The gold at the end of the rainbow

The Irish, of course, are no strangers to storytelling. Their leprechaun stories often involve mischievous little people not leading the human protagonist to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In one story, a leprechaun grants a wish to a poor couple, who demand riches. The leprechaun is angered that they are so greedy, and tells them he has put their riches in a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Central Australian Aboriginal culture, of course, offers countless stories about the Rainbow Snake or Serpent, the all-giving Creator of the world. Most of them tell how the Rainbow Serpent wakes from her sleep to travel far and wide, leaving marks in the ground that eventually become the features of the central Australia we know today. In one delightful story, the frogs come out and when the Rainbow Serpent tickles their stomachs the frogs laugh, spilling the water stored in their bellies over the earth to fill the tracks of the serpent's wanderings, forming lakes and rivers. We humans are curious creatures, and rainbows can still amaze and delight adults, let alone kids. While we may yearn to find the end of that rainbow, there's something about the earth's physics and curvature that make it somehow, always elusive. dragonfly_rainbowWhat's not so elusive, however, are Dragonfly's particularly beautiful wooden rainbows, which can provide hours of open ended, imaginative play for your toddlers. Spiel and Holz manufacture beautiful, tactile wooden toys and puzzles. The rainbows can be turned into bridges, houses, tunnels or anything your child wants to set his or her mind to. There's always something special about handling a wooden toy or puzzle, and even more so when you understand that they are supporting your child's ever expanding brain function. And the rainbows offer, in their own way, a particular kind of gold to the children who embrace and play with them. Think spatial coordination, joining the dots between left and right hemispheres, joining the dots between large and small, colour awareness, reinforcing short-term memory... Our wooden rainbows are made in Europe, and dyed using non-toxic dyes. Central Australia's Rainbow Serpent made laws that they all were to obey, but some became quarrelsome and made trouble. "Those who keep my laws will be rewarded; I shall give them human form," the Serpent said. "Those who break my laws will be punished and turned to stone, never to walk the earth again." Whether you associate the rainbow with the life-giving rainbow serpent, the impish Irish leprechaun, or simply a patch of wonder in the sky after a shower of rain, there are almost no limits to the wonder of play. And as for that old Irish couple who demanded too many riches? The story goes that they are still seeking the end of that rainbow.

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