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Illustrations of folk tales, rhymes and children’s stories in cut paper.

www.papercutters.org

Created and presented by the Guild of American Papercutters


Foreword

For as long as there have been stories of the fantastic and imaginary, there've been artists who've tried to depict the images they see in their heads as the words are read. From ancient Greek vases with images of hydras and gods painted on them, to contemporary children's stories and digital books on dvd, we've made the unreal real. What was once only a thought or idea has now become solid and images of the unimaginable are as common as flowers in a field in springtime. I know what a dragon looks like as he breathes fire down upon a village and I know what a troll looks like hiding under a bridge, or as he's turned to stone by daylight. I've seen tin men and scarecrows dancing, stuffed bears with honey obsessions, giant gorillas that can climb skyscrapers, and on a dark moonless night, I see zombies, werewolves, mummies and vampires before I go to sleep. My daughter, on the other hand, is quite familiar with singing mermaids, singing African animals, singing pots and pans and clocks and, well, you get the idea; always singing, and always a princess to be saved. To this day, I still remember my favorite illustrations in childhood: Maurice Sendak's "Little Bear" drawings. The delicacy of the line work and crosshatch was something special I would aspire to later, but truly, it was the characterization - the life - he put into Little Bear and Duck and Hen and Mama Bear that made them come alive. Their expressions, their gestures, everything about them seemed so real and natural, how could they not exist in some "other" storyland place? Sendak's art is what I saw in my head always after; not figments of my own imagination, but creations from his. That made it all the more real, because we know when we pretend, but when someone shows us, well‌ that's different.

Hans Christian Anderson used to cut paper illustrations to his stories, often at the same time as he was telling them. When I first put forth the call to fellow G.A.P. members to supply their own mind's eye view of their favorite myths and stories from

childhood, I knew I would be getting, and was counting on, a large variety of styles and interpretations. Paper is the medium, but the imagination of each artist is as different as the technique and style in which they cut. These creatures and tales exist only in our thoughts and their shapes and forms are unique to each of us, dictated by our childhood experiences and ethnic diversity from which we were raised. When someone says, "Dragon" to me, I immediately think of "Smaug" from The Hobbit and other European types, whereas someone from China or Japan may have a completely different thought. The Grimm Brothers celebrated their 200th anniversary this year, having published their first book in 1812. Next year is the G.A.P.'s 25th anniversary and what better way to celebrate both occasions than to have a book which brings the two together into a single project; cut paper pictures of classic children's stories. Illustrations depicting similar stories is a bit like listening to different interpretations of the same piece of music, be it a jazz standard or a Bach piano sonata. The words of the story are the same, so the flavor all comes from the imagination of the artist. Their style may be realistic and complex or it may be simple and abstract, leaving more room for the listener to put in their own details. The art may have an Eastern European flair or early American; it may be happy and uplifting, or it may be disturbing. The artist, just as much as the author, helps to guide the tone of the story and take the imagination of the audience into new and unusual places. I'm ready to go! Are you? Instigator, compiler and editor,

Richard Schuchman


List of Artists Richard Schuchman

Page 19 -

Linda Day

Page 3 -

Sandi Watanabe

Page 20 -

Dianne Peterson

Page 4 -

Sue Throckmorton

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Pay Kile

Page 5 -

Linda Emmerson

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Ursula Kirchner

Page 6 - Marie Helene Grabman

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Clare Lindley

Page 7 -

Mia Mazza

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Ellen Lengel

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Mia Mazza

Page 25 -

Ursula Kirchner

Trudy Kaufmann

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June Gengler

Melissa Clark

Page 27 -

Richard Schuchman

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Pat Stuntz

Page 29 -

Cover -

Rainbow Bridge

Pan Twardowski

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Hansel and Gretel

The Old Woman Who Became A Woodpecker

Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 -

The Fox and the Grapes The Willow Wren

Snow White and Rose Red Three Billy Goats Gruff

The Three Little Pigs

Melissa Clark

Snow White and Rose Red / 12 Dancing Princesses

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The Lion and the Mouse / The Maid and the Unicorn

Little Jack Horner

Little Robin Redbreast

Rumplestiltskin / Frog Prince / Little Mermaid

Selkie

Thumbelina

The Gardener

Prince Tamino Charms the Animals

Papageno Playing His Pan Pipes

Page 30 - Richard Schuchman

Red Riding Hood

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Linda Peck

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David Jenkins

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David Jenkins

Page 34 - 41

Kim Phillips

Jack and the Beanstalk

Iva Czyžová

Pretty Goldilocks

Cindy Stinson

4 + 20 Blackbirds

Jack and the Beanstalk

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Ursula Kirchner Little Red Cap

Rapunzel / The Princess and the Pea

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Kathy Reed

Chanticleer / Henny Penny

Rub A Dub Dub / Three Blind Mice

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Kathy Reed

Hey, Diddle Diddle / Grasshopper Band

Linda Peck

Cinderella / Little Miss Muffet

June Gengler

Back Cover -

Artists Comments Kathy Reed

The Rooster and the Pearl


Sandi Watanabe

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Rainbow “ Bridge ” Page 3


Sue Throckmorton

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Page 4

P “ an Twardowski ”


A “ Very Old Man With Enormous Wings ” © Linda Emmerson

Page 5


Marie Helene Grabman H “ ansel and Gretel ”

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Page 6


The “ Old Woman Who Became a Woodpecker ” © Mia Mazza

Page 7


Mia Mazza

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Page 8

The “ Fox and the Grapes ”


Trudy Kauffman

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The “ Willow Wren ” Page 9


Melissa Clark

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Page 10

“Snow White and Rose Red ”


Richard Schuchman “3 Billy Goats Gruff ”

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Page 11


Pat Stuntz

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Page 12

The “ Three Lile Pigs ”


Melissa Clark “12 Dancing Princesses ” ©

Melissa Clark

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“Snow White and Rose Red ” Page 13


“Cinderella ” © Linda Peck

Lile “ Miss Muffet ” © Linda Peck Page 14


Linda Peck

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Rub “ A Dub Dub ”

Three “ Blind Mice ” © Linda Peck Page 15


Rapunzel “ ” © David Jenkins

The “ Princess and the Pea ” © David Jenkins Page 16


David Jenkins

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Jack “ and the Beanstalk ” Page 17


Kim Phillips

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Page 18

Jack “ and the Beanstalk ”


The “ Lion and the Mouse ” © Linda Day

The “ Fair Maid and the Snow White Unicorn ” © Linda Day Page 19


Little Jack Horner sat in a corner eating his Christmas pie. He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum and said, “What a good boy am I.” This is one of many nursery rhymes I enjoyed reading as a child, then to my children and now to my grandchildren.

Dianne Peterson

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Page 20

Lile “ Jack Horner ”


Little Robin Redbreast Sat upon a tree Up went Pussycat and Down went he: Down came Pussycat And away Robin ran: Says little Robin Redbreast, “Catch me if you can.”

Pay Kile

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Lile “ Robin Redbreast ” Page 21


Page 22

Rumplestiltskin “ ”

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Ursula Kirchner

The “ Lile Mermaid ”

The “ Frog Prince ”


Page 23

Clare Lindley

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“Selkie ”


Page 24

Ellen Lengel

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Thumbelina “ ”


Page 25

Ursula Kirchner

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The “ Gardener ”


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June Gengler P “ rince Tamino Charms the Animals ”

Page 26


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June Gengler P “ apageno Playing His Pan-Pipes ” Page 27


H “ ey, Diddle Diddle ”

Grasshopper “ Band ”

Kathy Reed

© Page 28


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Kathy Reed “Chanticleer ” from “Canterbury Tales ”

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Kathy Reed H “ enny Penny ”

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Richard Schuchman

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Page 30

Red “ Riding Hood ”


Ursula Kirchner

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Lile “ Red Cap ” Page 31


Iva Czyžová

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Page 32

P “ rey Goldilocks ”


Cindy Stinson

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“4 + 20 Blackbirds ” Page 33


In Their Own Words - Artists Comments Clare Lindley on “Selkie” (pg. 23) Mermaids are beings mentioned in myth and folklore the world over, and have been around, so to speak, for many centuries. They have often been confused with the "Sirens" of Homer's Odyssey but they have a softer aspect in many traditions. The Sirens almost always lured sailors and sea-goers to their deaths, Mermaids often watched and even passed on their knowledge to the humans they encountered. In English myth the Mermaid was even known to come ashore and at times fall in love with and marry a human, but the lure of the sea would draw them back and once back in mermaid form could not return to their home and family on land. In northern England and Scotland the "Selkie" is a better known sea being, it is half man/woman, half seal and is a gentle being. The writer Sara Maitland has re-worked the "Selkie" myth in her modern short story, "Seal-Self" in the collection A Book of Spells. David Jenkins on his three cuttings: “Rapunzel” (pg. 16) The Brothers Grimm tell the tale of Rapunzel, imprisoned by a witch in a high tower because her father had once stolen rampions (oniones rapunzeles) from the witch’s garden. As the story goes, the witch would access the girl’s cell by calling, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,” then climb up the girl’s unusually long tresses. This papercutting illustrates the prince who has cleverly repeated the witch’s command and is about to climb up Rapunzel’s hair himself. I selected this scene because it is probably the most familiar part of the story. In addition, its subject matter is a lot more pleasant than that of the remainder of the story, during which the prince wanders blindly through the

wilderness, eating only roots and berries, before ultimately being reunited with Rapunzel.

“The Princess and the Pea” (pg. 16) In this Hans Christian Andersen story, a prince seeks a true princess among a multitude of false pretenders. When a bedraggled young woman enters the castle and says that she, too, is a princess, the doubting Queen Mother places a pea (legumes irritatingus) under the stack of eider down mattresses upon which the alleged princess is to sleep. This cutting depicts the resulting sleepless night for the princess; I elected to render this scene because of the challenges of making each mattress distinct and of depicting the miniscule pea underneath them all. In any case, the pea left the princess quite bruised in the morning, and the prince—realizing that only a real princess could be so sensitive—marries her. “Jack and the Beanstalk” (pg. 17) Utilizing several openings in a matboard, this papercutting shows most of the key plot elements of the timeless English story of Jack and the Beanstalk. In the middle is Jack himself, boldly climbing the huge beanstalk that sprung up overnight from the magic beans (legumes amazingus) received in trade for the hapless cow. Jack’s aged mother watches from below as the boy climbs upward, weaving in and out of the mat openings, and approaches the giant’s treasure—including the goose that lays golden eggs and the magic singing harp. At the top of the beanstalk, high in the clouds, is the castle where the giant resides.


June Gengler on Mozart’s “Magic Flute” (pgs. 26 - 27): (My cuttings) are from Mozart’s Magic Flute, a Masonic Fairy Tale concerning the exploits of Prince Tamino and his sidekick Papageno, the bird catcher, when they attempt to rescue Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, from the wizard Sarasatro. The first picture is entitled Prince Tamino Charms the Animals when he plays the Magic Flute.  It is one of my favorite scenes in the opera ( Act 1, scene 15).  I tried to make the Prince look like Mozart, playing a flute, while the animals come from the forest to listen.   The second picture is of Papageno, dressed in his parrot suit,  playing his pan-pipes during his entrance at the beginning of Act 1( A jolly trapper of birds am I/Der Vogelfanger bin ich ya).  The libretto for the opera was written by Emanuel Schikaneder, who also staged the first production and took the part of Papageno.  The costume is based on early etchings illustrating the production.  The picture of the Prince is currently in the Scherenschnitte show in Vreden, Germany. Linda Day on her two cuttings (pg. 19): "The Lion and the Mouse" I chose the story of the Lion and the Mouse by Aesop because as a story teller it shows that "no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." Aesop's Fables, Grosset and Dunlap Inc., ©1947, pp 137-138 "The Fair Maid and the Snow White Unicorn" The Scottish Folktale called "The Fair Maid and the Snow White Unicorn" is a magical story where a prince can be found in the most unlikely places. As a storyteller, I chose this story for its ability of overcoming adversity and doing good in the world and to always follow your heart.

Folk Tales for Moor and Mountain, collected by Winifred Finlay, Littlehampton Book Services Ltd., 1969 Linda Emmerson (pg. 5) on “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings": When we're in London, I'm privileged to be part of the workshop crew at the Little Angel Puppet Theatre. In 2011 it produced "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" inspired by a Gabriel Garcia Marquez short story. Among other things, I made crabs, angels and tourist buses. A decrepit Cornish village is suffering a plague of crabs and a child is extremely ill. In the middle of a terrible storm a very old man falls from the sky. What is it? The devil? Or an angel? Then the crabs depart and the child recovers. They lock the old man in a chicken coop and set out to make the most of their good fortune.  Soon visitors with money arrive and roof tops sprout satellite dishes. The local priest denounces the whole enterprise. One night the child unlocks the chicken coop and...see what happens. Linda Peck on her cuttings: (pgs. 13 - 14) Rub a Dub Dub Three men in a tub And how do you think they got there? The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick-maker They all jumped out of a rotten potato Twas enough to make a man stare. Rub a Dub Dub Three men in a tub And who do you think they be? The Butcher The Baker The Candlestick-maker All put out to sea.


I wonder, what is a tuffet! Little Miss Muffet Sat on a Tuffet Eating her curds and whey. Along came a spider Who sat down beside her And frightened Miss Muffet away. Soon she will be running away, but I'm still wondering what a tuffet is. I like to imagine nursery rhyme and story book characters. This is my version of Cinderella running away as the clock strikes 12, just before the coach turns back into a pumpkin and her beautiful dress becomes a scullery maid's again. I call the papercutting "The Lost Slipper". Three Blind Mice, Three Blind Mice Three Blind Mice Did you ever see such a sight in your life As three blind mice? (Before they lost their tails to the farmer's wife.) Melissa Clark on her cuttings (pgs. 10 & 13): The first cut is from the Grimm tale of Snow White and Rose Red. Pictured is the evil dwarf who has caught his beard in a fishing line. Snow White and Rose Red run across him hopelessly tangled and must cut his beard to free him, which he does not thank them for. The second cut is from the opening scene in Snow White. The queen has just pricked her finger and dropped three drops of blood on the snow on the window sill. From this the queen wishes that her child would have skin as white as the snow, lips as red as the blood and hair as dark as the ebony of wood on the window.

The last illustration comes from the story of the 12 Dancing Princesses. The recently discharged soldier has just shared a meal with the old lady, she in turn has given him a magic cloak that can make he wearer invisible. With this cloak the soldier will be able to solve the mystery of how the 12 princesses wear out their shoes every night and win himself a wife and kingdom in the process. Sandi Watanabe on "Rainbow Bridge" (pg. 3): Koi are known to swim upstream against the current and in Japan symbolize perseverance and strength. The legend that goes along with my cut paper design is that the koi swim upstream in the Yellow River, gaining knowledge along the way. Their ultimate goal is the rainbow bridge at the top of a sacred waterfall. If they can make it upstream, and up the waterfall, and then make a final leap through the gate, they are transformed into a dragon. Supposedly this is a rare occurrence and only the most special and strong of heart will make the journey to completion. The rest of the fish die along the way or at the final waterfall, and if they are caught before reaching the waterfall (the end of their life) they accept and face death bravely and proudly like the samurai. I've always found this legend interesting. The kirie is around 2 feet tall and at the bottom you can see the koi body and tail under the water, the middle is the changing between koi and dragon as it leaps out of the water and the top of course is the dragon transformation. The two lines behind the dragons head are supposed to represent the rainbow. I drew the design freehand and then laid the design over a single sheet of  black paper and cut it all out with an exacto knife.


Kathy Trexel Reed on her cuttings (pg. 29): on "Henny Penny" Henny Penny, also known as Chicken Little, is the fabled character whose cry of alarm, "The Sky is falling!" has become a common idiom in the English language indicative of hysteria. After an acorn falls on her head, she mistakenly believes that disaster is imminent and that she must hasten to tell the king.   Accompanied by barnyard friends, mostly fowl with rhyming names, including Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, and Turkey Lurkey, they spread the paranoia until their journey is interrupted by unscrupulous Foxy-Loxy, who plots to take advantage of the fearful, gullible group. In some  versions, the various fowl are all lured into his den and eaten, while Henny Penny decides that the sky is not falling after all and there is no need to tell the king.   This theme of jumping to catastrophic conclusions which block sensible action   has appeared in many cultures including centuries old Buddhist texts..   Recent satirical and political interpretations have also appeared in films, songs, and novels.   Walt Disney Studios in 1943, by request of the United States Government,  produced a cartoon based on the fable to discredit totalitarianism and Nazism in particular.  Its dark comedy used Henny Penny's theme as an allegory for the idea that fear-mongering weakens the war effort and costs lives.   A 1991 Golden Girls sitcom episode featured a short musical performance based on the fable, and a 1993 Aerosmith song "Livin' on the Edge" included lines "If Chicken Little tells you that the sky is falling..."  In 2007 American singer-composer Gary Bachland set the 1910 text from "The Primer"   version of " Chicken Little" as a reading for high voices and piano to underscore alarmism and its tragic consequences.   I considered adding to my depiction several

collaged raindrops cut from news releases naming social and political issues, but decided to leave the "threats" open to each person's imagination. on "Chanticleer" The story of Chanticleer is found in one of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, The Nun Priest's Tale, composed around 1390. The fable depicts a world of talking animals who reflect human perceptions and fallacies. Chanticleer is the finest of all roosters, who sings clearly and crows the hour more accurately than any church clock. His morning songs wake up the sun, or so the other farm animals believe.  His feathers that shine like burnished gold,  and his good manners that endear him to all,  make him the Don Juan of the barnyard. His contented life is interrupted one night by a nightmarish premonition of a vague threat from an orange hound-like beast. Although his wife assures him that bad dreams are not to be feared, a hungry red fox spies on Chanticleer and watches for the perfect moment.  As the fox compliments the rooster on his excellent singing, Chanticleer beats his wings, stands on his toes, closes his eyes, and stretches out his neck to crow loudly.  The wily fox snatches Chanticleer by the neck and begins to drag him away while the entire barnyard erupts in chase and loud chaos.   Chanticleer cleverly suggests that the Fox turn and boast to his pursuers.   When Fox opens his mouth to gloat, Chanticleer flies out and up into the safety of a high tree, declaring that flattery will not work for Fox again. The moral: Never trust a flatterer.


on "Hey Diddle Diddle" (pg. 28) Hey Diddle Diddle The cat and the fiddle The cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed To see such sport And the dish ran away with the spoon. Such fun to say, such silliness to imagine; fiddling music, a leaping cow, dancing, and words that almost roll off the tongue. I've shown this papercut nursery rhyme to many elementary age children, and it is always recognized and prompts their recitation of the rhyme.  I wonder how many thousands of children before our own time have enjoyed the bouncy foot tapping/ rapping rhythm and visualized the fun and nonsense. on "Grasshopper Band" (pg. 28) The music of grasshoppers and their cricket cousins usher in late summer and early fall where I live. The rich vibrations are joyful, raspy accompaniments for my walks in the country, and they announce big seasonal changes soon to come. Following their sounds with the eyes is tricky;   I can look, and my little dog can pounce,  but a grasshopper's leap of faith is quicker than the eye. Grasshopper songs and dances have been the basis for countless fables, musical scores, and visual versions.  Aesop's tale describes an ant, working all summer, saving food for the harsh winter, while the grasshopper sings and dances with merriment. When hard times come, the ant rebukes the grasshopper, scolding, "Idleness brings want;  work today to eat tomorrow."  But even Aesop's tale has been tweaked with a variety of moralistic conclusions. Many artists have presented the opposite tradition, where the ant is seen as a

self-righteous example, and the artist-grasshopper's place within the work ethic is justified. The grasshopper's song brings pleasure to all, while the ant is thoroughly materialistic.  Walt Disney's 1934 animated fable-based cartoon presented a socially responsible conclusion reflecting FDR's New Deal;   hoarding is folly, enjoyment is wise. Jiminy Cricket is the only cricket I've ever known personally, and I favor his Disney portrayal as a clever and sensible fellow.  Like the Chinese, I   might also regard a cricket singing in my home with pleasure and as a sign of good luck.  My preferred moral for ant and grasshopper attitudes would be:  There is a time for work, and ALSO a time for play. Richard Schuchman on “Three Billy Goats Gruff” (pg. 11): Troll: Snar griff blashk trip-trapping kraal? Goat: Baa baa baaaa maa baa baaaa maaaaa "hee hee" baaaa maaaa ba. Maaa ba ba maaaa ba maaa baaaaa. Troll: Plish duunk zulab! Haw-haw! *snort* Goat: *sigh* Baaa ma maaa ba. Baaaaa maaa ba ba. Ki-YAAHHH! TRANSLATION Troll: Who's that "trip-trapping" on my bridge? Goat: I am the eldest billy goat gruff. While I am certain this is not your bridge, I am willing to bring you a "troll toll" *hee-hee* of perhaps some milk and cheese of the goat variety. If you insist on trying to eat me and my siblings, however, I'm afraid it will all end in violence. Troll: Bring me mint sauce! Haw-haw! *snort* Goat: *sigh* Very well… Let's dance. I must warn you, I'm skilled in "baa-raté" and "ewe-jitsu". Ki-YAAHHH!


Susan Throckmorton on “Pan Twardowski” (pg. 4): Here's a very short version of the folk tale. It's one of the most popular legends in Poland. There are many versions, so I'll just give you the gist of one in English by Krystyna Turska, called The Magician of Cracow, published in 1975 by Greenwillow Books. The legend actually grew up around the real-life career of a Polish nobleman, a famous astronomer and alchemist, living in Cracow in the 1500's.  It  exists in many stories, poems and even proverbs. There is one Polish proverb which says,"He sold his soul to the devil, like Twardowski." PAN TWARDOWSKI, THE MAGICIAN OF CRACOW There once was a famous astronomer and magician  who lived in Cracow . One day, by using a dangerous black magic spell, he summoned up the Devil. He told the devil he was willing to give him his soul but only after granting him two wishes: 1) to go to the moon and 2) to be taken away by the devil only when he was in Rome (because he planned to never to set foot in Rome!). The Devil agreed, and the pact was signed.  For 7 years the Devil and his assistants toiled to grant the magician his every wish: all the silver in Poland, the creation of natural wonders, magnificent jewels and clothes and treasures of all kinds. The Devil even created a huge cock for him to travel around the world. In fact he was so "cocky" himself that one day he soared above the city of Cracow and flew down to the marketplace where he dismounted to the cheers of the astonished city folk and even the King.  But the Devil grew tired of the magician's incessant demands and decided to trick him. One winter night, he disguised himself as a messenger from the King and told the magician that the King had commanded him

to bring his magic potions and medicines to the castle to help cure the Princess who was very ill. He agreed, but on the long trip, they stopped at an inn to rest. When inside, the devil drew out the pact and told the magician to turn around and look at the name of the inn. To his astonishment, he saw the name "ROME! " Suddenly he was swept up through the chimney of the inn with the Devil, up, up, high into the air. To save himself, the magician reminded  the Devil that he had not yet granted one of his wishes which was to go to the moon. Disappointed, the Devil agreed and vanished as he was not allowed in the heavenly realms. The magician opened his terrified eyes to find himself on the moon, where he still sits to this day, accompanied only by a spider, who had been swept up in his cloak from the chimney, and who, from time to time, spins his thread down to the earth and brings back news of Cracow. Ursula Kirchner on “The Gardener” (pg. 25): Eduard Morike was born in Ludwigsburg in 1804 and died in Stuttgart in 1875.   He studied theology and became a Lutheran pastor before becoming a professor of German literature.   His poems are graceful, original, often humorous, and expressed in simple and natural language. Der Gaertner Auf ihrem Leibroesslein, So weiss wie der Schnee, Die schoenste Prinzessin Reit’t durch die Allee. Der Weg, den das Roesslein Hintanzet so hold, Der Sand, den ich streute, Er blinket wie Gold.


Du rosenfarbs Huetlein, Wohl auf und wohl ab, O wirf eine Feder Verstohlen herab! Und willst du dagegen Eine Bluete von mir, Nimm tausend fuer eine, Nimm alle dafuer! Eduard Moerike 1837 The Gardener On her dear little pony, As white as the snow, The most beautiful princess Rides by down the road. The path where the pony Dances so bold, The sand that I spread, It blinks just like gold. You rose-colored bonnet, Now off, now on, O drop down a feather Meant for me alone! But if you might want A blossom from me, Take a thousand for one, Or all if you please! Translation: Charles L. Cingolani Eduard Morike, 1837 Mia Miazza on “The Old Woman Who Became a Woodpecker” (pg. 7): My Grandmother, Gladys Baker Theurer, born in 1896 or so, was educated in a one room schoolhouse north of Albany, NY in the Adirondacks region. As a younger child, she memorized all of the literature and poetry the

teacher was using for the older students, since they were all in the same room. My brother and I had the privilege of being raised by our grandparents during our childhood years. As we were growing up, Grandma recited the stories and poems she knew by heart to us to teach about morality, etc. ( We thought it was to amuse us, since she had a very dramatic way of telling stories.) Grandpa and Grandma had run a family-owned general store in the city of Johnstown, NY before, during and after the Depression. They retired to the Sacandaga region in the mountains. On numerous occasions, we heard the story of the woman who became a woodpecker, but amazingly, almost 57 years later, I remember how small the cakes were and how stingy the old woman must have been, but not the fact that she became a woodpecker! Was Grandma describing what she thought might happen to her if she wasn’t generous? In one instance, I asked what a “Baker’s Dozen” is, and why do you always sell sweet corn and give away cookies in a “Baker’s Dozen”? This story was her answer. The Old Woman Who Became a Woodpecker by Phoebe Cary A Legend of the Northland Afar in the Northland, where the winter days are so short and the nights so long, and where they harness the reindeer to sledges, and where the children look like bear's cubs in their funny, furry clothes, there, long ago, wandered a good Saint on the snowy roads. He came one day to the door of a cottage, and looking in saw a little old woman making cakes, and baking them on the hearth. Now, the good Saint was faint with fasting, and he asked if she would give him one small cake wherewith to stay his hunger. So the little old woman made a VERY SMALL cake and placed it on the hearth - but as it lay baking


she looked at it and thought, "That is a big cake, indeed, quite too big for me to give away."Then she kneaded another cake, much smaller, and laid that on the hearth to cook, but when she turned it over it looked larger than the first. So she took a tiny scrap of dough, and rolled it out, and rolled it out, and baked it as thin as a wafer - but when it was done it looked so large that she could not bear to part with it - and she said, "My cakes are much too big to give away," and she put them on the shelf. Then the good Saint grew angry, for he was hungry and faint. "You are too selfish to have a human form," said he. "You are too greedy to deserve food, shelter, and a warm fire. Instead, henceforth, you shall build as the birds do, and get your scanty living by picking up nuts and berries and by boring, boring all the day long, in the bark of trees." Hardly had the good Saint said this when the little old woman went straight up the chimney, and came out at the top changed into a red-headed woodpecker with coal-black feathers. And now every country boy may see her in the woods, where she lives in trees boring, boring, boring for her food. Mia Miazza on “The Fox and the Grapes” (pg. 8): One hot summer's day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. "Just the thing to quench my thirst," quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: "I am sure they are sour." Moral: It is easy to despise what you cannot get. My mother was Lorraine Theurer Brundage was a writer. She wrote plays, scripts for radio, TV and movies and was a president of the local civic

theater for many years where she directed and managed productions. She had a phrase she always used for those who were bitter when they didn’t get the lead part in the play. It was ‘Oh, that’s just “Sour Grapes”. Iva Czyžová on “Pretty Goldilocks” (pg. 32): The Story of Pretty Goldilocks - a classic Czech fairytale and one of most popular ones. A dark-hearted and selfish king, after eating a magical snake, can understand what animals are saying. His cook (named George), who has tasted the snake, can too, but he lies and says that he can't. The King tests him and he says that he wants a glass full of wine, but if one drop overflows, the cook will be sentenced to death. In that moment, two birds fly into the room and talk about beautiful princess Goldilocks. The cook turns his head their way and one drop owerflows. So the King sends him on a suicide mission to bring him the famous princess Goldilocks as a bride. The cook is very kind-hearted and helps some animals during his mission (fish on the riverbank, ants from burning anthill, and hungry birds). The father of the princess challenges him with difficult tasks and the animals he rescued help him (the fish find a ring in the bottom of the sea, the ants find pearls from a bracelet in grass, and the birds brings two bottles with "dead" and "living" water). He tries the two kinds of water on a spider and fly; the spider dies and fly returns to life. Then the fly helps him to recognize the real princess Goldilocks among many doubles. He completes all the tests and is allowed to take the princess to his king. But they fall in love. The King gets angry and executes him when he returns. The Princess demands his dead body as her wedding gift and then she sprays the body with "living" water. He comes back to life and he is much more handsome than before. When the King sees it, he commands his guards to execute him as well. But all of living water was spent on George, so king is dead and princess can marry her beloved.


Kathy Reed

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The “ Rooster and the Pearl ”

Profile for Guild of American Papercutters

Paper Illustrator  

Art magazine containing illustrations of children's stories and folk tales created from cut paper.

Paper Illustrator  

Art magazine containing illustrations of children's stories and folk tales created from cut paper.

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