Many folktales explain why things are as they are; explaining various phenomena such as why the moon changes shape or why some birds look the way they do. Those of you living in the northern hemisphere are experiencing spring (or soon will be).
Willow Catkins, Polish Folklore
Perhaps you have already noticed furry catkins hanging from willow trees heralding the change of season. This charming Polish legend explains how they got there.
One day a mother cat took her kittens out for their first walk. The kittens were overjoyed to be out and about, but their mother warned them not to approach the fast running river or they would come to harm. The kittens started playing and it was not long before they totally forgot their mother’s warning. The mother cat was relaxing in the sunshine when before long she heard a series of splashes. She ran to the river bank only to see her babies being swept along by the current. Realising her children were in mortal peril she began to cry for help. No-one was around and her cries went unanswered. She watched helplessly as her little ones fought frantically for air. Then the willow tress by the river began to sway; gently they dipped their slender branches into the water scooping up all the kittens. Ever since, in the spring, the branches of willow trees have been festooned with white catkins in commemoration of the day they saved the kittens./\