Why You Must Have Transylvania on Your Holiday Destinations List

why you must have Transylvania on your holiday list

Watching over Romania, coming from eternity and traveling into history, echoing of a famous past, Transylvania belongs on any holiday destination list, be it that of a family, of a solitary traveler, or of an adventurous historian buff. National Geographic said it, and here’s exactly why you must visit Transylvania.

Why You Must Have Transylvania on Your Holiday Destinations List

Where should one start when visiting Transylvania? With its medieval cities? Its spectacular fortresses and enchanting castles? Its white or black churches? In search of Dracula, or better Vlad Țepeș, the Impaler? Admiring local art and folklore, perhaps? Or better getting lost in its secular forests? Find it the stories here, on my blog.

Cities of Transylvania for your Holiday List

Put Brașov on your holiday list

One would say, begin with the charming Brașov, an 800 years old city that will bewitch you with the charm of its eclectic architecture, its narrow, winding streets, and the picturesque surroundings that spiral all the way to the top of Tâmpa Mountain.

If you’re not feeling sporty, just let your feet wonder around its maze of streets and admire centuries old doors or slowly climb up to Șcheii Brașovului and learn its history, which began during the 14th century when the Black Church of Brașov started.

Why You Must Have Transylvania on Your Holiday Destinations List, Brasov, Scheii

There is so much to take in while in Brașov. Do remember to look up.

Why You Must Have Transylvania on Your Holiday Destinations List, Brasov, Strada Sforii, Rope Street
Looking up in Brasov, on the very narrow and ancient Rope Street, Strada Sforii

Medieval Sighișoara, a city from Transylvania that you must visit each season

If you journey through Transylvania, ‘the land across the forest’, (searching for Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler or Dracula) and head towards Brasov along the banks of the Big Tarnava River, you will surely spot from quite afar the pointy towers of medieval Sighisoara City, with its centuries old fortress and churches. We traveled there by train one winter.

Once in Sighișoara you simply cannot miss it, the Clock Tower will be the first to welcome you on your journey.

Yes, visiting the house where Vlad the Impaler was born (and discovering its secret entrance) will be next on your list. But there is so much more to medieval Sighișoara, such as the medieval horns adorning one of Sighisoara’s oldest houses, or climbing a medieval staircase to Sighisoara’s hill for more amazing winter scenes and photos.

The significance of Sighisoara City? Discover it beyond its gray rampant walls shadowed by a tumultuous history, by remembering its Saxon merchants and shepherds, as well as its prominent, Draculesti leaders (Vlad the Impaler and his father before him. A journey through the medieval city of Sighisoara is sure to unravel the fortress’ high status. To it contributed its ideal location, at crossroad between Moldavia and Wallachia, and East and Western Europe.

Castles, Fortresses, and Churches of Transylvania that You simply Must See

Făgăraş Castle, Transylvania

In the vicinity of Brașov lies the rocky walls of Făgăraş Castle. The initial fortification was raised with the secular fir trees from its adjacent forests, going back to 12th century. Within its walls, rocking the modern perceptions of the Middle Ages, is the Iron Maiden of Făgăraş Castle.

Engraving of the Făgăraș Citadel by Ludwig Rohbock (~1883)

Did you know that traditionally, the duchies of Almaș and Făgăraş were fiefs of Wallachian prince. Yet John Hunyadi, appointed the Voievode of Transylvania at that time (as Transylvania, although a Romanian county today, was part of the Kingdom of Hungary during he Middle Ages to say the least) seized them. Hunyadi gave Almaș to the citizens of Sibiu and kept Făgăraş for himself. And he knew exactly why.

Brâncoveanu Monastery at Sâmbăta de Sus, a must see in Transylvania

Allow your mind be transported in a time of peace and tranquility within the pure walls of Brâncoveanu Monastery at Sâmbăta de Sus.

If you wonder how a Wallachian Voievode built a monastery in a different principality, know that the hamlet and the land on which the monastery was built belonged to Preda Brâncoveanu, his grandfather. Who even built a small wooden church on it in 1654.

Part of Brâncoveanu’s motivation behind rising this monastery was to strengthen the Orthodox presence in the region at a time when Catholicism rose together with the Habsburg domination over Transylvania (who had just escaped Calvinism). Brâncoveanu wanted to leave a legacy to the Christian religion of Romanians on both sides of the Carpathian mountains (Transylvania and Wallachia).

Corvin Castle, Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle, Transylvania

If you ever wondered how a 15th century wooden door that survived four massive fires that engulfed almost everything else looks like, then you must set a day aside to visit Corvin Castle.

If you like jambs, recesses, and coat of arms, then you will love Corvin Castle and as soon as you will leave you will find yourself planning a return visit. Built over a few hundred years, with so many ups and downs stairs that it is a 3D giant maze, one will surely admire here Gothic stone door frames of the original fortress.

Watching over Romania, coming from eternity, echoing of a famous past, Transylvania belongs on any holiday destination list. Here is why.

To visit Corvin Castle we traveled by train from Bucharest to Brasov for a night over and allowed an entire day only to visit Corvin Castle. We couldn’t have done it without the amazing support and advise of Mr Cornel and Mrs Cristina, the owners of Guesthouse Casa Cristina in Brasov, always welcoming, offering the same top accommodation and a hearty breakfast for the past ten years that we’ve been visiting them (this endorsement is not backed by any financial gain).

Did you know that Corvin Castle was featured in numerous movies?

Folktales and Art of Transylvania to take in during your holiday

It is said in local folktales ~ whispered on moonlit nights ~ that if you glance straight into its shimmering rivers, and long enough that their brightness still flashing behind your closed eyelids, then the fairies, or charmstresses, ielele, as they are known in the sweet Romanian language, have put a spell on you. Watch out, for they might lure you into Transylvania’s millennial and magical forests.

‘Blessed, alluring IELELE,
Mistresses of breeze,
Ladies of the earth and mist,
Through the air you rise,
On the grass you slide,
And on waves you glide.’

Translated from Romanian folklore by Patricia Furstenberg

Wood carving in Transylvania, as everywhere in Romania, often tells a story before becoming art. Worth mentioning is the Folk-Art ~ Romanian Symbols: when carving in wood, the Romanian folk artists puts a lot of thought. Each carving tells a story, some symbols are for protection, others to remember them of the families left behind:

A cross is for protection.
A cross in a circle symbolizes God.
A circle is for eternity, a dot for perfection.
A diamond represents the woman.

Visit Transylvania online, from the safety of your armchair, right now

You can travel to Romania and Transylvania right now via amazing photos because Romania is a country that deserves to be seen. Not many know, but its brave people have watched over the central and western Europe for centuries, acting like a breathing barrier against the Ottoman and Russian powers. Come on over.

Time stands still in Romania. Embrace it, for Transylvania has been known from Prehistory and all the way to Roman Dacia ~ do take kindly to it.

See the kneeling of the twilight,
Hear the hesitation of a footstep at dawn,
Admire old landscapes,
Growing young with the joy they give.
A light that calls
Through history,
Stories that perpetuate,
For each one of us
Is a facet of their reflection.

© Patricia Furstenberg

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A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers

A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers

The idea behind A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers is to have some fun. 🙂

First read each question and attempt to answer it, then, too see the answer:

* scroll with your mouse over the image – if you view from a PC
** select the image (tap and hold to select) – if you view from a mobile device.

1. What is the name of the Celtic harvest festival that many people believe Halloween is based on?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. halloween toothless pumpkin haiku

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2. What fruit would you go for, bobbing at Halloween?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers 
What fruit would you go bobbing for at Halloween?

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3. Count Dracula is based on a real person. What was his name?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Vlad Dracula, Romanian Voievode also known as Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler

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4. Where is Transylvania located?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers - Transylvania, Romania

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5. What was Bram Stoker’s original name for Dracula?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Halloween haiku, bats goblins

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6. What is a group of witches called?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. A group of witches called a coven

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7. In which town of medieval Transylvania were witches executed?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Strada Sforii, Rope Street, Brasov, wehre witches were executed during the Middle Ages

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8. What is the day after Halloween called?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers

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9. Which countries traditionally celebrate The Day of the Dead instead of Halloween?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. Celebrating All Saints Day instead of Halloween, Romania

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10. What do we call the fear of, or the Halloween phobia?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. What do you call a fear of Halloween?
black and white square moon photo

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11. What does the word “Hallow” means in old English?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. What does the old English word “Hallow” mean?

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12. Why did Victorians put bells above the graves, attached to a string that reached inside the coffin?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Why did Victorians put bells in their coffins?

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13. What do you call a ghost that moves objects around the house?

What do you call a ghost that moves things around your house?

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I hope you found A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers fun!
What about you? Do you know any Hallowe’en questions for me?
Write them in comments below and I’ll answer to the best of my knowledge 🙂

Christmas Haiku
Christmas Haiku

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Die Woestyn Dromedaris, the Desert Dromedary

woestyn dromedaris, desert dromedary

Die Woestyn Dromedaris or the Desert Dromedary is the first installment in a series of posts about babadiertjies van Afrika, animal cubs from Africa.

Die Woestyn Dromedaris, babadiertjies van Afrika

Die dromedaris woon al vir langer as ses duisend jaar in die Sahara-woestyn. Anders as die kameel wat twee bulte op sy rug het, het hy net een groot ou boggel. Hierdie boggel word met reg sy ‘spens’ genoem. Met net ‘n klein bietjie water en baie min kos, kan hierdie diere baie lank in die woestyn aan die lewe bly. Daroom is hulle sulke nuttige pakdiere om in die droë woestynwêreld lang togte mee af te lê. Geen wonder dan ook dat hierdie dier die ‘skip’ van die woestyn genoem word nie.

Met sy fyn reukvermoë, kan die dromedaris van baie ver af water ruik, of dit nou by ‘n verafgelseë oase of selfs onder die sand is! Ook het hy ‘n baie skerp ontwikkelde instink wat hom help om koers te hou, al het sandstorms ook alle spore uitgewis.

Die Woestyn Dromedaris, the Desert Dromedary, babadiertjies van Afrika
(Image Wolfgang Hasselmann, Unsplash)

By geboorte is die klein dromedaris bedek met ‘n pragtige wollerige vag. Geleidelik verloor hy egter hierdie wollerigheid en daar bly uiteindelik net so ‘n klossie daarvan op sy groot ou boggel oor. Alhoewel dit seker nie ‘n vreeslike mooi versiering is nie, bied dit darem aan die dromedaris ‘n mate van beskerming teen die moordende strale van die woestynson.

Die dromedariskalfie drink ‘n volle jaar lank aan sy ma. Dit maak sy verhemelte taai genoeg om die droë woestynstruike te kan vreet. Gedurende hierdie tyd ontwikkel sy herkoutjiemaag ook heeltemal. Hierdie magie van hom bestaan uit vier kompartemente: in die eerste drie word die kos gedeeltelik verteer, om dan eindelik in die vierde gedeelte opgeneem te word. Hierdie laaste kompartement word die melkpens genoem.

Die dromedaris het lang, sierlike wimpers wat beskutting aan sy oë bied wanneer sandstorms woed.

Dit is ‘n bekende feit dat die dromedaris tot sestien kilometer per uur kan aflê. Soms lê hulle tot agt honderd kilometer in minder as vier dae af!

The Desert Dromedary, baby animals from Africa

The dromedary, or Arabian Camel, has lived in the Sahara desert for more than six thousand years. Unlike the camel that has two bumps on its back, the dromedary has only one big hump. This hump is rightly called its ‘pantry’. With only a tiny bit of water and very little food, these animals can stay alive in the desert for a very long time. That’s why they are such useful pack animals to take on long journeys through the dry desert world. No wonder that this animal is called the ‘ship’ of the desert.

Die Woestyn Dromedaris, the Desert Dromedary, babadiertjies van Afrika
(IMage Mads Severinsen, Unsplash)

With its fine sense of smell the dromedary can smell water from very far away, whether it is in a remote oasis or even under the sand! Also, the dromedary has a very sharp instinct that helps him keep its route, even when sandstorms have wiped out all traces.

At birth, the baby dromedary is covered with a beautiful woolly fleece. Gradually, however, he loses this woolliness and all that’s left in the end is just a tuft atop his big hump. While not a decoration, it does offer the dromedary some protection from the deadly rays of the desert sun.

The dromedary calf drinks from its mother for a full year. Until the top of his mouth, its palate, has developed and became tough enough for him to eat the dry desert shrubs. During this time, his stomach also reaches full maturity. The magic of the dromedary’s stomach consists of its four compartments: in the first three the food is partially digested, then the food arrives in the fourth compartiment, called the mammary gland.

The dromedary has long, graceful lashes that protect his eyes during raging sandstorms.

It is a known fact that the dromedary can travel to a speed of up to sixteen kilometers per hour. Sometimes they can cover up to eight hundred kilometers in less than four days!

Die Woestyn Dromedaris, the Desert Dromedary, babadiertjies van Afrika
(Image Vera Davidova, Unsplash)

Some Dromedary Wisdom

It is said that an Arab merchant, after loading all his goods on the dromedary’s back, looked at the poor beast, only it’s long neck and four legs as thin as stick visible from underneath the mountain of bags and crates, and felt sorry for him.

So the Arab merchant asked his dromedary if he would rather travel uphill or downhill. At which the dromedary replied, ‘is the flat road through the desert closed, then?’

Now in Afrikaans: Drie populêre kinderboeke, nou beskibaar in Afrikaans. Helder en kleurvolle illustrasies en beminlike karakters wat opwindende avonture deel. Vir kinders en ouers om saam te geniet.

Die Leeu en die Hond
Die Olifant en die Skaap
Die Jagluiperd en die Hond

babadiertjies van Afrika

I hope you enjoyes die Woestyn Dromedaris, the Desert Dromedary from babadiertjies van Afrika, animal cubs from Africa series.

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Incredible, Innovative and Infernal Bookmarks through History

Incredible, Innovative and Infernal Bookmarks through History

The enchanting history of bookmarks spans more than one millennia, a living proof that readers tried every little trick in the book not to lose their place, in return coming up with some of the most innovative place-marks.

Bookmarks are inherently linked to the very appearance and spread of the books, but not only written or printed books, papyrus documents too since some reached length of 40 meters.

1st century classical poet Martial wrote a poem advertising a new edition of his works, specifically noting that it is produced as a codex, thus taking less space than a scroll and being more comfortable to hold in one hand. Surely it was accompanied by a bookmark? For residue of bookmarks discovered in the earliest Coptic codices(belonging to the Christian Church that started in Egypt) indicate without a doubt that bookmarks have accompanied codices since their first emerged during the 1st century AD.

The oldest known bookmark dates from 6th century AD and is made of ornate leather with a parchment sheet on the back. It was attached to the cover of an ancient manuscript found under the ruins of monastery Apa Jeremiah in Egypt during 1912 excavations.

Incredible, Innovative and Infernal Bookmarks through History - A ribbon bookmark detail in a Van Eyck painting
A ribbon bookmark detail in a Van Eyck painting

An Incredible Medieval Bookmark

During the Middle Ages, especially between the 13th century to the 15th century, many interesting bookmarks were used in manuscripts and incunabula in European monasteries. These were generally made from leather or parchment left after the book covers were created. In medieval monasteries, bookmarks had a variety of shapes, from a simple thread to triangles.

Incredible, Innovative and Infernal Bookmarks History - the Rotating bookmark
A rotating medieval bookmark

Rotating bookmarks were a creative kind of bookmark indeed. They were attached to a string that got pressed between the pages and they had a marker attached to it, that could be slid up and down to mark the precise level on the page. To take things further, attached to the marker was a rotating disk with numbers, 1 to 4, this indicating the column (1, 2 on the left page, 3, 4 on the right page) where the reader stopped.

Some Innovative Bookmarks throughout History

The Royal Museum of Brunei has an ivory bookmark, made in India, adorned with a geometric motifs and perforations dating from the 16th century.

And some 15th century bookmarks as seen in Van Eyck paintings, The Rolin Madonna and Annunciation. Do you notice the metal pin with a round metal head placed in the open books?

It is known that Elizabeth I was presented with a special fringe silk bookmark depicting her portrait by her printer Christopher Barker in 1584 as a thank you gift for bestowing upon him exclusive rights to print the Bible in 1577.

A common pattern between bookmarks of 18th to 19th century was the narrow silk ribbon, not more than 1 cm wide, glued to the book at the top of the spine and long enough to protrude beyond the lower edges of the tome.

The first detached and therefore collectible bookmarks appeared in the 1850s and become of interest for cultural historians. In the Victorian era, ladies from the high society taught their daughters the art of embroidery, and to show their skills in this field they would often craft a bookmark. This meant that many bookmarks were embroidered, often attached to a hand drawing, and used in bibles or prayer books and given as gifts to family members or close friends.

After 1850, bookmarks began to be made of a variety of materials. Whether they are made of gold, bronze, brass, tin, leather or ivory, they also have different sizes and shapes.

Below: a Japanese Maple leaf iridescent copper bookmark, a Pallache (Sword) with Scabbard Bookmark, a 3D origami bookmark, a wooden bookmark.

Around the 1860s sewing machines began to be used to make bookmarks, so silk ones became highly prized gifts during the Victorian era. Woven pictorial bookmarks produced by Thomas Stevens, a 19th century English silk weaver, starting around 1862, are called Stevengraphs. Woven silk bookmarks were very appreciated gifts in Victorian days and Stevens seemed to make one for every occasion and celebration. One Stevengraph read:

All of the gifts which heaven bestows, there is one above all measure, and that’s a friend midst all our woes, a friend is a found treasure to thee I give that sacred name, for thou art such to me, and ever proudly will I claim to be a friend to thee.

Incredible, Innovative and Infernal Bookmarks through History - Stevengraph showing the London and York Royal Mail Coach, silk, 1862
A Stevengraph silk bookmark showing the London and York Royal Mail Coach, 1862

Since 1880, the production of this type of bookmarks declined in favor of paper or cardboard designs. At the same time, books became more and more popular and available to the masses. Insurance companies, publishers and other businesses saw an opportunity to use free bookmarks as advertisements.

Some bookmarks were next created in form of knives since in the early 19th century the pages in books were not completely separated, so the book signs were also used as paper-cutting knives.

The Infernal Bookmark

At the beginning of the XI century it s said that the Irish monk Coloman used a fly as a bookmark. Luckily, not everyone has such a serviceable fly at hand while reading. For whenever Coloman stopped reading his Bible, he would order the fly, which was always pacing back and forth on his page, to sit on the exact line he had stopped reading until he returned to continue his lecture. Which the fly did infallibly.

Only that Coloman was not the only one… I do remember reading Memories of Childhood by Romanian author Ion Creanga. Creanga, who grew up in a small Moldavian village in north-eastern Romania, recalls his school books, handed down from one generation to the next, and far from being in pristine condition. While they, as inventive school kids, would take a break from reading to wait patiently for as many flies as possible flies to settle on the page… only to smack the book closed. Well, perhaps not using flies as bookmarks…

Apparently bookmarks were even used for propaganda purposes by the 3rd Reich in Democratic Germany.

Today, there are no limits to the types of page-holders we can use. A strip of paper, a bank note, a blade of grass, train or bus tickets, even a feather can function of the bookmark. A loved one’s picture or an uplifting message are just as appealing to me, although my favorite bookmarks are the one my children made for me.

Shape-wise too, the sky is the limit. Triangular bookmarks that could be placed on the corner of the book page, magnetic page-holders and bookmarks that attach themselves to the page like a clip are also popular. Kindles or electronic readers have a build in bookmark, any reading experience is incomplete without a proper bookmark.

Regardless of the reason, a well-chosen bookmark can enhance one’s reading experience much better than other methods that are not as safe and as attractive such as… dog ears. A bookmark connects space and time, it joins the time spent reading with the real timeline of one’s life. It is the fingerprint of the time spent enjoying a certain book.

Books by Patricia Furstenberg on Amazon

The Story of the Giant Radish

the story of the giant radish

The Story of the Giant Radish sprang to my mind today, while I was seeing to our mini vegetable garden. It might be a children’s story, but it illustrates the power of many, when they are working together.

As a child I always wondered about this giant radish. How can it grow so big? And what meals can one possibly cook, since there is so much of it? Anyway, over here we eat radishes in salad, and we eat the leaves too since they come from our garden and I know they are, hmm, organic.

Before I share with you the story of the Giant Radish I must confess that, luckily for us, hubby has green fingers, mine are usually full of ink. But I can pull weeds, an addictive activity in case you were wondering.

The Story of the Giant Radish

The Story of the Giant Radish

Once upon a time there lived an old man who enjoyed tending to his vegetable garden.

One morning he decided to plant radishes. He prepared their beds, planted the seeds and watered them. Day after day he watered the seeds and pulled out the weeds, no matter how sore his back would get. And while he took a break from work, he’d pull out his whistle to play a song. Alongside his garden birds.

And every now and then he would stop from his work and from his music-making to look at the sky. And he would admire the blue roof of the world until his eyes grew full of it, and he couldn’t keep them open any longer.

And he did so day after day, while his radishes grew.
And they grew.
Until one morning when the old man stepped into his yard and couldn’t believe his eyes. One of his radishes was bigger than the rest. Much bigger. Much, much bigger.

The old man couldn’t believe his eyes. He couldn’t believe his luck. He walked around it once. He walked around it twice. The radish was almost as tall as he was and twice as wide.

Indeed, twice as wide.

He rubbed his hands and made up his mind. He was going to pull it out. So he took a good grip onto its long leaves, minding little that they pricked his hands, and pulled. And he pulled and then pulled some more. Yet the radish wouldn’t yield.

So the old man called his old woman to help him.

She was very proud of him for growing such a giant of a radish. She was already thinking of all the food she will be able to cook out of that one radish. So she grabbed his waistcoat, and the old man grabbed the radish leaves again. And they both pulled. And they pulled.

But the radish didn’t budge, so they thought and they thought and then called their grand daughter to help.

So the granddaughter grabbed the old woman’s waist coat, the old woman grabbed the old man’s waistcoat, and the old man grabbed the radish leaves again. Not minding that they pricked his hands. Wondering how spicy it will be, big as it had grown.

And all three pulled. And they pulled.
Yet the radish would not yield.

So the granddaughter thought and she thought and she called their dog, who was snoozing under a tree, bored that there was nothing to bark at.

Dog grabbed the granddaughter’s jacket, the granddaughter grabbed the old woman’s waist coat, the old woman grabbed the old man’s back, and the old man grabbed the radish leaves once more. Not minding in the least that they prickled his hands.

And all four pulled. And they pulled. And they pulled some more, yet the radish wouldn’t move.

Eventually they stopped pulling and Dog, after panting a while, barked and called Cat. Who was sleeping on the window-sole, bored that there were no mice around for her to chase.

‘Come and help, Cat,’ barked Dog.

‘I don’t have time’, Cat complained. ‘I sleep.’

But Dog barked till Cat joined them.

So Cat grabbed Dog’s tail, Dog took hold of the granddaughter’s coat, the granddaughter grabbed the old woman’s waist coat, the old woman grabbed the old man’s back, and the old man grabbed the radish leaves once more.

Not minding in the least that they prickled his hands.

Yet the radish, still, would not budge.

So, when they all stopped pulling and grandma went to the well to fetch them all some fresh, sweet water, after the old man wiped his forehead with his handkerchief he kept for best, and Dog went to rest in the shade, Cat stretched, arched her back and called Mouse.

In his burrow at the end of the vegetable garden Mouse trembled a bit. Did someone wanted his cheese? So he gobbled it up before coming out.

So… Mouse grabbed Cat’s tail, Cat grabbed Dog’s tail, Dog took hold of the granddaughter’s coat, the granddaughter grabbed the old woman’s waist coat, the old woman grabbed the old man’s back, and the old man grabbed the radish leaves once more.

Forgetting all about their prickly leaves.

And they all pulled and pulled, never giving up till the radish gave up and came out of the ground. Whole. And big.

And they all cheered.

Only one individual might have no strength, but two have twice as more power and many are sure to be victorious together.

The Cheetah and the Dog, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Lion and the Dog, diversity stories
The Cheetah and the Dog, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Lion and the Dog, diversity stories by Patricia Furstenberg