Story for children about Pineapple Guava: Feijoa
FEIJOA: GIFT OF THE SEA
The wide-beamed, richly-laden merchant ship surged onward, driven by the strong wind. A young woman in a white wool shawl stood at its stern, looking intently into the distance.
“Get down into the cabin,” said the stern voice of a man, the owner of the ship. “There's a storm coming, my daughter, no point in staring out at the sea, your beloved isn't going to come running across the waves, now. I don't understand, my dear, just what do you see in that sallow-faced fellow with such a strange name? Feijoa, is it?”
The young woman did not answer, but turned and went back in silence to the cabin.
At that moment, on the faraway shore that her ship was making for, a young man wearing a green cloak was standing by himself. The wind was howling as the very same storm hurled huge waves against the land with all its force and whipped the sea-spray at the lone figure looking out to sea.
“Dear waves,” he pleaded anxiously, “please bring my beloved safely back to me!”
But the young man's plea was in vain, for the ship did not return to port, and nobody knew what had happened to it. The young man remained standing on the shore. His dark hair turned grey, the green cloak was worn away, and still he stood and pleaded with the sea to bring back his beloved.
Down at the bottom of the ocean, the king of the sea was busily planning a feast to celebrate his rich prize, for the merchant ship. He ordered the mermaids to cheer up the girl, shower her with pearls and show her all the wonders of the underwater world. Yet their efforts, like the young man's, were in vain. The king became angry.
“Now, tell me, girl, just what about our undersea kingdom don't you like!?”
The girl turned courageously to the angry king and said,
“O king of the sea, do you mean to tell me that you can't hear the voice of these waters of yours, or what the waves are singing? They are carrying the plea and grief of my beloved, who has lost his bride.”
“Whoever enters my undersea kingdom is lost to the realms of the land," the king replied. "So you must forget about your beloved.”
The beautiful girl lowered her eyes so that the king would not see her burning tears, but the sea itself spoke up on her behalf.
“Have mercy on the girl, my king! I have never seen such love, and my waves cry with grief when they hear the pleas of her young man.”
The king grew thoughtful, and after a moment he made up his mind.
“Well, I cannot allow you to leave in human form. But I can turn you into a sea-breeze or a playful wave, and in that way you may run or fly to your beloved and be reunited with him. Choose any one of my gifts, and take it to him as a reward for his faithfulness.”
The girl was overjoyed. She bowed deeply to the king, and said,
“I would like to become a sea-breeze, that way I will see my beloved sooner. As for a gift, I choose the most precious of all the sea's possessions.”
One day when the people came walking along the shore they noticed that where near the spot where the man in the tattered cloak still stood grew a little tree with a yellow trunk and silvery oval leaves. The sea-breeze was gently caressing the young tree, playing with its leaves and whispering something mysterious to each of its branches. In the spring, the tree blossomed, and on it appeared a strange fruit resembling a green plum covered with little bumps. Its flavour was sweet and sour at the same time, as if it were some mix of strawberry, pineapple and lemon. The people called it ‘feijoa'.
The tree soon became famous, for its fruit was filled with invisible iodine, just like the waters of the sea. People who do not eat iodine begin to fall ill, and their thyroid gland swells up. Nobody wants that, and so they began to plant feijoa trees in every land, but wherever the see-breeze did not play in its leaves, wherever its beloved did not bring the gifts of the sea, the tree did poorly and brought forth very little fruit. The tree suffered most of all in strong heat. Whenever the temperature rose above 25 degrees its buds would wither and fall, for the tree pined for its beloved cool sea-breeze. Yet in places where citrus trees would die, the feijoa didn't even get a chill - for one who is familiar with the cold ocean wind, a mere frost is nothing!
To this day people don't understand where the feijoa tree gets its many fragrances from. Scientists have counted up to 93 different scents in its rich air, but they have identified only one out of every three of these, and even that was not a simple task! Maybe the sea breeze gathers them from the far corners of the earth and brings them to her beloved? Be that as it may, the feijoa tree with all its fragrances and iodine-rich fruit is truly a mysterious gift!
Questions and exercises based on the story:
- What happens when people do not have enough iodine?
- Do you know any other precious treasures of the sea?
- Why do you think the guava fruit has such a strong odour?
- Write a story in which the fruit fairy grows guava from the wonderful aromas of the earth.
- Which other fruits taste similar to the guava?
Read the more stories about other fruits including GUAVA
in the book
'The World of Fruits"
This was fragment from the story about BANANA from the book on Healthy Food for kids: 'The World of Fruits', part I >>
For the Book II 'The World of Vegetables' visit project Talking Veggies: Vegetables-for-kids.com
For anyone interested in their child's well-being, “The Storyteller's Guide to Health” series is sure to be of value. Following each selection of delightful stories, games and activities you'll also find recipes for the vitamin-conscious kitchen. The recipes are simple, allowing children to prepare dishes themselves with only minimal supervision, and are also designed to preserve the largest possible share of vitamins and other nutrients in the final serving. Read fragments from our stories: fruits for children
© Maria Skrebtsova,
© Alexandra Lopatina,
Illustration s by Svetlana Jijina.