Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two Frogs....a story from Japan for Frog Month (April)

The Two Frogs
Once upon a time in the country of Japan there lived two frogs, one of whom made his home in a ditch near the town of Osaka, on the sea coast, while the other dwelt in a clear little stream which ran through the city of Kyoto. At such a great distance apart, they had never even heard of each other; but, funnily enough, the idea came into both their heads at once that they should like to see a little of the world, and the frog who lived at Kyoto wanted to visit Osaka, and the frog who lived at Osaka wished to go to Kyoto, where the great Mikado had his palace.

So one fine morning in the spring they both set out along the road that led from Kyoto to Osaka, one from one end and the other from the other. The journey was more tiring than they expected, for they did not know much about traveling, and halfway between the two towns there arose a mountain which had to be climbed. It took them a long time and a great many hops to reach the top, but there they were at last, and what was the surprise of each to see another frog before him!

They looked at each other for a moment without speaking, and then fell into conversation, explaining the cause of their meeting so far from their homes. It was delightful to find that they both felt the same wish--to learn a little more of their native country--and as there was no sort of hurry they stretched themselves out in a cool, damp place, and agreed that they would have a good rest before they parted to go their ways.

"What a pity we are not bigger," said the Osaka frog; "for then we could see both towns from here, and tell if it is worth our while going on."

"Oh, that is easily managed," returned the Kyoto frog. "We have only got to stand up on our hind legs, and hold onto each other, and then we can each look at the town he is traveling to."

This idea pleased the Osaka frog so much that he at once jumped up and put his front paws on the shoulder of his friend, who had risen also. There they both stood, stretching themselves as high as they could, and holding each other tightly, so that they might not fall down. The Kyoto frog turned his nose towards Osaka, and the Osaka frog turned his nose towards Kyoto; but the foolish things forgot that when they stood up their great eyes lay in the backs of their heads, and that though their noses might point to the places to which they wanted to go, their eyes beheld the places from which they had come.

"Dear me!" cried the Osaka frog, "Kyoto is exactly like Osaka. It is certainly not worth such a long journey. I shall go home!"

"If I had had any idea that Osaka was only a copy of Kyoto I should never have traveled all this way," exclaimed the frog from Kyoto, and as he spoke he took his hands from his friend's shoulders, and they both fell down on the grass. Then they took a polite farewell of each other, and set off for home again, and to the end of their lives they believed that Osaka and Kyoto, which are as different to look at as two towns can be, were as alike as two peas.

* Source: Andrew Lang, The Violet Fairy Book (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1901), pp. 125-126.

How to Make an Origami Jumping Frog

Origami (折り紙?, from ori meaning "folding", and kami meaning "paper") is the traditional Japanese folk art of paper folding, which started in the 17th century AD and was popularized in the mid-1900s. It has since then evolved into a modern art form. The goal of this art is to transform a flat sheet of material into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques, and as such the use of cuts or glue are not considered to be origami.

this info found at wikipedia

I love these little frogs. I find the best way to learn origami is visually. So I have given you the chart below, a link and a wonderful video.

pic from

Very good step by step pictures on How to make an Origami Jumping Frog

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rumpelstiltskin......a German tale retold by the Brothers Grimm

Once upon a time there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful daughter. Now it happened that he got into a conversation with the king, and to make an impression on him he said, "I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold."

The king said to the miller, "That is an art that I really like. If your daughter is as skillful as you say, then bring her to my castle tomorrow, and I will put her to the test."

When the girl was brought to him he led her into a room that was entirely filled with straw. Giving her a spinning wheel and a reel, he said, "Get to work now. Spin all night, and if by morning you have not spun this straw into gold, then you will have to die." Then he himself locked the room, and she was there all alone.

The poor miller's daughter sat there, and for her life she did not know what to do. She had no idea how to spin straw into gold. She became more and more afraid, and finally began to cry.

Then suddenly the door opened. A little man stepped inside and said, "Good evening, Mistress Miller, why are you crying so?"

"Oh," answered the girl, "I am supposed to spin straw into gold, and I do not know how to do it."

The little man said, "What will you give me if I spin it for you?"

"My necklace," said the girl.

The little man took the necklace, sat down before the spinning wheel, and whir, whir, whir, three times pulled, and the spool was full. Then he put another one on, and whir, whir, whir, three times pulled, and the second one was full as well. So it went until morning, and then all the straw was spun, and all the spools were filled with gold.

At sunrise the king came, and when he saw the gold he was surprised and happy, but his heart became even more greedy for gold. He had the miller's daughter taken to another room filled with straw. It was even larger, and he ordered her to spin it in one night, if she valued her life.

The girl did not know what to do, and she cried. Once again the door opened, and the little man appeared. He said, "What will you give me if I spin the straw into gold for you?"

"The ring from my finger," answered the girl.

The little man took the ring, and began once again to whir with the spinning wheel. By morning he had spun all the straw into glistening gold. The king was happy beyond measure when he saw it, but he still did not have his fill of gold. He had the miller's daughter taken to a still larger room filled with straw, and said, "Tonight you must spin this too. If you succeed you shall become my wife." He thought, "Even if she is only a miller's daughter, I will not find a richer wife in all the world."

When the girl was alone the little man returned for a third time. He said, "What will you give me if I spin the straw this time?"

"I have nothing more that I could give you," answered the girl.

"Then promise me, after you are queen, your first child."

"Who knows what will happen," thought the miller's daughter, and not knowing what else to do, she promised the little man what he demanded. In return the little man once again spun the straw into gold.

When in the morning the king came and found everything just as he desired, he married her, and the beautiful miller's daughter became queen.

A year later she brought a beautiful child to the world. She thought no more about the little man, but suddenly he appeared in her room and said, "Now give me that which you promised."

The queen took fright and offered the little man all the wealth of the kingdom if he would let her keep the child, but the little man said, "No. Something living is dearer to me than all the treasures of the world."

Then the queen began lamenting and crying so much that the little man took pity on her and said, "I will give you three days' time. If by then you know my name, then you shall keep your child."

The queen spent the entire night thinking of all the names she had ever heard. Then she sent a messenger into the country to inquire far and wide what other names there were. When the little man returned the next day she began with Kaspar, Melchior, Balzer, and said in order all the names she knew. After each one the little man said, "That is not my name."

The second day she sent inquiries into the neighborhood as to what names people had. She recited the most unusual and most curious names to the little man: "Is your name perhaps Beastrib? Or Muttoncalf? Or Legstring?"

But he always answered, "That is not my name."

On the third day the messenger returned and said, "I have not been able to find a single new name, but when I was approaching a high mountain in the corner of the woods, there where the fox and the hare say good-night, I saw a little house. A fire was burning in front of the house, and an altogether comical little man was jumping around the fire, hopping on one leg and calling out:

Today I'll bake; tomorrow I'll brew,
Then I'll fetch the queen's new child,
It is good that no one knows,
Rumpelstiltskin is my name.

You can imagine how happy the queen was when she heard that name. Soon afterward the little man came in and asked, "Now, Madame Queen, what is my name?"

She first asked, "Is your name Kunz?"


"Is your name Heinz?"


"Is your name perhaps Rumpelstiltskin?"

"The devil told you that! The devil told you that!" shouted the little man, and with anger he stomped his right foot so hard into the ground that he fell in up to his waist. Then with both hands he took hold of his left foot and ripped himself up the middle in two.

* Story Source: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Rumpelstilzchen, Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales -- Grimms' Fairy Tales), final edition (Berlin, 1857), no. 55.

March 7th through 13th, 2010 is Celebrate Your Name Week, the perfect time to read a story or books about names and to do name related crafts.
Check out my list of Picture Books about Names

Mirror Name Art
here's a good example
You'll need:

How to:
1. Fold a sheet of paper in half the long way and turn the paper so that the fold runs from left to right.
2. Write your name across the top half of the paper. Press down hard with the crayon as you color in your name.
3. Fold the paper in half again along the same fold but in the other direction so the name is covered.
4. Rub along the folded side with the side of a pencil, marker or ruler.
5. Open the paper to see your name written backwards on the other side of the fold.
6. Turn the paper so the fold runs top to bottom.
7. Using markers or crayons, make a picture out the design your name created!