A fluid retelling of “Why Is the Tip of the Ermine’s Tail Black,” a pourquoi tale from the far northeastern reaches of Siberia.
One bitterly cold winter, a hunter nurtures an ermine back to life after it has fallen down his chimney, and the ermine grows a thick white coat of fur. Later that winter, when the ermine thinks the hunter is away, it eats all the old man’s butter. Furious, the man grabs a hot poker and thrusts it at the tip of the ermine’s tail, turning it black. The story is engaging, with a clear lesson and a happy ending. Text and narration are available in English, Russian and Yakut, with different narrators for each language. The English translation is smooth and pleasant. Digital illustrations and simple animations add humor and context to the story. Unfortunately, the font (in all three languages) is terribly small (readers can simply hide the text altogether and just listen to the story). Although a suite of Yakut folk tales is planned for the future, this is the only tale included at the time of review, making for a slight disconnect between icon and story content at the moment.
A delightful folk tale from a region that is not often represented in our literature. (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad folk-tale app. 4-8)