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Folk Tales 9.

Mary Nickelpot

Folklore story from Slovenia Translated in English by Osnova šola Pod goro, Slovenske Konjice ,Slovenia

Mary Nickelpot was sweeping the house when she found a nickel in the rubbish. She took it and bought a little pot. It was freezing outside and there was hoarfrost. She was very tired and fell asleep. But then a strong knocking on her little house’s door woke her up. “Who is it?” she asked. “It’s me, the fox. Oh, Mary Nickelpot. I beg you – let me come in. Bora is blowing and it’s freezing. I’ll freeze to death if you don’t let me in,” she whined. Mary Nickelpot hesitated and asked the fox, “If you are good at something, I’ll let you in, otherwise no!” “I’m a dressmaker,” answered the fox. Mary Nickelpot let her came inside the little pot. They lay down and fell asleep. But soon after they had fallen asleep the knocking on the door woke them up again. When Mary asked who it was, somebody moaned, “Oh, Mary Nickelpot, please, bora is blowing and it’s freezing. I’ll freeze to death. I’m a wolf and I’m a butcher.” “Because you are good at something, you may come in,” she answered. Mary Nickelpot opened the door and let the wolf in her little pot.While sleeping they heard the moaning again, “Mary Nickelpot, please, open the door! The bora is blowing, there is hoarfrost and I, the bear, will freeze to death if you don’t let me in.” “What are you good at?” asked Mary Nickelpot. “I’m a shoemaker!” answered the bear. Mary opened the door wide. “Oh, we won’t have any peace this night!” Mary said angrily when she heard the knocking and the moaning again. “Mary Nickelpot, I beg you, let me in, I’m freezing!” “Who are you and what are you good at?” asked the housekeeper. “I’m the rabbit, and I can sew like a tailor!” came the answer. She let him in, too. Mary Nickelpot was very angry, when she heard the knocking and moaning again. “Mary Nickelpot, I beg you, let me in. I can’t stand the bora and the hoarfrost anymore.” It was a deer. Mary Nickelpot let him in too, as she found out that he is a qualified lumberjack. After that they all fell asleep. The next morning, Mary Nickelpot sent all the guests to work. The wolf provided a delicious dinner. He brought several bee hives and put the honey in a pot. They ate the dinner and went to bed. During the night the fox moaned: “Oh my, I’ve got a stomach ache!” Mary Nickelpot said to her, “Go to the kitchen and make yourself some chamomile tea.” The fox went to the kitchen. As soon as they had fallen asleep again, the fox began to moan for the second time and was moaning for so long that Mary Nickelpot repeated the advice and sent her to the kitchen in order to take some more chamomile tea. And the fox went to the kitchen for three times to make herself some tea. But there was no pinching in her belly and she made no chamomile tea. Actually, she knew where the honey was and she licked it all.Then she fell soundly asleep. In the morning, Mary Nickelpot sent everybody to work and said to the fox, “Poor little dressmaker, as you were sick last night and you couldn’t sleep, you can rest now”. But soon everybody in the kitchen started arguing, “You ate the honey!” “No, I didn’t! You did!” And so on and so on. Mary said: “The thief was somebody from the house. Nobody else could know about the honey because the door was closed. In order for the guests to avoid the shame the wolf suggested, “Let’s all lie down on the back, open the mouth and sunbathe! The animal that ate the honey will be discovered as the honey will be leaking from that person’s mouth!” Everybody lay down on the grass in front of the little pot and immediately fell asleep. Only the fox couldn’t sleep because she felt guilty. Indeed, the honey came out of her mouth. She quickly wiped the honey and spread it around bunny’s mouth. Then she, like the others, fell asleep. The uproar woke her up. Meanwhile the others woke up and saw the honey round the rabbit’s mouth. They started chasing him. He ran as fast as he could, but while running he broke both of his front legs and only after that he managed to escape. Everyone ran after him and Mary Nickelpot was left alone with her little pot. The legs of poor little rabbit stayed like that for ever and that’s why even nowadays his front legs are shorter than his back ones.

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Folk Tales 8.

THE TALE OF THREE BROTHERS AND THE WHITE EAGLE

Folklore story from Poland Translated in English by Szkoła Podstawowa nr 4 im. Orła Białego, Czechowice-Dziedzice , Poland

Once upon a time there was a beautiful country where Slavs lived. They were sincere and candid people. They were famous for their hospitality, bravery, great strength and diligence. Among Slavs there was a special tribe. It was ruled by an old grey-haired man who had three sons, Lech, Czech and Rus. They had a lot of virtues like their father and they were famous for their intelligence.One day the old father called for his three sons and said them: “My dearest sons!” “We are listening to you, father!” replied the sons.“I’m old and soon I’ll die. It’s time to nominate my heir, and it should be one of you …” “We are on your orders, father!” said Lech.“What should we do?” asked Czech.“So it will be this way, bring here your bows and arrows. Draw your bows and aim them in three different directions!” ordered the father.“Done!” replied the sons.“Now saddle your horses and go as fast as you can where your arrows flew. And when you will find them, look around and hunt for a big animal. And the one of you who will come back with the greatest hunting trophy will be my heir. Go!”  The young men rushed in three different directions. Czech found his arrow as the first one. He looked around and suddenly … He saw a huge auroch. They fought hard and Czech strained every nerve to break its neck. He won!   Lech found his arrow high on a great royal fir tree. He climbed it fast. Suddenly, he saw a herd of Polish bison running toward him. Lech jumped down and the herd stopped. A huge bison came forward and they fought hard. The animal fell down at Lech’s feet. He won! Rus’s arrow lay in front of a big bear’s den. Rus had no choice – a bear barred his way to the arrow. They looked deeply into each others eyes and then the bear stood on its legs. It seemed that it would tear Rus to shreds but he didn’t give up. He won and went home.   “I have to admit that you trophies are impressive.” said the father. “It is hard to name the winner. So you will share the power.” “But father, you said that only one of us could rule our tribe.” said Rus. “Yes, I said so and I still believe it, but it will be wise and fair if all of you are my heirs. Your arrows flew in different directions and you will go these ways too. It is there you will create your countries which you will rule according to your will.” replied the father. “And what about you, father?” asked Czech. “And what about our home?” asked Lech. “I will stay here alone. Forever.” said the father. “Father …” said the sons. “No, my dearest sons, it is not the right time for sorrow and tears. I’m asking you for one more thing. Be kind to each other, respect each other and support each other. Now go and remember what I taught you. Be well Czech, my dear son and go your way!” said the father. “Be well my father. I will always think about you.” replied Czech. “Goodbye Rus and be happy!” said the father. “Goodbye father!” replied Rus. “And you, Lech – live and rule wisely and in peace!” “Be well father! Goodbye forever!” said Lech.Three brothers: Lech, Czech and Rus looked deeply in each others eyes and they shook their strong hands for a long time in silence. As their old father ordered, they went their ways with their people and property. Czech’s people went south. After a long journey they stopped in wide land. There were huge fields and high mountains. Rus went in different direction, he went west. He went with his people through forests, swamps and endless steppes. One day he said to his people: “Here is our land. This land is cold and icy, but it’s our dearest land!”   Lech was a bit different from his brothers. You could recognize his thick fair hair and linen clothes. His people weren’t similar to his brothers’ people either. Lech’s arrow flew where the sun sets. His people went there looking for their own land. But it wasn’t that easy for Lech to find his place. He walked for long months; he lost his way and found many obstacles. He and his people were very tired and dissatisfied too. So Lech stood in front of them and said: “We will bear it!” During a council of elders, Lech put his head in his hands and thought. He dreamt that a strange power lifted him up and he flew in unknown direction for a long time until he saw broad fertile valleys and blue rivers full of fishes. Yes, it was their dream land! “Wake up! Wake up!” shouted the night guards. Soon they woke up the whole camp. Prince Lech wiped his eyes and reminded himself about his dream. This huge bird, these huge wings … Suddenly, he saw a large eagle which gave him a sign to follow it. Yes! It was the bird from his dream! The white eagle, the royal eagle gave him a sign! “Come here my friends! Come here Bolko, Przemko and you, Ziemko!” said Lech. “We are with you and your people are ready!” said Lech’s friends. “Let’s go right now! We’ll follow the eagle!” shouted Lech. Lech’s people went through thick forest. The white eagle flew over them all the time, and it led them in one direction. Suddenly, they found themselves by a beautiful lake. The water was crystal clear. They set up a camp. Lech sat down under an old oak, which grew by the lake and he looked for the eagle. Suddenly, Bolko shouted: “Look over there! The eagle is in the oak!” “He’s got the nest there!” said Przemko. “I can see royal eaglets in the nest.” said Ziemko. “Thank you eagle! You led my people to this place. I will build my nest here, as you did. Near the lake we will build a town, which we will call Gniezno. And your image will be on our standards.” said Lech proudly. “Vivat Lech! Vivat the white eagle, our symbol forever!” shouted the people. “Vivat Poles!” Lech’s people settled down and build a town called Gniezno. The town was the first capital city of Poland, and the white eagle is still our national symbol.

Folk Tales 7.

The Liar Shepherd

A Story from Greece

Translated in English by Δημοτικό Σχολείο Ζερβοχωρίων, Χαλκιδική ,Greece

Once upon a time it was a shepherd who was grazing his sheep on a hill. As he was sitting there alone, he thought to have a joke with his friends. So he started shouting loudly to his friends. “Help ! Help ! Somebody help me ! A wolf has come and is eating my sheep!”“Help !!!” Some of his friends, who were grazing their sheep near to him, ran and tried to help him save his sheep from the wolf. When they arrived, they saw that there was no wolf at all ! So, they asked him. “Where is the wolf ?” “There isn’t any wolf,” he said,. “I just wanted to make a joke and laugh !” “So you wanted to laugh with us ! Shame on you !” they angrily said to him and they left. As the days were passing, the shepherd was bored just sitting there with his sheep so he thought to make the same joke with his friends again. He started shouting, “Help ! Help ! Please help me my friends !” This time I tell you the truth, a wolf is eating my sheep please help me !” Most of his friends didn’t believe him but there were some of them who thought, “This time maybe it’s true and he maybe really needs our help. Let’s go and see what’s going on and help our friend.”But when they went to him they saw for the second time that he was lying and there was no wolf at all. They felt so angry and they said that from now on, no one would ever go to him again because he was not a serious person and they didn’t want to have him a friend anymore. Time passed by and no one talked about him again. Suddenly one day, as the shepherd was grazing his sheep as he did every day, a real wolf started to approach his sheep. The shepherd was really in a panic seeing the wolf coming closer and closer to his sheep and he didn’t know what to do to save them. He knew that his friends were angry with him but as he didn’t have any other choice he started shouting one more time, “Help me! Please help !! A wolf has come to my sheep and started eating them. Somebody help me !” But his friends “took their lesson” and as they were talking between them they said,   “We don’t want to hear him anymore he is a lier and he always is laughing at us. He is lying again and he is trying to make jokes with us. We are not going to believe him this time because we are sick of him.” And they didn’t go to help him. So, the wolf ate his sheep and as he was watching and he couldn’t do anything to stop the tragedy. He thought, “They are right .I was always making jokes and telling them lies. Now I need them and they don’t believe me. How stupid I have been. I deserve to be punished. From now on, I’ll never lie again to them but it’s too late for my sheep”. From that moment the liar shepherd never lied again and he lived with his friends happily ever after.

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Folk Tales 6.

The Enchanted Forest  

A Story from Croatia Translated in English by Versus Foreign Languages School , Krapina, Croatia

A long time ago, a young man came to an enchanted forest to get some wood. The man was very foolish and kindhearted and he didn´t know that the forest was enchanted. Suddenly, a beautiful snakeappeared in front of him. He liked the snake and wanted to take it home. Then the snake turned into a beautiful girl, but she was evil and she was left with a snake´s tongue. The snake-woman was very happy to go home with the young man. His old mother saw her tongue and she knew that her future daughter-in-law was a snake, so she told her son to beware of her. The son got angry and called his mother a witch. The three of them lived together but they didn´t get along. The daughter-in-law was vain, evil and she ate a lot. She wanted to get rid of young man´s mother. The son kept quiet because he wanted to please his wife. One day, the daughter-in-law chased the mother out of the house. It was very cold and she couldn´t go anywhere,so she just sat feeling sad and desperate in front of the window. Then a poor girl came by. She politely asked the old mother to buy some wood she was carrying, but the old mother replied she didn´t have any money and offered to mend her torn sleeve instead. The poor girl accepted and gave her some wood.In the evening, the son and the snake-daughter-in-law, went to visit their friends and mother was left home alone. She put some wood on the fire that the young girl gave her and suddenly it started crackling and out of the fire came tiny, but very loud and happy creatures – the Domaci. The old mother thought they were sent from God and she told them everything about her troubles and asked them kindly to help her.  One of them had an idea. He told her to place some magpie eggs under their hen (because it is a well-known fact that snakes like to eat little magpies), so that the snake-daughter-in-law would try to eat them and then show her snake-tongue. When the magpies hatched, the daughter-in-law first thought they were little chickens, so she called the entire village to come and see them because she vas vain and she wanted to show off her chickens that had hatched in the middle of winter. When she saw the little magpies, she became hungry and she stuck her snake-tongue out, so the whole village saw that she was a snake.   The son was embarassed and angry and told his mother to get out of the house, although there was snow outside. The mother was so sad, she sat on the ground and lit up a fire because she still had some of the wood that the poor girl gave her. Suddenly, Domaci started jumping out of the fire again. She told them what had happened and they decided to take her to the chief of the enchanted forest. When he heard about her trouble he offered to make the old mother young again and to bring her back to the village where she was born. The old mother said she couldn´t do that to her son and suddenly, all the magic together with the forest and the snake-daughter-in-law disappeared – the spell was broken. The mother returned happily home together with her son who then later married the poor girl who had sold wood to the old mother. The three of them lived happily ever after until the end of their days.

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Folk Tales 5.

The Foal-Egg of Ratot

A Story from Hungary Translated in English by Gyulai Alapfokú Közoktatási Intézmény, Gyula Hungary

Once upon a time the guard of Ratot who looked after the fields found a huge peachy (delicious) pumpkin. “Wow ! What on earth is it ?” he exclaimed. He picked it up, touched and smelled it but he could not figure out what it was.   He went back to the village. Ratot brought the pumpkin into the village hall, where the village council was just in discussion. When the guard put the pumpkin down on the desk, all of the old counsellors were in horror. “I have already lived a lot but I have never seen such a creature yet.” said a counsellor. “Well, I have to tell the truth, I am not a child of today, but what on earth this can be ?” said another counsellor. At this time, the judge of Ratot also spoke, “ Well brothers, from its shape, it can be nothing else but an egg.” “Really, an Egg!” “What else it could be if not an egg.” The guard confirmed it that the egg was quite warm when he took it into his sack. The judge who was the cleverest person in the village also wanted to know what kind of egg it was.  The old counsellors thought lizard dragon but the judge believed the guard who said that in those days a strange foal sauntered the field. The counsellors exclaimed at the same time, “It is true! The strange foal laid it, because only a creature from Hell can have laid us such a big egg.”   “Well, we got the solution luckily,” said the judge, only one question, “What shall we do?” “We should hatch the egg.” “Yes, okay, but what shall we do it with ? Our horses don’t lay eggs, so they don’t brood them,” said the judge. Everybody was thinking, but the judge of Ratot had a good idea. “Well, my brothers, although the horses of Ratot don’t have big enough minds, the council of Ratot has. I’m saying that we should brood the precious egg.” It was a strange idea but everybody nodded. Setting a good example, the judge sat on the egg and then the others sat onto it. It is sure that someone would be still sitting on the egg if it were not for the citizens of the neighbouring villages, who started to gossip that Ratot had a rotten foal egg. Answering this, the counsellors started to argue that they would not sit on the egg any more.   The judge was very sad, because he believed strongly that the small foal had already moved inside the egg. The counsellors claimed the egg was smelly. Finally, they agreed that they would take the rotten egg up to the hill and roll it down to the gossipy neighbour village. After that everybody from Ratot went up the hill to see the rotten egg fall down to the bad-tongued neighbouring village. When they stopped their noses, the judge began to roll the foal egg down. The egg was rolling and rolling, finally it rolled into a hawthorn bush at the bottom of the hill. Inside the bush it crashed into pieces loudly and a small rabbit jumped out of the bush. All of Ratot shouted, “There is a small foal! The small foal is running! People, fetch it!”The villagers ran after it. Only the judge stayed on the hill, and he thought sadly, “I said that the foal had already moved. Hey, why don’t we sit patiently more some days on that God- given foal egg !?”

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Folk Tales 4.

The Baker of Aljubarrota

Folklore story from Portugal Translated in English by Agrupamento de Escolas de Penalva do Castelo, Portugal

Once upon a time there was a woman who became very popular in the History of Portugal. Her name was Brites de Almeida. She was born in Faro, in the Algarve in the XIV century. Her parents owned a tavern in Faro and she used to help them. Her parents died when she was 20 years old and she decided to sell everything and leave to the North of Portugal. On the way she mets lots of different people and in particular some soldiers. She was very fond of fighting and using weapons and so she asked them to teach her how to use the sword. At the time Portugal was always at war with the Spanish and the Muslims. The population fought to defend the territory. Our character was an ugly, tall, fat but very strong woman. The soldiers amused themselves watching her fight with other men. One day a soldier fell in love with Brites and asked her to marry him. She asked him to fight with her first. During the struggle he died. Brites was distressed. She was convicted by law to go to prison but she managed to escape. She travelled to Spain by boat, dressed as a man with other villains. Some pirates caught her and the villains and they were made slaves and sold to a rich Muslim. Being so brave, Brites managed to escape and returned to Portugal. She decided to live a normal life and look for a job. She was told that in Aljubarrota she would find a job as a baker. Brites accepted the job. After some time she married to a farmer, a fat, strong honest man. One fine day they are told that there was going to be a battle nearby. Brites decided to help and fought the Spanish. Tired from the battle, Brites and her husband return home to their bakery. In the bakery some noise got their attention. There was a strange noise coming out from the big oven. They looked closer and discovered that some Spanish soldiers were hiding inside. Brites grabbed he shovel and struck them hard again and again. Ten were the soldiers, so they say. Hurray to Brites who saved us from the enemy! And so the story ends! Today she is still the most famous baker of Portugal!

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Folk Tales 3.

THE BALD BOY AND THE EMPEROR

Folklore story from Turkey Translated in English by Yenituran Primary School, Ankara ,Turkey

Once upon a time there was a bald boy in a far country. He lived in an old house with his old mother. His father died when he was very young. They were alone. One day his mother said, ’’My boy, get these gold coins inherited from your father; change them and employ a construction foreman so that we can have our house repaired. Otherwise it will be ruined in a short time.’’ The bald boy got the golden coins and set off. While he was walking, he met a group of people. He saw that they were beating a cat. Immediately he intervened in and said, ’’Take this piece of gold and stop beating him.’’ He gave a gold coin to them and rescued the cat. The bald boy and the cat went on walking together. After a while he saw a couple of people beating up a dog. He couldn’t stand this situation and shouted at them, ’’Stop! What are you doing here? Take that gold coin and stop beating this animal!” In this way he saved the dog as well Then the bald boy, the cat and the dog continued to walk along the road. When he was close to the town, he met a crowd. They were woodchoppers trying to kill a snake with an oaken stick. He couldn’t stop himself and said, ’’Take this gold coin and release the snake.’’ Thus he saved the life of the snake.The snake started to talk to the bald boy. “The son of Adam, I am the son of the snake emperor. I had argued with my dad and I had hidden over there. But they found me. I want to go back to my dad and if you want, you can come along with me.’’ The bald boy decided to go with the snake. After a short while they arrived at the house of the dad. The snake emperor felt so happy to see his son again. He wanted to give a reward to the bald boy and he said, ‘’Make a wish, anything you want !‘’ At that moment the prince snake whispered in his ear and said, ‘’Ask him to give the seal under his tongue.” Accordingly the bald boy said, ‘’I want your seal. ‘’The emperor smiled, ”You asked for my most precious treasure. I’ll give it to you because you saved my son. Whatever you wish, your wishes will become true with this seal. ’’The bald boy got the seal and he went back to his house with his new friends,the cat and the dog. When his mother saw that he did not bring home anything but a dog and a cat she got mad at him. The following day he said to his mother, “Go and ask for emperor’s young daughter as a wife.” His mother was shocked and said, ‘’My boy, this is impossible. We are poor people. Does such a magnificient emperor give his daughter’s hand to you? ‘’ But the bald boy was so insistent that eventually she went to the palace to ask for emperor’s younger daughter’s hand. After listening to the mother, the emperor said, ‘ ‘’If you build a big palace just across from my palace, then I can say OKAY. ‘’His mother returned back to home and told what emperor wanted from them. The bald boy smiled and said, ‘’Mum, don’t worry. I can build it in five seconds.’’And he asked the seal to make a great palace. When the emperor got up the day after and saw the big palace built in a night, he was shocked. Willy-nilly he gave his younger daughter to the bald boy. The bald boy moved into his new palace with his beautiful wife and he put the seal the best place in it. His wife was not aware of the secret of the seal. One day in the absence of the bald boy, a man came to the palace as a bead seller. His intention was to have the magic seal. He tried to sell beads to the bald boy’s wife. His wife did not have any money and therefore she said, ‘’Unfortunately I can’t buy any beads.‘’ The bead seller insisted, ’’ You don’t need to give me money. I can take anything that you have in exchange.’’ The girl thought about all inside the palace and decided to give the seal to him because it was only an unnecessary, simple and cheap seal. The cunning man got the seal and crossed the lake immediately. The palace of the bald boy fell apart right away and the emperor took his daughter back as well. The bald boy felt so unhappy. He was so sad. The cat said, “I can find the seal, but I can’t cross the lake.’’ The dog said, ’’I can swim through the lake and you can sit on me.’’ At last the two friends of the bald boy came to the man’s house. The dog waited at the door. The cat caught a mouse and put pepper on his tail .Later on the cat walked in and he put the mouse’s tail into the man’s nose. Therefore the man sneezed and the seal under his tongue fell off. The cat caught the seal and along with the dog they ran to the lake. The dog started swimming back to their palace but in the middle of the lake the cat dropped the seal from his mouth and a fish swallowed the seal. This time the dog got the blame and they both went to the fish market. The dog sniffed each fish and found out which one had the seal and showed it to the bald boy. The bald boy bought that fish and they returned back to their house rejoicing. The bald boy got back his palace and his pretty wife. They celebrated this occasion. They ate cakes, drank fruit juice, danced and sang songs for seven days and seven nights. The bald boy, his sweet wife and their two close friends the cat and the dog lived happily for many years. God accepted all the wishes of the bald boy. In fact the cat and the dog were the angels that God sent. God loved the bald boy because he was so kind and so merciful to all the animals.

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