TREE - TREES
Stories, Folktales, Folklore, Fairy Tales, Legends,
Myths, History, Nursery Rhymes, Fantasy & Facts


Story Lovers World


The Story Lovers World home page is at: http://www.story-lovers.com
To add to the category below, please e-mail jackie@storyloversworld.com





TREE - TREES
Stories, Folktales, Folklore, Fairy Tales, Legends,
Myths, History, Nursery Rhymes, Fantasy & Facts

Scroll down or click on your choice below:

SOS-Searching Out Stories/Info- Trees
Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers,
Teachers and Librarians






SOS - SEARCHING OUT STORIES AND INFORMATION - PINS AND NEEDLES
Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers, Teachers and Librarians

(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

Book titles and online links are in dark blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories/information.
In performance, always credit your sources.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Posts are listed chronologically as they are received by Story Lovers World.


NOTE: A very helpful and comprehensive website about trees is at:

http://www.spiritoftrees.org/spirit_of_trees.html


1)
Christmas story by Florence Holbrook entitled Why the Evergreen Trees Never Lose Their Leaves.
http://www.osmond.net/chill/christmas/stories/74.htm


2) Soft Figs. A king, leading his army to war at a distant battlefield, passed an old man planting fig trees
for future generations.


3) The Useless Tree by Chuang Tsu (China) -- carpenter distains huge oak tree who defends itself to him in a dream.


4) God's Creation - a Biblical midrash from Genesis Rabbah - When God created Adam, he walked him through the Garden of Eden, showing him all the trees that He had created. "See how beautiful are the works of My hands," he told Adam. "Take good care not to ruin or destroy my world. For if you destroy it, there will be no one after you to repair it."


5)
A Blessing - a Talmudic tale from Tractate Ta'anit Rabbi Nachman and Rabbi Isaac were sharing a meal together. Rabbi Nachman asked Rabbi Isaac to teach him words from the Torah. Rabbi Isaac assented and plied his listener with commentaries and parables that contained deep wisdom. When they were about to part, Rabbi Isaac asked Rabbi Nachman to give him a parting blessing. "Now I'll tell you a parable," said Rabbi Nachman. "A man was walking through the desert, and he was hungry and tired and thirsty. He came upon a tree that bore ripe fruit, gave good shade, and had a stream of water running past it. He ate the fruit, drank the water, and rested in its shade. When it time to go, the man said to the tree: "O, tree, how shall I bless you? If I were to wish you sweet fruit--your fruit is already sweet. Good shade?--you already give good shade. Were I to say, 'May a stream of water run past you'--a stream of water already runs past you. So I wish for you that every sapling taken from you turns out exactly like you." "So, Rabbi Isaac--how shall I bless you? If I wish you the fullness of wisdom--you are already full of wisdom. Wealth?--you are already wealthy. Were I to say, 'May you bear children'--you have already borne children. So I wish for you that all of your children turn out exactly like you."


6)
Daphne and Apollo - Greek mythology - How it came about that Apollo wore a laurel wreath.


7)
The Tree's Wife from Dream Weaver by Jane Yolen.


8) The Man Who Planted Trees, Page 33, from Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart, edited by Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield. This is a Chinese version, there's also a European one, by Jean Giono(?). The latter is a very beautiful story about a man who single-handedly reforests a devastated countryside...


9)
Ulu and the Breadfruit Tree from Polynesia from Storymaking in Education and Therapy by Alida Gersie and Nancy King


10)
The Young Man, The Lion and the Yellow Flowered Zwartstorm Tree, a Bushman's tale from South Africa from Earthtales by Alida Gersie.


11) Greek tale of the Goddess Ceres and her Sacred Forest.


12) Mysterious Tales from Japan - Rafe Martin.


13) The Magic Pear Tree from Jane Yolen.


14) Baucis and Philemon from the Greeks


15)
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynn Cherry. Try stories about rain forest creatures.


16) Stories about Johnny Appleseed.


17) Genesis (the old Tree of Life?)


18)
Swiss Family Robinson.


19) Connor and the Leprachaun by Jay O'Callahan


20)
"True" stories, the story of Morton, the guy who started Arbor Day.
http://www.arborday.org/arborday/history.html


21)
Three Wishes for a Forest.


22) The Tale of Three Trees - A traditional folktale retold by Angela Elwell Hunt (1989) Lion Publishing Corporation. It is essentialy a story about the birth of Christianity with the trees each representing one aspect of Jesus' life journey - the feedbox (manger), fishing boat and the cross.


23)
Abraham Apple Tree From Seed to Tree – A sound story, developed and written by Mabel Kaplan, 1995 This story can be used as a sound story. Use your own voice OR any musical instrument/sound from which you can produce a scale e.g. a piano, a keyboard, a xylophone, a mouth organ or kazoo. Suggested sung or instrumental musical sounds are given in the square [...] brackets. But you may like to try out some of your own.


24)
Myths of the Sacred Tree, by Moira Caldecott. Destiny Books, 1993. It has around 40 myths/stories from around the world. Sources are given, and each myth is followed by a commentary which ranges from basic psychological and symbolic interpretation, through a little philosophy, to useful background facts.
ISBN 0-89281-414-4


25) Sacred Trees, Nathaniel Altman.


26) Hidden Stories in Plants, Anne Pellowski.


27) Native Plant Stories, Joseph Bruchac.


28) The Tree in the Moon, and Other Legends of Plants and Trees by Rosalind Kerven.


29)
Dan Hall from Westport Connecticut has a great tree song on his tape-there is a tree for every letter of the alphabet- might be Earth Songs-lots of great material for recycling too!


30) The Direction of the Road by Ursula LeGuin. It's found in her collection The Wind's Twelve Quarters, Bantam, 1976. The tree in the story is an oak and the first person narrator of the story. It stands by the highway upholding the "law of relativity."


31) The Lore of the Forest, by Alexanmder Porteous, published by Senate 1996 (Random House, London). It was originally published in 1928, titled Forest Folklore. It's full of interesting facts, leads, bits of mythology and lore etc. It isn't a source of good stories, since it's a reference book.


32)
The Magic Listening Cap (in a collection of the same title) features a magic cap that allows the wearer to hear understand the speech of plants & animals. It features a prominent camphor tree.


33)
The Ancestor Tree by T. Obinkaram Echewa. The cover reads "In the African Villare of Amapu, there lives an old man who rises before the sun."


34)
Erysichthon. A version of it is in Classic Myths by Charles MIlls Gayley and also in The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology by Edward Tripp.


35) The Apple Thieves can be found in The Family Storytelling Handbook, by Anne Pellowski, page 85. This paper cutting story is very much liked by young children,


36) Earth Care - World Folktales to Talk about by Margaret Read Macdonald. There is a section in the book that deals with Caring for the Forest. The stories are: Beast and Tree, Who is King of the World, Mikku and the Tree Hold Tight and Stick Tight, Spider and the Palm-Nut Tree.


37) West Indian Folk-Tales, retold by Philip Sherlock, Oxford Univ. Press, has a great story called The Coomacka-Tree that explains the origins of food plants in the Caribbean from one great marvelous tree.
ISBN 0-19-274127-6


38) Native American Gardening, Michael J. Caduto & Joseph Bruchac, Fulcrum Publishing, has several stories about food plants from different Native American traditions.
ISBN 1-55591-148-X


39)
Finnish folktale on trees – The Talking Spruces.


40) Tree Stories: A Collection of Extraordinary Encounters, edited by Warren David Jacobs and Karen I. Shragg, and published by SunShine Press of Colorado. Here is the back cover description: Tree Stories is a unique gathering of stories and poems, written by adults and children, about a special tree in their life. Reading of these healing, heartfelt connections nurtures our human spirit and reminds us of the simple beauties of life. They honor the personal, material and spiritual values that trees play in our lives. These personal tributes also encourage us to sanctify life in all its dimensions--human, plant and animal--and strengthen our resolve to protect our planet.


41)
Australian Folktales -- Talwalpin and Towinka


42) Little pine tree where the tree wants to have other kinds of leaves and he doesn't belive when they tell him in winter he'll lose leaves. Well he does, and he's sorry he ever wanted another kind of leaf. When spring comes, the angel of the trees put his own shiny green pine needles back on him and after that he doesn't ever want to be any other kind of tree again.


43) Cristy West's new website Spirit of Trees, an excellent resource!
http://www.SpiritofTrees.org

Additional info: Margaret Read MacDonald's Mikku and the Trees might be one to consider
http://www.spiritoftrees.org/folktales/macdonald/mikku_trees.html

Or Anne Pellowski's Why Plants have Human Characteristics at
http://www.spiritoftrees.org/folktales/pellowski/plants_human_character.html

Since the launch a few week ago, there are about two dozen new links and a few new "Featured Tales," too. One of these is Alton Chung's The Old Man Who Made the Trees Blossom, a tale about cherry trees at
http://www.spiritoftrees.org/folktales/chung/old_man_who_made_trees_blossom.html

Here in DC, the cherry trees are now blooming and the cherry blossom festival is in progress so this is quite relevant. There are a couple of other Japanese cherry tree tales, too, to be found in the story links section of Spirit of Trees--
http://www.spiritoftrees.org/folktales/story_links.html

such as the Cherry Tree of the Sixteenth Day (Jui-Roku-Zakura)
http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/kwaidan/kwai14.htm

and Ubazakura (or the Cherry Blossom Nurse) at
http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/kwaidan/kwai05.htm
Indeed, many tell The Peddlar of Swaffam (Peddlar's Dream) as a Cherry Tree story--though for others it is an Apple Tree story.

Earth Day is on April 22. And here in DC Arbor Day comes just a few days later on April 25. Every state is different--to the north, later, to the south, earlier--around the time trees are leafing out. (Info about Arbor day at the Arbor Day Foundation--another link) Beyond that, well, don't forget the solstice. At http://www.Spiritoftrees.org, there's now a neat new link in the section for curricular resources. This goes to Diane Edgecomb's site and shows numerous photos of Diane performing her Tree Lore and Solstice Legends show at the Arnold Arboretum near Boston--

Let this be an inspiration!! And one of the tales she describes, The Dancing Spirit of the Birch Grove, is the same one I have posted at SOT as The Lady in White.
http://www.spiritoftrees.org/folktales/west/Lady_in_white.html


44)
This is VERY definitely an audience participation story. As you begin the story, you ask for volunteers to help the audience "see" the story. When I told it at a church party, I enlisted the help of a friend who kept interrupting to tell me that she couldn't see the scene so I proceeded to show her. It was springtime in the forest. There was a special warmth in the air and birds sat in the trees singing. There was a weepinging willow (someone pretending to cry), a pear [pair] tree (two people standing with arms around each other), a nut tree (someone acting silly), a pine tree (someone with a sad expressing on their face), quaking asps, etc. [What other kinds of trees could we use?] There was a babbling brook wandering through the trees. (Ask someone to wander through the trees saying "babble, babble,") A gentle breeze wafted through the forest. (Ask someone to do their interpretation of "wafting" as they follow the brook through the forest.) Ask for one more volunteer (pick someone you KNOW is a good sport) and ask them to follow the brook and the breeze through the forest. Then you say, "Looks good. Now I know it is springtime because when it is springtime the sap starts to run in the forest." Obviously this is a story to use in a situation where you know the people but I couldn't resist posting it. I had a lot of fun with it. No one suspected a thing since I always tell a story at the annual church talent show.


45)
Maple trees:
Linking through the Spirit of Trees website, this one comes up.
http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=olcott&book=indian&story=maple

This is a more ornate telling than many Native American versions.

Also, Joe Bruchac has a story about maple syrup -- how it used to flow so readily from the trees, but the people got lazy and began to lie around under the trees and let it drip into their mouths. So Nanabozho (trickster) poured lake water over the trees until the sap ran thin and it required time and effort to get the sweetness boiled down. It may be in Keepers of the Earth.


46)
Maple trees:
I have two tales to share and one that Lorna Coranza sent to the list awhile ago.

a) The first I heard at Helmer's Nature Center in W. Irondequoit, NY. It was told by one the volunteer guides on a maple sugaring tour for a school group. Think I have seen a written souce for this, maybe in one Parker's volumes on Seneca stories. It's about Why Maple Sap Is... well, that's an explanation, not a title as I heard it not as a story, but there is a story "about."
Bones of Why Maple Sap...
Long ago, maple trees used to give sap that pure syrup. The people loved the sweet syrup and soon came to lie under the trees in the spring, open their mouths, and get fat and fatter on the syrup. When the Creator saw how his people were not working, he changed the trees by adding water to the sap. Sap that then had to be boiled and boiled to get a bit of pure syrup.

b) There is another story that was told recently at the same center. In that story it is a little boy who discovers that something sweet comes out of the trees. Perhaps because his arrow missed its mark and hit the tree. Don't know a written source for that one.

c)
Why the Maple Wears a Beaded Dress
From: LCzarnota
Subject: Re: Oak trees
I just thought of a Native American story. I don't have a source though, and it is mostly about the Maple with mention of the Oak. I think it is Seneca. If I recall it went something like this in basic form: Why the Maple Wears a Beaded Dress: Maple Maiden went to fetch water one beautiful day. As she walked she saw a handsome warrior by the road. He stood straight and tall. "Dear Maiden," he said "Would you give me a drink of water?" He held out his bowl and she poured some cool fresh water for him to drink. "I am Oak warrior." he said. And they exchanged smiles. He was grateful for Maple Maiden's kindness and so, when he had drained his bowl, he filled it with beads from his own headdress. Maple maiden sewed them onto her dress and wore them with pride. And of course, ever since that day, when you see Maple Maiden, you will find Oak warrior not far away.


47) Greetings all! Just to say that there is a delightful new "featured folktale" posted at Spirit of Trees, The Harper in Fairyland, from Beth Vaughan.
http://www.spiritoftrees.org/folktales/vaughan/harper_in_fairyland.html

In her very generous commentary Beth discusses three different kinds of workshops she has created around this particular story. A good example of workshop possibilities that can be derived from a single tale. Looking for a good tale to tell around the winter/Xmas season? If so, I especially recommend Silver Pine Cones, an offering from Sheryl Ann Karas at Spirit of Trees--
http://www.spiritoftrees.org/folktales/karas/silver_fir_cones.html

Last year I told this tale to assembled family members on Xmas eve and then handed out some pine cones I'd carefully painted with silver spray paint. It seemed to be a hit . Other seasonal tales at Spirit of trees can be found in the section for story links--
http://www.spiritoftrees.org/folktales/story_links.html
Why Evergreens Keep Their Leaves in Winter (three versions, including one in audio from Odds Bodkin) and The Thunder Oak.


48)
The Tree That Survived the Winter by Mary Fahy
Story:
The tree awakened earlier than usual one morning and stretched her arms toward the horizon as if to invite the early rays of dawn into her world. She shivered with delight, wiggling her roots in the muddy earth, which had only recently yielded its frozen hardness.

She sensed something was different. Her roots seemed to be extending further and more firmly into the soil. Her arms seemed to embrace more of the world, not with the timid gestures of a sapling afraid of tangling with the wind, but with the freedom of knowing that the wind could not topple her.

"I have survived the winter!" she marveled aloud.

"How wonderful," whispered the dawn, who had a facility for appreciating new miracles no matter how often they occurred. She swirled around the tree in a ritual of blessing, enveloping her gently, making her feel very special.

"How very different this feels," mused the tree, for a few short weeks ago the melting earth beneath her roots had sent shivers of panic through every single branch, She had cried out in alarm then, sensing that she might sink into the earth] and lose herself. often during the cold winter...., while she had trembled with anxiety she had felt an inner voice -- a small but steady voice -- which remained fluid and alive when everything else in her seemed paralyzed.

But now -- now! -- she was filled with the realization that her inner life was in harmony with the world outside. She relaxed the tight fibers of her being which she had unwittingly held rigid during the cold gray months.

"I have survived the winter!" she exulted.

"You have survived the winter!" the birds echoed, hopping eagerly from branch to branch, bouncing on the tender extensions of herself that the tree had not even noticed.

"Oh!"

This one word, spoken softly and reverently, was all the tree could manage as she examined the white buds beginning to show through the tips of her branches, once held hard-clenched against the winter winds.

"I have survived the winter," the tree sighed, "and I have grown!"

Days passed, and the energy within her fairly exploded, spilling out into dusters of lovely blossoms. She watched each day as they grew larger and more beautiful.

Spring rains showered her with congratulations and encouragement. "You have survived the winter and you are growing, growing, growing..."

"Growing! Yes, I am growing," the tree acknowledged. "I have survived the winter and I am growing." She shivered with delight as she admired her new appearance, letting a few raindrops fall on the violets that enjoyed the shelter of her trunk. "It is good to be alive," she told them.

"Indeed," said the sun, appearing suddenly from behind a rain cloud, "you have survived the winter because you are very much loved!"

The tree could feel the warmth of the smiling sun penetrate deep into her branches, even through the bark of her trunk. But then she stopped. For the memory of the hard winter sent through her a stab of anger and pain that she thought the spring had healed.

"Where were you when I needed you?" she cried to the sun. I needed you! I needed you so badly and you weren't there," she sobbed. "You've been gone so long, and I've been so cold and lonely and scared. The days were so gray when you weren't there, and even when I could see you in the distance I couldn't feel your warmth or seem to reach you with my voice. Didn't you see me shivering? I became so brittle I was afraid of breaking, and my roots became paralyzed in the earth.

She could no longer go on except to cry out: "...and I missed you-- terribly!"

The sun's glow only intensified and the message was repeated. "You have survived the winter because you are very much loved."

The sun continued. "The chills and ice and bitter cold have toughened your timber to just the right degree, for you needed to be strong to carry the fruit that will appear on your branches. If I had stayed close all winter, you would not have grown this strong. But now -- just look at you!

A blush of pink coursed through her petals. The tree stood speechless.

You have survived the winter because you are, and were, and always will be very much loved," said the sun. "For that small place deep within you that remained unfrozen and open to mystery, that is where I have made my dwelling. And long, long before you felt my warmth surrounding you, you were being freed and formed from within in ways so deep and profound that you could not possibly know what was happening."

"I...I...I had hope," she whispered, noticing that the words seemed to come from that inner space deep within her.

"Yes, you had hope," sparkled the sun. You trusted in life and that is what enabled you to grow. For if you had no hope and trust in the center of your being, you could not have blossomed into you."

This was almost too much joy for the tree to hear. No words would come, and no words were necessary.

Weeks passed and the tree became a part of life in the meadow. She caught the kites of children who gathered nearby, and happily tossed them back gain.

"You are a good sport," they said to her. "We will call you Friend."

A young couple sat in the shade of her thickening leaves and spoke of their love for one another. "This is a special place," they said, and they left their initials on her toughened bark.

"We shall call you Keeper of Secrets," they said to her.

A tired woman, bent with care, walked silently through the meadow, oblivious to everything except her own worries. She did not notice the tree.

"Come and rest for a while," whispered the tree, but she finally had to toss a piece of fruit onto the path before the woman saw her. Wearily, the woman sat and ate the fruit, and pondered deeply. The tree could feel the woman relax as she rested against her trunk.

Finally the woman stood up. "Thank you," she said and embraced the tree.

The tree winced, for the woman had touched a spot that had not healed from the winter's ravages -- a spot that remained vulnerable even though the spring and summer months had been good to her. The woman seemed to notice and caressed the spot thoughtfully. At that moment there was a oneness -- a sense of understanding between the troubled woman and the free.

"I will call you Hope," whispered the woman, and touched her again with affection and gratitude.

Long after her fruit had been shared and she began noticing touches of scarlet in her leaves, the tree still carried deep within her the memories of all her experiences.

"Who could possibly have imagined all that has happened to me?" she said to no one in particular.

And then addressing herself to the sun, she said, "...except you!"

"Have you seen? Have you heard?" she asked eagerly. "I am needed! I am wanted! I am named! Aren't they beautiful names? I am called Friend, and Keeper of Secrets, and Hope."

"Indeed," replied the sun, splashing a smile across the evening sky. "And what is the name I have given you?"

"You named me?" the tree asked, astonished at her lack of awareness. "Long before you were a seedling," the sun replied solemnly. "What do you call me?" she asked. Watching the sun slide behind the farthest hill, she stood motionless, waiting in the promise of the newly-painted sky.

"What do you call me?" she asked again in the stillness of the night. The small voice from within said,"You are called Faithful."

"You are called FaithfuL" blinked the evening star, as if to reassure her.

Benediction
The conclusion is always the same;
love is the most powerful,
and still the most unknown energy
of the world.
-Pierre Tejihard de Chardin"

Joy S.


49) I don't know if this is what you seek but they are both sites. The first is more background info on willow trees and such, the second is a Japanese legend.
Click here: The White Willow
http://www.thewhitewillow.com/history.html

Green Willow - A Tale from Japan - retold by Rafe Martin
http://www.spiritoftrees.org/folktales/martin/green_willow.html
Karen C. 5/15/05


50)
Query: I'm telling tree stories in a museum gallery filled with tree paintings in about a week. After the stories, the participants are creating art containing some sort of tree motifs. I have some good stories, but I'm looking for more. If you have any favorites you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them.

So far I'm considering "The Old Man Who Made Trees Blossom," "Green Willow," "The Useless Tree," "The Magic Pear," "The Magic Orange Tree" and a few short myths, e.g. Yggdrasil.

I once heard a story about a baobab tree that had a secret entrance that it shared with one fortunate man. I believe the tree contained treasures inside. The one who was given access made the mistake of telling the wrong person who was greedy and got trapped inside. Anyone know this tale?
John C. 11/7/05

Response: I do have different versions of this story, but they are all in French. The one who gets trapped inside the baobab is a hyena.
Frank G. 11/ 7/05


Response: I found the baobab story in English, so I share this with you. I also included three other tree stories which might be of interest to you.

1- The treasure of the Baobab tree
The day is hot, the air was thick, the ground is hard and the mouth was dry. The hare is making his way home when he comes across the baobab tree. "Baobab tree," he calls out, "You are old and wise and generous. Please let me rest in your shade." The tree answered, "Hare, your call is true, come sit in my shade." The hare sits and thanks the Baobab tree. But the air is still thick and the ground is still hard and the mouth still dry. The hare calls once again, "Baobab tree you are old and wise and generous, allow me to drink from your sap." And the Baobab says, "Hare, your call is true, please drink from my sap." The hare drinks from the sap, is refreshed, and thanks the Baobab tree.

Some time goes by and the hare calls once more, "Baobab tree, you are old and wise and generous, won't you allow me to enter your heart?" And the tree answers, "Hare your call is true, come enter my heart." The tree opens her heart and the hare enters. Inside he sees unimaginable beauty, lights of all colors, sparkling dew drops, and precious stones everywhere onyx and emerald, diamond and sapphires all glittering and glowing. The hare calls to the Baobab, "You are old and wise and generous, wont you allow me to take one of your stones to my wife as a present?" The tree answers, "Your call is true, won't you take one of my stones?" The hare thankfully takes a single crystal, steps out and the heart closes behind him.

Now the hare takes the stone to his wife, who places it on a chain around her neck and walks around town, showing it to all. But she shows it especially to the wife of the hyena, for she knows that the hyena and his wife will be the most jealous. That night, the wife of the hyena says to her husband, "Go, get me a stone from the heart of the baobab tree."

The next morning, the air is thick, the sun is hot and the ground is hard. The hyena comes to the Baobab tree and says, "You are old and rich and very beautiful let me enter your heart." The Baobab tree opens her heart. The hyena enters and sees lights of many colors, sparkling dew, and precious stones. And the hyena starts to grab a diamond, a sapphire, a ruby. He grabs more and more, frantic with greed. He is out of control, taking from every corner of the Baobab's heart. The tree trembling and terrified calls out to him, but the hyena can not hear her. So with great shudder the Baobab closes her heart, trapping the hyena inside. The hyena dies. From that day on, the Baobab tree has not been willing to open her heart to anyone, even to those whose call is true. She simply pays them no attention.

2- Legend of the Willow
According to a Polish legend, one early spring day, a mother cat and her kittens were exploring the forest along the river near their home. A butterfly drifted past them and over the water. The kittens, being young and inexperienced, leaped into the air to try to catch the butterfly, but instead landed in the swiftly moving water.

The mother cat cried while her young kittens struggled with the current. The mother cat was afraid the kittens soon would drown.

Along the bank of the river there grew a wise willow with graceful branches that bent all the way to the water. The willow saw the kittens floating nearby and bent all the way into the water.

Each kitten grabbed the branch and was pulled to shore by the willow. To this day, the willow is honored for its heroic deeds by the tiny fur-like buds that sprout each season as the rivers start to run each spring.

3- Why the Evergreen Trees Keep their Leaves in Winter
http://www.rickwalton.com/folktale/bryant63.htm

4- Legend of the mulberry tree - How silk was discovered
Chinese legend tells how silk was discovered almost 5,000 years ago by Xiling Shi, the wife of the semi-mythical emperor Huanghi. Walking in the garden, the empress plucked a cocoon from a mulberry tree. The cocoon fell by accident into her cup of tea. She and her handmaidens were astonished to see the cocoon start to unravel, revealing a long delicate thread. XiLingJi was so delighted by its beauty and strength that she had thousands of cocoons collected and then wove them into a robe for the Emperor. The Chinese guarded the secret of silk for thousands of years. Another Chinese princess, on her way to be married to a prince in India, is said to have smuggled some mulberry seeds and silkworm eggs in her headdress, allowing silk production in her new homeland. She wanted, the legend says, to have silk fabric easily available in her new land.
Frank G. 11/8/05


51)
Here is a list of tree-related references from myth and folklore. It will probably point the way to a few stories that could be of use:
A list of sacred trees and phenomena related
The Celestial Pole
The Nail of the North
The Pole Star: Polaris, the North Star, has not always been the pole star and will not remain so forever. Circa 3000 B.C. the pole star was Alpha Draconis; at the time of the Greeks, it was Beta Ursae Minoris; for the time being it is Alpha Ursae Minoris. By A.D. 12,000 the star Vega, in the constellation Lyra, will be the pole star.
Yggdrasil, the World Ash
The Huluppa-tree (in Gilgamesh)
Sigu's Wonder Tree/Stump
Anolodhi's Quern
Hamlet's Mill
Pherecyde's World Oak ('draped with a starry mantle')
The Broken Tree (Mexico)
The Saltwater Tree (Palluwalla) of the Cuna Indians
The Parent Pillar of the World (Tahiti)
The Pillar of Heaven (the heliacal constellation)
Uller's Yew Tree (belonging to Sirius)
Zeus's Oak (part of which was built into the Argo)
Sirius as the Celestial Arrow (the Bow of which is found in the constellations Argo and Canis Major)
The Oak of the Kalevala
The Tree of Life
The Cross
The Fig Tree at the Vortex (which saved Ulysses)
The Heather Tree that enfolded the coffin of Osiris
Dante's Purgatorial Mountain
The World Mountain
The Tower of Babel
The Maypole
Jacob's Ladder
Yeats' Gyre
The Wheel of Fortune
The Shaman's Drumstick/Drum
Arthur's Excaliber
Jack's Beanstalk

--From Appleseed Quarterly, Feb 1991, Vol 1 No. 1
Meryl A. 4/13/06


52) David Albert discusses the history of the tree huggers/Chipko movement in India in our book - The Healing Heart ~ Community, in his article, Hugging Trees: The story behind the story, which follows his version of the story - Gaura Devi Saves the Trees.
Allison C. 4/12/06


53) Query: I am researching some seasonal stories and have come across a photocopy of a story called Jack and the dancing trees. It's in Scottish dialect and seems to be part of something bigger called Battling Don's tales. I wondered if anyone had come across this. It would be nice to have a source for this story.

It's about a grove of ancient oaks - the oldest tree is called Auld Croovie. They dance and go to mate with the younger trees in the valley every fifty years. When they are making merry they leave their birth spots and anyone can help themselves to the treasure buried there - so long as they're not too greedy. There is good hearted Jack and the greedy laird. Of course Jack wins out comes a way with a little money and the laird is never seen again - probably still digging for treasure beneath Auld Croovie.

I would like to tell it but a bit more research is needed. Can anyone help?
Ghislaine W. 4/24/06

Response: Trees were central to the Druidic Mysteries, none more central than oaks, and there are various hints in folklore and mythology. The obvious one to check is the work called the Cad Goddeu - the Battle of the Trees, in Celtic mythology, known as one of the three frivolous battles of Britain. Tolkien borrowed such tree mythology in creating the Ents in Lord of the Rings, and the battle at which they came to the rescue. But Tolkien was very learned and may well have gathered his inspiration from other North European/Scandinavian sources too.

Robert Graves in the White Goddess interpreted the Cad Goddeu as referring to the sacred tree alphabet of the Druids, the battle being one of letters and hence symbolic of spiritual ideas and divine forces rather than a physical battle. He's undoubtedly right to look for deep symbolism, though most people trust his specific overall White Goddess thesis about as far as they could throw a tree - though an intellectual writer who gave copious references he was mainly a poet with a free-ranging imaginative vision.

I know none of this is about dancing, but the leisure activities of trees may well be detailed in the same places.
Tim S. England 4/25/06


54) The Stones of Poulhenic
There is a story called The Stones of Poulhenic (my spelling might be off) in a collection of French stories I have at home. In this story, the stones move at midnight on New Year's Eve. They go to the water to drink, leaving their treasure uncovered. The story has Christian influences--a person may take the treasure if they bring three things to the trees, one of these being a Christian soul.

It's great story, one I learned about 6 years ago, but have yet to tell.
Granny Sue 4/25/06

Response: Is this The Stones of Plouhinec, pp. 113-119 in Barbara Leonie Picard's French Legends, Tales and Fairy Stories (Oxford University Press, 1992) or from a different collection? The one I have is a Breton tale.
Barra the Bard 4/25/06

Response: I googled the title - its also in Andrew Lang's Lilac Fairy Tales and the text is on the net.
http://www.classicreader.com/read.php/sid./bookid.1088/sec.23/
Ellouise S. 4/26/06


MAPLE TREES AND SYRUP

55) Stories about maple trees and syrup:

"The Celestial Bear" by Kate Dudding (our very own Kate!)
http://www.katedudding.com/celestial_bear.shtml

"Gluskabe Changes Maple Syrup" (Abenaki)
http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/GluskabeChangesMapleSyrup-Abenaki.html

An Ojibwa myth about the maple tree (featuring Nokomis, the wise grandmother)
http://www.billcasselman.com/canadian_garden_words/cgw_three.htm
Includes background information about the maple tree

Maple Sugar: A Gift from the Indians
http://www.westonaprice.org/Maple-Sugar-A-Gift-from-the-Indians.html

"How Maple-Sugar Came" (Salteaux)
http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=olcott&book=indian&story=maple

"Mare's Son" from Sacred Texts (extensive source note)
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/roma/gft/gft080.htm

"Fox and Wolf" (American Indian)
http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0002.html

"The Funeral Maple" by Andrei Oisteanu (poem)
http://www.plural-magazine.com/article-the-funeral-maple.html

"The Great Tree" by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska
http://www.angelfire.com/mi4/polcrt/GreatTree.html

"The Woodland Fairy" synopsis by Theodora Goss (Hungarian Fairies)
http://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/rrHungarianF.html


56) How about "Monkey loves Misery" from The Magic Orange Tree: and Other Haitian Folktales by Diane Wollstein?

Merrilee H. 2/19/10


57) Here are a few ideas. I hope they are useful.

Glooscap and the Baby
In this story the baby sucks on a piece of maple sugar.
Favorite folktales from around the world - Google Books

Bear Maiden
The Greenwood Library of American ... - Google Books

Canadian Garden Words sample page three
Ojibwa Myth Abouth The Maple Tree

Earth Care: World Folktales to Talk ... - Google Books
Mikku and the Trees

Great info on maple trees
Myths and legends of flowers, trees ... - Google Books

Karen C. 2/19/10


58)
Do you mean the Maple Tapping story about why the sap has to be boiled down? It was because it used to be so sweet that folks just lay under the trees and were too lazy. This one is told in Western NY ... and someone mentioned that Bruchac has version in one of his books.

Ina V.D. 2/19/10


59) Here's a Maple Story.

One spring I worked at a nature center where we had a number of sugar maples that we tapped and sugared off. To illustrate the process before we went to the woods, I had pre-school kids play parts of a tree. We had a trunk... 4 or 5 kids lying on the ground for roots... a few became branches and leaves. Then we took a spout... pretended to hang it from the trunk. Put a big bucket on the floor and let the sap drip in.

I was the first sap. Then, of course, everyone wanted to be the sap.

Bob K. 2/19/10

Created 2003; last update 2/20/10

Back to Lists of Stories
Back to Top - Tree Stories
Story Lovers World ... 707-996-1996
jackie@storyloversworld.com