‘The Walnut Pastry’

The following story is an example of how an important lesson can be encapsulated within a seemingly simple story. Here the parents of the boys in the story provide a way out in solving their children’s “huge” problem. Their evident ability to resolve a difficult situation with wisdom and calmness, place the parents in a high position in the minds of their children. The parents’ actions give their children the confidence to ask for advice and protection if it is needed again. ‘The Walnut pastry’ is revised by Zohreh Parirokh, and published by The Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults ‘Soroush’ - Iran (fourth edition 2009)

Once upon a time, there was a small hut in the middle of a vast valley. In it lived a farmer, his wife, their two sons, daughter, and outside, a couple of chickens and a chubby cow. The eldest boy and his sister took turns in taking the cow into a pasture to graze. The smallest boy, Yunes, would have liked to do the same, but he was small and his parents did not allow it. He was repeatedly told that when he could carry the bucket of water like his sister or when his height reached that of the fence like his brother he could take the cow to the pasture. his mother never tired of telling him that “that time would come soon”. The promised day came much earlier than he thought. One day the father said: “today Yunes will take the cow to pasture”.
Yunes rushed to the stable, led out cow and followed her. The pasture contained several green hills. Normally his eldest brother and sister would go up to  the third hill, but Yunes passed the third hill and went to the fourth one where there was fresher and fuller greenery. On top of the hill he sat to have a rest. He closed his eyes and pictured his family praising him for his courage but he soon fell asleep. When he woke up the cow had disappeared. He  jumped to his feet and shouted: “Oh, where is my cow?”
He suddenly heard a mooing sound coming from the fifth hill. A boy was sitting near the cow with his arms around the cow’s neck. He looked at Yunes from afar. Yunes rather worried shouted: “Hey boy. That cow is mine”. He ran towards the fifth hill. But before he could say anything else the other boy said: “Would you you swap your cow with my walnut pastry.” Yunes said: “No”. The boy replied: “This is a delicious pastry, it is full of walnuts.”
Yunes took the pastry and ate a small piece; it really was delicious. He cut another piece and ate that too, then another and another. He was about to eat the last piece when the boy told him: “Now that you have eaten all my walnut pastry, your cow becomes mine.”
The boy took the collar of the cow and started walking away. Yunes was shocked: “Wait!” he shouted. “But we only have one cow.” The boy replied: “Aand I had only one pastry.” And off he went with the cow. Yunes found himself pinned to the floor. He couldn’t move or utter anything. “Why did I eat
that pastry?” he repeatedly asked himself. He finally plucked up the courage to return home. His sister was waiting for him at the entrance. She saw Yunes but not the cow. She asked: “Yunes, where is the cow? Have you lost her?” Yunes burst into tears and said: “No”. One by one all the family members asked him about the cow. Yunes continued crying and eventually said: “I wish I had lost her, or an eagle or wolf would have taken her. But in fact, I swapped our cow for a pastry that belonged to a boy on the fifth hill.” Nobody could believe what they heard. They did not even notice he had said ‘the fifth hill’. In a kind voice Yunes’ mother asked: “How did it taste? I will make some exactly the same as you had, then you can take it to the boy and get our cow back.” Yunes stopped crying and replied: “It was sweet and full of walnuts”. His poor mother spent all day baking pastries to get the right texture, but every time Yunes would reply that they weren’t the same. Finally she managed to bake some large, sweet and full of walnut pastry which met with Yunes’ approval. The mother wrapped a few pastries in a cloth and gave them to Yunes so that he could get back the cow. He passed the hills and on top of the fifth hill he saw the boy holding on to the collar of the cow and holding a cloth wrapper, similar to the one he was himself carrying under his arm. Yunes went forward and offered the bundle of pastries to the boy: “These are walnut pastries. My mother made them. There’s a lot here, eat as many as you want”. The boy took the bundle and gave his own cloth wrapper to Yunes. “These are also some pastries that my mother made. Eat as much as you like”, said the boy. “I have come to get our cow back” said Yunes and the boy said: “And I have come to give your cow back. My mother told me that even with thousands of these pastries I cannot buy a cow.” Yunes felt happy and relieved. But before the boy went away Yunes said: “I want to take the cow to pasture, do you want to come?” The boy said yes, I’d love to. The two boys became good friends. Every time Yunes took the cow to graze around the pasture, his friend used to join him and guess what? They both would have under their arms a bundle full of walnut pastry.

 Gh Kamrani PR  Illustrator Ghazaleh Kamrani

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