A New Year Story – The Four Brothers – adapted for puppetryPosted by Suzanne, on January 14th, 2012

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New Year Story – The Four Brothers

an old tale adapted for puppetry by

Suzanne Down

It was early in the year, and still cold snowy winter.  A poor mother and her daughter lived in a small cottage in a village near the great woods.  One morning, Mother called to Elyena and said, ‘dear daughter, go to our neighbors house and ask if they have food to spare, for we now have nothing left to eat.’  Elyena put on her warmest winter clothes and went to the neighbor’s with her basket.
Elyena knocked on the door.

Knock, knock, knock.

After a time the neighbor grandmother opened the door just a little crack to see who was there.  Elyena began to sing to her.

‘Good morning kind friend on this day so fair,
I’m asking if you have spare food to share.
It is so cold, and our food is no more,
Please if you can, bring some food to the door.’

Elyena held her basket out, but the grandmother said, ‘no, no, we have too little to eat.  Sorry, we cannot fill your basket at all, at all.’   And she closed the door tight.  Elyena went all through the village knocking on doors, and asking at each house,

”Good morning kind friend on this day so fair,
I’m asking if you have spare food to share.
It is so cold, and our food is no more,
Please if you can, bring some food to the door.’

But no one had food to spare.  No one at all, at all.

Elyena did not want to take an empty basket home to her good mother, so she went into the woods to look for nuts and roots hidden under the snow.  On the way she found a little mouse whose tail was caught under a stone.  Elyena gently freed him, and the mouse said, ‘ thank you kind child, I have been trapped here for a long time.  May good fortune find you’.  Then he scampered away through the snowy forest.

As she wandered on, she noticed a tree whose branches were so weighed down
with snow, she thought they would break.  So she shook the tree until it could
stand up straight again.  ‘Oh my,’ said the tree, ‘that feels much better, thank
you dear child, may good fortune find you.’

Elyena went on through the forest, and saw a little robin shivering from the cold.
She picked the robin up and wrapped her carefully in her warm woolen hat until
the robin stopped shivering.  ‘Thank you dear child,’ sang the robin, ‘I feel warm
enough to fly now.  May good fortune find you.’
And the bird flapped her wings and flew away.

Elyena had now walked deep into the woods where she knew a hazelnut tree grew.  ‘Perhaps I will find nuts here,’ she thought to herself.  So she started to dig under the snow finding nuts and filling her basket.  As she was digging here and there a kind old man with a long white beard  appeared dressed all in white.
He spoke to her with a voice as sweet as honey.

‘I am the Grandfather of the Year.  My four sons and I have seen how thoughtful
you are. My children each have a question for you.’

One brother came all dressed in light green.  He smiled at Elyena and asked her,
‘what is Spring like dear child?’

Elyena answered, ‘oh Spring is fresh and new and full of crocuses and daffodils
and baby birds. I love Spring!’  The green brother smiled at Elyena and nodded.

Then a second brother came all dressed in yellow, and asked,
‘what is Summer like dear child?’

‘Oh,’ said Elyena, ‘Summer is a time to run and play in sunshine, plant a garden
of flowers, and chase butterflies and fireflies.  I love Summer!’  The yellow brother
smiled and nodded.

Then a third brother appeared dressed in orange and reds.
He asked Elyena, ‘what is Autumn like dear child?’

‘Autumn,’ said Elyena, ‘is full of dancing leaves like flames, apples and pumpkins,
and it is harvest time.  I love Autumn!’  The orange and red brother smiled and

Then the Grandfather of the Year’s fourth son appeared all dressed in
pale blues.  ‘What is Winter like dear child,’ he asked.

‘Winter snow sparkles like the stars’, replied Elyena.  ‘Our cheeks get rosy as
we make snowmen, and we light candles in the house, and read books.
I love Winter!’  This blue brother also smiled and nodded.

Then the four brothers and the Grandfather of the Year who stood before her all disappeared.  Elyena thought she had been dreaming, but when she looked
in her basket of old nuts, they had turned to diamonds, rubies, and gold!

When she returned home her mother rejoiced.  They were never poor and hungry again!.

This story was greatly adapted for puppetry from a Greek Legend to be usable by teachers and all friends of children.