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Tales for 1st to 3rd graders
The Kidnapping – Ceres and Proserpina
One day the young girl of spring, Proserpina, was picking flowers with her mom Ceres, the goddess of grain, and growing food. As the two were walking into the woods and picking flowers, Proserpina saw a beautiful white flower and walked away from her mother. Just as she picked the beautiful flower the earth began to tremble. Then suddenly the earth began to crack, splitting trees and flowers from their places and out of the deep dark hole sprang Pluto, the god of the underworld. Pluto was in his black chariot and he drove his horses toward Proserpina. Proserpina screamed for help although her mother was too far away to do anything. Pluto grabbed the young girl and drove his chariot back into the ground and the earth closed up leaving everything as it had been before. When everything echoed with Proserpina’s screams, Ceres ran towards where her daughter had been although Proserpina was gone. Ceres was devastated, and she searched for the kidnapper in all the lands of the world, for 9 days Ceres did not stop. On the tenth day, Hecate, the goddess of the dark moon, came to Ceres. Hecate said she had also heard Proserpina’s screams but didn’t see her. The two goddesses decided to go to the sun god, Helios and ask him if he had seen what had happened. So they went to Helios and crying, Ceres asked if he had seen Proserpina. Helios knew what had happened. Pluto had wanted Proserpina for a wife and had asked his brother Jupiter if he could kidnap her. Jupiter had said Pluto could kidnap Proserpina, and now Proserpina ruled the underworld with Pluto. Ceres screamed in rage, and then returned to the world as an old woman going from town to town. One day as she rested, she watched four princesses gather water, and remembering her daughter, she started to cry. The princesses asked her where she was from and Ceres said that she did not know where she was going. Feeling sorry for Ceres the princesses brought her back to their palace. The queen immediately liked Ceres. Ceres was a great nurse for the little prince and soon became attached to the baby boy. The queen soon invited Ceres to live and be the little princes’ nurse. Soon the goddess became upset that the little boy would grow old and die someday, so she decided that she would turn him into a god. Each night while everyone was asleep, she poured a magic liquid on his body and held him in a fire. The baby prince began to look like a god and everyone in the castle was amazed by his beauty and strength. Although the queen was disturbed at the sudden changes, and happened to see what Ceres did each night. She cried for help as the boy was held in the fire and Ceres cried “Stupid woman! I was making him a god so he could live forever. Now he is human and will die someday like everyone else!” The queen and king realized that the nurse was the goddess Ceres and they were terrified. Ceres said that the only way that she would forgive them was if a great temple was built in her honor. Then she would teach everyone the magic secrets of growing corn. The next day a great temple was built although Ceres did not teach the people about corn. Instead she sat by herself and cried about her kidnapped daughter. She was always so sad that nothing grew and there was barely any food. Jupiter became worried, if Ceres made everyone die there would be no gifts for him. Finally he sent the gods to talk to Ceres. The gods offered her gifts and asked her to make the plants grow again; she said that she would never do that unless her daughter was returned to her. Jupiter had no choice but to make his son, the messenger god, return Proserpina to her mother. Then the messenger god went to Pluto and told him that Ceres would destroy the world if Proserpina was not returned to her. Pluto knew that she must go but he asked to have a moment alone with her first. Pluto said “If you stay, you will be the queen of the underworld. The dead will give you great honors.” Proserpina said that she would rather be with her mother again and pick the flowers up in the world again. Pluto said “Ok, you may go. But first, eat this small seed of the pomegranate fruit. It is the food of the underworld – and it will bring you luck.” Proserpina ate the small seed then went back to her mother in the black chariot, just like she left. When Ceres saw Proserpina she ran down the hillside and Proserpina jumped into her arms. Proserpina told her mother all about what had happened, although when she got to the part about eating the small seed her mother began to look so sad. “What have I done?” Proserpina asked. Her mother answered that she had eaten the sacred food of the underworld. Now she must go back for half of every year to live with Pluto. And that is how the seasons began. In the fall and winter the world grows cold and nothing grows because Proserpina is in the underworld with Pluto and her mother is sad. In the spring and summer Proserpina comes back to Ceres and Ceres makes the world warm and happy and all the flowers grow. That is the story of“The Kidnapping”
The Four Seasons - a rewrite of The Kidnapping by Emma Zayas
A little girl named Jewel and her mother were picking flowers in the field when she wandered away from her mom. She saw these white flowers that were blooming quite nicely and she wanted to pick some for her mother, Laura. When she saw the flowers she did not notice how far she had gone. As she finished picking the white blossoms a man in dark clothing came from the ground and he took her away, back under the ground. When Laura heard the screams of her daughter, she knew who had kidnapped her daughter. You see, Jewel, Laura, and the man in black were magical people and all had a special magic power. For example, Jewel's was the birthstones, Laura was the corn and grain, and William was the underworld. Laura looked all through the forests and fields the towns and cities, but she could not find her daughter. One day her friend Sarah came up to her and said she knows what happened to Jewel. William took her and wanted her as his own daughter. She knew she could not get Jewel back now, or not without any help. She went into a village and saw three little princesses dancing. Laura started to cry because they reminded her of her own daughter. The littlest princess went over and asked her what's wrong. She replied " Oh, you little girls remind me of my own daughter who disappeared 9 days a go." The little girls talked for a while and decided they would welcome Laura into their palace. Of course Laura took the offer and they all walked inside. As they walked through the castle a little boy prince in his mother's arms, wailing and refusing his bottle. Since the boy reminded her of Jewel she offered to try and feed him. "how bout you be his nurse?" the queen asked. "Oh yes yes! Thank you!" Ever since that day she lived a happy life as a nurse. She also lived a secret life. Every night when everyone was a sleep she took the baby prince and wrapped him in a rainbow to make him magical just like her. She wanted him to live forever. Every day the little boy became a little stronger and handsomer. The queen did not like what was happening so one night she hid in the nursery and waited. When Laura came down to make him magical she watched. "NO!" the queen screamed. She was very unhappy with Laura. Then she realized what she was doing. She wanted her boy to live forever! "Help me find my daughter, Jewel, and I will respect your words forever!" the queen could not say no to this offer and so she took her to the royal fortune teller. It turns out she was in an evil house under the ground, and was supposed to marry an evil prince. "We have to stop her!" When they got down there they begged for the little girl back. " I will, just let me have a few last words with the girl?" The evil king wanted to spend a few last minutes alone with Jewel. "oh all right. But give her back in 30 minutes!" Laura went back up to the flower - filled meadow to wait.
Meanwhile the evil king was talking to Jewel. "Do you really want to go back up to the light? If you stay down with me I will let you rule over the dark kingdom with my son, Jafar." Jewel thought about that and replied with "I would like to go back to my original home now." The evil king was so sad. He took a apple seed and gave it to her. "Eat this. It will make you always remember me." She ate it and went back to her mother. She told Laura about her apple seed and the mother cried out in horror. "You have eaten the forbidden apple seed!" What that meant was that she had to spend Fall and Winter with the evil king, and that is why it is always so windy and cold, because the mother is sad. In spring and Summer she goes with her original mother, and everything is happy. That is how the four seasons came to be.
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