Friday, March 16, 2018


Rapunzel, Rapunzel, letdown your hair to me!” Oh, the familiar words from the immortal tale! We know the story well, but let us contemplate the depth of what is really happening in this fairy tale. I have said it before and I will say it again: Many read these stories aimlessly and frivolously, oblivious to the deeper underlying principle, truth, and lesson contained therein.

Let us contemplate what is really happening in this story. A young couple is anticipating the birth of their child. They are poor and the wife is hungry. They see a garden with delectable vegetation of which they greatly want to feast. The husband wants to be sure his wife has plenty to eat, especially since she is expecting a baby soon. He steals of the luscious food rather than asking because he fears the owner—a witch. But this caused him more harm than if he had simply asked. “It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” Now they will lose their daughter when she is born.

Now let us analyze the old woman. Yes, she is wicked, but she is also a person, and people are emotional beings. Perhaps she had never experienced love in her life. Now she covets love and does whatever it takes to get it. But she doesn't have a loving heart. She hurts others in order to get it. It is artificial. She wants to create her own world with Rapunzel as she raises her in a lonely castle, trapped and secluded from society. The old woman wants Rapunzel only for herself. It is fear that does this: fear that she may lose her. The witch must hold on to her tightly and let no one else in-- in to this world she has created for the two of them. The statement “let down your hair to me” is symbolic of “submission to me and no one else” and rebellion against the natural order of things.

Are we like the woman in this fairy tale? Do we have a hard time letting go? How are our relationships? Parents can often have a hard time letting go—letting go of sons and daughters. The child feel trapped in a castle with no doors. They are captive. The relationship between the child and parent is rocky as a result. The young person feels like a canary in a cage and wants more than anything to get out and to be free. Eventually they do get out and never want to see the “old woman” again.

The prince does come in time, and Rapunzel wants more than anything to experience freedom and real love—love that is not selfish but pure and selfless. She finds it in the prince. She does not mind that he is blind, nor does he mind that her long locks have been taken away. Some day the prince will come whether we like it or not. Better to let go and live. Because Rapunzel was not the only one locked in a castle. Yes, the witch could leave and come back, but she was still trapped in that castle in a another sense. She could never truly enjoy Rapunzel because she had to hide her and clench her tightly in the grips of selfishness. How much better it is to share with others that precious ruby. How much better it is to let go and live.

A Word from Ollie

Whooo, Whooo! It is I, Ollie Owl again. I just love to hear a good fairy tale. I had never pondered that aspect of Rapunzel before. Have you? I have , however sat here in the forest and seen a lot of things over the years. A lot of enchanting and fantastic things have happened in this forest. Princes and princesses seem to frequent this setting on a regular basis it seems. Hmm? Perhaps it is the seclusion or sequestered location. I like the word sequestered. It is a good word to describe a forest –or many of things for that matter—that are secluded or far away from busy places. Why not use the word sequestered today. I think you will enjoy it. Well, dawn will be here soon, so it is time for me to find a fat rat to feast upon before sunrise. Bye for now. “Hoot”les !

The Crafty Corner

It is springtime. . . or soon will be. How about a creative Easter Bunny craft? This Bunny I made from white fake fur fabric and felt. I had an old pattern I used to do it. I think the colours are good ones. He is just the right size to put in an Easter basket too! One tip to keep in mind if you ever make this rabbit (or a similar one) is to put cardboard in the ears before attaching them. They are then more solid and will stand up better—unless of course you want a floppy-eared rabbit. Use felt for the eyes and nose. Embroider the face.

Notice the lap stitch to give embroidered look.

Felt was used for the eyes, nose, tooth; embroidered mouth

You can find this rabbit and other crafts I have made by going to

Or you may visit


Here are some St. Patrick's Day crafts that are fun to do. For details about these and other crafts go to

So get those creative juicy flowing and create, create, create!

Book of the Month

I really enjoy the stories of Bill Pete. He is one of those classic storybook writers and illustrators. He is a rare breed. He wrote and illustrated his books. He worked for Disney for many years doing the storyboards used by animators. The Ant and the Elephant is one of his original stories. It is a story about helpfulness and kindness, good deeds that are often done but go unnoticed. It also contrasts the disparity of a small creature, such as an ant, to that of a big one like the elephant. We all are important in this world and have a part to sing in the chorus of life.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sleeping Beauty

Famous among fairy tales, Sleeping Beauty is most likely familiar to all of us and popularized through such medians at the film and entertainment industry. But take a second look at the original story and you may find some details perhaps you had not seen before. Ponder them.

The King and Queen wanted a child very much, but had failed to produce one. One day a frog creeps out of the water and declares to them,“Your wish shall be fulfilled. You shall have a daughter.” They had their child as well as a feast after she was born at the christening of this miracle child.

Guests were invited to the child's christening, including the Wise Women from the kingdom. These Wise Women were able to bestow magical gifts; but one Wise Women was not invited because there were thirteen of them and only twelve golden plates for them to eat upon. After the feast, the Wise Women showered their gifts upon the baby: virtue,beauty, riches, etc. Eleven of them had given their gifts when Wise Woman number thirteen stormed in, angry for not having been invited. She said, “The King's daughter shall prick herself on a spindle in her fifteenth year and fall down dead!” But Wise Woman number twelve had not given her gift, after which she said, “It shall not be death but only sleep lasting one hundred years.”

So the King gave orders to burn all spindles in the kingdom. Rose-Briar (for that was the name given to the King's daughter) approached her fifteenth birthday. On that day though, her parents were gone. [Isn't that ironic? Her parents are gone the day of her birthday? But that is the way the story unfolds.] Rose-Briar was curious while her parents were out and decided to explore chambers of the castle she had never gone. She climbed the stairs to the tower and found a door with a rusty key in the keyhole. She opened the door and found a women spinning flax. Rose-Briar was curious and wanted to learn to spin as well. She touched the spindle, pricked her finger, and fell down upon a bed into a deep sleep.

All about the castle, the court, and the barnyard fell to sleep as well—even the animals and the trees. All fell into a deep sleep. Thorns grew 'round the castle walls and continued to grow for 100 years till they grew up to the top of the castle's highest turret. Briar-Rose slept. From time to time throughout the sleepy century, sons came to try to get through the hedge of thorns and into the castle; but it was impossible, and they died trying to get loose from the thorns.

Many years pass. A king's son comes along and hears a man talking about the hedge of thorns and the beautiful princess said to be asleep for 100 years. He also said that many king's sons in the past have attempted to get through the thorns but died in their arduous attempts. The youth said, “I will go see the Briar-Rose. I am not afraid.” The old man tried to dissuade him, but the young man would not listen.

He came to the overgrown castle wall. The boy could pass through because it had been 100 years and the thorns had turned to large beautiful flowers. Once he passed through though, they turned once again to thorns. As he approached the castle yard, all was as it was 100 years ago—even to the maid sitting by the black hen just ready to pluck it—frozen in time. The kings court was asleep, and he walked on past till he came to the tower door.

He walked up the stairs of the tower till he came to the door where Briar-Rose was. He opened the door. There she lay asleep and beautiful. He stooped down and gave her a kiss. She immediately awoke and looked at him with a sweet expression. The King, Queen, the entire court, and all awoke. The hounds jumped and wagged their tails. Then the king's son married Briar-Rose, and they live happily together for the rest of their lives.


This story brings to life in a fanciful way the dangers of being an overprotective parent. Briar-Rose was the King and Queen's miracle child. They were not able to have a child, but finally they were blessed with one. This made her all the more precious. Her parents knew about these Wise Women with miracle gifts and that one of the women was evil. That is why she was not invited to the christening—not the fact that there were only twelve plates. After all, I am sure the King and Queen could have procured one more golden plate if they really wanted to. By seeking to protect their child from any contact from Wise Woman number thirteen, they created a bigger problem. Children need the guidance of their parents, but they also need exposure with the world in order to face it, deal with it, and make wise decisions. Rather than ridding the kingdom of all spindles, could not the parents have instructed their daughter to stay away from such spindles belonging to enchantresses and NEVER to touch them.

In the end, goodness and mercy prevailed. Many today doubt this truth because of the ostensible dominance of evil in our day; however, there IS still much good—and the end has not yet come. We may have to endure “100 years,” but one day the King's son will come and the princess will awake.

A Word from Ollie

Whoo, Whoooo! Ollie Owl here again. Never thought of the tale of Sleeping Beauty that way before. Have you? Great story, don't you think?

How about the word ostensible? If it isn't in your chest of vocabulary words, put it in there. It means “apparent, seeming, or professed.” It can describe something stated to be true but about which some may have doubts. So put that in your vocabulary chest if you need to. Finding just the right word to describe something can give that shade of meaning needed to express yourself accurately, clearly, and colorfully. I learned a lot of words by writing down the meanings and memorizing them whenever I came across an unfamiliar word in a book. Becoming a wise owl takes work and experience.

The Crafty Corner

Here is something I recently made: a little heart person for Valentine's Day. May need to make a girl one too. I didn't have a pattern for this doll. I simply drew the pattern onto paper and cut it out. Then I used that pattern to trace the pieces onto the fabric. After that, I sewed it together and stuffed it. The body is made of felt, and the gingham arms and legs are made of cotton.

Book of the Month

The Golden Thread is an allegorical story written by Norman MacLeod back in 1861. It is a short book that packs a powerful punch. It has the style that says “fairy tale” with King and his son, the dangers of the Hemlock Forest, a magical thread, and the battle of good and evil. A creative story it truly is. What character is taught throughout---courage, endurance, steadfastness, patience in the midst of temptations of disobedience, laziness, selfishness, and untruthfulness! What will the king's son Phillip do? Will he make is through the dangers of the forest? Will he continue to hold on to the thread? Will he succumb to the temptations along the way? Will he be true to his father? Great story for children and adults alike. Read it today.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The chill of winter can be harsh, but the comfort of hot cocoa helps. So it is in the tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Most of us have heard and know the story well; but what inspires such a tale in the first place? Why was it written? Though the Grimm Brothers wrote it down at the beginning of the 19th century, it may have been inspired long ago by Roman legend. But what is it's purpose for it's hearers now?

The queen truly does have a heart that is ice-cold. She is wicked and seemingly heartless. Such a character must have had hurts in her life. This is often where bitterness and wrath stems. Her problem lies in her pride and jealousy that overtakes her. She wants to be and continue to be the “fairest in the land.” But beauty is vain. The flower of one's youth eventually dies: beauty fades with time. Christina Rossetti put it well when she penned the following:

                    While roses are so red, while lilies are so white,
                    Shall a woman exalt her face because it brings delight?
                    She's not so sweet as a rose; a lilly's straighter than she,
                    And if she were as red or white she'd be but one of three.

                    Whether she flush in love's summer or in its winter grow pale,
                    Whether sh flaunt her beauty or hide it away in a veil,
                    Be she red or white, and stand she erect or bowed,
                    Time will win the race he runs with her and hide her away in a shroud.

Physical beauty is transient, but true beauty comes from within and is eternal. The wicked queen's heart is vile and certainly lacks any beauty at all.

Snow White on the other hand is an innocent child who does not even fully comprehend—I don't think—the fullness of her own beauty. She is humble and sincere. She is as white as snow. Snow often represents purity and virtue. The Biblical theme of purity is expressed in the Bible stating “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”—Isaiah 1:18

The dwarfs in this tale can represent justice. They possess great love toward Snow White and see her innocence and frailty as one who needs protection from the evil queen. They are willing to risk their lives for her regardless of their diminutive stature—of course dwarfs in many fairy tales are linked to special abilities and powers—; however, they do not directly manifest them in this story. They are the heroes of the tale, and they think not of their own selves, but rather, that which protects the princess. When after three attempts of ridding the world of Snow White the wicked queen is seemingly successful, the dwarfs pursue her in an attempt to avenge for her wicked actions. These dwarfs represent truth, justice, and vengeance for wrong.

It is love that that breaks the spell at the end, a theme common in many fairy tales. Love is much more powerful than evil. Light always breaks the darkness. True love is powerful. The greatest love is greater than any evil and conquers even death.

A Word from Ollie

Whoo, Whoo! Me again, Ollie Owl. I have heard of the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs many times in my day, but I now have additional thoughts to ponder regarding it. What a tale! I live in the the forest and can relate to this story quite well. I like to think that it happened in a place nearby, where I live and rest my head in yonder holler tree! Imagine the dwarfs traversing the woods up the way and a  scared, curious girl rummaging through this thicket. The imagination is a wonderful thing—a tool to creatively inscribe the lessons of life through the ages.

The Crafty Corner

Back in March 2017 I featured a cloth doll I was working on. At the time, the doll  
was not completed, but I was completing the clothes. I was in China teaching English and had made a number of dolls; but I did not want to stuff and complete them entirely, lest I be unable to fit them in my cases on my return to the U.S.A. Let me share with you one of those dolls.

This is a folk art doll in style; however, rather than painting the face as is common in this style, I used embroidery floss to create the detail of the eyes, nose, and lips of the face. I used mohair locks for the hair and stitched it in place. The clothes are handmade of cotton blends, felt, and various other fabrics and includes a jacket, plaid skirt, petticoat, and hat with a homemade pom pom on top. I made the pom pom from numerous strands of embroidery floss and sewed it on top the hat. The petticoat has lace sewn onto the bottom edge. The jacket is made from several fabrics including cotton blends, felt, and a floral design embroidered in place along the front. Small buttons were also sewn into place down the center front. Her boots are made from black cotton fabric. A charming old-fashioned art doll!  Find this doll and others at Art Doll

Book of the Month


This classic tale by Sir Walter Scott is one of the best historical novels ever written in my opinion; and it set the stage for the historical novel genre. It truly is a captivating tale of adventure, heroism, and virtue. Set in the 12th century it depicts medieval history well. Incredibly described, the characters are well developed. Ivanhoe has his adventures and is a hero; but Robin Hood also appears in the novel carrying out his deeds along with his band of men. Ivanhoe and Robin Hood actually need each other to realistically envelop the religious and aristocratic leaders in place during King Richard's absence. The women in the novel are deep characters, particularly Rebecca, a Jew who depicts truth and moral uprightness. It isn't a book that is necessarily an easy read—it requires some intellectual brain-power—but it is well worth the digging, for the treasure inside is a jewel.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Velvetine Rabbit

It is a timeless and enchanting childhood tale—a true fairy tale and quite endearing. Just about anyone can relate to this tale. We can all recall a favorite toy that comforted us as a child. (Perhaps you are a child and receive great comfort from that doll or bear that you have hugged 'till the seems begin to pop!) There are those very special toys that we have grown attached to (and perhaps they have grown attached to us as well). The theme of love, friendship, and holding on to them when adversity comes, rings throughout this tale. Nevertheless, we all need to learn to let go as well. Sometimes it is deeply hard; yet, “to everything there is a season.” The boy in this tale had to let go of that dear Christmas gift he had received—that doll that had comforted him through a long illness. But letting go is at times necessary for the benefit of our own good and the good of others. The boy in this story needed to let go for the saving of his life. This theme appears in a number of other stories. I cannot help but think of other animal stories where a boy or girl needed to “let go” by releasing an animal back into the wild. Our earthly goods and treasures need from us a “letting go” as well. They will all pass from us eventually. By letting the velveteen rabbit go, magic was able to be performed for the transformation and release of that precious bunny.

Later, the fairy comes and the rabbit becomes “real”; but that rabbit and boy never forgot each other. Just because we must let go doesn't mean we will forget that object of affection. This is true when we face the death of a loved one. We must let them go, but we must never forget them.

The stitch horse is an interesting character in this tale. I had a child once say to me, “The stitch horse seemed to be so wise and know how a toy becomes real as if he had experienced it; yet, he still looked just looked like an old tattered toy (at least he did in the illustrations). I have pondered this much since then. I have come to the conclusion that not all toys become real. Only special ones are transformed and become real. It is real love that does this. It happens to a toy that is used a lot and enters the deeper affections of the toy's owner. Perhaps the horse, who had obviously been in the possession of the boy a long time, never entered that level of affection that a child sometimes places upon a particular toy. Perhaps the stitch horse had had more than one owner, and perhaps he had been passed along to several owners. Perhaps he had seen a number of older toys who did indeed enter into that place of endearment between a child and a toy. Yes, perhaps he did see these transformations of others and was a witness of the fact, though he wasn't ever chosen to receive that magical moment himself.

It might make us sad to contemplate these thoughts regarding the stitch horse, but alas, be not saddened. The stitch horse has a very special job in helping other toys along the way. Each of us have a purpose in this life too. We are not all chosen to do those seemingly noble and venerable deeds; but we all have a job to do in this life, doing our best in whatever our job in life happens to be. We can be a blessing to others whether we be a royal monarch or simply cleaning someone's boots. We are all special to someone. We all have value, not because we be esteemed of others, but rather, because we are loved.

A Word from Ollie

Whooo! Whooo! I really like that story, don't you? Very dear, heart-warming, and good for us to hear. How hard it is for us to let things go! But that is when miracles can happing. Christmas is upon us,and many will soon receive gifts—just as the boy received that rabbit in his stocking. Do not grow too attached to things though. They are temporary, fleeting, evanescent. Evanescent is a nice word for fleeting or transient. The life we possess can be described that way. Give of yourself while you can, and remember the greatest gift ever given: that sacrificial gift of love.

A Christmas to Remember

Years ago as a child I remember some precious Christmas gifts. I received a bear and a Smurf train that moved around and around the Christmas tree. My sister received a velvetine rabbit—so much like the one in the story. For years now, that old velveteen rabbit has been up in the attic. I recently brought it down and displayed this cute and festive hugable in the rocker in our living room. I think he looks rather nice there. The rabbit is still as cute as it ever was, but sad to say, he still has yet to become “real.” Perhaps it will happen this Christmas.

The Crafty Corner

This Christmas and holiday time, perhaps you will consider making a simple Christmas craft that is very functional. A Christmas mini stocking! I have made several of these. Use various fabrics to give variety to the stockings. Sew two different fabrics together. That gives a whole new look to it. I got some metallic gold fabric. That really sparks it up. Sew on buttons, jingle bells, or embroider a design or pattern. These stockings I have made are available on See them at

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Elves and the Shoemaker

There once was a shoemaker who had become quite poor and had nothing much left except for a bit of leather—enough to make one more pair of shoes. That evening he cut out the leather in hopes of making the pair of shoes the following day. The next morning, he early prepared for work on making the shoes, but when coming to the workroom, he noticed the shoes lying on the table fully complete. The shoemaker was astonished! He examined them closely and found them exquisitely and masterfully made. Soon after, a customer entered the shop, saw the shoes, was quite impressed with them, and therefore, paid much more than the asking price. With that money the shoemaker was able to purchase enough leather for two more shoes.

That evening he cut them out, and the next morning he found the leather made into two beautiful pairs of shoes. Just as before, the shoemaker sold the shoes with the money and purchased enough leather to make 4 pairs of shoes. He cut them out as he had done in the past. The next morning, he found the four pairs made. This continued day after day: whatever the shoemaker cut out in the evening was mysteriously made into shoes during the night. And so, over time, the shoemaker became a wealthy man. Now it happened that not long before Christmas that the shoemaker said to his wife, “I am quite curious as to who or what is making these shoes so elegantly and doing us such a service. Perhaps we should stay up in the night to see who it is. What think ye of that dear wife?” The woman liked the idea. Therefore, they hid themselves until midnight when they saw little naked men taking the leather and crafting, sewing, hammering, and stitching it into shoes. They did it so cleverly and swiftly, and quick as a wink, they vanished away.

The next morning the woman suggested to her husband, “Those poor little men have worked so hard for us and have even made us rich—yet, they have not even as much as their own clothes to wear. Perhaps today I will make some clothes for them. I will sew and knit shirts, trousers, vests, and stockings for them. You can make them little shoes to wear. Then, when they come tonight, they will have something of their own to wear.”

That is a grand idea,” said the shoemaker.

During the day the shoemaker and his wife made the gifts for the elves. That night they left the gifts on the worktable and hid themselves. About midnight, the elves appeared as before. They were simply delighted with the gifts that were left for them. The elves then dressed themselves with the apparel and began singing,

“Now we are boys so fine to see,
Why should we longer cobblers be?”

Then they danced and sang some more until finally they danced themselves away and never returned again. But for the remainder of their days, the gracious shoemaker and his wife fared well and prospered in all they did.

A Word from Ollie

Whooo, Whooo! What do you think of this tale? Let us reflect: There is a lesson here for all of us. There almost always is. This is a Grimm's fairy tale. They have been passed down for centuries now, and they were told for a reason. Yes, it was entertainment; but it was also for the creative expression of the lessons of life.

He was a poor shoemaker at the beginning of the tale, but for some reason, the elves pitied him. The shoemaker, after being blessed by the workmanship of the elves, did not squander the money he made. He invested it back into his business in hopes of gaining a bit more . . . and then a bit more . . . and a bit more. His little bit grew into a lot. Here is a lesson about the importance of saving and investing in order to provide and prosper. But he wasn't selfish: he continued plying along, cutting out leather and selling the following day what the elves created.

I like to also think of this tale as a lesson demonstrating the adage “One good deed deserves another” or “Give, and it shall be given unto you.” The elves gave of their time to help a poor destitute man and his wife who were quite poor. In return for their kindness, the couple gave to the elves a gift: clothes and shoes.

The Crafty Corner

Christmas is just around the corner, and here is craft to help create a festive holiday ambiance for your space. The gingerbread boy is still on the loose. Can you catch him?

This project is very easy to do and will enable you to make a 10” beanbag gingerbread doll. Just take brown felt and cut out the doll body. Sew the 2 pieces together leaving an opening to stuff the body. Use an overcast stitch for sewing. I used white embroidery thread for sewing. This creates the illusion of frosting along the outer edge. Glue or sew black felt circles on white circles (white circles a bit larger) to make the eyes. Fill the body with beads or sand about half way. Use some fiberfill stuffing to fill the rest of the body. Embroider a smile onto the face. Sew white felt circles onto the gingerbread tummy. Use the overcast stitch again to sew up the opening used for stuffing. I then used red felt to make a bow tie. Just cut out a rectangle about 2 '' or so. Pinch it in the middle and sew, creating the bow tie. Then attach at neck of doll. And there you have it: a gingerbread doll!

Book of the Month

I recently read the book King Arthur and His Knights. I loved it! It tells the story of young King Arthur and how he grows as a person, acquiring knights for his famous Round Table. Intriguing tales about himself and “meanwhile” stories about his knights and their travels will thrill you. The book is cleverly and beautifully written and crafted. The author, Howard Pyle, is quite gifted with writing in an almost archaic middle English; yet, it's mixed with enough modern English so that it is easily understood by even a child. Merlin, Lady of the Lake, evil women who desire magical powers, Excalibur, mysterious knights—all this and more is contained within this truly entertaining book. 

So find a nook, take a look, Read this thrilling, captivating book!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Ant and the Grasshopper

Most of us have heard of the famous Aesop fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper. It is one that comes to mind this time of year: that time of year when the farmer is harvesting his bountiful crop and the weather is cooling off a bit. Oh, the pumpkins, the apples, the fall garden!

The farmer has to be diligent and vigilant. There is much work to do bringing in that harvest and a multitude of hours planting, watering, and tending before he can reap that harvest. Sometimes he loses, sometimes he wins; but he plods along, planning and preparing for the long winter to come. He cannot afford to be lazy or procrastinate; and he cannot begin and then slack off, or he may lose a good portion of his investment, if not it's entirety.

The ant was quite hardworking in this fable, as ants tend to be. Ants work together as a community, each helping each other as a group. They must all pitch in or the tasks will not get done. So they plod along. It may be hot, but that is no deterrent. Each one must endure, even in hardness—and never, Never, NEVER give up.

The grasshopper on the other hand was neither industrious nor foresighted. He was merry and happy to play, but had not ambition to work. He wanted to have fun, to live the easy life. He reminds me of the pig brothers who built their houses of sticks and straw. They wanted only to do that which was easy, avoiding hard work. So here is a grasshopper, as well as lazy pigs, playing on their fiddles and avoiding the toiling tasks.

Now, he may have been willing to work a bit, but not too much; or he may have been willing to work but procrastinated until it was too late. He was distracted from what is important because of his fiddle. Remember, growing food for the winter requires foresightedness, planning, and steadfastness. We live in a world full of many distractions. Technologies and devices abound; entertainment lurks around every corner; lights and noises dazzle us, the simple things shrouded from view. Where aught the eyes to land and remain? When distracted by such a multiplicity of dazzling goods, tools, entertainments, delights, etc. it is difficult to keep one's eyes on the goal and “harvest the winter's store.”

The ants turn the grasshopper away, out into the cold when the winter's cold begins.

What were you doing all summer,” the ants tell him.

I was playing on my fiddle, singing and dancing,” replied the grasshopper.

Oh the vice of too much play and entertaining distractions! He wasted his time in frivolities and improvidence! Some versions of the story, though, have the ants pitying the rueful grasshopper, teaching a lesson about mercy in spite of one's failings –a truth which has it's place. Are we harsh toward others who are not as hardworking as we? Or perhaps there is another area of character in which we ourselves are strong, another weaker. Again, the concept of community with the ants. They all work together. Some do some jobs, others doing another. We all have strengths and weaknesses: they are just in different things in varying amounts.

The Biblical proverbs record, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.” (Prov. 6:6) We can all walk away from this tale with a number of life lessons:

  1. The importance of hard work, industry, and diligence
  2. The importance of compassion and charity
  3. The importance of living a life free from distractions—may they not rule us.
Idleness brings want,” so goes the adage. Simultaneously, though, let us not forget the importance of “stopping to smell the roses” along the road of life. Let us not be too busy for the simple things and to take the time to help and give to others.

A Word from Ollie

Whooo, Whooo! Helloo there. Wow! What a lesson this old tale has for us! When we hear old tales, it is easy for us just to hear an entertaining story; but I have some advice for us all: I think it would be good to really ponder afterwards what the point of the stories are. Ask yourself, “Why was this story written? Is there some truth the author is trying to convey?”  Adopting this practice, we may learn a lot more in life.

Here is a word to think about: sedulous. This word (sedulous) is an adjective meaning “showing dedication and diligence.” The grasshopper was not sedulous. The ants were sedulous. Let us all be sedulous and assiduous (a similar word) as we ply the tasks before us this harvest.

Bye for now my fine feathered friends—or furry friend . . . or human friend.

The Crafty Corner

Here is a great set of dolls I made that tell the story of the Three Little Pigs. Two of the brothers were lazy and improvident like the grasshopper in this month's story. They were not foresighted, but rather, thought only of the here and now.

They are made almost entirely of felt—even their clothes. You may have noticed the pockets in their clothes. Notice that one pig has a brick in his pocket; the second pig some straw in his, and in the third, a stick. I used a French knot for each of the eyes. The clothes were quite simple compared to many patterns. Because they are made of felt and felt doesn't fray like most other fabrics do, I didn't need to hem the edges. These little dolls are great for parents or teachers who would like to use them when telling the story to others. Check out my Etsy shop where these dolls and others are listed for sale.

For more thought about the Three Little Pigs, take a look at the June 20017 post (The Brother Pigs Three) in the archives section of this blog.

Book of the Month

So, what book are you reading at this time? I just finished reading a biography about William Penn entitled William Penn: Liberty and Justice for All by Janet and Geoff Benge. What an enduring life he lived! What hardships and treachery he endured! But he had a cause and was faithful to what he believed. I had no idea the extent to which he endured such hardships in his truly tempestuous life. Really a good book I highly recommend. So read, read, read! Find a nook, read a book, learn a lesson, get a new look. Perhaps you'll be placid as a brook. Happy reading!