1st & 2nd Grade Books > The Magic Garden

The Magic Garden

Rewritten by: Eyad Mdah | illustration: Bana Haddad

In this retelling of a Kazakhstan folktale, two neighbors, Hassan and Asan, turn to the wise man of their village for advice when they fight over who should keep some gold coins found in their shared garden. One of the wise man’s students suggests buying seeds with the gold and sets off to the big city. Much to his embarrassment and frustration, he ends up losing the gold. What will the two neighbors plant in their garden? This is a story about the treasures that the land can offer us if we take care of it.

Family Activities

The bitter cold kills the sheep of Hassan the Shepherd, so his neighbor, Ghassan the farmer, extends him a hand, and invites him to start working on his land. However, they disagree about who should own the golden coins that Hassan finds in his friend’s land. The two friends seek advice from the ...


Dear Parents,

This is a retelling of a folktale from Central Asia, and many of its features resemble those found in our tales. It is a story about faithful friendships, about what a neighbor owes another neighbor, about wisdoms of life, and about a relationship of kindness and companionship between man, nature and its creatures.

This tale informs us and our child that if we treat nature with kindness and love, and behave well with its creatures, nature will reward us twofold. Our children should adopt this great value, especially in an age of alienation from and abuse of nature in many parts of the world.


Family Activities

  • “Who do you think was the happiest person in the village?” Why? We can have a conversation with our child about what makes them happy. It would be nice to share what we, as parents, think happiness is.
  • We can think about our neighbors, and recall the good deeds we have done for each other. What other kind gestures can we do? We might give them special food, or help them with housework…
  • If we were the students of the wise man of the village, which suggestions would we present to Hassan and Ghassan?
  • A handful of varied seeds and a basin or pot filled with dirt! A lot of enthusiasm is what we need in order to fill our garden or balcony with new plants!
  • The garden is a beautiful place that brings people together and gives them comfort. Which parks do we like? We may want to arrange a family walk there. We may involve family members in the redesigning and planting of our home garden.
  • Enjoy your reading!

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From the Field