When we find generosity and kindness in story, rewards follow. Keys to a magic castle are given; or perhaps a gift of a cloak of invisibility give special powers for the good. In Star Child, the ultimate story of 'giving', she receives a gown of stars from heaven, and the blessings to match. These are all pictures of transformation of soul, and of a soul worthy of receiving the gifts of spirit and high wisdom.
In this story, The Star Dipper, we see this 'soul polishing' in a clear sweet way. Sasha shares water with others, and the dipper/holder of this 'water of life', goes through a magnificent metamorphosis. It can also be seen as a mirror to the changes in the girl's soul qualities. I love this image for children. It is an imaginative picture of how our good deeds work on us at the deepest of levels. The images are enough. No moralizing is needed.
This story is greatly adapted for puppetry from an old legend.
Try telling this story outdoors on a clear night, around a summer camp fire, or better still, share it as a puppet show with lantern light and the starry sky above shining down on all.
The Star Dipper
Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was a mother and her daughter, Sasha, who lived in a little cottage by the woods. Though they were poor, they were happy and loved each other dearly.
One hot summer evening Sasha's mother did not feel well, and went to bed very early. But she could not go to sleep, and tossed and turned in her bed.
"I am so thirsty," she said. "I wish I had a drink of cool, clear water."
Sasha, who was very kind and thoughtful said to her mother, "I will get you a drink, Mother.’ She jumped out of bed and slipped on her dress and shoes. She took an old tin dipper and ran out to the well in the yard. She pulled up the bucket, but not a drop of water was in it. The well had gone dry.
"What shall I do?" wondered the kind little girl. "It is so warm and mother is so thirsty. She must have a drink of nice cold water. I will go to the spring in the woods. Surely there will be some water there."
The spring was a long way off in the woods and it was now getting to be quite dark out. “I must try hard not to be afraid," said Sasha.
So with the tin dipper in her hand, she ran across the yard to the path that led into the woods. It was even darker in the woods. She could not see the path very well, and soon she had lost her way.
The sharp little stones cut through her thin shoes. She tumbled over the big stones. The branches of the trees caught her dress and tore it. But she did not turn back.
"Oh, where is the spring?" called out Sasha. "I must find it. Mother is so very thirsty."
At last she heard a little trickling sound. She knew then she had found the spring. She knelt down and filled the old tin dipper with the clear cool water. Then she started back home carrying it very carefully.
Along the way a little bird flew right to her shoulder. "Dear girl", the bird sang in her ear, "I am so thirsty, the streams have all gone dry, do you have water to spare?"
Sasha felt sorry for the little bird. "Little bird," she said aloud. "I will give you a drink of this clear, cool water. I have filled the dipper for my mother, but there is enough for you too."
Sasha poured some of the water into her hand and held it up to the bird's beak. The bird drank it up eagerly. How good it tasted!
The water gave the bird strength, and she flew up and circled the girl singing "thank you, thank you!"
Then the little girl noticed that it had grown lighter in the woods. The light seemed to come from her hand. She looked down and
saw that the old tin dipper had turned to bronze. It was bright and shining like a small candle. Now the little girl could see her way more easily. She could walk much faster with the help of the warm light from the dipper.
After a while she came upon a tabby cat sitting quite still on a log by the path.
"Meow, meow, little girl," the cat called out, "can you tell me where I can get a drink of water? The streams have all gone dry and I am very thirsty and tired."
Sasha looked at the cat, who looked so small and alone, and said, "I will give you a drink," and she gave him some of the clear, cool water from her bronze dipper.
The cat drank and drank until he felt strong again. "Meow, meow, thank you, kind little girl," said the tabby cat. "Now I can go on my way", and he said good-bye to Sasha.
As soon as the cat ran along down the path, Sasha noticed her bronze dipper was glowing with a soft light, it shone out like a lovely full moon. Her dipper had turned to silver. The woods around her lit up far and wide.
Soon after that, she met an old man along the path. He had eyes that were gentle but oh so sad. "Dear child," he said to Sasha,
"I am weary and tired, and so thirsty, for all the streams have dried up. Do you know where I can find water to drink?"
Sasha handed the silver dipper to the old man and said, "here, drink from my dipper, I have found water from a spring for my mother, but there is enough to share."
And the old man drank and drank the cool clear water, and with each sip, he grew younger and younger, until he stood before her as a strong young man with happy eyes.
"I thank you with all my heart little girl," he said to Sasha. And when he handed the dipper back to her and went on his way with joyful steps, she noticed that it had grown even brighter in the woods than before. She looked down and saw that the silver dipper had turned to gold. It was as bright as day now in the woods, as the dipper shone like the golden sun.
The kind little girl could see so well, she skipped and ran along the path all the way home.
"Mother, I have brought you a drink of cool clear water from the spring," said Sasha and she handed the golden dipper to her mother. How good the water tasted! Mother drank and drank until there
was not a drop left in the golden dipper.
"Thank you for going to the spring, my good little girl," said the mother. "Now I feel much better. I shall be able to get up and do my work." Suddenly, Mother and Sasha saw lights twinkling in the room, like dancing fireflies. They looked down at the golden dipper. Something very wonderful had happened.
The golden dipper had changed to sparkling diamonds.
Out of the window went the twinkling diamonds and up, up into the sky. The mother and Sasha opened the door and went outside to watch. Up high in the sky the diamonds turned into seven bright, twinkling stars. They made a shining dipper in the sky.
Sasha and her mother lived many years ago, but if you look up into the sky some bright, starry night, you will see that the twinkling dipper is still there.
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