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"No Such Thing As A 'Free Lunch'" Stories 1

Why the Sky Is up So High (Nigeria)

Keywords: no such thing as a "free lunch," everything is connected, sky, work, waste

Summary: Once upon a time, people didn't have to work for food, they just reached up and broke off a piece of the Sky. But as time went by, people became wasteful. They would take more than they needed and leave the rest on the ground. So Sky got angry and rose up ten feet, so it was harder to reach. For a while people were careful again. But then they got lazy and wasteful. So Sky rose up to where it is today, high in the sky and people have to work for their food.

"Why the Sky Is Far Away," on page 80 in Jill Brand, The Green Umbrella: Stories, Songs, Poems and Starting Points for Environmental Assemblies (London: a & C Black, 1991). 106pp. $17.95pa. ISBN 0-7136-3390-5pa.

"Why the Sky Is High," on page 17 in Michael J. Caduto, Earth Tales from Around the World (Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 1997). 192pp. $17.95pa. ISBN 1-55591-968-5pa.

"Too Much Sky," on page 101 in Margaret Read MacDonald, Earth Care: World Folktales to Talk About (North Haven, CT: Linnet Books, 1999). 162pp. $26.50; $17.50pa. ISBN 0-208-02416-6; 0-208-02426-3pa.

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.

 

Beetle’s Revenge (Aesop)

Keywords: eagle, hare, beetle, no such thing as a "free lunch," everything is costs something, everything is connected

Summary: Beetle and Hare were once good friends. But one day, Eagle swooped down to catch Hare. Hare dove into Beetle’s nest for shelter. “In the name of Zeus, king of the gods, please spare my friend,” said Beetle. But Eagle flicked away Beetle and ate Hare, right then and there. When Eagle flew off, Beetle followed him to his tree nest. When Eagle left her nest again, Beetle smashed the eggs. Next, Eagle moved her nest to a high cliff. But Beetle once more destroyed the eggs. Eagle didn’t know what to do, so she flew up to Mount Olympus and laid her eggs on the lap of Zeus himself. Beetle gathered up a ball of dung (animal droppings) and carried it up to the home of the gods. He dropped it on Zeus’s lap and the god sat up so quickly that the eggs went flying. Zeus called Eagle and Beetle before him to explain their actions. But when Beetle explained his side, Zeus ruled that they each had a reason for anger. He tried to make peace between the animals, but when Beetle would not give in, he used his magic to let Eagle lay her eggs at the time when Beetles are sleeping, and that’s how it is to this day.

Handford, S. A. Aesop's Fables (New York: Puffin, 1994). 212pp. ISBN 0-14-130929-6.

Zipes, Jack ed., Aesop's Fables (New York: Signet Classic, 1992). 288pp. ISBN 0-451-52565-5pa.

 

Four Who Made a Lion (India)

Keywords: no such thing as a "free lunch," everything costs something, lion, foolish

Summary: There once were four men who went off to get an education. They met back five years later to talk of their education. As they walked though the forest they came across the bones of a lion. "Let us demonstrate our skills," said the first scholar. He assembled the bones into a skeleton. The second scholar created muscles and fur for the lion. The third offered to breathe life into the lion, but before he could do that, the fourth scholar climbed a tree. When the third scholar breathed life into the lion, it leapt up and ate three scholars. The fourth scholar waited for the lion to leave and then climbed down and was much more careful with his learning.

"The Four Wise People," on page 147 in Ed Brody et al., eds., Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope: Stories, Storytelling and Activities for Peace, Justice and the Environment (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2002). 281pp. $24.95 pa. ISBN 0-86571-447-9pa.

"Four Who Made a Tiger," on page 161 in Michael J. Caduto, Earth Tales from Around the World (Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 1997). 192pp. $17.95pa. ISBN 1-55591-968-5pa.

"The Scholars Who Revived a Lion," on page 180 in Krishna Dharma, Panchatantra (Badger, CA: Torchlight Publishing, 2004). 201pp. $12.95 pa. ISBN 1-887089-45-4pa.

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 Goose That Laid the Golden Egg (Aesop)

Keywords: no such thing as a "free lunch," everything costs something, sustainability, renewable resources

Summary: One day a farmer discovers that he has a goose that lays golden eggs. He takes the first egg to town and sells it, buying building materials for a new house. But since the goose only lays one golden egg a month, the farmer finally gets frustrated and decides to cut open the goose to get the rest of the gold out of it. But when he butchers the goose, it just looks like a regular goose on the inside and he never got another golden egg again.

"The Goose with the Golden Eggs," on page 134 in Joseph Jacobs, ed., The Fables of Aesop (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2002). 196pp. $2.50pa. ISBN 0-486-41859-6pa.

"The Goose with the Golden Eggs," on page 145 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.

 

The Hedge and the Vineyard (Aesop)

Keywords: no such thing as a "free lunch," everything costs something, sustainability, renewable resources, everything is connected

Summary: One day, a foolish young man inherited a vineyard. The first thing he did was tear out all of the hedges because they didn’t produce any grapes. He then planted those spaces with more grapes. But as soon as grapes started growing, people and animals fed on the grapes. Even though brambles don’t grow grapes, they do guard a vineyard.

Handford, S. A. Aesop's Fables (New York: Puffin, 1994). 212pp. ISBN 0-14-130929-6.

Zipes, Jack ed., Aesop's Fables (New York: Signet Classic, 1992). 288pp. ISBN 0-451-52565-5pa.

 

Flies In The Honey (Aesop)

Keywords: flies, honey, no such thing as a “free lunch,” everything costs something

Summary: One day, a man knocked a jar of honey onto the floor. Flies smelled the sweet honey and landed to drink it up. But in the process, their feet stuck to the floor in the sticky goo. “What fools we are,” said the flies. “We have given up our lives for the sake of some pleasure. Dead animals never glue us to the ground.”

Handford, S. A. Aesop's Fables (New York: Puffin, 1994). 212pp. ISBN 0-14-130929-6.

Zipes, Jack ed., Aesop's Fables (New York: Signet Classic, 1992). 288pp. ISBN 0-451-52565-5pa.

 

Big Daddy Frog (Aesop)

Keywords: frog, ox, no such thing as a "free lunch," everything costs something, expansion

Summary: One day a young frog sees an Ox in the field. When the frog tells his father about the Ox, his father puffs himself up, "Was he this big?" The young frog says "He was bigger." So the big frog keeps puffing and puffing himself up until his pops. That's what happens from making yourself too big.

"The Frog and the Ox," on page 57 in Joseph Jacobs, ed., The Fables of Aesop (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2002). 196pp. $2.50pa. ISBN 0-486-41859-6pa.

"The Frog and the Ox," on page 45 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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