A Tale of Three Nuts
Written by: Leah Goldberg
Illustrated by: Shmuel Katz
How can three nuts solve problems?
What makes people happy?
What is the nuts’ secret?
The classic tale by Leah Goldberg is thought-provoking, and prompts its readers to discuss secrets, treasures, and the things that make us happy.
“How good is an apt reply given in due season” (Proverbs, 15:23)
What a joy it is to get what we need at the right moment: an umbrella on a rainy day, a tissue when we have a cold, the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, and… nuts holding secrets and mysteries that reveal themselves at precisely the right moment. In the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon praises good timing, saying that things that come at the right time are good.
The nuts are passed on to various characters, meeting the requirements of each precisely when they need them most. Each one has different needs, but all share a common desire to be happy.
Leah Goldberg (1911–1970), born in Kaunas, Lithuania, was a poetess, authoress, translator, professor, and editor, while also heading the Comparative Literature Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. At the age of 23 she had completed her PhD on Semitic Linguistics in Germany, and upon immigrating to Israel in 1935, began to publish her writings, and soon became a well-loved and well-known poetess. Her publications, and among them her children's stories and poems (Apartment to Rent [Dira Lehaskir], Magic Hat [Kova Ksamim], What do the Does do? [Ma Osot HaAyalot?], and many more) have become invaluable gems of Israeli literature. In 1970 she was awarded the Israel Prize for Literature; however, having unfortunately passed away several months prior to the ceremony, her mother received it on her behalf.
Enjoy reading and discussing the book together!
- You may want to huddle together, leaf through the book, and ask your child to look for what each character received in exchange for the nuts. Pay attention to the facial expression of those receiving the nuts. Perhaps you could look in the mirror, and see what you look like when you smile with joy.
- How about looking for puppets or toys who could represent the dwarf, squirrel, lumberjacks, prince, princess, and child, and give a puppet theater rendition of the story together?
- Were you surprised by the ending? Perhaps you would like to make up your own, and illustrate it.
- The characters in this book sing when they are happy. What do you like to do when you are happy?
- Do you know any other stories or poems by Leah Goldberg? You could go over to the bookshelf at home or the local library, and look for some, such as The Scatterbrained Man from Azar's Village (Hamefuzar miKafar Azar), Apartment to Rent (Dira Lehaskir), or The Bad Boy (HaYeled HaRa).
- The nuts in this book are magical: “whomever discovers their secret will be the happiest in the world”. You may want to share with one another what makes each of you happy. Are the same things that make you happy make your child happy too? Perhaps you can think of a family member or friend who you can surprise with something that will make them happy. How about making them some home-baked nut cookies?
Golden nut cookie recipe
1.5 cups of flour
0.5 a cup of chopped nuts
150g of butter
100g of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
0.5 a teaspoon of powdered coffee
- Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees
- Mix all the ingredients into dough and cool for an hour
- Roll the dough into nut-sized balls
- Place them on a lined baking pan and bake for 10 minutes
- Cool and store in a sealed jar