Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why Bears Sleep All Winter

Just received copies of the December HIGHLIGHTS with my story "Why Bears Sleep All Winter: A Tale from Lapland."

No, I have no ancestral family stories from Lapland. I found this charming story in a tattered second hand volume of Scandinavian folktales published decades ago. The moral of my discovery (ditto the folktale) is to do good works. I was volunteering at a church book sale when I pulled the volume from a dusty donation box.

I've always loved the how or why (pourquoi) stories. One of my favorites is the old African-American one called "Why Dogs Hate Cats." The story begins with dog and cat best of friends until the day they go to town and buy a big ham. On the hot, dusty road going home, they take turns carrying their prize dinner. When dog carries the ham, he always chants, "Our ham, our ham," but when cat carries the ham he always chants, "My ham, my ham." Well, you can see it coming - not far from home cat scrambles up a tree with the ham and eats it all. Dog declares, "I can't get you now, but when you come down out of that tree, I'm going to chase you 'til you drop."

What's your favorite folktale?


  1. Hi Gale,
    I'm going to look for it. Congratulations! It's a big deal to be published in Highlights.

  2. Gale - I would have to say YOUR retellings are my favorite folktales! btw...Grace has a subscription to Highlights and I opened it up and said "Hey, my friend wrote that!" I love this story!

  3. Congrats. And love that ham story!

  4. Linda, Robin and Marcia,
    Thank you all for the generous comments.
    Yes, I feel lucky to have been published twice in HIGHLIGHTS this year. Funny how stories can be held for years and then come out in quick succession.

  5. Congratulations, Gale! You're building up quite the HighLights portfolio! My favorite folktales are ... yours!

    And in honor of your newest publication, I'm going to take a nap!

  6. Gale

    Congratulations! I too always loved that re-told tale of yours about the bears! And you do have quite a record at Highlights!


  7. Congratulations on another published Highlights story Gale!
    One of my favorites is the Musicians of Bremman, I think it's called. Old animals who are no longer useful leave their homes, and instead of finding new jobs, they find each other, and a new home. Irish folk stories are also interesting, but all depressing with dead heroes at the end. You've inspired me though - I might look into freshening one of those up (i.e., maybe the hero could live?)

  8. Wish my kids still got Highlights so I could see it. I'll have to go to the dentist's office!

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  10. J.A, Eileen, Julie and Meg,
    Thanks for taking time to comment with congratulations.
    Here's hoping J.A. had a good nap and Julie finds an Irish story she can lighten up. Yes, some of the Scandinavian tales are dreary also. Maybe the climate has something to do with it?

  11. Congrats Gale! My favorite folktale was always The Three Billy Goats Gruff. I compared the three goats to me and my two sisters. And the troll was so creepy!