The Little Straw Bull

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Once there was an old man and an old woman, and they were so poor they couldn’t afford a single ox. Instead, they made one out of straw and resin. They didn’t know what kind of rewards the straw bull and their own cunning would bring them. Find out what those rewards were in this Ukrainian folk tale.

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The Little Straw Bull
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Once upon a time, in a little cottage, there lived an old man and an old woman. The old man worked at a resin distillery and the old woman sat at home spinning yarn. They were so poor that apart from their little cottage, they had nothing. They spent every penny they earned on food and had nothing left over. The old man dreamt of having an ox, which he could use to transport salt and earn more money. But they couldn’t afford one.

Then one day the old woman said to the old man: “Make me a little bull out of straw, and coat it in resin!”

“What are you talking about?” replied the old man, surprised. “What will we do with a little straw bull?”

“Just go and make it, I have a plan,” the old woman told him.

So the old man had little choice but to set to work. He made a little straw bull and covered it all over with sticky resin.

When he had finished, the old woman gathered up her yarn and drove the little straw bull into a clearing in the forest. She sat down on the ground, began to spin her yarn and told the bull: “You just have a nice graze while I spin this yarn.” She spun and spun, until eventually she fell asleep.

Just then, a huge bear lumbered out from among the dark trees, with a wound on his side. He jumped onto the bull and growled: “Who are you then? Pray tell!”

The little bull answered: “I’m a little horned bull, woven from straw, coated in resin.”

“If you’re coated in resin, give me a little, so that I can fix my wound!” the bear replied.

The bull said nothing at all.…

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