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1001 Stories Collection

Light as a Feather

1001 lightasafeather
Added on 01st July 2020

Oral tradition A Jewish folktale from Poland

Europe Funny
1001 , Audio , Text

Curious solutions for problems are found by the various characters in this tale from Poland about a mythical town of fools.


Sent to raise money in a neighbouring town, two men exchange their heavy sacks of money for feathers which will be lighter. When even the feathers are too heavy to carry, they let them fly out of the sacks to make their own way home. When the feathers fail to appear the town elders come up with an unusual solution to the problem. This is a tale about a mythical town of fools.

Why we chose it

Light as a Feather was part of The Story Museum’s original audio stories collection. These stories are particularly suitable for learning to retell.

Where it came from

The town of Chelm in Poland was in Jewish folklore traditionally a town of fools where the elders came up with the most ridiculous solutions to their problems.

Where it went next

The first written publication of the Chelm stories was in 1867. The stories continued to be told orally in Eastern Europe. Writer and folklorists both collected the stories and wrote their own versions and they inspired the creation of other towns of fools.

Associated stories

There are a number of collections of stories about Chelm including Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories, by Isaac Bashevis with illustrations by Maurice Sendak and The Wise Men of Helm and their Merry Tales by Solomon Simon, illustrated by Lilian Fischel.

Many other traditions across the world have their own town of fools including over forty English villages of which the best known is Gotham in Nottinghamshire.

Added on 01st July 2020

Oral tradition A Jewish folktale from Poland

Europe Funny
1001 , Audio , Text

Story Resources

  • Light as a Feather story text PDF (198.954 KB)