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The Snake’s Crown

The Snake's Crown

Since we traveled to the Swiss Alps we also learned to make the Swiss roll, for more on the Swiss roll cakes that we made, please check our Facebook page.

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THE STORY

Long, long ago there lived a king somewhere in the Alps. He had one only daughter, but wanted a son to be king after him, when he died. He had often prayed for a son, but in vain. Then he devoted all his love to his daughter.
One day he was out for a walk with her. They met an old woman who was fondling a viper. “Oh, how disgusting!” cried the princess when the old woman kissed the viper.
At these words the old woman flared up, looked the princess up and down with a vindicating expression, and then said to her, “Well, since you find this poor animal so detestable, you yourself shall be of the same kind from this moment.” Saying this, she touched the girl with the little wand which she carried in her right hand.
The king could not prevent it. He watched his beloved daughter changing into a viper that lay down at his feet and looked up at him.
The witch said to the changed daughter, “You shall cross the water which bounds your father’s kingdom, so that you may suffer all the toils and troubles that a poor creature, like this one you despise, has to endure.” And once again the witch touched the viper-princess with her wand, and the creature shot away in the right direction.
The king had witnessed how the witch had changed his daughter into a viper as if he had been turned to stone. Now he regained his spirits and fell upon the witch with his sword drawn. But she held out her magic wand towards him and threatened to punish him like his daughter if he did not withdraw at once.
The king saw that he could not achieve anything for his daughter by force, so he took to entreating the witch instead. As the king pleaded with her to give him back his beloved child, and promised her riches, honor and high rank in return, she said to him: ‘I can cast spells, but not remove them. The only thing I can do for your daughter is to raise her to the rank of queen of the snakes, and then her fate will be easier to bear. Order a tiny golden crown to be made. Then bring it in three days’ time to this place. I will meet you here and give it to your daughter. She will have to wear the crown until the flowing water dissolves it. See to it that the gold is pure, for the purer the gold, the sooner it will dissolve. In that way you can shorten your daughter’s sufferings.”
The king went sadly home and ordered a crown to be made of the purest gold. Three days later the witch appeared again, true to her word, at the place where the king was waiting for her. He handed her the crown and begged her once more to be merciful to his daughter.
The witch gave the crown to the snake-daughter, and she put it on to get used to wearing it and her new life as a snake queen. She soon found out that when she went into the water on a warm day she could take off the crown from her head and put it on a dry rock, and as soon as she came out of the stream she could press her head into the tiny crown. Then it fixed itself as tightly again as if it had never been taken off.
The witch warned her about leaving the crown on a rock like that, for such a crown was coveted among men. A person who was lucky enough to lay hands on the crown while the snake was in the water, could be sure that his worldly goods would be safe, and even increase. For if he put this newly-found treasure into his money-bag he could take out as much as he liked without ever emptying the bag. And if he put it with his store of corn he could draw on the corn, and still there would be plenty of corn left. If he took the crown away from the corn and put it with some other possession the same happened.
The crown’s magic powers did not even come to an end if the owner died. It could be passed on from one person to another. Many who fared along brooks and by lakes, kept a lookout for a little gold crown lying about anyway.
One morning a poor peasant was riding through the forest. Feeling thirsty, he got off his donkey to drink from a stream near at hand. Then he saw a large snake twisting and turning in the clear water. The next moment his eyes fell on a tiny, sparkling golden crown lying on a stone beside the stream. He picked it up quickly, jumped on to his donkey and rode merrily away.
When the snake discovered that her crown had been stolen, she came hissing out of the water, and glided with the greatest speed after the peasant, who could not get away quickly enough on his donkey. He jumped down and fled away as fast as his legs would carry him. The next time he looked round he saw to his horror that more snakes had joined the one he had robbed, and that they were all pursuing him with the same fury.
At last he came to an oak-tree where the image of a saint was fastened. The exhausted man climbed up to the image and clung to it. The snakes had no power over him then, but lay hissing at the foot of the oak. Once he cautiously let go of the image, and at once one of the snakes leapt up at him hissing, but slid down again as soon as he put his hand back on to the saint’s image. The unhappy man was in despair because the snakes were besieging him and showed no signs of ever leaving the oak.
Soon an old farmer’s widow came up. She wanted to say a prayer at the oak-tree. When she noticed that the peasant was in an agony of fear she asked him what he was doing there. The terrified man told her briefly what had happened, while he at the same time marveled that the snakes did not attack the old woman.
She then confessed to him that she had the power to cast a spell over snakes, and therefore they were doing her no harm. She also promised to deliver him from his pursuers if he would give her his little crown as a reward. The peasant hesitated for a time, but when he saw that there was nothing else to be done, he agreed. The old woman muttered a spell or two, and the snakes glided off in different directions, hissing.
The ungrateful man had hardly realized that he was free when he began to think that the crown was far too high a price to pay for so little trouble, and he refused to give it to the old woman. She had no means of avenging herself on him, for although she could lay a spell on snakes, she could not conjure them up.
The peasant took the old woman into his house and saw to it that she lacked nothing. For several years he used the little crown to his own great advantage. His granaries were always full, and his money was never spent. All the time he took great care that the old woman should not see where he kept the crown. But at last one day she found out where it was, and hardly had the farmer left the house, when she took it and made off with it.
The farmer soon discovered the loss and at once suspected the old woman, for only he and she knew about the crown he had promised her, and now she and the crown were both missing.
All his attempts to find the old widow were in vain. She was now living in great prosperity a long way off, and was using the crown as the farmer had done, growing very rich on it.
One day, having put the snake crown into her granary, she began to cart corn to the mill, and it so happened that without knowing it she carted the crown away with the corn. The miller poured the corn into the bin which fed his millstones.
As soon as the snake crown got into the bin, it was impossible to empty it. The miner was astounded; he waited for a few hours, but when all his sacks were full of flour and the bin was as full as when he began grinding, he lifted the bin down and began to search through it. Then he found the tiny golden crown. He thought at once that it must be a snake crown, picked it up and put it with his money. Soon the old woman came to the mill in a fury, demanding her crown back. The miller pretended he knew nothing about it, and let the old woman search through the whole mill. She went away sadly, and not long afterwards she died.
The miller did not take her death to heart; he moved the crown about, from one part of his mill to another. Then the idea came to him: why not put the crown straight into the full bin that fed the millstones, ready for the grinding, instead of keeping it in the granary? This he did. For a few days the mill worked without stopping, and the miller felt pleased with his good idea.
But now the little crown was little by little sinking lower in the bin. It came nearer and nearer to the opening underneath, and suddenly – there it was between the millstones, being ground to powder. The bin was empty the same moment, and the mill-wheel stopped. The miner, greatly alarmed, looked into the bin and searched everywhere for the little crown, but could not find it. As he searched for it high and low in his mill, a fearful thunderstorm broke overhead. The mill was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground.
The same day the princess was released from the snake body and found her way to her father’s castle. But from that time onward she often sought the peace of the forest, and was liked and loved by animals also.

 

Signing Off

 

King Thrushbeard

King Thrushbeard Flyer

A king had a daughter who was beautiful beyond all measure, but at the same time so proud and arrogant that no suitor was good enough for her. She rejected one after the other, ridiculing them as well.
Once the king sponsored a great feast and invited from far and near all the men wanting to get married. They were all placed in a row according to their rank and standing. First came the kings, then the grand dukes, then the princes, the earls, the barons, and the aristocracy. Then the king’s daughter was led through the ranks, but
she objected to something about each one. One was too fat: “The wine barrel,” she said. Another was too tall: “Thin and tall, no good at all.” The third was too short: “Short and thick is never quick.” The fourth was too pale: “As pale as death.” The fifth too red: “A prize rooster.” The sixth was not straight enough: “Green wood, dried
behind the stove.” And thus she had some objection to each one, but she ridiculed especially one good king who stood at the very top of the row, and whose chin had grown a little crooked.
“Look!” she cried out, laughing, “He has a chin like a thrush’s beak.” And from that time he was called Thrushbeard.
Now the old king, seeing that his daughter did nothing but ridicule the people, making fun of all the suitors who were gathered there, became very angry, and he swore that she should have for her husband the very first beggar to come to his door.
A few days later a minstrel came and sang beneath the window, trying to earn a small handout.

King Thrushbeard
When the king heard him he said, “Let him come up.”
So the minstrel, in his dirty, ragged clothes, came in and sang before the king and his daughter, and when he was finished he asked for a small gift. The king said, “I liked your song so much that I will give you my daughter for a wife.”
The king’s daughter took fright, but the king said, “I have taken an oath to give you to the very first beggar, and I will keep it.”
Her protests did not help. The priest was called in, and she had to marry the minstrel at once. After that had happened the king said, “It is not proper for you, a beggar’s wife, to stay in my palace any longer. All you can do now is to go away with your husband.”
The beggar led her out by the hand, and she had to leave with him, walking on foot.
They came to a large forest, and she asked, “Who owns this beautiful forest?”  “It belongs to King Thrushbeard. If you had taken him, it would be yours.”
“Oh, I am a miserable thing; If only I’d taken the Thrushbeard King.”
Afterwards they crossed a meadow, and she asked again, “Who owns this beautiful green meadow?”

Meadows

“It belongs to king Thrushbeard. If you had taken him, it would be yours.” “Oh, I am a miserable thing; If only I’d taken the Thrushbeard King.” Then they walked through a large town, and she asked again, “Who owns this beautiful large town?” “It belongs to king Thrushbeard. If you had taken him, it would be yours.”
“Oh, I am a miserable thing; If only I’d taken the Thrushbeard King.”
“I do not like you to always be wishing for another husband,” said the minstrel. “Am I not good enough for you?”

At last they came to a very little hut, and she said, “Oh goodness. What a small house. Who owns this miserable tiny hut?”

The minstrel answered, “This is my house and yours, where we shall live together.” She had to stoop in order to get in the low door.
“Where are the servants?” said the king’s daughter.
“What servants?” answered the beggar. “You must do for yourself what you want to have done. Now make a fire at once, put some water on to boil, so you can cook me something to eat. I am very tired.”
But the king’s daughter knew nothing about lighting fires or cooking, and the beggar had to lend a hand himself to get anything done at all. When they had finished their scanty meal they went to bed. But he made her get up very early the next morning in order to do the housework.
For a few days they lived in this way, as well as they could, but they finally came to the end of their provisions. Then the man said, “Wife, we cannot go on any longer eating and drinking here and earning nothing. You must weave baskets.” He went out, cut some willows, and brought them home.

Weaving basket

Then she began to weave baskets, but the hard willows cut into her delicate hands.
“I see that this will not do,” said the man. “You had better spin. Perhaps you can do that better.” She sat down and tried to spin, but the hard thread soon cut into her soft fingers until they bled.
“See,” said the man. “You are not good for any sort of work. I made a bad bargain with you. Now I will try to start a business with pots and earthenware. You must sit in the marketplace and sell them.”
“Oh!” she thought. “If people from my father’s kingdom come to the market and see me sitting there selling things, how they will ridicule me!”
But her protests did not help. She had to do what her husband demanded, unless she wanted to die of hunger. At first it went well. People bought the woman’s wares because she was beautiful,
and they paid her whatever she asked. Many even gave her the money and let her keep the pots. So they lived on what she earned as long as it lasted. Then the husband bought a lot of new pottery. She sat down with this at the corner of the marketplace and set it around her for sale. But suddenly there came a drunken hussar galloping along, and he rode right into the pots, breaking them into 1,000
pieces. She began to cry, and was so afraid that she did not know what to do. “Oh! What will happen to me?” she cried. “What will my husband say about this?” She ran home and told him of the misfortune.
“Who would sit at the corner of the marketplace with earthenware?” said the man.
“Now stop crying. I see very well that you are not fit for any ordinary work. Now I was at our king’s palace and asked if they couldn’t use a kitchen maid. They promised me to take you. In return you will get free food.” The king’s daughter now became a kitchen maid, and had to be available to the cook, and to do the dirtiest work. In each of her pockets she fastened a little jar, in which she took home her share of the leftovers. And this is what they lived on.
It happened that the wedding of the king’s eldest son was to be celebrated, so the poor woman went up and stood near the door of the hall to look on. When all the lights were lit, and people, each more beautiful than the other, entered, and all was full of pomp and splendor, she thought about her plight with a sad heart, and cursed
the pride and haughtiness which had humbled her and brought her to such great poverty.
The smell of the delicious dishes which were being taken in and out reached her, and now and then the servants threw her a few scraps, which she put in her jar to take home. Then suddenly the king’s son entered, clothed in velvet and silk, with gold chains
around his neck. When he saw the beautiful woman standing by the door he took her by the hand and wanted danced with her. But she refused and took fright, for she saw that he was King Thrushbeard, the suitor whom she had rejected with scorn. Her struggles did not help. He pulled her into the hall. But the string that tied up her
pockets broke, and the pots fell to the floor.

Spilling

The soup ran out, and the scraps flew everywhere. When the people saw this, everyone laughed and ridiculed her. She was so ashamed that she would rather have been a thousand fathoms beneath the ground. She jumped out the door and wanted to run away, but a man overtook her on the stairs and brought her back. And when she looked at him, it was King Thrushbeard again.
He said to her kindly, “Don’t be afraid. I and the minstrel who has been living with you in that miserable hut are one and the same. For the love of you I disguised myself.  And I was also the hussar who broke your pottery to pieces. All this was done to humble your proud spirit and to punish you for the arrogance with which you ridiculed
me.”
Then she cried bitterly and said, “I was terribly wrong, and am not worthy to be your wife.” But he said, “Be comforted. The evil days are past. Now we will celebrate our wedding.” Then the maids-in-waiting came and dressed her in the most splendid clothing, and
her father and his whole court came and wished her happiness in her marriage with
King Thrushbeard, and their true happiness began only now.

I wish that you and I had been there as well…..

Signing off

The Promise

Slide1

A Folktale from the Himalayan Mountains….

“Help, help! I am freezing to death!”
These words were heard by a big black bear. This bear had been sleeping on a bed of leaves, in a cave on the side of a mountain. This story takes places high in the Himalayan mountains. Outside the cave, snow was falling thickly. In fact, it was a snowstorm. In a
snowstorm, you can only see a few inches in front of you. Everything is white.
The bear had been sleeping soundly, but now he had been woken up.
“Help, help!”, the voice called again. It sounded like a man.
“Oh yes!”, the bear thought to himself, “This is probably the voice of a man who has come hunting for me. I have heard that the king in the valley has offered a huge reward, one crore rupees, for my fur. He wants to make a rug from my fur. Well, what should I do? If I rescue
that man, he would likely tell the king where I live, and I would have to run for my life. But if I do not rescue him, it seems he’s going to die. The sun is going down. It is going to get very cold out there. What should I do?”
The bear decided to get up, get out of bed, and save the man. The bear went out into the snowstorm, and found the man.
You can imagine the man’s shock, when he saw, suddenly appearing out of the snow, the big face of a bear. The bear said, “Come with me”. The man followed him. The bear led the man back to his cave.
The man asked, “Could I have a cup of water?” The bear said, “We will have to melt some snow”. So the bear made a fire, put some snow in a cup, and held the cup over the fire. The
snow melted, and the man drank the water. Then the man and the bear went to sleep.
In the morning, the bear said to the man, “I saved your life last night. Now, please go down the mountain, and don’t tell people where I live. Don’t even tell anyone you met me. Do you
promise?”
“I promise,” said the man. And so the man climbed down the mountain, and returned to his farm. For he was a farmer, a poor farmer. He grew just a small amount of vegetables. His
wife was waiting at the gate, and when she saw him she waved, and called out in joy. When he reached the gate, she said, “What happened? When you didn’t come home last night we
were so worried. Where did you sleep last night?”
“I can’t tell you”, the man said.
You can’t tell me? You have to tell me! I am your wife!”, she said.
“Ok”, the man said, “I slept in the bear’s cave. He saved me. But I promised not to tell anyone I met him”.
The man and his wife sat and thought about things. Most of all, they wanted to be able to send their daughter to a good school. But they didn’t have the money for tuition, or uniforms,
or books. So finally they decided the man would go to the king, and tell him where the bear lived, and ask for the reward.
So that is what the man did. The king sent his soldiers to get the bear, and indeed they found him. They grabbed him, and dragged him down the mountainside.
The bear was thrown at the king’s feet. The bear stood up on his back legs, and said to the king, “King, if you are a good and just king, you will let me go. I am only here because I saved that man’s life. Please let me go.” The king thought for a moment and said, “You are right. And you know, I don’t really need another fur rug to walk on. I have learned my lesson. Go back to your mountain. No one will bother you”. So the bear went back up the mountain.
But the farmer went to the king, and said, “King, it is very nice that you decided to let the bear go, but what about my reward? Please give it to me.” But the king said, “Reward? I think you should be punished. You lied to that bear. You betrayed him.”

“Oh king, I did it for you, to get what you wanted”, said the man.
“I think you did it for yourself”, said the king.
“Please”, said the man, “Please give the reward you promised!”
“Ok”, said the king. “I will give you the reward. One crore rupees. But, I will also fine you one crore rupees, for lying to the bear. So you end up with nothing.”
“Oh no, no!”, the man sobbed.
The king felt mercy towards the man. He said, “Well, I understand you would like your daughter to attend one of our finest schools. I will arrange it. All expenses will be covered.
This way, she can study, and learn the difference between right and wrong, just like I have.”
Oh, thank you, thank you!”, said the man.
And all lived happily ever after.

With a heart filled with happiness, I sign off…

The Woodcutter’s Woes

The woodcutter's Woe

Once upon a time there lived a poor woodcutter who had grown tired of his life. He worked day and night but never had enough money. One morning at dawn, as he walked about the forest, he began to wail: “Woe is me! Today is the day I shall end my life! My family will be better off without me.”

Just at that moment, in a puff of air, a man appeared, standing in the woodcutter’s path. “Wait,” said the man — who was Jupiter — “I’m king of the universe, and I can grant you three wishes.”

The woodcutter stared and wondered if he was dreaming. “Are you real?” he asked.

“Real I am,” Jupiter said, “Three wishes. Take care to wish for things that will make you happy.”

“Whatever I want?” the woodcutter asked.

“Just say, ‘I wish,’ three times,” Jupiter replied.

The woodcutter’s spirits soared, and he raced back home. His wife was wise and he wanted her advice in this serious matter. Besides, how happy she would be!

“Mon cherie, my love, we shall be rich and happy from this day on!” he cried to his wife, who stood at the stove cooking porridge.

“What do you mean?” she asked, so he sat her down and told her the story.

The moment he had finished, he saw that his wife was dreaming.

And oh, how she dreamed! But she was smart and knew they must take care. “It is better not to be impatient,” she said. “Let us wait until tomorrow before we make a single wish.”

The woodcutter agreed, and they decided that they must go about their day. He spent the day working hard in the cold air. She cleaned and cooked and cared for their children.

That evening, after the children were in bed, the woodcutter said, “Before we make our wishes, let’s enjoy this last night of our present life.”

“Let’s drink some wine and sit before the fire,” his wife said.

He built a fire in the fireplace and opened a bottle of wine, and the couple laughed together as they had not in a long, long time.

The woodcutter smiled at his beautiful wife, sipped the wine, leaned back and sighed, “What a lovely evening. This wine tastes so good. Though a nice sausage would taste well with it, don’t you think?”

“It would,” his wife agreed.

“I wish we had a nice measure of sausage,” the woodcutter said, and the moment those words were out of his mouth, he realized his error. And to his horror, a long link of sausage appeared before their eyes on the table.

“Look what you’ve done!” his wife cried. She had just been dreaming of the beautiful house they might wish for, or the buckets of gold, or a sailing ship, or a nice, big farm, or sacks full of emeralds, or even a palace. “What a fool you are! How could you wish for a sausage when there is so much in this world I would love?”

The woodcutter was mortified. “I’m sorry, mon cherie, I’m so sorry. I promise I shall do better with our second wish.”

But the wife was furious, and she could think of nothing more than all they had lost. “You are a fool!” she repeated. And then she repeated it again. But the third time she said it, the woodcutter lost his temper. In his heart he wished his wife would be quiet, but he was wise enough not to say this out loud.

But his wife could not stop. “Why did I marry a fool? I could have married anyone, and instead I married a man who wishes for sausage!”

The woodcutter could not help himself. “A curse on all of this!” he said. “A curse on sausages. A curse on you! I wish that sausage were hanging from the end of your nose!”

Naturally, the king of the universe heard this wish, and before the woodcutter’s wife could open her mouth to speak, a sausage was attached to her nose.

Woodcutter's Woe

It did not suit her, but then, a sausage on the nose suits few people, and besides looking funny, it was uncomfortable, and it made it difficult for her to talk.

The woodcutter did not mind that his wife could not talk in that moment, but he did feel terrible. He loved his wife. He loved her pretty nose. This would never do!

He looked at her and sighed. “With the last wish I might make myself a king,” he said. “I might make myself a single man living in a great palace. I might wish for a brand-new life. I might wish to begin again and leave all this behind!”

His wife opened her eyes wide, but each time she tried to speak, the sausage plopped into her mouth. She was terrified and sad. Most of all, more than her fear of living forever with a sausage on her nose, she could not bear the thought of losing her beloved husband.

The woodcutter smiled. “But I do not wish to live in a palace without my love,” he said. “I do not wish to have a brand-new life without you. I want your happiness, my love, so you must decide. Do you wish to be my queen in a palace with a sausage on your nose, or do you wish to be only a simple woodcutter’s wife?”

She smiled as best she could with a sausage on her nose. She liked her life, after all. It was a nice life in a fine little cottage with a loving husband.

And so the woodcutter wished his wife were the woman she had been.

They did not become rich. They did not live in a palace. They did not have buckets of gold or sacks of jewels. But they were happy, for they had each other and their cottage and their wine and their children. And they lived happily ever after.

For now signing Off….

 

Folklore From Singapore Week-2

As we continued our exploration in Singapore we traveled to Sentosa Island.

11. Singapore week 2

The former name of Sentosa was Pulau Blakang Mati, where Blakang Mati means “behind the dead” in Malay.

No one knows exactly how the name of the island came about, but there were many legends about its origin. According to one version, the island was once a place of piracy and bloodshed in the past. The victims of the murders haunted the island so much that it was given this not-so-auspicious name. Another account was that the island was located “behind” Pulau Brani, which was the burial ground of many ancient Malay warriors.

Nevertheless, Pulau Blakang Mati was renamed as Sentosa (which means “Isle of tranquility”) in 1972. With the island becoming a favorite beach resort among Singaporeans and the tourists, the unhappy legends were soon forgotten.

We next traveled to Kusu Island, there is a legend that a giant tortoise miraculously appeared to save a group of Chinese and Malay fishermen, who were on the verge of drowning after their fishing boats sank in the stormy weather.

kusu island

The tortoise turned itself into an island so that the fishermen could climb ashore. In order to remember their gratitude to the holy tortoise, the fishermen built a Chinese temple and a Malay shrine on the island.

At last we went to Sister’s Island, lying south of Sentosa, Sisters’ Islands refer to Pulau Subar Darat and Pulau Subar Laut.

Many years ago, there was a pair of sisters Minah and Linah living by the southern coast of Singapore. Being very attached to each other, the sisters vowed to marry two brothers so that they could live together always. However, fate could be cruel sometimes, as one night Linah ran into a group of pirates by the sea.

Stunned by her beauty, the pirate chief was determined to marry Linah. When the dawn broke, the pirates came and abducted Linah to their ships. Weeping over the loss of her dear sister, Minah came swimming after the boats.

Sister's island

The stormy waters were merciless, and she was drowned eventually. In a desperate attempt, Linah broke free and dived into the sea.

The next day, a pair of islands appeared at where the sisters had drowned. They were named Sisters’ Island by the villagers in memory of the two ill-fated girls.

Finally before we boarded our flight, we were shown the currency notes from Singapore. The plastic currency notes of Singapore were very fascinating, especially the notes that were printed to celebrate 50 years of Singapore.

With beautiful memories from Singapore I now sign off….

 

Folklore From Singapore Week-1

Singapore Legends

We traveled back in time in the late 13th century, went on an expedition with Sang Nila Utama, who was the ruler of the Srivijaya Empire at Sumatra.

sang-nila-utama-and-singapura

We discovered an island with white sandy shore and witnessed the legendary folktales about how the island got its name Singapore.

We also saw the race between an elephant, a pig and a frog , who challenged one another to reach the Johor shores from mainland Singapore. The stakes were high, as those who did not succeed would be turned into rock. The frog, being the first to try, failed to cross the straits and was turned into Pulau Sekudu. Pulau Sekudu literally means Frog Island in Malay.

Pulau Ubin

The elephant and the pig were the next to attempt the feat. They did not make it too, thus both of them fused together to become the main island of Pulau Ubin.

After these exhilarating experiences we traveled back to present and learnt 2 sentences in Mandarin. We also discussed about 2 interesting  laws in Singapore about the ban of chewing gums and specific law on batteries that can be carried to the country.

Overall we had a wonderful time in Singapore and are looking forward to the next week.

Signing off for now….

The Jumping Mouse

The Jumping Mouse

A native American tale that is filled with so much learning about kindness, selflessness and goodness.

The story revolves around a very curious little mouse who wants to travel to a “Far Away Land”.

az_jumping_mouse_by_grump_the_deer-d9eqgjw

He is so fascinated by the tales which he hears from his elders all the time, that one day he decides to go visit the FAR AWAY LAND.

  • But he has such tiny legs, how would he travel the vast distance ?
  • He met a frog on his way, who was this frog?

Jumping-Mouse 3

Well this frog had magical powers, he gave the little mouse, a little bigger legs and told him, “Henceforth you would be able to jump high, and will be called as JUMPING MOUSE”

  • Jumping Mouse happily went on with his adventure, he next met a FAT rat.

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The fat rat convinced the jumping mouse that it was a waste of time and effort to travel to the FAR AWAY LAND, as it was impossible to reach there. Jumping mouse happily stayed back with the FAT rat eating sweet red berries everyday.

Jumping-Mouse 7until one day he realized that he too had grown FAT like the FAT rat, that’s when he decided it was time for his to move on and reach his destination, even if the goal seemed impossible to achieve.

The jumping mouse next moved to the plains where he met a very weak bison, who turned blind because of poisonous water that he drank. bison

The jumping mouse felt very sorry for the bison and wished he could give his own eyesight to the bison. What seemed like magic, the jumping mouse turned blind in one eye and the bison gained vision in one eye.

The bison was very thankful to the jumping mouse and helped him cross the plains without getting caught by the dark shadows looming in the sky. They reached the end of the plain after which began the mountains, the bison being the animal of the plains, bid good bye to the jumping mouse.

Jumping mouse cautiously started climbing the mountain, and there he met a Fox, who seemed very weak.

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The jumping mouse asked the fox, what the matter was. The fox said that he lost his sense of smell because he misused his power to smell. Jumping mouse again made a wish feeling really sorry for the fox, and his wish became a reality. The fox gained his sense of smell but the jumping mouse was now blind in one eye and couldn’t smell the enemy around him.

The fox thanked the jumping mouse and led him toward the end of the mountain, where the fox stopped and told the jumping mouse that he was the animal of the mountains and could not go further.

The jumping mouse made a hole under the ground and feeling very sad and frightened. When he woke up the next day the magical frog sat in front of him.

The frog praised the the jumping mouse for his selflessness and gave him his vision and sense of smell back, he then turned the jumping mouse in to …..eagle-013

a creature with wings that would take him to the FAR OFF LAND.

The kids discussed about the various aspects of this story, the lessons that we learn and can be applied in our life.

Signing Off for now

Saayoonara

Ma Lien And The Magic Brush

8. Ma Lien And The Magic Brush

We traveled to China this time and met Ma Lien the peasant boy who loved to paint but did not have enough money to buy a paint brush. He approached a famous artist, who rebukes him, sad dejected Ma Lien returned home.

Suddenly there appeared an old man who gave him an equally old paint brush. Ma Lien was happy and thanked the old man, but warned him to use the brush wisely.

  • Why did the old man say so?
  • What happened every time Ma Lien painted with the brush?

Ask the little stars who heard this story and you will know all  about the  adventures of Ma Lien And The Magic Brush.

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We had a marvelous time….

Isn’t it evident on their faces 😉

Signing Off

Saayoonara

 

The Twelve Windows

The 12 Windows

A story from Germany, the plot revolves around a Princess who challenges every suitor who seeks to marry her, for a game of hide and seek. And each time she locates the suitor by looking into her 12 magical windows. Once caught the suitor is put in a den of hungry lions (Altered version, keeping the kids in mind)

The story has a twist when a suitor asks the princess to give him 3 chances. He tries to beat her with the help of a bird but the princess locates him in the 5th window. Tries again with the help of a fish, fails and finally a fox helps him to beat the princess.

A very captivating story on how the fox’s flawless plan helped the final suitor to finally beat the Princess in the game of hide and seek.

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After the story we had the “iSpeak” Session, where the participants talked about their favorite animal/cartoon character. Here is a gist of it….

Following this we had a session called, ‘iThink’ here the children were guided as to how they can  speak about any given object on the spot. An extempore expert they turned out to be 😉

Gas Stove

A Chair

On his favorite animal

On her favorite cartoon character

Searching for their topic inside the bag…..

 

Impromptu 1

Mahi on Rubik Cube 🙂

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What a wonderfully energetic session we had!!! I sure am looking forward to the next one, are you too?

Please do drop in your comments on the session here….!

 

 

 

The Unsung Hero

Dear friends,

We are happy to announce that, ‘iSpeak’ has been launched. After the story of Ravan, who was the unsung hero, the children participated in an impromptu speaking session just to test the water. They spoke about their summer vacations, things they did and food they enjoyed the most. Here is what they had to say….

 

The idea is to show these little diamonds that they can try and learn to sparkle bit by bit, and they finally learn to dazzle 🙂