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Insect and Spider Stories 1

Where Butterflies Come From (African American )

Keywords: butterflies, flowers, God, colors

Summary: At the beginning of time, God made all the plants and most of the animals. But the Flowers were lonely and were complaining. The tired God was tired of the complaining, so he cut bits off of the flowers and put them together into the colorful Butterflies. To this day, Butterflies keep the flowers company.

"How God Made Butterflies," on page 157 in Zora Neale Hurston, Mules and Men (New York: HarperCollins, 1990). 291pp. $29.50; $13.95pa. ISBN 0-25333-932-4; 0-25320-208-6pa.

"Butterflies," on page 11 in Miller, Candace R., ed., Tales from the Creature Kingdom: More Than 160 Multicultural Legends and Pourquoi Stories About Mammals, Insects, Reptiles and Water Creatures. (Lima, OH: Pourquoi Press, 1996). 94pp. $20.00pa. E-mail: naturelegends@wcoil.com.

"How God Made the Butterflies," on page 3 in Julius Lester, Black Folktales (New York: Grove Press, 1969). 110pp. $9.95pa. ISBN 0-8021-3242-1pa.

Find another version in Kevin Strauss, Tales with Tails: storytelling the wonders of the natural world. (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2006). 230pp. $35.00pa. ISBN 1-59158-269-5pa.

 

Why Ants Are Everywhere (Burma)

Keywords: ant, rabbit, lion, worm

Summary: When King Lion held a party, he invited everyone to the party. But when little Ant arrived, the other animals made fun of her, so she left. But the next morning, Lion awoke with a pain in his ear. All the other animals tried to reach whatever it was in Lion's ear. But then Lion noticed that Ant wasn't there. So Lion sent Rabbit to ask Ant to come and help him. Ant agreed and climbed into Lion's ear to remove a Worm that was biting his eardrum. Lion offered Ant whatever she wanted for her help and Ant asked that she wanted her children to be able to live anywhere and that is how things are to this day.

"Why Ants Are Found Everywhere," on page 28 in Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss, How & Why Stories: World Tales Kids Can Read & Tell (Little Rock, AR: August House, 1999). 96pp. $24.95; $14.95pa. ISBN 0-87483-562-3; 0-87483-561-5pa.

"Why Ants Live Everywhere," on page 105 in Maria Leach, How the People Sang the Mountains Up: How and Why Stories (New York: Viking Press, 1967). 160pp.

"Ants," on page 5 in Miller, Candace R., ed., Tales from the Creature Kingdom: More Than 160 Multicultural Legends and Pourquoi Stories About Mammals, Insects, Reptiles and Water Creatures (Lima, OH: Pourquoi Press, 1996). 94pp. $20.00pa. E-mail: naturelegends@wcoil.com

Find another version in Kevin Strauss, Tales with Tails: storytelling the wonders of the natural world. (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2006). 230pp. $35.00pa. ISBN 1-59158-269-5pa.

 

Who Has the Sweetest Blood? (Jewish)

Keywords: gnat, mosquito, swallow, snake, frog, tail

Summary: Snake wanted to find the tastiest food to eat. He asked Gnat to bite all the animals. Gnat decided that Humans taste best. But before he could tell that to Snake, Swallow swooped down and bulled out Gnat's tongue so all he could do was buzz. Swallow told Snake that Frogs taste best, but the suspicious Snake tried to bite Swallow, instead. The bite put the V in a Swallow's tail.

"Swallow," on page 65 in Miller, Candace R., ed., Tales from the Bird Kingdom: More Than 160 Legends and Pourquoi Stories About Birds (Lima, OH: Pourquoi Press, 1996). 94pp. $20.00pa. E-mail: naturelegends@wcoil.com.

Another retelling can be found on page 139 in Anthony S. Mercatante, Zoo of the Gods: Animals in Myth, Legend and Fable (Berkeley, CA: Seastone, 1999). $15.95. ISBN 1-56975-160-9.

Find another version in Kevin Strauss, Tales with Tails: storytelling the wonders of the natural world. (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2006). 230pp. $35.00pa. ISBN 1-59158-269-5pa.

 

The Hobgoblin's Revenge (Japan)

Keywords: mosquito, hobgoblin, hunter, bood

Summary: A Hunter accidentally wandered deep into the forest and found himself near a one-eyed Hobgoblin's cave. The Hobgoblin tried to grab the Hunter, but the Hunter shot an arrow into the Hobgoblin's one eye. The blind Hobgoblin chased the Hunter along the cliffs. He tripped and fell to his death, swearing to drink human blood. The Hunter climbed down the cliffs and burned the monster's body. But after the Hunter left, the ashes from the Hobgoblin's body blew into the wind and became the first mosquitoes and biting flies.

"Mosquitoes, Horseflies, Gnats," on page 34 in Miller, Candace R., ed., Tales from the Creature Kingdom: More Than 160 Multicultural Legends and Pourquoi Stories About Mammals, Insects, Reptiles and Water Creatures (Lima, OH: Pourquoi Press, 1996). 94pp. $20.00pa. E-mail: naturelegends@wcoil.com

a similar tale from the Ojibwa people of North America can be found in Douglas Wood, The Windigo's Return: A North Woods Story (New York: Simon & Schuster Children's, 1996). 32pp. ISBN 0-689-80065-7.

Find another version in Kevin Strauss, Tales with Tails: storytelling the wonders of the natural world. (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2006). 230pp. $35.00pa. ISBN 1-59158-269-5pa.

 

Bees Get Their Sting (Aesop)

Keywords: bee, Zeus, stinger

Summary: Queen Bee got angry that people kept stealing the bee's honey so she went up to Mount Olympus and asked Zeus for help. When she fed Zeus some of her honey, he was so pleased that he offered her anything she wanted. She asked for a stinger that would kill anyone that it stung. Zeus realized the danger of this request. So he gave bees stingers, but the stingers don't kill people. And while the stingers will hurt humans and other animals, any bee who wants to sting has to give up her life to hurt someone else.

"The Wages of Malice," on page 137 in S. A. Handford, Aesop's Fables (New York: Puffin, 1994). 212pp. ISBN 0-14-130929-6.

"Jupiter and the Bee," on page 124 in Jack Zipes, ed., Aesop's Fables (New York: Signet Classic, 1992). 288pp. ISBN 0-451-52565-5pa.

Find another version in Kevin Strauss, Tales with Tails: storytelling the wonders of the natural world. (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2006). 230pp. $35.00pa. ISBN 1-59158-269-5pa.

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