Doing a nice project this week in schools around Emerald. First up was Emerald North State School with P - 4 students. It's been a good day telling and creating stories in the phys ed room. One of the pleasures was creating a new story based on one of the folk tales from China I told - 'Ming Li and the Tortoise'. In the story the tortoise had a special mark on its head so I thought a story about an animal that one would normally find in Emerald but had a special mark on it would be a good start for a story.
The students decided that a Bearded Dragon subject for the story and we began. Here's the story:-
The Emerald Dragons
Emerald is a nice place to live. There's plenty of work for parents and the children can play lots of sport. One day some children were kicking a football around at Emerald North School and one of the boys said, "Hey! Want to play a game that my Dad used to play when he went to school?"
"What's it called?"
"Force-em-back. You see there are two teams. One team kicks the ball to the other and if they catch it on the full they can advance 5 steps and kick it back but if they don't they have to kick it from where they stop it. Eventually one of the teams is forced right back to the fence and they lose."
Well that's what they did. The game was going fine until one of the kicks went so high it went right over the school fence. No one knows whether there was a sudden gust of wind or what but that ball flew over the neighbouring houses towards the river with the team in hot pursuit.
They saw it flying over the trees and thought, "Oh no someone is going to have to swim for it."
When they got to the river bank however, the ball wasn't floating on the water or anything. They could see it anywhere. All there was in sight was a bearded dragon sitting on a log.
One of the girls said, "That bearded dragon looks a bit strange. It's got marks on its back."
"Maybe the ball landed on it's back and left those marks. They look like the marks of a football."
"No," said the girl, "The marks are on the inside. Hey I think the football has turned into a bearded dragon."
"Ha, ha! Don't be silly. How can a football be turned into a bearded dragon?"
"Yeh. I know but let's pretend. We'll take it back and pretend it's the football. Should be a laugh."
Well that's what they did. They picked up the bearded dragon and took it back to the school fence and said, "Sorry it took so long but the ball turned into a bearded dragon and we'll have to kick it instead."
They held it up and pretended to kick it but the bearded dragon flew from their grasp went sailing up into the air and down towards the other team.
'Catch it! Catch it!"
As the bearded dragon bounced the whole team dived on it and grabbed hold but they could not stop the dragon it flew up into the air with the students holding on. Higher and higher it went and they all went flying up and over towards the river.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Call the Principal! Call the teachers! Help!"
The other students ran into the office and called out "Emergency! Emergency! The kids have disappeared! "
Admin dialed 000 and it wasn't long before there was police, ambulance and fire brigade in attendance. Every headed down towards the river and started searching for the missing students. They couldn't find them any where. Once the police and fire brigade had gone home however, the students saw 10 little bearded dragons sitting on a log. They took them back to the school and fed them all their favourite foods - pies, sausage rolls, chocolate and ice cream - and eventually they started to grow slowly back into children again. Do you know what though, every single one of them had long skinny finger nails and marks on their backs like football laces.
It's not surprising, I suppose, that no one plays 'Force-em-back' at Emerald North School these days. They do take special care of bearded dragons though.
Here's where it all happened -
View Larger Map
(Story created by Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller and students from year 1b/2a at Emerald North School, following a Chinese folktale about a magic tortoise with a special mark on its head.)