SYMPHONY NO. II

 A Symphony of Fables

 

Mvt. I. The Lion and the Mouse

Mvt. II. The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Mvt. III. The Tortoise and the Hare

Mvt. IV. The Ugly Duckling

Mvt. V. Three Billy Goats Gruff

commissioned by The USAF Band of Flight

Lieutenant  Colonel Alan Sierichs conducting.

This symphony has been performed so many different ways, it makes me marvel at the creativity of our band community. Some bands have had complete illustrations shown while performing it. Others have had individuals in rocking chairs read the fable before each is played.

Fables and their messages continue to entertain audiences young  and very young at heart.  

Mvt. I. The Lion and the Mouse

Aesop

 

A Lion was awakened from sleep by a Mouse running over his paw. Rising up angrily, he caught him and was about to kill him, when the Mouse begged for mercy saying:

"If you would only spare my life, I would be sure to repay your kindness."

 

The Lion laughed and let him go. It happened shortly after this that the Lion, fiercely chased by some hunters, found himself in a cleverly laid trap which bound him by strong ropes to the ground.

The Lion roared in frustration and despair. The Mouse, recognizing his roar, came to his aid, gnawed the rope with his teeth and set him free.

 

The moral: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Mvt. II. The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Brothers Grimm

The town of Hamelin was suffering from an infestation of rats.

One day, a rat-catcher came to the town and boasted he could rid the town of rats for a fee.

The people of Hamelin promised him payment if he would rid the town of the rats.

 

The man produced a pipe. The music he played with this pipe attracted the rats and

made them follow him. They followed him to the river, jumped in and all drowned.

 

Despite the success of the Piper, the people reneged on their promise and

did not pay the Piper his earned money.

The Piper left vowing saying some day, he would receive justice.

 

The Piper returned to Hamelin and while the villagers all slept in their beds,

the Piper once again, played his pipe, this time attracting the children of Hamelin.

They followed the Piper out of town and were never ever seen or heard from again.

 

The moral: “Never go Back on Your Word.”

During my research of this fable, it appears that this one has at the very least a root in reality. There is a church in Germany with stained glass depicting this story.

Mvt. III. The Tortoise & the Hare

Aesop

 

One day, a Hare took notice of a particular tortoise. Its legs were short and its pace was slower than slow.

The Hare, in an attempt to embarrass the tortoise, challenged him to a race.

Much to the surprise of the Hare, the Tortoise accepted.

 

All the animals of the forest gathered to watch the spectacle. 

When the race began, the Hare ran off and quickly disappeared from sight.

The Tortoise, unwavering in his task, slowly plodded ever forward towards the goal line.

 

In the course of the race, the Hare came across a beautiful meadow.

Knowing how pitifully slow the tortoise was, the Hare decided to take a nap.

Upon awaking from his nap, the Hare quickly sped to the finish line

only to find out that the Tortoise had already won the race.

The moral: “Slow but Steady wins the Race.”

Mvt. IV. The Ugly Duckling

Hans Christian Anderson

 

One day, a Swan laid an egg by accident in the nest of a duck.

It went unnoticed by the mother duck and eventually

the eggs all hatched. The mother duck and all the ducklings

noticed that one of the ducklings was quite ugly indeed.

 

It was big and gangly and different in color.

Since it could swim as well as the rest of them,

the duck family accepted it with reluctance.

 

The ugly duckling endured much teasing and harassment

by not only the ducks, but by all the creatures of and near the pond as well.

 

This went on for several months,

causing the ugly duckling much grief and sorrow.

 

One day, several swans returned to the pond.

Everybody could see that the ugly duckling

was not an ugly duck at all, but in fact,

was a beautiful swan.

 

The moral: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Mvt. IV. Three Billy Goats Gruff

(of Scandinavian Origin - a version from Norway)

 

Once upon a time, there were three billy goats named Gruff.

The best grazing place known to them was up on top of a mountain.

On the way up was a bridge they had to cross and

under the bridge lived a great ugly troll.

 

The youngest Billy Goat Gruff was the first to cross the bridge.

“Trip, trap, trip, trap!” went the bridge.

“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?”roared the troll.

“Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff,”

said the billy goat with such a small voice.

“I am going to EAT YOU,” growled the troll.

 

“No, please don’t! If you wait a bit, the second Billy Goat Gruff will come.

He’s much bigger and will make a better meal than I,” cried the goat.

Being greedy in nature, the Troll let the first Billy Goat Gruff pass.

 

A little while later, the second Billy goat Gruff came along.

Trip, trap, trip went the bridge.

“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?”roared the troll.

“Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff,”

said the billy goat with medium voice.

“I am going to EAT YOU,” growled the troll.

 

“No, please don’t! If you wait a bit, the Big Billy Goat Gruff will come.

He’s much bigger and will make a better meal than I,” cried the goat.

Being greedy in nature, the Troll let the second Billy Goat Gruff pass.

 

A little while later, the third and largest Billy goat Gruff came along.

Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap went the bridge.

“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?”roared the troll.

“It is I!” the big Billy Goat Gruff said in a booming voice.

“I am going to EAT YOU,” growled the troll.

 

“You can try!” said the big billy goat and he flew at the Troll.

A ferocious fight ensued and the Big Billy Goat Gruff defeated the Troll,

who shamed and beaten, ran off and was never seen again.

 

The three Billy Goats Gruff rejoiced in their cleverness on top of the mountain

and never had to worry about crossing the bridge ever again!

©2019 by Julie Giroux.