Haunted woods, enchanted frogs
and a flapping owl
visiting Highland Schools, 2016, part 2
There was one dead lamb rotting behind a wall,
And two crows sitting on a branch watching,
Three children leaning over the wall.
But four stumps waited for bottoms to sit on them
And five tall trees guarded the playground
Where six children ran across the ground
To the seven stumps in front of the
One grandfather tree.
Eight steps would take them over the wall,
Nine steps would take them to the middle of the field
And with ten jumps they would be up in the sky flying like the crows….
("counting a story" ideas from Mulbuie)
We grew stories. In school playgrounds (Mulbuie), with piles of odd bits of stuff, with wooden bowls and golden goblets (Tarradale) and an enchanted pink frog princess (looking always for her prince, when she found him they would kiss. And he would become a frog too!)
We recognised that stories can grow out of anything and everything so at Mulbuie we heard the story of the Green Leaf Children who live in the tallest trees and come down to the ground in the night to play football with their friends, the Twig Children. They play their games with little balls of scrunched up paper which is the only trace we might find the next day, blown by the wind across the playground when we come to school….
And at Invergarry, my stories inspired new ones and Vikings took shape, and a Highland Cow and a Loch Ness Monster, a cat, and some stranger creatures. Shadows shaped up too and by the end of the day we heard stories of the lost girl, we met the hedgehog and the tortoise, a brave samurai, a dragon and an owl who could flap her wings in surprise….
A week of delights – at least for me! – and there will be more in September. I have perhaps one day still available for a Highland school if anyone is interested (follow the link for more information)
With many thanks to the staff, storytellers, artists and enthusiasts of