Corn Harvest

Photograph by Terri Gostola

Today’s the first day of November, a month that makes me think of Thanksgiving and harvest celebrations. Today’s harvest tale comes from Russians living in the area of Central Europe called Galacia, which according to Wikipedia, lies on the  border between Poland and Ukraine.

God is angry with mankind, the story is vague as to why, but He has caused a famine to spread across the world. For three years, there has been no harvest. People and animals are dying from starvation. In a certain kingdom, the ruler is a young man who surrounds himself with advisors who are also young and don’t have the wisdom that age can bring. After consulting with his advisors, he issued a proclamation “that all old people were to be drowned, in order that, said he, bread might not be wasted in vain, but there might be a supply of bread for the young; and that no one should venture, on pain of death, to maintain or harbour any old man.” And the emperor’s official representatives went around the country, killing the elderly.

Three brothers, however, saved their father, hiding him and giving him what little bit of food they had. When it came time to sow seeds again, there was none available. The three brothers ask their father for advice and, following his advice, took the thatched roof off the old house and barn, thrashed it and planted the seeds they recoverd. God blessed them and they grew patches of corn, rye and wheat, as thick and wide as a forest.

Their crop draws the attention of the emperor who insists the three appear before him. They tell him the honest truth, despite the worry that they will be punished. The emperor, however, does not torture them. Instead, he invites their father to the palace and listens to his advice from them on, and the brothers’ corn provides seed for all the world.

I’m glad the story has a happy ending. It certainly reminds us that older people have worth and value, have experiences and knowledge to share. “The Good Children” is included in Sixty Folk-Tales from Excluseively Slavonic Sources by A. H. Wratislaw, published in 1890. You can read it on-line at SurLaLune.

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

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