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Healthy Food Series about grain, wheat, bread

Stories, poems, creative tasks, healthy recipes and colouring pages

Even Neanderthal man used herbs over 60,000 years ago and already learned of healing power of herbs.
Over the centuries, the healing powers of herbs have not changed, but our attitude towards them has.
People had forgotten about their healing powers, and instead they used all sorts of pills and other medicine.

Today many medical professionals are realizing that herbs have powerful healing properties and can be used for many illnesses, especially as part of daily regime to keep the children healthy. More and more, herbs are becoming an important part of our health care. The scientists have written all sorts of books about the healing power of herbs. But grown-ups don't read them to children, and children need to know about that more than anyone else! So, to help herbsmake friends with the children, we decided to tell you all these stories.

The “Storyteller's Guide to Health” series presents the healthful and healing gifts of nature
in captivating and warm-hearted tales narrated by children, adults and their friends from
the world of fruits, berries, vegetables, grains and herbs.

At the end of the selection of delightful stories, questions and activities you'll also find recipes
for the vitamin-conscious kitchen. The recipes are simple, allowing children to prepare dishes
themselves with only minimal supervision, and are also designed to preserve the largest possible share
of vitamins and other nutrients in the final serving.

Age group 5 – 9 years

AUTHORS: Maria Skrebtsova and Alexandra Lopatina

Contents of the book "THE MAGIC GRAIN"




“The Healthy Food Series” is the most popular series written by Alexandra Lopatina and Maria Skrebtsova.


The stories about tea


A young farm worker called Wan was traveling the country looking for work. Ahead he saw a village surrounded by a clay wall. He quickened his pace. As he approached the village, he could see several people sitting as still as statues near the wall. Some were sleeping; others were staring intently at the wall.

“Sir, could you please tell me why they are staring at the wall?” said Wan to a passer-by.

“They just sit there and do nothing,” replied the passer-by, pointing at one of the people sitting by the wall. “That monk over there has entranced them.”

Wan gazed at the monk. He was sitting absolutely still with his legs folded and his eyes shut. The monk seemed to possess such wisdom, that the young man could not help but bow.

It was not long before Wan found work. There was a large garden near the village, and the gardener was looking for an assistant. Wan asked the gardener about the strange monk.

“That is Darma,” replied the gardener. “People say that he can listen to his own heart.”

“Why should he need to do that?” asked Wan.

Tea: illustration from fairytale

“Don't fill your head with stupid thoughts,” said the gardener abruptly.

Here the conversation ended. Wan obediently started digging up earth, but he could not stop thinking about the monk. Every evening, the young man went to the wall and placed some rice or vegetables – half of his own supper – at the monk's feet. Other people came for the food, but the monk never moved. He simply concentrated on the wall, as if he were looking straight through it at something wonderful on the other side. On one occasion, the young man could no longer contain his excitement, and spoke to the monk.

“How I would love to know what you think about for hours on end!” said Wan.

Darma looked at the young man, smiled, and pulled out his eyelashes with a quick flick of his wrist. As the eyelashes fell to the ground, they transformed into two green bushes, about one metre in height. Their glossy green leaves, covered with soft fluff, had a delicate aroma.

Tea plant

“Remove the upper layer of leaves from these tea plants and brew them in boiling water,” said the wise man quietly.

Wan took the leaves home and, after drinking a cup of the aromatic drink, he could feel the blood running more quickly through his veins. Although it was late in the evening, he suddenly felt full of energy. Carefully, he filled a pot with the remaining brew, and hurried out the wall to offer it to the monk and his students.

Tea: pic

The next morning, Wan drank another cup of the wonderful tea, and felt alert and energetic for the entire day. It was as if the garden tools were working themselves, and he was wide-awake after an entire day's hard labour.

The following day, one of the monk's students arrived at Wan's house, carrying a handful of tealeaves.

“Our master asks you to brew us more of your tea,” said the student.

“Our minds were so clear after drinking it, and we no longer felt so tired.”

Together they prepared the brew, and the student took the pot of steaming tea away with him. Soon, Wan followed him to the wall, carrying with him an ornate teacup.

“Master,” said Wan as he bowed, “please accept this teacup as a gift from me. It was passed down to me by mother, and is my only possession. I have treasured it, but such a fine tea requires an equally fine teacup.”

Darma embraced the young man affectionately.

“We have suffered famine and poverty for many years in our search for enlightenment,” pronounced the monk. “Most people did not understand us, calling us idle. Now, however, our prayers have brought you here, Wan. The warmth of your heart has shown us the light of truth. We shall help people with our new means of curing diseases and tiredness. From now on, we shall show how tea may help every man to listen to his own heart.”

Many years passed. Together with Darma and his students, Wan grew several tea plantations. News of the wonderful properties of this tea had spread across China . Even the Great Chinese Emperor himself gave the tea his special stamp of approval.

In his old age, Wan wrote the story of the life of Darma the wise man and the astonishing properties of his tea. The manuscript ended with these words:

“May glory shine upon this tea, bringer of happiness, strength and peace; may you long stimulate thought and keep tiredness at bay!”


question to accompany story TEAQuestions to accompany the story:

•  How did Wan differ from other people?

•  Why did the monk share the secret of the magic drink with him?

•  Have you ever drunk tea to stay awake?


ACTIVITIES to accompany the story about TEA:

Beneficial Properties of Tea'Written work: ‘Beneficial Properties of Tea'

Imagine that Wan gave you a piece of his manuscript to read. Write a story about what was written on it.

Cup of teaDrawing game: ‘A Cup of Tea'

Ask the children to describe how would they spread the benefits of tea to others around the world? Then ask the children to dray a beautiful cup of tea.



“Ovid, have you fallen sleep, or are you writing poetry again?” shouted the angry vineyard owner as he approached the curly-haired young man. The youth was startled, and began to attack the earth furiously with his rake.

“What use are my poems when I've had to leave school to feed my elderly parents?” he though with sadness.

The owner hurried over to where the young man was standing.

“There is something to be gained from your poetry,” said the vineyard owner in a much friendlier tone. “The Emperor Titus has announced a poetry competition to mark his son's birthday. Write some verses for the competition and you could win some money.”

That night, Ovid went out into the yard to write verses by moonlight. He tried several times to begin writing, but he felt so tired that could not keep his eyes open..

The depressed young man went out into the vineyard the following morning and heard a terrifying howl. He rushed over to investigate and, as he reached the edge of the field, a carriage sped past. As the carriage was flying around the corner, a dog had fallen from the side, and was now lying in the road. The animal's paw was broken and it had a large wound down its side.

“The poor little devil. I'd better give it a wash,” decided Ovid. After moving the dog into the shade, he washed its wounds thoroughly, and made a splint for its paw out of two sticks.

“Looks like you're a thoroughbred,” observed the young man, examining the astonishing collar around the dog's neck. Ovid looked after the dog at the vineyard for the next week. He took it to the spring to drink, and shared his modest dinner with the animal. At the end of the week, a wealthy man, dressed in fabulously ornate clothing, came galloping through the vineyard. It was the dog's owner.

“As I was passing through your village, I lost my precious dog. I was told that you…”

The man never finished his sentence. From behind some bushes the rescued dog appeared, limping. With a squeal of delight, it rushed towards the stranger. As the man turned to leave, he handed a small wooden chest to the young man.

“Please take this as a reward for rescuing my dog,” explained the stranger. “What is inside this box is more valuable than money.”

The young man's parents were delighted when they heard about the rich stranger's gift. However, their delight turned to disappointment when they saw what was inside the box – a strange-looking, fragrant plant.

“Don't worry,” said Ovid, removing a folded piece of parchment from the bottom of the chest. “There's something written here.”

He unfolded the parchment and examined it. Here is what he saw:

In order to make the Drink of the Gods, follow these instructions:

1. “The white crane washes its head” (rinse out a teapot with boiling water)

2. “The bodhisattva enters the palace” (place the tea leaves in the teapot)

3. “The stream heats the teapot” (fill the teapot with boiling water)

4. “The spring wind brushes the face” (carefully remove the foam from the surface)

5. “The gatekeeper patrols the fortress” (pour the tea into a cup, then pour it back into the teapot; leave to stand for one minute)

6. “The general selects his weapon” (pour the tea into the cups)

7. “Be enchanted by the colour of the infusion” (appreciate the colour of the liquid)

8. “Savour the sweet nectar” (drink the tea and enjoy its taste and aroma)


Ovid did his best to follow the instructions recorded on the parchment. Instead of a teapot, he had to use an old pan, which he cleaned thoroughly and filled with fresh spring water.

After drinking the aromatic tea, Ovid's parents went to sleep. The young man himself felt alert and clear-headed. It was as if his thoughts were forming themselves into verses. His ode to the emperor's son was finished in three days. The young man copied his verses neatly onto the piece of parchment and prepared to make the journey to the capital.

“Mother, I will return in one week. I hope you will manage without me,” he said, sounding worried.

“Don't worry,” she replied. “I am going to bake some flat cakes with the flour you earned for your work at the vineyard. Your father is now drinking your wonderful tea instead of medicine: his headaches have gone, his memory has returned and his stomach pains have even calmed down.”

Exactly one week later, the dusty figure of Ovid appeared on the horizon. His mother rushed out to meet him. Suddenly she saw royal guards appear, seemingly from nowhere, and grab her son, bundle him into a carriage and take him away.

It was as if a black cloud has settled over the poor little hut. The young man was just as concerned as his parents.

“Where are you taking me?” he asked the guard a dozen times. The guard did not reply.

To Ovid's great consternation, the carriage was approaching the emperor's palace. The Great Emperor Titus had demanded to see the young man himself. When he caught sight of Ovid, he seemed surprised.

“So it was you, a young farm worker dressed in rags, who dedicated those magnificent verses to my son.”

“Your majesty, any clothing would be turned to rags if it were subjected to many long hours of manual labour. Fortunately, a healthy mind does not require clean clothing,” replied Ovid, bowing before the emperor.


Tea story for children


“An excellent answer!” said the emperor with a smile. “Tell me, what were those strange lines written on the reverse of the parchment about the ‘drink of the gods'?”

“Your highness, those lines were written by a wise stranger, who grew the leaves which make this drink. It is called tea. When I drank this tea, my thoughts were clearer and my mood calmer.”

Ovid went on to tell Titus the story of how he obtained the wonderful gift. The two talked for a long time. The emperor was so impressed with the young man that he appointed him his royal poet, and tea soon became the favourite drink of Titus' court. The young man wrote countless magnificent poems, and the very best were those which described the mystical benefits of tea.


ACTIVITIES to accompany the story about tea:

Question to accompany story TEA Questions to accompany the story about tea:

•  Which three properties of tea seem the most valuable to you?

•  Which other plants, besides tea, can be brewed to make hot drinks?

•  Imagine that the emperor has organized a tea festival at his palace. Describe the events of the day.

•  Which properties of tea could be called “mystical” and why?

•  If you were the emperor, describe three laws you would introduce to make tea the main drink in your country.

•  Which countries consider tea to be their national drink?

•  In which countries do people traditionally drink tea with milk? Why do you think the milk is added?

•  Does your family drink a lot of tea? How much do they drink each day? How is the tea made?

•  Does the taste of a cup of tea depend on what it is brewed in?

•  What different types of tea do you know, and which is your favourite



ACTIVITIES to accompany the story:

Drawing game: ‘My Favorite Teapot'

Does the taste of a cup of tea depend on what teapot it is brewed in? Draw the picture of your favorite teapot.


Creative task: ‘Brew the Tea'

Ask the children to bring in some different types of tea, and make sure you have the necessary teapots and cups.

Divide the children into groups and ask them to brew the tea using the instructions given in the story.

Then children should describe the taste of each type of tea. There should be a prize for the best description.




“… I am a professional dietician who decided to use informative stories about healthy lifestyles (healthy food choices). Children already know that a healthy lifestyle is good! But if they keep eating potato chips and desserts and drinking sugary beverages until they're 40 or 45, the damage will have already been done. The only way to get a real response is to weave in magical stories, where the children can imagine themselves as the heroes of the tale and the masters of the situation (by saving the kingdom from disease with the help of magical apples : plus offering easy, yummy recipes using fruits and vegetables!!! The children go home and start to crave fruits and vegetables on their own, and their attitudes begin to change. This can even rub off on their parents, when the children show how they learned to cook in kindergarten/school).

It's easy for children to retain information about the magical, healing properties of apples and other fruits/berries/vegetables when this is taught using magical stories because children love fairy tales so much. After all, it turns out that not only do apple trees grow in the garden, their fruit cured the king and queen!

Thank you so much! Your stories work wonders on children and adults!!! I'm so happy that I don't have to stand there like a pompous nag and waste my time and effort giving boring, longwinded lectures! Instead I can just turn myself into a fairy from the kingdom of fruit and take the children along with me to an enchanted world of fairy tales, full of marvelous adventures! We must save the fruit orchard and we're going to heal all the story characters (and our moms and dads as well) with apples, pears, and plums etc.!!!


The Healthy Food Series:

  1. The Fruit Kingdom
  2. The Vegetables Kingdom
  3. Berry Academy and Mushroom School
  4. The Magic Grain
  5. Delicious Nuts and Chocolates
  6. The Healing Power of Tea and Herbs
  7. The Golden Bee and Honey

Talking Vegetables:
our Unique Approach to Healthy Food.

Educational Stories & Poetry,
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all about Vegetables.

Vegetables for Kids Project >>

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Book for children about Bread, grain, wheat: stories for kids.

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