I followed that up with jam-making. We put lots of berries in the freezer last summer because my storytelling schedule left little time to make jam and I knew I could do it in winter. Today was another batch of mixed berry; this one is strawberry-blackberry. Yesterday I put up some black beans too, just to have them in stock for Larry who loves beans. Canning them is cost efficient for us because of our free gas and abundance of jars; I don't know if it would be worthwhile if we had to use an electric stove and buy new jars.
|Recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook|
Noodle-making has made me think of noodlehead stories. Have you ever heard of them? A noodlehead, to put it politely, is a simpleton. They can be easily fooled into doing things not always for their own good. Sometimes they find complex solutions to a simple problem, solutions that cause them no end of trouble and work.
One of my favorites of this story genre is of the nine men who were working together and had to cross a river. When they got across one suggested they count themselves. He counted only eight, because he forgot to count himself. Each of the others counted too, making the same mistake but no one could figure out who was missing. Finally, to solve the problem, they each stuck their nose into a muddy place and then counted the indentations. Sure enough there were nine, and how relieved they were to know than none of them had drowned.
Another favorite: A man from the city was walking along a country road. He came upon a barn that had apparently just been built. Two farmers were busily cutting notches into the brand new doorframe.
"Pardon me, fellas," the stranger said, "what are those notches for?"
"Well," said one of the farmers, "the door is too short for my mule. His ears hit the top of the door and he won't go in. So I'm cutting these notches for his ears."
The stranger studied the situation for a moment. "But wouldn't it just be easier to dig out the dirt under the door? Then your mule could go in easily and you would not have to ruin that nice doorframe."
The farmers looked at the man and shook their heads slowly. "No, that's all right. We'll just do it this way."
The stranger continued down the road, and when he was out of hearing, one of the farmers said to the other, "Isn't that just like a city boy. He don't know nothin'. Why, it's the mule's ears that are too long, not his legs!"
And one more: A man decided to go on a journey. Each night as he went to bed he would place his shoes in the direction he was going so that he would not be confused and go back where he came from when he woke in the morning.
He told a friend about this ploy, and that night his friend decided to play a joke on the man. He crept into the room where the traveler was sleeping and turned his shoes back toward home. In the morning the traveler woke refreshed and slipping on his shoes, commenced his day's walk--but back to where he had just been. After some time he arrived in a village that looked familiar.
"Why," he said, "this looks just like my own village! And this street is just like my street. How extraordinary! And look! There is a house just like mine! To think that such a long way as I have traveled, there is a place just like my home!"
He walked up to his house and raised his hand to knock at the door, when suddenly the door opened.
"Amazing!" he shouted. "A woman lives here who looks exactly like my own dear wife!"
There are many more of these silly stories, sometimes called numbskull stories. They are different than the "wise fool" stories like the Men of Chelm, the Hodja stories or the Jack Tales because in these tales, unlike the noodlehead stories, the men's seeming stupidity is really disguised cleverness.
There are some days when I feel like a noodlehead myself, but today is not one of them, thank goodness!
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.