One of the suggestions for Literature study was to have your child write a classic story on their own. At age five (or so) Alex may not have enjoyed such an undertaking.. he is not one of those natural story tellers.. you know, those children who are always imagining alter realities or pretending fancies and sharing them with all who take an interest? (I just love conversing with such a gifted children!) And I am not sure if I could have relayed to him "what exactly IS a classic?" when I am not sure how to define it myself. I know what I like, and I can ramble off numerous titles of classic books... but explaining that? ummm?
Since I am adapting Volume One for Alex's so very advanced age of 9.. (a little sarcasm) I decided this was a challenge worth taking. I am still not sure I explained "what exactly IS a classic" even now. I told him like this... "a classic story would still be enjoyed by Karter when he is older.. no, wait.. by Karter's children!" (Karter is his 2 year old nephew, by the way) And Alex promptly said, "So, I need to write about the future!?" Umm. No, not exactly. Ummm. "Well, like Ping for example... this story had China the way it used to be years ago.. everyone in traditional clothing and so forth... yet, the story was still interesting to us.. taught us lessons, made us think and get to know Ping". So Alex asked "Mom, can I just write a fairy tale?" and I replied "sure".
So, I sat down to be his secretary as he dictated. He put a lot of thought into the story.. he had a beginning, middle and end in his mind almost from the start. Often he would say.. "Okay, Mom, read what I have so far". Then he would explain his next 'chapter'. I helped him with deciding to repeat some elements, namely.. the names! (since we learned about repetition in Ping) and when, at the start, he told about "the big, nasty dragon" I encouraged him to come up with two adjectives for every 'player' or object in the story (more repetition). We have agreed to disagree that lovely and beautiful are not (are) too similar. Then, I encouraged to not only give adjectives referring to physical appearance when describing the girls of the story.. what about their personality? Lovely was then chunked. When I suggested handsome for the king.. after he had chosen generous, he said "but I was imaging the king as an old guy?" so I guess Alex doesn't think old guys can still be handsome.
Then, when he was trying to come up with names for the characters (he had such a blast naming the places.. Awoi is Iowa backwards, Brimax was just somewhere in his head, and Sasnakra is Arkansas backwards) I suggested we use the second descriptive adjective AS their ACTUAL names. After all, it is a fairy tale! I also encouraged him end it swiftly when he was about to add another whole adventure, and he was tired! Alex specifically didn't want the story to end just 'happily ever after'.. that was too girly. I added the witch's laugh.. I just got so INTO this story! When you read it you MUST think of a witch's conniving laugh! When I asked if we should take it out, Alex said he likes it and the laugh is staying in...
Yes, I helped him.. but isn't that what we are for? to guide? I can truly say, the finished product is at least 80% all Alex. I am very proud to share with you... Alex's first fairy tale!
Once Upon A Time….
There was a big Nasty Dragon that lived in the land of Awoi. This Dragon stole away the fair and Wise Queen. The fatherly and Generous King of Awoi wanted the Wise Queen returned, and the Nasty Dragon punished.
There lived a bold and Fearless Knight in the far away Land of Brimax. The King of Awoi offered Fearless Knight his strong Mighty Castle in exchange for capturing the big Nasty Dragon.
However, Fearless Knight had no need of Mighty Castle. He had need of a beautiful, truehearted wife. The King of Awoi said “Only if you, Sir Fearless, bring me the head of the big Nasty Dragon… and return my fair Wise Queen, will I give you my beautiful daughter Trueheart, Princess of Awoi.
The bold Sir Fearless set out toward the far east in search of the Dragon’s Lair. He traveled through the dark, lonely Forest of Sasrakna in the Land of Awoi. Sir Fearless met a sneaky Old Witch, disguised as a farmer’s wife.
Old Witch asks the bold Knight “What is a bold and fearless Knight like yourself doing in a lonely forest? You should be swooning over a fair maiden.” Fearless Knight replied “I am in search of the Dragon’s Lair. Will you assist me?”
The sneaky Old Witch thought to herself, “If I help this Knight find the Dragon’s Lair, the Nasty Dragon will surely die! And his treasure will be mine for the taking! Hee hee hee! And with my powerful sleeping potion, this bold Knight will have a long dream filled sleep... Hee hee hee!”
Old Witch guided Sir Fearless to the hidden Dragon’s Lair. Fearless Knight heard the sound of Nasty’s snoring slumber. The bold Knight rushed to face the Dragon. He was ready for fierce battle with his shield and sword.
The surprised, sleepy Dragon jumped up with both blurry eyes centered on the bold Knight’s heart. The big Nasty Dragon roared! Shooting Dragon breath fire from his mouth, covering the bold Fearless Knight with flames!
The bold Knight ran through the flames and leaped into the air. His sword sliced through Nasty Dragon’s scaly neck. The doomed Dragon dropped to the ground. The bold Knight, Sir Fearless, was the Victor.
The sneaky Old Witch entered the Dragon’s Lair when the battle sounds were over. Old Witch said “Knight! You must be parched from the heat of the flames; here is some cool drink to quench your thirst.” Fearless Knight replied, “Thank-you, dear woman!”
He picked up the offered goblet and threw it up in the air, and seized the sneaky Old Witch with an iron-clad grip. The bold Fearless Knight knew all along the hidden scheme of the old farmer’s wife.
Fearless Knight said “You led me to the Dragon’s Lair. Now lead me to the Wise Queen of Awoi, Old Witch! And you will have your freedom and the Dragon’s treasure, for I have no need of them.” The sneaky Old Witch was not really a wicked witch, just a greedy witch. The bargain of Fearless Knight was pleasing to her Old Witch ears.
The bold Sir Fearless rescued the fair Wise Queen and captured the head of the big Nasty Dragon. He returned to the strong Mighty Castle of Generous, King of Awoi, and was granted the hand of the beautiful Princess Trueheart.
And they lived happily ever after… and so did the sneaky Old Witch.