Neftalí, who spoons the water from the cloud to the snow cap, to the river, and feeds it to the hungry ocean?
Neftalí, to which mistable land does an unfinished staircase lead?
What does the wind give? What does the wind take away? Continue reading “The dreamer”
There once were two childhood friends who were determined to remain close companions always. When they were grown, they each married and built their houses facing one another. Just a small path formed a border between their farms. Continue reading “The red and blue coat”
My granddaughter, Nasreen, lives with me in Herat, an ancient city in Afghanistan. Art and music and learning once flourished here.
Then the soldiers came and changed everything. The art and music and learning are gone. Dark clouds hang over the city. Continue reading “Nasreen’s Secret School -A true story from Afghanistan”
It was the end of summer. The katydids were still buzzing when I finally summoned up the courage to ask my dad if I could stay with him and Gramma for the school year instead of going back to California to be with Mom like always. “Your mother would miss you, Trisha, but I will talk to her,” Dad said.
I had a reason for staying. A good reason. Continue reading “The junkyard wonders”
It was Elizabeti’s first day of school. She tried to sit still while Mama braided her hair, but she was so excited that she had to fidget a little.
Mama finished and Elizabeti jumped up. She twirled around and around in her new school uniform.
Continue reading “Elizabeti’s school”
There was once a large country that was ruled by a General. The people believed that their way of life was the best. They had a very strong army, and they had the cannon.
From time to time the General would take his army and attack a nearby country “It’s for their own good,” he said. “So they can be like us.” Continue reading “The conquerors”
Mama Sebona lived on a hillside, a long way from the shop.
To get to the shop, she had to walk along the footpath, down the hill, through the river, in and out of the rocks, up and over the ridge, along the valley and through the mealie-fields to the dusty road where there was a little white shop with a red tin roof under the gum trees.
It was a long way. Continue reading “Mama Sebona’s Shopping”
A jataka tale from India
The King of Benares and the King of Kosala once met on the road. Each sat erect in his chariot, taking the middle of the road. Each refused to make way for the other.
The charioteer of the King of Benares thought to solve this dilemma by letting the older of the two pass first. But on inquiry he found both to be of the same age. Continue reading “A Lesson for Kings”
One by one, the familiar sounds of morning drew Shenaz from her sleep. Her mother breathing life into the fire, the hiss and crackle of the twigs as the flames caught, the whispering of the soot-blackened kettle as the water came to the boil. Continue reading “Cloud Tea Monkeys”
The Royal Bee was inspired by the true story of our grandfather; Hong Seung Han, when he was an illiterate boy in late nineteenth-century Korea. Too poor to attend school, he would eavesdrop at the door of the rich children’s schoolhouse until he was eventually allowed to attend. After he won a national academic contest, the Governor of his province invited him to reside in the palace. There, he tutored the Governor’s young son while continuing his education.
Years later our grandfather attended seminary in Pyongyang under the teachings of an American missionary and became a prominent church minister. In 1905 he wed our grandmother; Pang Seung Hwa. Together they became missionaries in China. Continue reading “The royal bee”
Joyce danced when the rabbits came. There was a ‘he’ buck rabbit and a ‘she’ doe rabbit. They weren’t at all like the thin, grey rabbits Joyce saw in the open country they called the bush. These were fat, white rabbits with pink eyes and fluffed up fur. They were bigger and a different shape. Joyce’s mother bundled them out of her basket and put them together in one wooden hutch. Continue reading “The Bush”
Listen to the noise!
“Weh, weh, wh!” Uzuti is crying. Adelaide is shouting. “Mongi, give me back my yellow pen!” Mama calls, “Shepherd, get up! Come on, Shepherd.” Mr Motiki’s dog is barking at someone coming up the road. Continue reading “Not so fast, Songololo!”
A long time ago before the first white man set foot in the New World an Indian girl called Lalita awoke from a frightening dream. She had seen great white birds crossing the ocean and a mighty wind that shook the trees so hard their trunks bent. She had heard the trees crying. Continue reading “The Song of the Trees”
I like my teacher.
Not because she is tall
Not because she is beautiful
I like her
just the same. Continue reading “Why I like my teacher”
One morning, Martin woke up in the worst of moods. Actually, Martin was always in a bad mood. But not for lack of a smiling mother, an affectionate father, a beautiful house, and all those things that usually make us happy. Continue reading “Alfie, the elf, teacher of happiness”
Don’t make a habit of lying.
You will always be alone.
Fire, Water, Truth and Falsehood
One day they went hunting together. They found a large number of cattle and began driving them home to their village. “Let us share these cattle equally,” said Truth as they traveled across the grasslands. “This is the fair way to divide our captives.”Long ago, Fire, Water, Truth, and Falsehood lived together in one large house. Although all were polite toward each other, they kept their distance. Truth and Falsehood sat on opposite sides of the room. Fire constantly leapt out of Water’s path. Continue reading “Sincerity”
There was once a wide, windswept place, near nowhere and close to forgotten, that was filled with all the things that no one wanted.
Right in the middle was a small house, with small windows, that looked out on other people’s garbage and bad weather. Continue reading “The tin forest”
Nature is generous to people.
Respect the much it gives you.
Our big home
We all live here.
People, ants, elephants, trees, lizards, lichen, turtles, bees.
We all share the same big home.
We share the water. We splash and slosh and swim in water.
And, of course, we all drink water.
Whales, dolphins, manatees, penguins, palm trees, you and me. Continue reading “Respect for Nature”
Peace is more than the absence of war.
Look for peace within and around yourself.
Max and Peter were third grade students who lived in the same street of a small town. They had always been best friends until, one day, they had an argument and began hating each other. Continue reading “Peace”
Mama’s face is chestnut brown.
Her dark brown eyes are bright as bees.
Papa’s face turns pink in the sun;
his blue eyes squinch up when he smiles. Continue reading “Black, white, just right”
A tale from India
Shakra, king of the gods, arose from his golden throne and peered down towards the earth. There were shining seas and pearl-like clouds, snow-capped mountains and continents of many colors. It was beautiful, yet Shakra felt uneasy. Continue reading “The Black Hound”
An iroquois tale
Two Iroquois boys were arguing. Neither would admit he was wrong. They were about to come to blows over this. Continue reading “The argument sticks”
‘Christmas is coming,’ people were saying at Rushida’s school.
‘What’s the best thing about Christmas?’ Rushida asked her friend Jane. Continue reading “White Christmas”
Once upon a time there was a woman who had three dogs. One of them was elderly. The other not so much. The third was a fidgety puppy, always running around.
They all belonged to the same breed. Don’t ask me which, because I’m very ignorant about makes of dogs and breeds of cars – pardon! – breeds of dogs and makes of cars. Continue reading “Believe me”
Nearby, there was a flower exhibition. Natural flowers, I must say. Nor would it make any sense, if it was an exhibition of plastic flowers. Or of cloth flowers. Or of paper flowers. Or of flowers on paintings. Continue reading “A Flower Exhibition”
A wall in ruins asked me to tell its story.
What can possibly be told about a mossy and ivy-claded wall, bordering a pathway of almost no use?
At one end of the wall there is half a stone arch, suggesting the use of a door or gate of yesteryear. At the other end, an upright stone marks the corner around which only a few loose stones witness the former existence of part of a house, which used to meet the old wall there. Continue reading “A Storyless Wall”
He was a brand new soap, newly-made, never used before. He had never taken a bath before.
Inside the drawer of that drugstore where he, together with many others, was waiting to be sold, he had already asked, very timidly:
“What am I good for, anyway?” Continue reading “A Soap’s Life”
Once upon a time, there were shops on Earth which sold pink words and shops which sold grey words. The former sold words such as I love you, I think of you, Thank you very much, If you please…The latter sold words such as Sillyhead, Bugger off, Shut up…
In those days, pink words were much more in demand than grey words. Pink word sellers made big profits and there was always a sweet scent around the Earth. Grey word sellers seldom had customers, and only when there were big quarrels. Continue reading “Pink Words and Grey Words”
This is a true story. It happened in France after World War I where a whole village had been destroyed by the fighting.
Marie woke with a start to inky blackness and the familiar smell of dirt. Her small body shivered from the damp cold. As she roused herself to rearrange her rough bed of rags and burlap on the dirt floor, the nightmare that had jolted her from sleep closed around her head like a dark cloud. She had been having that nightmare every night. Continue reading “The house that love built”