Thursday, 1 March 2012

a ukrainian folk tale

Think - cold hands.  Think woolly mittens.

Remember these woolly mittens?


Let me remind you.  These woolly mittens.  Well, the picture is from a Ukrainian folk tale.  The tale is called The Mitten and it was adapted by Jan Brett.  Remember that word.  Ad-ap-ted.

Nicki, you will remember, got a nice new pair of snow-white mittens.  One of which, as his grandmother had predicted, he lost in the snow.  Because they didn’t show up against the white of the snow.

Anyway, in the story, a little mole happened upon the empty mitten and burrowed inside where it was nice and cosy.  He decided to stay.

Not long afterwards, along came a rabbit.  He too spotted the mitten and wriggled inside.  A bit of a squeeze, but he managed it.

Next, a hedgehog.  He thought the mitten would make a fine place to go and warm himself.


The hedgehog was followed inside by an owl…..


a badger, a fox and a bear.


And finally a teeny tiny field mouse.  Who crept in and sat on the bear’s nose (that was the only space left).  The bear, whose nose was tickled by the mouse’s whiskers, gave an enormous sneeze…..


which scattered the animals in all directions and shot the mitten high up into the sky…..


where of course Nicki found it.  Happy ending.  Almost.


Well, when Béatrix heard the story, she remembered that she also had a book at home called The Mitten.  Or to be more precise, it was called La Mitaine.


And would you believe it; it was a Ukranian folk tale!  She read it for us.


Although the basic story was the same – mitten gets lost, animals move in, mitten gets found again, there were lots of differences as well as similarities between the two tales.  The story had been ad-ap-ted by two different authors.

The most obvious difference between the two was that one was told in English and one in French.

Yanis noticed that in the English version the boy had a mitten which his grandma knitted but in the French version it was a hunter who lost a mitten.

‘Both mittens were lost in the snow,’ said Melchior.

Who also spotted that in the English tale the mitten was white but in the French version it was black and that the French book was actually shaped like the mitten.

Ella recalled that both stories had animals that went inside a lost mitten.

‘The animals were squeezed,’ added Melchior. 

‘Yes, in both, both gloves almost popped!’ added Emily.

‘Both stories have bears in them,’ Tanisha told us.

‘But there is no frog in the English story,’ Emily remembered.

‘In the English story, the animals didn’t move in with stuff,’ Melchior pointed out.  But in the French version, a mouse moved in with her furniture……


to be joined a while later by a frog, a rabbit, a fox, a wolf…..


and finally a bear.  What a tight squeeze it was!


But it wasn’t a tickled nose and a sneeze that sent the animals hurrying and scurrying away from this mitten - it was the sound of the hunter’s dog barking.

Ouah-ouah-ouah!  And off they all raced – running for their lives!

One Ukrainian folk tale – two different versions.  Which one did you prefer?

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