Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Jump to it!

Each day in my email Inbox there arrives a posting from Wordsmith. This is an excellent web-site for anyone with a relish for words. Each week Wordsmith takes a different theme for the daily words that are chosen. This week’s were all related to creatures. One of the creatures was flea and the associated word was ‘puce’.


Puce is the word for a colour – that brownish dark-red hue – and evidently it derives from the French word for flea (puce) which in turn derives from the Latin word (pulex). Wordsmith points out the term, flea market, also derives from the French. It also reveals the fascinating fact that the word ukulele comes from the Hawaian language where it literally means leaping flea, no doubt because of the rapid motion of fingers playing on it.

Seeing all this about fleas – it’s the storyteller’s habit! – I was immediately reminded of a story. The Flea’s Adventure is ideal for telling to children, maybe at the end of a day when you’re all idling around and there’s a need for distraction. Pick up a sheet of paper and a pencil and off you go. The story is one that takes a pencil for a journey. As your listener(s) will see by the end – for some will surely have guessed by then – the story of the journey creates a cat. And, as all of us cat-lovers know, that’s very appropriate considering where fleas love to live.


Please note: the story coming up can be varied, shortened, lengthened, embellished and you can choose your starting-point. For instance, you could leave aside drawing in the details of the park (or whatever else you decide it is) until the very end if you wish. Most notably, you might be able to make a much better drawing than me. But the point is not the excellence of the drawing. If you’re rubbish at drawing it doesn’t matter. The point is simply to have some fun and keep the child or children guessing. Best, though, to have a quick practice on the back of an envelope before you do the story for real. I’ve included arrows to show the direction you might choose to go in but I forgot to include my usual starting point – at the top of the middle of the cat’s body.

Cat 2The Flea’s Adventure:

Once there was a flea who lived near a park. In the park were two beautiful lakes (draw the cat’s eyes) and near the lakes was a little hill (cat’s nose). At the bottom of the hill was a little pond (cat’s mouth) and beside the pond were long grasses (cat’s whiskers) and below it was a bench where old people could sit (cat’s mouth – and instead of a bench it could be a children’s paddling pool).

One day Flea said, ‘I’m going on an adventure.’ He didn’t go into the park. Instead, he looked around and saw a long, curvy road going down a hill. That’s where he decided to go. He jumped, he ran, he went very fast until – what was this? – he saw a sharp turn to the left and a long straight path sticking out over the sea. He went right to the path’s end, turned round and came back. ‘Hm, I liked it there,’ Flea said to himself. ‘I think I’ll come back another day.’

Next Flea saw a long curvy road going up a long smooth hill. Up he went till he came to the top. But at the top of that road, he saw another. So up he went, getting slower and slower because he was a bit tired. And at the top of that road was a funny little peaky hill.

Flea ran up the funny little peaky hill, jumped down and then saw another exactly the same. Up he went, down he jumped. And by now he really was tired. ‘I think I’ll go home,’ Flea said to himself. So he rolled down the hill until he came to the place where he’d started.

‘I know,’ said Flea. ‘I’ll go into the park to have a rest.’ So he did. He went in the park and that’s where he saw the bench (or the swings), the pond (or the paddling pool), the long wavy reeds and the hill and, on each side of the hill, a beautiful lake.

That’s what Flea saw. And what can you see?


Next week, something else for the summer. Meantime, can I ask you a favour? Please will you help me widen the readership for my Blog by passing on the link to friends?


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