Stories from the Rainbow Brite Treasury
compiled by Hilda Young
Green grow the trees
Patty O'Green is very proud of the fact that she is in charge of the Green
She always makes sure that the leaves of her trees are bright and shining, in
of green. She loves to tell the other Color Kids lots of interesting facts
about her trees.
Did you know:
The wood of the buckthorn tree makes good walking sticks and umbrella handles.
The wayfaring tree is often called the miller's coat. It's broad hairy
leaves look as dusty
as the overall that was worn by the miller as he milled the corn to make flour
bread. The flowers of this tree are white, and later, these change to
bunches of coral
berries. In autumn, the berries become jet black.
The timber of the graceful lady of the woods, the ash tree, was used to make
harrows, oars for boats and hard-wearing handles for axes and hammers. It is
A hazel twig is often used as a divining rod. Some people try to discover if
there is water
in the ground, using a divining rod. It is a forked stick which dips
suddenly when it is
held over the right spot.
There is a willow tree called a cricket bat willow used...yes, for making
cricket bats! The
wood from some other willow trees is used for making baskets, the supple
plaited together in very pretty designs.
In Sherwood Forest, in the days of Robin Hood, there was a mighty oak tree
outlaws stored their food. It was known as Robin Hood's larder. Here, bold
said to store the venison he and his men had gained from the King's deer.
mighty oak, said to be Robin Hood's larder, was finally destroyed about 20
after 1000 years in the forest.
Yellow as Canary
Canary Yellow is Rainbow Brite's favorite Color Kid because she is so bright
cheerful, and as chirpy as the little yellow canary whose name she shares.
These sweet-singing birds originally came from the Canary Islands. They
discovered several centuries ago by a band of shipwrecked sailors whose ship,
Spain, was wrecked off the African coast.
When the sailors were finally rescued, they brought with them several of
pretty birds which were soon bred as pets for the wealthy. In Victorian
every household had a little canary in a cage and this ‘prince of songbirds’
a dull day with its cheery sweet song.
Although yellow is a familiar and common color for a canary, there are
different colored canaries.
There are light red ones and yellowish green
ones and even
canaries with lizard-like colorings, to mention just a few variations.
There are two kinds of singing canaries: the chopper and the roller. The
canary is a sweet singer but does not sing as loudly as the chopper whose
song is a clear
‘chop, chop, chop’ sound.
If you would like to keep a canary, first ask your parents if you can
have one and
then visit a reputable shop. Talk to the shopkeeper and ask for advice about
and food. You must remember, however, that a canary, like all pets, needs
you are not prepared to spend time looking after it, find another interest.
The best time to buy a canary is in the autumn or early spring before it
molt. Try to buy one about one year old as this is the beginning of a
period. Although some canaries live as long as 16 to 17 years, most have a
life span of
seven or eight years. With suitable housing and care, you and your canary
many happy years together.
Forecast the weather
Rainbow Brite likes the weather to be fine for as long as possible. Long
ago, before we had satellites to help us forecast the weather, country folk
took notice of signs in the sky or what was happening in nature to predict
what kind of weather was coming. You can look at the signs yourself and see
if they work.
Blue sky breeches:
It is often said that if there's enough blue in the sky to make a sailor a
pair of trousers, that will give you enough time to dry your washing!
Red sky warning:
Shepherds up in the hills would look up at the sky first in the morning and
then again at night. The color of the sky would tell whether their sheep
would go to bed dry or wet. The old rhyme goes like this:
Red sky at night, shepherd's delight
Red sky at morning, shepherd's warning
Poor man's weather glass:
If children wanted to know if it was fine to go for a picnic, they would look
at the wild flower known as the poor man's weather glass -- the scarlet
pimpernel. If this pretty flower's petals were open, the sun would continue
to shine, but if they were closed tightly it was about to rain!
In a year when the holly bushes were thick with red berries people believed
that a long, hard winter was ahead.
Oak and ash forecast:
Foresters used to watch to see on which trees the leaves first appeared.
An old rhyme says:
Oak before ash,
In for a splash!
Ash before oak,
In for a soak.
Early oak leaves meant a warm summer with little rain; early ash leaves meant
a very wet summer!
Yellow and gold flowers:
To see a cluster of marigolds was always thought to be the sign of a good
day. These pretty golden flowers were said to have been given their name in
honor of Jesus' mother, Mary's, gold.
Another old weather superstition was that if you could find twelve yellow
primroses growing together, or twelve daisies growing in long grass, that was
a sure sign that spring had really arrived. Then you could start wearing your
thin summer clothes!
Some animals were thought to be good at predicting the weather. When cows,
especially black and white ones, lay down in a field it meant that a storm
If a horse neighed continually through the night in a stable, this also meant
that a storm was due. Farmers would then make sure that their animals were
all safely inside before the storm broke.
Owls screeching in the night foretold bad weather, but the call of the cuckoo
usually heralded a lovely spring day!
If a cat was unusually frisky and full of energy, or, as sailors and country
folk said, 'had a gale in its tail', stormy weather was on its way.
The reason why
Shy Violet knows lots of facts about different colored things. The other
Color Kids are
always pleased to listen to her.
The dandelion, that lovely golden yellow flower, is not called a dandelion
because it is
like the golden head of a handsome lion, but because the French thought that
resembles le dent de lion -- a lion's tooth.
That shy creature, the badger, who hunts at night for food, gets its name
from the badge
of black and white stripes on its face.
The goldcrest, Britain's smallest and one of its prettiest birds, get its
name from the little
golden crest on its head.
The red admiral butterfly was said to have been named after an admiral who
wore a very
smart red, black and gold-trimmed uniform!
In order to frighten their enemies, the Ancient Britons would paint their
bodies with a
blue dye. They got this from the plant called woad. By mashing the leaves, a
produced which the Britons used to paint their bodies.
The mandarin's ruby:
The blood red ruby has always been considered a valuable stone and in olden
believed that anyone wearing one could not be made ill by drinking poison.
would change the drink into harmless water, but this, of course, is nonsense!
The ruby was also greatly valued by the mandarins of ancient China as a
great honor. There were several ranks of mandarin and each wore a button in
his hat to
denote his rank. The buttons were made out of various substances such as
and silver, but the highest mandarin of all wore a ruby in his hat!
The Red Sea:
No one is actually quite sure why the Red Sea was given its name. It was
named by the
Romans, perhaps because the glow in its waters reflected from the eastern Sun
look red, or perhaps because of the coral on its sea bed. Others say it was
because of the
red color given to it by the reeds it contains.
A red letter day:
In olden days, holidays were few and far between and were eagerly awaited by
as a rest from their long hours of toil. Most of the days were feasts and
saint's days, and
calendars used to show these dates in red rather than black so that they
would stand out
for everyone to see. We still talk of a red letter day today, meaning a day
something rather special happened.
Have you had a red letter day recently -- your birthday or a trip out
The robin is a friendly bird and often brightens our days with is cheery
song. An old
legend tells that when he saw the Crown of Thorns on Jesus’ head he flew down
to pull it off, staining his breast with blood as the cruel thorns pricked
him. Although the
kind little bird could not pull off the thorn crown, his deed would always be
whenever anyone saw his red breast.
Stars in the sky
Rainbow Brite and the Color Kids use Star Sprinkles to bring color to Rainbow
you look into the sky on a clear night you will see patterns of different
constellations. The Greeks named many of them after their heroes of
mythology, as they
were thought to be shaped like animals or people. A band of 12
constellations is called
the Zodiac; the constellations are called the signs of the Zodiac.
The Spring Stars:
Aries, the Ram, is the first sign of the Zodiac and many people believe that
constellation was the fabulous ram whose golden fleece was sought by Jason
argonauts. The ram had carried two children, Phrixus and Helle, away from
stepmother who hated them. Helle fell into the sea, but Phrixus reached land
sacrificed the ram to Zeus and gave the golden fleece to Aeetes, the king of
Aeetes hung it from a tree and set a dragon, who never slept, to guard it.
The constellation of Taurus, the bull, can be seen fighting mighty Orion, the
bright stars, Betelgeuse and Bellatrix, form the hunter's shoulders and there
more bright stars forming his belt. Another star consellation is Gemini, the Twins. The two brightest stars are
Pollux, named after the sons of god Jupiter, and a beautiful maiden name
Leda. They are
sometimes called the ‘sailors stars’, for when sailors see them burning
brightly in the sky,
they prepare for a very bad storm!
The Summer Stars:
Although we call the next constellation Cancer, the Crab, other nations call
it the beetle
or even the tortoise. One of the twelve labors of Hercules was to kill the
hydra -- an
enormous serpent with nine heads. Juno sent the crab to bite Hercules’s foot
was attacking the terrible hydra, but he survived to kill the crab!
Another constellation in the Zodiac is Leo the Lion. Legend said that rivers
when the lion came to drink so the gods banished him to the sky.
There were several ideas as to the origin of the Virgin or Maiden Star group
Virgo. One said it was Persephone who had to spend one-third of the year
with Hades in
the underworld. She had eaten six pomegranate seeds, a symbol of marriage,
Hades had tried to persuade her to become his wife. Her mother, Demeter,
the Earth, is said to mourn during this part of the year, causing winter to
come, but when
her daughter returns to Earth, flowers bloom and the corn grows ripe.
The Autumn Stars:
The consetellation of Libra, the Scales, recalls the legend that only one
whose heart is
lighter than a feather may enter Mount Olympus, home of the Gods. The Scales
the hearts. Another legend is that the Scales weigh Night and Day to ensure
that they are
Scorpius, the Scorpion, a near neighbor of Libra in the sky, has a bright red
star in its
constellation which is thought to be unlucky.
Sagittarius, the Archer, was supposed to be the wise old centaur, Chiron, who
many of the Greek heroes. Chiron was, as all centaurs, half man and half
he died, Zeus put him among the stars.
The Winter Stars:
Capricornus, the Sea Goat, is the constellation from which the sign Capricorn
was said that Pan, the great god of music, took on form when he offended
wished to escape their anger.
Aquarius is the Water Carrier. He can been seen pouring water from his
was thought to be Ganymede, a beautiful youth who served drinks to the gods.
The final constellation of the Zodiac is Pisces, the Fishes. A legend says
that Venus, the
godness of beauty, and her son, Cupid, were once tied together by another
god. They only escaped by turning into silvery fishes.
The Kingfisher -- a real rainbow bird
If you are very quiet and rather lucky you may see a kingfisher diving for
fish in a stream
when you are out in the country.
Legend has it that the kingfisher, anxious to be the most handsome of all
birds, flew up to the sky. He flew higher even than the mighty eagle and
wings and body into the rainbow.
Because the kingfisher's rainbow ended by the banks of the stream, this
brilliantly colored bird always lives near water in case he needs to dip his
the rainbow again!
Another legend is about the kingfisher's eggs. Although in actual fact
kingfisher often builds a nest for its eggs in the river bank, people once
believed that this
bird laid its eggs in the river itself or in the sea. During this time,
until the eggs were hatched,
the weather was lovely and warm, and everyone felt happy and cheerful. These
wonderful ‘halcyon days’ which everyone remembered with pleasure. Halcyon
Latin word for kingfisher.
The kingfisher has bluish-green upper feathers on its body and head and
chestnut underfeathers. It has a long, straight black bill and red legs. It
eats mainly fish
and perches on a branch of a tree overhanging a river, waiting for the right
dive for a fish. Or, you might see one hovering above the surface of the
water looking for
When the male bird goes courting, he often offers his mate a fish as a
she accepts the two birds start to build their nest and raise a family.
The female kingfisher lays about six eggs during May and when the babies
born the parents are soon busy fishing for food for them.
Winter is a very hard time for kingfishers, as streams and rivers often
iced over, and fishing is then impossible. When this happens, in order not
kingfishers sometimes move to the coast until spring returns.