Thursday, August 28, 2008

Frogs in fairy tales, folk tales or folk songs (VI)

Our trip through children tales involving frog characters is slowing coming to an end. Our next stop is Ukraine, and a folk tale entitled “The mitten”. This is the story of a young boy who looses his mitten in the forest on a very cold day. Then a mole enters into the mitten to get warm. The mole is followed by a rabbit, a frog, an owl, a badger, a hedgehog, a fox, a wolf, a wild board, a bear, a cricket and a mouse ! With so many animals inside, the mitten explodes into many pieces, dumping the animals in the snow. When the kid comes to get his mitten back, he does not understand what has happened !

I think that this very simple story is a good way to teach children the names of some animals !
This Ukrainian folk tale is pictured on a stamp issued in 2001 about folk tales. The full set contains three stamps printed se-tenant, the mitten being pictured on the one in the middle (with the frog being clearly visible in the centre of the stamp).

The two other stamps picture the tales “Sister Fox and Brother Wolf” (on the left) and “Sirko” on the right.

There are some local variations in this tale. Sometimes the boy is replaced by a grandfather, the story being called “Grandfather’s mitten”, in this case.
This story is also illustrated on a stamp from Bulgaria that I have already shown on my blog, and issued in 1964.

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