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Stories from the world Autumn/Winter 10-11


New discovery #81:

The children of the world also read stories You can also read the Bóboli 2010 Autumn/Winter catalogue. Among our new items for the coming season, you’ll find a gift for your children: six folk tales gathered from all over the world that will teach them other cultures while showing them the pleasure of reading.

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The end of darkness (Traditional Alaskan legend)

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n the beginning of time, the Eskimos lived in an endless night. They had never known sunlight, so they spent their days in a darkness that only faint starlight could make up for. And, believe me, it’s not easy living like that: they couldn’t stray too far from their igloos in case they got lost, they couldn’t see when a wild animal was approaching and the worst of all was the intense cold. Which is why they all had such a surprise when an ancient crow came to their village and told them about daylight. In the south, the bird said, there was such clear light that could help make the Eskimos’ lives so much better. So the whole village begged the crow to bring them a little bit of that wonderful light. The bird was old and tired, but it could not refuse such a request. The next day, the crow set off south. The days went by and, just when the Eskimos had begun to give up hope, a shining light that they had never seen before appeared on the horizon. The light continued to come closer until it covered everything. The crow had returned carrying a ball of light under its wings. The Eskimos couldn’t believe the world of colours opening up before them: the white of the snow, the green of the trees, the blue of the sky. The thing is, the crow told them, because he was so old, he had only been able to bring a very small ball of light. The Eskimos would have to let the ball rest for several months every year so that it would continue to work. That’s why, in Alaska there are 6 months of light and 6 months of darkness.

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The old lady and the eggs (Traditional Himalayan story)

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ot chocolate, not sweets, not cakes. Once upon a time, there was an old woman whose favourite dish was eggs. She loved them. She wouldn’t eat anything else. She loved them fried, boiled, scrambled or in an omelette: she would eat one whenever she could. However, the egg shop was a very long way from her house and the old lady wasn’t strong enough to walk that far every day. So she began to think. She had heard that hens laid eggs, so, with a great deal of effort, she saved up and bought one. The old lady was delighted, because every morning her hen laid a beautiful egg. But she was also very surprised: she had never seen a hen before, so she thought it kept the eggs inside its body. Until one day, when one egg was not enough for the old woman. She tried talking to the hen. She explained that that morning she wanted more eggs and that the hen had to lay at least two or three. But of course, it didn’t understand. Blinded by greed, the old lady grabbed a knife and opened up the poor hen, hoping to find a whole lot of eggs. But of course, there was nothing inside. The old woman now had no eggs and no hen. That’s how she found out that everything goes at its own pace and that it’s not worth jumping the gun.

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The lucky crickets (Traditional French story)

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ittle Marc, who was just about 5 years old, was standing quite still and silent in the middle of Olivia’s bakery. “Wake up, Marc,” the baker scolded him. “Do you want a loaf of bread?” “No, madam,” the boy answered, “my mother doesn’t have any money to buy bread. I’m listening to the crickies singing.” “Crickies? Oh, of course, you mean the crickets,” the woman laughed. “The crickets love the fire and that’s why every day a few of them meet up next to the oven.” “Could you give me one?” Marc begged. “It’s just that I’ve heard that crickies bring good luck. If we had one at home, maybe things would be better and my mother wouldn’t cry so much.” Worried, Olivia wanted to know why Marc’s mother was crying. “Because of our debts,” the little boy explained. “Although she works all the hours of the day, my mother can’t earn enough money to pay everything we owe.” The baker didn’t give it a second thought. She went straight to the oven, caught four crickets and gave them to Marc inside a little box, together with the biggest of her loaves. The little boy was so grateful that he walked home without taking his eyes off his crickets. But Olivia didn’t settle for that. She gathered up all the money in the cash register, put it in an envelope and got on her bicycle and pedalled over to Marc’s house. Because the little boy was lost in his thoughts, Olivia had no trouble in overtaking him. She reached the house before he did and left the envelope containing the money outside the door. When Marc reached his house, he found his mother jumping for joy, holding the envelope. The little boy could hardly believe it: it was true, the crickies had brought him good luck! 17


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The birth of an empire (Traditional Peruvian legend)

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he Sun was very sad. Day after day, he offered his energy to the people, but there was a village in southern Peru that did not use it for anything at all. These people lived in caves, like savages, and the worst thing about it was that they didn’t even realise how much better their lives could be if they learnt how to use the sun’s rays. Tired of this situation, the Sun summoned his two sons and sent them off on an important mission: “My sons,” he said, “I’m going to send you to the shores of a lake in southern Peru and you will take with you a golden rod. When you reach the lake, you must walk in a straight line and only stop where the rod sinks into the ground. At this very spot, you will found a city and you will teach its inhabitants to use my energy. Over time, that city will become the origins of an entire civilisation. The Sun’s two sons walked non-stop until they reached the place their father had said. Excitedly, they brought together all the people from the surrounding areas. With great patience, they taught them how to build houses, dress, cook, educate their children, use tools to cultivate the land and much more. And this is how the great empire of the Incas was born, as the Sun looked down on everything from heaven with a huge smile on his face.

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Alexander and the thieves (Traditional Russian story)

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rave Alexander was crossing the forest deep in his own thoughts. So distracted was he that, because he didn’t pay attention to where he was going, he became completely lost. As dusk was beginning to fall, Alexander decided to spend the night in an abandoned windmill that he came across close by. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, he was awakened by the sound of footsteps. In an instant, Alexander jumped bolt upright and hid behind some sacks just as three men entered the windmill. From his position, he could hear the strangers’ conversation. They appeared to be three thieves who wanted to share out the loot from their latest robberies. “Listen carefully,” exclaimed the one who seemed to be the leader of the group. “What we’ll do is hide the loot behind those sacks. When the police stop looking for us, we’ll come back for it.” Alexander began to tremble: the thieves were on the verge of discovering him. But just then, our hero had a brilliant idea. In the deepest voice he could muster, he began to shout: “After them boys! Andrei, you’re with me. Valery, you watch the back. Dimitri, get your sword out! Come on, don’t let any of them escape!” Luckily, the trick worked. The three thieves ran off without a backwards glance, leaving the loot in the windmill. So, brave Alexander returned home the following morning a rich man.

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The invisible elf (Traditional South African legend)

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outh African children are the best behaved in the world. They always obey their elders, do their homework and come home on time. This is normal because if one day they do behave badly, their parents will let Tokoloshe know. You’ve probably not heard of him, but, believe me, count yourself very lucky that he’s never been seen around here... Tokoloshe is a very small and very hairy elf. But don’t be fooled by his size, because in fact he’s the most dangerous of all creatures. When he eats a stone, Tokoloshe becomes invisible and starts being naughty: he slips into the houses and turns everything upside down with his pranks and tricks. Some people in South Africa are so afraid of him that they put bricks under the legs of their bed to raise it, so that the tiny elf cannot climb up to them. However, you don’t need to worry about a thing, because I’m going to tell you a secret. There’s a very easy way of getting Tokoloshe off your back: just leave a bowl of milk at the foot of your bed. This tiny elf absolutely loves milk, he can’t get enough of it. So, if he finds the bowl, he’ll be so grateful that he’ll be your friend forever and he’ll make sure that nothing bad ever happens to you.

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Stories from the world Autumn/Winter 10-11

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