Do you like Aaron, the storyteller?

Any story you hear from anybody will give a good effect for your imagination in the next future. A good storyteller is rare. Aaron is among the ones I suggest. Frankly, I often visit his website a long while ago.

Opera Snapshot_2019-07-18_111335_www.aaronshep.com

Aaron’s World of Stories offer various tales from many countries. Come and visit his website if you like it.

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf

There was once a young shepherd boy who tended his sheep at the foot of a mountain near a dark forest.

It was lonely for him watching the sheep all day. No one was near, except for three farmers he could sometimes see working in the fields in the valley below.

One day the boy thought of a plan that would help him get a little company and have some fun.

He ran down toward the valley crying, “Wolf! Wolf!”

The men ran to meet him, and after they found out there was no wolf after all, one man remained to talk with the boy awhile. The boy enjoyed the company so much that a few days later he tried the same prank again, and again the men ran to help him.

A few days later, a real wolf came from the forest and began to steal the sheep.

The startled  boy ran toward the valley, and more loudly than ever he cried, “Wolf! Wolf!”

But the men, who had been fooled twice before, thought that the boy was tricking them again. So no one came to help the boy save his sheep.

Moral: If you often don’t tell the truth, people won’t believe you even when you are telling the truth.

a boy

The Elephant’s Child

by RUDYARD KIPLING, taken from The Elephant’s Child from Just So Stories

snake and elephant

In the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk. He had only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot, that he could wriggle about from side to side; but he couldn’t pick up things with it. But there was one Elephant–a new Elephant–an Elephant’s Child–who was full of ‘satiable curiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions. And he lived in Africa, and he filled all Africa with his ‘satiable curiosities. He asked his tall aunt, the Ostrich, why her tail-feathers grew just so, and his tall aunt the Ostrich spanked him with her hard, hard, claw. He asked his tall uncle, the Giraffe, what made his skin spotty, and his tall uncle, the Giraffe, spanked him with his hard, hard hoof. And still he was full of ‘satiable curiosity! He asked his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, why her eyes were red, and his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, spanked him with her broad, broad hoof; and he asked his hairy uncle, the Baboon, why melons tasted ! just so, and his hairy uncle, the Baboon, spanked him with his hairy, hairy paw. And still he was full of ‘satiable curiosity! He asked questions about everything that he saw, or heard, or felt, or smelt, or touched, and all his uncles and his aunts spanked him. And still he was full of ‘satiable curiosity!

One fine morning in the middle of the Precession of the Equinoxes this ‘satiable Elephant’s Child asked a new fine question that he had never asked before. He asked, “What does the crocodile have for dinner?” Then everybody said, “Hush!” in a loud and dretful tone, and they spanked him immediately and directly, without stopping, for a long time.

By and by, when that was finished, he came upon Kolokolo Bird sitting in the middle of a wait-a-bit thornbush, and he said, “My father has spanked me, and my mother has spanked me; all my aunts and uncles have spanked me for my ‘satiable curiosity; and still I want to know what the Crocodile has for dinner!”

The Kolokolo Bird said, with a mournful cry, “Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and find out.”

That very next morning, when there was nothing left of the Equinoxes, because the Precession had preceded according to precedent, this ‘satiable Elephant’s Child took a hundred pounds of bananas (the little short red kind), and a hundred pounds of sugar-cane (the long purple kind), and seventeen melons (the greeny-crackly kind), and said to all his dear families, “Good-bye. I am going to the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to find out what the Crocodile has for dinner.” And they all spanked him once more for luck, though he asked them most politely to stop.

Then he went away, a little warm, but not at all astonished, eating melons, and throwing the rind about, because he could not pick it up.

He went from Graham’s Town to Kimberley, and from Kimberley to Khama’s Country, and from Khama’s Country he went east by north, eating melons all the time, till at last he came to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, precisely as Kolokolo Bird had said.

Now you must know and understand, O Best Beloved, that till that very week, and day, and hour, and minute, this ‘satiable Elephant’s Child had never seen a Crocodile, and did not know what one was like. It was all his ‘satiable curiosity.

The first thing that he found was a Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake curled around a rock.

“‘Scuse me,” said the Elephant’s Child most politely, “but have you seen such a thing as a Crocodile in these promiscuous parts?”

Have I seen a crocodile?” said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, in a voice of dretful scorn. “What will you ask me next?”

“‘Scuse me,” said the Elephant’s Child, “but could you kindly tell me what he has for dinner?”

Then the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake uncoiled himself very quickly from the rock, and spanked the Elephant’s Child with his scalesome, flailsome tail.

“That is odd,” said the Elephant’s Child, “because my father and mother, and my uncle and my aunt, not to mention my other aunt, the Hippopotamus, and my other uncle, the Baboon, have all spanked me for my ‘satiable curiosity–and I suppose this is the same thing.”

So he said good-bye very politely to the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, and helped to coil him up on the rock again, and went on, a little warm, but not at all astonished, eating melons, and throwing the rind about, because he could not pick it up, till he trod on what he thought was a log of wood at the very edge of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees.

But it was really the Crocodile, O Best Beloved, and the Crocodile winked one eye–like this!

“‘Scuse me,” said the Elephant’s Child most politely, “but do you happen to have seen a Crocodile in these promiscuous parts?”

Then the Crocodile winked the other eye, and lifted half his tail out of the mud; and the Elephant’s Child stepped back most politely, because he did not wish to be spanked again.

“Come hither, Little One,” said the Crocodile. “Why do you ask such things?”

“‘Scuse me,” said the Elephant’s Child most politely, “But my father has spanked me, my mother has spanked me, not to mention my tall aunt, the Ostrich, and my tall uncle, the Giraffe, who can kick ever so hard, as well as my broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, and my hairy uncle, the Baboon, and including the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, with the scalesome, flailsome tail, just up the bank, who spanks harder than any of them; and so, if it’s quite all the same to you, I don’t want to be spanked any more.”

“Come hither, Little One,” said the Crocodile, “for I am the Crocodile,” and he wept crocodile tears to show it was quite true.

Then the Elephants’ child grew all breathless, and panted, and kneeled down on the bank and said, “You are the very person I have been looking for all these long days. Will you please tell me what you have for dinner?”

“Come hither, Little One,” said the Crocodile, “and I’ll whisper.”

Then the Elephant’s Child put his head down close to the Crocodile’s musky, tusky mouth, and the Crocodile caught him by his little nose, which up to that very week, day, hour, and minute, had been no bigger than a boot, though much more useful.

“I think,” said the Crocodile–and he said it between his teeth, like this–“I think to-day I will begin with Elephant’s Child!”

At this, O Best Beloved, the Elephant’s Child was much annoyed, and he said, speaking through his nose, like this, “Led go! You are hurtig be!”

Then the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake scuffled down from the bank and said, “My young friend, if you do not now, immediately and instantly, pull as hard as ever you can, it is my opinion that your acquaintance in the large-pattern leather ulster” (and by this he meant the Crocodile) “will jerk you into yonder limpid stream before you can say Jack Robinson.”

This is the way Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake always talked.

Then the Elephant’s child sat back on his little haunches, and pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and his nose began to stretch. And the Crocodile floundered into the water, making it all creamy with great sweeps of his tail, and he pulled, and pulled, and pulled.

And the Elephant’s Child’s nose kept on stretching; and the Elephant’s child spread all his little four legs and pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and his nose kept on stretching; and the Crocodile threshed his tail like an oar, and he pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and at each pull the Elephant’s Child’s nose grew longer and longer–and it hurt him hijjus!!

Then the Elephant’s Child felt his legs slipping, and he said through his nose, which was now nearly five feet long, “This is to butch for be!”

Then the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake came down from the bank, and knotted himself in a double-clove-hitch round the Elephant’s Child’s hind legs, and said, “Rash and inexperienced traveller, we will now seriously devote ourselves to a little high tension, because if we do not, it is my impression that yonder self-propelling man-of-war with the armour-plated upper deck” (and by this, O Best Beloved, he meant the Crocodile) “will permanently vitiate your future career.”

That is the way all Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snakes always talk.

So he pulled, and the Elephant’s Child pulled, and the Crocodile pulled, but the Elephant’s Child and the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake pulled hardest; and at last the Crocodile let go of the Elephant’s Child’s nose with a plop that you could hear all up and down the Limpopo.

Then the Elephant’s Child sat down most hard and sudden; but first he was careful to say “Thank you” to the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake; and next he was kind to his poor pulled nose, and wrapped it all up in cool banana leaves, and hung it in the great grey-green greasy Limpopo to cool.

“What are you doing that for?” said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake.

“‘Scuse me,” said the Elephant’s Child, “but my nose is badly out of shape, and I am waiting for it to shrink”

“Then you will have to wait a long time,” said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. “Some people do not know what is good for them.”

The Elephant’s Child sat there for three days waiting for his nose to shrink. But it never grew any shorter, and, besides, it made him squint. For, O Best Beloved, you will understand that the Crocodile had pulled it out into a really truly trunk, same as all Elephant’s have today.

At the end of the third day a fly came and stung him on the shoulder, and before he knew what he was doing he lifted up his trunk and hit that fly dead with the end of it.

“‘Vantage number one!” said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. “You couldn’t have done that with a mere-smear nose. Try and eat a little now.”

Before he thought what he was doing the Elephant’s Child put out his trunk and plucked a large bundle of grass, dusted it clean against his forelegs, and stuffed it into his mouth.

“‘Vantage number two!” said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. “You couldn’t have done that with a mere-smear nose. Don’t you think the sun is very hot here?”

“It is,” said the Elephant’s Child, and before he thought what he was doing he schlooped up a schloop of mud from the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo, and slapped it on his head, where it made a cool schloopy-sloshy mud-cap all trickly behind his ears.

“‘Vantage number three!” said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. “You couldn’t have done that with a mere-smear nose. Now how do you feel about being spanked again?”

“‘Scuse me,” said the Elephant’s Child, “but I should not like it at all.”

“How would you like to spank somebody?” said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake.

“I should like it very much indeed,” said the Elephant’s Child.

“Well,” said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, “you will find that new nose of yours very useful to spank people with.”

“Thank you,” said the Elephant’s child, “I’ll remember that; and now I think I’ll go home to all my dear families and try.”

So the Elephant’s Child went home across Africa frisking and whisking his trunk. When he wanted fruit to eat he pulled fruit down from a tree, instead of waiting for it to fall as he used to do. When he wanted grass he plucked grass up from the ground, instead of going on his knees as he used to do. When the flies bit him he broke off the branch of a tree and used it as a fly-whisk; and he made himself a new, cool slushy-squshy mud-cap whenever the sun was hot. When he felt lonely walking through Africa he sang to himself down his trunk, and the noise was louder than several brass bands. He went especially out of his way to find a broad Hippopotamus (she was no relation of his), and he spanked her very hard, to make sure that the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake had spoken the truth about his new trunk. The rest of the time he picked up the melon rinds that he had dropped on his way to the Limpopo–for he was a Tidy Pachyderm.

One dark evening he came back to all his dear families, and he coiled up his trunk and said, “How do you do?” They were very glad to see him, and immediately said, “Come here and be spanked for your ‘satiable curiosity.”

“Pooh,” said the Elephant’s Child. “I don’t think you people’s know anything about spanking; but I do, and I’ll show you.”

Then he uncurled his trunk and knocked two of his dear brothers head over heels.

“O Bananas!” said they, “Where did you learn that trick, and what have you done to your nose?”

“I got a new one from the Crocodile on the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River,” said the Elephant’s Child. “I asked him what he had for dinner, and he gave me this to keep.”

“It looks very ugly,” said his hairy uncle, the Baboon.

“It does,” said the Elephant’s Child. “But it’s very useful,” and he picked up his hairy uncle, the Baboon, by one hairy leg, and hove him into a hornets’ nest.

Then that bad Elephant’s Child spanked all his dear families for a long time, till they were very warm and greatly astonished. He pulled out his tall Ostrich aunt’s tail-feathers; and he caught his tall uncle, the Giraffe, by the hind-leg, and dragged him through a thorn-bush; and he shouted at his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, and blew bubbles into her ear when she was sleeping in the water after meals; but he never let any one touch the Kolokolo Bird.

At last things grew so exciting that his dear families went off one by one in a hurry to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to borrow new noses from the Crocodile. When they came back nobody spanked anybody any more; and ever since that day, O Best Beloved, all the Elephants you will ever see besides all those that you won’t, have trunks precisely like the trunk of the ‘satiable Elephant’s Child.

Savitri

Indian Folktale

 

In India, in the time of legend, there lived a king with many wives but not one child. Morning and evening for eighteen years, he faced the fire on the sacred altar and prayed for the gift of children.

Finally, a shining goddess rose from the flames.

“I am Savitri, child of the Sun. By your prayers, you have won a daughter.”

Within a year, a daughter came to the king and his favorite wife. He named her Savitri, after the goddess.

Beauty and intelligence were the princess Savitri’s, and eyes that shone like the sun. So splendid was she, people thought she herself was a goddess. Yet, when the time came for her to marry, no man asked for her.

Her father told her, “Weak men turn away from radiance like yours. Go out and find a man worthy of you. Then I will arrange the marriage.”

In the company of servants and councilors, Savitri traveled from place to place. After many days, she came upon a hermitage by a river crossing. Here lived many who had left the towns and cities for a life of prayer and study.

Savitri entered the hall of worship and bowed to the eldest teacher. As they spoke, a young man with shining eyes came into the hall. He guided another man, old and blind.

“Who is that young man?” asked Savitri softly.

“That is Prince Satyavan,” said the teacher, with a smile. “He guides his father, a king whose realm was conquered. It is well that Satyavan’s name means ‘Son of Truth,’ for no man is richer in virtue.”

When Savitri returned home, she found her father sitting with the holy seer named Narada.

“Daughter,” said the king, “have you found a man you wish to marry?”

“Yes, father. His name is Satyavan.”

Narada gasped. “Not Satyavan! Princess, no man could be more worthy, but you must not marry him! I know the future. Satyavan will die, one year from today.”

The king said, “Do you hear, daughter? Choose a different husband!”

Savitri trembled but said, “I have chosen Satyavan, and I will not choose another. However long or short his life, I wish to share it.”

Soon the king rode with Savitri to arrange the marriage.

Satyavan was overjoyed to be offered such a bride. But his father, the blind king, asked Savitri, “Can you bear the hard life of the hermitage? Will you wear our simple robe and our coat of matted bark? Will you eat only fruit and plants of the wild?”

Savitri said, “I care nothing about comfort or hardship. In palace or in hermitage, I am content.”

That very day, Savitri and Satyavan walked hand in hand around the sacred fire in the hall of worship. In front of all the priests and hermits, they became husband and wife.

* * *

For a year, they lived happily. But Savitri could never forget that Satyavan’s death drew closer.

Finally, only three days remained. Savitri entered the hall of worship and faced the sacred fire. There she prayed for three days and nights, not eating or sleeping.

“My love,” said Satyavan, “prayer and fasting are good. But why be this hard on yourself?”

Savitri gave no answer.

The sun was just rising when Savitri at last left the hall. She saw Satyavan heading for the forest, an ax on his shoulder.

Savitri rushed to his side. “I will come with you.”

“Stay here, my love,” said Satyavan. “You should eat and rest.”

But Savitri said, “My heart is set on going.”

Hand in hand, Savitri and Satyavan walked over wooded hills. They smelled the blossoms on flowering trees and paused beside clear streams. The cries of peacocks echoed through the woods.

While Savitri rested, Satyavan chopped firewood from a fallen tree. Suddenly, he dropped his ax.

“My head aches.”

Savitri rushed to him. She laid him down in the shade of a tree, his head on her lap.

“My body is burning! What is wrong with me?”

Satyavan’s eyes closed. His breathing slowed.

Savitri looked up. Coming through the woods to meet them was a princely man. He shone, though his skin was darker than the darkest night. His eyes and his robe were the red of blood.

Trembling, Savitri asked, “Who are you?”

A deep, gentle voice replied. “Princess, you see me only by the power of your prayer and fasting. I am Yama, god of death. Now is the time I must take the spirit of Satyavan.”

Yama took a small noose and passed it through Satyavan’s breast, as if through air. He drew out a tiny likeness of Satyavan, no bigger than a thumb.

Satyavan’s breathing stopped.

Yama placed the likeness inside his robe. “Happiness awaits your husband in my kingdom. Satyavan is a man of great virtue.”

Then Yama turned and headed south, back to his domain.

Savitri rose and started after him.

Yama strode smoothly and swiftly through the woods, while Savitri struggled to keep up. At last, he stopped to face her.

“Savitri! You cannot follow to the land of the dead!”

“Lord Yama, I know your duty is to take my husband. But my duty as his wife is to stay beside him.”

“Princess, that duty is at an end. Still, I admire your loyalty. I will grant you a favor—anything but the life of your husband.”

Savitri said, “Please restore my father-in-law’s kingdom and his sight.”

“His sight and his kingdom shall be restored.”

Yama again headed south. Savitri followed.

Along a river bank, thorns and tall sharp grass let Yama pass untouched. But they tore at Savitri’s clothes and skin.

“Savitri! You have come far enough!”

“Lord Yama, I know my husband will find happiness in your kingdom. But you carry away the happiness that is mine!”

“Princess, even love must bend to fate. Still, I admire your devotion. I will grant you another favor—anything but the life of your husband.”

Savitri said, “Grant many more children to my father.”

“Your father shall have many more children.”

Yama once more turned south. Again, Savitri followed.

Up a steep hill Yama glided, while Savitri clambered after him. At the top, he halted.

“Savitri! I forbid you to come farther!”

“Lord Yama, you are respected and revered by all. Yet, no matter what may come, I will remain by Satyavan!”

“Princess, I tell you for the last time, you will not! Still, I can only admire your courage and your firmness. I will grant you one last favor—anything but the life of your husband.”

“Then grant many children to me. And let them be children of Satyavan!”

Yama’s eyes grew wide as he stared at Savitri. “You did not ask for your husband’s life, yet I cannot grant your wish without releasing him. Princess! Your wit is as strong as your will.”

Yama took out the spirit of Satyavan and removed the noose. The spirit flew north, quickly vanishing from sight.

“Return, Savitri. You have won your husband’s life.”

The sun was just setting when Savitri again laid Satyavan’s head in her lap.

His chest rose and fell. His eyes opened.

“Is the day already gone? I have slept long. But what is wrong, my love? You smile and cry at the same time!”

“My love,” said Savitri, “let us return home.”

* * *

Yama was true to all he had promised. Savitri’s father became father to many more. Satyavan’s father regained both sight and kingdom.

In time, Satyavan became king, and Savitri his queen. They lived long and happily, blessed with many children. So they had no fear or tears when Yama came again to carry them to his kingdom.

 

Source: Savitri by Aaron Shepard

 

 

The Adventures of Mouse Deer

Mouse Deer and TigerI’m quick and smart as I can be.
Try and try, but you can’t catch me!

Mouse Deer sang his song as he walked through the forest. He was looking for tasty fruits and roots and shoots.

Though he was small, he was not afraid. He knew that many big animals wanted to eat him. But first they had to catch him!

Then he heard something. Rowr!

There was Tiger!

“Hello, Mouse Deer. I was just getting hungry. Now you can be my lunch.”

Mouse Deer didn’t want to be lunch. He looked around and thought fast. He saw a mud puddle.

“I’m sorry, Tiger. I can’t be your lunch. The King has ordered me to guard his pudding.”

“His pudding?” said Tiger.

“Yes. There it is.” Mouse Deer pointed to the mud puddle. “It has the best taste in the world. The King doesn’t want anyone else to eat it.”

Tiger looked longingly at the puddle. “I would like to taste the King’s pudding.”

“Oh, no, Tiger! The King would be very angry.”

“Just one little taste, Mouse Deer! The King will never know.”

“Well, all right, Tiger. But first let me run far away, so no one will blame me.”

“All right, Mouse Deer, you can go now.”

Mouse Deer ran quickly out of sight.

“Imagine!” said Tiger. “The King’s pudding!” He took a big mouthful.

Phooey! He spit it out.

“Yuck! Ugh! Bleck! That’s no pudding. That’s mud!”

Tiger ran through the forest. Rowr! He caught up with Mouse Deer.

“Mouse Deer, you tricked me once. But now you will be my lunch!”

Mouse Deer looked around and thought fast. He saw a wasp nest in a tree.

“I’m sorry, Tiger. I can’t be your lunch. The King has ordered me to guard his drum.”

“His drum?” said Tiger.

“Yes. There it is.” Mouse Deer pointed to the wasp nest. “It has the best sound in the world. The King doesn’t want anyone else to hit it.”

Tiger said, “I would like to hit the King’s drum.”

“Oh, no, Tiger! The King would be very angry.”

“Just one little hit, Mouse Deer! The King will never know.”

“Well, all right, Tiger. But first let me run far away, so no one will blame me.”

“All right, Mouse Deer, you can go now.”

Mouse Deer ran quickly out of sight.

“Imagine!” said Tiger. “The King’s drum!” He reached up and hit it. Pow.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz. The wasps all flew out. They started to sting Tiger.

“Ouch! Ooch! Eech! That’s no drum. That’s a wasp nest!”

Tiger ran away. But the wasps only followed him! Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

“Ouch! Ooch! Eech!”

Tiger came to a stream. He jumped in—splash!—and stayed underwater as long as he could. At last the wasps went away.

Then Tiger jumped out. Rowr! He ran through the forest till he found Mouse Deer.

“Mouse Deer, you tricked me once. You tricked me twice. But now you will be my lunch!”

Mouse Deer looked around and thought fast. He saw a cobra! The giant snake was coiled asleep on the ground.

“I’m sorry, Tiger. I can’t be your lunch. The King has ordered me to guard his belt.”

“His belt?” said Tiger.

“Yes. There it is.” Mouse Deer pointed to the cobra. “It’s the best belt in the world. The King doesn’t want anyone else to wear it.”

Tiger said, “I would like to wear the King’s belt.”

“Oh, no Tiger! The King would be very angry.”

“Just for one moment, Mouse Deer! The King will never know.”

“Well, all right, Tiger. But first let me run far away, so no one will blame me.”

“All right, Mouse Deer, you can go now.”

Mouse Deer ran quickly out of sight.

“Imagine!” said Tiger. “The King’s belt!” He started to wrap it around himself.

The cobra woke up. Ssssssssssssss. It didn’t wait for Tiger to finish wrapping. It wrapped itself around Tiger. Then it squeezed him and bit him. Sstt!

“Ooh! Ow! Yow! That’s no belt. That’s a cobra! Help! Mouse Deer! Help!”

But Mouse Deer was far away. And as he went, he sang his song.I’m quick and smart as I can be.
Try and try, but you can’t catch me!

 

Source: The Adventure of Mouse Deer by Aaron Shepard (To contiune reading the other adventures click here!)