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Dear friends of MLMM,
This week’s Fairy Tale prompt is about “awareness” and “greed” and to inspire you I have an ancient Dutch folktale for you all, maybe you know it. It’s titled “The Lady of Stavoren” and I will reproduce it hereafter. The last few weeks I had Japanese fairy tales for your inspiration and I will bring a new Japanese fairy tale in next weeks episode of Fairy Tale Prompt.
Ok … back to our Fairy Tale of this week “The Lady of Stavoren”, here is the shortened version of this Dutch Tale:
The Lady of Stavoren (a Dutch folktale)
Stavoren was one of the most wealthiest cities in the Middle Ages. Ships from everywhere crowded the harbor, and brought richness to the merchants of Stavoren. They became as rich as one could think and decorated their doors with gold leaf.
One of these wealthy merchants was Richbertha, a woman whose husband had died years before. She had inherited his fortune and continued to trade. She became wealthier and more beautiful and everyone spoke about her as the Lady of Stavoren.
One day a famous captain visited the Lady of Stavoren. He stood before her bowed and gave her a beautiful ruby ring. The stone was huge and sparkled in the bright sun. The Lady of Stavoren was impressed with its beauty. And thanked the captain for his gift, but it also filled her with greed and she asked the captain to bring her the most precious thing in all the world.
The captain sailed all the seven seas to find her the most precious thing on the world and he finally succeeded to find the most precious thing in all the world.
He sailed back to Stavoren where the Lady of Stavoren already had heard of his success and was waiting for him in the harbor. He asked her to come aboard to see what he had got for her. As she saw what he had brought her she became angry and full of rage. He had gotten her a full load of grains, wheat for bread. The Lady of Stavoren demanded that the wheat would be thrown into the sea, into the harbor. The captain tried to stop her, but that made her even more angry. She pulled of her ruby ring, which the captain had given her, and flung it into the water where the strong current swiftly carried it to sea. While she did that she said: “Sorrow will no sooner come to this city than my ruby-ring will return to me”. And sayin that she commanded the men to toss the sacks into the sea.
The next evening, the lady sat down at her table to enjoy a feast. Where she sliced into the fish on the plate before her, she gasped, for there, inside the fish, lay her ruby ring.
That very night many ships were lost at sea in a terrible storm, and within weeks, the wheat at the bottom of the harbor began to grow. As it did, sand gathered between the stalks, and soon sand filled the harbor. Before long, large ships could no longer enter, for the sand bar grew and grew. To this day, the sandbar is called “Lady’s Sand”.
What once was the liveliest and wealthiest port of Europe grew smaller and poorer, and everyone says this was the fault of the greedy Lady of Stavoren, who didn’t understand how precious is the bread that feeds us. It’s a wonderful story in which is very clear that greed is a bad habit and it can turn you to poverty. In this story (there are 27 different versions) the Lady of Stavoren becomes aware of what she had done after several years in poverty.
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