Category Archives: Thursday’s Tales

Thursday’s Tale: The Little Red Hen

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Thursday’s Tale: The Little Red Hen The Little Red Hen by Golden Books Staff
Illustrator: J. P. Miller
Series: Little Golden Book
Published by Golden Books on August 18, 2012 (first published 1954)
Source: Purchased
Genres: Folktale, Picture Book
Pages: 24
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

Beloved illustrator J. P. Miller’s graphic, colorful farm animals seem to jump right off the page—but they aren’t jumping to help the Little Red Hen plant her wheat! Young children will learn a valuable lesson about teamwork from this funny, favorite folktale.

Amber’s 17 now, so I don’t really have much need to look at little kids books except for Christmas and my nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays, and then I always buy physical books. I just learned today that a bunch of the Little Golden Books I remember as a kid are available for Kindle, with the same illustrations and everything.

In the tale, the little red hen finds a grain of wheat and asks for help from the the duck, the goose, the cat, and the pig to plant it, but they all decline. They each are doing something fun, as the pictures show.

At each later stage (reaping, carrying the wheat to the mill, making the flour into dough, and baking the loaf), the hen again asks for help from the other animals, but each time no one wants to help her.

Finally, the bread is ready and the hen asks who will help her eat the bread. This time, everyone volunteers, but she says she will eat it all herself.

I think the blurb is a little misleading. I’m not sure the lesson is about teamwork, but more about not participating in the team. If you don’t help, you don’t get the reward.

And I have to share a couple of the pictures, since it is the illustrations that make this version so memorable for me.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

Thursday’s Tale: The Jaguar and the Little Skunk

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I have a sad little skunk story from South America today.

Once there was a gentleman jaguar and a lady skunk. Mrs. Skunk had a son, who was baptized by Mr. Jaguar, so Mrs. Skunk became his comadre (godmother). And as Mr. Jaguar had baptized the little skunk, he was Mrs. Skunk’s compadre (godfather).

Mr. Jaguar decided to go looking for food and came to Mrs. Skunk’s house. He told her that he wanted to take his godson with him so he could learn to hung. Mrs. Skunk was reluctant, but the little skunk begged her to go, so she relented and little skunk and Mr. Jaguar set off, walking toward the river.

When they got to the river, Mr. Jaguar told the little skunk that he was going to sharpen his knife, and proceeded to sharpen his claws. He told little skunk to be on guard, because the jaguar was going to sleep. When little skunk saw the animals with the big antlers, he was to wake Mr. Jaguar by scratching his belly.

“All right,” said the little skunk. Then the one with the big antlers came, and the skunk awakened Mr. Jaguar. He scratched his belly, and pointed out the deer to Mr. Jaguar, who attacked it and killed it. They ate until they were full and took what was left back to Mrs. Skunk, who also ate all she wanted.

Eventually, when all the meat was gone, little skunk volunteered to go out and get more for himself and his mother, confident because he had seen how his godfather had hunted and he was sure he could do the same.

Little skunk went down to the river. He sharpened his “knife,” then little skunk lay down to sleep, but soon he woke up. He was waiting for the animal with the big antlers, and when he came, little skunk attacked it, thinking he was as strong as his godfather, but he just hung from the deer’s neck. His claws had dug into its skin. He was carried far away and eventually fell on his back. He was left with his mouth wide open.

Since he had not come home to his mother, she wondered what happened to him. She decided to go out and look for him.

And so Mrs. Skunk went as far as the bank of the river. She was looking everywhere for her son, but couldn’t find him. She began to cry when she found the tracks where the one with the big antlers had come by running.

“They must have come by here,” said Mrs. Skunk, and began to follow the tracks.

She came to the place where her son had been left lying on his back. When the mother caught sight of him, she noticed that his teeth were showing and shouted at him: “Son, what are you laughing at? All your teeth are showing,” she said to him before she had gotten very close. When she did get close she told him: “Give me your hand. I’ve come to get you, but you’re just laughing in my face.” She put her hand on him, thinking that he was still alive, but when she noticed that he was already dead, she began to cry.

Poor little skunk. So often kids, or even more likely teenagers, think they can do whatever adults can and it often gets them into trouble. I don’t think the jaguar was very responsible though, to not help teach the skunk that each type of animal has its own skills and talents.

The photo above is of a Molina’s hog-nosed skunk. They live in mid to southern South America, preferring to live in open vegetation, shrub forest and rocky sloped areas. The skunk forages mainly at night and is omnivorous, eating birds, small mammals, eggs, insects, leaves, and fruit.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

Thursday’s Tale: A Skunk Origin Tale

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We’re doing VBS at our church this week and we have the cutest mascot, Bella the Skunk. She is sweet and friendly and full of mischief. The kids love her.

So, I thought I’d find a folktale about skunks this week. I found a couple. One was too sad to put under Bella’s picture, so maybe I’ll share it next week. I did find a Native American origin myth from the Winnebago (Hotcâk) people. It’s pretty sad too, actually. I’ll have to do some searching for a happy skunk tale. Does anyone know any?

In a village long ago a woman gave birth to a girl with pure white hair. She grew up to be beautiful beyond compare, and because of her white hair she was thought to be very holy. Men would often court her, but she showed no interest in them, preferring to gaze at her own reflection in still waters. She loved the smell of flowers and would rub their petals on her skin and hair.

One day a strange looking man came to the village and was eager to court her. She laughed at him, scoffing at his ugliness, but he was not a mere man, he was one of the great spirits, Turtle. Turtle shed is outer wrinkled skin and appeared in all his glory. He proclaimed, “Since you rejected on of the great spirits, you shall be transformed into a lowly animal. When people see you, they will turn away from your repulsive odor.” She began to shrink, and she became covered with short black hairs. The only trace of her beautiful white hair was the furry white stripe down her back. She became the first of the skunks (gûcge), who live to this day.

The story reminds me of Narcissus. He was also proud and scorned those who loved him. He is lured to a pool of water by Nemesis, gazes into it and falls in love with his own reflection. His story ends with his death, either by suicide or because he loses the will to do anything but look at himself and eventually dies. The girl in our story is allowed to live, although I imagine she was miserable for the rest of her life.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

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