Whipping up a yarn

Deepa Kiran

There may be children who don’t like to sing, others who don’t like to dance, but it is highly unlikely to find children who don’t like to listen to a story. I have found that even those rare ones who say they don’t like to listen to a story, end up getting involved and enjoy the story once it starts. This is because storytelling is about ‘creating’. It is about creating an interesting work of art in one’s own mind, with one’s own mind. It gives us the same joy and satisfaction as we get from engaging in our favourite hobby.

The storyteller triggers the listener’s imagination and with the help of the story she channelizes the ‘day dreaming/inherent imaginative’ possibilities of the child. Even a shy child feels a total sense of participation without going through the discomfort of having to ‘perform’ her art or ‘show’ her art work in front of the class.

story-tellying Story
On the branch of a lush green mango tree in a beautiful jungle, there lived two crows. Their names were Nippu and Burra. They would go out in search of food together. ‘Caw caw’ their voices would pierce through the jungle. When they found the food, they would eat to their heart’s content.

Nippu was happy and cheerful all the time while Burra was a grumpy-faced crow and always jealous of his friend. One day Burra said, “Nippu we need to have a competition to decide which of us is stronger.” Nippu was not interested in competing with his friend. But Burra insisted and finally Nippu agreed.

Each of them was to fly up in the sky with a bag full of salt hanging from his beak. Whoever could fly higher would be the winner! So Burra put the salt into two cloth bags. ‘Wushik wushik wushik’, the salt was thrown into the bags. But just before they started to fly up, Burra changed his bag secretly. Nippu noticed that when they started to fly, Burra’s bag did not have salt but instead it was filled with cotton. Nippu felt sad.

‘Oh! This is cheating’ thought Nippu, but Burra had soared high up into the sky by then with his light weight cotton bag. Meanwhile, Nippu struggled to fly with his salt bag. He felt very sad but he kept trying and flying anyway. At that moment something strange happened. Suddenly it began to rain. The rain washed away the salt from the porus cloth bag and Nippu’s bag became light. And the same rain soaked the cotton in Burra’s bag and it became heavy!

Nippu happily flew up into the sky and won the competition. Burra, in spite of cheating, lost!

“Caw Caw,” Nippu landed happily as the winner.

Activity: what and why?
Ask
Did you enjoy this story? What did you enjoy in the story? What did you like the most in the story?

These are questions that the teacher needs to ask. Children become so involved in the story that they will be very excited to share their feelings and opinions about it. They have listened to the story with such concentration that it has become their experience now. Psychology tells us that the mind cannot differentiate between a real and imagined experience. This means that even though the story is not ‘real’, the emotions and responses of the child are ‘real’.

The author is a storyteller, educationist, writer and voice-over artist. She holds storytelling performances with music and dance woven in. She conducts training workshops for teachers on the art of storytelling and using it in the classroom. She is also the founder of Story Arts India (www.storyartsindia.com), an organization that offers storytelling shows and training programs for children, teachers, parents and all storytelling enthusiasts. She can be reached at over2deepakiran@gmail.com. You can also visit her facebook page storyartsindiaofficial or view her storytelling videos on YouTube.

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