Category Archives: Friday Folktales

Prince Hayachinth and the dear little princess

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Once upon a time there lived a king who was deeply in love with a princess, but she could not marry anyone, because she was under an enchantment. So the King set out to seek a fairy, and asked what he could do to win the Princess’s love. The Fairy said to him:

“You know that the Princess has a great cat which she is very fond of. Whoever is clever enough to tread on that cat’s tail is the man she is destined to marry.”

The King said to himself that this would not be very difficult, and he left the Fairy, determined to grind the cat’s tail to powder rather than not tread on it at all.

You may imagine that it was not long before he went to see the Princess, and puss, as usual, marched in before him, arching his back. The King took a long step, and quite thought he had the tail under his foot, but the cat turned round so sharply that he only trod on air. And so it went on for eight days, till the King began to think that this fatal tail must be full of quicksilver—it was never still for a moment.

At last, however, he was lucky enough to come upon puss fast asleep and with his tail conveniently spread out. So the King, without losing a moment, set his foot upon it heavily.

With one terrific yell the cat sprang up and instantly changed into a tall man, who, fixing his angry eyes upon the King, said:

“You shall marry the Princess because you have been able to break the enchantment, but I will have my revenge. You shall have a son, who will never be happy until he finds out that his nose is too long, and if you ever tell anyone what I have just said to you, you shall vanish away instantly, and no one shall ever see you or hear of you again.”

Though the King was horribly afraid of the enchanter, he could not help laughing at this threat.

“If my son has such a long nose as that,” he said to himself, “he must always see it or feel it; at least, if he is not blind or without hands.”

But, as the enchanter had vanished, he did not waste any more time in thinking, but went to seek the Princess, who very soon consented to marry him. But after all, they had not been married very long when the King died, and the Queen had nothing left to care for but her little son, who was called Hyacinth. The little Prince had large blue eyes, the prettiest eyes in the world, and a sweet little mouth, but, alas! his nose was so enormous that it covered half his face. The Queen was inconsolable when she saw this great nose, but her ladies assured her that it was not really as large as it looked; that it was a Roman nose, and you had only to open any history to see that every hero has a large nose. The Queen, who was devoted to her baby, was pleased with what they told her, and when she looked at Hyacinth again, his nose certainly did not seem to her _quite_ so large.

The Prince was brought up with great care; and, as soon as he could speak, they told him all sorts of dreadful stories about people who had short noses. No one was allowed to come near him whose nose did not more or less resemble his own, and the courtiers, to get into favor with the Queen, took to pulling their babies’ noses several times every day to make them grow long. But, do what they would, they were nothing by comparison with the Prince’s.

When he grew sensible he learned history; and whenever any great prince or beautiful princess was spoken of, his teachers took care to tell him that they had long noses.

His room was hung with pictures, all of people with very large noses; and the Prince grew up so convinced that a long nose was a great beauty, that he would not on any account have had his own a single inch shorter!

When his twentieth birthday was passed the Queen thought it was time that he should be married, so she commanded that the portraits of several princesses should be brought for him to see, and among the others was a picture of the Dear Little Princess!

Now, she was the daughter of a great king, and would some day possess several kingdoms herself; but Prince Hyacinth had not a thought to spare for anything of that sort, he was so much struck with her beauty. The Princess, whom he thought quite charming, had, however, a little saucy nose, which, in her face, was the prettiest thing possible, but it was a cause of great embarrassment to the courtiers, who had got into such a habit of laughing at little noses that they sometimes found themselves laughing at hers before they had time to think; but this did not do at all before the Prince, who quite failed to see the joke, and actually banished two of his courtiers who had dared to mention disrespectfully the Dear Little Princess’s tiny nose!

The others, taking warning from this, learned to think twice before they spoke, and one even went so far as to tell the Prince that, though it was quite true that no man could be worth anything unless he had a long nose, still, a woman’s beauty was a different thing; and he knew a learned man who understood Greek and had read in some old manuscripts that the beautiful Cleopatra herself had a “tip-tilted” nose!

The Prince made him a splendid present as a reward for this good news, and at once sent ambassadors to ask the Dear Little Princess in marriage. The King, her father, gave his consent; and Prince Hyacinth, who, in his anxiety to see the Princess, had gone three leagues to meet her was just advancing to kiss her hand when, to the horror of all who stood by, the enchanter appeared as suddenly as a flash of lightning, and, snatching up the Dear Little Princess, whirled her away out of their sight!

The Prince was left quite unconsolable, and declared that nothing should induce him to go back to his kingdom until he had found her again, and refusing to allow any of his courtiers to follow him, he mounted his horse and rode sadly away, letting the animal choose his own path.

So it happened that he came presently to a great plain, across which he rode all day long without seeing a single house, and horse and rider were terribly hungry, when, as the night fell, the Prince caught sight of a light, which seemed to shine from a cavern.

He rode up to it, and saw a little old woman, who appeared to be at least a hundred years old.

She put on her spectacles to look at Prince Hyacinth, but it was quite a long time before she could fix them securely because her nose was so very short.

The Prince and the Fairy (for that was who she was) had no sooner looked at one another than they went into fits of laughter, and cried at the same moment, “Oh, what a funny nose!”

“Not so funny as your own,” said Prince Hyacinth to the Fairy; “but, madam, I beg you to leave the consideration of our noses—such as they are—and to be good enough to give me something to eat, for I am starving, and so is my poor horse.”

“With all my heart,” said the Fairy. “Though your nose is so ridiculous you are, nevertheless, the son of my best friend. I loved your father as if he had been my brother. Now _he_ had a very handsome nose!”

“And pray what does mine lack?” said the Prince.

“Oh! it doesn’t _lack_ anything,” replied the Fairy. “On the contrary quite, there is only too much of it. But never mind, one may be a very worthy man though his nose is too long. I was telling you that I was your father’s friend; he often came to see me in the old times, and you must know that I was very pretty in those days; at least, he used to say so. I should like to tell you of a conversation we had the last time I ever saw him.”

“Indeed,” said the Prince, “when I have supped it will give me the greatest pleasure to hear it; but consider, madam, I beg of you, that I have had nothing to eat to-day.”

“The poor boy is right,” said the Fairy; “I was forgetting. Come in, then, and I will give you some supper, and while you are eating I can tell you my story in a very few words—for I don’t like endless tales myself. Too long a tongue is worse than too long a nose, and I remember when I was young that I was so much admired for not being a great chatterer. They used to tell the Queen, my mother, that it was so. For though you see what I am now, I was the daughter of a great king. My father——”

“Your father, I dare say, got something to eat when he was hungry!” interrupted the Prince.

“Oh! certainly,” answered the Fairy, “and you also shall have supper directly. I only just wanted to tell you——”

“But I really cannot listen to anything until I have had something to eat,” cried the Prince, who was getting quite angry; but then, remembering that he had better be polite as he much needed the Fairy’s help, he added:

“I know that in the pleasure of listening to you I should quite forget my own hunger; but my horse, who cannot hear you, must really be fed!”

The Fairy was very much flattered by this compliment, and said, calling to her servants:

“You shall not wait another minute, you are so polite, and in spite of the enormous size of your nose you are really very agreeable.”

“Plague take the old lady! How she does go on about my nose!” said the Prince to himself. “One would almost think that mine had taken all the extra length that hers lacks! If I were not so hungry I would soon have done with this chatterpie who thinks she talks very little! How stupid people are not to see their own faults! That comes of being a princess: she has been spoiled by flatterers, who have made her believe that she is quite a moderate talker!”

Meanwhile the servants were putting the supper on the table, and the prince was much amused to hear the Fairy who asked them a thousand questions simply for the pleasure of hearing herself speak; especially he noticed one maid who, no matter what was being said, always contrived to praise her mistress’s wisdom.

“Well!” he thought, as he ate his supper, “I’m very glad I came here. This just shows me how sensible I have been in never listening to flatterers. People of that sort praise us to our faces without shame, and hide our faults or change them into virtues. For my part I never will be taken in by them. I know my own defects, I hope.”

Poor Prince Hyacinth! He really believed what he said, and hadn’t an idea that the people who had praised his nose were laughing at him, just as the Fairy’s maid was laughing at her; for the Prince had seen her laugh slyly when she could do so without the Fairy’s noticing her.

However, he said nothing, and presently, when his hunger began to be appeased, the Fairy said:

“My dear Prince, might I beg you to move a little more that way, for your nose casts such a shadow that I really cannot see what I have on my plate. Ah! thanks. Now let us speak of your father. When I went to his Court he was only a little boy, but that is forty years ago, and I have been in this desolate place ever since. Tell me what goes on nowadays; are the ladies as fond of amusement as ever? In my time one saw them at parties, theatres, balls, and promenades every day. Dear me! _what_ a long nose you have! I cannot get used to it!”

“Really, madam,” said the Prince, “I wish you would leave off mentioning my nose. It cannot matter to you what it is like. I am quite satisfied with it, and have no wish to have it shorter. One must take what is given one.”

“Now you are angry with me, my poor Hyacinth,” said the Fairy, “and I assure you that I didn’t mean to vex you; on the contrary, I wished to do you a service. However, though I really cannot help your nose being a shock to me, I will try not to say anything about it. I will even try to think that you have an ordinary nose. To tell the truth, it would make three reasonable ones.”

The Prince, who was no longer hungry, grew so impatient at the Fairy’s continual remarks about his nose that at last he threw himself upon his horse and rode hastily away. But wherever he came in his journeyings he thought the people were mad, for they all talked of his nose, and yet he could not bring himself to admit that it was too long, he had been so used all his life to hear it called handsome.

The old Fairy, who wished to make him happy, at last hit upon a plan. She shut the Dear Little Princess up in a palace of crystal, and put this palace down where the Prince would not fail to find it. His joy at seeing the Princess again was extreme, and he set to work with all his might to try to break her prison; but in spite of all his efforts he failed utterly. In despair he thought at least that he would try to get near enough to speak to the Dear Little Princess, who, on her part, stretched out her hand that he might kiss it; but turn which way he might, he never could raise it to his lips, for his long nose always prevented it. For the first time he realized how long it really was, and exclaimed:

“Well, it must be admitted that my nose _is_ too long!”

In an instant the crystal prison flew into a thousand splinters, and the old Fairy, taking the Dear Little Princess by the hand, said to the Prince:

“Now, say if you are not very much obliged to me. Much good it was for me to talk to you about your nose! You would never have found out how extraordinary it was if it hadn’t hindered you from doing what you wanted to. You see how self-love keeps us from knowing our own defects of mind and body. Our reason tries in vain to show them to us; we refuse to see them till we find them in the way of our interests.”

Prince Hyacinth, whose nose was now just like anyone’s else, did not fail to profit by the lesson he had received. He married the Dear Little Princess, and they lived happily ever after.

 Le Prince Desir et la Princesse Mignonne. Par Madame Leprince de Beaumont.

The strange judgment of Karakoush.”

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Long ago a sultan known as Saladin appointed a man called Karakoush to be the governor of Cairo. For many years, Karakoush acted as judge in that land as well.

Now one day a thief broke into the house of a merchant to steal as many goods as he could find inside. He climbed over the wall and was prying open a window, when the window broke loose. Before he could steady himself, the thief tumbled right through that window and fell, head over heels, onto the hard floor below.

He cried out in pain, for he had fallen on his leg, and when he tried to stand, he realized his leg was broken.

When the merchant came home and discovered the thief, he caught him easily and shouted, “Come with me to the courthouse!” Off they went, the poor thief crying in agony as he hobbled along on his broken leg.

Karakoush was sitting in court, and when the two men arrived, the merchant rushed in and cried, “Hear this case.”

“One at a time,” the guards said. “One at a time!” And so the merchant told his side of the story.

Then the thief painfully hobbled before the judge. “I believe it is I who have a case, your honor,” he said. “I was only trying to climb into his house, but the merchant’s window broke, and so I fell inside. I am the injured one!”

“What is it you wish from me?” Karakoush asked the thief.

“Fine this merchant! He must pay for my medical care. After all, his house is at fault. He should be punished.”

The merchant was aghast, but he was also afraid, for Karakoush was known to make peculiar judgments. “He is the thief,” the merchant argued. “If he hadn’t tried to break into my house, he wouldn’t have broken his leg.”

“Ah, yes,” said Karakoush, “but this man is correct. The window that caused this man to fall and break his leg is your window, and so you’re at fault.”

The merchant trembled with indignation, but he knew — just as everyone knew — that there was no use arguing with Karakoush. The man had his own brand of logic. The merchant was quiet a moment, but then he had an idea.

“Sir,” he said, “that broken window is not my fault. I paid a great deal of money to the carpenter who built my house. He should have made a window that would not break. He is obviously the criminal.”

“I agree,” said Karakoush. Then he turned to his guards. “Bring the carpenter to this courthouse.”

The guards hurried to the village, and soon they returned with the carpenter.

Karakoush glared at the man. “The owner of this house claimshe paid you to construct his house,” he said.

“That is true,” the carpenter responded.

“Why did you build a window so weak it broke when a thief tried to open it?”

The carpenter also feared the judgment of Karakoush, and so he too began to tremble, but then he had an idea. “I cannot be responsible,” he said, “for as I was hammering the frame into that window, a woman in an exquisite dress walked past. She looked so beautiful I couldn’t help but be distracted by her. Surely she is to blame.”

“Bring this woman to the court,” Karakoush commanded his guards.

The guards set off to find the woman who had distracted the carpenter who had built the faulty window that had broken and caused the thief to fall and break his leg.

When the woman heard the carpenter’s accusation, she too was afraid, for she understood that Karakoush’s judgments often didn’t make sense. “Your honor,” she said, bowing, “my beauty is from Allah, but surely Allah cannot be blamed.”

“Of course not!” Karakoush boomed. “But what about that dress you wore?”

This gave the woman an idea. “Ah, that dress, yes it is indeed a marvel. The tailor made that dress. He must be to blame.”

“Bring the tailor to this court!” ordered Karakoush, and soon the tailor stood before the judge, wondering what punishment he might soon face.

“You made a dress so beautiful that this woman distracted the carpenter, so he built a faulty window on the merchant’s house, a window that was not strong enough to stop a thief from falling in and breaking his leg when he tried to pry it open.”

The tailor stared in disbelief at Karakoush. He did not know what to say. “Sir, you cannot be serious. That is a foolhardy claim!”

Karakoush was furious when he heard the tailor’s words. “No one speaks back to this judge,” he cried. “Imprison this man!”

The guards hastily led the tailor to the prison door, but the door to the cell was too low, the tailor too tall. Even when he bent his knees, he could not fit inside the prison cell. So the guards rushed back to Karakoush. “Your honor,” they said, “we apologize, but the tailor doesn’t fit inside our prison.”

“Then find a tailor who does!” Karakoush bellowed, and the guards rushed to the village. Just as the judge had demanded, they found a small tailor, and though he protested, and was of course innocent, they locked him inside the prison.

The merchant and the carpenter and the woman and the tailor hurried home. The thief, pleased to be free, hobbled away, grateful for the judgment of this strange man.

And ever since that day, whenever people hear of a foolish or silly judgment, they say it is like “the judgment of Karakoush.”

Snow white and Rose red

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From the Grim Brothers

There was once a poor Widow who lived alone in her hut with her two children, who were called Snow-White and Rose-Red, because they were like the flowers which bloomed on two rosebushes which grew before the cottage. But they were two as pious, good, industrious, and amiable children as any that were in the world, only Snow-White was more quiet and gentle than Rose-Red. For Rose-Red would run and jump about the meadows, seeking flowers and catching butterflies, while Snow-White sat at home helping her Mother to

keep house, or reading to her if there were nothing else to do.

The two children loved one another dearly, and always walked hand in hand when they went out together; and ever when they talked of it they agreed that they would never separate from each other, and that whatever one had the other should share. Often they ran deep into the forest and gathered wild berries; but no beast ever harmed them. For the hare would eat cauliflowers out of their hands, the fawn would graze at their side, the goats would frisk about them in play, and the birds remained perched on the boughs singing as if nobody were near. No accident ever befell them; and if they stayed late in the forest, and night came upon them, they used to lie down on the moss and sleep till morning; and because their Mother knew they would do so, she felt no concern about them.

One time when they had thus passed the night in the forest, and the dawn of morning awoke them, they saw a beautiful Child dressed in shining white sitting near their couch. She got up and looked at them kindly, but without saying anything went into the forest; and when the children looked round they saw that where they had slept was close to the edge of a pit, into which they would have certainly fallen had they walked a couple of steps further in the dark. Their Mother told them the figure they had seen was doubtless the good angel who watches over children.

Snow-White and Rose-Red kept their Mother’s cottage so clean that it was a pleasure to enter it. Every morning in the summer time Rose-Red would first put the house in order, and then gather a nosegay for her Mother, in which she always placed a bud from each rose tree. Every winter’s morning Snow-White would light the fire and put the kettle on to boil, and although the kettle was made of copper it yet shone like gold, because it was scoured so well. In the evenings, when the flakes of snow were falling, the Mother would say: “Go, Snow-White, and bolt the door;” and then they used to sit down on the hearth, and the Mother would put on her spectacles and read out of a great book while her children sat spinning. By their side, too, laid a little lamb, and on a perch behind them a little white dove reposed with her head under her wing.

One evening, when they were thus sitting comfortably together, there came a knock at the door as if somebody wished to come in. “Make haste, Rose-Red,” cried her Mother; “make haste and open the door; perhaps there is some traveler outside who needs shelter.” So Rose-Red went and drew the bolt and opened the door, expecting to see some poor man outside, but instead, a great fat Bear poked his black head in. Rose-Red shrieked out and ran back, the little lamb bleated, the dove fluttered on her perch, and Snow-White hid herself behind her Mother’s bed. The Bear, however, began to speak, and said: “Be not afraid, I will do you no harm; but I am half frozen, and wish to come in and warm myself.”

“Poor Bear!” cried the Mother; “come in and lie down before the fire; but take care you do not burn your skin;” and then she continued: “Come here, Rose-Red and Snow-White, the Bear will not harm you, he means honorably.” So they both came back, and by degrees the lamb too and the dove overcame their fears and welcomed the rough visitor.

“You children!” said the Bear, before he entered, “come and knock the snow off my coat.” And they fetched their brooms and swept him clean. Then he stretched himself before the fire and grumbled out his satisfaction; and in a little while the children became familiar enough to play tricks with the unwieldy animal. They pulled his long, shaggy skin, set their feet upon his back and rolled him to and fro, and even ventured to beat him with a hazel stick, laughing when he grumbled. The Bear bore all their tricks good temperedly, and if they hit him too hard he cried out:

“Leave me my life, you children,

Snow-White and Rose-Red,

Or you’ll never wed.”

When bedtime came and the others were gone, the Mother said to the Bear: “You may sleep here on the hearth if you like, and then you will be safely protected from the cold and bad weather.”

As soon as day broke the two children let the Bear out again, and he trotted away over the snow, and ever afterward he came every evening at a certain hour. He would lie down on the hearth and allow the children to play with him as much as they liked, till by degrees they became so accustomed to him that the door was left unbolted till their black friend arrived.

But as soon as spring returned, and everything out of doors was green again, the Bear one morning told Snow-White that he must leave her, and could not return during the whole summer. “Where are you going, then, dear Bear?” asked Snow-White, “I am obliged to go into the forest and guard my treasures from the evil Dwarfs; for in winter, when the ground is hard, they are obliged to keep in their holes, and cannot work through; but now, since the sun has thawed the earth and warmed it, the Dwarf’s pierce through, and steal all they can find; and what has once passed into their hands, and gets concealed by them in their caves, is not easily brought to light.”

Snow-White, however, was very sad at the departure of the Bear, and opened the door so hesitatingly that when he pressed through it he left behind on the sneck a piece of his hairy coat; and through the hole which was made in his coat Snow-White fancied she saw the glittering of gold; but she was not quite certain of it. The Bear, however, ran hastily away, and was soon hidden behind the trees.

Some time afterward the Mother sent the children into the wood to gather sticks; and while doing so, they came to a tree which was lying across the path, on the trunk of which something kept bobbing up and down from the grass, and they could not imagine what it was. When they came nearer they saw a Dwarf, with an old wrinkled face and a snow- white beard a yard long. The end of this beard was fixed in a split of the tree, and the little man kept jumping about like a dog tied by a chain, for he did not know how to free himself.

He glared at the Maidens with his red fiery eyes, and exclaimed, “Why do you stand there? are you going to pass without offering me any assistance?” “What have you done, little man?” asked Rose-Red. “You stupid, gaping goose!” exclaimed he. “I wanted to have split the tree, in order to get a little wood for my kitchen, for the little wood which we use is soon burned up with great fagots, not like what you rough, greedy people devour! I had driven the wedge in properly, and everything was going on well, when the smooth wood flew upward, and the tree closed so suddenly together that I could not draw my beautiful beard out, and here it sticks and I cannot get away. There, don’t laugh, you milk- faced things! are you dumfounded?”

The children took all the pains they could to pull the Dwarf’s beard out; but without success. “I will run and fetch some help,” cried Rose-Red at length.

“Crack-brained sheep’s head that you are!” snarled the Dwarf; “what are you going to call other people for? You are two too many now for me; can you think of nothing else?”

“Don’t be impatient,” replied Snow-White; “I have thought of something;” and pulling her scissors out of her pocket she cut off the end of the beard. As soon as the Dwarf found himself at liberty, he snatched up his sack, which lay between the roots of the tree, filled with gold, and throwing it over his shoulder marched off, grumbling and groaning and crying: “Stupid people! to cut off a piece of my beautiful beard. Plague take you!” and away he went without once looking at the children.

Some time afterward Snow-White and Rose-Red went a-fishing, and as they neared the pond they saw something like a great locust hopping about on the bank, as if going to jump into the water. They ran up and recognized the Dwarf. “What are you after?” asked Rose-Red; “you will fall into the water.” “I am not quite such a simpleton as that,” replied the Dwarf: “but do you not see this fish will pull me in?” The little man had been sitting there angling, and unfortunately the wind had entangled his beard with the fishing line; and so, when a great fish bit at the bait, the strength of the weak little fellow was not able to draw it out, and the fish had the best of the struggle.

 The Dwarf held on by the reeds and rushes which grew near; but to no purpose, for the fish pulled him where it liked, and he must soon have been drawn into the pond. Luckily just then the two Maidens arrived, and tried to release the beard of the Dwarf from the fishing line; but both were too closely entangled for it to be done. So the Maiden pulled out her scissors again and cut off another piece of the beard. When the Dwarf saw this done he was in a great rage, and exclaimed: “You donkey! that is the way to disfigure my face. Was it not enough to cut it once, but you must now take away the best part of my fine beard? I dare not show myself again now to my own people. I wish you had run the soles off your boots before you had come here!” So saying, he took up a bag of pearls which lay among the rushes, and without speaking another word, slipped off and disappeared behind a stone.

Not many days after this adventure, it chanced that the Mother sent the two Maidens to the next town to buy thread, needles and pins, laces and ribbons. Their road passed over a common, on which here and there great pieces of rock were lying about. Just over their heads they saw a great bird flying round and round, and every now and then, dropping lower and lower, till at last it flew down behind a rock. Immediately afterward they heard a piercing shriek, and running up they saw with affright that the eagle had caught their old acquaintance. the Dwarf, and was trying to carry him off. The compassionate children thereupon laid hold of the little man, and held him fast till the bird gave up the struggle and flew off. As soon then as the Dwarf had recovered from his fright, he exclaimed in his squeaking voice: “Could you not hold me more gently? You have seized my fine brown coat in such a manner that it is all torn and full of holes, meddling and interfering rubbish that you are!” With these words he shouldered a bag filled with precious stones, and slipped away to his cave among the rocks.

The maidens were now accustomed to his ingratitude, and so they walked on to the town and transacted their business there. Coming home, they returned over the same common, and unawares walked up to a certain clean spot on which the Dwarf had shaken out his bag of precious stones, thinking nobody was near. The sun was shining, and the bright stones glittered in its beams and displayed such a variety of colors that the two Maidens stopped to admire them.

“What are you standing there gaping for?” asked the Dwarf, while his face grew as red as copper with rage; he was continuing to abuse the poor Maidens, when a loud roaring noise was heard, and presently a great black Bear came rolling out of the forest. The Dwarf jumped up terrified, but he could not gain his retreat before the Bear overtook him. Thereupon, he cried out: “Spare me, my dear Lord Bear! I will give you all my treasures. See these beautiful precious stones which lie here; only give me my life; for what have you to fear from a little weak fellow like me? you could not touch me with your big teeth. There are two wicked girls, take them; they would make nice morsels, as fat as young quails; eat them for heaven’s sake.”

The Bear, however, without troubling himself to speak, gave the bad- hearted Dwarf a single blow with his paw, and he never stirred after.

The Maidens were then going to run away, but the Bear called after them: “Snow-White and Rose-Red, fear not! wait a bit and I will accompany you.” They recognized his voice and stopped; and when the Bear came, his rough coat suddenly fell off, and he stood up a tall man, dressed entirely in gold. “I am a king’s son,” he said, “and was condemned by the wicked Dwarf, who stole all my treasures, to wander about in this forest, in the form of a bear, till his death released me. Now he has received his well-deserved punishment.”

Then they went home, and Snow-White was married to the prince, and Rose-Red to his brother, with whom they shared the immense treasure which the Dwarf had collected. The old Mother also lived for many years happily with her two children, and the rose trees which had stood before the cottage were planted now before the palace, and produced every year beautiful red and white roses.

Little burnt face

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This tale is from the Mi’kmaq people

http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/stories/littleburntface.html

ONCE upon a time, in a large Indian village on the border of a lake, there lived an old man who was a widower. He had three daughters. The eldest was jealous, cruel, and ugly; the second was vain; but the youngest of all was very gentle and lovely.

Now, when the father was out hunting in the forest, the eldest daughter used to beat the youngest girl, and burn her face with hot coals; yes, and even scar her pretty body. So the people called her “Little Burnt-Face.”

When the father came home from hunting he would ask why she was so scarred, and the eldest would answer quickly: “She is a good-for-nothing! She was forbidden to go near the fire, and she disobeyedand fell in.” Then the father would scold Little Burnt-Face and she would creep away crying to bed.

By the lake, at the end of the village, there was a beautiful wigwam. And in that wigwam lived a Great Chief and his sister. The Great Chief was invisible; no one had ever seen him but his sister. He brought  her many deer and supplied her with good things to eat from the forest and lake, and with the finest blankets and garments. And when visitors came all they ever saw of the Chief were his moccasins; for when he took them off they became visible, and his sister hung them up.

Now, one Spring, his sister made known that her brother, the Great Chief, would marry any girl who could see him.

Then all the girls from the village—except Little Burnt-Face and her sisters—and all the girls for miles around hastened to the wigwam, and walked along the shore of the lake with his sister.

And his sister asked the girls, “Do you see my brother?”

And some of them said, “No”; but most of them answered, “Yes.”

Then his sister asked, “Of what is his shoulder-strap made?”

And the girls said, “Of a strip of rawhide.”

“And with what does he draw his sled?” asked his sister.

And they replied, “With a green withe.”

Then she knew that they had not seen him at all, and said  quietly, “Let us go to the wigwam.”

So to the wigwam they went, and when they entered, his  sister told them not to take the seat next the door, for that was where her brother sat.

Then they helped his sister to cook the supper, for they were very curious to see the Great Chief eat. When all was ready, the  food disappeared, and the brother took off his moccasins, and his sister hung them up. But they never saw the Chief, though many of them stayed all night.

One day Little Burnt-Face’s two sisters put on their finest blankets and brightest strings of beads, and plaited their hair beautifully, and slipped embroidered moccasins on their feet. Then they started out to see the Great Chief.

As soon as they were gone, Little Burnt-Face made herself a dress of white birch-bark, and a cap and leggings of the same. She threw off her ragged garments, and dressed herself in her birch-bark clothes. She put her father’s moccasins on her bare feet; and the moccasins were so big that they came up to her knees. Then she, too, started out to visit the beautiful wigwam at the end of the village.

Poor Little Burnt-Face! She was a sorry sight! For her hair was singed off, and her little face was as full of burns and scars  as a sieve is full of holes; and she shuffled along in her birch-bark clothes and big moccasins. And as she passed through the village the boys and girls hissed, yelled, and hooted.

And when she reached the lake, her sisters saw her coming, and they tried to shame her, and told her to go home. But the Great Chief’s  sister received her kindly, and bade her stay, for she saw how sweet and gentle Little Burnt-Face really was.

Then as evening was coming on, the Great Chief’s sister took all three girls walking beside the lake, and the sky grew dark, and they knew the Great Chief had come.

And his sister asked the two elder girls, “Do you see my brother?”

And they said, “Yes.”

“Of what is his shoulder-strap made?” asked his sister.

“Of a strip of rawhide,” they replied.

“And with what does he draw his sled?” asked she.

And they said, “With a green withe.”

Then his sister turned to Little Burnt-Face and asked, “Do you see him?”

“I do! I do!” said Little Burnt-Face with awe. “And he is wonderful!”

“And of what is his sled-string made?” asked his sister gently.

“It is a beautiful Rainbow!” cried Little Burnt-Face.

“But, my sister,” said the other, “of what is his bow-string made?”

“His bow-string,” replied Little Burnt-Face,  “is the Milky Way!”

Then the Great Chief’s sister smiled with delight, and taking Little Burnt-Face by the hand, she said, “You have surely  seen him.”

She led the little girl to the wigwam, and bathed her with dew until the burns and scars all disappeared from her body and face. Her skin became soft and lovely again. Her hair grew long and dark like               the Blackbird’s wing. Her eyes were like stars. Then his sister brought from her treasures a wedding-garment, and she dressed Little Burnt-Face in it. And she was most beautiful to behold.

After all this was done, his sister led the little girl to the seat next the door, saying, “This is the Bride’s seat,” and made her sit down.

And then the Great Chief, no longer invisible, entered, terrible and beautiful. And when he saw Little Burnt-Face, he smiled and said gently, “So we have found each other!”

And she answered, “Yes.”

Then Little Burnt-Face was married to the Great Chief, and the wedding-feast lasted for days, and to it came all the people of the village. As for the two bad sisters, they went back to their wigwam in disgrace, weeping with shame.

A claymation retelling of Persephone

Video

Transcript provided by me

Narrator/Bee : There was a time when flowers and crops grew all year round. The Goddess Demeter looked after them from her temple on Mount Olympus, home of the Gods, from there she would fly out from over the land and visit her daughter Persephone. The flowers around Persephone were always the sweetest. (light whisper) Your mother’s coming, Persephone.

Persephone: Everything’s so beautiful…so why am I unhappy? What’s missing? Where are you little God of love? Why havn’t you ever aimed at me with your arrow?

(Demeter Appears)

Persephone: Mother!

Demeter: You don’t want that God of love to ain his arrows at you. You’re far too young and those arrows will fade. I love you that’s all you need.

(Sounds of thunder)

Demeter: Your father, I’ll be back.

Zeus: Demeter, move a little, I may hit you.

Demeter: Zeus,my dear, you havn’t aimed a love arrow at me in years.

(Demeter takes Eros’s arrows)

Eros: HHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYYY

Demeter: Why have you called me here?

Zeus: I heard our daughter sighing…and was about to send Eros here, until you graved him like chicked.

(Demeter grabs Eros’s ear)

Eros: HHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYYY

Demeter: Just as well, I did then he’s going nowhere! You may manage the Gods and mortals, but I manage our daughter!

Zeus: Nobody talks to me like that! Eros SHOOT!

(sounds of pain come from the water, after the arrow falls in it)

Narrator/Bee: Then a new flower appeared. To me it didn’t look right, didn’t smell right, I tried to tell Persephone…but she ignored me then….

(Hades come up)

Narrator/Bee: Run! Persephone run!

(Persephone cries for her father, as she is being captured)

(as the earth closes)

Persephone: Help! Help me, father! mother!

Demeter: Persephone….

(starts searching)

Demeter: Persephone! Persephone!

(In the underworld)

Narrator/Bee: Hades, the God of the Underworld, had taken Persephone. She didn’t know what to think everything was so different. He looked after her though…which was more than his little assistant did with me!

Hades: Persephone….this is an unusual situation for the both of us…your beauty and my love for you these are new feelings….

Persephone: Hades! How dare you talk to me about my beauty and your love! You live under the ground! How can you be in love with me? You never seen me until today!

Hades: No, I have often watched you…reflected on you.

(Goes to the water)

Hades: Look, the God of love shot me and now your father has given me permission to marry you.

Persephone: I would rather die! You have stolen me from my mother!

Demter: Persephone, where are you? Persephone!

Persephone: Mother!

Demeter: Persephone! Persephone, wher are you? Persephone….

(Demeter goes to the mountian and Helios appears)

Demeter: Helios, I command you to help me! Where is Persephone? Who has taken my child?

Helios: Demeter, I will tell you what I know. Zeus has given Persephone to Hades to be his wife.

(Demeter gives a Darth Vader worthy NNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)

Helios: Demeter, Demeter, Hades will make a good husband. He is a king. Persephone will be a queen. The dead are more than the living so his kingdom is greater than all other kingdoms. She will reign forever

Demeter: AGGHH!

(In the underworld)

Hades: You have been without food or water for days. Please drink.

Persephone: You look different…

Hades: I feel different.

Persephone: So do I. Yes…but..is it fear or….happiness

Hades: I think you are happy here.

(Mount Olympus)

Zeus: I will pluck all your feathers, even though you are my wife!

Demeter: How dare you take her way from me!

Zeus: You are acting as if I sent our daughter to a common mortal…I gave her a king. She is old enough, it was time to leave. She needs over arms to hold her and from what I hear she seems to quite like it!

(May not be entirely accurate, I am having trouble making out what he is saying)

Demeter: No! NEVER

Zues: You won’t let go, will you!

Zeus: Hermes, HERMES!

Hermes: What is it, Great Zues?

Zeus: My wife…

Hermes: Fighting again?

Zeus: Mortals don’t know how lucky they are. When one of there wives get angry they break a plate or two! But this crazy woman is destroying the earth!

Hemes: Send her some roses.

Zeus: Roses? Where would I find roses? She has withered all the flowers, and the crops, and the trees! There is nothing growing on earth, anymore!

Hermes: NOTHING GROWING! What are the humans going to give us?

Zeus: Nothing! Soon they will die and we’ll be out of a job. Go to hades! Tell him that I am ordering him to send Persephone back to her mother, and quickly!

(Zeus then cries something that I cannot make out)

(In the under world)

Narrator/Bee: The more time Persephone spet with Hades, the happier she was…but she still missed her mother.

Hades: You are looking so lonely…is being my Queen upsetting you?

Persephone: My mother is casuing such suffering, if only she knew how happy I am here.

Hades: She doesn’t want to know. She wants you to be her’s and her’s alone

Persephone: But….I am no longer hers.

(Laughter as the scene transitions to the next)

Narrator/Bee: The furry and her sister’s interrupted to tell that Hermes had arrived

(Hades says something to Persephone that I cannot make out)

Narrator/Bee: So I followed them both…and nearly got caught. For Hermes to stand around with all those dead spirits, I knew it had to be important.

Hades: I am not giving her back. What does Zeus know about love? He changes lovers like others change tunics.

Hermes: Pppppppppllllllllleeeeeeeeeeaassssssssseeeeeeeeee! You have to send her back to her mother. You’ve seen what she is doing.

Hades: I am not intersted in what happens in the upper world.

Hermes: You should be because if there is not upperworld, your underworld will disappear.

Hades: Curse, Zeus, God of interference!

Hermes: I could suggest a way out for you.

Hades: What is it?

Hermes: Get Persephone to eat just one of these seeds and she’ll be able to stay with you for a month.

Hades: A month?, SHE IS MY WIFE!

Hermes: And Demeter is your mother-in-law! It is the perfect way to keep everyone happy. Just the one…

Hades: Just the one….

Narrator/Bee:”Just the one” He said. What would Hades do?

Hades: Persephone, listen to me. I have been ordered by your father to send you back to your mother.

Persephone: I’ve had enough of my father rulling my life. I love you! I don’t want to leave!

Hades: If you love me you will go….for now

Persephone: You don’t know my mother! She’ll never let me come back.

Hades: If you love me trust me….you will remember me by eating this.

(gives her the pomegranate)

(The Narrator/Bee is counting the seeds as she eats)

Persehone: Very much (she repeats this after eating each seed) I will remember you.

Narrator/Bee: Oh, no! It’s all going wrong! *stings Persephone*

Persephone: Ouch (she drops the Pomegrante)

Hades: leave it, It’s time for you to go.

(Upper world)

Narrator/Bee: So Persephone was free to go back to Demeter….

Demeter: Persephone, I look at the face I love the most and can’t get enough of it. Why are your lips so red? Did Hades give you anything to eat before you left?

Persephone: Just some Pomegrante

Demeter: Ah! How many seeds?

Persephone: just four

Demeter: Hades has tricked you! Now you will have to send four months of the year with him!

Persephone: Don’t be angry mother, I’ll be with you most of the time.

Demeter: What will I do without you? For those four months…..I’ll wither the plants, I’ll cover the earth with snow!

Persephone: Oh, Mother, I’ll be coming back!

Demeter: Only then will I make the plants blossom again. It will seem like a miracle..and everything on earth; people, animals, birds will know thay my Persephone has returned.

(Persephone throws a flower in the river)

Narrator/Bee: Each Month, Persephone would send a message to Hades

(Persephone and Hades say something that I cannot make out)

Demeter: It will soon be time for you to go to him.

Persephone: Just four months….and then I’ll be back

Demeter: Yes, and until then the wind will blow…and I shall cover the earth with snow.

(End)

The boy who found fear at last,

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This tale is from the Olive Book, a series of fairy tale books that Andrew Lang, collect together and published.

Once upon a time there lived a woman who had one son whom she loved dearly. The little cottage in which they dwelt was built on the outskirts of a forest, and as they had no neighbours, the place was very lonely, and the boy was kept at home by his mother to bear her company.

They were sitting together on a winter’s evening, when a storm suddenly sprang up, and the wind blew the door open. The woman started and shivered, and glanced over her shoulder as if she half expected to see some horrible thing behind her. ‘Go and shut the door,’ she said hastily to her son, ‘I feel frightened.’

‘Frightened?’ repeated the boy. ‘What does it feel like to be frightened?’

‘Well—just frightened,’ answered the mother. ‘A fear of something, you hardly know what, takes hold of you.’

‘It must be very odd to feel like that,’ replied the boy. ‘I will go through the world and seek fear till I find it.’ And the next morning, before his mother was out of bed, he had left the forest behind him.

After walking for some hours he reached a mountain, which he began to climb. Near the top, in a wild and rocky spot, he came upon a band of fierce robbers, sitting round a fire. The boy, who was cold and tired, was delighted to see the bright flames, so he went up to them and said, ‘Good greeting to you, sirs,’ and wriggled himself in between the men, till his feet almost touched the burning logs.

The robbers stopped drinking and eyed him curiously, and at last the captain spoke.

‘No caravan of armed men would dare to come here, even the very birds shun our camp, and who are you to venture in so boldly?’

‘Oh, I have left my mother’s house in search of fear. Perhaps you can show it to me?’

‘Fear is wherever we are,’ answered the captain.

‘But where?’ asked the boy, looking round. ‘I see nothing.’ ‘Take this pot and some flour and butter and sugar over to the churchyard which lies down there, and bake us a cake for supper,’ replied the robber. And the boy, who was by this time quite warm, jumped up cheerfully, and slinging the pot over his arm, ran down the hill.

When he got to the churchyard he collected some sticks and made a fire; then he filled the pot with water from a little stream close by, and mixing the flour and butter and sugar together, he set the cake on to cook. It was not long before it grew crisp and brown, and then the boy lifted it from the pot and placed it on a stone, while he put out the fire. At that moment a hand was stretched from a grave, and a voice said:

‘Is that cake for me?’

‘Do you think I am going to give to the dead the food of the living?’ replied the boy, with a laugh. And giving the hand a tap with his spoon, and picking up the cake, he went up the mountain side, whistling merrily.

‘Well, have you found fear?’ asked the robbers when he held out the cake to the captain.

‘No; was it there?’ answered the boy. ‘I saw nothing but a hand which came from a grave, and belonged to someone who wanted my cake, but I just rapped the fingers with my spoon, and said it was not for him, and then the hand vanished. Oh, how nice the fire is!’ And he flung himself on his knees before it, and so did not notice the glances of surprise cast by the robbers at each other.

‘There is another chance for you,’ said one at length. ‘On the other side of the mountain lies a deep pool; go to that, and perhaps you may meet fear on the way.’

‘I hope so, indeed,’ answered the boy. And he set out at once.

He soon beheld the waters of the pool gleaming in the moonlight, and as he drew near he saw a tall swing standing just over it, and in the swing a child was seated, weeping bitterly.

‘That is a strange place for a swing,’ thought the boy; ‘but I wonder what he is crying about.’ And he was hurrying on towards the child, when a maiden ran up and spoke to him.

‘I want to lift my little brother from the swing,’ cried she, ‘but it is so high above me, that I cannot reach. If you will get closer to the edge of the pool, and let me mount on your shoulder, I think I can reach him.’

‘Willingly,’ replied the boy, and in an instant the girl had climbed to his shoulders. But instead of lifting the child from the swing, as she could easily have done, she pressed her feet so firmly on either side of the youth’s neck, that he felt that in another minute he would be choked, or else fall into the water beneath him. So gathering up all his strength, he gave a mighty heave, and threw the girl backwards. As she touched the ground a bracelet fell from her arm, and this the youth picked up.

‘I may as well keep it as a remembrance of all the queer things that have happened to me since I left home,’ he said to himself, and turning to look for the child, he saw that both it and the swing had vanished, and that the first streaks of dawn were in the sky.

With the bracelet on his arm, the youth started for a little town which was situated in the plain on the further side of the mountain, and as, hungry and thirsty, he entered its principal street, a Jew stopped him. ‘Where did you get that bracelet?’ asked the Jew. ‘It belongs to me.’

‘No, it is mine,’ replied the boy.

‘It is not. Give it to me at once, or it will be the worse for you!’ cried the Jew.

‘Let us go before a judge, and tell him our stories,’ said the boy. ‘If he decides in your favour, you shall have it; if in mine, I will keep it!’

To this the Jew agreed, and the two went together to the great hall, in which the kadi was administering justice. He listened very carefully to what each had to say, and then pronounced his verdict. Neither of the two claimants had proved his right to the bracelet, therefore it must remain in the possession of the judge till its fellow was brought before him.

When they heard this, the Jew and the boy looked at each other, and their eyes said: ‘Where are we to go to find the other one?’ But as they knew there was no use in disputing the decision, they bowed low and left the hall of audience.

* * * * *

Wandering he knew not whither, the youth found himself on the sea-shore. At a little distance was a ship which had struck on a hidden rock, and was rapidly sinking, while on deck the crew were gathered, with faces white as death, shrieking and wringing their hands.

‘Have you met with fear?’ shouted the boy. And the answer came above the noise of the waves.

‘Oh, help! help! We are drowning!’

Then the boy flung off his clothes, and swam to the ship, where many hands were held out to draw him on board.

‘The ship is tossed hither and thither, and will soon be sucked down,’ cried the crew again. ‘Death is very near, and we are frightened!’

‘Give me a rope,’ said the boy in reply, and he took it, and made it safe round his body at one end, and to the mast at the other, and sprang into the sea. Down he went, down, down, down, till at last his feet touched the bottom, and he stood up and looked about him. There, sure enough, a sea-maiden with a wicked face was tugging hard at a chain which she had fastened to the ship with a grappling iron, and was dragging it bit by bit beneath the waves. Seizing her arms in both his hands, he forced her to drop the chain, and the ship above remaining steady, the sailors were able gently to float her off the rock. Then taking a rusty knife from a heap of seaweed at his feet, he cut the rope round his waist and fastened the sea-maiden firmly to a stone, so that she could do no more mischief, and bidding her farewell, he swam back to the beach, where his clothes were still lying.

The youth dressed himself quickly and walked on till he came to a beautiful shady garden filled with flowers, and with a clear little stream running through. The day was hot, and he was tired, so he entered the gate, and seated himself under a clump of bushes covered with sweet-smelling red blossoms, and it was not long before he fell asleep. Suddenly a rush of wings and a cool breeze awakened him, and raising his head cautiously, he saw three doves plunging into the stream. They splashed joyfully about, and shook themselves, and then dived to the bottom of a deep pool. When they appeared again they were no longer three doves, but three beautiful damsels, bearing between them a table made of mother of pearl. On this they placed drinking cups fashioned from pink and green shells, and one of the maidens filled a cup from a crystal goblet, and was raising it to her mouth, when her sister stopped her.

‘To whose health do you drink?’ asked she.

‘To the youth who prepared the cake, and rapped my hand with the spoon when I stretched it out of the earth,’ answered the maiden, ‘and was never afraid as other men were! But to whose health do you drink?’

‘To the youth on whose shoulders I climbed at the edge of the pool, and who threw me off with such a jerk, that I lay unconscious on the ground for hours,’ replied the second. ‘But you, my sister,’ added she, turning to the third girl, ‘to whom do you drink?’

‘Down in the sea I took hold of a ship and shook it and pulled it till it would soon have been lost,’ said she. And as she spoke she looked quite different from what she had done with the chain in her hands, seeking to work mischief. ‘But a youth came, and freed the ship and bound me to a rock. To his health I drink,’ and they all three lifted their cups and drank silently.

As they put their cups down, the youth appeared before them.

‘Here am I, the youth whose health you have drunk; and now give me the bracelet that matches a jewelled band which of a surety fell from the arm of one of you. A Jew tried to take it from me, but I would not let him have it, and he dragged me before the kadi, who kept my bracelet till I could show him its fellow. And I have been wandering hither and thither in search of it, and that is how I have found myself in such strange places.’

‘Come with us, then,’ said the maidens, and they led him down a passage into a hall, out of which opened many chambers, each one of greater splendour than the last. From a shelf heaped up with gold and jewels the eldest sister took a bracelet, which in every way was exactly like the one which was in the judge’s keeping, and fastened it to the youth’s arm.

‘Go at once and show this to the kadi,’ said she, ‘and he will give you the fellow to it.’

‘I shall never forget you,’ answered the youth, ‘but it may be long before we meet again, for I shall never rest till I have found fear.’ Then he went his way, and won the bracelet from the kadi. After this, he again set forth in his quest of fear.

On and on walked the youth, but fear never crossed his path, and one day he entered a large town, where all the streets and squares were so full of people, he could hardly pass between them.

‘Why are all these crowds gathered together?’ he asked of a man who stood next him.

‘The ruler of this country is dead,’ was the reply, ‘and as he had no children, it is needful to choose a successor. Therefore each morning one of the sacred pigeons is let loose from the tower yonder, and on whomsoever the bird shall perch, that man is our king. In a few minutes the pigeon will fly. Wait and see what happens.’

Every eye was fixed on the tall tower which stood in the centre of the chief square, and the moment that the sun was seen to stand straight over it, a door was opened and a beautiful pigeon, gleaming with pink and grey, blue and green, came rushing through the air. Onward it flew, onward, onward, till at length it rested on the head of the boy. Then a great shout arose:

‘The king! the king!’ but as he listened to the cries, a vision, swifter than lightning, flashed across his brain. He saw himself seated on a throne, spending
his life trying, and never succeeding, to make poor people rich; miserable people happy; bad people good; never doing anything he wished to do, not able even to marry the girl that he loved.

‘No! no!’ he shrieked, hiding his face in his hands; but the crowds who heard him thought he was overcome by the grandeur that awaited him, and paid no heed.

‘Well, to make quite sure, let fly more pigeons,’ said they, but each pigeon followed where the first had led, and the cries arose louder than ever:

‘The king! the king!’ And as the young man heard, a cold shiver, that he knew not the meaning of, ran through him.

‘This is fear whom you have so long sought,’ whispered a voice, which seemed to reach his ears alone. And the youth bowed his head as the vision once more flashed before his eyes, and he accepted his doom, and made ready to pass his life with fear beside him.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/lfb/ol/olfb27.htm

Cowherd and Weaving Girl

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Long ago, there was a very poor but clever, diligent and honest boy who was orphaned at an early age. One day, he adopted an abandoned, old buffalo that proved to be very loyal to him and relieved the boy of hard labor in the fields. The two were inseparable and had a very good relationship. Villagers from near and far came to know the boy as the Cowherd.

Meanwhile, the youngest of the seven celestial princesses, who had grown tired of the privileged and secluded life at the heavenly palace, longed for a life among the common people. Although her feelings were considered controversial, the girl was determined to pursue what she deemed was her own happiness. She sneaked out of the heaven and descended onto the earth to meet the Cowherd, with whom she had secretly fallen in love with in the heaven.

The two were married and had a lovely boy and a girl. While the Cowherd worked in the fields with his farm cattle, the princess weaved at home to help support the family. The villagers all admired her excellent weaving skills and even learned from her. The girl was known as the Weaving Girl.

The family lived moderately but peacefully and happily until the girl’s celestial family realized that the princess was missing and traced her back to the village. (It is believed that one day in the heaven is equal to two earth years.)

Mad with rage, the Celestial Empress gave her daughter two choices: return to the palace or witness the destruction of her husband and offspring. The princess had no choice but to leave.

But the buffalo, who was very old and near death, suddenly started to speak, much to the astonishment of his bereaved owner. He told the Cowherd to use his hide as a vehicle to catch up with his wife. Reluctantly, the Cowherd placed his young son and daughter in two baskets carried by a yolk and sailed off to heaven.

Seeing that the Cowherd was gaining on them, the Empress took out her hair pin and drew a big river across the sky, known to the Chinese as the Silvery River (the Milky Way in the West), to drive a wedge between them.

However, all the magpies in the world, deeply touched by the story, came to their rescue. Every year on the seventh day of the seventh month, they would flock together to form a bridge so that the family could enjoy a brief reunion.

This tale has inspired many traditional festival/holidays throughout Asia. I will briefly descrive them here, you can easily find out more information on your own.

The Chinese Qiwi Festival, that will be held on August 16 of this year. It is a day when Chinese girls traditionally show off their domestic arts and pray for a husband and married couples pray for a good life. One tradition is for single or newly married women to make an offering to the lovers of flowers, tea, fruit, and face powder, then the woman throws half the powder out of the window and divides the rest of the powder among the women of the household, in order to chare beauty with the weaving girl . In modern China the youth have started to  prefer the Western imported Valentine’s day as a romantic holiday to this traditional festival.

The Japanese Tanabata Festival was imported to Japan in 755. The first festivities began on July 7th, but the dates vary throughout the Island nation. One populat tradition is tanzaku . Where wishes are written on a piece of paper and hanged from a bamboo, some regions place them on small bamboo pieaces of bamboo to float down the river. In 2008, the G8 Summit was held in Tokyo and it fell on Tanabata and the Japanese Prime Minister asked the G8 members to write a wish on a tanazuk and then take necessary actions to change the world for better.

The Korean Chilseok Festival is when the heat starts to fade and the monsson begans. It is tradational to eat wheat based dishes like because the cold winds after Chilseok ruin the smell of wheat. During the period around Chilseok foods like; pumpkins, cucumbers, and melons start to flourish because of the rain. It was once traditional to offer pumpkin fry to the big dipper, but it is not practiced in modern times.