ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 290
In this 290th issue of the Baba Indaba’s Children's Stories series, Baba Indaba narrates the Greek fairy tale of “THE FIRST OF MAY”.
A long, long ago in far away Greece, lived a maiden named Anasto. She was the unhappiest of all the maidens in the village of Pyrgos. Why? Because she was the most beautiful. The other maidens were jealous of her. They would not talk to her or associate with her. They spoke evil of her. She lived in a little house with her uncle who was too old to work, meaning they were very poor.
But all is not lost, Anasto, a shepherd, loved Tassos dearly, and everyone knew it. Not only was he the most handsome, he was the finest singer in all the area. Apart from Anasto, Malamo, the old sorceress, alone was kind to Anasto.
Tradition is that on the First of May, as is the custom, the maidens of Pyrgos went early in the twilight before dawn, singing and swinging empty flower baskets through the village. They met beside the Mauropotamo stream, which means Dark River, at the foot of the mount Helmos. No-one noticed that Anasto was not with them. They were in haste to perform the rites belonging to the First of May and be upon the hills before sunrise.
The tradition was that each maiden would toss a silver coin into the river and only then may they wash their hands in the water, cleansing them so that they may handle the mountain flowers before adorning their hair with them returning home with baskets full, singing as they went. But silver coins are rare in the villages and they are saved and laid away for this occasion.
As they saw the light in the east grow brighter, the maidens broke away from each other and took the winding paths to the hills in search of flowers for their hair and for their baskets. Last of all, Anasto came to the river alone. She stood looking into the bright water of the stream, but, poor as she was, she had no coin to give. In a sad voice she began the familiar chant:
"O kindly stream, may I partake—"
But she broke off, sobbing. Her empty flower basket fell to the ground as she sank down at the river's edge with tear filled eyes and a heavy heart. She wept bitterly and her tears fell into the stream. The waters became dark and the waves moaned and cried: "Anasto, your tears have embittered us!" But Anasto could not hear because she was weeping and lamenting so much.
She was not aware of the fairy hosts that suddenly appeared about her, nor did she hear the sound of strange music and fairy voices.
This then, is the story of what happened to Anasto after the fairy host came to visit the beautiful maiden.
What did happen you ask? Did the fairies take Augusto to Fairyland and leave Tassos heartbroken? And what role did the sorceress Malamo have to play in this sad story of unrequited love – or was the love of Tassos for Augusto meant to end in happiness? Well, to find the answers to your questions, you will have to download and read this story for yourself.
Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children's stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as "Father of Stories".
Each issue also has a "WHERE IN THE WORLD - LOOK IT UP" section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story. HINT - use Google maps.
33% of the profit from the sale of this book will be donated to charities.
INCLUDES LINKS TO DOWNLOAD 8 FREE STORIES