Thursday, April 5, 2018

What a Difference a Day Makes

This time of year it seems like weather is the main topic of conversation. Come to think of it, isn't weather always the main topic of conversation for country folk? It is the one variable we cannot change or influence and it has such power over our lives!

We planted grape hyacinths all through the woods by our house, and they are such pretty spots of color now.

For example, this week: we had plans to work outside, get some mulch down, things like that. But it's been cold with heavy rain most of the week. Yesterday the rain let up and the wind took up the charge, blowing us hither to yon with icy fingers. It was not a fun day to be out and about, but we had meetups scheduled with some of our pickers, so off we went. We managed to get it all done, but my goodness it was cold, wet work. In the evening flurries scattered around, making the fireplace a welcome place to gather in at the end of the day.

It looks warmer than it really is!

This morning dawned cold again and the wind is still blowing but not so hard as before. It seems warm until you step into the shade, and then, whoowhee, look out! Tomorrow is supposed to be lovely; then tomorrow night, measurable snow is in the forecast.

Daffodils everywhere! Even over the hills, along the driveway and other places we never put them.

So the workshop I was to give on Saturday has been canceled, because there could be s much as five inches of white stuff on the ground. And even if it's only a little covering, the forecast itself is enough to keep people from coming out. I am sorry in a way because I was looking forward to being with fellow storytellers again, but I am also relieved not to be facing an early-morning, snowy, hour and a half drive.


The up side of this cool spring is that my daffodils continue to bloom. They've been out since the first of March, and are still beautiful. Some of them took a beating from the wind and rain this week, but most are hanging on like troupers. Spring has been coming very gradually, and just today it finally looks green and like one would expect an early April day to look.


So after my therapy session this morning I came home and sanded. I've been working on a dressing table that isn't making me happy. After two colors that just didn't look right to me, I'm ready to try a third. Third time's the charm, right? I took it outside and sanded it down again, and now it's ready to paint...again. Wish me luck!

These white daffodils are a little the worse for wear now, but have been so pretty.

All this talk of wind reminds me of one of my favorite stories, The Boy and the North Wind. There are many versions of this story from Norway. Here's one of them:

ONCE on a time there was an old widow who had one son and, as she was poorly and weak, her son had to go up into the safe to fetch meal for cooking; but when he got outside the safe, and was just going down the steps, there came the North Wind, puffing and blowing, caught up the meal, and so away with it through the air. Then the lad went back into the safe for more; but when he came out again on the steps, if the North Wind didn’t come again and carry off the meal with a puff; and more than that, he did so the third time. At this the lad got very angry; and as he thought it hard that the North Wind should behave so, he thought he’d just look him up, and ask him to give up his meal.

So off he went, but the way was long, and he walked and walked; but at last he came to the North Wind’s house.

“Good day!” said the lad, and “thank you for coming to see us yesterday.”

“GOOD DAY!” answered the North Wind, for his voice was loud and gruff, “AND THANKS FOR COMING TO SEE ME. WHAT DO YOU WANT?”

“Oh!” answered the lad, “I only wished to ask you to be so good as to let me have back that meal you took from me on the safe steps, for we haven’t much to live on; and if you’re to go on snapping up the morsel we have there’ll be nothing for it but to starve.”

“I haven’t got your meal,” said the North Wind; “but if you are in such need, I’ll give you a cloth which will get you everything you want, if you only say, ‘Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes!’”

With this the lad was well content. But, as the way was so long he couldn’t get home in one day, he turned into an inn on the way; and when they were going to sit down to supper, he laid the cloth on a table which stood in the corner and said:

“Cloth spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes.”

He had scarce said so before the cloth did as it was bid; and all who stood by thought it a fine thing, but most of all the landlady. So, when all were fast asleep, at dead of night, she took the lad’s cloth, and put another in its stead, just like the one he had got from the North Wind, but which couldn’t so much as serve up a bit of dry bread.

So, when the lad woke, he took his cloth and went off with it, and that day he got home to his mother.

“Now,” said he, “I’ve been to the North Wind’s house, and a good fellow he is, for he gave me this cloth, and when I only say to it, ‘Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes,’ I get any sort of food I please.”

“All very true, I dare say,” said his mother; “but seeing is believing, and I shan’t believe it till I see it.”

So the lad made haste, drew out a table, laid the cloth on it, and said:

“Cloth, spread yourself, and serve all up kinds of good dishes.”

But never a bit of dry bread did the cloth serve up.

“Well,” said the lad, “there’s no help for it but to go to the North Wind again;” and away he went.

So he came to where the North Wind lived late in the afternoon.

“Good evening!” said the lad.

“Good evening,” said the North Wind.

“I want my rights for that meal of ours which you took,” said the lad; “for as for that cloth I got, it isn’t worth a penny.”

“I’ve got no meal,” said the North Wind; “but yonder you have a ram which coins nothing but golden ducats as soon as you say to it:

“‘Ram, ram! Make money!’”

So the lad thought this a fine thing but as it was too far to get home that day, he turned in for the night to the same inn where he had slept before.

Before he called for anything, he tried the truth of what the North Wind had said of the ram, and found it all right; but when the landlord saw that, he thought it was a famous ram, and, when the lad had fallen asleep, he took another which couldn’t coin gold ducats, and changed the two.

Next morning off went the lad; and when he got home to his mother he said:

“After all, the North Wind is a jolly fellow; for now he has given me a ram which can coin golden ducats if I only say, ‘Ram, ram! Make money!’”

“All very true, I dare say,” said his mother; “but I shan’t believe any such stuff until I see the ducats made.”

“Ram, ram! Make money!” said the lad; but if the ram made anything it wasn’t money.

So the lad went back again to the North Wind and blew him up, and said the ram was worth nothing, and he must have his rights for the meal.

“Well,” said the North Wind; “I’ve nothing else to give you but that old stick in the corner yonder; but it’s a stick of that kind that if you say:


“‘Stick, stick! Lay on!’ It lays on till you say:

“‘Stick, stick! Now stop!’”

So, as the way was long, the lad turned in this night too to the landlord; but as he could pretty well guess how things stood as to the cloth and the ram, he lay down at once on the bench and began to snore, as if he were asleep.

Now the landlord, who easily saw that the stick must be worth something, hunted up one which was like it, and when he heard the lad snore, was going to change the two, but just as the landlord was about to take it the lad bawled out:

“Stick, stick! Lay on!”

So the stick began to beat the landlord, till he jumped over chairs, and tables, and benches, and yelled and roared:

“Oh my! Oh my! Bid the stick be still, else it will beat me to death, and you shall have back both your cloth and your ram.”

When the lad thought the landlord had got enough, he said:

“Stick, stick! Now stop!”

Then he took the cloth and put it into his pocket, and went home with his stick in his hand, leading the ram by a cord round its horns; and so he got his rights for the meal he had lost.

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Ha! Folktales mete out such simple justice sometimes! Have a good evening, friends, and try to stay warm and dry.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

4 comments:

Nance said...

Thanks, Sue. I enjoyed your tale. Spring is late to Iowa. Daffodils are up but not blooming. Snow is still expected. I have planted radishes but not potatoes yet. Have you read about 'The Year there was no Winter'?

Granny Sue said...

I think she's late arriving everywhere, Nance. I thought it might b warm enough to have my tea on the porch this morning, but nope. We have lettuce and radishes up too, but that's it so far. I guess we're seeing how it is every year in colder climes!

Michelle said...

Spring is here one day and gone the next. A constant back and forth. Some snow for us in KY tonight and tomorrow. We shall see.

hart said...

Love the story.I cannot believe we will have snow tomorrow, even if only flurries are predicted here.

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