Had a great time out at Anakie School today. It's a small bush school servicing the small towns of the Gem Fields area. The atmosphere is really positive and the students are friendly and creative. They were getting ready to participate in the Gemfest happening there this week. The year 6/7's had made a Chinese Dragon for a dragon dance and I was able to help them a bit with their drumming.
Dragons and gems and mining were really popular topics for the stories we improvised including this one below created with the Prep, Yr 1 and 2 students.
The Sleeping Dragline.
Now every knows that around the town of Emerald in Central Queensland there are lots of coal mines. Underneath the earth there is so much black coal that the miners dig it up with huge machines called draglines and load the coal onto trains to take to the ships waiting to take it to China and Japan.
One morning three children were sitting at home eating their breakfast and watching their Dad pack some lunch to take to work at the coal mine.
"Are you going to dig up lots of coal today Dad?" asked one.
"No. I don't think so. We've got to repair the dragline. It's not working. I think it's gone to sleep."
"Maybe if you say the right magic words it'll wake up," said the girl.
"Maybe it's like Sleeping Beauty and you have to give it a kiss on it's mouth and then it'll wake up," said one of the boys.
"Well maybe I'll have to do one of those if we can't get it started," said their father, "Now don't forget to clean your teeth before you go to school. I'll see you after work."
Their father jumped into his four wheel drive ute and drove off to work at the mine as the children got ready for school. He drove out of town, through the bush and into the coal mine. He parked his ute in the carpark, put on his safety helmet, picked up his tool kit and joined the work crew in front of the huge dragline down in the open cut mine.
"Look at it," said one of the miners, "You great, ugly, expensive bit of machinery get to work, you lazy machine!"
He turned the key in the switch to start up the dragline but it just lay there like it was sleeping.
"My boy said I should try giving it a kiss and then it might wake up like sleeping beauty."
"Oh yuck, I'd rather try magic words. Abracadbra, Abracadabra, Abracadabra. Wake up, Wake up, Wake up - aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!"
No knew whether it was the magic words or the scream but the dragline woke up and began to move. The huge scoop opened and closed and began to swoop down towards the men.
"Watch out. That scoop is coming for us!"
The men started to run but they weren't quick enough, the scoop had turned into a giant claw and had grabbed them. The big treads had turned into legs and out of the body of the drag line had sprouted wings. The drag line had turned into a dragon.
It leapt out of the coal mine and flew off with the men, roaring as it went.
Back in Anakie, the children were lined up at the school parade listening to the Principal telling them all about the GemFest that was happening that week. They heard a roar and looked up into the sky and saw the dragon flying towards the school.
Bigger and bigger it got as it flew closer. "Look at that!" Every student and every teacher looked up into the sky. They saw the huge wings beating the sky with sound of drums, the long tail swishing from side to side, the enormous mouth with its cruel curved teeth and its sharp claws holding ....... holding ............ five struggling coal miners. "Help! Help!"
"Hey! That's Dad! That dragons got our Dad!"
"What are we going to do?"
"It's probably flying towards the old volcano. If it gets up there we'll never find them."
"We'll have to lassoo it as it goes past. Anyone got a rope."
"What about the tug-of-war rope? It's with the phys-ed gear."
Five students ran and got the rope. One climbed up the gum tree with the rope and dropped the end down by the tuck shop. They tied a big knot and then stood in the front yard of the school near the gate.
They started to sing out - "Ha, ha Dragon. Ha, ha Dragon.You can't catch us. You can't catch us!"
The dragon looked down and saw the children. He roared a roar so loud the children's teeth shook and their hats blew off in the blast of the dragons foul breath.
"He's coming! Get ready to duck!"
The dragon flew down towards them with his spare claws stretched out to grab them, his eyes glowing red like burning rubies. His head and neck flew through the loop of the rope but his wings and body were too big.
The rope snapped tight around the dragon's wings and he crashed to the ground. The coal miners rolled out of the dragon's huge bucket claw and ran under the school with the children.
The dragon opened his mouth and the flames burnt the rope. He beat his wings and leapt into the sky again. The children watched him flying towards the old volcano.
"Hey Dad. You woke up the Dragon .... I mean the Drag-line."
'Yeh, kids. Thanks for that. We owe you one."
No one really knows what the dragon did at the old volcano although there have been reports about it terrorising students and tourists who visit there. Just ask ask the Year 6/7 students at Anakie about their excursion. Some people say though that the dragon flies back to the mine every morning to dig in the coal. We found this photo of a dragline blowing smoke at Ensham mine
(This story was created by Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller and the Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 students at Anakie State School - 12th August 2008. Photo courtesy of Ensham mines and www.gtp.com.au)