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Don't Throw Useful Things Away

Category: MORAL TALES.

Source: Aino Folktales

A certain man had a little boy. A divine little boy and a divine little
girl used to come and play with him every day. But the little boy alone
could see them. His parents could not see them, but believed their child
to be alone.

Now one day he fell ill, and during his illness his two playmates did
not come to see him. Only at the very last did they come, when he seemed
to be on the point of death. Then they came, and the little girl said:
"We know the cause of your illness. Your grandfather possessed a
beautiful axe. I myself am a small tray which he fashioned with that
axe, and the little boy who comes with me is a pestle which was also
fashioned with it. So the axe was our chieftain, and we are its
children. But your father has been bad. He has thrown away the axe,
which is now rusting under the floor. For this are you ill, in order to
punish your father, because our chieftain the axe is angry. Therefore,
as we were your playmates, we have come to warn you that, if you wish to
live, you must tell your father to search for the axe, to polish it, to
make a new handle for it, and to set up the divine symbols in its
honour. Then may you be cured, and the axe too will pay you a visit in
human shape."

So the boy told his father of this. The father thought that his son had
been instructed in a dream. He searched under the floor of the house,
and found the axe, and polished it, and made a new handle for it, and
set up the divine symbols in its honour. Then his son was immediately

After that, the axe (who appeared as a very handsome man), the tray, and
the pestle all came, and became the little boy's brothers and sisters.
The axe, being a god, knew all that went on and the causes of
everything; and it and the tray and the pestle used always to tell the
boy everything. Thus, if any one was sick, he knew why the sickness had
come, and how it should be treated. He was looked upon as a great
soothsayer and wizard, who could turn death into life. This was because
other people only saw him. They did not see his divine informants, the
axe, the tray, and the pestle.

For this reason never throw away anything that has belonged to your
ancestors. You will be punished by the gods if you do so.

[In a variant of this tale, the death of child after child borne by a
certain woman was owing to the fact that the doll with which she herself
had played as a child (a piece of wood shaped like a bird) had been
thrown away in the grass, and had thus had its anger aroused. A
conversation on the subject between the spoon, the cup, and the iron
chain whereby the kettle is hung over the fire from a hook in the
ceiling, is overheard by a half-burnt piece of firewood, who warns the
woman's husband in a dream. The doll is then looked for; and, when
found, the divine symbols are set up in its honour. Thereupon the woman
bears again. This time the child survives, to the delight of both its
parents.]--(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 2nd December,

Next: The Wicked Wizard Punished

Previous: The Rat Boy

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