Traditional Stories & Myths

This page is under construction. But there are already a lot of useful links in the right-and column of the page. And there is one swedish local legend in english here, which will end up at this page sooner or later. One good collection with tree and nature tales is “Earth Care: World folktales to talk about” by Margaret Read MacDonald.

A collection from 1953, “Three Apples Fell From Heaven: Unfamiliar Legends of the Trees” by Natalia Maree Belting lists the following stories: Sungold and the Remarkable Cow (Scandinavia) / The Tree That Flew (Russia) / The Tree That Shadowed the World (Khasis/India) / The Laurel Maiden (Greece) / A Yard of Nose (Italy) / The Tree That Walked (Scotland) / The Tree From Adam’s Grave (Palestine) / The Three Lemons (Slovenia) / The Kettle and the Chestnut (Seneca) / The Weeping Willow (Arabia) / The Shepherd and the King’s Daughter (Germany) / The Fairy Tree of Doolas Woods (Ireland) / How the Coconut Tree Came To Be (Philippines) / The Wood Nymphs (Germany) / The Blue Palm Tree (Arabia) / The Arrows That Became Trees (Creek) / The Nightingale and the Cotton Tree (Calcutta) / The Wonderful Bed (India).

The Grimm story The Juniper Tree is interesting also because it is really a literary story, not a folktale. A distinction which sometimes is very useful, and meaningless in other contexts.

A story which will be of special interest on November 22 is the legend of El Ceibo, the national tree or flower of Argentina and Uruguay. Here is a translation from spanish to english by Isabel Fraire who suggested this story:

The story of Anahí and El Ceibo

The legend says that in the shores of the Parana was living an ugly indiecita, of coarse features, called Anahí. Though she was ugly, in the summer evenings she was delighting the whole people of his Guarani tribe with her songs inspired by her gods and the love to the land of which they were owners… But there came the invaders, these brave, bold and seasoned beings of white skin, which devastated the tribes and snatched their lands, their idols, and their freedom. Anahí was taken as captive together with other aborigens. It happened many days crying and many nights in wake, until one day in which the dream conquered his sentry, the indiecita managed to escape, but on having done it, the sentry woke up, and she, to achieve her aim, sank a dagger in the chest of his guardian, and fled rapidly to the jungle.

The shout of the moribund jailer woke up other Spanish, who went out in a pursuit that turned into the hunt of the poor Anahí, who at last was reached by the conquerors. These, in revenge for the death of the guardian, punished her by death in a bonfire. They tied her to a tree and initiated the fire, which seemed not to want to lengthen his flames towards the indigenous maiden, who without murmuring a word, was suffering silently, with her head inclined towards the side. And when the fire began to rise, Anahí was turning into a tree, identifying with the plant in an amazing miracle. The following dawn, the soldiers saw the spectacle of a beautiful tree with green shining leaves, and red velvet flowers. Each one was showing in all their brilliance, as the symbol of valor and strength before the suffering

Here is a version from Exploring the World of Trees
And from Bewildering Stories
And the biology information at the Wikipedia entry

And finally, below is the story in spanish:

So what do you think? Should we tell and explore learning questions about this story? Perhaps on November 22 …