Seligor's Castle, fun for all the children of the world. Sara's World
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The Lonely Rock
little story was written in a book called "The Children's Treasury, of
pictures and stories in 1893." Wow that is now 120 years old, which
makes our little story over a hundred and seventy years old at least..
Title: The Children's Treasury of Pictures and Stories.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, London
Publication Date: 1893
In one of the Orkney Islands, far beyond the north of Scotland, there
stood out a rock, called the Lonely Rock, very dangerous to sailors.
One night, long ago, there sat in the fisherman's hut ashore a young
girl, toiling at her spinning wheel, looking out upon the dark and
driving clouds, and listening anxiously to the wind and the sea. At last
the morning came, and one boat that should have been riding on the
waves was missing. It was her father's boat; and a half mile from the
cottage her father's body was found washed up upon the shore. He had
been wrecked against this Lonely Rock.
That was more than fifty years ago. The girl watched her father's body
according to the custom of her people, till it was laid in the grave;
then she laid down on the bed and slept. When the night came she arose
and set a candle in her casement as a beacon to the fishermen and a
night she sat by her candle, trimmed the wick and spun her yarn. So
many hanks of yarn as she spun before her daily bread she spun more
still, and one hank over for her nightly candle.
And from that time to the time of the telling of this story (for fifty
years, through youth, maturity, into old age) she has turned night into
day. And in the snow - summer, through the storms of winter and in the
serene calms of summer, through driving mists, deceptive moonlight, and solemn darkness, that northern harbour has never once been without the
light of a small candle. However far the fishermen might be standing out
at sea, he had only to bear down straight for the lighted window and he
was sure of a safe entrance into the harbour. And so for all these
fifty years that tiny light, flaming thus out of devotion and self
sacrifice, has helped and cheered and saved many lives as it guided the
fishermen tossing in their little boats upon the sea.
The known history of Orkney spans over 8,800 years, dating to Mesolithic times. ... indifferently against their own Norway and the coasts and isles of Scotland),
Although I have searched for a reference as to whether this Lonely Rock actually existed I have not as yet found any reference apart from this little story.
ANYONE GOT ANY IDEAS AS TO WHERE IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
Here is another little story about a Lonely Rock.
THE LONELY ROCK
Once there was a rock.
As far as the rock knew, it was alone in the world — one rock sitting
quietly by itself on a grassy field that spread out as far as the eye
can see. But this rock had no eyes and it saw nothing, so it did the
only thing it knew how to do, it rolled. It rolled through days and
nights and rain and fog until it bumped up against another rock.
The two rocks enjoyed one other's company so there they stayed until
they were bumped by a third rock and three was even nicer than two so
they cuddled up for a very long time until along came another, and maybe
a year later another, and another, and so on. After a more days than
even I know how to count, where there had once been one rock in a field, there was now a great pile of rocks.
Birds came and made their nests on the pile and grass grew up around the
edges and the rocks forgot they were rocks and today they speak with
one voice when they bother to speak at all, because they are happy
bunch, happy to have found one another in such a wide world, happy to
have found their place. And today they call themselves a mountain.
This is Moel Fammau, (in English Mother Mountain,) for she is the highest peak in the Clwydian Range.
I am lucky to be able to see this mountain from my village every day of the year. xxx
Seligor's Castle welcomes you. to take a trip around the World with Sara.
Songs from Around the World.
THE WITCHES OF LLANDDONA
Anglesey, Llanddona, St Dona's Church - August 2008
There is a quaint story that is told of the village of Llanddona,
that relates to three witches from Ireland, who had been outcast
in a boat full of holes, yet managed to come ashore at Llanddona,
and settled there.
by Ross Davies
People believed in the malevolent powers of witches right up to the 18th century and, probably beyond that as well. Witches
were so feared and hated that they were blamed for everything going
wrong in the lives of villagers, from various maladies to the deaths of
valuable farm animals or even human beings. An ancient law also advocated the death by hanging of any witch found guilty of such deeds. However,
in 1736, this old law was repealed because Parliament became concerned
that too many charges against such women were based on very unsafe
evidence, so from that year on, no woman paid with her life just for
being a so-called witch.
The trouble was that old beliefs died
hard. In some areas, people started taking the law into their own hands
- a kind of summary justice - by hounding a group of witches into a
open boat, which had no sail, oars, or any other means of steering. It
was then launched into the open sea. The hope was that, sooner of
later, a gale would spring up, causing waves to swamp the boat and send
its occupants to a watery grave at the bottom of the sea. In that way,
no one could be held liable for their deaths. Anglesey, it
seems, also had its fair share of solo witches dotted around the
island, but the village of Llanddona, in particular, became notorious,
at one time, for harbouring a whole group of them lumped together.
There are two tales in existence that may explain this extraordinary
The first one tells of the sudden arrival of an open
boat, full of wet, bedraggled women, that had been swept on the sands
of Llanddona beach by a strong tide.
Its occupants looked half
dead. As they tried to drag their exhausted bodies out of the boat on
to the relative safety of the sands, they were seen by nearby fisherman. News
of their arrival spread like wildfire through Llanddona, and in no time
at all most of the population had turned out on the beach. They
had guessed the identity of the strangers but held no pity in their
hearts for them. They had all gathered there with every intention of
bundling the whole lot back out to sea. In the ensuing struggle,
in which the strangers were being steadily pushed back towards the tide
line, one witch, in her desperation, caused a spring of clear, fresh
water to gush like a fountain out of the sand. The villagers
were so stunned by this display of magical powers that they fell back,
thus allowing the strangers to stay. However, the village itself was
banned to them so they were forced to make a home on some common ground
a fair distance away. There they stayed, as a group, for the
rest of their lifetime, giving rise to much speculation, suspicion and
fear as to their activities, and bringing much notoriety to the name of
The second story has much the same theme, but with some variations.
one stormy night in the teeth of a howling gale, a Spanish ship was
driven hard on to the sandy beach of Llanddona. It was held fast and
soon started to break up under the battering of the waves. The
crew had to abandon ship and try to struggle through the seething
waters to safety. Most downed in the attempt, but the survivors who
succeed in reaching dry land turned out to be part of a Spanish circus
troupe that had been travelling on the ship. Although it was
dark, they eventually found a steep, crumbly path that led to a cliff
top at one end of the bay. When dawn broke, they saw that they had
reached a piece of rough moorland overlooking the sea. On the
beach below, the ship was wrecked beyond repair, leaving them with no
hope of returning to their homeland. So they had to settle for making
this piece of moorland a home for the whole group. However, the
residents of Llanddona took exception to this intrusion by total
strangers, who looked so different in dress and behaviour and spoke
another language. Most of the strangers were diminutive midgets with
red hair - a feature, it is said, of a certain area in Spain. Midgets, of course, were popular entertainers in circuses, but not at all acceptable in a place like Llanddona. The
locals tried their best to eject these trespassers, but the strangers
retaliated by using all their circus skills in acrobatics, sleight of
hand and magic tricks to confuse and bamboozle them. It was their only
means of defence. The upshot was that they finally won the day and were reluctantly accepted and allowed to stay. As time passed, the Spaniards lived together on the moorland, keeping very much to themselves. This
only fuelled local suspicions that they were actually witches. In fact,
Sian Bwt (Short Betty) became the chief suspect because she had two
thumbs on her left hand and was only 44 inches in height - all the
supposed hallmarks of a witch. So this nest of so-called witches brought much notoriety to the name of Llanddona for the duration of their lifetime.
Perhaps, now, the reader might like to judge which of these two stories is the most feasible!
Just as a matter of interest my second son John was born with two thumbs on his left hand, just like Short Betty. They tied a band round the one and like a lambs tail it withered and dropped off. Funnily enough though he is the only one in the family to be left handed. Though he holds his knife and fork the right handed way, yet his younger brother eats with his fork in his right hand and knife in left. (hm- m- m.)
Stories from around the World TIBET TIBET
Share One seems to be a feared of putting pen to paper as far as Tibet goes, It seems that which ever way I read facts and legends, mythology and stories I could effectively upset someone along the way. I know that many years ago I wrote out a story from a book about a Chinese Princess going to Tibet to marry a Tibetan Prince. She was carried all the way to Tibet, high into the mountains in her special chair, with an entourage of servants and all her belongings. The journey was arduous and difficult but it was thought that a marriage between the two countries would be helpful to both sides in the keeping of peace. The Princess had always been told that the Tibetan people were monsters, with huge ugly bodies and even uglier faces which were blue. She was very frightened and yet I thought to myself, "How could a father give up his beautiful daughter to be taken to a strange land and therefore marry someone with nothing but hate and fear." The more I thought about it the more I thought, until I came to the decision that he wouldn't sink so low as to sacrifice beauty unless there was true hope, and therefore this Prince mustn't be as evil as he was painted. This of course did nothing to help the young princess and within a few miles of the city, the small entourage was bought to a halt by a hoard of brigands, who appeared out of no where. But the princess was lucky for to her rescue arrived a gallant man, dressed in colourful robes and black hair, who chased the brigands away. He offered to accompany the young girl on the last leg of her journey and was very taken by her beauty. Is was not long until the princess told the young man, where she was going and why and of course her fear of meeting the blue faced prince. The Prince was very kind and said he would stay with her till they were within the castle. It was soon, and it was in fairy story fashion, that the young princess immediately fell in love with the stranger and him with her. So weren't we all relieved when it turned out that the Prince was of course the Tibetan Prince and he didn't have a blue face at all. And likewise, the Tibetan prince was very relieved that the Chinese Princess was extremely beautiful and that he could think of no one more than her , he would love to marry and share his life with. The story I read all those years ago , well it might have been a myth.... or it might also have been true. The fact is that I wasn't part of the entourage, and I didn't pretend to be a brigand hundreds of years ago. Not even one hundred years ago or even yesterday. So I can not judge either the Chinese Emperor or the Tibetan King, for they only knew first hand what actually happened. We can only read what others have put down on paper or stone all those years ago.
I can sit here for another twenty minutes and write out the same story but instead of a happy ending, I can decide to have the princess killed and the Prince captured and killed in retaliation. That too would be commended to the same paper! but I wonder which version the story tellers would relate?
The Frog Princess
arranged Artyom K.
Stories from Around the World.
Once upon a time a Russian King called his three sons and said, " Dear
sons I want you to get married, go out in the forest and each of you must
shoot an arrow. The princess that will pick it up first, you should marry."
The sons did what the father told them to. The arrow of the oldest son
fell in the nobleman's courtyard, and his daughter picked it up, the arrow
of the middle son fell to the merchant's daughter, and the arrow of the
youngest son, Prince Ivan, was picked up by the frog. So he had to marry
One day the King told his sons that he wants their wives to sew a shirt
by tomorrow morning. Then Ivan came home very sad.
"Why are you sad my prince?", the frog asked.
"My father wants you to sew him a shirt by tomorrow morning", he said.
"Don't worry prince Ivan, go to bed, for night is the mother of counsel."
So he went to bed, and the frog threw off her frog skin, clapped her hands
and said, "Maids and nurses, by tomorrow sew me the nicest shirt."
On the next day Ivan woke up, and was very happy to see a very nice shirt.
So he took it to the King. The King didn't like any of the shirts except
the one Ivan's wife sewed.
King called his sons again and said that he wants their wives to bake
bread by tomorrow morning. So Ivan came home sad again.
His wife asked "Why are you sad?" "
My father wants you to bake some bread by tomorrow morning" he said.
"Don't worry Ivan go to bed, for night is the mother of council." So the frog
threw her skin off and again asked her helpers to bake her the best bread.
In the morning Ivan was very happy and brought the bread to his father.
The King said that he didn't like any of the bread, except the one Ivan's
The next day the King called his sons and said I want you to bring your
wives with you to the dinner. And again Ivan came home very sad. He told
the frog what his father told him to do.
His wife said "Don't worry Ivan, go to the dinner yourself I'll come later.
If you hear the knocking don't be afraid, say that it's just your frog riding
in her box.
So that was what Ivan did. In the middle of the dinner suddenly whole palace
shook. Ivan said don't worry, it's just my frog riding in her box. Then
everybody saw a beautiful carriage drawn by six white horses, and in the
carriage was the beautiful Vasilisa the Wise. Then the guests began to eat
Vasilisa drank from her glass and emptied the rest in her left sleeve,
then she ate meat and put the bones in her right sleeve. The wives of older
brothers saw her do this and did the same. Then guests began to dance. Vasilisa
waved her left sleeve and lake appeared, she waved her right sleeve and
swans appeared swimming in the lake. Everybody was excited. Then the wives
of the older brothers tried to do the same but when they waved one sleeve,
they splashed wine over the guests; they waved other sleeve, the bones flew
at the guests and one bone hit the King.
During the time everyone was in the castle Ivan ran home and threw Vasilisa's
skin in the fire. When his wife came home she said "Oh Ivan what have you
done! If you would have waited 3 more months I would have been yours forever!
Now you have to find me far away where Koshei the Deathless live.
And she disappeared. Prince Ivan was crying hard, and then went far away
to find his wife. On his way he met an old man. Ivan told him about his
trouble. The man said "Take this ball and follow it wherever it rolls.
On his way he also met a bear, duck, hare, fish. But he didn't kill them
because they said that he will need them some day.
Then he saw a hut he asked it to face him and then he went in the hut.
In the corner he saw Baba-Yaga, an old woman. He asked her to give him something
to eat, and she did. Then he told her about his trouble. She said, "Koshei's
death is at the point of a needle, the needle is in an egg, the egg is in
a duck, the duck is in a hare, the hare is in a stone casket, the casket
is at the top of the tall oak tree.
So Ivan went and at last found the tree. But he couldn't reach the stone
casket. Suddenly he saw a bear that he saw on his way, the bear helped him
and pulled the tree out of the ground, on the ground a stone fell and broke
open, out of the stone jumped a hare, the hare that Ivan helped him and
caught the other hare; out of the hare flew a duck, the duck helped Ivan
and caught it; the duck dropped an egg in the sea, and the fish swam up
with the egg in its mouth.
Prince Ivan broke the egg and then the needle, and Koshei died and Vasilisa
was freed. Then Vasilisa and Ivan lived happily ever after.
Do enjoy these five little video tales from the Russian Winnie the Pooh Collection.
looking through Google Images for some pictures to accompany "The Frog
Princess" I came across this picture with this website. I have now read
it three times, and gazed on the pictures that are beneath each
attachment html. www.uoregon.edu/~vaintrob/katya/update.html It is tucked away between the frog princesses from all over the world,
I ask you please to take a look at this story of a young girl's life,
cut short but in many ways, lived to the full. My prayers I send to
Katya's family, who still after two long years must see the empty space
where their daughter filled. She has a place now that will never be
empty, and her golden light will shine down on other's of that I am
sure. SELIGOR xxx
Stories from Around the World.
Click here to visit AsianParent.com.
Thankyou to the Kids Wild Life Club for this wonderful Picture, click on picture for website details.
In Burma there are two races of people. One race lives in villages and tills the ground; the other race lives among wild beasts in the jungle on the hills.
One day a villager set out for the hills, where he found a
beautiful hill woman, whom he led to his village and married. For a
time they lived happily and had a little baby girl. But the baby died,
and the villager began to neglect his wife. Coming home late
one night he found his hut empty, and about it were the the marks of a
tigress's feet. He knew what had happened. His wife had changed back
into a tigress and gone back to the jungle. All the deep
love for her returned, and he set out again for the hills, taking with
him the clothes of the dead baby. He followed the tracks of the tigress
until he came to a cave, and there he saw the eyes of the wild beast
blazing in the darkness. He was not afraid. He put down the
baby's clothes at the mouth of the cave, and the tigress leaped out
upon him. But when she saw the clothes of her little dead
girl her heart was melted. Then instead of killing the villager she
suddenly changed into a woman, and flung her arms about his neck.
Together they went back joyfully to their empty hut.
Stories from Around the World. Share THE BOY FIDDLER OF SICILY
Pero was a merry, simple lad, and he lived in a village in the beautiful island of Sicily. His Parents died when he was young, and when he was fourteen he set out to make his fortune. On the road he met a beggarman, who said: "My son, I am starving. Give me something to buy some bread." "You can take my wages," said Pero, "and I will go back and serve three years more." "You are really as kind as you are simple," said the beggarman, and as he spoke he changed into a bright Spirit. "I will give you three wishes." "Well," said Pero, "give me please, a violin that will make everybody dance, a gun that will never miss, and the gift of speech, that nobody can refuse me anything." The Spirit granted Pero his wishes and Pero turned back to the farm. Seeing a pheasant fly by, he fired at it with his magic gun. The bird fell but before he could pick it up the farmer ran out and siezed it. "Well," said Pero, "you can keep that pheasant if you like to dance for it." He played on his violin, and the farmer capered around like a mad man. "Stop, Pero!" he cried at last. "And I will give you a thousand crowns." Pero stopped playing and the farmer gave him the money, but as soon as his back was turned the farmer denounced him as a robber. There was little mercy for robbers in Sicily in those days. Pero was quickly arrested, tried, and condemned. But just as the hangman was about to put the rope round his neck he asked the magistrate to let him play just one last tune. "Don't give him the violin!" cried the farmer. But Pero had the gift of speech, and no one could refuse him anything. The magistrate gave him the violin, and Pero began to play. The magistrate and the farmer, the hangman and all the spectators began to dance as he played. He played on until they were all weary; he played on until the soles of their boots came off, and still he kept playing. Until the magistrate at last promised to set him free. Pero then came down from the scaffold, he took his gun and his violin as well as his thousand crowns which is really what he should have been paid by the farmer for all the long years he had workrd for him for hardly anything, and he then returned to his native village. With his violin and his gift of speech he found himself the prettiest girl in Sicily as his wife, and they settled down to a very happy life.
Stories from Around the World. picture by Student Gallery: Chris Brett, 4th Year
October 29, 2007, 3:51 pm
A Bee from Mount Hymettus, the queen of the hive, ascended to Olympus to present to Jupiter som fresh honey from her honey combs,. Jupiter,
delighted with the offering of honey, promised to give whatever she
should ask. She therefore besought him, saying, "Give me, I pray thee,
a sting, that if any mortal shall approach to take my honey, I may kill
him" Juiter was much displeased, for he loved the race of man, but
could not refuse the request because of his promise. He thus answered
the Bee: "You shall have your request, but it will be at the peril of
your own life. For if you use your sting it shall remain in the wound
you make, and then you will die from the loss of it"
The moral of this story is;
Evil wishes, like chickens, always come home to roost.
This Story Line Comes from Toronto Canada
Here is a new story for you, well not quite a story, a take on a nursery rhyme in classic story-teller view. I do hope you enjoy it. It isn't mine as you can see but I came across it when I was looking through the new "Blogs" on "Thought". I fell about laughing and I'm sure the older ones in our little group will really appreciate this. Read On:- Hickory Dickory
February 17 2008
I guess almost everyone has heard that old nursery rhyme that goes something like this:
Hickory dickory dock The mouse ran up the clock The clock struck One The mouse ran down Et cetera
suppose we gave that rhyme to three famous writers, such as Charles
Dickens, Ernest Hemingway and Mickey Spillane, then we asked each of
them to rework it into his own style of story telling. The results
might look something like this:
was the best of clocks. It was the worst of clocks. If ever there was
anyone in Merry Old England who knew how to scamper up a clock, it was
the mouse. From the top of the clock, he could see The Old Curiousity
Shop and smell the Christmas goose roasting in Mrs. Cratchit's kitchen
oven. The smell of that goose filled the mouse with great
expectations, despite the ghosts of disappointment from Christmases
past. Then, the clock struck One and the mouse had to come back down.
Still, he was not bitter and the last thing he said before scampering
off was, "Merry Christmas, Mr. Scrooge and God bless us, every one."
mouse knew the clock well. It reminded him of the clocks in Cuba. He
would climb to the top of them and drink rum while he looked up at the
stars. Not the cheap rum that the locals sold to Gringos. Only the
darkest rum from the best sugar cane. It was good to drink rum and
look at the stars. A mouse must show courage and accept what came to
him. When the clock struck One, the mouse knew he must come down
again. He shrugged as he realized that there would be other days and
other clocks. One day, there would be a clock he could not climb.
Then, he must die. Alone. In the rain.
I saw the clock, I pulled my gun out of my trenchcoat and cocked the
hammer. My name's Mike Hammermouse and I'm a rodent shamus. It
doesn't pay very well, but it's a job. I was going up that clock and
anybody who tried to stop me would get shot in the belly. There was a
blond mouse waiting for me up there. She had long, slim legs and a body
that attracted me more than cheese. I knew we'd get along. I've never
met a dame who didn't understand a slap in the kisser or a slug from a
.45. Then, the clock struck One and I fell forward into blackness.
When I came to, my head felt like the Russian Army had marched over
it. My gun was gone and a huge shadow fell over me. As I looked up, I
realized I'd made a bad mistake. I'd forgotten about the cat.
How about you? Any suggestions for nursery rhymes that could be reworked by famous writers?
P.S. For some free short stories, visit my website at www.checkmatefiction.com
Another popular legend tells the story of how Bathala created the people of the islands.
In the beginning when the Earth was still young, the gods, Bathala; Aman Sinaya; and Amihan, were the only beings that existed. Bathala was god of the Sky (Langit) and Aman Sinaya was goddess of the Sea (Dagat). The two have been fierce rivals for a long time, and everyday, they would try to outdo each other. Bathala used his lighting bolts and thunder, and Aman Sinaya used her waves and typhoons.
One day, Aman Sinaya decided to send her tempests into the Sky to cause a wild commotion. In order to stop her, Bathala threw giant boulders that came from atop of the mountains. It created thousands of islands onto the surface of the Sea, which became the Philippine archipelago. Amihan, the Northeast Wind in the middle of the two realms, decided to stop the battle once and for all by taking the form of a bird. She then flew back and forth between them. This made the Sky and the Sea closer than it was before. At the point where the two realms met, both deities agreed to end the fight and become friends.
As a sign of friendship, Bathala planted a seed underneath the ocean floor. It soon grew into a bamboo reed, sticking out of the edge of the Sea. Amihan had gazed upon it one day and heard voices, coming from inside the bamboo. "Oh, North Wind! North Wind! Please let us out!", the voices said. She pecked the reed once, then twice. All of a sudden, the bamboo cracked and slit open. Inside were two human beings; one was a male and the other was a female. Amihan named the man "Malakas" (Strong) and the woman "Maganda" (Beautiful). She then flew them onto one of the islands where they settled, built a house, and had millions of offspring that populated the Earth.
Then, it finally came when the children were too numerous for Malakas and Maganda to control. One day, they were ordered to work in the fields, but instead, they did nothing. When the parents arrived home, they noticed that their instructions weren't followed. Asking for some guidance, they prayed to the great god, Bathala, and he came to them and said, "Let your anger be shown to everyone and it shall make them into what they are meant to be." So out of their anger, they grabbed spoon ladles and began to give blows to everyone.
All the children started running away. Some hid under the bamboo tables and became slaves. A few of them went inside the burning cauldron and turned into the Aetas of the islands. Others climbed up the rooftop and became the datus of the villages. While some climbed on top of the trees and were believed to have become the commoners. Those who fled to the mountains turned into hunters and the ones who ran to the seashore turned into fishermen.
In the not so distant past lived a Brahmin (a cast Hindu), Taranlal. He was not educated. He earned his living by begging, which was customary amongst Hindus. He managed to get just enough to feed himself. He however was a daydreamer. He was a little eccentric too. It was because he was called Taranlal, he also always carried a long well oiled bamboo stick with him.
It was Uttarayan day (A Hindu religious day). On this day people give sweets made of sesame seeds and jaggery with coins hidden inside them to people who come for alms to their houses. This time around Taranlal got plenty of these sweets while on his begging rounds. When he reached the colony of potters, he was tired and so sat down under a tree to rest. The potter, who had his house close to this tree, had kept his pots in the shade of this tree, a little away from its trunk.
Sitting in the shade, Taranlal as usual closed his eyes and started daydreaming. He thought in his dreams: " Today I have received many sweets. I will eat the sweets and collect all the coins from inside them. Then I will buy a small shop with the money. As my shop starts doing better and better, I will start to make a lot of money which I will use to have a large house built for me. Then when I have a large house, as well as loads of money, the parents of girls will be eager for their daughter's to marry me. I will marry a very beautiful girl. I will move around the village with my wife in a buggy drawn by a white horse. But what if the horse goes wild and starts kicking around? I will have to hit him with my stick to bring him around."
And with his eyes still closed Taranlal picked up his stick and started swinging it over the horses head to bring to book the imaginary animal. Swish……whack………smack went his stick in the air till it finally hit the stack of pots lying there with a thud. Taranlal opened his eyes and saw that nearly all the pots were broken to pieces. The potter heard the sound of broken pots and rushed out of his house. He saw Taranlal sitting bemused in front of the broken pots with a stick in his hand. He beat up Taranlal who in an attempt to save himself started running away leaving his stick and all the sweets he had got, behind him. He had lost everything he had!
Many hundred years ago there lived an honest old woodcutter and his wife. One fine morning the old man went off to the hills with his axe to gather sticks for the fire, while his wife went down to the river to wash the dirty clothes. When she came to the river, she saw a peach floating down the stream; so she picked it up, and carried it home with her, thinking to give it to her husband to eat when he came home. The old man soon came down from the hills, and the good wife set the peach before him, when, just as she was inviting him to eat it, the fruit split in two , and a little puling baby was born into this world. So the old couple took the babe and brought it up as their own, and because it had been born in a peach, they called it Momotaro or Little Peachling. Day by day Little Peachling grew up to be strong and brave, and at last one day he said to his old foster parents, "I am going off to the ogres' island to carry off the riches that they have stored up there. Pray then make me some millet dumplings for my journey." So the old folks ground the millet, and made the dumplings for him; and Little Peachling, after taking an affectionate leave of them, cheerfully set out on his travels. As he was journeying on, he fell in with an ape, who gibbered at him and said, "Kia! kia! kia! where are you off to, Little Peachling?" "I'm going to the ogres' island, to carry off their treasure," answered Little Peachling. "What are you carrying at your girdle?" "I'm carrying the very best millet dumplings in all Japan." "If you give me one, I will go with you," said the ape. "So Little Peachling gave one of his dumplings to the ape, who received it and followed him. When he was gone a little further, he heard a pheasant calling - "Ken! ken! ken! Where are you off to, Master Peachling?" Little Peachling answered as before; and the pheasant, having begged and obtained a millet dumpling , entered into his service, and followed him. A little while after this, they met a dog, who cried - Bow! wow! wow! whither away, Master Peachling?" "I'm going off to the ogres' island, to carry off their treasures." "If you give me one of those nice millet dumplings of yours, I will go with you," said the dog. "With all my heart," said Little Peachling. So he went on his way with the ape, the pheasant, and the dog following after him. When they got to the ogres' island, the pheasant flew over the castle gate, and the ape clambered over the castle wall, while Little Peachling, leading the dog, forced in the gate, and got into the castle. Then they did battle with the ogres, and put them to flight, and took their king prisoner. So all the ogres did homage to Little peachling, and brought out their treasures which they had hidden. There were caps and coats that made their wearers invisible, jewels which governed the ebb and flow of the tide, coral, musk, emeralds, amber and tortoiseshell, besides gold and silver. All these were laid before Little Peachling by the conquered ogres. So Little Peachling went home laden with riches, and maintained his foster parents in peace and plenty for the remainder of their lives.
This fairy tale was taken from a book I have called Tales of Old Japan collected by Lord Redesdale. Which was published in 1919 The name Momotaro comes from Momo meaning peach and Taro which is the eldest son. however today Taro is used for any male child. Another little fact is the "Ken, ken, ken of the pheasant was thought to be a warning of arriving earthquakes.
A CHINESE FAIRY STORY
The Story of Hok Lee and the Dwarfs
THERE ONCE LIVED in a small town in China a man named Hok Lee. He was a steady, industrious man, who not only worked hard at his trade, but did all his own housework as well, for he had no wife to do it for him. "What an excellent, industrious man is this Hok Lee!" his neighbours said. "How hard he works. He never leaves his house to amuse himself or to take a holiday as others do! "
But Hok Lee was by no means the virtuous person his neighbours thought him to be. True, he worked hard enough by day, but at night, when all respectable folk were fast asleep, he would steal out and join a dangerous band of robbers who broke into rich people's houses and carried off all they could lay their hands on. This state of things went on for some time, and though a thief was caught now and then and punished, no suspicion ever fell on Hok Lee, he was such a very respectable, hard-working man.
He had already amassed a good store of money as his share of the proceeds of these robberies when it happened one morning on going to market that a neighbour said to him, "Why, Hok Lee, what is the matter with your face; One side of it is all swelled up."
True enough, Hok Lee's right cheek was twice the size of his left, and it soon began to feel very uncomfortable.
"I will bind up my face," Hok Lee said. "Doubtless the warmth will cure the swelling."
Next day, however, it was only worse, and day by day it grew bigger and bigger till it was nearly as large as his head and very painful. Hok Lee was at his wits' end what to do. Not only was his cheek unsightly and painful, but his neighbours began to jeer and make fun of him, which hurt his feelings very much indeed.
One day, as luck would have it, a traveling doctor came to the town. He sold not only all kinds of medicine but also dealt in many strange charms against witches and evil spirits. Hok Lee determined to consult him and asked him into his house.
After the doctor had examined him carefully, he said, "This O Hok Lee, is no ordinary swollen face. I strongly suspect you have been doing some wrong deed which has called down the anger of the spirits on you. None of my drugs will cure you, but if you are willing to pay me handsomely, I will tell you how you may be cured."
Then Hok Lee and the doctor began to bargain, and it was a long time before they could come to terms. The doctor got the better of it in the end, for he was determined not to part with his secret under a certain price, and Hok Lee had no mind to carry his huge cheek about with him to the end of his days. So he was obliged to part with the greater portion of his ill-gotten gains. When the doctor had pocketed the money, he told Hok Lee to go on the first night of the full moon to a certain wood and there to watch by a particular tree. After a time the dwarfs and sprites who live underground would come out to dance. When they saw him they would be sure to make him dance too.
"And mind you dance your very best," added the doctor. "If you dance well and please them, they will allow you to present a petition and you can then beg to be cured; but if you dance badly they will most likely do you some mischief out of spite." With that he took his leave and departed.
Happily, the first night of the full moon was near, and at the proper time Hok Lee set out for the wood. With a little trouble he found the tree the doctor had described, and feeling nervous, he climbed up into it. He had hardly settled himself on a branch when in the moonlight he saw the dwarfs assembling. They came from all sides until at length there appeared to be hundreds of them. They seemed in high glee, and danced and skipped and capered about, while Hok Lee grew so eager watching them that he crept farther and farther along his branch until it gave a loud crack. All the dwarfs stood still, and Hok Lee felt as if his heart stood still also.
Then one of the dwarfs called out, "Someone is up in that tree. Come down at once, whoever you are, or we must come and fetch you!"
In great terror, Hok Lee proceeded to come down, but he was so nervous that, just before he reached the grounds he tripped and came rolling down in the most absurd manner. When he had picked himself up, he came forward with a low bow, and the dwarf who had first spoken and who appeared to be the leader, said, "NOW then, who are you, and what brings you here?"
So Hok Lee told him the sad story of his swollen cheek, and how he had been advised to come to the forest and beg the dwarfs to cure him.
"It is well," replied the dwarf. "We will see about that. First, however you must dance for us. Should your dancing please us, perhaps we may be able to do something, but should you dance badly, we shall assuredly punish you; so now take warning and dance away.
With that, he and all the other dwarfs sat down in a large ring, leaving Hok Lee to dance alone in the middle. He felt half frightened to death and, besides, was much shaken by his fall from the tree, and he did not feel at all inclined to dance. But the dwarfs were not to be trifled with.
"Begin!" cried their leader, and, "Begin!" shouted the rest in chorus.
In despair Hok Lee began to dance. First he hopped on one foot and then on the other, but he was so stiff and so nervous that he made but a poor attempt, and after a time sank down on the ground and vowed he could dance no more.
The dwarfs were very angry. They crowded round Hok Lee and abused him. "You come here to be cured, indeed!" they cried. "You have brought one big cheek with you but you shall take away two." With that they ran off and disappeared, leaving Hok Lee to find his way home as best he might.
He hobbled away, weary and depressed, and not a little anxious because of the dwarfs' threat. Nor were his fears unfounded, for when he rose next morning his left cheek was swelled up as big as his right, and he could hardly see out of his puffy eyes. Hok Lee was in despair, and his neighbours jeered at him more than ever. The doctor had disappeared, so there was nothing for it but to try the dwarfs once more.
He waited a month until the first night of the full moon came round again, and then he trudged back to the forest and sat down under the tree from which he had fallen. He had not long to wait. Before long the dwarfs came trooping out until all were assembled.
"I do not feel quite easy," said one. "I feel as if some horrid human being were near us."
When Hok Lee heard this, he came forward and bowed down to the ground before the dwarfs, who came crowding round and laughed heartily at his comical appearance with his two big checks.
"What do you want now?" they asked.
Hok Lee proceeded to tell them of his fresh misfortunes and begged so hard to be allowed one more attempt at dancing that the dwarfs consented, for there is nothing they love so much as being amused. Now Hok Lee knew how much depended on his dancing well. He plucked up a good spirit and began, first slowly, then faster by degrees, and he danced so well and so gracefully and invented such new and wonderful steps that the dwarfs were quite delighted with him.
They clapped their tiny hands and shouted, "Well done, Hok Lee, well done. Go on, dance some more."
And Hok Lee danced on and on until he really could dance no more and was obliged to stop.
Then the leader of the dwarfs said, "We are well pleased, Hok Lee, and as a recompense for your dancing your face shall be cured. Farewell."
With these words he and the other dwarfs vanished, and Hok Lee, putting his hands to his face, found to his great joy that his cheeks were now their natural size. The way home seemed short and easy, and he went to bed happy, and he resolved never to go out robbing again.
Next day the whole town was full of the news of his sudden cure. His neighbours questioned him but could get nothing from him except that he had discovered a wonderful cure for all kinds of diseases.
After a time a rich neighbour, who had been ill for some years, came and offered Hok Lee a large sum of money if he would tell him how he might be cured. Hok Lee consented on condition that the neighbour would swear to keep the secret. He did so, and Hok Lee told him of the dwarfs and their dances.
The neighbour went off, he carefully obeyed Hok Lee's directions, and was duly cured by the dwarfs. Then another and another came to Hok Lee to beg his secret, and from each he extracted a vow of secrecy and a large sum of money. This went on for some years, so that at length Hok Lee became a very wealthy man and ended his days in peace and prosperity.
From the Green Fairy Book Edited by Andrew Lang
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