Portable Collections Program Telling Stories Through Objects Table of Contents Checklist: What’s in the Case? –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 1 Information for the Teacher: –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 3 How to Handle and Look At Museum Objects Introduction: Every Object Has a Story to Tell Information About the Objects in the Case Activities to Do with Your Students: –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 10 1 Introductory Activity: Word Play 2 What Can Objects Tell Me? 3 Make a Story Journal 4 Show and Tell 5 Reassemble a Story 6 Playing with Proverbs 7 Additional Activities and Curricular Connections Resources and Reference Materials: –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 22 Vocabulary Words Connections with New York State Learning Standards Corresponding Field Trips Bibliography and Web Resources Appendix: Stories About the Objects in the Case ––––––––––––––––––––– 26 ■ CHECKLIST: WHAT’S IN THE CASE? ■ What’s in the Case? Objects Clay lamp Spindle Saltcellar Blue Willow plate Ink stone and calligraphy brush Shadow puppet Kiwi figure Bark painting Kachina Mola Conqueror mask Figure of Osiris Game board goldweight Puff adder goldweight Birds in a tree goldweight TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 1 ■ CHECKLIST: WHAT’S IN THE CASE? ■ What’s in the Case? Objects Chicken head goldweight Porcupine goldweight Resources Rama and Sita: A Tale from Ancient Java by David Weitzman The Illustrated Book of Fairy Tales by Neil Philip The Illustrated Book of Myths by Neil Philip Keys to Imagination DVD, by Story Watchers Club TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 2 ■ INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER ■ How to Handle Museum Objects How to Look at Museum Objects Learning to handle objects from the Museum’s permanent collection with respect can be part of your students’ educational experience of the case. Please share these guidelines with your class, and make sure your students follow them in handling objects in the case: Objects have the power to fascinate people with their mere physical presence. Holding an object in their hands forms a tangible link between your students, the artist who made it, and the artist’s homeland. This sense of physical connection makes it easier for students to think concretely about the ideas and concepts you introduce to them in your lessons. • Students may handle the objects carefully under your supervision. • Hold objects with two hands. Hold them by the solid part of the body or by the strongest area rather than by rims, edges or protruding parts. • Paint, feathers, fur and fibers are especially fragile and should be touched as little as possible. Remember that rubbing and finger oils can be damaging. • Do not shake the objects or the plexiglass cases they are housed in. • Temperature differences, direct sunlight, and water can be very harmful to certain objects. Please keep the objects away from radiators and open windows, and keep them secure. Objects also have the power to tell us about their origins and purpose, provided we are willing to look at them in detail and think about what those details mean. Encourage your students to examine an object carefully, touch it gently and look at its design and decoration. Have them describe its shape, size, and color. Ask them questions about what they see, and what that might tell them. For example: • How was the object made? What tools did the artist need? • What materials did the artist use? Where might he or she have gotten those materials? • How is the object decorated? What might the decorations mean? • What does the object tell you about the person or people who made it? TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 3 ■ INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER ■ Introduction: Every Object Has a Story to Tell To the teacher The objects included in this Portable Collections case can support your reading, writing, and language arts curriculum. They have been carefully selected and paired with stories (included in the Appendix, page 26) that relate to them or to the people who made them. By sharing these objects and their stories with your class, you can inspire your students to think deeper, read more, discuss things enthusiastically, and write substantively about what they have learned. The objects and stories in this case also present a good opportunity for helping your students cultivate their abilities to observe and describe objects and to tell and listen to stories. A story can be understood for purposes of this case in the broadest terms, as an account of people and events. Stories may be personal and informal or public and literary. They may be brief or epic. They may relate fact, fiction, or some combination. They may be written down or told aloud. They may be presented in a book or magazine, a play, a movie, a website, or a television or radio program. Making the connection between objects and stories is a potent way to begin recognizing how stories are all around us. How do objects “tell” stories? How can you “tell stories through objects”? Some objects almost literally “tell” stories. The shadow puppet and conqueror mask in the case are two examples of objects made to be storytelling props. When wielded by a puppeteer or worn by an actor, these objects seem to come to life and stories flow through them naturally. Many objects—the kinds we often see in art, religious, or civic settings but also everywhere around us— represent characters in stories or depict stories. In the case, the statue of Osiris represents a god who appears in Egyptian myths (page 1); the kachina represents a spirit being who appears in stories and ritual dances (page 1), and the kiwi represents a bird whose special characteristics are explained by a traditional tale (page 1). The Blue Willow plate depicts some of the settings and characters in a story inspired by the fashion for Chinese goods in the late 18th century. Stories also often incorporate otherwise ordinary objects as accessories or agents of the action. Usually, if they are in the story, these objects are helping the storyteller to set the scene or move the action forward. Simple, functional objects like the ink stone and brush, the spindle, or the saltcellar in the case may play a role, even a pivotal role in a story. Here the actual object in front of us is not the one in the story. It may not even look like the one in the story. But the relationship between the object and the story can enrich them both: Looking at the saltcellar can remind us of the importance of salt in the folktale “The Necessity of Salt” (page 31); hearing the story of “The Dreaming Prince” (page 33) can make us look at the calligraphy tools in a different way. The mola, the bark painting, and all but one of the goldweights in the case do not have any particular stories (or, in the case of the goldweights, proverbs) associated with them, even though they look like they might. They suggest how students can approach objects whose stories they do not know either because the objects are unfamiliar (and maybe also because they look old, valuable, or prestigious) or because the students are not part of the cultures in which they were made and where their stories are widely known. With these objects, students can take clues from what they observe about the objects and use their imaginations to conjure up stories that fit! Objects also tell other kinds of story—stories of the people who made them, the culture in which they were made, the way in which they were used, the materials and techniques that went into making them, and their history as objects. To find and understand these non-fiction stories can lead your students to do research into different cultures, biography, technology, and history. Hints to these kinds of story are contained in the Information About Objects ▲ TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 4 ■ INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER ■ Introduction: Every Object Has a Story to Tell (continued) section following this Introduction and opportunities for students to research can be found throughout the activities. The arts of telling and listening to stories People are always telling stories. When their parent or caretaker asks your students what they did at school today, how do they answer? That one simple question may lead a student to tell any number of stories. “You’ll never guess what happened on the playground today!” “I was on the way home from school when…” “Today my best friend did the funniest thing!” We all know, however, that even a fascinating story gains interest when it is well told. In the course of using this case, you may want to work with your students on different techniques to make their storytelling more exciting. The DVD in the case provides examples of story telling for children. Show them how varying their tone of voice can add nuance to their stories. Urge them to practice speaking softly to indicate secrecy, or loudly to indicate excitement. Their timbre can also help them differentiate between characters. They may represent a masculine or gruff-voiced character by speaking very low, or a feminine or shrill character by speaking warmly or higher. They can have fun repeating the same sentence with different expression—sad, loving, angry, regal, military, and so on. Students can also help create excitement and suspense by varying the pace at which they tell their tales. A dramatic pause can keep their audience on the edge of its seat. Gestures and simple sound effects may also be used to their advantage when telling stories, but remind your students that they should not overdo it on these features—their words are what will keep the story moving along. were happening right in front of their listeners. To do this, they may need to read a story several times and recreate the story as an unfolding experience in their minds. That experience creates mental landmarks from which the story in their own words will spin out. Tell your students not to worry about the words coming together just so—just start at the beginning, get yourself through the middle, and come to the end. Everyone’s words and style of storytelling will be unique to him or her alone. Your students do not need to imitate any other storyteller. If they have confidence that their stories are good, they have only to tell it in their own way and their audience will listen with rapt attention. Listening to stories is also a skill you can help your students cultivate. Explain to them that just as telling a story is not a recitation from memory but an active experience, listening to a story is a participatory rather than a passive act. When you read or tell a story to them, ask them to build a theater in their minds and to transform the words they hear into scenes, characters, and unfolding events. Stop at moments and ask them to elaborate on the story. What do they see that’s not in the story? What are the characters wearing? Have them describe the scenery. What do they think the characters feel about each other? What do they think could happen next and how might the story end? Objects and stories have a natural affinity. Both involve imagination, detail, character, event. They are mutually enlivening. Hitched together, as they are in this case, they can heighten students’ interest in each and serve to increase their abilities to observe, to imagine, to read, to write, to shape a part of the world. ❑ Words in boldface have been included in the Vocabulary Words section on page 23. It is also important for your students to keep in mind that telling a story they have written or read does not mean they have to recite it from memory. In telling the story, they want it to seem fresh, as though it TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 5 ■ INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER ■ Information About the Objects in the Case For most (but not all) of the objects in the case, we have included a corresponding story in the Appendix at the end of this guide, as indicated below. All the stories have been adapted for this guide CLAY LAMP (Object No.41.76.5) Small, portable lamps made of terracotta clay were common in ancient Roman homes. Since they were massproduced from molds, they were numerous and fairly cheap. They were also easy to use. The wick stuck out of a hole in the spout and, when lit, burned by drawing the oil (usually olive oil) from inside the lamp. These lamps were so popular that they spread far and wide, and were used not only in Rome but also in distant Roman provinces. See the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, page 28. DROP SPINDLE (Object No. 70.19) The drop spindle is an ancient tool for spinning fibers like wool or cotton into a long, continuous thread. Today most yarn is spun by machines in factories, but in some parts of the world people still use hand spindles like this 20th century one. A spinner hand-twists one end of a handful of fiber into a short length of thread, and wraps the thread around the spindle shaft portion a few times to secure it. Then the spinner “drops” the spindle (lets go of it) and, holding it up by the thread, twirls it. The weight of the whorl (knobby end) keeps it spinning, which twists the fiber into thread. The spinner feeds a new handful of fiber into the thread as needed. See the German folktale of Frau Hulda, page 30. SALTCELLAR (Object No. 2006.17) A saltcellar is a small dish used to hold salt during a meal. For thousands of years, people have used salt to flavor and preserve their food. Today it is very common, but there was a time when it was valued as highly as gold! The saltcellar was an important vessel on the medieval or Renaissance table. Since salt was so expensive at that time, it was common to serve it in a fancy container. People used a small spoon to scoop up some salt and sprinkle it on their food. This version, from the late 19th or early 20th century, would have graced an elegant dinner table. See the Austrian folktale “The Necessity of Salt,” page 31. BLUE WILLOW PLATE (Object No. 2006.5.1) Blue and white porcelain from China was imported into England during the late 1700s. It was so popular that English potters were inspired to create an imitation Chinese style called Chinoiserie. The famous “Blue Willow” design that you see here was invented by an English potter named Thomas Taylor in 1780. There have been several versions of this design, the most famous of which tells the story of two faithful lovers (see pages 18–19). Blue and white porcelain was popular not only in England but in colonial America as well and it continues to be produced. This example probably dates from 1918. INK STONE AND CALLIGRAPHY BRUSH ▲ (Object No. 2006.21) Calligraphy brushes, ink, paper, and an ink stone (on which the dried ink is mixed with water) are known as "the four treasures of the studio." Chinese scholars have relied on these as their principal tools for writing or painting from ancient times to TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 6 ■ INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER ■ Information About the Objects in the Case (continued) the present day. They are one of China’s many unique inventions, and countless writers and artists have used them to create great works of literature and art. See the story “The Dreaming Prince,” page 32. SHADOW PUPPET (Object No. 75.16.2) Indonesia (Java), 1970s Puppet performance is a type of theater common in many Southeast Asian countries. Each country or region has its own traditions and a unique style of puppets. In Indonesia, these performances are put on with shadow puppets called wayang kulit. Many puppet performances tell stories of Hindu or Islamic heroes and legends. They may be performed for many different purposes, such as to celebrate a wedding or observe the anniversary of a funeral. Wayang plays captivate children and adults alike, teaching them about their heritage and affirming the moral and cultural values of Indonesian society. Read the book Rama and Sita: A Tale from Ancient Java provided in the case. Wayang kulit are made from animal skins decorated with gold leaf and paint. The dalang (puppeteer) supports the puppet with a wooden rod attached to the body, while two smaller rods attached to the hands allow the puppets to express a wide range of gestures and emotions. Plays are performed behind a transparent screen backlit with small lamps. A typical dalang might have between 100 and 300 shadow puppets in his set. The costumes, hairdos, facial features, and colors of the puppets identify the standard characters they represent, from princesses and warriors to clowns and scheming courtiers, and even the gods themselves. For example, this puppet is a female figure whose gold face and body represent either dignity or youth. Her refined features indicate that she is an aristocratic or morally good character, but the story that goes with her is unknown. She might be used to represent Sita, wife of Prince Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, a very long and very old Indian poem. KIWI FIGURE (Object No. 2006.15) The kiwi is a small, flightless bird that lives in the forests, grasslands, and swamps of New Zealand. It is a beloved national symbol of that country, whose residents commonly refer to themselves as kiwis. The kiwi is also a prominent character in the mythology of the Maori people (native new Zealanders). According to many Maori traditions, kiwis are the oldest members of the bird family, so they are, in effect, our older siblings. Kiwis are said to be very protective of humans, which is why they patrol the forests each night. See the story “How the Kiwi Lost Its Wings,” page 36. BARK PAINTING (Object No. 65.52.4) Australia, about 1964 The aboriginal peoples of Arnhem Land (an area of northern Australia) paint pictures on bark cut from the eucalyptus tree. Using paintbrushes made of human hair or twigs with chewed ends, the artist works in shades of black, red, yellow, and white with paints made from ground-up minerals. This painting was made by a man from the Ingura tribe, and depicts a group of men dancing next to the fish they have speared. Any Ingura man may paint pictures of non-religious activities such as hunting, fishing, or historical events. The Ingura people hang these paintings inside their homes and use them to educate young people about hunting and fishing practices, ancient feats, and traditional stories. The Ingura also create secret, sacred paintings depicting the ancient spirits of their creation story. There is no specific story to go with this object. Students can make up their own, or do research and write a report on aboriginal people and their lives. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 7 ■ INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER ■ Information About the Objects in the Case (continued) KACHINA (Object No. 79.29.193), Hopi, Southwestern United States,1960s The Hopi people of the Southwest U.S. believe that kachinas are the spirit beings who led the first humans to Earth. There are over 250 different Hopi kachinas, which may represent supernatural human figures, animals, plants, insects, and even death itself. In order to honor these spirits, Hopi men perform dances while wearing costumes and masks representing kachinas. The Hopi believe that performing kachina dances will bring the kachinas' goodwill and blessings (such as rain, healthy crops, and fertility). During kachina ceremonies, some of the dancers give kachina dolls (called tihu in Hopi) to the children and women in the crowd. This doll represents Hochani, a kachina spirit who performs in the Mixed Kachina Dance. The dolls have two purposes: they teach children about the important features of kachina spirits, and they bring the blessings of the spirits to the village. Kachina dolls are not toys. They are meant to be treasured, and are hung on the rafters of the owner's home, where they can be seen every day. See the traditional Hopi tale, page 38. MOLA (Object No. 96.13.1), Kuna Indian, Panama, about 1995 A mola is an elaborate reverse appliqué panel used to decorate the blouses of Kuna Indian women in Panama. In the reverse appliqué process, the mola maker puts together several layers of fabric, and then cuts through the top layer or layers to expose the fabric underneath and create a design. This mola has writing embroidered on it: "Operación gato y ratón," which means "Operation cat and mouse." The mola shows a cat stitching himself back together while a mouse looks on. Kuna women make molas for themselves and for their families as a way to display their skill and creative abilities. They may wear molas, or make them for sale to tourists and for export to other countries. Contemporary molas feature scenes from the Bible or Kuna mythology, as well as a wide range of natural and abstract motifs, and elements drawn from everyday life and international popular culture. CONQUEROR MASK (Object No. 84.34.445), Guatemala, about 1960 The Quiche Indians of Guatemala perform a masked dance known as Tecun Uman (or the Dance of the Conquest) as a way to remember the bravery of their ancestors during the Spanish Conquest of 1524. The dance is named for the Quiche people's great warrior king, Tecun Uman, and tells the story of his death at the hands of the cruel Spanish general, Pedro de Alvarado. This mask represents one of the Spanish soldiers who fought with Alvarado, or perhaps Alvarado himself. Dance of the Conquest masks like this one are usually made by a morería, a business that rents dance masks and costumes. In recent times, though, the Dance of the Conquest has been performed less often because it is quite costly and requires many costumes. See the tale of Tecun Uman, page 40. FIGURE OF OSIRIS (Object No. 39.7.24) During the Late Period (from 672 B.C. to 343 B.C.), ancient Egyptians mass-produced small statues in the forms of popular gods and sacred animals. They placed these statues in temples as offerings, or worshipped them at home. As god of the dead and the earth, Osiris was the most important and respected Egyptian god. Crossed over his chest he holds the crook and flail, a pair of farm tools that symbolize the duty of gods and kings to guide and protect their people and punish when necessary. The cobra on his crown (another symbol of royalty) is the emblem of the sun god, a noble serpent that protects the righteous and destroys evil. See the myth of Osiris, page 27. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 8 ■ INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER ■ Information About the Objects in the Case (continued) GOLDWEIGHTS These miniature representations were made for a very special purpose: to measure gold dust. The Asante people used gold dust as their main form of money from the 1400s until 1889 (when their British colonizers forbid its use). Each Asante businessman owned a set of 70 or more goldweights of different sizes. The goldweight acted as a standard unit of measurement, helping people determine how much gold dust was needed to buy an item or pay a debt. Early Asante goldweights (those made from 1500 to 1700) were geometric in shape, while ones like these, probably made in the 18th or 19th century, were more often realistic forms of plants, animals, everyday objects, and even humans. Many of these figurative weights recalled Asante proverbs about daily life. ly and patiently for this opportunity) finally caught it. The Asante people recall this story with the proverb, “Although the snake does not fly, it has caught the hornbill, whose home is in the sky.” This proverb teaches optimism and patience. BIRDS IN A TREE GOLDWEIGHT (Object No. 84.31.42) This brass figure of a flock of birds sitting in a tree recalls an old Asante proverb: "Only birds of the same species play together on the same tree." This proverb suggests that people should be aware of their class and status in society, and only keep company with people who are like them. CHICKEN HEAD GOLDWEIGHT (Object No. 84.31.45) This brass figure of a chicken head recalls an old Asante proverb: "You do not need a big stick to break a cock's head." This proverb is akin to "Don't make a mountain out of a molehill." It suggests that small problems call for small responses. GAME BOARD GOLDWEIGHT (Object No. 66.36.1c) This is a miniature brass representation of a game board used for playing mancala, an ancient counting game that is still played by peoples in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies. Mancala is played using a number of markers (such as stones, shells, beans, or other small objects), and a game board made of 12 cups. See the traditional African tale, The Game Board, page 34. Asante goldweights were usually cast in brass, and sometimes had to be adjusted after casting to make them conform to existing standards. You can see in this goldweight where lead fill has been added to a few of the cups on the game board to make it heavier. PUFF ADDER GOLDWEIGHT (Object No. 84.31.26) This small brass figurine depicts a puff adder snake attacking a hornbill (toucan). According to Asante legend, the hornbill owed a large debt to the puff adder but did not pay the debt, believing that it could always fly away if the snake tried to catch it. However, one day the hornbill grew careless and the snake (which had been waiting quiet- PORCUPINE GOLDWEIGHT (Object No. 84.31.52) The quills on this shiny brass porcupine recall an old Asante proverb: "One should never rub bottoms with a porcupine." This proverb suggests that you should not get into a fight with someone who can hurt you more than you can hurt them. Porcupines were an especially popular form for goldweights among the Asante because, with their sharp quills and fierce defenses, porcupines were seen as a symbol of the Asante nation. You and your students can learn more about these objects and others from around the world by visiting our Collections Central Online database at www.brooklynkids.org/emuseum TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 9 ACTIVITY 1 Introductory Activity: Word Play All Grades Related Objects: All In this exercise, students have fun changing each other’s perception of an object while practicing vocabulary. Students will also begin to sense the relationship between objects, words, and ideas. The word that is placed next to an object may color or change how we perceive it. You may find that several words can be applied to the same object. Students will become more aware that objects and words do not have one absolute meaning—instead, their meanings can change depending on their context. 4 Give the class four to five minutes to find an object in the classroom that they wish to associate with their word. Explain that the words can but do not have to identify or describe the object. Instead, they can relate to some aspect of the object’s use, purpose, or meaning. For example, “shield” might be associated with the window screen, which shields the room from sunlight. Encourage your students to make imaginative connections between words and object, while remaining true to each. 5 Have each child explain to the class why he or she chose that object to go with their word. 6 Repeat this exercise using the objects from the case. Materials: • Word Play” form (see following page), cut up into individual cards • A variety of everyday objects from the classroom • Objects in the case 7 Have students discuss how their ideas or understandings about the words and/or the objects changed when the association changed. What To Do: • What word/object connection did you make? • Why did you associate your word with that particular object? • What other word could you use with that same object? • Were you surprised at the objects other students chose to go with their words? Why? 1 Cut apart the words on the “Word Play” form. There should be enough words so that there is one per child. If not, some students may receive the same word, or you may add words of your own choosing. 2 Place the words into a container and pass it around. Have each child take a word. 3 Ask each child to read his or her word aloud. Make certain that each child understands the meaning of the word. Discussion Questions: See page 23 for details on how this activity meets New York State Learning Standards. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 10 Hold Inform Promise Save Inspire Remind Emerge Grow Show Love Dream Trust Hope Play Call Shield Recall Protect Fix Measure Tickle Tell Hide Leave Listen Open Say Sing Help Imagine Enter Work Trust Fear Forgive Keep ACTIVITY 2 What Can Objects Tell Me? 3 Distribute the “What Can Objects Tell Me?” chart and go over it with the students. Grades 3–5 Related Objects: All This activity encourages your students to learn about the objects in the case through close observation. Ask them to focus on the physical properties of each object, using their senses to determine its color, smell, texture, and so on. After your students examine the objects, you can share more about them using information from this guide, the resources listed at the back, and your own knowledge. Materials: • Objects from the case • A copy of the “What Can Objects Tell Me?” observation chart for each student, OR a transparency of the chart and an overhead projector, OR a large piece of chart paper. What To Do: 1 Depending on the age and interests of your students and the amount of time you would like to spend, you can do this activity using a handful of objects or every object in the case. 2 Prior to the presentation of the activity, set the classroom up into stations (make sure there are enough stations that you have only 3–4 students working at each one). Place one or more objects and a magnifying lens on the table at each station. LITERACY EXTENSIONS: GRADE 3–5 4 Divide the children into groups and have each group explore their object and fill in the boxes of the chart. After a few minutes, have the groups rotate to a new station. Repeat this step as many times as you like. 5 Have the students reconvene as a class to discuss their findings. You may want to use the chart paper to make notes about the students’ observations, and respond by presenting some background information on the objects. Discussion Questions: • What kinds of things can you learn about an object just by looking at it closely? • Based on the materials these objects are made of, what can you say about the people who made them or where they live? • How are these objects similar to things you might see in your everyday life? How are they different? • What stories do you think these objects might tell or refer to? See page 23 for details on how this activity meets New York State Learning Standards. • Tell your students that they can learn a lot about a group of people by examining the objects they make. Have each child choose one object from the case and write a paragraph about it. Remind them to be sure to describe the object and what it “told” them about the people who made or used it. • Have your students examine objects in the Museum’s online collection (www.brooklynkids.org/emuseum) and choose one that interests them. Students may investigate their object to see if there is a particular story associated with it, or they may write a short story about it themselves. Alternatively, they may write a short factual report about their object, or share what they learn with the class in an oral presentation. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 12 What can objects tell me? What color or colors is this object? Describe its shape. What figure does it seem to have? What do you think its story might be? Look at each object closely. What kinds of things can we learn about an object just by examining it closely? What do objects tell us about the people who made them? Use this chart to record everything you discover. What is its surface texture like? PREDATORS AND PREY 13 What can objects tell me? What color or colors is this object? Describe its shape. What figure does it seem to have? What do you think its story might be? Look at each object closely. What kinds of things can we learn about an object just by examining it closely? What do objects tell us about the people who made them? Use this chart to record everything you discover. What is its surface texture like? MASKS 14 What can objects tell me? What color or colors is this object? Describe its shape. What figure does it seem to have? What do you think its story might be? Look at each object closely. What kinds of things can we learn about an object just by examining it closely? What do objects tell us about the people who made them? Use this chart to record everything you discover. What is its surface texture like? MASKS 15 ACTIVITY 3 Make a Story Journal; Read Stories All Grades Related Objects: All objects; stories in Appendix As you introduce your students to and interact with the objects, you may wish to create a regular story time each day, when students may read the stories silently on their own, or hear you or their classmates tell them. The Story Journal will give your students a place to record their impressions of the stories they hear throughout this unit, as well as a place to draw or write down stories of their own. that inspired it. Repeat with a different story each day, or have students themselves read the stories to the class or silently to themselves. • Have students make up and write down their own story for an object. • Use the Story Journal for other writing, drawing, and research activities in conjunction with the case. Materials: • Sheets of oak tag OR colored construction paper (8.5“ x 11“), one per student • Plain white paper (8.5“ x 11“) for interior pages • String or yarn • Hole punch • Glue What To Do: You may wish to construct a book yourself as a model to show the class how it is done. 1 Give each student one sheet of oak tag or construction paper, several sheets of plain white paper, and a length of string. 2 Have students fold these sheets in half widthwise to form a small book. The oak tag or construction paper should be on the outside, forming the book’s cover. 3 Students should then punch two holes evenly spaced out along the fold line. 4 Have students thread one end of their string through each of the two holes, so that the string runs along the inside of the book’s centerfold. They should tie the two ends of the string together neatly to hold their book together. 5 Students may decorate their book’s cover as they please. 6 You may incorporate the Story Journal into the class’s daily activities in a number of ways. For example: • Read aloud to the class one of the stories in the Appendix. Then give your students time to write or draw about it in their journals. They may wish to write a short summary of the story’s plot, or record their reaction to it (such as what they liked or didn’t like about the story, and any questions they have). They may also wish to draw a picture of a scene or character from the story, or a picture of the object Discussion Questions: • Are all stories written down? Can you name some examples of stories (from your own life or from cultures around the world) that aren’t traditionally written down? • What are the pros or cons of writing a story down? (Hint: Writing a story down may make it easier for people to remember, or it may keep a story from being lost. However, it may also keep people from hearing the story repeated out loud, or from feeling like they can experiment with a story and make it their own.) • What different kinds of stories and writing are there? Talk about the meaning of words like tale, legend, myth, report, and other terms used for different kinds of writing (see Vocabulary). See page 23 for details on how this activity meets New York State Learning Standards. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 16 ACTIVITY 4 Show and Tell All Grades Related Objects: All, DVD Variation for Older Students: Objects that remind us of the past can also prompt us to re-tell tales of times, people, and events from the past. For us, these objects may represent a cherished family history. However, other people may look at the same object and think of something completely different. In this activity, your students will have the opportunity to tell a story about an object from their own lives, and how it conveys their personal history. 2 Each student should choose an unknown object from the table (this activity works best if each student chooses a different object, so that all objects are used). Students should examine their object carefully, and think of a story to go with it, without consulting the object’s owner. Just from looking at the object, what do they think it is about? Their stories should, of course, be respectful since the objects are personal to their classmates. 1 Have students place their objects on a table in the classroom. Materials: • Objects brought from home, one per student • Optional: Story Journal (see page 16) OR writing paper and pencils • Optional: DVD in case What To Do: 1 Assign your students the task of bringing in an object from home. They may choose anything they like, but the object they choose should have some sort of personal story behind it, and it should be something they are willing to share with others (and thus not be too personal or precious). For example: • A student who brought in a souvenir from far away could tell a story about his or her vacation. • A student with a baby shoe could tell the story of his or her own birth, or of the day a younger brother or sister came home from the hospital. 2 Play students the Keys to Imagination DVD in the case and review the characteristics of good story telling (see introduction). 3 Have students present their object and tell their story before the rest of the class. Alternatively, they may draw a picture of their object and write their story down in their Story Journal. 3 Students may tell the stories they created to each other in small groups, present them out loud before the class, or record them in their Story Journals. 4 After students have told the stories they made up, they should reclaim the objects they originally brought in. They may write or tell their classmates the stories they chose to go with their own objects. 5 Optional: Have students write down on separate pieces of paper the two stories they created to go with the unknown and familiar objects. Place the objects from home around the classroom, and post the two stories that were written about each object (one by its owner, and the other by a classmate) next to it. Have students go around the classroom and see if they can tell which story was written by the owner. Discussion Questions: • What made you choose this object as the one you wanted to share with the class? • What story does your object have to tell? • What do you think people can tell about you from the object you brought in? See page 23 for details on how this activity meets New York State Learning Standards. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 17 ACTIVITY 5 Reassemble a Story Grades 3–5 Related Objects: Blue Willow plate There are many ways to tell the same story, and the same words can be used to tell a dozen different stories. This activity will allow your students to take a story and reconstruct it in their own way. Materials: • Copies of the “Fragmented Story” form (see following page), one per group • Scissors • Small bags or envelopes • Paper • Glue or tape What To Do: 1 Preparation: Make several copies of the “Fragmented Story” form. Cut each one into pieces with one sentence on each piece, keeping the pieces of each copy together (perhaps in an envelope). 2 Show the class the Blue Willow plate, and ask them to identify the image’s main characters and features. 3 Explain to the class that each group will reconstruct the story shown in the plate by rearranging fragments of the story as it sees fit, and provide it with an ending. 4 Divide the class into groups of three or four students. Give each group one cut-up copy of the story. 5 Have members of the class each read aloud one of the story fragments (in no particular order). 6 Have students arrange the cut-up sentences in their preferred order. Then they should glue or tape their arrangement on a piece of paper. 7 At the bottom of the paper, have them write a few sentences to wrap up the story. 8 Have a representative from each group read their reconstructed tale and added conclusion. 9 Share with your students the usual ending to the Blue Willow story: The Official’s guards put Chang to the sword, and Koong-se set fire to their house while she is still inside. Thus the two lovers perish. The gods, touched by their love, immortalized them as two doves, eternally flying together in the sky. (Note that this story is not a traditional Chinese story, but was made up by the European ceramicist who invented the image during the fashion for things Chinese during the 18th and 19th century. This fashion is called Chinoiserie.) 10 Show the class the Blue Willow plate again, and ask students what parts of the story are represented. Does the plate show the story as a sequence? 11 Have students write about the Blue Willow story in their Story Journals. Discussion Questions: • How did you decide to rearrange the fragments of the story? Do you think they could have been arranged another way that would have worked just as well? • What do you think happens to Koong-se and Chang at the end of the story? Is the ending you wrote happy or sad? • Look closely at the Blue Willow plate from the case. Can you name some of the different elements of the story that are represented on the plate? • Do you think someone who looked at the plate would know what it is about? See page 23 for details on how this activity meets New York State Learning Standards. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 18 A Fragmented Story: The Blue Willow Story There was once a rich and powerful court Official who had a beautiful daughter, Koong-se. The Official employed a secretary, Chang, who fell in love with Koong-se. The Official, Ta-jin, the guests, and all the servants had drunk so much wine that the couple almost got away without detection. Koong-se's father saw her at the last minute and ordered his soldiers to chase the lovers across the bridge. This angered the Official, who regarded the secretary as unworthy of his daughter. The couple escaped, but Koong-se’s father had a plan. Chang was banished, and the Official had a fence constructed around his estate so that the lowly secretary could never see Koong-se. Koong-se had given Ta-jin’s jewels to Chang, and her father swore that when he caught Chang, he would use the jewels as an excuse to execute him. Koong-se was lonely, and spent many days walking in the gardens and along the water's edge. One night the Official’s spies reported that a man was hiding in a house by the river. One day as she walked by the water’s edge, a small shell made into a boat floated by her. When the Official’s guards raided the house, they found that Chang had jumped into the river to escape them. It contained a poem and a bead which Koong-se had given to Chang. Koong-se thought that he had drowned. Koong-se knew that her lover was not far away. Chang had managed to swim away through the raging torrent. Soon after this, Koong-se was dismayed to learn that she had been betrothed to Ta-jin, a noble warrior and duke. That night he brought a boat to the window and took Koong-se away to safety. When her father announced that her future husband would soon arrive, bearing a gift of jewels to celebrate his betrothal, she was full of despair. The couple settled on a distant island, and over the years Chang became famous for his writings. The night of the betrothal banquet, Chang borrowed the robes of a servant and slipped into Koong-se’s room. The Official heard about Chang’s success and sent his guards to find the missing couple. The two lovers embraced and vowed to run away together. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 19 ACTIVITY 6 Playing with Proverbs • Birds in a tree: "Only birds of the same species play together on the same tree." Grades 2–5 Related Objects: Goldweights A proverb is a pithy statement expressing a truism about everyday life. Four of the five Asante goldweights in the case are symbols of common Asante proverbs. The goldweights’ connection to the proverbs is similar to the connection that other objects in the case have to the stories in this teacher guide—the proverbs may be shorter than the stories, but in each instance, one simple object can bring to mind a particular statement and set of values. In this activity, your students will have the chance to explore the meaning of several proverbs, and try to write a few themselves! Materials: • Blackboard or chart paper • Paper and pencils What To Do: 1 Review with the class what a proverb is. Cite a few examples to illustrate this literary form, and ask your students to explain them. For example: • An apple a day keeps the doctor away. • A penny saved is a penny earned. • No news is good news. You and your students may also visit www.manythings.org/proverbs/ to learn about proverbs and see more than 200 examples. 2 Pass around the small case containing the goldweights. Ask students to guess what each one depicts. 3 Write on the board or recite aloud one of the following Asante proverbs associated with the goldweights, and see if the class can figure out which goldweight represents that proverb: • Puff adder: “Although the snake does not fly, it has caught the hornbill, whose home is in the sky.” LITERACY EXTENSIONS: PROVERB POWER! • Chicken head: "You do not need a big stick to break a chicken’s head." • Porcupine: "One should never rub bottoms with a porcupine." 4 After the class has matched the proverb to the goldweight that represents it, have them discuss that proverb’s meaning (see Discussion Questions below). Pages 9, 34–35 contain more information about Asante goldweights and proverbs. 5 Repeat steps 3–4 for each of the four proverbs (or as many times as you like). 6 Working individually or in groups, have students try to write their own proverbs. Remind them that their goal is to express a universal truth about everyday life, but to do so as succinctly as possible. This may be more difficult than it sounds, so encourage them to be creative and to keep trying! 7 Have students add their proverbs to their Story Journals. Discussion Questions: • What does this proverb mean? • How does it apply to everyday life? • Do any of the Asante proverbs remind you of similar proverbs in American culture or any of the other cultures to which your students may belong? (Hint: The Asante birds in a tree proverb is remarkably similar to the more familiar “Birds of a feather flock together.”) • What was the hardest part of trying to write your own proverb? See page 23 for details on how this activity meets New York State Learning Standards. Divide the class into teams of 3–4 students each, and have each team brainstorm and write down as many proverbs as it can think of. Turn this exercise into a game by setting a time limit (perhaps 5–10 minutes) and creating a point system. For example, you might award one point for each proverb that a team comes up with, and two points for each proverb it thinks of that no other team has written down. (Additional bonus points could be awarded for coming up with proverbs from other cultures and/or languages.) The team with the most points wins! TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 20 ACTIVITY 7 Additional Activities and Curricular Connections Arts and Literacy Extension: Perform a story Grades 2–5 Geography Extension: Mapping objects All Grades As the shadow puppet in this case demonstrates, there is more than one way to tell a story. Working in groups of four or five students, have children choose a story from this guide, from one of the books in the case, or from another source of their choosing. The students should dramatize that story to perform for the class. They may create puppets or masks to represent their characters. Students may ad-lib their performances, or older children may write a script for the action. Give them time to rehearse their plays, and ask each group to perform its play at the front of the classroom. If you wish to invest more time and preparation, you might have students create scenery, props, or costumes to accompany their performances, and invite parents or other classrooms to watch their performances. Copy the information pages and cut out images of the objects in the case. Share information about these objects with your students. Look at the places each object comes from on a world map, and have students tape each image to the country or region it comes from. Older students may do library or Internet research to find out more about the types of stories that are traditionally told in each of those countries. See page 23 for details on how this activity meets New York State Learning Standards. Literacy Extension: What do you think is going on? All Grades For most of the objects in the case, we have included a corresponding story about that object or the people who made it in the Appendix at the end of this teacher guide. But two of the objects, the mola and the bark painting, do not have stories about them. Challenge your students to pick one of these objects and create a tale of their own about it. Ask them to examine their object carefully before they begin writing, and base their story on what they see. What is going on in the picture? Who are the characters in their story? What are they doing? What will happen to them? Encourage your students to think up creative plots and vivid characters, but remind them to be true to the objects they are writing about, too. Students may write or draw their stories in their Story Journals, or tell them aloud before the rest of the class. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 21 ■ RESOURCES AND REFERENCE MATERIALS ■ Vocabulary Words aboriginal: legend: related to the native peoples of Australia. like myths, legends originated in the past and often feature supernatural characters; unlike myths, legends generally do not have a religious cast. account: a report or record of an event or a description of a situation. myth: a story, often about gods and goddesses, told in the distant past and preserved through oral tradition, that tries to explain origins or the reasons for the way things are. casket: a box or coffin. Chinoiserie: An imitation Chinese style fashionable in Europe particularly in the 18th century. crook: a staff used by a shepherd to hook the legs of sheep to guide, assist, and control them. depict: to make a picture of something in words, images, movement, or another medium. diary: a record that someone writes every day about what he or she did or thought that day. emerge: porcelain: china made from extremely smooth and fine white clay proverb: a pithy statement expressing a truism about everyday life. report: a written document or oral presentation describing events or summarizing reading or research. represent: to create or be an image of something; also to symbolize or typify something. to come out of. spindle: fiction: a weighted stick that is used to spin fiber into yarn or thread writing that comes from the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact. flail: a farmer’s staff with attached beaters used to strike grain to knock the edible kernel free from the husk that surrounds it. goldweight: a sculptured metal object that is placed on one side of a scale to act as the counterweight to a certain amount of gold dust, which would be placed on the other side of the scale. ink stone: a flat stone used by Asian brush work artists to grind sticks of dried ink into powder form and add water to make liquid ink. journal: a diary, but often with more extended and reflective statements about one’s daily events and thoughts story: a written or oral account of an event or course of events that may be real or fictional tale (folk tale; fairytale): a short, simple narrative like a story but with more emphasis on events, sometimes magical events, than on the personalities of the characters. timbre: the distinctive quality of a voice or sound; a tone color. tone: the pitch of a voice; the quality of a voice. wick: a bit of cloth or cord that extends from a pool of flammable liquid such as olive oil, usually in the body of a lamp, to a spout were it burns the oil slowly and provides light. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 22 ■ RESOURCES AND REFERENCE MATERIALS ■ Correlations with New York State Learning Standards The activities included in this guide meet the following New York State Learning Standard Performance Indicators for elementary students (K–5): New York State Learning Standard Performance Indicators (Elementary Level) Activity Standard Area Standard # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Subject Letter Students will Arts 1 Visual Arts a Experiment and create art works, in a variety of mediums (drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, video, and computer graphics), based on a range of individual and collective experiences Arts 1 Visual Arts b Develop their own ideas and images through the exploration and creation of art works based on themes, symbols, and events Arts 1 Visual Arts d Reveal through their own art work understanding of how art mediums and techniques influence their creative decisions Arts 3 Visual Arts a Explain their reflections about the meanings, purposes, and sources of works of art; describe their responses to the works and the reasons for those responses Arts 3 Visual Arts b Explain the visual and other sensory qualities (surfaces, colors, textures, shape, sizes, volumes) found in a wide variety of art works Arts 4 Visual Arts a Look at and discuss a variety of art works and artifacts from world cultures to discover some important ideas, issues, and events of those cultures Arts 4 Visual Arts c Create art works that show the influence of a particular culture English Language Arts 1 Listening & Reading Gather and interpret information from children's reference books, magazines, textbooks, electronic bulletin boards, audio and media presentations, oral interviews, and from such forms as charts, graphs, maps, and diagrams ELA 1 Listening & Reading Ask specific questions to clarify and extend meaning • ELA 1 Speaking & Writing Present information clearly in a variety of oral and written forms such as summaries, paraphrases, brief reports, stories, posters, and charts • • • • • • • ELA 1 Speaking & Writing Select a focus, organization, and point of view for oral and written presentations • ELA 1 Speaking & Writing Use details, examples, anecdotes, or personal experiences to explain or clarify information • • • • • • • ELA 1 Speaking & Writing Observe basic writing conventions, such as correct spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, as well as sentence and paragraph structures appropriate to written forms ELA 2 Listening & Reading Read aloud accurately and fluently, using phonics and context cues to determine pronunciation and meaning TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 23 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • ■ RESOURCES AND REFERENCE MATERIALS ■ Correlations with New York State Learning Standards The activities included in this guide meet the following New York State Learning Standard Performance Indicators for elementary students (K–5): New York State Learning Standard Performance Indicators (Elementary Level) Activity Standard Area Standard # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Subject Letter Students will ELA 2 Speaking & Writing Create their own stories, poems, and songs using the elements of the literature they have read and appropriate vocabulary • • • ELA 2 Speaking & Writing Observe the conventions of grammar and usage, spelling, and punctuation • • • • • ELA 4 Speaking & Writing Listen attentively and recognize when it is appropriate for them to speak • ELA 4 Speaking & Writing Take turns speaking and respond to others’ ideas in conversations on familiar topics • • • • • ELA 4 Speaking & Writing Recognize the kind of interaction appropriate for different circumstances, such as story hour, group discussions, and one-on-one conversations • Social Studies 2 Study about different world cultures and civilizations focusing on their accomplishments, contributions, values, beliefs, and traditions • • • • • Social Studies 2 Understand the roles and contributions of individuals and groups to social, political, economic, cultural, scientific, technological, and religious practices and activities • • Social Studies 2 Explore the lifestyles, beliefs, traditions, rules and laws, and social/cultural needs and wants of people during different periods in history and in different parts of the world • • • Social Studies 3 Study about how people live, work, and utilize natural resources • Social Studies 3 Locate places within the local community, State, and nation; locate the Earth's continents in relation to each other and to principal parallels and meridians. • Math, Science, & Technology 2 Access needed information from printed media, electronic data bases, and community resources • • • • • • • TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 24 • • • • • • • • • • • ■ RESOURCES AND REFERENCE MATERIALS ■ Corresponding Field Trips Bibliography and Web Resources The following museums and organizations have exhibits or programs that feature stories and storytelling around the world, or objects and cultures discussed in this guide. Check with each for details. The following books and websites may help you to enrich your experience with the objects in the case: American Museum of Natural History Central Park West at 79th Street, Manhattan (212) 769-5100 www.amnh.org Brooklyn Museum Aliki. The Gods And Goddesses of Olympus (Trophy Picture Books). New York, New York: Harper Trophy Books, 1997. Badoe, Adwoa. The Pot of Wisdom: Ananse Stories. Toronto, Ontario: Groundwood Books, 2001. Conrad, Pam. Blue Willow. New York, New York: Philomel Books, 1999. 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn (718) 783-6500 www.brooklynmuseum.org Demi. Liang and the Magic Paintbrush. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Sagebrush, 1999. Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan (212) 535-7710 www.metmuseum.org DK Publishing. Ancient Egypt (DK Eyewitness Books). New York, New York: DK Publishing, 2004. New Victory Theater Hofmeyr, Dianne. The Star-Bearer: A Creation Myth From Ancient Egypt. New York, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. c/o The New 42nd Street 229 West 42nd Street, 10th Floor New York, NY 10036-7299 (646) 223-3020 www.newvictory.org/ Russell, William F. Classic Myths to Read Aloud: The Great Stories of Greek and Roman Mythology, Specially Arranged for Children Five and Up. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1992. Brooklyn Public Library Central Library Grand Army Plaza Brooklyn, NY 11238 (718) 230-2100 www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org Spence, Peggy. The Day of the Ogre Kachinas (Council for Indian Education). Boulder, Colorado: Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1994. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum also offers programs on a variety of cultural topics. For a listing of programs currently available, please see our website at www.brooklynkids.org, or contact the Scheduling Assistant at 718-735-4400, extension 118. Sullivan, Robert. Weaving Earth and Sky: Myths and Legends of Aotearoa. New Zealand: Random House New Zealand Ltd., 2002. Trezise, Percy. The Peopling of Australia (Stories of the Dreamtime—Tales of the Aboriginal People). Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Gareth Stevens Publishers, 1988. Goldweights as Proverbs: This site features images of many West African goldweights and a discussion of the meaning of their related proverbs. www.marshall.edu/akanart/abrammoo_abramob e.html Little Horus: Designed and developed for kids by the Egyptian government, this website contains many links to Egyptian history and contemporary culture. www.horus.ics.org.eg/en/Default_HTML.aspx TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 25 APPENDIX Stories About the Objects in the Case The stories that follow are related to the objects in the case. Reading them and discussing how they relate to the objects is an activity in itself (see Activity 3-Make a Story Journal). You can read them to your students or have students read the stories to themselves or to each other, depending on their age. If you choose to have your students read them, we have included pronunciation for some of the less familiar names. Not every object in the case has a corresponding story in this section of the teacher guide. The shadow puppet’s story is represented by the book Rama and Sita: A Tale from Ancient Java by David Weitzman, which is included in the case. The puff adder, birds in a tree, chicken head, and porcupine goldweights have corresponding proverbs rather than stories (see Proverb Power activity on page 20). Finally, the mola (below) and the bark painting in the case have no corresponding stories at all, but we encourage you and your students to write stories about them yourselves (see Literacy Extension on page 21). TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 26 The Myth of Osiris An Ancient Egyptian myth Osiris (O-sire-us), the king of Egypt, was kind and just. He taught his people how to plow the earth and how to honor the gods, and he gave them laws to live by. He was beloved by all his people and by Isis (Eye-sis), his queen. But his brother, Set, was jealous of Osiris and plotted against him to take over the throne. Queen Isis was constantly on her guard when Set was around, as she never felt safe from his scheming. But Osiris loved his brother and did not believe himself to be in danger. One day Osiris held a big banquet for his court. This was the moment Set had waited for. Together with his accomplices, he set his plan in motion. At the banquet, Set began to describe a wonderful casket that he had been given, and soon the other guests asked for him to have it brought in so they could see it. The casket was indeed beautiful, made of the finest wood, and gilded and painted with beautiful designs. Set promised to give it as a gift to whoever fit into it exactly. One by one, each of the guests tried the casket on for size, but just as Set had planned, Osiris was the only one who fit into it. The moment the king climbed inside, Set’s accomplices quickly nailed the lid shut and whisked the casket out of the palace! They threw it into the Nile River, where the current carried it away. Queen Isis was overcome with grief, and went out to look for her husband. She searched all over the kingdom and beyond without finding a trace of the casket containing his body. She wandered for a long time, weeping and searching for the casket, and eventually came into the land of Byblos (Be-blos). Here the people spoke about a wonderful tree that suddenly had started to grow on the riverbank. After hearing about the magical properties of this tree, Isis believed that her husband’s casket must have floated ashore and gotten stuck in the tree, which then grew tall and strong under his divine influence. But the king of Byblos had cut down the tree and used it to make a pillar in his palace. Isis made her way to the palace and convinced the queen of Byblos to give her the pillar made from the wonderful tree. She instantly chopped it into pieces, and sure enough, she found the golden casket inside! Isis opened the casket and embraced her dead husband, weeping over his body. He looked as if he were only sleeping. With her husband’s casket in tow, Isis sailed back up the Nile to Egypt. After a long journey, she brought the casket ashore and hid it in the marshlands, believing that it would be safe there. But that one day Set and his men were out hunting nearby. When Set happened upon the casket, he recognized it, and flew into a rage. He broke into the casket and tore Osiris’ body into many pieces, which he spread out all over the land of Egypt, thinking that Isis would never be able to find all of them. When Isis saw the empty casket, her cry of anguish shook heaven and earth. She called out to her sister Nephtys (Nef-tiss), who came to console her, and once more she went on her way to look for her husband’s body. For many long, sorrowful years Isis and Nephtys patiently searched the land together. One by one, they found all the pieces of Osiris’ body. When at last all the parts had been assembled, Isis made Osiris into the first mummy. She then used her powerful magic to breathe new life into Osiris. Her husband remained alive long enough for her to conceive a son, Horus, but he had been dead too long to remain in the land of the living. Instead he became king of the Land of the Dead. Isis’ and Osiris’ son, Horus, grew into a man as strong and wise as his father. He fought against his uncle Set to win back his father’s throne and become the king of Egypt. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 27 Cupid and Psyche An ancient Greek and Roman myth Once upon a time there lived a maiden named Psyche (Sigh-key), who was so beautiful that people said she was even prettier than Venus, goddess of love. Men traveled great distances to court her. When Venus heard about her mortal rival, she grew jealous, and asked her son, Cupid, to make sure that no man would ever love her. But on his way to deal with Psyche, Cupid accidentally pricked his finger on the tip of one of his magical arrows, and fell in love with her himself. Even so, Cupid followed his mother's orders, using his powers to make sure that no man would look upon Psyche with love. Psyche’s parents were surprised to find that their daughter suddenly no longer had any suitors. They consulted the Oracle of Apollo to find out what was the matter. The Oracle revealed that their daughter had angered the gods in some way, and must be sacrificed to a monster to appease them. The wrath of the gods was quite a fearsome threat, so while Psyche’s parents were sorrowful, they knew they must obey the Oracle. They took their daughter to the top of a nearby mountain and left her there to await her fate. Soon Zephyr, the god of the winds, came along and carried Psyche along to a beautiful palace. The palace was empty, but Psyche heard a voice tell her to enjoy the house and the grounds around it. Invisible servants brought her food and wine, drew her a bath, and granted her every request. At night, when it grew dark, Psyche went bed, where she was startled to find herself joined by a lover. He introduced himself as her new husband, but refused to tell Psyche who he was. He said that she must never look upon him. He was gentle and loving toward her, but he was gone by morning. Psyche lived like this for some time. Though she often requested to see her husband in the light, he always refused, playfully covering her face with a soft blanket. Finally, one night Psyche kept an oil lamp near the bed, and when she knew her husband was asleep, she lit the wick. Lying next to her was the god Cupid, and what she had taken for a soft blanket was his wings! In her shock, Psyche spilled a drop of hot oil from the lamp, which landed on her husband’s shoulder. Cupid awoke instantly. He was so angry with Psyche for breaking his command to not look upon him that he fled, abandoning her. Psyche chased after him, but since she could not fly she was soon left behind. Desolate without her husband, Psyche searched for him all over, but she was unable to find Cupid on her own. Eventually Psyche went to Venus, his mother, and begged for her help. Venus was still angry at the lovely mortal girl, and decided to punish her. She refused to help unless Psyche performed three impossible labors to show her devotion to Cupid. Psyche agreed, and set about her tasks. First Venus showed her a huge storehouse full of grain, and asked Psyche to sort the grains by their type. Despairing, Psyche pleaded to the other gods for aid. An army of ants appeared and picked up the grains one by one, placing them in neat piles of barley, oats, and wheat. Next Venus directed Psyche to gather wool from some wild and dangerous sheep. Psyche cleverly waited in a briar patch by the riverside where the sheep came to drink. As the sheep passed by, the briars pulled out small tufts of wool. After they left, Psyche gathered a handful of wool from the briars. Venus was not happy to find that the girl had performed her tasks so well, so she made the final task even more difficult. She told Psyche to go to Proserpine (Pros-er-peen), wife of Hades, god of the underworld, and ask for a little of her beauty. Psyche undertook the perilous trip to the underworld and met the queen of the dead, who gave her a box but commanded her not to open it. Psyche traveled out of hell again, but on her way back to Venus, she began to think that she had worked so hard for so long that she deserved some reward. She decided to open the box and take a little of the beauty out for herself. However, when she opened the box she found that what lay inside was a deathly sleep. Psyche collapsed. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 28 Cupid and Psyche (continued) By this time Cupid had recovered from his small burn. He was sorry he had argued with his wife and left her in such a brutish manner. He went out searching for Psyche, and discovered her lying on the ground as if dead. He went to her, brushed away the sleep from her body, and embraced her again. Together Cupid and Psyche brought the box to Venus on Mount Olympus, home of the gods. Cupid addressed the other gods and pleaded for their help. After hearing the tale of Cupid’s love and Psyche’s devotion, the gods agreed to make Psyche one of their own. She was given a cup of ambrosia to drink, which made her immortal, and butterfly wings so that she might fly alongside her husband. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 29 Frau Hulda (or, The Tale of a Spindle) A German folktale There once was a woman who lived with her lazy daughter and her kind and beautiful stepdaughter. The stepdaughter was treated harshly and made to do all the work about the house. She never had any time to herself. When the housework was done, she was expected to sit by the well outside the cottage and spin wool into thread. But despite her aching bones and her bossy stepmother’s demands, the girl never complained. One day she had been spinning wool for so long that her hand formed blisters and started to bleed. The spindle was stained with blood. She dipped the spindle into the well to clean it, but she lost her grip and the spindle dropped into the water. The girl went to her stepmother and explained what had happened, but the stepmother yelled at her and beat her, telling her she had better get the spindle out of the well again. The poor stepdaughter was at a loss, so she took a deep breath and jumped into the well. But instead of falling into the water, she found herself in a strange and wonderful land! She looked around for her spindle, but did not see it, so she began to walk around searching for it. After a little while she came to a bread oven. The bread cried out to her, “Let me out, let me out, I shall burn!” The stepdaughter kindly took the bread out of the oven. Soon she came to an apple tree. “Shake me, shake me!” cried the tree “My apples are ripe! Shake me!” The stepdaughter shook the tree and gathered up all the apples into a neat pile. she opened it, a shower of gold pieces fell upon the girl and stuck to her. “That is your reward for your hard work!” said Frau Hulda, handing the girl the long-lost spindle that she had dropped in the well. All of a sudden, the girl found herself back home! She heard the cockerel crow, “Cock a doodle-doo, your golden child has come back to you!” Thanks to the small fortune in gold that she carried, her stepmother and stepsister welcomed her home with open arms. She told them everything that had happened to her. The stepmother was eager for her own daughter to be blessed in the same way, so the two of them worked out a plan. The lazy daughter took the spindle to the well. She pricked her finger on a thorn, stained the spindle with blood, and dropped it down the well. When she jumped into the water, she found herself next to the bread oven. But she would not listen to the bread's pleas for help. “I will only get my hands dirty!” she said. She passed by the apple tree, too, and again refused to help it. “I won't shake you—an apple might fall on my head!” the lazy girl exclaimed. When she reached Frau Hulda's cottage, the daughter immediately offered her services and the old woman took her on. For the first day, she forced herself to do the housework. The second day she did very little work, and the third day she did none. Soon she refused to even leave her bed. Frau Hulda gave the lazy child her notice and led her to the door. As it opened, ashes rained down on the lazy daughter. Back in her mother's village, the daughter heard the cockerel crow, “Cock a doodle-doo, your foolish child has come back to you!” The ashes never came off. She then came to a small cottage occupied by an old woman. The woman introduced herself as Frau Hulda, and asked if the girl would do her housework in exchange for food and lodgings. The stepdaughter agreed. She worked hard for Frau Hulda, and shook her feather bed every day until the feathers flew. She stayed with Frau Hulda for many days until she was overcome by a great tiredness and realized that she was homesick. When Frau Hulda learned that she wanted to leave, she took the girl to a door in the cottage. When TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 30 The Necessity of Salt An Austrian folktale Once upon a time, there was a king who had three daughters. Because they were good and beautiful, he loved them all sincerely, and they loved him in return. The king was very happy, but he was also uneasy because he did not know which one he should appoint as queen. As his birthday approached, the king summoned his daughters and said to them, "My dear children, I love all three of you very much, and for a long time have not known which one of you I should name as heir to my throne. But I have decided I shall make queen the one among you who brings to me a birthday present that is the most necessary in human life. Go and make your plans accordingly." The old king's birthday arrived, and the two oldest daughters brought him presents that were very necessary, but at the same time extremely expensive. However, the youngest daughter brought him nothing more than a little pile of salt in a decorated container. When the king saw her simple present, he became very angry! In his rage, he drove his daughter out of the castle, forbidding her ever to darken his door again. far and wide praised the excellence of the meal. Finally the king's favorite dish arrived. Quickly taking a spoon, he tasted it. "This has not been salted!" he cried out angrily. "Have the cook brought before me!" A footman quickly ran to get the cook, who entered the hall undaunted. Dressed in peasant garb, none of her family or friends recognized her. "Why did you forget to salt my favorite dish, you careless girl?" shouted the king. The cook answered, "You drove away your youngest daughter because she thought that salt was so necessary. Perhaps you can now see that your child was not so wrong." When the king heard these words he recognized his daughter instantly, and begged for her forgiveness. He bid her to be seated at his side, and accepted her once again as his dear child and the future queen. Thus the wedding became doubly joyful, and the king lived happily with his children for many years thereafter. With deep sorrow the young princess went out into the world, comforted only by her faith in her own good sense. After walking a long while she came to an inn. There she asked the innkeeper for a job, and found work as an apprentice cook. The princess worked long and hard to perfect her dishes, and soon exceeded even the innkeeper in the art of cooking. News spread far and wide of the excellent cook in this inn, and everyone who came this way stopped to be served a roast or something even tastier. Eventually even the king in his castle heard of this cook's excellent reputation, and he hired her sight unseen to cook for his court. Now it came to pass that the oldest princess was getting married, and the famous cook was assigned to prepare the wedding feast with no expenses spared. On the day of the wedding, she sent out one elegant dish after another, loading up the tables until they almost cracked. Everything was deliciously prepared, and guests from TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 31 The Dreaming Prince Story By Leon Waller, 1995 Long ago in ancient China, there was a pair of twin brothers who did not get along. They did not like each other in the least. Their father was a powerful king, and it was up to him which of the two would become king when he passed away. The first twin was almost certain that he would be ruler someday, but he was not absolutely sure. This uncertainty troubled him and made him brood. Whenever he could he would cause trouble for the second twin, and point out to their father what he saw as his brother’s unsuitable qualities for becoming king. The second twin was not particularly concerned with the future. He did not even think about his father's eventual death and passing. He seldom saw his father, the king, who was always busy, and he avoided his troublesome brother as much as possible. The second twin kept to himself for the most part. He daydreamed, thought, and saw things that no one else seemed to see or understand. For that reason, he was called “the dreaming prince.” There were times when the dreaming prince would have the most amazing idea or fantastic vision, and would be so eager to speak of it to someone that he would take the chance of mentioning it to his brooding brother. And it is this mistake that takes us to the heart of this tale. Days later, the dreaming prince had another scary yet wonderful dream, and again he took the chance of mentioning it to his brooding brother. "I have dreamt of the most curious creature,” he said. “It seemed to be both a lion and a dog, and had the most fearsomely sharp teeth. I woke and found it sitting in the middle of my room carving a hollow in the surface of a stone with its teeth.” "Amazing!" said the brooding prince. "And did you see or dream anything more?" "Yes," said the dreaming prince, encouraged by his brother's unusual interest. "Just the night before, I saw or dreamt about a beautiful bird. It had gold and silver feathers and its wings burned when it flew. It was there for just a moment, and then it was gone." "You lie, you lie, you lie!" shouted the brooding prince, and ran off to inform their father of how foolish his brother was. After hearing another of his brother’s silly dreams, he thought, how could their father ever make the dreaming prince a king? Deeply hurt by this betrayal of trust, that night the dreaming prince went to bed in tears, feeling very much alone. He had begun to believe that no one liked him, not even his father. In the course of the night he woke from his shallow, fitful sleeping four times. One morning after having a scary yet wonderful dream the dreaming prince mentioned it to his brooding brother. Said the dreaming prince, "I dreamt of a small and wonderful creature. I was asleep when I saw a mouse-like creature enter my room through an open window. It flew three circles around my room and around my head, and then returned to the window again and hung from the sill upside down like a bat. Then it began to weep for reasons I cannot say. The tears fell and were as black as ink." The first time he woke, he noticed the bat had returned and that its black tears were pooling on the windowsill. The second time he woke, he noticed the lion-dog in the middle of the room with an object in its mouth, which it left on the floor before disappearing. The third time he woke, the burning bird had returned with a burning stick. He should have feared the fire, but it did not seem to matter. The bird flew off, leaving the flaming stick behind. "You lie, you lie, you lie!" shouted the brooding prince, and ran off to inform their father of how foolish his brother was. After hearing another of his brother’s silly dreams, he thought, how could their father ever make the dreaming prince a king? Now he slept until the edge of morning. Then he woke to the sound a great weight dragging itself around the room. He opened his eyes and saw a dragon wrapped around his bed. He looked into the violet burning eyes of the dragon for a long time. The dragon gave him TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 32 The Dreaming Prince (continued) several of its flat scales before unfolding its leathery wings and disappearing in a cloud of smoke. As the daylight streamed into his room, the dreaming prince suddenly found himself with several sheets of the purest white paper in his lap. On the windowsill he found a tablet of dried black ink and a brush with a tapering, flame-like end. There was an ink stone on the floor. All of these tools he arranged together. When he mixed water with the tablet of ink on the surface of the ink stone, he heard tiny voices calling out to him from the puddle of black liquid. They said, “We are six and six magicians in this ink, here to serve you and help you. Whatever you write or paint with us will be wonderful, exceeding even your wildest dreams.” Encouraged, the dreaming prince opened his heart, and wrote and painted about the many things he cared for. He filled page after page with his visions. When he had finished, he took this work to his father. At first the busy king could not find a moment to look at the sheaf of papers, but when he did, he lingered over it for a long time. When he was done reading, he smiled at his son. “After me, you shall be king,” he said. “I have no desire to rule,” said the dreaming prince. “My only wish, Father, has been to do something that would someday, somehow, make you smile.” And with this his father smiled, a bright smile, for a second time. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 33 The Game Board A traditional African tale Once a man in the town of Nebri carved a beautiful gebeta game board for his son. He made it from the wood of an olive tree. When he was finished he showed his son how to play games upon it. The boy was very glad to have such a beautiful thing, and in the morning when he went out with the cattle to the valley where they grazed he took his gebeta board along. Everywhere he went he carried his board under his arm. One morning while he followed the cattle, he came upon a group of wandering Somalis with their camels, gathered around a small fire in a dry riverbed. "Where in this country of yours can a man get wood?" the Somalis asked. "Why, here is wood," the boy said. And he gave them the fine gebeta board, which they put into the fire. As it went up in flames, the boy began to cry: "Oh, now where is my fine gebeta board that my father has carved for me?" "Do not make such a racket," the Somalis said, and they gave him a fine new knife in place of the game board. The boy took the knife and went away with his cattle. As he wandered, he came to a place where a shepherd was digging a well in the sand of the riverbed so that his goats could drink. The boy gave him the spear, and the hunters went out and killed the lion. But during the hunt, the shaft of the spear was splintered. "See what you've done with my spear!" the boy cried. "Don't carry on so," the hunters said. "Here is a horse for you in place of your spear." The hunters gave the boy a horse with fine leather trappings, and he started back toward the village. On the way he came to a place where a group of workmen were repairing the road. As they worked they caused a landslide, and the earth and rocks came down the mountain with a great roar. The horse became frightened and ran away. "Where is my horse?" the boy cried. "You have made him run away!" “There is no need to shout,” the workmen said. “We’ll give you this ax instead.” The boy and his cattle continued on toward the village. As he passed by a forest, he met a woodcutter. “I lost my ax in the forest,” the woodcutter said. “Lend me yours so that I may get some wood.” "The ground is hard," the shepherd said. "Lend me your knife to dig with." The boy loaned the woodcutter his ax, but the woodcutter chopped with it and broke it. The boy gave the man the knife, but the man dug with it so vigorously that the blade broke in two. The boy cried out in frustration, and the woodcutter said, "Never mind, here is a limb of a tree." "Ah, what has become of my knife?" the boy wailed. The boy took the limb upon his back and gathered up his cattle once more. As he came near the village, he passed by a woman who said, "Where did you find the wood? I need it for my fire." "Quiet yourself," the man said. "Take this spear in its place." And he gave the boy a beautiful spear trimmed with silver and copper. The boy went away with his cattle and his spear. He met a party of hunters. When they saw him, one of them said, "Lend me your spear, so that we may kill the lion we are trailing." The boy gave it to her, and she put it in the fire. As it went up in flames he said, "Now where is my wood?" TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 34 The Game Board (continued) "Here," the woman said. "Here is a fine wooden gebeta board." The boy took the gebeta board under his arm and went home with the cattle. As he entered the house, his father smiled and said, "What is better than a gebeta game board to keep a small boy out of trouble?" TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 35 How the Kiwi Lost Its Wings A traditional Maori tale A note on Maori (Maah-au-ree) pronunciation: You and your students can hear Maori phrases spoken on various websites. Just enter “Maori pronunciation” in your browser and select a site with sound. When two vowels are together, each is pronounced separately but blended quickly. “Wh” is pronounced like “f” in some places and in others like “wh” in “whale.” One day, the forest god Tanemahuta (Tah-neh-mah-hutah) was walking through the forest. He looked up at his tree children reaching for the sky, and he noticed that they were starting to grow sick from the bugs that infested them. He talked to his brother, the bird god Tanehokahoka (Tah-neh-haw-kah-haw-kah), who called together all of his children, the birds of the air, to ask them for help. Tanemahuta spoke to them. "Something is eating my children, the trees. I need one of you to come down from the forest roof and live on the floor to eat the bugs before they get to the leaves, so that my children can be saved, and your home in the trees can be saved. Who will come?" All was quiet, and not a bird spoke. Tanehokahoka turned to the tui (tu-ee). “Tui, will you come down from the forest roof?" Tui looked up at the trees and saw the sun filtering through the leaves. Tui looked down at the forest floor and saw the cold, dark earth and shuddered. "No, Tanehokahoka, for it is too dark and I am afraid of the dark." Tanehokahoka turned to the pukeko (poo-keh-kaw). "Pukeko, will you come down from the forest roof?" Pukeko looked down at the forest floor and saw the cold, damp earth and shuddered. "No, Tanehokahoka, for it is too damp and I do not want to get my feet wet." All was quiet, and not a bird spoke. Tanehokahoka turned to the pipiwharauroa (pee-peephah-rahwah). "Pipiwharauroa, will you come down from the forest roof?" Pipiwharauroa looked up at the trees and saw the sun filtering through the leaves. Pipiwharauroa looked around and saw his family. "No, Tanehokahoka, for I am busy at the moment building my nest." All was quiet, and not a bird spoke. And great was the sadness in the heart of Tanehokahoka, for he knew that if one of his children did not come down from the forest roof, not only would his brother lose his children the trees, but the birds would have no home. Tanehokahoka turned to the kiwi (key-wee). "Kiwi, will you come down from the forest roof?" Kiwi looked up at the trees and saw the sun filtering through the leaves. He looked around and saw his family. He looked at the cold damp earth. Looking around once more, he turned to Tanehokahoka and said, "I will." Great was the joy in the hearts of Tanehokahoka and Tanemahuta, for this little bird was giving them hope. But Tanemahuta felt that he should warn kiwi of what would happen. "E kiwi, do you realize that if you do this, you will have to grow thick, strong legs so that you can rip apart the logs on the ground? You will lose your beautiful colored feathers. You will have to grow a very long beak to dig for insects. Your wings will grow short and weak, so that you will never be able to return to the forest roof. You will never see the light of day again." All was quiet, and not a bird spoke. "So Kiwi, will you come down from the forest roof?" TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 36 How the Kiwi Lost Its Wings (continued) Kiwi took one last look at the sun filtering through the trees and said a silent goodbye. Kiwi took one last look at the other birds, at their wings and their colored feathers, and said a silent goodbye. Looking around once more, he turned to Tanehokahoka and said, "I will." Then Tanehokahoka turned to the other birds one by one and said, "Tui, because you were too scared to come down from the forest roof, from now on you will wear two white feathers at your throat as the mark of a coward. “Pukeko, because you did not want to get your feet wet, you will live forever in the swamp. “Pipiwharauroa, because you were too busy building your nest, from now on you will never build another nest again, but instead lay your eggs in other birds nests. “But you, Kiwi, because of your great sacrifice, you will become the most well known and most beloved bird of them all." TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 37 How the Hopi Indians Reached Their World A traditional Hopi tale When the world was new, the ancient people and the ancient creatures did not live on the top of the earth. They lived under it. All was darkness, all was blackness, above the earth as well as below it. There were four worlds: this one on top of the Earth, and below it three cave worlds, one below the other. None of the cave worlds was large enough for all the people and the creatures. The people increased so fast in the lowest cave world that they crowded it. They did not know where to turn in the blackness. Whenever they moved, they jostled one another. The people filled the place with their complaints and disgust. Some people said, "It is not good for us to live in this way." "But how can it be made better?" one man asked. "Let it be tried and seen!" answered another. Two spirit beings known as the Two Brothers decided to help the people. They pierced a hole in the roof of the cave and planted a cane tree, which grew so tall that it rose through the opening in the roof, and was so strong that men could climb to its top. Up this cane many people and spirit beings climbed to the second cave world. When some of them had climbed out, they feared that this cave also would be too small, so they shook the cane tree and caused those who were coming up it to fall back. Then they pulled the cane tree out. After a long time, the second cave became filled with people and spirit beings, as the first had been. The people complained and wrangled as they had in the beginning. Again, a cane tree was placed under a vent in the cave’s roof, and once more men and beings entered the next cave world. But the same thing happened in the third cave world. Although larger than the others, it was just as dark as the first two. The people longed for light and sought once again an escape from darkness. They climbed to the fourth world, which was this world, the Earth. But it too was dark, for it was closed in by the sky, just as the cave worlds had been closed in by their roofs. Men went from their lodges and worked by the light of torches and fires, which the Two Brothers gave them. The world was damp and dark, and people did not know what to do. With the people were five spirit beings that had come forth with them from the lower cave worlds: Spider, Vulture, Swallow, Coyote, and Locust. The people and these spirit beings consulted together, trying to think of some way of making light. Spider was asked to try first. She spun a mantle of pure white cotton. It gave some light but not enough. Then the people found and prepared a white deerskin, which they made into a shield case and painted turquoise. It shed such brilliant light that it lit the whole world, and made the light from Spider’s cotton mantle look faded. So the people sent the mantle to the east, where it became the moon. Down in the cave world Coyote had stolen a jar that was very heavy. He was curious to see what it contained. Now that light had taken the place of darkness, he opened the jar. From it many shining fragments and sparks flew out, singeing his face. That is why the coyote has a black face to this day. The shining fragments and sparks flew up to the sky and became stars. By these lights the people found that the world was indeed very small and surrounded by waters, which made it damp. The people appealed to Vulture for help. He spread his wings and fanned the waters, which flowed away to the east and to the west until mountains began to appear. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 38 How the Hopi Indians Reached Their World (continued) Across the mountains the Two Brothers cut channels. Water rushed through the channels, and wore their courses deeper and deeper. Thus the great canyons and valleys of the world were formed. The waters have kept on flowing and flowing for ages. The world has grown drier, and continues to grow drier and drier. Only a small number of people were able to climb up from their secret hiding places and emerge into the Fourth World. Legends reveal the Grand Canyon is where these people emerged. From there they began their search for the homes the Two Brothers intended for them. These few were the Hopi Indians that now live on the Three Mesas of northeastern Arizona. TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 39 The Tale of Tecun Uman A Quiche Indian tale Long ago, deep in the highlands of what is now Guatemala, the Quiche (key-chay) people ruled over a small territory. Their ancestors had lived there for hundreds of years, and they were the most powerful people in the land until foreigners from a distant shore invaded their kingdom. At first the Quiche heard nothing but rumors about these strangers, the Spaniards, who arrived on great ships and were said to be pale. But even before the Quiche laid eyes on the strangers, they fell victim to the Spaniards’ most unusual weapon: foreign diseases, which killed the Quiche in great numbers. Bodies lay piled in the streets, where they were eaten by dogs and vultures. Parents died, and many children were left orphaned. Alvarado. But the Spaniards were too powerful, and after a long fight, Alvarado stabbed Tecun Uman in the chest with his spear. The Spanish general admired his dead foe’s strength and beauty so much that he called all his soldiers to come and see this Indian. He told them he had not seen another Indian so handsome and regal in any other town they had conquered. And so Alvarado said that the name of their battleground would be Quetzaltenango (meaning “the place of the quetzals”), in honor of the brave prince Tecun Uman. Only after enduring four years of Spanish plagues did the Quiche finally meet the Spaniards face to face. Led by a conquistador (con-keys-tah-door; a conqueror) named Pedro de Alvarado, an army of Spanish soldiers marched into the highlands, ready to defeat the Quiche once and for all. The news of the Spaniards’ approach was brought by a dwarf named Ajitz (Ah-jeetz), who was jester in the palace of the Quiche prince. The prince, a gallant young warrior named Tecun Uman (Tay-koon Ooo-ahn), knew that the Spaniards were powerful, but he met their threat with great bravado. “Ajitz, my friend,” he said, “I do not fear evil or death, nor does torture make me tremble. Tell my soldiers to make themselves ready! I will face this insolent young Pedro Alvarado and send him to the underworld.” So many of the Quiche had died that their army was full of young, inexperienced fighters, some no more than children. Tecun Uman led them, wearing a crown of rare jewels and metals. His body was covered with a suit of beautiful feathers from the quetzal (kwet-zahl) bird, which made him look like an eagle. When the two armies met in battle, the Quiche fought bravely. Wearing his suit of quetzal feathers, Tecun Uman seemed to rise in flight as he attacked Pedro de TELLING STORIES THROUGH OBJECTS 40 Acknowledgments Beth Alberty Chrisy Ledakis Michelle Zatta Nobue Hirabayashi Whitney Thompson ■ Portable Collections Series Coordinator Melissa Husby ■ Special Thanks Leon Waller The Teachers of the New York City Department of Education ■ Funding Creation of this Portable Collections case is made possible by a Learning Opportunities Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. ■ ■ ■ © 2006 Brooklyn Children’s Museum 145 Brooklyn Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11213 718-735-4400 ext. 170 www.brooklynkids.org For information about renting this or other Portable Collections Program cases, please contact the Scheduling Assistant at 718-735-4400 ext. 118.
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