Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ In need of sunshine

Sniffle …snuffle … sneeze. Snuffle … sniffle … sneeze. I’ve had a horrible cold. I’ve still got a horrible cold and it has made me remember a Kenyan story I once came across which I’ve always enjoyed telling to children.

P1010187A Kenyan story: In search of Sun

There was once a boy called Kabebe (though in Jan Knappert’s African Mythology, he’s a man and not named).

Kabebe’s family always had colds. His brothers got colds, his sisters got colds, his mother and father kept getting colds. So one morning early, Kabebe got up (too many sniffles and snuffles around him to sleep?) and, standing by the door of his house, he saw the sun climbing up into the sky. It seemed to rise from a far-distant mountain (imagine the colours, imagine the sight).

‘I’d like to find that mountain,’ Kabebe said to himself. ‘I’d like to see where the sun rises from and I’d like watch as it goes into the sky.’

Without any ado, Kabebe set off. (Imagine the journey – a river with crocodiles in it? Another river with very strong currents? Night falling and the sound of hyenas?) By the time Kabebe reached the bottom of the mountain he’d been aiming to find, the day was over and night was falling. He settled down to try and sleep. (Noises he heard? The fears that he felt?)

As day was returning next morning, Kabebe woke and started climbing the mountain. But by the time he got to the top, the sun was already way up in the sky. (Disappointment?) Yet there on the top of the mountain, what do you think Kabebe saw? A golden palace! (Big? Glowing? I’ll leave the words to you.)  

P1010217And when Kabebe looked closely, he saw a door and on that door a knocker. (Brass? Shaped like a dolphin? Round and smooth?)  So Kabebe knocked and a woman opened.  ‘Hello,’ she said. ‘I’m Mrs Sun.’ (And just imagine how to describe Mrs Sun!) ‘I’m afraid my husband has already gone off to work. But you’re welcome to come in.’

So Kabebe went in the palace and saw around it and, later that day, Mr Sun came back. (Huffing? Puffing? Red-faced? Genial?) Mr Sun was very nice to  Kabebe and said that, with pleasure, he could stay the night and watch as Mr Sun went to work in the morning.

‘Come quick,’ said Mrs Sun next morning as she woke Kabebe out of his sleep. She rushed Kabebe into their bedroom (and if you can describe that sumptuous room, you’re doing better than me!).

There,  Kabebe watched as Mr Sun yawned and got ready and then suddenly jumped up through a wide open space in the ceiling.

‘See you later, Mrs Sun,’  Mr Sun called as he went. ‘And nice to meet you, Kabebe.’

But that wasn’t all.  (And you’ll surely like what happened next!) 

Sunset at UCHAfter Mr Sun had gone, Mrs Sun took Kabebe into her kitchen. It was filled with the smell of new-baking bread (know what I mean?) and going over to the oven,  Mrs Sun took out a fresh-baked loaf (mmm!) and brought it across to Kabebe. Then she told him to hold out his hands and close his eyes. 

When Kabebe did what Mrs Sun said, he felt the loaf being placed in his hands and at the same time he heard Mrs Sun say, ‘Now you can open your eyes.’ And when Kabebe did that, do you know where he was? (Time for audience responses if you haven’t had any already!)

He was back outside his own house and all his brothers and sisters and his mother and father were standing in the doorway waiting. ‘Where have you been, Kabebe?’ they asked. So Kabebe told them (good chance if you wish to skim back over the story) and when they went in, Kabebe said they could have the loaf he’d been given for breakfast. So Kabebe cut slices of bread for each person. But do you know what happened when he did that?

However many slices Kabebe cut, that loaf of sun-bread never got finished. Moreover, after Kabebe came back with that sun-bread, no-one in his family ever got ill again.

End of story

But isn’t it weird how stories compute? The story I’ve told you is an African story (good for a programme of African stories). It’s a story of an adventurous journey (good for stories of adventure or journeys). It involves the sun (provocative for talking about the planets, space and time). And it’s a story about having colds (good for this particular time of year).

Now all I need to do is go off to look for some sun-bread. So see you next week and meantime if, like Jean, you had trouble with the link I gave you last week, try typing it into your Google instead of clicking directly on it.

P.S. My first photo this week is a sunflower I was given during a brief visit home from the hospital treatment I had to receive for lymphoma back in 2010. The middle photo is the Sun-Cloth my friend and colleague Karen Tovell lent to me to bring cheer to my hospital room. And the bottom photo is the sunrise as seen one day from my hospital room on the 16th floor of UCH. All the photos feel special this week because yesterday, October 23rd, it was five years exactly since the last day of my treatment. It must have been the sun-bread that did it!


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6 Responses to “Storytelling Starters ~ In need of sunshine”

  1. Karen Tovell Says:

    Well, Mary, this brought a tear to my eye. How thankful we all are that your treatment worked five years ago and we have been blessed with your friendship, wisdom and great talent for many, many more years to come.

  2. Mary Medlicott Says:

    Dear Karen, Your good wishes and words mean so much to me.

  3. Liz Says:

    Hi Mary. I loved this story as it has so many places you can go with it. Strengthens and pushes your imagination as far as you want it to go.
    Eddie and me are so fortunate to have met you and become good friends. Thank goodness you have recovered from being so ill and that the treatment has worked .XXXXX

  4. Mary Medlicott Says:

    Dear Liz, What a lovely message for me to get. Thanks.

  5. Jean Says:

    Thank you Mary for all your stories and i enjoyed this one – sun bread – wonderful. I agree with all that Karen said – big hug Mary. Now off to make some cinnamon and raisin bread to cheer up a wet blustery day.

  6. Mary Medlicott Says:

    Dear Jean, Heartfelt thanks for your message. Hope the cinnamon and raisin bread turned out good.

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