I’ve been hard at work reading folklore in my free moments to share with you (and enrich my lesson plans). Here are another nine titles I think you should know about.
- Buttons by Brock Cole: Buttons is actually not an old folktale, it’s modern, but it uses many of the same concepts of a great noodlehead story. The farmer’s pants burst their buttons and he is sent to bed until one of his three silly daughters can find replacements. The girls are foolish but sweet, and in the end, everyone finds love and a happy ending, and lo and behold, buttons rain down from the sky for the youngest sister.
- Oh, Kojo! How Could You by Verna Aardman: This is actually an Ananse story. Ananse tricks the young man, Kojo but in the end Kojo outsmarts him and finds his fortune.
- The Fool and the Phoenix byDeborah Nourse Lattimore: I believe this is a retelling of an old Japanese story. The fool in questions is actually just a mute boy who catches birds for a living. He meets a lady phoenix whose husband has been killed by a bandit. The bandit eventually reveals himself and the boy and the Phoenix are able to be together – or at least that is implied, as two phoenix can be seen in the region.
- Mister Cat-and-a-half by Richard Pevear: Mister Cat-and-a-Half is about a cat who is quite a good mouser that makes himself comfortable and fat in the kitchen and subsequently gets kicked out. He has no desire to do real work and is quite lucky to find Miss Fox, who will work hard for such a fancy husband. The couple is able to convince the entire forest of Mister Cat-and-a-half’s ferocity through a series of silly coincidences.
- The Star Maiden by Barbara Ebensen: The Star Maiden comes from the Ojibway people of the northern US. The story tells of a star who decides to come down to the beautiful earth and find a home. She is welcomed by the people who hope she will find the perfect place for herself. After many attempts, she chooses to call her sisters down to join her as the water lilies on water.
- Miro and the Kingdom of the Sun by Jane Kurtz:
Miro is a story from the Incan people of Peru. This story is about a maiden who is able to cure the son of the king with water she finds with the help of birds. Miro is a unique story in that she refuses the king’s offer to become part of his royal family. Instead she tells him that she wishes to explore the beautiful lands she glimpsed while finding the cure for the prince.
- Nicholas Pipe by Robert D. San Souci:
I was very excited to find this story at the thrift store. Nicholas Pipe is a character from Irish folklore, a merman who saved a witch’s child and was granted the ability to walk on land. Nicholas Pipe helps the people of the village but isn’t trusted by everyone. Margaret has fallen in love with him but her father cannot stand Nicholas. This is a great story of opposites overcoming all odds to be together.
- Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin by Eric Metaxes: I’d never heard of Princess Scargo before, this story comes from the Nobscussets people. Princess Scargo is about to use her beautiful birthday pumpkin and its inner secret treasure to save her people after a great draught.
- The Seven Ravens by the Brothers Grimm: At first this reminded me of Andersen’s The Wild Swans. A young girl’s brothers are turned into ravens. Taking only a loaf of bread, a jug of water, and a wooden stool, the brave girl goes out alone into the wide world. She travels as far as the sun, the moon, and the starts on her adventurous quest for reunion – a journey that test all her powers of courage, faith in forgiveness, and love.