Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Turquoise, and Crafty Old Men

Turquoise is a precious (albeit unspellable) stone with a lovely blue-green hue (the pavilion of the Blue Princess mentioned early on is usually called the Turquoise Pavilion). There are many tales attached to it, especially in indigenous cultures in the Americas. You can read a Hopi legend here, and a Navajo legend here (this latter one associates turquoise with the female spirit).

There is a folktale from Bhutan about an old man who finds a huge piece of turquoise on his land one day. He cheerfully walks down the road with it, and then quickly exchanges it for a horse, then the horse for an ox, then the ox for a sheep, sheep for a goat, goat for a rooster, and finally, exchanges the rooster for a song, and walks home singing to himself, perfectly content and happy. I label this story "old man destroys capitalism." It reminds me of some Jack tales, except the song makes more sense to me than magic beans. Some bands nowadays wish they could buy a song for a rooster...

Anyhow. Another story, this one from Tibet, also features an old man and a turquoise. In this one, an old man is left alone with his two daughters-in-law who use him as a slave. He manages to get a message to his daughter, who sends him a turquoise stone. The old man tricks both women in the house into believing that he will leave the stone to the one who treats him better, and lives out the rest of his life in peace. Before he dies, he hides the stone, and sends another secret message to his daughter, telling her where to look for it. A lovely father-daughter tale, but not a very good story for in-laws.

On MopDog today: Túró Rudi, Hungarian candy that tastes like heaven and unicorns.


  1. I love the first story, all about being content and happy by the sounds of it :). The second one, one has to wonder how he ended up with such terrible in-laws.
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  2. Those in-laws weren't very nice - but the old man got his own back :) The old man destroying capitalism made me smile.
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  3. "old man destroys capitalism" - a good one! I love the colour turquoise and like you also wish it were easy to spell :)

    Beauty Interprets, Expresses, Manifests the Eternal

  4. What lovely stories! Especially the first one of buying a song. That one touches my heart. :)

  5. Turquoise is my birthstone - so nice to have these fabulous connections. I love the Jack tale like story - ending with a song- that's a keeper! Thank you for your posts!

  6. Two good stories! I like the crafty old man in the second one ... well done him.

    Eileen @ In My Playroom (also doing the A to Z Challenge)

  7. You were right, a very crafty old man indeed.

    Good luck with the rest of the #AtoZChallenge. I linked to your participation on my post for 'T' - Is A Table of Contents Necessary?

  8. 'Old man destroys capitalism' well that was a novel tale!! Love the colour turquoise!! :)

  9. Turquoise is so beautiful! I have several pieces of it and love its variable colors. It's also a stone symbolizing knowledge which I like. Thanks for writing about this under appreciated stone! Happy A-Z!

  10. "old man destroys capitalism." That made me smile.
    Two great turquoise tales.