Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters – Tale For Today

First, thanks to all you lovely people who have voted for me to get the Lifetime Achievement Award which will be given out later today, September 29th,  in the BASE Awards ceremony in York. Lots of people have written to tell me they voted for me and I feel extremely touched. Whether I get the award or not feels quite unimportant compared with that kind of support.

Secondly, I’m glad to report that I did stop dithering about what my next series will be. Come back to next week’s Blog to see.

Thirdly, I just can’t resist two excellent items for telling that I came across this week. One is a loveable limerick that I’d written down in my Storytelling Journal back in the year 2000. The other – like my hay bales picture – has to do with harvests.

The Loveable Limerick:

Little Miss Myrtle sat on a turtle
Thinking it was a chair.
‘Ow-ee!’ said the turtle
‘I’m sorry,’ said Myrtle.
‘But I didn’t know you were there.’

By the way, my Storytelling Journal is an invaluable resource. Looking back at what I wrote in the year 2000 makes it obvious that someone who attended one of my storytelling workshops had told me that loveable limerick. Yet when I came across it all this time later, I had not a single recollection of it. Odd since I must have written it down because I was thinking it would be ideal for storing in that mental file of stuff that can come in amazingly handy on some entirely unexpected occasion.  I still think so! All I’ve got to do now is not only remember it but remember that I know it.

My second item fits into the category of stories for Autumn which is one of the things I was dithering over last week. It’s a traditional tale, here retold by me, and I think it’s ideal for young children. As to why I’d forgotten all about this too, I have no idea. I’m glad to have come across it again. It was in a neglected folder labelled Seasonal Tales that was languishing in my filing cabinet.

How Little Red Hen Got a Loaf of Bread

One day Little Red Hen was out in the farmyard scratching around for food when she came across a grain of wheat.
Little Red Hen said, ‘This grain of wheat should be planted. Who is going to do it?’

‘Not me,’ said the Cat.
‘Not me,’ said the Dog.
‘Not me,’ said the Farmyard Donkey.
‘Then I will do it,’ said Little Red Hen.

And she did it right away. Soon it grew to be golden and tall and Little Red Hen said, ‘This wheat is ripe. Who is going to cut it?’

‘Not me,’ said the Cat.
‘Not me,’ said the Dog.
‘Not me,’ said the Farmyard Donkey.
‘Then I will do it,’ said Little Red Hen.

And she did it right away. Soon it lay in a big golden heap and Little Red Hen said, ‘This wheat is ready for threshing so that the grain can be used. Who is going to do it?’

‘Not me,’ said the Cat.
‘Not me,’ said the Dog.
‘Not me,’ said the Farmyard Donkey.
‘Then I will do it,’ said Little Red Hen.

And she did it right away, cutting the stalks away from the grain. Soon the work was finished and Little Red Hen said, ‘This grain is ready to go to the mill. Who is going to take it?’

‘Not me,’ said the Cat.
‘Not me,’ said the Dog.
‘Not me,’ said the Farmyard Donkey.
‘Then I will do it,’ said Little Red Hen.

And she did it right away. She took it to the mill and asked the miller to grind it so it turned into flour. Soon he’d finished and Little Red Hen said, ‘Who is going to make this flour into bread?’

‘Not me,’ said the Cat.
‘Not me,’ said the Dog.
‘Not me,’ said the Farmyard Donkey.
‘Then I will do it,’ said Little Red Hen.

And she did it right away. When she’d made the dough, she baked it. Soon it was cooked until it was just right and Little Red Hen looked at her new loaf and said, ‘Who is going to eat this bread?’

‘I will,’ said the Cat.
‘I will,’ said the Dog.
‘I will,’ said the Farmyard Donkey.
Little Red Hen said, ‘No you won’t. I am going to eat this bread.’

And she did it right away. Yum! Yum!

The End.

Hint for Telling:

Cumulative tales like the above need to be told with careful attention to the patterns of words. You can rephrase the story – but only as long as you keep to your new pattern. Following the pattern, children memorise the story and become ready to join in. Such a story is worth repeating again and again over a period of time. This one is especially valuable in a world where the majority of children probably have no idea where bread comes from. 

 

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