Thursday, 23 July 2015

The White Snake with The Golden Crown

In today's story telling session in our Hook-a-book program, we have introduced the children to a folk tale that originates form Slovenia and was never before told in English language. The children received it exceptionally well and I have never before gotten so many spontaneous high fives and thank yous. Especially from our first and second graders! I decided to share it on our blog so you can read it to your children again and again as we all know, children enjoy hearing same stories numerous times. So, here it goes:

The White Snake with The Golden Crown

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a little, charming village was hidden in a lush river valley. For centuries, the valley people lived in this revered place where life was beautiful most of the time. Simple, yet beautiful houses were scattered through out the valley, like small wind-blown leaves on a windy day. The village people were hardworking, honest farmers who respected the land and the gorgeous nature as they were depending on it for their food and income. They were cultivating the fertile land with love and respect to get food and apart from that they skilfully weaved baskets and sold them in the nearby market to earn money. The basket weaving was passed down for generations and no other place was as famous as this one for their meticulous, detailed, artisan baskets.

Each morning the village was bubbling with activities. The children hurried to school, the parents rushed to the fields that needed attention and the village animals were roaming around doing their regular daily business. In the midst of the village hullabaloo, two houses stood out. In the first big, orange house that looked like straight from a fairy tale, lived a family with 4 children. They had no pets whatsoever and the children had their grandmother who took care of them while the parents worked in the fields. The children were rather spoilt and unkind.
In the second house, a pale blue villa that has long lost it’s former shine, right across the yard from the first, lived a young family with 3 witty children, a black cat with long silky fur and a friendly, brave dog that kept the children safe through out the day. The parents left early every morning to work hard on the fields and the children were home alone. Their mother left some yummy food on the table every day and a big round, clay vessel, full of milk, so the children wouldn’t go hungry.

Each day, when their mother returned from the fields and saw that the vessel filled with milk was empty, she was so pleased and complimented them: “Well done, my sweet children. I am so happy to see you ate well and drank all the milk.” The children replied: “We didn’t drink it alone, mother. The white snake with a golden crown drank some milk with us.” Their mother laughed out loud and said: “Oh, you children! Your imagination knows no bounds,” for it was not easy to believe such a thing. A white snake? With a golden crown? No, way!
But, you see, every day around lunchtime, when the sun was high and shining brightest, a striking, slithering, slender white snake appeared in the village, looking for some company and, yes, some food. When she visited the orange house for the first time...oh, what drama she encountered! It could simply never get past the grandmother, as the old lady started shouting from the top of her voice and swinging a bulky wooden broom towards the poor snake. “Go away, you disgusting creature! You are not welcome here, you slithering troublemaker!” The children were no better either! “Hit it, grandmom! Yeah, smash it hard grandmom!” They were all shouting and created such ruckus that they woke up all the sleeping babies in the village!
The snake slipped away, across the yard towards the pale blue house. There, the 3 children, the cat and the dog welcomed it full heartedly. “Oh, look, a beautiful snake!” Said the youngest child. “I wonder if it’s hungry,” said the second child. “Come, snake princess! Welcome to our house.” Said the oldest one. The black cat just purred away indifferent to the new visitor and the dog sniffed at it, to make sure it didn’t pose any threat to anyone. The friendly, curious children shared the milk, cuddled and admired
the fascinating snake lovingly. They thought it was the most beautiful thing they have ever seen.

One day, while working in the fields the two mothers were talking about their children and the first one exclaimed, “I am so relieved my mother is keeping my children safe from that horrible white snake!”
“What white snake?” asked the second one and almost forgot to breath. Were her children telling her the truth? She got incredibly worried and alarmed; she instantly dropped what she was doing and sprinted home. She came home just around lunchtime and through the window she saw the children just grouped around the table to relish their lunch. She decided to hide and peep inside secretly to see what’s going on. Just then, the stunning white snake entered the house and the mother froze with horror. She could not move. To her surprise, the snake gently mounted up into her son’s lap and onto the table. The children were rubbing its skin and laughing cheerfully. The mother was amazed although still petrified. After the snake finished drinking milk, something strange happened! Something that never happened before! It shook her head gently, dropped the crown on the table, and left swiftly. As soon as the snake disappeared the mother scurried inside the house and took her children to safety of the bedroom. She seized the little golden crown and placed in on top of a pile of fine wooden splints that her husband used to weave baskets. She didn’t think much of that crown, she was just extremely thankful that her children were safe.

But why did the snake leave the crown behind? Will it come back to get it?

When the father returned home that day, he begun weaving his baskets and although he completed many of them the pile of fine wooden splints was not getting any smaller. Everyone was astonished. ‘What if the crown is magical?” thought the mother and she decided to place the crown somewhere else and see what happens. She took the shiny,

golden crown and placed it in a practically empty wooden chest where they stored their food.
The next morning the chest was entirely packed with food and the family rejoiced. They have never seen such abundance of food before! They shared it with all other villagers and still they never ran out. Mothers were now able to spend more time with their children and no one ever went hungry again. The crown was indeed a magical one and the snake left it behind to repay the gracious children for all the kindness they showed it.
The old grandmother from the first house regretted bitterly that she was so mean towards the magical snake but fortunately for her, with such noble neighbours even she benefited from the food bounty, as they were such kind and sharing people. She was never again mean to anyone in her life.

As for the snake, has she ever returned to the village? Some children claimed they saw her again but she has never returned to collect her crown.

The End 

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