Sunday, 25 September 2011

Today Saba is holding a pair of shoes.  They look like boys shoes!   Everyone is puzzled by looking at them.   

As usual they enter the little cottage and sit on the Persian rug to hear what is new that day.  Once the freshly baked bread is served by Bibi, she starts the tale of…..

The prince and the poor boy’s shoes

Once upon a time there lived a young boy with his mother in a remote village.   Every day he used to walk for miles to earn money and bring food for his mother.   He worked in a bakery, where at the end of each day he would be given the leftover of the bread that hadn’t been sold.  

The boy’s shoes were so old and worn-out that they hardly protected his feet from the cold.   One day after cleaning the shop he was getting ready to go home, when he suddenly saw a pair of pure leather shoes in the storage behind the shop.   He asked his master if he could have them since they seemed to be his size.    

The master refused to give the shoes and told him not to tell anyone about it.  So the boy finished cleaning the shop and the old brick oven and set off to walk home.   It took him quite a while to reach home as it was very cold and wet.     By the time he reached home his feet were quite sore and cold and he couldn’t feel them anymore.

After a simple dinner he went to bed to rest his tired feet and legs.    Half way through the night he woke up with a noise, right at the entrance of their little cottage.    He jumped out of bed and looked through the window.   Outside it was pitch black and he couldn’t see anyone or anything.     As he was going back to bed he heard another noise.    He thought someone was knocking at the door.  He slowly went back towards the window and peeked out cautiously.   He noticed a squeaky noise at the door.   As he looked more closely he saw the pair of shoes that he had seen in his master’s shop. 

He excitedly opened the door and took the shoes from outside.   He thought his master had taken pity on him and brought the shoes to make him happy.  

That night he slept like a rock, feeling so pleased that he didn’t need to worry about the cold feet any more. 

The next day he set off for work with great energy, happily whistling while walking.    As he reached to the shop, he saw his master waiting for him at the entrance.    He looked quite angry and disappointed.    

The boy had no clue why his master was angry.  He walked closer to say hello.

“Good morning Sire.”  Said the boy. 

“How dare you to even come close to my shop.” Shouted the master   “you are nothing but a thief”! 

“Beg your pardon Sire, I don’t understand”

“You don’t understand?  How could you say that to my face?” said master with a louder voice.

As he was getting louder and louder everyone was gathering around the shop.   Thinking that the boy has stolen something they took him to the king’s palace, where the thieves and criminals were always taken to be taken to the high courts.

The prince was practicing his horse riding, when he saw the people bringing the young boy through the gates. 

“What is happening?” said the prince. 

“This boy is a thief and has stolen something from his master.”  One of the men said.

“What has he stolen?”  asked the prince.

“He has stolen the shoes from his master’s shop”.

“I did not steal them.  They were left outside my house.”  The boy shouted.

“Outside your door aye?” laughed the men at once. 

The prince was staring at the shoes, while asking the men to take the boy inside the palace.

“Please leave him here.  I will take him to the court rooms” said the prince.

When everyone had left the Prince took the young boy inside the palace. 

“Tell me the truth, where did you get these shoes from”?  asked the prince.

So the young boy told the whole story and how he got the shoes. 

“These were my shoes that I had left by the river when we had gone hunting last year.”  Said the Prince.     “I had been looking for them since then.   They are quite precious as they belonged to my great grand-father”. 

So the young boy and the prince became very good friends.  The mother and his son never went hungry again.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Saba’s new shoes were so shiny that attracted everyone’s attention immediately. Her outfit was much more colourful and bright. She asked the children to come inside. Bibi invited everyone to sit down and asked Saba to bring the magic box. Everyone was anxiously curious to know more about the magic box.

**The Thief and the Magic Box**

The vicious thief was very hungry that day.  He couldn’t get hold of anything to steal.  Normally he managed to rob somebody, sell the stolen goods in the bazaar or trade them with quite a few grains of rice or wheat.   

That day he was making different plans in his little brain, thinking them over and wiping them off, until he settled for one.

“I know” He thought to himself “The old cobbler’s grand- son always carries a little box in and out of the shop.  He must have some money in there.  I’m going to follow him today and see if I can get it off him.”

So he sat under the shade of the old cedar tree in front of old cobbler’s shop.  A few hours passed.  The grand-son was nowhere to be seen. 

He was getting impatient and as he stood up to go, suddenly the little boy stepped out of the shop.   As usual he had the box in his hand and started to stroll towards the bushes, whistling happily. 

The vicious thief was so pleased to see this.  He let the boy pass him and, shortly afterwards, started to follow his footsteps, keeping quite a distance so that the boy wouldn’t see him.

The little boy finally sat under a tree and looked around carefully to make sure nobody was nearby.  He then took out a bright blue colour cloth out of his pocket and laid it on the ground.  Then he gently put the box on the cloth in front of him. 

The thief was watching from behind a tree to see what happens next.  The boy slowly opened the box, while his lips were curling up with delight.  Suddenly a piece of brown leather flipped out of the box, followed by a needle and a piece of string.   With a blink of an eye, a pair of shoes was made to fit the boy’s little feet.  The thief was watching with widened eyes, while all kinds of colourful material flipped in the empty space and made to fit the boy.  Finally, the most precious stones were embedded onto a belt and wrapped around his waist!

This was a magical treasure box that could earn the thief lots and lots of gold coins for the rest of his life.  He imagined himself sitting in his glorious palace, being served fresh food and drinks all day long by his many servants. 

He suddenly jumped out from behind the tree, grabbed the box and started running as far as he possibly could.  The little boy watched him calmly as the thief disappeared. 

As the thief reached deep in the heart of the bush, he put the box down in front of him and gently opened it as his eyes were sparkling with greed. 

As he expected a piece of brown leather flipped out of the box, a pair of nice shoes was made to his size.  Then the outfits and finally the precious belt with all the jewels he could ever wish for.  Once everything was ready, they began flying towards him and dressed him like a king.   As he stood up to admire his outfit, he felt needles piercing his feet!   He tried to take off the shoes, but it was as if they were stuck.  He suddenly started to feel the needles all over his body.  

The vicious thief was jumping up and down with agony and ran towards where he had left the little boy.  Amazingly enough, the boy was still sitting calmly under the same tree.  It was as if he was waiting to be entertained by watching the thief being punished for what he had done. 

As soon as the thief put the box down on the blue cloth, he was stripped off the precious clothes.  With a loud sigh of relief he started running as fast as the fastest winds and disappeared. 
No one ever saw him again as he had moved to another village.  Perhaps he was now ready to start a more respectable lifestyle.  Perhaps he had realised he would be punished for taking things that did not belong and were not meant for him. 

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Bibi was busy in her herb garden, while Saba was putting the freshly cut roses in the old vase.  Mia was enjoying the mid-morning sun and having a snooze. 
It was almost time for the little visitors to arrive.  Every day was a new adventure as they were taken on a different journey through Bibi’s stories.   By the time Saba finished arranging the roses, the children had arrived and sat on their usual place, all waiting for Bibi. 

**The Old Farmer’s Son**
Once upon a time there lived an old farmer who had two sons.   The older son loved to sit in the shade under the trees, day after day, watch the birds and the farm animals, while his younger brother helped on their piece of land. 
Every time the farmer asked his older son to help out he would bring an excuse and avoided to help.
The younger son was always at his father’s side and gave him a hand whenever possible. 
One day the old farmer decided to retire and pass his farm on to his sons.  In his heart he was not happy to give anything to his older son, because he had never offered a helping hand.  The younger son asked his father to let each of them take charge of half the farm and cultivate the land for his own food. 
He was hoping this might help the older brother become more responsible, as he had no choice but to work, if he wanted food on his table. 
The old farmer agreed and so each son took charge of half the land.  They each built their own little cottage and started to live on their own.
The first few months everything went well, as the plants on the old son’s land was still full of crop and fruits. 
As the months went by, the trees started to get drier and drier.  The plants looked really unhappy. 
On the other side of the fence, the plants looked green, fresh and happy.  There was so much fruit on the trees and so much milk from the cows that the younger son would sell them in the market and get lots of money. 
One of these days, the older brother woke up to the biggest surprise of his life.  His piece of land seemed to have gone upside down!   The roots of the trees were on the surface and the branches were hidden under the soil!   It was as if he was living under the ground with nothing to eat or drink.  He could no longer hear the birds singing. 
He was getting hungrier and hungrier by the day and he decided to ask his younger brother to give him some food.  He went over the fence and knocked at the door.  The old father opened the door and welcomed him in. 
The aroma of the freshly baked bread and the stew was swirling in the cottage.  He could no longer stand it and asked for food.  The younger son put the food on the table and invited his father and brother to eat. 
The older son was so pleased to be able to eat fresh food after such a long time. 
He served a big portion on his plate.  His hands were shaking while he was digging the hot fresh bread into the stew.  His father and brother were watching him with widened eyes as he raised his hand to put the bread in his mouth. 
As soon as he had a mouthful of the food, he shouted with agony.  It was as if the food had turned into hard rock and he nearly chipped his tooth!   He started running towards the door and spat the mouthful out on the ground, outside the cottage.   
He then ran to his own land and, from then on, worked hard to bring the plants back to life again.   He learned that to harvest the food of life he has to cultivate and feed his plants. 

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Bibi is busy in her herb garden when the children knock at the door.   As soon as they come in, Saba takes them to see Bibi.   They were astounded by the huge leaves of the herbs in the little garden.  The green plant had quite unusual shine to them. 
“Saba dear, could you please bring some more water for the herbs.” said Bibi with a smile.
Saba came back holding a golden bowl which looked quite old.  The water inside it had a kind of sparkle to it.    There was certainly something different about this bowl!

****The Magic Bowl and Greedy Merchant****


Once upon a time in a faraway land there lived a farmer who had a lot of hens and roosters.     Every day he used to take lots of freshly laid eggs to the market and sell them for quite a good price.  These eggs were quite special because, without exception, they each had three yolks, which were quite a rich golden colour. 
Everyone was puzzled as to how the hens lay so many eggs and the fact that they all had three yolks and such a rich colour.   One of the merchants at the market was quite jealous and was determined to find out the secret of these eggs. 
One night he quietly sneaked into the farmer’s land and went towards the hen house.   Everywhere was pitch-black and he could hardly see anything.   From far away he suddenly saw a beam of light shining through the wooden walls of the hen-house.    He started walking faster and faster until he finally reached his destination.
He quietly went closer and peeked through the cracks to find out where the light was coming from.   He saw the farmer wearing a golden cape and singing in a language that the merchant couldn’t understand!    He put his eyes closer to the cracks and looked more carefully to find out what was happening. 
He suddenly saw a golden bowl on the ground full of glittering water from which all the hens were drinking.    It was as if they were dancing to the tune of the farmer’s song. 
When the song finished, the farmer took the bowl out and walked towards his house. 
The whole hen-house turned dark and the merchant realised that the light was coming from the golden bowl.    Greed and envy took over him and he was determined to get his hands on the magic bowl.    
He waited in the dark outside the farmer’s house, until the lights were all out and he was sure the farmer is sleep. 

He slowly crept into the little courtyard leading to the entrance of the house.     He saw the bowl sitting close to the little pond.    His eyes sparkled with joy and happiness at the sight of the precious object.    He got closer and closer.  As he put his hand on the bowl, his fingers got stuck as if someone was holding them tight.    He tried to pull himself free, but couldn’t move.   His hand and arm was getting heavier and heavier.  He pulled himself away again, but couldn’t move.   This is when he realised his body is turning into gold.   His greedy eyes were shining even more to see the gold.   In fact he was so thrilled that he didn’t realise what trouble he had gotten himself into!   Almost half his body had turned into the heavy metal, when he suddenly realised what was happening.    He shouted for help and was quite scared.    At this time the farmer who had heard the cries of the greedy merchant ran out of his house.     He quickly wore his cape and started singing the same song that he had sang to the hens.   Luckily for the merchant the song worked and the gold started to melt gradually.    
As soon as his arm and hand were freed, he started running as fast as the wind.  He was never seen close to the farmer’s house or in the village again. 

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Bibi’s little garden had lots of fruit trees and colourful flowers.   Amongst them there was a pomegranate tree, which had quite a lot of juicy pomegranates.   The fruits were so ripe and sweet that forced the tender skin to crack open.  The seeds were shining like bright red rubies.  This tree looked so healthy and happy as if she was smiling at everyone.   All the children were staring at it, as if she was talking to them.
“There's an interesting tale about this tree.  Bibi will tell you all about it.” said Saba excitedly. 
The children ran inside the little cottage to learn more.  So Bibi started the story as soon as the children sat on the Persian rug.

******* The Unhappy Tree*******

It was late Spring when the blossoms on the pomegranate tree were turning into sweet, juicy fruits.
It had been raining for a few days.  The pomegranate tree was fed up and couldn't stand the wet grounds anymore. 
“I'm so tired of this rain.  It’s been pouring down non-stop for more than two days.  Can you please go away” said the tree to the clouds.
The clouds felt so sad.  They decided to take their backpacks and go away to faraway lands.
The sun came out.  She scattered her brightness and warmth everywhere.  The birds started singing again.  The Pomegranate tree was very happy.   The fruits were now growing faster and becoming bigger. 
“Ah… that’s better.  It’s a bit warmer and drier now.” Said the pomegranate tree with a sigh of relief. 
She and her friends were quite happy and warm.  A few days went by.  It was starting to get quite hot and dry.     There was no breeze to keep them cool.   Other plants were getting thirsty. 
“Look what you've done now.  We’re hot and thirsty” they said.
“Stop complaining.  What’s wrong with you lot?   There’s lots of water underground for all of us.” The pomegranate tree said to the plants. 
Another few days went by.  The Pomegranate tree started to feel hot and thirsty.   “I’m so tired of the sunlight.  It’s been getting hotter and hotter every day.  I’m getting very thirsty now.  Can you please go away” she said to the sun.
The sun felt so sad.  She decided to take her backpacks and go away to faraway lands.
The moon, which hadn’t been seen for a while, started to show his face.   He scattered his light over the fields.
“Ah, that’s better.  It’s a bit cooler now.” Said the pomegranate tree.
The nights passed by and the plants were feeling better. 
The pomegranate tree started complaining again “I can’t sleep when there’s so much light.  I haven’t slept for a few nights now.  Could you please go away and let me rest?” 
The moon felt so sad.  He decided to take his backpacks and go away to faraway lands.
Suddenly everywhere got quite dark.   It was pitch black and nobody could see anything.   
“Ah, that’s better.  Let’s have a good night’s sleep.” Said the pomegranate tree.
A few nights passed by.   It was getting quite cold. 
All the other plants turned around and said to the pomegranate tree:  “Look what you‘ve done now.  Everywhere is so dark, we can’t see anything.  We are cold and thirsty.”
“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to cause any problems.” She said.  “I’m not feeling well either.  The pomegranates are not growing anymore and are getting dry.   I wish we could have the moonlight, some rain and sunshine again.” 
As soon as she said these words, suddenly the moon felt happy and came back, followed by sun the next day and some rain the day after. 
The pomegranate tree and all the other plants were happy .  The birds started singing again. The pomegranates started growing again and became quite juicy and sweet.    The flowers were blooming.  Everything was back to normal again. 
The pomegranate tree realised that she has to be grateful and appreciate what she’s got.  She realised that everything in nature happens for a reason.  Since then she has always been happy and smiling. 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Today Bibi has many visitors from the nearby villages.  Saba is so excited to see  lots of new faces.   She invites everyone into the courtyard, where  something immediately attracts their attention.   Everyone gathers around it.  

"Bibi asked me to take you all inside." said Saba with a friendly smile.  "She's just baked a cake for us.  We can listen to the tale while we eat".  

Everybody stepped into the cosy room and sat around Bibi on the Persian rug.  Bibi started the story of the little donkey.
**The Little Donkey and His Master**
Once upon a time there was an old merchant who was living with his only son and a donkey in a little village.   His donkey had just given birth to her foal.    The little foal was quite cute, but there was something strange about him.   One of his ears was much smaller than the other one, almost the same size as a little mouse’s ear.   Also his front teeth were much larger than usual.   The merchant wanted to sell the foal, but his son insisted that he wants to take care of him.

So the merchant decided to keep the little donkey.   The son used to take his pet everywhere he went, even when he wanted to play with his friends.   Everyone used to laugh at the little donkey because of his ear and teeth.   Of course he didn’t know the reason for their laughter and just thought they were just being friendly.
The son tried so hard to keep his little donkey away from any lake or spring, so that he wouldn’t see his own reflection in the water and feel sad.
One day the son was playing with his friends, while the little donkey was standing by an old cedar tree.    A wicked wolf was passing by when he suddenly saw the donkey.
He quietly walked close to him and said “Good morning my dear friend.  Why are you standing here all alone?”
“I’m watching my master play with his friends.” said the donkey. 
“I have a better idea.   Chasing after big butterflies is so much fun.”  said the wolf.  “They guide us to so many nice places with lots of fresh juicy fruits to eat.”
“Good idea.  I’m also a bit bored and hungry.” said the donkey.
So the wicked wolf started running after the colourful butterflies.  The little donkey followed him without even thinking that his master might be looking for him and get worried. 
Finally they reached a bright blue lake, which was surrounded by lots of fruit trees and flowers.    While the donkey was so busy eating the juicy apples he suddenly saw his own reflection in the water.   He turned his head from left to right and right to left, trying to see both ears.  He was quite puzzled and didn’t know the reason why his ears look different from one another.   His huge front teeth looked so weird that made him open and close his mouth a few times to see if that makes a difference.    
He suddenly realised why everyone laughed when they saw him.    While the donkey was busy trying to find answers, the wicked wolf was thinking of how best he can eat him.    He slowly approached the donkey from behind and got very close to him.   The donkey suddenly saw the wolf’s reflection in the water and realised the wolf’s intentions.   As he started running away to safety, he saw his master running towards the lake, followed by all his friends.   They had all come to his rescue.    
The vicious wolf started running away as soon as he saw them coming.   The boy ran towards his little pet and put his arms around him.   Other children also gathered around the donkey and gave him lots of cuddles. 
The little donkey wasn’t sad anymore when he saw how much everyone loved him.  He then realised that it doesn’t matter how you look on the outside, it’s the inside that counts and makes everyone love and respect you.