WEATHER STORIES
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WEATHER STORIES
(excerpts from posts)
(If you want to retell any of the stories listed below, be sure to obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain)

I am doing a 4 day storytelling residency with 2nd graders soon on a weather theme. Any ideas or suggestions out there? In my residencies I always include teaching the students to tell their own stories, so I will definitely have them do original tales of weather related events in their life. What I need are stories I can tell that are about the weather. Folks Tales type stories, preferably.

1) Keepers of the Earth by Bruchac & Caduto has Gluscabi and the Wind Eagle under the heading Wind and Weather. If you can stretch weather to include seasons, you'll have more choices - eg.

(Also in Bruchac and Caduto)
How Turtle Flew South for the Winter
Spring Defeats Winter
Manabozho and the Maple Trees
How Fisher Went to the Skyland
(Origin of the Big Dipper, but also how the people came to have summer as well as winter)

In Caduto's Earth Tales from Around the World there is a section entitled Seasons & Weather
It includes
Earth & Sky Reconcile (Nigeria)
Nanabozho Brings the Seasons - (Anishinabe/Ojibwa)
Rainbow (Guajiro (Colombia and Venezuela)
The Wrath of March (Italy)
A Basket of Friendship (Korea)
And there's also The Month Brothers

2) Irish tales:
Three Days of the Old Brindled Cow (Leanta na Bó Riabhigh [brindled], or Bó Rabách [reckless]), also The Days that Skinned Branny about Parra Malone's cow Branny, also The Borrowing Days (from Seumas MacManus, Heavy Hangs the Golden Grain)
"There was once upon a time an old brindled cow, which lived through the whole month of March without falling into a boghole and being swallowed up. When the first day of old April came, she cocked her tail straight up and started to run about mooing, so delighted was she that the fine weather had come and that she had come safe and sound through all the hardships of raw, windy cruel March. Wait, wait," said old March's rough weather and went to talk to the mild weather of fresh, bleating, showery April and asked her for three days. "I'll give you those," said April's weather, "if you'll marry me." "I will indeed," said the rough old lively fellow to the mild fairylike April weather. And the cruel fierce wind began to blow from the East over from Scotland, and the old brindled cow went to search for some green grass from the top of the swamp, and there she was drowned. That's the story which gave the Three Days of the Old Brindled Cow their name. (from Tomás de Bhaldraithe)

"I remember, when a child in the North of Ireland, to have heard a very poetical explanation of the borrowing days of March and April. 'Give me,' says March, 'three days of warmth and sunshine for my poor young lambs while they are yet too tender to bear the roughness of my wind and rain, and you shall have them repaid when the wool is grown.'" (A writer in the London Notes and Queries vol. V, p. 342, quoted in Robert MacAdam)

Basque:
Why February Has 28 Days
A shepherd in the hills of Euskal Herria on the exposed north coast of the Iberian Peninsula always lost a number of ewes and lambs each lambing season, which comes during the worst weather of the year -- February and March. But one year, March Weather was so mild the shepherd didn't lose a single sheep all month, and he was very grateful. "March Weather," he said, (a shepherd lives close to the elements and can understand and talk with them), "you didn't kill any of my sheep this year, and I want to thank you." But March Weather was proud of his fierce reputation as a killer, and he was angry to think that he might lose it, so he snatched two days of weather from his neighbour, February, and killed all the sheep in the shepherd's flock. And ever since then, February has had only 28 days. (Collected by José Miguel Barandiarán; my translation from Basajaun, el senor del bosque, by Seve Calleja, Ediciones Gaviota, Madrid, 1994)

3) Stories from Siberia, collections of myths, native tales (northwest coast) about origins of weathers.

4) Also, the fable of the sun and the rain to see who was stronger. "We'll see who can get the coat off that man." The rain tries to blow the raincoat off, and the man just clutches it tighter. The sun comes out and shines, and the man smiles and removes his coat.

5) When I taught second grade my students were absolutely spellbound when I took them out to watch thunderstorms roll in. Here in Texas in the spring, you can see them from miles away before there is any real danger so I used to take the kids out to the playground to watch. We'd talk about the principles of weather, shapes of clouds, etc., but I also told them stories. I wish I had been a more accomplished storyteller then. One of their favorites was my slightly remembered story of Rip Van Winkle, who chanced upon "little men" bowling and fell asleep for 20 years. I told them that whenever I hear rolling thunder I think of Rip Van Winkle. Anyway, we made it into a weather story. I also sang a little rhyme my mother used to use to comfort me when I was afraid of thunder. In college a folk music group came to perform on my campus and that little song was combined with other childhood favorites. Here are the words:
It's raining, it's pouring
The old man is snoring
Bumped his head
On the side of the bed
And he couldn't get up in the morning.

Recently I have researched the thunder and lightning theme and have found several really good stories, suitable for that age group: There is a Choctaw legend about thunder and lightning in a book - HOW THUNDER AND LIGHTNING CAME TO BE, retold by Beatrice Orcutt Harrell. It's well illustrated and is easy to retell. I used it with a group of first graders. I told the story, then showed them the beautiful illustrations and they retold it to me.

You might also check the story of Moni Mekhala & Reamyso (the goddess and the Giant, a Cambodian folktale. You can find it on
http://www.suasdey.com/cambodia/culture/folktales.html
I found it by accident when I was looking for a tiger story.

Also, check
http://www.sacred-texts.com/afr/fssn/fsn21.htm
for an African (culture not specified) story of Thunder and lightning.

6) The Mouse Who was to Marry the Sun
http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type2031c.html

How Sun, Moon and Wind Went Out to Dinner
http://www.rickwalton.com/folktale/junior10.htm

Weather folktales and lore
http://teachers.henrico.k12.va.us/henrico/ellis_a/Weather.html

The Stonecutter
http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/japan.html#stonecutter

7) I just remembered that the game "Rain" or "Rainstorm" may fit in very well when the kids have sat for a while for you weather tales and you want some movement. It's in some of the "new game" books and I know many tellers who use it.

It's the one where you either have a group in a circle and you walk slowly around the circle from within, facing the audience ring one by one - or - you are in front of an audience where they can see you and you start facing them at one end and walk swiftly across their line of sight to the other side, then back again for each segment of the game in which you model a motion and sound effect. You tell them that a rainstorm is coming and get them, by example, to rub their fingers with their thumbs (they are to continue doing a motion and sound effect until you are in front of them again and model changing to the next). Then they are to rub their hands together, followed by clicking their fingers. Next comes light clapping, followed by loud clapping, followed by stamping of the feet. Then repeat all these in reverse until they are rubbing fingers with thums and then ----silence. It is usually a memorable crowd pleaser.

8) Another one came to mind, how about The Twelve Months? The child goes out in a storm and meets the twelve months of the year. Here is an online lesson plan that might spark some ideas.
The Twelve Months - Lesson Plan
http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/twelve.html

Coyote and the Columbia (as in Columbia River
American Folklore: Washington State Folktale
http://www.americanfolklore.net/folktales/wa.html

Drought Buster
American Folklore: Nebraska State Folktale
http://www.americanfolklore.net/folktales/ne.html

The Mitten by Jan Brett - lots of snow in this story.

Floods:
The Little Dutch Boy or Hans Brinker. The Legend of Hans Brinker who stopped the flood by putting his finger in the hole in the dike.

Literature and Science connection
African Folktale: The Story of Thunder and Lightning
http://www.cord.edu/faculty/nelsons/ed337/lit/b_bucholz.html

Folktale: The Cock's Ruse
http://www.dimdima.com/grandma/cock.htm

Skoll and Hati, a Norse Folktale retold by Storyteller Kevin Strauss
http://www.naturestory.com/story2.html

Here are some fun weather proverbs you might be able to fit in as well.
Lesson 6: Weather Proverbs - Folktale Lesson Solutions
http://vathena.arc.nasa.gov/curric/weather/hsweathr/solutions.html

9) Roberta Simpson Brown has a wonderful story Stormwalker and another The Rain Thing -- the former is rather sweet, the second scarier. . . . but actually, they might both be a little heavy for 2nd grade.

10)
A German recently told this story in German to a mostly German group, then translated it for me later. He said it is a Philippine story that he read in a book published in Slovakia or the Czech Republic.

Monkey, deer, and turtle (a small one, not a tortoise) fish for a living. Monster Abidoo keeps stealing their fish. Monkey guards fish one night, can't prevent Abidoo from stealing them. Deer guards next night, same thing. Turtle guards next night. Abidoo comes. Turtle is weaving something from sisal or other plant material, begs Abidoo to tie her to a tree because monster Typhoon is coming and will blow her away. Abidoo is scared and asks turtle to tie him to tree. Turtle does so, monkey and deer come, amazed at turtle's success, deer butts Abidoo in stomach in retaliation for stealing fish, turtle tells Abidoo that was Typhoon.

11) It has some elements in common with Ears and Tails and Common Sense in a book of the same title by
Julius Lester. It's one of my favorites, learned when I taught in Jamaica.

12) I share a version of the "typhoon" or "big wind" story, rooted in Jamaican folktale. I know it as Rabbit, Tiger, and the Big WIndy Whatever. A similar story, Brer Tiger and the Big Wind, can be found in a collection called The Days When the Animals Talked: Black-American Folktales and How They Came to Be by William J. Faulkner, first printed by Africa World Press in 1993. Also, see Julius Lester's version of a Brer Rabbit Story in The Tales of Uncle Remus: Brer Rabbit and Brer Lion. This is an adaptation of the story, Brother Rabbit Ties Mr. Lion in Joel Chandler Harris' Nights with Uncle Remus: Myths and Legends of the Old Plantation. In that version, Rabbit ties Lion to a tree to protect him from a "harrycane." There are many variants. The story of the small creature tying up the big creature to supposedly protect him from some kind of dangerous storm is a well-travelled tale.





(This web page updated 8/3/03)

 

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