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I adore the simple folktale concerning the Starkind. This is the tale of the orphan girl who is blessed by stars, after she selflessly gives away all her possessions to imperiled beggars. As I was looking for more information regarding the story, I came across an opera with a similar title; Das Sternenkind. I later discovered that this opera had nothing to do with the Starkind story of which I was familiar. Instead, this story contrasts outer beauty with an inner state of ugliness. The titular child in this story fell to Earth as an infant. It was raised by a poor family who admired it for its incredible beauty. Unfortunately, the beautiful child is rotten to the core and ultimately comes to reject its mother who forsook her celestial position to wander the Earth looking for it. By the time the mother finds the child, she has lost her heavenly beauty and has the appearance of a common beggar. The story resolves only when the child loses his beauty and searches the world looking for the mother it rebuked.

This is the full text of the short story on which the opera was based. The following video is a Russian language movie that roughly follows the Oscar Wilde story. However, there are significant changes to the tale, after the mother is rebuked.

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HABA is one of my all time favorite toy producers. Both HABA and my other favorite producer Ravensburger make some of the best toys for children that can be had. To set the proper mood for Christmas Eve, I broke out HABA’s Sternsammler board game. “Sternsammler” means “Star Collector,” and the game is based on the folktale of the Starkind. Starkind tells the tale of a poor, orphaned girl who goes out into the world on a cold winter’s night with nothing but a bit of bread and the layers of clothing on her back. For whatever reason, she heads into the woods and gradually gives away the bread and all her layers of clothes to various beggars that she meets. Finally, she finds herself in the middle of nowhere with nothing left at all. The stars then shine down on her and shower her with gold coins as a repayment for her exemplary altruism. She emerges from the woods with untold wealth and a new gown made of starbeams or some such gauzy and magical material. Possibly due to lack of name recognition, this game was renamed “Pennies from Heaven” for English speaking audiences. It is a fairly basic game, but it comes with the Starkind story and I read the tale before gameplay to ensure that the Starkind’s lesson informs the gameplay.

Star Collector Box

Star Collector Box

Star Collector Game

Star Collector Game