Showing posts with label Snow White. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snow White. Show all posts

Talisha Snow White & Jack and the Red Beanstalk - Multicultural Monday Book Reviews

Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Today I get to share two fun takes on classic fairy tales that share some African cultures in the stories! These wonderful tales are from Nubi Tales. I have to say now that Hazel can read these book reviews are even more fun. She has read these two books several times on her own as well as having me read them to her. She really loves them. These books are a fun way to introduce various cultures to children. The first is Talisha Snow White and Her Little Munchkins by Aphrodyi Antoine and illustrated by Eloy Claudio.

In this take off of Snow White a young baby is left on a doorstep wrapped in a ukara cloth. Mr. and Mrs. White adopted the child and named her Talisha, which was stitched on the ukara cloth. The Whites also adopted seven other children over the years. Talisha was given the nickname of Snow and the other seven children were called the Munchkins. The Whites operated a bakery and the whole family helped. One day a woman came up to Snow and told her she was answering the ad that was placed for help. Snow did not place an ad, but there was a huge line of people waiting to get into the bakery so the woman began to help. Then the woman left her purse and when Snow picked it up to bring it to her everything fell out including a magic mirror. The mirror told Snow the story about her birth. The woman however poisons Snow and a struggle is had by the White family and this woman. 

Throughout this story there are cultural references and words. Many of the names in this book are words various African languages like Yoruba, Igbo, Zulu, Efik, Swahili and Akan. It also includes a cake that is popular in South Africa and terms from Nigeria. At the end there is also a page for the reader to think about his or her own name and its meaning or story as well as a word find. I have to also share that we were reading Tasha the Tap Dance Fairy by Daisy Meadows and Hazel thought the name should be Talisha. 
The second book is Jack and the Red Beanstalk by Aphrodyi Antoine and illustrated by Ebony Glenn. This tale tells of a grandfather sharing the story of their ancestor Prince Zuberi who defeated the giants and managed to keep them in their land, Hewa. The giants came to the land by climbing down beanstalks. When the last red bean was dropped by the leader of the giants Prince Zuberi caught it and passed it down for safe keeping through generations. The grandson, Jack, wanted to see the red bean one more time and took it from his grandfather's pocket. He brought it to the dinner table where it got mixed up in a bowl of red beans which he eventually dropped out the window. The grandfather and kids went to sleep. Jack wakes to find a giant beanstalk which he climbs and encounters his first giant. He climbs down to tell his grandfather. His grandfather tells about all that happens. His grandfather tells Jack he has to go and destroy the beanstalk so the giants do not come back. 

At the end of the book there are pages that start a discussion on heroes and explain the Swahili vocabulary and about a kalimba (also known as a thumb piano). Then there is a connect the dots as well. 

We love how these books bring a bit of African cultures into the stories and give the classic stories new twists and turns. They are stories you should check out. We love them!!

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #37

This link party is for multicultural/diverse posts!! It lasts an entire month.

Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop! The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can't wait to see what you share this time! Created by Frances of Discovering the World through My Son's Eyes, the blog hop has now found a new home at Multicultural Kid Blogs

This month our co-hosts are:

Super Why: Cinderella and Other Fairytale Adventures

Disclosure: PBS Kids gave me a copy of this DVDs free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Today we are excited to share this new Super Why DVD with you. It is being released next week and you can pre-order it now.

Super Why: Cinderella and other fairytale adventures has five fun fairytale adventures on  it. The first and last are both from Cinderella. In the first the Super Readers use their special powers to help Prince Charming find Cinderella and in the last they help Cinderella stay after midnight and dance more comfortably. They also help Snow White, the Prince and the Pauper, and the Boy who Cried Wolf. For those that have not watched Super Why, their special powers are Alphabet Power, Spelling Power and Word Power. In each story one of the Super Readers has a problem and they are brought into a story where a character has a similar problem. They help the characters by finding letters, spelling words and changing words in their stories.

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Snow White: An Islamic Tale

Have you entered my current giveaway?

This week I am sharing Snow White: An Islamic Tale by Fawzia Gilani. Similar to her version of Cinderella, this picture book was created to teach children about the Islamic religion. It is an adaptation of the original story. I love how she intertwines the Islamic culture into the story and then offers a glossary at the end. I feel it is so important for all of us to understand one another's beliefs so we can find ways to get along and live in peace and want Hazel to understand others as well.
In this version, the wealthy couple has everything they want, except a child. On snowy day the wife falls asleep and dreams of a little girl and when she awakens she makes a du'a to have such a child with the patience of Job, peace of dawn and heart as pure as snow. Within a year she has a daughter and she remembers her dream and prayer on the snowy day and names her Snow White. The family is very happy and they teach Snow White all about their religion and her mother gives her a copy of the Qur'an. By the time Snow White is ten, her mother falls ill and dies. 

Although they find comfort in the Qur'an, Snow White's father wants her to be happier and hopes having the love of a mother again will do it, so he remarries. His new wife is very beautiful and at first she is kind, but soon she starts to mistreat Snow White. When Snow White's father says something about the mistreatment, he mysteriously becomes ill and dies. After his death, the stepmother no longer shows any kindness. She is very vain and asks her jinn (a being created from smokeless fire living in an alternate dimension on earth) who is the fairest of all. The answer is always her until one day the jinn says her beauty cannot compare to Snow White's. At this the stepmother is jealous and angry and calls for a huntsman to kill Snow White and bring back her heart and liver for the stepmother to eat. 

The huntsman tells Snow White what he must do or the stepmother will kill him. She begs him not to kill her and then a wild boar comes by. He kills the boar instead and brings its heart and liver to the stepmother. Snow White runs into the forest and keeps running until she finds a small cottage. No one answers when she knocks and she collapses on the porch into a deep sleep. 

At sundown the residents of the cottage return home. They are seven dwarf women. They find Snow White sleeping and bring her into their cottage. When she awakens she is frightened, but they are kind and introduce themselves. Each has a special quality to their character: wise, brave, forgiving, just, generous, patient, and kind. Snow White finally opens up and tells them her story. They tell her she shall stay with them and they will protect her. Each dwarf teaches Snow White their special skills that go with their characteristic and through the years she mastered them all. 

One year, the stepmother asked the jinn again about who is the fairest and it answered again Snow White. Again she became jealous and angry. She asked the jinn where Snow White was and found out about the cottage with the dwarfs. It was the month of Ramadan and the stepmother prepared some poisonous dates for Snow White. It is wrong to refuse dates to break your fast during Ramadan, so Snow White took them and of course fell to the ground. At this time the dwarfs were coming home and the brave one ran after the stepmother and caught a glimpse of her. The dwarfs took turns taking care of the sleeping Snow White. 

One day a prince came riding by. He saw one of the dwarfs out with the sleeping Snow White. After hearing about Snow White from all the dwarfs he dropped to his knee and recited the Fatiha (the opening chapter of the Qur'an). He then said he would send his mother, the Queen, to visit Snow White. The Queen came with a doctor. Every day the doctor gave Snow White the cordial and every day Snow White stirred a little more. One day she finally opened her eyes. 

The dwarfs were so happy to have Snow White awake. They sent news to the Queen. She came immediately and asked the dwarfs to permit Snow White to marry her son. They agreed. The King and Queen invited many people to the wedding including the stepmother. The day of the wedding the stepmother happened to ask the jinn again and found out the bride to be was Snow White. She comes up with another plan to kill her once and for all. She makes a poisonous comb. The brave dwarf recognizes her and tries to kick her out of the building, but the stepmother locks her in a room and then goes to find Snow White. She disguised herself as a servant and claimed that the Queen had sent her to help with Snow White's hair. However when the vain stepmother saw one of her own hair's out of place, she put the comb to her own head and she fell to the ground. A doctor was sent for and she was attended to during the wedding. 

A few days later the stepmother woke up and was shocked to see Snow White wearing a crown. Snow White told her she would forgive her and recited a verse from the Qur'an. The stepmother recovered and was said to never look in a mirror again. Snow White, the prince and the dwarfs lived happily ever after.

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--an Armenian Snow White

Today we are sharing an Armenian Snow White called "Nourie Hadig". I found the English translation in 100 Armenian Tales collected and edited by Susie Hoogasian Villa. It has similarities to the Algerian and Moroccan versions, but also has differences. This is a version I would share with Hazel, but it was due at the library before I did.

Before sharing the story, a little about Armenia. Officially the Republic of Armenia, it is a mountainous country straddling Europe and Asia. It is a democratic nation-state with an ancient history. It is a former republic of the Soviet Union and is an emerging democracy. It was the first state to adapt Christianity as its religion. The Armenian Apostolic Church is the world's oldest church and the country's primary religious establishment. It did so in 301 A.D. According to tradition the Armenian Church was founded by Thaddeus and Bartholomew, two of Jesus' apostles.

Armenia lies in the highlands surrounding the biblical mountains of Ararat. This is where the mountain Noah's Ark is said to have landed after the flood. Its climate is hot and dry summers and cold (very cold) winters. (Source)

Now onto our story. The story is "Nourie Hadig" and I found it in 100 Armenian Tales collected and edited by Susie Hoogasian Villa. This story like the past two (Moroccan and Algerian) has the mother talking to the moon. A difference being that the mother involves the father in getting rid of their daughter. In this story you also learn a bit about Turkish culture. I found it very interesting.

In this version there is a rich man who has a beautiful wife. They have a daughter named Nourie Hadig. The beautiful wife asks the new moon each month if she is the most beautiful. She is until Nourie Hadig turns fourteen, then Nourie Hadig is more beautiful than the mother. The mother becomes ill with jealousy and tells her husband he must kill their daughter or she will die. The father takes Nourie Hadig into the woods and leaves her there. She wanders and wanders until night falls and she sees a light in a house. She hopes they will take her in and she goes to the door. When she goes to knock the door opens by itself and she walks in and the door immediately closes behind her and will not open again. She goes searching the house and finds a room filled with gold, and rooms filled with many treasures. Then she finds a room with a boy who is sleeping. She hears a voice that she must care for the boy for seven years by leaving food for him and then coming back for the dishes. He is under a curse for seven years.

Meanwhile, at the next new moon the mother finds out that Nourie Hadig is alive since she is still the most beautiful. She goes and asks her husband about it saying that she is going to report him to the authorities for killing their daughter since she was mad with illness and he should not have listened to her. He tells her how he did not kill her, but left her in the woods. The mother begins to search for her, but has no luck finding her.

After four years, a group of gypsies camp outside her window and she asks them for a girl her age to keep her company. She gives them some of the gold. They send her a girl up a rope. The girl and she decide to take turns taking care of the sleeping boy. The boy wakes up while the gypsy girl is fanning him. Thinking she has taken care of him all this time, he asks her to marry him and announces he is a prince. She agrees not telling him that she was only there for three of the seven years. When he goes off to buy his bride a wedding dress, he asks Nourie Hadig what she would like. She replies a saber dashee (which is a Turkish word meaning stone of patience).

He gets the dress and then goes to the stonecutter to get the saber dashee. The stonecutter warns the prince about the powers of the saber dashee. The saber dashee will hear a story and if it can fix them, it will explode, but if it cannot the person will explode unless saved by someone else. He suggested he listen outside his servant's room to hear so he can save her if need be.

The prince did this and heard the whole story about how it was Nourie Hadig who cared for him from the start. He ran into save her and told her he wanted to marry her instead of the gypsy. After some discussion it was decided he would marry Nourie Hadig and the gypsy would be the servant.

At the next new moon the mother asked the moon and it replied the Princess of Adana (storyteller picked a town). Now the mother knew where her daughter was. She sent her a beautiful ring as a gift.  Nourie Hadig feared the gift but the gypsy said what harm could a ring do, so Nourie Hadig put it on and instantly she went into a coma. The prince promised to take care of her as she had taken care of him. He brought in many healers. The final one did not know what to do, but admired the ring and thought with all the jewelry she has on, no one will miss that one ring. He slipped it off and instantly she woke up. He put it back on and went to negotiate his fees if he was able to wake her.

The next day he took off all of her jewelry except the ring. When he went to take it off, the gypsy said not to take it off since it was a gift from her mother. The prince asked when she received it and the healer took it off and Nourie Hadig woke up and everyone was happy.

Some interesting facts about the story. Nourie Hadig means a small piece of pomegranate, which is of course similar to the Egyptian version. The story was told to Susie Hoogasian Villa by an Armenian living in Detroit named Mrs. Akabi Mooradian. (Source)

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--a Moroccan Snow White

While we have been in Africa for awhile with our Snow White stories I thought I would share one from Morocco too. Again this is a story that I have not shared with Hazel as it would definitely scare her.The story is called "The Jealous Mother" and I found it translated in English in Moroccan Folktales by Jilali El Koudia. 
Source: Google

Now for a bit about Morocco. Morocco is a country in Northern Africa. It joins Spain and France as the only countries to have coasts on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The official name is the Kingdom of Morocco. The Arabic name translates into The Western Kingdom or The West. It is often called these as well. The capital is Rabat, but the largest city is Casablanca. Morocco has a history of independence unlike the other countries we have been sharing lately.

Source: Google
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco has much power including the power to dissolve the parliament. His decision also overrides the parliament if there is a contradiction. 

Morocco has the coastlines and many mountains as well as the Sahara Desert. Needless to say the climate varies greatly. Morocco is also the only African country not in the African Union. (Source)

Now my experience with Morocco is very limited. I met a Moroccan man who claimed to instantly fall in love with me and want to marry me. He invited me to come meet his family in Morocco. I did not go. However several people warned me that if I did there were very strict things I needed to know about traveling as a single woman there. This made me look up some information on women's rights in Morocco. In 2004 the parliament tried to improve women's rights. What they passed included a man not being able to take another wife without his wife signing off on it. In 2006 a royal decision granted women to be able to pass their Moroccan citizenship to their children (previously it could only be passed by the father). In 2009, women were granted the right to divorce without their husband's consent. (Source) Needless to say it sounds like they still have some work to do there.

Now onto our story. Similar to the version from Algeria, the Morocco version has a beautiful mother who talks to the moon. The moon tells her that the child in her womb is more beautiful and of course the mother gets jealous. The mother has the trusted midwife bury the baby as soon as it is born and to replace it with a puppy dog. The mother paid the midwife a great deal of gold to do this. The midwife produced a puppy, but she took the girl away and secluded her inside her own house and took care of her. 

The husband of the beautiful woman was ashamed when he saw God had given them a puppy dog and threw the dog away. The midwife raised the baby as her own and named her Lalla Khallalt El Khoudra. She grew to be very beautiful and people would compare any woman's beauty to that of Lalla. Her birth mother heard of her and asked the midwife to send her over to help her untangle her ball of yarn. 

When the birth mother saw the girl she was overcome with jealousy. She gave the girl the ball of yarn and told her to walk until it was untangled. The girl ended up in the land of ghouls. Her mother cut the yarn when she guessed Lalla had walked that far. Lalla could not find her way home and night had fallen. When she saw all the strange creatures in the land she guessed she had entered the land the midwife had told her about and she was afraid she would be eaten alive. She hid herself in a thatch roof. The house that she chose to hide in was one of seven ghoul brothers. They had a slave to cook for them. Every morning the ghouls went out to hunt and the slave remained to prepare their food. The slave heard something on the roof and saw the beautiful woman. Lalla begged her for food and drink. She gave her some but advised her to stay hidden from the owners. Lalla repeated this every day. She would join the slave and help her prepare the food and then hide herself again. The brothers noticed a difference in the food. They wanted to figure out what was happening, so they had the youngest brother stay behind hidden to see what the slave was up to. 

The youngest brother stayed hidden, but saw the slave and Lalla cooking together. Then he jumped out. Lalla was scared, but the brother was kind and gentle and when he looked in his eyes he fell in love with her. The next day the brothers held a wedding ceremony for them. With the presence of Lalla all the brothers were happy. Lalla took over the care of the brothers. The slave became neglected, but she made Lalla promise her that they would always share everything equally.

One day Lalla tried to wake the slave to share a bean with her. Since the slave pretended to be asleep, Lalla put the half bean away, but it was lost when she tried to find it for the slave later. The slave was very angry and took revenge later by putting the fire out. Lalla had to go to a neighbor to ask for fire. She went to the ghoul next door, but he insisted on cutting her for the fire. She allowed him to do it and she dripped blood home. The next day he followed the blood to her and forced her to allow him to suck her blood from her finger or he would eat her. He did this every day.

The brothers began to notice the changes in their food and in Lalla. They did not understand why she did not seem happy when they showered her with gold, silver and jewels. The youngest brother stayed home to find out what was happening. He saw the neighbor come and drink her blood. He waited for his brothers and they decided they would all stay home the next day. They captured the neighbor, and set to kill him and then turned on Lalla for allowing him to visit. She wept and told them the whole story and they threw the slave into the pit with the neighbor and set them on fire. 

Awhile later a salesman who is referred to in the story as a Jew came selling his wares. Lalla came out and chose some and then gave him a large bag of silver and gold. She asked if he every knew a certain tribe and he said he did and she sent a message to her mother through him.

A few months later, he was with that tribe and her birth mother was purchasing things from him. She paid with a few balls of wool. He made a comment about how she did not pay like Lalla and the mother asked for more details since she was her mother. He told her how she was like a queen to the ghouls. The mother ran to  find a gift to send to Lalla and she wrapped a ring in a cloth and asked the salesman to give it to her next time he saw her.

In two months the salesman returned to the land of ghouls and saw Lalla. She bought some of his wares and he gave her the gift her mother sent telling her she suggested she put the ring under her tongue. She said she would and after the salesman left, she did. She became in a deathlike state and the ghouls came home that evening and found her frozen in the spot. They were so sad. They built her an attoush (a sofa like thing) and put it on a camel. The camel was told to go everywhere and stop for no one unless she heard her code name which was Naala or a shoe. The camel rode everywhere and eventually wandered into a kingdom of a rich and famous sultan. His guards told him about the camel with gold and silver on it and he wanted to catch it. The camel outsmarted the guards, but an old woman promised to get it and then lost her shoe and the camel stopped when she heard the woman yell about her shoe. 

When the sultan saw Lalla, he fell in love with her. He had his physicians examine her. When they found the ring under her tongue, they removed it and she slowly came back to life. The sultan married her. She however never forgot her seven ghoul brothers. When the camel had healed after all the walking, Lalla made plans to return. She waited until her husband would be gone for the day and she left, but the guards saw her and the sultan told them to follow her. The camel however once again outsmarted them. Lalla returned to her griefstruck brothers and they were all happy again.

Now part of what I like about this story is that the heroine does not stay with the sultan and goes back to where she was happiest.

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--Arabian Snow White

Although it has been hard to find different versions of Snow White, I found one called More Beautiful Than the Moon from Algeria. I found an English version of this story in Tales Arab Women Tell by Hasan M. El-Shamy. Now this is more of a resource book than a story book, and this story did not lend itself as well to reading to Hazel. First I will give you a small amount of information on Algeria.
From Google
Algeria is officially The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria. It is in Northern Africa. It consists of 48 provinces and 1541 communes. It is the 34th most populated country in the world. It is the tenth largest country in the world and the largest in Africa and the Mediterranean. The capital is Algiers which is also the most populated city in Algeria. 
From Google

Algeria has a long history. There were hominid remains found from 200,000 BC. For several centuries Algeria was under Roman rule. In the mid 7th century the Muslim Arabs conquered Algeria and many of the locals converted to the new faith. Algeria also has a history of pirates who attacked Christian and non-Muslim ships. Then the French took over Algeria in 1830. In 1962 Algeria gained its independence.

Algeria's economy is dependent on petroleum. They have struggled to find other forms of income. With its long history of various groups ruling it, Algeria has a variety of Ethnic groups. The major one is the Berbers. The Berbers are the indigenous ethnic group of Algeria and are believed to be the ancestral stock on which elements from the Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks as well as other ethnic groups have contributed to the ethnic makeup of Algeria. Berbers are divided into many groups based upon languages. (Source) Now onto our story.

The story is about a beautiful woman who was very vain. She would talk to the moon each night and ask, "Oh, moon is there someone prettier than me?" The moon would answer, "I am pretty but you are prettier than everyone." Then the woman became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter who was named Lalla Ayshah el-Khdrah. The daughter was very beautiful and grew more so every day.

The mother went to the top of her house and asked the moon her question. This time the moon answered, "I am pretty and you are pretty, but Lalla Ayshah el-Khdrah is prettier than everyone. The mother was filled with jealousy and asked the moon if she should kill her. The moon told her to wait until she was weaned from breast milk. When this happened, the mother again asked the moon her questions getting the same answer. The moon told her to wait for another milestone and this continued until Lalla Ayshah el-Khdrah knew how to cook, clean and sew and was old enough to get married and have children. The moon then told the mother to kill her or the moon would kill the mother.

The mother paid the butcher in jewelry to kill her daughter. The butcher took the jewelry but could not kill the innocent girl. He left her in the woods to let God decide what would happen to her. Then he killed an ewe and filled a flask with its blood for the mother. She drank the blood.  Meanwhile, Lalla found a cave to hide in away from all the animals. When the mother asked the moon, it replied, "I am pretty and you are pretty, but no one is prettier than you." The moon answered this way since Lalla was sleeping in the cave--underground.

When Lalla woke up, she heard seven ogres eating meat from a carcass of an animal. She remained hiding. One of the ogres said he smelled human blood. They searched but could not find anyone. When they were all asleep, Lalla snuck out for a little food and drink and then went back into her hiding space.

When the ogres awoke the brother again said he smelled human blood and noticed some of his food and drink was gone. They searched again, but could not find anyone. Then they yelled that if someone was there, they would not harm the person. When Lalla came out they were stunned by her beauty and said she was their sister. She would cook and clean for them and they would give her whatever her heart desired. She cleaned them up and discovered they became human again. They moved into the forest and she was very dear to them all. In fact they all began to fall in love with her.

Meanwhile, her mother asked the moon again her questions. She was in shock to learn Lalla was still alive.  She was so angry and jealous the mother dropped dead.

The brothers had all fell in love with Lalla and each wanted to marry her. She found a trick to not marry any of them. Then the cat and Lalla got into a fight and the cat put the fire out. She had to go to an ogress house to get a flame. The ogress gave her a flame but also ashes that dropped so she could follow the girl home. While Lalla was sleeping and the brothers were not home, the ogress went in and put seven needles into Lalla's head. The brothers returned thinking she was dead. They put her body on a horse and let it carry her through the forest. A prince was out hunting and found her. He fell in love with her, but the king insisted she must be buried. The undertaker discovered the needles and removed them and Lalla woke up, but was unable to talk. The prince insisted on marrying her. Soon Lalla became pregnant and gave birth to a son.

Years passed and the boy grew up and was playing in the garden. Some of his friends teased him about his mother having no relations and he went to his mother and cried about it. For the first time she was able to speak and told her son to tell his father that he wants to see his seven maternal uncles. This happened and Lalla, her son and soldiers and servants went to look for her brothers. She glimpsed the seven walking in sorrow and sent the soldiers to get them. She invited the brothers to dinner. At dinner her son asked her tell him a story and she told him the story of her life. Her brothers realized who she was and embraced her. Then they went to the house of the ogress and killed her. In her house they found seven maidens whom they saved and married. They all lived with the prince and Lalla.

Since I did not read the story to Hazel, I did not do any crafts for this one. Sorry!

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--Rimonah of the Flashing Sword

Since we are exploring Egypt this month with Around the World in 12 Dishes, I thought I would take us back to Egypt for a fairy tale. Since we already shared the Egyptian Cinderella, we are sharing today an Egyptian Snow White. First a few details about Egypt. Since the history of Egypt is so long and intense I will not do it justice, but this is meant to be an introduction.
The Arabic Republic of Egypt is in two continents: Africa and Asia. Egypt is the fifteenth most populous country in the world. The majority of the people live along the Nile River. The Nile River is the longest river in the world and flows to the North. The only land that is arable is found along the banks of the Nile. The rest of the land  in Egypt is desert.

Egypt has the longest history of all modern states since it has been continuously inhabited since the tenth millennium BC. With the advances of the ancient civilizations to include the pyramids, the Great Sphinx, among other amazing discoveries. The Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to codify art and architecture. They also are given the invention of paper from the papyrus plant and among the first to have an written alphabet.

The official language is Modern Standard Arabic. Ninety percent of the residents of Egypt identify as Muslim and the other ten percent are a form of Christian. Islam arrived in Egypt in the 7th century. At that time Egypt emerged as the center of politics and culture in the Muslim World. 
In more recent times there has been an on-going revolution. It started with protests in 2011 and continues in our current news today.

Now onto our story. We are sharing Rimonah of the Flashing Sword adapted by Eric A. Kimmel. In the Author's Note, Kimmel mentions he came upon the traditional version in Miriam's Tambourine by Howard Schwartz. He knows the tale is from North Africa and Schwartz said it came from Egypt.

This story begins with a queen who is eating a pomegranate. She wishes to have a child with skin is as dark as the pomegranate, eyes as bright as its seeds and voice as sweet as the juice of the pomegranate. Soon she has a daughter with these qualities and she names her Rimonah which means pomegranate. Rimonah grows up in a loving household until her seventh birthday when her mother dies. Upon her deathbed, Rimonah's mother gives her a vial with three drops of her blood to wear around her neck. She tells her if they blood turns red and to liquid (after drying) then Rimonah is in danger. Then the mother dies.

The father who vows not to remarry ever, is married before his first wife is in the grave. The new wife is a sorceress who want to increase her power by becoming queen. She used her magic to kill the first queen and to make the king not have control of his mind. She keeps her special magic tools in a tower that only she is permitted to go in. She has a magic porcelain bowl that when she fills it with water, she can ask it any question and get a truthful answer. She asks if she is the fairest of all. One day it answers that Rimonah is fairer. She gets angry and orders a servant to go kill her.

The servant takes Rimonah out and pulls out his dagger, and Rimonah begs for her life. He tells her to go far away. Rimonah escapes leaving behind her cape which the huntsman uses as proof of her death. He covers it with blood of a gazelle first. 

Rimonah finds a group of bedouin. Since they do not follow the rule of the king and queen she is welcomed. She learns to ride and use her sword with them. She becomes well known for her skill with the sword and dagger. One day the queen hears someone discussing Rimonah of the desert's sword skill. The queen is shocked to hear she is not dead. She goes to her bowl to check and learns that she is still alive. She uses a magic cape to dress as a bedouin prince and brings a magical scorpion necklace. It turns into a real scorpion at sunset. She leaves it at Rimonah's tent with the other suitors' gifts. Rimonah gives it to one of her friends, but notices the blood in her necklace turn red and liquid. She grabs the necklace from her friends neck as the sun sets and kills the scorpion. At this point her friends urge her to leave since she has been found. 

Rimonah leaves and finds a cave with a huge stone blocking the entrance. She hides and sees its inhabitants, 40 thieves, enter using the words, "Open Sesame." She tries it and goes in.She leaves her horse in the stables and discovers a beautiful castle. She finds the forty beds and lies down for a quick rest, but falls fast asleep. The thieves find her and want to kill her, but bring her to their leader. They think she is a spy for the queen. She tells them how the queen has tried to kill her twice and they allow her to join them. They call her Rimonah of the Flashing Sword after seeing her skill. All of the thieves were honest men who were destroyed by the queen (all of their belongings taken by the queen's servants). 
My Rimonah

The queen discovers that Rimonah is still alive and uses her magic to find her. This time she brings a poisonous ring. She convinces Rimonah to put it on after she rolls it under the locked castle door saying the leader of the thieves wanted her to have it. She falls to the ground instantly. However she does not die since her mother's love is protecting her.

The thieves find her and put her in a glass coffin thinking she is dead. One day a prince finds his way into the cave and falls in love with the beautiful woman in the coffin. Even though she is surrounded by forty men asleep with their swords out, he opens the coffin to kiss her. The thieves wake up and threaten to kill him until they hear Rimonah's voice saying to spare him since he is the prince of her dreams. They are so happy to have Rimonah alive, but sad that she and the prince are in love. Rimonah tells the prince she will not be happy without her forty men. He agrees. As they journey to the prince's kingdom, they find a coffin in the desert and the leader of the thieves discovers it is the king. Rimonah wants to see her father once more and asks them to open it for her. She cries at her father's death and her tears awaken her father. He tells them how the queen used her magic to control him and then kill him. They decide Rimonah will not be safe with the queen alive so all of them go to kill her. When her people see them coming they abandon the queen. The queen having gotten knowledge that her end is near from the magic bowl tries to escape on her magic carpet, but leaves the bowl behind. Rimonah runs to the tower and throws the bowl at the queen. When the bowl hits the carpet and then the ground it breaks and the carpet unwinds. The queen dies. Everyone is happy. The thieves become the guards of Rimonah and her prince.

For this book I love how Rimonah is the best at the sword and becomes well known for her skill. She also does not need the men to save her as much as she can fight for herself. We made a sword, well actually a khopesh, an ancient Egyptian sword. I used the pattern from Storm the Castle. Our cardboard was a bit flimsy so we put duct tape on it. This made it a little better.

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--Snow White

This week we are going to take a break from Cinderella and introduce Snow White. Snow White is a German tale and was first published by the Grimm Brothers in 1812. The original Snow White did not involve a stepmother, but was actually her mother who became jealous of her beauty. This was changed to a stepmother in the next edition and it is believed this change happened to tone the story down for children. In the initial story the mother also took Snow White into the woods herself and abandoned her, but this was changed to a servant by the first published edition. In 1912 the dwarfs were given names for a Broadway Show and then in 1937 Disney changed their names for the film. (Source)

Margarete von Waldeck (Source)

An interesting side to this story is an article written by a German scholar, Eckhard Sande, in 1994. His article titled (translated) Snow White: Is It a Fairy Tale, stated that there are many similarities in the story of Snow White and the life of Margarete von Waldeck, a German countess who was the mistress of a Spanish prince during the 1500's. She suffered an early death that some believed could have been due to poison. Her stepmother who had sent her away and the King of Spain were not happy with their children's relationship. Whether this is the source of the story, no one knows, but it is interesting to see the similarities. (Source)

Now onto our story. For the text of this story you can click here. Now last month we had the pleasure of seeing this story performed live as a musical. Although a few of the differences from the Disney version scared Hazel, she really did enjoy seeing it. I should also add that Hazel has not seen the Disney movie. This was the first movie I saw and my mother was rather upset with my father for taking me as I had nightmares for several weeks afterwards. I believe I was five when I saw it. Having watched it as an adult, I now know why I had nightmares. There are some scenes that they did rather scary for a young child.

Ok, now onto the Brothers Grimm version. A queen sat doing her needlepoint and pricked her finger. A drop of blood fell into the falling snow out the window that was framed with ebony. She liked the color combination and made a wish to have a daughter with skin as white as the snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony. Soon she had her daughter and named her Snow White. The mother died shortly after this.

The king remarried a year later. The stepmother had a magic mirror which she stood in front of each morning asking "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?"
File:Snow White Mirror 3.png

The mirror would answer, "You, my queen, are the fairest of all." This would satisfy the queen since she knew the mirror could only speak the truth. Snow White grew up and grew more beautiful every day. At age seven she was as beautiful as the light of day. One day the mirror answered that Snow White was more fair than the queen. The queen filled with jealousy. She summoned a huntsman and ordered him to take the princess to the woods and to kill her. As proof of her death, the queen demanded he bring back Snow White's lungs and liver. The huntsman obeyed, but Snow White pleaded with him for her life. He let her live thinking wild animals would kill her anyway. He killed a wild boar and brought its liver and lungs to the queen. She had the cook boil them in salt, and she ate them.
File:Snow White Mercy.png

The young princess was scared in the woods alone and did not know what to do. She began to run. She ran through the woods. The wild animals did not harm her. She ran as far as she could and then as evening was falling she found a small house to rest. Inside the house there was a table neatly set with seven places and seven beds neatly made. The house was clean and neat. Because she was hungry and thirsty she ate a few small bites of vegetables and bread from each plate and drank a drop of wine from each mug. Then she tried each of the seven beds. She had issues with each one--too long, too short, etc.--until the seventh one which was just right. There she fell asleep.

After dark the masters or the house came home. They were seven dwarfs. They noticed right away that someone had been eating their food and sitting in their chairs. Then the noticed their beds and the seventh reported that someone was in his. The dwarfs looked at the child and were excited to have such a beautiful visitor. They let her sleep in the bed through the night. The seventh dwarf shared beds with his brothers. Sleeping an hour in each one throughout the night.

The next morning Snow White woke up and was a bit frightened by the dwarfs, but they were very friendly with her. She told them about how her stepmother tried to kill her. They told her if she would cook, clean, sew, knit for them she could stay and have whatever she wanted. She happily agreed. When the dwarfs went to dig for gold in the mines, they warned her not to let anyone in.
File:Snow White Ribbon.png

One morning the queen asked her mirror about who was the fairest and the mirror told her it was Snow White and told her where Snow White was. The queen dressed as an old peddler woman and went to visit Snow White. She sold a beautiful silk bodice lace to Snow White and offered to lace her up properly. Snow White thought for sure she could trust this woman and let her in. The queen pulled the lace so hard, Snow White could not breathe. That evening the dwarfs came home and found Snow White lying on the floor lifeless. They noticed the lace was too tight and loosened it. Snow White slowly began to breathe an life returned to her. When the dwarfs heard what happened, they told Snow White the peddler woman must have been the godless queen. They warned her again not to let anyone in.
File:Snow White Poisoned Haircomb.png

The queen asked the mirror and again it told her Snow White was fairer. She was angry to hear Snow White was alive still. She dressed as a different peddler woman and this time sold Snow White a hair comb. The queen put the poisoned comb barely in Snow White's hair before she fell to the ground. The dwarfs came home and found Snow White on the floor again. They examined her and found the comb. When they removed it, she came back to life.

Again the queen asked the mirror and again it replied Snow White was the fairest. The queen went into her secret room and made a poisoned, poisoned apple. She tricked Snow White into trying the apple by cutting it and sharing it with her. Only half the apple was poisoned. Snow White fell to the ground with one bite. When the dwarfs returned home they found her dead on the floor. They could not bury her in the black dirt, so they made her a glass coffin and put her on display so they could always see her beauty.

File:Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1.png
Now a prince was riding through the woods and came upon the beautiful girl in the glass coffin. He tried to buy the coffin from the dwarfs, but they would not sell it. Then he asked them to give it to him since he felt he could not live without seeing Snow White each day. The dwarfs took pity on him and let him take the coffin. The prince had his servants carry the coffin on their shoulders. One of them stumbled and that dislodged the poisonous apple from Snow White's throat. Snow White soon woke up and opened the coffin. The prince asked her to come to his father's castle and marry him. Snow White did. They invited the stepmother queen. 

The queen asked her mirror who the fairest was and the mirror told her the bride was far fairer than her. She did not know what to do, but decided on going to see this beauty. She recognized Snow White immediately. They brought a pair of iron shoes that had been sitting in the hot coals of the fire to the queen and forced her to dance in them until she fell down dead.

Next week I will share another version of Snow White. I hope you will join us!