Aesop’s Fables – Storytelling for Everyone

We all know about Aesop’s Fables. They are the delightful and instructive stories told by a former Greek slave in the 6th century BCE, and are the world’s best known collection of morality tales. Handed down by word of mouth for centuries, there are 725 fables now in print translated from the Greek.

But do we know about Aesop? Aesop was the Black slave of a man named Ladmon, and lived in the south of Greece near northern Africa. Most accounts describe Aesop as a deformed man whose name came from the Greek word Aethiops which means Ethiopia. He was named for his place of origin. According to Herodotus, Aesop was eventually freed by his master due to Aesop’s captivating talent as a storyteller.

Aesop’s ancient fables are allegorical myths often portraying animals or insects: foxes, grasshoppers, frogs, cats, dogs, ants, crabs, stags, and monkeys representing humans engaged in human-like situations to teach a moral.

Here are a few Aesop’s Fables from the classic, 19th century English translation by George Townsend.

What is your favorite Aesop Fable?

The Hare and the Tortoise

A HARE one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace of the Tortoise, who replied, laughing: “Though you be swift as the wind, I will beat you in a race.” The Hare, believing her assertion to be simply impossible, assented to the proposal; and they agreed that the Fox should choose the course and fix the goal. On the day appointed for the race the two started together. The Tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course. The Hare, lying down by the wayside, fell fast asleep. At last waking up, and moving as fast as he could, he saw the Tortoise had reached the goal, and was comfortably dozing after her fatigue.

Slow but steady wins the race.

The Flies and the Honey-Pot

A NUMBER of Flies were attracted to a jar of honey which had been overturned in a housekeeper’s room, and placing their feet in it, ate greedily. Their feet, however, became so smeared with the honey that they could not use their wings, nor release themselves, and were suffocated. Just as they were expiring, they exclaimed, “O foolish creatures that we are, for the sake of a little pleasure we have destroyed ourselves.”

Pleasure bought with pains, hurts.

The Boy and the Filberts

A BOY put his hand into a pitcher full of filberts. He grasped as many as he could possibly hold, but when he tried to pull out his hand, he was prevented from doing so by the neck of the pitcher. Unwilling to lose his filberts, and yet unable to withdraw his hand, he burst into tears and bitterly lamented his disappointment. A bystander said to him, “Be satisfied with half the quantity, and you will readily draw out your hand.”

Do not attempt too much at once.

The Boy and the Nettles

A BOY was stung by a Nettle. He ran home and told his Mother, saying, “Although it hurts me very much, I only touched it gently.” “That was just why it stung you,” said his Mother. “The next time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be soft as silk to your hand, and not in the least hurt you.”

Whatever you do, do with all your might.

Source: George Fyler Townsend (translator) Three Hundred Æsop’s Fables, London: George Routledge & Sons (1867).

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Filipino Folktales – Storytelling for Everyone

How the Moon and Stars Came to Be

One day in the times when the sky was close to the ground a spinster went out to pound rice. Before she began her work, she took off the beads from around her neck and the comb from her hair, and hung them on the sky, which at that time looked like coral rock.

Then she began working, and each time that she raised her pestle into the air it struck the sky. For some time she pounded the rice, and then she raised the pestle so high that it struck the sky very hard.

Immediately the sky began to rise, and it went up so far that she lost her ornaments. Never did they come down, for the comb became the moon and the beads are the stars that are scattered about.

The Sun and the Moon

Once the Sun and the Moon quarreled with each other, and the Sun said:

“You are only the Moon and are not much good. If I did not give you light, you would be no good at all.”

But the Moon answered:

“You are only the Sun, and you are very hot. The women like me better, for when I shine at night, they go outdoors and spin.”

These words of the Moon made the Sun so angry that he threw sand in her face, and you can still see the dark spots on the face of the Moon.

The Man with the Cocoanuts

One day a man who had been to gather his cocoanuts loaded his horse heavily with the fruit. On the way home he met a boy whom he asked how long it would take to reach the house.

“If you go slowly,” said the boy, looking at the load on the horse, “you will arrive very soon; but if you go fast, it will take you all day.”

The man could not believe this strange speech, so he hurried his horse. But the cocoanuts fell off and he had to stop to pick them up. Then he hurried his horse all the more to make up for lost time, but the cocoanuts fell off again. Many times he did this, and it was night when he reached home.


Source: Philippine Folk Tales by Mabel Cook Cole.  A.C. McClurg & Co., Chicago, 1916.

Art by Dante Hipolito

Author adminPosted on May 31, 2023Categories Animal, Fables, Folktales, NatureTags AAPI, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage, creation, Filipino, pourquoi tale

The Spider & The Fly – Storytelling for Everyone

Storytelling Poem

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“’Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to show when you are there.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the spider to the fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “for I’ve often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed.”

Said the cunning spider to the fly, “Dear friend, what shall I do,
To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome; will you please to take a slice?”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “kind sir, that cannot be;
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see.”

“Sweet creature!” said the spider, “You’re witty and you’re wise!
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf,
If you’ll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say,
And bidding you good-morning now, I’ll call another day.”

The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly would soon be back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing
“Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with the pearl and silver wing:
Your robes are green and purple; there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead.”

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily flattering words, came slowly flitting by.
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
Thinking only of her crested head — poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlor; but she ne’er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.


Author: Mary Howitt (née Mary Botham) was from Gloucestershire. She married William Howitt, a fellow writer and Quaker, at 21 years old. The couple were prolific writers, publishing over 180 books together. They moved to London in 1843 and were friends with a number of famous literary figures including Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and William and Dorothy Wordsworth.

Mary Howitt also published many works independently of her husband, the most famous being the 1829 poem The Spider and The Fly. This poem contains one of the most widely-known opening lines in English poetry. In the 1840s she lived in Germany and worked as a translator for Hans Christian Andersen, the famous fairy tale author.

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Old Man Who Lost His Horse – Storytelling for Everyone

A farmer had only one horse. One day, his horse ran away.

His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

A few days later, his horse came back with a wild horse following. The man and his son corralled the horse.

His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

The wild horse threw the man’s only son, breaking both his legs.

His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

The country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer’s son was spared, since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted.

His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

Proverb: “Old man loses his horse — is it truly a misfortune?” Han Dynasty, 3rd century BCE.


Source: Generally attributed to Lao Tzu, author of Tao Te Ching. The story was further shaped by the poet, Liu An (2nd century BCE) in his book, Huai Nan Tzu.

Author adminPosted on July 9, 2019July 9, 2019Categories Fables, FolktalesTags China, Leo Tzu, proverb, Taoism

The Scratched Diamond – Storytelling for Everyone

Jewish Fable

The Maggid of Dubno was known for his parables. Whenever someone asked him a question, he would always answer with a story.

One day a student was walking with the Maggid of Dubno and asked him, “Rabbi, I have many imperfections, so many faults. How can I change them so I become a better person?”

The Maggid said, “Listen and I’ll tell you a story.”

Once there was a king who owned one of the most splendid diamonds in the world. He was very proud of that flawless diamond and showed it off to all his visiting dignitaries.

However, one day, the king noticed that the diamond had developed a flaw. There was a deep scratch in this precious diamond. He immediately called for the finest diamond cutters in the kingdom to come to the palace. “You are artists in your work. What can any of you do to return the diamond to the way it was?” asked the king.

None of the diamond experts could promise that the diamond would ever be restored to its original perfection. But one young man who had just completed his apprenticeship with the greatest of the diamond artisans said to the king, “You majesty, while it is not possible to restore this diamond, as the other diamond cutters have already told you, nevertheless I would be willing to undertake the responsibility to create a beautiful diamond out of this blemish.”

The king had no other hope and so he gave his consent to this young man.

The young man worked hard but in secrecy. Then when he had finished his work, he presented the diamond to the king. When the king looked at it, he smiled with great satisfaction. Instead of seeing the scratch in the diamond as a blemish, the young diamond cutter had seen it as the stem of a rose. Then he cut the roots, the flower and the leaves onto the stem. In this way, he transformed the scratch in the diamond into a mark of beauty. The diamond with its rose engraving became the most original and magnificent stone in the entire kingdom – more precious to the king than before.

The Maggid then turned to his student and said, “Just like the diamond with the scratch, we all have faults and blemishes. But it’s up to us to transform them into something of beauty and value.”

The Maggid of Dubno and his student continued on their walk.

Sometimes we need to change the way we look at an imperfection and transform it into something more positive and interesting.


Sources:  This story is adapted from “The Sound of the Shofar” in Heinemann’s The Maggid of Dubno and his parables, pp. 193-194. Another version, “The Blemish on the Diamond,” is in Ausubel’s A Treasury of Jewish Folklore, p. 66 which was based on the Parables of the Preacher of Dubno.

Author adminPosted on September 10, 2021Categories Fables, FolktalesTags Jewish, Maggid, Parable, rosh hashanah

The Purse of Gold – Storytelling for Everyone

A Jewish Folktale

A beggar found a leather purse that someone had dropped in the marketplace. Opening it, he discovered that it contained 100 pieces of gold. Then he heard a merchant shout, “A reward! A reward to the one who finds my leather purse!”

Being an honest man, the beggar came forward and handed the purse to the merchant saying, “Here is your purse. May I have the reward now?”

“Reward?” scoffed the merchant, greedily counting his gold. “Why the purse I dropped had 200 pieces of gold in it. You’ve already stolen more than the reward! Go away or I’ll tell the magistrate.”

“I’m an honest man,” said the beggar defiantly. “Let us take this matter to the court.”

In court the judge patiently listened to both sides of the story and said, “I believe you both. Justice is possible! Merchant, you stated that the purse you lost contained 200 pieces of gold. Well, that’s a considerable cost. But, the purse this beggar found had only 100 pieces of gold. Therefore, it couldn’t be the one you lost.”

And, with that, the judge gave the purse and all the gold to the beggar.



Video retelling:

Author adminPosted on November 29, 2021Categories Fables, FolktalesTags greed, humor, Jewish, judgment, wisdom

mullah nasruddin – Storytelling for Everyone

Three Sufi Tales

The Smell of Soup and the Sound of Money

A beggar was given a piece of bread, but nothing to put on it. Hoping to get something to go with his bread, he went to a nearby inn and asked for a handout. The innkeeper turned him away with nothing, but the beggar sneaked into the kitchen where he saw a large pot of soup cooking over the fire.

He held his piece of bread over the steaming pot, hoping to thus capture a bit of flavor from the good-smelling vapor.

Suddenly the innkeeper seized him by the arm and accused him of stealing soup.

“I took no soup,” said the beggar. “I was only smelling the vapor.”

“Then you must pay for the smell,” answered the innkeeper.

The poor beggar had no money, so the angry innkeeper dragged him before the qadi.

Now Nasreddin Hodja was at that time serving as qadi, and he heard the innkeeper’s complaint and the beggar’s explanation.

“So you demand payment for the smell of your soup?” summarized the Hodja after the hearing.

“Yes!” insisted the innkeeper.

“Then I myself will pay you,” said the Hodja, “and I will pay for the smell of your soup with the sound of money.”

Thus saying, the Hodja drew two coins from his pocket, rang them together loudly in his hands, put them back into his pocket, and sent the beggar and the innkeeper each on his own way.

The Slap

Nasreddin Hodja was standing in the marketplace when a stranger stepped up to him and slapped him in the face, but then said, “I beg your pardon. I thought that you were someone else.”

This explanation did not satisfy the Hodja, so he brought the stranger before the qadi and demanded compensation.

The Hodja soon perceived that the qadi and the defendant were friends. The latter admitted his guilt, and the judge pronounced the sentence: “The settlement for this offense is one piaster, to be paid to the plaintiff. If you do not have a piaster with you, then you may bring it here to the plaintiff at your convenience.”

Hearing this sentence, the defendant went on his way. The Hodja waited for him to return with the piaster. And he waited. And he waited.

Sometime later the Hodja said to the qadi, “Do I understand correctly that one piaster is sufficient payment for a slap?”

“Yes,” answered the qadi.

Hearing this answer, the Hodja slapped the judge in the face and said, “You may keep my piaster when the defendant returns with it,” then walked away.

A Close Call

One night Nasreddin awoke, thinking he had heard a strange noise outside his window. Looking out, he saw a suspicious white figure.

“Who goes there?” shouted the Hodja.

Hearing no reply, Nasreddin reached for his bow, set an arrow to the string, took aim, and shot in the direction of the mysterious figure. Satisfied that the intruder now would do him no harm, Nasreddin returned to bed and slept until dawn.

By morning’s light he examined the scene outside his window, only to discover his own white shirt hanging on the clothesline and pierced by the arrow that he had shot during the night.

“That was a close call,” murmured the Hodja. “My own shirt, shot through by an arrow! What if I had been wearing it at the time!”


Source: Once the Hodja, Nasr-ed-Din: Turkish Jokes, Volume 9 of Asian folklore and social life monographs: Supplement by Alice Geer Kelsey, Orient Cultural Service, 1983.

Author adminPosted on August 17, 2022Categories Fables, Folktales, Fool, TricksterTags Hodja, jokes, mullah nasruddin, Muslim, Sufi, Turkey, wise foolLeave a comment on Once the Hodja, Nasr-ed-Din

A Sufi Tale

One day Nasreddin Hodja rode his donkey to the nearby town of Ak Shehir. The Imam there was away for three weeks and asked the Hodja to preach the Friday sermon at the mosque while he was gone.

For the first few days of his visit, the Hodja was as free as a butterfly. He could talk with friends in the market place. He could go hunting in the hills. He could lounge in the coffee house.

But it was one thing to swap stories with the men in the coffee house and quite another to stand alone in the high pulpit and talk to a mosque full of people. The men, each sitting on his own prayer rug would look up at him with solemn faces. Then there was the fluttering in the balcony behind the lattices:  the women would be waiting too.

The first Friday he walked slowly through the cobblestone streets of Ak Shehir. He saw the veiled women slipping silently past him on their way to the latticed balcony. He saw the men hurrying by to hear his sermon.

But what sermon? He stopped at the mosque door to leave his shoes. He walked with the other men across the soft thick rugs. His head was as empty as his donkey’s as he climbed the steps to the pulpit.

He gazed at the blues and reds of the tracery on the ceiling, but not a thought came. He looked at the mosaics on the walls, but there was no message there. He saw the men’s faces staring up at him. He heard tittering in the balcony.

He must say something.

“Oh, people of Ak Shehir!” He leaned on the pulpit and eyed them squarely. “Do you know what I am about to say to you?”

“No!” boomed the men.

“No!” floated down in soft whispers from the balcony.

“You do not know?” said Nasreddin Hodja, shaking his head and looking from one face to another. “You are sure you do not know? Then what use would it be to talk to people who know nothing at all about this important subject. My words would be wasted on such ignorance.”

With that, the Hodja turned and climbed slowly down the pulpit steps. He slipped on his shoes at the mosque door, and was out in the sunshine—free until next Friday.

That day came all too soon. The Hodja mingled with the crowds going to the mosque. He climbed the steps to the high pulpit. He looked down at the sea of solemn faces. He heard the rustling behind the lattices of the balcony. He had hoped that this week he would think of a sermon, but nothing had come to mind.

Still, he must say something.

“Oh, people of Ak Shehir!” intoned the Hodja, gesturing with both hands. “Do you know what I am about to say to you?”

“Yes,” boomed the men who remembered what had happened when they said “No” last week.

“Yes,” echoed in soft whispers from the balcony.

“You know what I am going to say?” said the Hodja. “You are certain you know what I am going to say? Then I need not say it. It would he a useless waste of my golden words if I told you something that you already knew.”

The Hodja turned and again climbed down the pulpit steps. He scuffed into his shoes and escaped into the sunshine. Another free week was ahead of him.

But the best of weeks end. The third Friday found him once more climbing the pulpit steps, with not a word worth saying. Even the Koran’s pages in front of him might have been blank instead of its Arabic script and illuminated borders. Men’s faces looked up at him expectantly. Bright eyes peered through the lattices of the women’s balcony.

The time had come again when he must speak.

“Oh, people of Ak Shehir!” demanded the Hodja. “Do you know what I am about to say to you?”

“No, no” came from those who were thinking of the last Friday.

“Yes, yes” came from those who were thinking of the Friday before that.

“Some of you know and some of you do not know!” The Hodja rubbed his hands together. “Wonderful! Now let those who know tell those who do not!”

The Hodja gathered his robes about him, humming to himself as he came down from the pulpit, two steps at a time. He nodded and smiled as he left the mosque.


Source: Retold by Kate Farrell, based on the version in Once A Hodja by Alice Kelsey, David McKay Co, 1943.

Note: Nasreddin Hodja, also called Mullah Nasreddin, is the archetypal wise fool, a legend—several Muslim countries claim to be his birthplace.

Nasreddin (/næsˈrɛdɪn/ or Nasreddin Hodja (other variants include: Mullah Nasreddin Hooja, Mullah Nasruddin, Mullah Nasriddin, Khoja Nasriddin) is a fictional character in the folklore of the Muslim world from the Balkans to China, and a hero of humorous short stories and satirical anecdotes.

Author adminPosted on August 15, 2022Categories Fables, Folktales, LegendsTags Hodja, mosque, mullah, mullah nasruddin, Muslim, wise foolLeave a comment on Once the Hodja…

OH, how hot my poor head is!” Nasred-Din Hodja sat alone under a walnut tree. He fanned himself with a pumpkin leaf that he had picked from the vine sprawling at his feet.

“I wonder if I dare take off this hot turban.” The Hodja looked to the right, to the left, behind him, before him. “There’s not a soul in sight. And for once, I can take off my turban without anyone laughing at my baldness!”

He unwound his turban and wiped his dripping hot head with it. He threw the turban down on the ground beside him, and he sighed contentedly as the breeze from the pumpkin-leaf fan blew on his smooth glistening head.

“There, I feel like myself,” said the Hodja, comfortable and contented again. “That was a good day’s work I did in the vineyard today. I have earned a good supper. Fatima said she was going to cook goat’s-milk soup for supper. I’ll just rest here a minute to cool off, then go home to a good big bowl to fill me up.”

With the sense of well-being, the Hodja always felt the urge to talk to someone – to tell of his exploits or to give advice. But he had already made sure that not a soul was in sight. He could hear the tinkle of sheep bells and the reedy whine of a shepherd’s flute on the distant hillside, but not a person could he see.

The pumpkin-leaf fan waved more slowly, as Nasr-ed-Din Hodja sat erect. The fan dropped to the ground. The Hodja was wide awake again. He had discovered something that really should be changed.

“You silly old tree!” Nasr-ed-Din Hodja shook an accusing finger at the walnut tree that was shielding him. “Is that the best you can do? And that? And that?” The Hodja pointed scornfully at the walnuts growing on the tree.”Look at the size of you!” The Hodja shook his fist at the tree.

He was working up a pleasant excitement. “You rise up so proud and high, but what do you have to brag about – just some little walnuts no bigger than my two thumbs. Take a lesson from your neighbor, the pumpkin vine. It lies along the ground, feeling so humble and unimportant but see what good reason it has to brag.” The Hodja pointed at the huge golden pumpkins, snuggled among the dark green leaves of the pumpkin vine.

The more he thought about it, the more disgusted the Hodja became with a scheme of things which made little walnuts grow on a noble tree and huge pumpkins grow on a groveling vine.

“Now, if I had been planning it,” cried the Hodja to his audience of walnuts and pumpkins, “it would have been very different! The big important pumpkins would be waving proudly on the strong branches of this big important tree. The little unimportant walnuts could cling without any trouble to the spineless pumpkin vine. The vine might even hold up its head a little, if it had something the right size growing on it.”

Unnoticed by him, a gentle breeze had sprung up and was swaying the branches above his bald bare head.

“Yes, yes,” he went on, “if I had been planning the trees and the vines, you -“

The Hodja never finished his sentence. There was a little snap on the branch above his head. There was a little crackle as something rushed through the leaves. There was a resounding smack as something hit the Hodja’s bald bare head.

For a minute the Hodja swayed. He saw little bright lights where none had been before. With his left hand he picked up a walnut, small, to be sure, but hard, oh, very hard. With his right hand he rubbed his poor head where a lump the size of a walnut was quickly rising.

The Hodja bowed apologetically toward the sacred city of Mecca in the east.

“Oh, Allah!” It was a meek and humble Hodja who spoke. “Forgive me for saying you were wrong to have pumpkins grow on vines and walnuts grow on trees. You were wiser than I. Suppose it had been a pumpkin that fell from that tree onto my poor head!”

Rubbing his bruised and aching head, the Hodja sat under the walnut tree. He was thinking how beautiful the golden pumpkins looked on their graceful twining vine. They were so close to the good brown earth that they could not possibly fall anywhere. Allah was wise. Allah be praised.

Source: Once the Hodja by Alice Geer Kelsey, illustrated by Frank Dobias, published by David McKay Company Inc, New York (first edition 1943).

Author adminPosted on September 10, 2019Categories Fables, FolktalesTags Hodja, Middle East, mullah nasruddin, Muslim, Persian, Turkey, wise fool

Kwanzaa UMOJA (Unity) – Storytelling for Everyone

African Folktale

When Anansi’s first son was born and Anansi and his wife, Aso, were ready to name the child, the baby spoke up and said, “I have brought my own name with me. It is See Trouble.” Their second son also announced his name in this way. He was Road Builder.

Each of his six sons in turn announced their names in this way. There was River Drinker, Game Skinner, Stone Thrower and Cushion.

Once, Anansi had to go on a long journey. On his trip, he found a big, bright, shiny ball. He was bringing it home, when he fell into the lake and was swallowed by a big fish.

Anansi decided right then that he would give the bright shiny object to whoever rescued him.

As time passed, and Anansi did not return home, his family became worried. See Trouble looked ahead to see Anansi inside the big fish. He told his brothers. Right away, Road Builder cleared a path through the forest for his brothers to follow.

When they got to the lake, it was the thirsty brother’s turn.

River Drinker drank up all the water in the lake. There was the big fish at the bottom. Game skinner went right to work. He cut open that fish to let Anansi out. Anansi was still holding that bright, shiny object he had found.

Suddenly a giant bird flew down and grabbed Anansi. It took him way up into the sky. Stone Thrower grabbed a rock and threw it. He hit the bird just right to make it let go of Anansi. Down, down Anansi fell, but he didn’t get hurt because Cushion put himself in the way. Anansi landed softly.

Anansi wanted to give the bright, shiny object to the son who had rescued him, but he couldn’t decide who had done the most to help him.

He gave the bright, shiny thing to Nyame, who put it up in the sky until someone could figure out which son deserves it the most. It is still there in the sky. You can see it tonight.


Sources: Ashanti People of Ghana

Author adminPosted on December 27, 2021December 27, 2021Categories Animal, Fables, Family, FolktalesTags African, Anansi, Ashanti, Kwanzaa

Jade Rabbit – Storytelling for Everyone

Chinese Legend

Cute, fluffy, and white, the Jade Rabbit is no ordinary bunny. Calling the moon its home, the Jade Rabbit is a mystical and enchanting East Asian legend. When the bunny isn’t busy making immortality elixirs, it keeps the beautiful goddess Chang’e company in the Moon Palace.

In East Asia, the Jade Rabbit is a widespread cultural symbol, and the various legends associated with this Eastern bunny differ from country to country. This is how one Chinese legend, an ancient Buddhist story, goes:

The Jade Emperor disguised himself into a poor, starving old man and begged for food from monkey, otter, jackal, and rabbit. Monkey gathered fruit from the trees, and otter gathered fish from the river. Jackal stole a lizard and a pot of milk curds.

Rabbit though, could only gather grass. Knowing well enough that grass can’t be offered as food to humans, rabbit decided to offer its own body, sacrificing itself in the fire the man had started. Somehow, though, rabbit wasn’t burned.

The old man suddenly revealed himself to be the great Jade Emperor! Touched deeply by rabbit’s selfless sacrifice, he sent it to the moon to become the immortal Jade Rabbit. There, it finds the Jade Rabbit busy at work—pounding herbal medicine into magical elixir with its mortar and pestle.

It is said that if you look up at the moon, you can see an outline of the Jade Rabbit pounding with a pestle. More than just cute, fluffy, and white, the Jade Rabbit is a sign of selflessness, piety, and sacrifice.

Maybe that’s why the Jade Rabbit is on the moon—so that no matter where we are on Earth, we always have the bright symbol of righteousness and self-sacrifice to look up to.

The next time you look up at the moon, recall the Jade Rabbit who has nothing to give but himself—for others.



Note: Ancient China was a land where gods and mortals lived in tandem and created a divinely inspired culture. And so it was that early Chinese history and mythology are wholly intertwined. Our new “Mythistory” series introduces you to the main characters of the marvelous legends of China.

Author adminPosted on January 25, 2023January 25, 2023Categories Animal, Fables, Legends, Myth, NatureTags Asian, Buddhism, East Asian, moon, rabbit, sacrifice

The Little Drummer Boy – Storytelling for Everyone

Modern Christmas Legend

According to legend, there was once a young boy who was sound asleep. A sudden noise woke him and he was startled to find a parade right outside his house. As a child, this young boy, Zach, was fascinated with parades and always wanted to be a part of them.

He would often dream about dressing up and marching with others in the parade while playing the drum. Zach’s parents gifted him with a drum set for his birthday, and seeing the parade taking place outside his house, Zach realized that it was his only chance to get out, play the drums and be a part of the colorful gala.

He was stunned to see that the people who were parading outside were not ordinary men and women. They looked like wealthy people who were sitting on camels and were richly dressed. There were servants who led these camels, and Zach believed that this parade was headed towards a palace.

Therefore, like any other inquisitive boy, Zack slipped out of his house, making sure not to awaken his parents and took his drum with him. Once he crept out of the door, he began playing the drums as he got in line with the parade, somewhere behind the last camel.

Little did Zack know that the parade was actually headed towards Bethlehem, towards a shed where a baby boy was born.

The people knew right away that the newborn baby was special because there was a single star that shone brightly in the sky above. All the wise men on the camels and the shepherds who were part of the parade carried princely gifts with them. Little Zack had nothing with him, but his drum. Zack noticed that the even the poorest widow at the shed had something to present to the newborn.

After all the other onlookers left, the little drummer boy stood alone in the shed, his presence unnoticed. He was disappointed at not having a single gift with him. Without knowing what to do next, he began playing his drum, slow at first and then louder.

Legend states that Baby Jesus responded to the sound, turned his head towards the drummer boy and smiled; the first response to any gift presented to him on this special day.

The drummer boy was no longer sad, as he believed that he presented Baby Jesus with the greatest gift of all, the gift of love.

The Little Drummer Boy Christmas Song

A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum

Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum

To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,

When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum

I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum

I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum

That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,

on my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum

The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum

I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum

I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum

Me and my drum.

The legend of the Drummer Boy is a popular song and marks the significance of the greatest gift one can present to another during Christmas: one’s unique gift of love.