A FRAGMENT FROM THE BOOK ON ECOLOGY:
Environmental education through
the kind fairy-tales and inspiration stories
THE ANTHEM TO WATER GAME
One person acts as a Fairy of Water. She holds in her hands a cup of water. The Fairy of Water comes to every child in turn and sprinkles on them a little water from her cup. The one on whom the drops of water fall, should name some attribute of water, e. g. clear, crystal, necessary, warm etc. Each of these words is recorded on a blackboard. Then children choose one of those words and explain, in turns, when water is clear, crystal, warm, etc. After this children divide into groups and compose an Anthem to Water.
THE FAIRY OF WATER
“O you the Giver, without you neither man, nor beast, nor a little grass would live. How could we thank you, our dear?” In this way the old fisherman Marius was thanking the River, sliding over its waters in his boat.
It seemed that the water heard the old man, and responded with a soft plash.
The fisherman lived with his family in a small village on a bank of a full-flowing river—husband and wife, and two grown-up sons, as yet unmarried. They lived peacefully and happily, sons were helping their father, and looked out for fiancées. There was so much fish in the river that the fisherman and his sons were always coming home with a rich haul.
The fisherman had very special relationship with the river. He called her the most tender names and told her about everything that happened in his life.
“O River, your water is feeding and healing us. Through it, my sons have grown strong,” the fisherman would say, gently looking at the river.
Sitting in his boat one day, the fisherman saw that a water has grown dull.
“How strange!” said he. “Are you sick, dear river?” the old man sighed, looking at water in anxiety.
The fish did not bite this day, and fisherman, first time in his life, returned home with empty hands. Day after day, the water in river grew duller, and unpleasant odour was coming from it. One day the fisherman found a few dead fish on a river bank. People were afraid to drink water or give it to cattle. For hours fisherman would sit on a bank, craving the river to recover, but water was only growing more dirty. One evening the fisherman found on a shore a half-dead, choking little crucian. He picked it up with great caution and put in a pail filled with clear water, which he was carrying home from a forest lake. The fish came alive and began to wag its tale.
“O kind man, if you want to save the river, go to the city. All troubles come from there. Don't worry, I will help you."
The fisherman listened to the little crucian, took a small bundle of food, and went to the city. At the gates of the city, he saw a long funeral procession. Several people were being buried at once.
“What happened to these people?” asked the fisherman an old lady who trailed along at the end of procession.
“When water in the river became dirty, people die of plague: every day somebody is buried,” said she, and then added with a sigh:
“It was not like that with the previous governor: it was forbidden to throw waste into river, and once a week all gutters and cesspools were cleaned, so that dirt from them would not come through to the river. Now his son is in command of everything. But day and night he is busy only with dance parties, and does not care about anything else. Gutters are filled with sewage, water in wells is dim. Rich men don't care— they get clean water for money, it's brought to them from distant places, while the poor people are suffering.”
Then the fisherman remembered what crucian told him, that he should not be afraid, and went straight to the house of a new governor. But he was not admitted even on a threshold of it.
“We don't need any ragged fellows here! Our governor does not have any time to deal with such nonsense,” a servant yelled, and shut the door before the fisherman's face.
The saddened fisherman did not know what to do. Again he recalled what the little crucian said, and thought to himself:
“I should better go to the king and tell him everything."
But he was not admitted anywhere close to the king's palace. So he returned to his river, getting nothing for his pains. He fell before the river on his knees, and said:
“How can I help you, my dear? How can I heal you from your sickness?"
At this moment, the dull river waters rose, and from them the Fairy of Water came out. Dirty water streamed over her beautiful face and long hair, her silver-emerald gown was covered with brown algae.
“Thank you Marius, that you saved the life of my faithful servant, the Crucian. With his help, you will be able to heal the river. He will teach you everything. Take this pearl, the best of all my pearls. Sell it, and with that money build a water treatment station, and listen to what the crucian tells you.”
The old king was bedridden already for two years, because of a pain in legs and back. Gregory, his faithful servant, was always by his side. He fed him, entertained him with readings and jokes, played chess with him, and even sang lullabies when His Majesty could not sleep. The old king was so attached to Gregory that could not live even an hour without him, and did not accept any other servants.
One night the king noticed that his Gregory, who was usually quite solemn, is smiling all the time, muttering something into his beard.
“What happened, Gregory? Have you found a bride?” the king asked.
“No, Your Majesty, I don't need anybody except you. I am glad, because today a great miracle happened. Water from the river has come to our palace through pipes."
“What is it that you are saying, Gregory?” the king wondered. “Have you forgotten that our palace is upon a hill, while the river is at the foot of a hill? With pipes or without pipes, you can't make water flow upwards. Only a great magician could accomplish that."
“We have such a magician, Marius the Fisherman. He built a magic pump house at the river, and laid pipes throughout the city. Now, pumps take the water through pipes, and push them further, to each home, so that all the people could drink it and wash themselves.”
“I don't get what you are saying,” the king was even more confused, “how could a simple fisherman accomplish it? Who taught him such a thing?"
“Well, when two years ago our river became dirty…,” started Gregory, but then faltered.
“River became dirty? Why was I not told?” the king exclaimed in a rage.
And Gregory, unable to conceal the truth anymore, told the king how cesspools were littered up, and people started to through waste into river, how many of them died of plague and other ills.
“Why the governor did not tell me?” the king was infuriated.
“Your Majesty, the old governor died two years ago. His son took his place, but he did not see to it that cesspools and gutters would be cleaned on a timely basis. He dismissed the workers who did this work: he grudged to spend the treasury money on their salary."
“What a boor! He did not understand that it will be much more expensive to clean the river than to clean the gutters!” the king was getting more and more upset.
“He saw it all in the end, but it was too late. Besides, there was no more money in the treasury: all was spent on dance parties and amusements. So the young governor decided to conceal everything from you, and threatened me with the gallows if I let the cat out of the bag,” the servant explained.
“Wait, wait, Gregory! What are we going to do with that dirty water from the river? Is this Marius going to poison me, and all my subjects?” the king was beside himself.
“You have no cause for trouble, Your Majesty!” Gregory responded. “First of all, our Marius have put all the sewage away to special pipes, and made it to flow far from the city and from the river. His friends the fishermen dug a huge pool far away from the city, where the sewage would be cleaned. Whereupon, our river was getting better quickly. Only then did Marius begin to construct pipes to take water from the river. It is long time now since water is clean in the river, but it is still going to the treatment station first, before coming to the city."
“Wait, you confused me completely with your treatment stations,” said the king. “Order a carriage to get ready, I want to see with my own eyes the things Marius have built, and make it out myself. And then I will visit the governor and demand an explanation of him."
“Your Majesty, the doctors have forbidden you to get up,” Gregory tried to stop him. But the king, to Gregory's amazement, vigorously rose up and said:
“Don't worry, Gregory, I am so excited that all my pains disappeared."
In less than an hour, a luxuriant royal carriage and three snow-white horses, was whirling along the city. Soon enough, the horses stopped at a strange structure with a huge pool. Around the pool, there were pumps under the sheds, which pumped water into the pipes.
When the workers saw the king himself, they fell down, but the king motioned them to rise, and asked:
“Where is the master of this domain?"
A young man came forth, bowed low before the king, and said:
“I am Matthews, the older son of Marius. My father bade me to see to it that water from the river would flow easily to the pipes. Here, we pass it through sand, and it gets clear and limpid. Then we pump it into other pipes, and it flows to every people's building."
“Who taught you such intricacies? Besides, this must be quite expensive!” the king wondered.
“The Fairy of Water taught my father how to do it. And she gave him a pearl of great price, to cover the construction costs,” said Matthews, and added proudly:
“We were all fishermen, but now became plumbers, because we pass the river's water into people's homes."
The king was silent for a moment, and then turned to his servant:
“Now, Gregory, drive me to the sewage disposal plant."
When Matthews heard this, he, however, intervened:
“May Your Majesty listen to my counsel: it is better not to go to that place. The smell is heavy, and for want of habit, your head may begin to swim. In the tanks, there are special bacteria, which clean the sewage, and generate that smell. They are very helpful: all the dirt precipitates, and is then converted into a fertilizer for our croplands. The tanks do their job well. My younger brother Migel is watching after them."
“Well,” the king said, “then let's drive to the palace.”
But he added with a frown:
“And tell your father to come to my palace. I need his personal report on a water situation in my kingdom."
“My father went to the neighbouring kingdom, to see how they make their water pipes. They say, their pipes are made of lead, while ours are made of a burnt clay. We seal up the joints with cement, but clay pipes are not always good at holding the water."
“Well, then tell him to come when he's back,” the king said.
Before long, the king appointed Marius a governor of his capital city, and sent the previous governor to work on sewage plant.
“Let him see how water is cleaned. Maybe he, himself, will be cleaned there from his foolishness."
As for the king, for a very long time he could not quiet down and kept repeating:
“What a disgrace for my grey hair! The Fairy of Water herself had to intervene, to get life of my kingdom in order. That's the kind of thing which happens when you stay in bed for two years!"
After a month, the king ordered to put, in the middle of his capital, a statue of the Fairy of Water, holding out a beautiful pearl to a fisherman. And to this day that monument is a major curiosity in the city.
Questions and exercises for the tale:
• Imagine that a Fairy of Water invited you to her kingdom. Tell the group what you have seen there.
• If a Fairy of Water would come to your home, how would you meet her, and what would you request?
• Imagine that a Fairy of Water decided to give the sons of Marius the two most important things in the world. What would they be?
Draw a Water-Supply of the Future
Divide children into groups, and let them draw a Water-Supply of the Future . After this, let them tell everybody how they imagine a plumber system of the future.
Ask the children to prepare, based on additional literature, a description of plumber systems of the past, and tell them to draw such systems.
Children report on water-supply systems of the past. Drawings make up an art exhibition on History of the Water-Supply.
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Fragments from the book on Ecology
GREEN GARMENT OF THE EARTH