Archive | 1:59 pm

A Home-spun Yarn

8 Aug

My niece came to visit the other day. A feisty 4-going-on-14, she bounced on my chaise lounge and dimpled up at me, demanding a story. Looking around for inspiration, my eye fell on these little fellas who hang off a corner lamp.

Clockwise, from top: Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, Englishman

And, with her participation, a story took shape. The concept is simple, so with language modifications, this can work well for 2- to 5-year-olds. I hope your children (even the one that lives inside you) enjoy it.

***

This is a story of five friends, elephants all, named Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum and Englishman. One day, Englishman hosted a garden tea party for his friends. It was a beautiful , sunny day and the flowers were in full bloom. As they were all eating cucumber sandwiches and blowing bubbles into their lemonade, Englishman’s Papasan came stomping onto the vast lawns. Englishman started to tremble, because he had done something very naughty earlier in the day and knew Papasan had found out.

“I’ll just be back,” he said in a small voice to his friends and looked around for somewhere to hide. The ground rumbled as Papasan thumped his way over to the little group sitting on their stools, doing full justice to Cook’s jam tarts. His generous figure loomed closer and closer, and Englishman realized it was too late to run! In a flash, he took the lid off the teapot, dived in, and slid the cover in place just as his father’s booming voice shook the table. In the teapot he stayed, breathing through the hole in the spout, all the while that Papasan was looking for him. When he finally clambered out, Papasan was long gone and his friends had run off to the play area for a game of tag.

“Here I am!” he announced, catching up with Fee, Fi, Fo and Fum, and ready to join in. “Why is the rock talking?” asked his puzzled friends, and ignored him, as he stood in the rockery, camouflaged by a thick brown coat of tea water on his hide.  Englishman scampered after them. “Here I am!” he tried again, waving his hands and wiggling his amply belly at them. “Did that tree say something?” his friends asked, as they stopped playing Pin the Tail for a brief moment.  Quickly moving on to a game of Ele-ballet, they ignored the voice, leaving Englishman bewildered and wondering what to do.

“I know!” he said to himself, and climbed up the play structure to the tree house, decorated in earth colors and natural wood tones. “Here I am!” he shouted down at them, certain they’d look up and spot him. “A talking tree house?” they shrugged, now used to voices emerging from things, and unperturbed, Fee, Fi, Fo and Fum continued to play.

This is getting absurd, thought Englishman, who stood alone and sad in the doorway of the tree house, watching his friends play and missing being part of all the fun. He hung his head dejectedly, and lowered his eyes to the ground, but they fell on something else instead. A slow smile split Englishman’s face and he considered the object of his attention. The tree house was built over a frog pond, and, clutching his trunk tightly shut, Englishman made his second dive of the day.

Splash! And he was in. The sound made his friends turn around, and they saw Englishman, now rinsed of the tea and his natural red again, climbing out of the pond, a family of frogs looking on in alarm.  “There you are,” they cried in unison, and tumbled over to him. “We were wondering where you’d disappeared to!” Englishman only smiled, shook himself dry, and joined Fee, Fi, Fo and Fum at their grass-stamping game, glad to be nothing but himself again.

Now do you understand why Mammas and Daddies say tea isn’t good for children?

Advertisements