Sunflower Garden News - A Word from Miss Donna

King Winter, be gone, and soon cometh the spring
The ice is a-breaking. The flowers awaking~
And green groweth each new thing!
King Winter, be gone, and your rule put away.
The birds one and all now with jubilant call
Are bringing tidings of May!

Dear Sunflower Garden Families,

Our circle time is transitioning to themes of this end of winter and turning to spring time of year. We sing to King Winter to be gone yet we love when snow comes our way as it did this week. Even the snow reminds us of maple sugaring time: This little house is sugar. It’s roof with snow is piled and from a tiny window peeks a maple sugar child, says the poet Langston Hughes. We watch as King Winter and his polar bear slowly, slowly, make an exit from our room/nature table area.

On Tuesday, after a glorious hike where we witnessed tracks, tracks, tracks in the snow, we enjoyed oatmeal topped with homemade maple syrup by my husband, Dave Brooks (aka Mr. Brooks). Delicious. The day’s weather reflected perfectly this time of year...snow and then rain. This is also the time of year when pussy willows bloom, so be on the lookout and bring in a sprig if you find one!

Copied below, please see the story I’ve shared with the children recently. This is for your information. No need to ask 20 questions of your child about this story. Just let the imaginations live in him/her. They have loved this story and thought it so funny. I may have them act it out tomorrow and a bit next week!


Akimba and the Magic Cow
A Folk Tale from Africa, retold by Ann Rose
Source: Spindrift

Long ago in a little African village, lived a man named Akimba. Akimba was the poorest man in his village. One morning he had nothing left to eat ~ not even a crumb. I have no food and I have no money. I must leave the village, Akimba thought, and see what I can do.

So Akimba set out. Soon he came to a deep forest. He saw an old man chopping firewood. Akimba helped him stack the logs. Where are you going? the old man asked.

I have no food, and I have no money. I must see what I can do, Akimba anwered.

Maybe I can help you, said the old man. Behind this bush you’ll find a cow. Take her home with you and say ‘kukuku’ to her and see what happens.

So Akimba took the cow and went back to his hut. Kukuku, he said to her. The cow opened her mouth and a gold coin fell out. Wah! cried Akimba. Kukuku! Kukuku! More gold coins fell to the floor. In no time at all, Akimba was rich.

One day Akimba had to go on a long journey. He could not take his cow with him, so he went to see his good neighbor, Bumba.

Bumba, he said, will you keep my cow for me? She is no trouble as long as you don’t say ‘kukuku’ to her. ‘Kukuku’ is the one thing you must never say.

Very well, Bumba said. I will do as you wish.

So Akimba gave Bumba the cow and went down the road. The very moment Akimba was gone, Bumba ran up to the cow. Kukuku, he said. To his amazement the cow opened her mouth and a gold coin fell out. Kukuku, Bumba said again. Another gold coin fell to the ground. Wah! cried Bumba. This cow is good to have and better to keep.

A few days later, Akimba came back. Where is my cow? he asked. Here she is, Bumba said. But he gave Akimba another cow instead.

Akimba took the cow home and said, Kukuku. The cow said, Mooooo, but nothing happened. Have you forgotten your master’s voice? Akimba shouted, Kukuku! Kukuku!

Moooo-oo, moooo-oooo, mooed the cow. But no gold coins came.

So Akimba went to find the old man in the woods. My cow stopped giving gold, Akimba said. Soon I will be hungry again.

Behind this bush you’ll find a sheep. Take her home with you and say ‘bururu.’ Say, ‘bururu’ to her and see what happens.

So Akimba took the sheep and went back to his hut. Bururu, he said to her. The sheep opened her mouth and a silver coin fell out. Wah! Akimba shouted. Bururu, bururu! And in no time at all, Akimba was rich.

But the day came when Akimba had to leave on another journey. He brought his sheep to his good neighbor, Bumba. Bumba, he asked, will you keep my sheep for me? She is no trouble as long as you don’t say bururu’ to her. ‘Bururu’ is the one thing you must never say.

Very well, Bumba said. I will do as you wish.

The moment Akimba was gone, Bumba ran to the sheep. Bururu! he said. The sheep opened her mouth. A silver coin fell out. Wah! Bumba shouted. This sheep is good to have and better yet to keep.

A few weeks later, Akimba came back. Where is my sheep? he asked. Here she is, said Bumba. But he gave Akimba another sheep instead.

Akimba returned home. Bururu, he said to the sheep. The sheep said, Baa, baa, but no silver coins fell out. Bururu, bururu! Akimba shouted. Still no silver coins! This sheep has turned deaf in my absence, said Akimba. And he went to find the old man in the woods.

My sheep stopped giving silver, Akimba said. Soon I’ll be as hungry as before.

There is a chicken behind the bush. Take her with you, said the old man. When you get home, say, ‘klaklakla’ to her. Say ‘klaklakla’ and see what happens.

So Akimba got the chicken and took her home. Klaklakla, he said to her. The chicken laid an egg. What? yelled Akimba. No silver? No gold? Klaklakla, he shouted. The chicken laid more eggs. Well, said Akimba, eggs are eggs. And he ate them.

The next time Akimba was called away, he asked Bumba to keep his chicken. She’s no trouble as long as you don’t say ‘klaklakla’ to her. ‘Klaklakla’ is the one thing you must never say.

Do not worry, Bumba said. I will be more than glad to keep your chicken.

As soon as Akimba was out of sight, Bumba ran to the chicken. Klaklakla! he shouted. The chicken laid an egg. Fooh! cried Bumba. No gold? No silver? Only eggs? Oh well, he thought, eggs are eggs. And he ate them.

And when Akimba came back and asked for his chicken, Bumba gave him another one instead. Well, we know what happened when Akimba got home.

So Akimba went to see the old man in the woods again. My cow stopped giving me gold, he cried. My sheep stopped giving me silver. Even my chicken stopped laying eggs. Soon I will be as hungry as before.

There is a stick behind the bush, the old man said. Go home and tell it to dance for you. When you want it to stop dancing say ‘mulu’.

Thank you, said Akimba, and he took the stick.

As soon as he was home, he told the stick to dance. But the stick did not dance. It jumped up and beat him instead. Akimba was so surprised he almost forgot the magic word. Mulu! he yelled at last, and the stick fell to the floor. Akimba looked at the stick for a long time. Hmmm, he thought, I must pay another visit to Bumba. Then Akimba took the stick to Bumba’s house.

Bumba, he said, I have to leave again. Will you keep the stick for me? ~ ‘Well, well,’ Bumba thought, ‘the cow brought me gold, the sheep brought me silver and the chicken brought me eggs. Who knows what the stick will bring?’ And he grabbed the stick and pushed Akimba out of the door. Akimba turned around. I almost forgot, he said, Do not say ‘Stick, dance for me’. Remember, whatever you do, do not ask the stick to dance.

The moment Akimba was out of sight Bumba yelled, Stick, dance for me! And the stick jumped up. But it did not dance. It beat him and beat him and would not stop. The stick was still beating Bumba when Akimba came back. Now will you give me my true cow and my true sheep and my true chicken? Akimba asked.

Anything! cried Bumba. Just stop this stick from beating me!

Mulu, Akimba said. And the stick fell to the floor.

Akimba picked up the stick. He took his true cow and his true sheep. He took his true chicken. Then he went back to his hut.

Klaklakla, he said to the chicken. Akimba’s plate was filled with eggs.

Bururu, he said to the sheep. And silver coins clanked to the floor.

Kukuku, he said to the cow. And gold coins piled up to the roof.

Akimba never had to go hungry again.

Morgan Branson
Morgan Branson
Articles: 1677

Join us for

Songs & Stories

A free experiential class for parents and their children.

August 4, 2004 @ 10-11:30am