Philemon and Baucis E:224
An old Greek tale about a kind couple whose generosity and compassion are rewarded by Zeus who grants them their wish never to be parted even by death. (duration – 9 minutes) An episode from Journey with Story, a storytelling podcast for kids ages 5-10
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Philemon and Baucis
Imagine that someone appears before you and tells you – wish for anything at all that you would like, and your wish will come true. What would you wish for?
Hello everyone. I’m Kathleen Pelley. Welcome to Journey with Story. I wonder how you answered my question? I wonder if some of you maybe wished for something not just for yourself but maybe for someone else too – maybe a friend or a mum or a dad? Well today’s story is a tale from Greece and it is about an old couple who are granted a wish because of their kindness… can you guess what their wish was? Let’s take a listen and see if you are right.
Before we do – huge thanks to all of our patreon subscribers whose kindness helps us so much – we really appreciate your support. Don’t forget you can become a patreon subscriber today and enjoy our weekly coloring sheets. And if you haven’t already done so, we would love it if you could be kind enough to rate, review and share this podcast with others.
Now let’s take a journey with Philomen and Baucis.
Long ago, on a high hill in Greece, lived Philemon and Baucis.
They were poor, but never unhappy. They had many hives of bees from which they gathered honey, and many vines from which they collected grapes. One old cow gave them all the milk that they could use, and they had a little field in which they grew some grain. The old couple had as much as they needed and were always ready to share whatever they had with any one in want. No stranger was ever turned from their door.
At the foot of the hill lay a beautiful village, with long winding roads and rich pasture lands all around. But it was full of wicked, selfish people, who had no love in their hearts and thought of only themselves.
At the time of this story, the people in the village were very busy. Zeus, who they believed ruled the world, had sent word that he was about to visit them. They were cooking a great feast and making everything beautiful for his coming.
One evening, just at dark, two beggars came into the valley. They stopped at every house and asked for food and a place to sleep; but the people were too busy or too tired to offer them anything. They were thinking only of the coming of Zeus.
With aching feet and empty stomachs the two beggars came at last to the hut of Philemon and Baucis. These good people had eaten very little that day, as they were saving their best food for Zeus.
When they saw the beggars, Philemon said, “Surely these men need food more than Zeus. They look almost starved.”
“Indeed, they do!” said Baucis, and she ran quickly to fix supper for the men.
She spread her best white cloth upon the table, and fixed bacon, herbs, honey, grapes, bread, and milk. She set these upon the table in all the best dishes she had and called the strangers in.
Then a most amazing thing happened.
The dishes that the strangers touched turned to gold. The pitcher was never empty, although they drank glass after glass of milk. The loaf of bread stayed always the same size, even although the strangers cut slice after slice.
“These are very strange travelers,” whispered the old couple to each other. “See what wonderful things they can do.”
That night Philemon and Baucis slept upon the floor so the beggars might have their one bed. In the morning they went with the travelers to the foot of the hill to see them safely started on their way.
“Now, good people,” said one of the strangers, “we thank you, and whatever you wish shall be yours.”
As he said this, his face became bright and shining like that of the sun. And at once, Philemon and Baucis knew this was Zeus himself who had spoken to them.
In one voice they cried out, “Please, Zeus, we ask that neither of us shall outlive the other – we never want to be separated.”
“Your wish is granted,” said Zeus. “Go to your home now and be happy for many other delights await you.”
Philemon and Baucis walked home and to their amazement, they discovered their hut had been changed into a beautiful castle. For many years, they lived here and continued to spend their time helping others and never thinking of themselves.
As the years went by, the couple grew very old and feeble. One day Baucis said to Philemon, “I wish we might never die, but could always live together.”
“Ah, that is my wish too!” sighed old Philemon.
The next morning the palace was gone; Baucis and Philemon were gone; but there on the hill stood two beautiful trees, an oak and a linden.
No one knew what became of the good people. After many years however, a traveler lying under the trees heard them whispering to each other.
“Baucis,” whispered the oak.
“Philemon,” replied the linden.
There the trees stood through sun and rain, always ready to spread their leafy shade over every tired stranger who passed that way.
Aww – wasn’t that a lovely ending? How nice to see that Philemon and Baucis were able to stay together and still spread their kindness to others by giving them some leafy shade from the sun.
This seems like a perfect story for this time of year where many of us celebrate Easter – because Easter is all about hope and joy and new life.
What do you think this story’s souvenir is? Why don’t you think about that and maybe discuss with your mum or dad or friends as maybe it has something to do with our Easter celebration?
Happy Easter to all of our listeners.
Cheerio then, join me next time for Journey with Story.