can be used as substitute.
2) Steam or boil mung bean with half a tsp of salt until soft, may take up to 45 minutes depending on how large your steamer is.
3) Smash bean thoroughly.
4) Place 2 leaves in one direction, slightly overlapping, then 2 perpendicular, also overlapping, and the last layer like the first.
5) If use aluminum foil, place them crossing each other.
6) Place half of the rice on the leaves, topped with half of the mung beans.
7) Lay the pork on top of the beans, and then add the last of the beans followed by last of the rice.
8) Fold the leaves/foils over the cake very tightly into a square, use string to secure the cake.
9) Place in a large pot, cover with water and boil for about 6 hours.
10) Add water every hour if necessary.
11) After 6 hours or so, remove the cake, submerge it into cold water for a few minutes.
12) The cake lasts up to 10 days on a cool dry place.
13) The easiest way to cut up the cake is to open it and use the string to cut it up into 8 portions.
14) Best served with pickled onions.

recipe found at

Another good Banh Chung recipe with great pics including the cooked Banh Chung shown here @ This recipe also includes lots of tips on serving and other stuff.

You can also check out VietworldKitchen for info on cooking and eating Banh Chung

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Universe....

The universe is made of stories, not atoms.
Muriel Rukeyser

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Two fish lived in a pond.
Their names were Satabuddhi (having the understanding of a hundred) and Sahasrabuddhi (having the understanding of a thousand).
The two of them had a frog for a friend, whose name was Ekabuddhi (having the understanding of one).

For a time they would enjoy friendly conversation on the bank, and then they would return to the water. One day when they had gathered for conversation, some fishermen came by just as the sun was setting. They were carrying nets in their hands and many dead fish on their heads.

When the fishermen saw the pond, they said to one another, "There seem to be a lot of fish in this pond, and the water is very low. Let us come back here tomorrow morning!" After saying this, they went home.

These words struck the three friends like a thunderbolt, and they took counsel with one another.

The frog said, "Oh, my dear Satabuddhi and Sahasrabuddhi, what shall we do? Should we flee, or stay here?"

Hearing this, Sahasrabuddhi laughed and said, "Oh, my friend, don't be afraid of words alone! They probably will not come back. But even if they do come back, I will be able to protect myself and you as well, through the power of my understanding, for I know many pathways through the water."

After hearing this, Satabuddhi said, "Yes, what Sahasrabuddhi says is correct, for one rightly says: Where neither the wind nor the sun's rays have found a way, intelligent understanding will quickly make a path. And also: Everything on earth is subject to the understanding of those with intelligence. Why should one abandon the place of one's birth that has been passed down from generation to generation, just because of words? We must not retreat a single step! I will protect you through the power of my understanding."

The frog said, "I have but one wit, and it is advising me to flee. This very day I shall go with my wife to another pond."

After saying this, as soon as it was night, the frog went to another pond.

Early the next day the fishermen came like servants of the god of death and spread their nets over the pond. All the fish, turtles, frogs, crabs, and other water creatures were caught in the nets and captured, also Satabuddhi and Sahasrabuddhi, although they fled, and through their knowledge of the various paths escaped for a while by swimming to and fro. But they too, together with their wives, fell into a net and were killed.

That afternoon the fishermen happily set forth toward home. Because of his weight, one of them carried Satabuddhi on his head. They tied Sahasrabuddhi onto a string and dragged him along behind.

The frog Ekabuddhi, who had climbed onto the bank of his pond, said to his wife, "Look, dear! Mr. Hundred-Wit lies on someone's head, and Mr. Thousand-Wit is hanging from a string. But Mr. Single-Wit, my dear, is playing here in the clear water."

Here's a good rule of thumb: Too clever is dumb.
(Ogden Nash)