It is our hope that these tales of humanity’s struggle to understand and grow from their interactions with the natural world will complement educators’ Earth Day curriculums, as well as their literature and emotional intelligence curriculums.
In this story, a lonely man steals the sealskin of a Selkie (a seal-woman.) When she asks for the skin back the man refuses to return it unless she marries him and lives with him for seven years. She agrees and eventually they grow to love one another and have a child together, a boy.
Eventually, the woman becomes ill and crippled and in the eighth year, she demands her skin returned to her. The man becomes angry and refuses for fear she will leave him and return to the sea. After the man storms out, the boy is summoned by a mysterious ocean spirit to where the sealskin is hidden. He returns the skin to his mother and they both plunge into the ocean to meet with the wise old Grandfather Seal. The Grandfather nurses the woman back to health and together they take the boy back to the land where he becomes a great musician and shaman.
Dionysus and the Pirate Ship
In this story, Dionysus is kidnapped by pirates and taken aboard a ship. Onboard the pirates try to tie Dionysus to the mast. When the ropes continue to fall from his wrists the helmsman (the man who steers the ship) realizes that this divine-looking young man must be a god, and urges his fellow pirates to treat him gently, but the captain does not listen, and orders the crew to hoist the sails and set off. Dionysus causes terrible miracles and then transforms into a growling lion. The captain and crew abandon ship and are transformed into dolphins, all except for the good helmsman, who he shows favor.
The lesson of this story is that looks can be deceiving. Every person should be respected no matter who you think they might be.
Raven and the Man who Sits on the Tides (Pacific North West)
In this comic tale Raven, ever-hungry, and even more lazy, tries to find someone who can move the tides of the ocean so he can easily just pick up seafood to eat. When he finds The Man Who Sits on the Tides he has a hard time persuading him to change his habits, but eventually succeeds. From then on everyone benefits from the change.
Sinbad & the Valley of Diamonds
Sinbad the Sailor finds himself once again abandoned by his unwitting shipmates on a remote island. On this island, Sinbad has to survive huge serpents and great giant birds called Rhuks. Sinbad climbs onto a giant Rhuk which takes him to the Valley of Diamonds. Sinbad is very pleased with his discovery but not so pleased about what he has to do in order to get back home.