This is a great fall activity for homeschoolers, preschoolers, or any parent wanting to encourage creative thinking at home. You can use it when studying about the fall season, apples and seeds or when doing creative art projects. My grandmother used to tell this story to me and I can still remember my feelings of pure delight when she revealed the astonishing end. Your whole family will be intrigued and surprised when you share with them this story, that’s in the form of a riddle, ‘The Little Red House With No Doors and No Windows’.
For your younger thinkers, it may work better if you paraphrase the story into simpler language. They will still get to enjoy the surprise ending!
Before you can tell your story though, you’ll need:
- a large red apple (the larger the apple, the bigger the star)
- a cutting knife
- some way to conceal both items until you’re ready for the surprise ending (i.e. under a towel)
ENJOY this European Folktale . . . Then download the free printable for easy retelling at the end of the story!
Once upon a time there was a young boy who played all day long. One day, he got so bored with his own toys and games, that he asked his mother, “What can I do?” His mother, who was full of wonderful ideas, told him, “I know about a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside. Why don’t you try to find it?”
The boy’s eyes grew wide with wonder. “Which way shall I go?” he asked. “How can I find the little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside?”
“Go down the lane, past the farmer’s house, and over the hill,” said his mother. “Come back as soon as you can and tell me all about your journey.”
So the young boy started down the lane. He hadn’t walked very far, when he came to a girl who was dancing and singing in the sunshine. “Do you know where I can find a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside?” asked the boy.
The little girl laughed and said, “No. I don’t know. But why don’t you ask my father. He’s a farmer and he might know.”
So the young boy walked on until he came to a big, red barn. The farmer himself was standing in the doorway looking out over his green pastures. “Do you know where I can find a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside?” asked the boy.
The farmer laughed and said, “I’ve lived a long time and I have never seen one. But ask Granny who lives at the foot of the hill. She knows how to make molasses taffy, popcorn balls, and red mittens. Perhaps she can help you.”
So the young boy walked on until he saw Granny sitting in her pretty garden of herbs and flowers. “Please dear Granny,” said the little boy, “Do you know where I can find a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside?”
Granny was knitting a red mitten, and when she heard the boy’s question she laughed. “I would like to find that little house myself,” she said. Perhaps you should ask the wind, because the wind goes everywhere and I’m sure it can help you.”
The young boy waved good-by to Granny and began walking up the hill. He was beginning to wonder if maybe his mother had made a mistake about the ‘Little Red House’. Suddenly, the young boy felt the gentle wind at his back and he called out, “Wind! Do you know where I can find a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside?”
The wind replied, “WHOOOOOO! WHOOOOOOOO! WHOOOOOOOOOO!” which sounded like, “Come follow me!” to the young boy. So he chased after the wind through a grassy field and into an apple orchard. Here the wind blew at the top of an apple tree and gently shook a large, rosy red apple to the ground. The boy picked up the shiny apple. It was so big that it took both of his hands to hold it. Then he knew! He ran all the way home, grasping his apple tightly in his hands.
“Mother! Mother!” he called as he entered his house. “I found it! I found the little red house with no doors and no windows! But Mother, I don’t know if there is a star inside.”
Mother took the apple (reveal your apple) and very carefully sliced it in half (cut the apple horizontally). “Oh, now I see the star!” exclaimed the happy little boy. I asked the farmer, I asked the little girl, I asked the granny, but only the wind could help me solve the riddle of the little red house with no doors and no windows.” (Show your children the star inside the apple.)
p.s. Your children can extend their creative thinking and performing skills by illustrating the different scenes from the story and then retelling it to someone they love. It is fun for older thinkers to draw their illustrations in a ‘comic strip’ format and then add in some conversation bubbles.