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Gourd Folk Tales

We uncovered unusual stories about gourds from around the world.  Yes, cultures from all areas of the globe have oral traditions, creation myths, legends, folk tales, and children stories about gourds, and as some would say, their magical powers and spiritual nature!  Enjoy the following.  These short summaries are to get you started.  More will be added.  The links bring you to their online text, if available, or their ISBN # to buy.

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Magic Gourd by Diakite

The African children's tale is a retelling of an indigenous tale from Diakite’s home of Mali. The story is about a famine in the land. The central character, Brother Rabbit searches for food for his starving family and by rescuing a chameleon, he receives a magic gourd bowl. The bowl saves his family since it up with anything upon request.  Buy online.

ISBN13: 9780439439602

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Grandma & the Great Gourd

A Bengali folk tale. An old woman left her small village to visit her daughter and granddaughter, telling three hungry predators to wait to eat her until she is plumped up on her way back. How the women outwit the bear, fox and tiger is satisfyingly told.  

2013 children's book.  Buy online. ISBN13: 9781596433786

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Legend of the Gourd

Hawaiian folk tale.  In the district of Kaʻū, spread across the Kamāʻoa Plain, live the Children of the Gourd. This magical tale delves into the past to reveal how the people of this region came to be named.  Note: Kamaoa is a place name. Kamaoa-Puueo is currently the America Indian Area on the Island of Hawaii. See fulltext at

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Story of the Gourd (Sri Lanka)

This folk tale comes from oral sources with origins in ancient Ceylon or Sri Lanka today.  This tale is the rather bizarre story of a queen who gave birth to a gourd, which then comes to life and in human form becomes a prince!  Book by Henry Parker, Folk Stories of Ceylon, 1910.  Can be found in the wonderful Wisdom Library.  It is story #153 in the Southeast Asian section.  Go to  


A Gourd Fiddle -- full text

The author,, Grace MacGowan Cooke, 1863-1944, was a well-known American author, born in Ohio. She and her sister Alice MacGowan worked collaboratively and the pair published about thirty novels, a hundred short stories and some poetry.  When only two, Grace and the family moved to Tennessee.  The father was a well-known Union Army Colonel during the Civil War and became the editor of the Chattanooga Times from 1872-1903. Cooke's themes included the struggles of Appalachian women working in the mills at the turn of the twentieth century.  This book, the Gourd Fiddle, was published in 1904 with illustrations by E. Lynn Mudge and E.B. Miles.  This is an inspiring story in the Black Americana genre. There are unique local dialects used in the book which in its opening chapters takes place somewhere near the Mississippi River, in the post-Civil War era. 

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