The Tale of Three Sisters

There were three sisters: corn, beans and squash.

 

Corn was the tallest of them. Thanks to this, she could watch the children playing in the village from a distance. Ever since she saw them, her biggest dream was to reach them and be able to play together.

 

She asked the Creator to enable her to do so. The Creator thought for a moment and found a way.

 

A beautiful doll was made from corn cob husks.

 

The Creator told her to rest well at night, because in the morning she would go to the village to play with the children. The corn doll agreed to this solution with great enthusiasm. The next day she got up at dawn and headed towards the buildings. However, she had to cross a river on the way. When she stopped at the shore, she saw her reflection in the water. “I’m beautiful!” – she sighed. She couldn’t take her eyes off her image. She spent the rest of the day staring at her face.

 

In the evening, the Creator asked what she had been doing all day. The doll answered truthfully that she was delighted with herself and admired her own beauty. The Creator replied to her – “I didn’t create you for this. You were supposed to go play with the children and make them happy. Rest for the night, and tomorrow you will set out on your mission again.” The doll agreed to the proposal, but the next day the situation repeated itself and she was stopped by her own reflection at the river. The Creator warned her against such behavior again and gave her one more chance. However, on the third day the same thing happened. The Creator reminded in a stern voice – “I didn’t create you for this. You were supposed to go play with the children and make them happy. Meanwhile, you have fallen into vanity. You must be punished.” He took away her beautiful facial features. No one could ever again consider her graceful. He also took away her eyes so that she wouldn’t be tempted to stare at herself.

 

Although the doll arrived in the village in this changed condition, it brought the children a lot of joy.

We are sure that you will also enjoy making and playing with a traditional corn doll from Cherokee County in the United States.

 

Goal:

  • Introducing children to a folk story about corn and the method of tying a traditional corn doll.

 

Time: 40 minutes

MATERIALS

  • corn husks (Italian crepe paper optional)
  • a bowl of water
  • hand towel (optional)
  • dried grass blades (optional)
  • natural string
  • scissors

Flow task

  1. If we use corn husks, soak them in lukewarm water to make them elastic.
  2. We take out 4 scales, place them one on top of the other and tie them together with string at the top. *If we are working with crepe paper, it is a good idea to cut it at this step and narrow it at the top.
  3. We create a ball from small pieces of paper, or we can optionally use a ready-made Styrofoam ball.
  4. We throw two scales backwards through the knot and shape them to place a ball – the doll’s head – in them. *If necessary, cut the part above the knot so that it does not interfere with the formation of the head.
  5. We tie all the scales with string to create a narrowing that is the doll’s neck.
  6. We take out another husk (optionally two, if they are thin) and roll them.
  7. The rolled scale is placed between the pairs of scales that constitute the doll’s body. We maintain symmetry in relation to the head. We tie it so that the roll does not fall down. This will form the doll’s arms.
  8. Tie the ends of the arms with string to create hands.
  9. We take out more scales and add them around the dolls’ bodies to create a wide skirt. We can help ourselves achieve the effect by properly forming the scales with our fingers.
  10. We align the bottom of the skirt by cutting the scales with scissors.
  11. We choose three more scales and fold them into strips approximately the width of the doll’s head. We place one of them like a scarf around the head and tie it with a string around the neck. We cross the remaining two and wrap them around the body as a tunic and tie them with a string at waist level.
  12. Use your fingers to gently unfold the layers of the dress so that you can stand the doll up. It is ready.

Watch the video

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The post was created as part of a project co-financed by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt in cooperation with the Naturschutzzentrum Oberlausitzer Bergland.

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