Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Animal Reform Meeting

The Animals Reform Meetin'

Long time gone, there was a big gatherin' of animals and fowls and birds that got together to talk about everybody behaving better.
Instead of talkin' about how to improve things, everyone started talkin' about how other folks were doin' bad things.

Brer Hyena complained that Brer Buzzard was always gettin' to eat first.
Then Brer Wildcat complained that the mice and rats were right troublesome.
Though everyone knew how much he liked to eat mice and rats.
Then Brer Tiger up and started moanin' about how troublesome rabbits were.

Now right then, Old Brer 'Coon just couldn't stand all the fussin' and he called the meetin' to order.
"Friends" he said, " we all have got to do a lot better or we're goin' to end up bein' in a really bad way. What do y'all think about us tryin' to reform ourselves?"

Brer Tiger jumped right up and hollered "I'm all for reform."
"I seen Brer 'Coon stealin' corn almost every night and it has to stop!"

Well then, Sis Cow chimed in with, " I'm for reform too. I want y'all to know that Brer Tiger has got the blood of my young'uns in his mouth, and it's got to stop!"
Brer Elephant stepped in to say his bit, "Look who's talkin'! Sis Cow is eatin' up all the grass and leavin' none for us Elephants."
Brer Wolf shouted, "Men are goin' around usin' knives and guns! It just ain't safe no more to go after'em."

Now at that point, Old Brer 'Coon tried to call the meetin' to order again."Look y'all, we gotta start gettin' less complaints and get more reform! Now who's got somethin' positive to suggest?"

Well, Brer Deer jumped on up and said that all the animals had to stop eatin' meat.
Brer Wolf said "No that don't make no sense, what we need is for all the animals to stop eatin' grass."
Sis Chicken started cacklin' and said" No, no, no! Y'all have all missed the point. What we need is to kill all the snakes."
To which Brer Fox shouted, "Hey, I rent my cave to the snakes! What we have to do is kill all the worms."
Now y'all know the birds didn't like that! They figured they would starve if all the worms were killed.

And so the arguin' continued.
Every animal tryin' to keep what was good for him and get rid of what his neighbor wanted.

At long last, Old Brer 'Coon stood up and said "That's enough! What we need to know is if any of you folks are willin' to agree to give up somethin' you like for yourself. If ya are then say so, now."

He waited. But nobody said a word. They just sat there so quiet that ya could have heard a tater growin'.
"This is sure 'nough a sad and sinful world we are livin' in," said Brer 'Coon. "Everybody is just findin' fault with everybody else. I say, it's time to quit this meetin' and go back to your own homes."
Old Brer 'Coon shook his head and said, "You can begin charity next door. But if you want to reform, it's got to begin at home."

And that's all I have to say about that!!

An AfricanAmerican/Southern Tale retold by LLL,Storyteller

Love, Laughter, Peace and Blessings!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Enjoy What You Have Now


A Jataka Tale

Once upon a time the king of a large and rich country gathered together his army to take a faraway little country. The king and his soldiers marched all morning long and then went into camp in the forest.

When they fed the horses they gave them some peas to eat. One of the Monkeys living in the forest saw the peas and jumped down to get some of them. He filled his mouth and hands with them, and up into the tree he went again, and sat down to eat the peas.

As he sat there eating the peas, one pea fell from his hand to the ground. At once the greedy Monkey dropped all the peas he had in his hands, and ran down to hunt for the lost pea. But he could not find that one pea. He climbed up into his tree again, and sat still looking very glum.
"To get more, I threw away what I had," he said to himself.

The king had watched the Monkey, and he said to himself: "I will not be like this foolish Monkey, who lost much to gain a little. I will goback to my own country and enjoy what I now have."

So he and his men marched back home.

Love, Laughter, Peace and Blessings!

Monday, January 14, 2008

"Oh My, No More Pie!"

Another great echo/songtale!

This is a traditional song. I am not totally sure of it's origins. I have seen it listed as an African American song but it may just be a southern traditional song.
This song or chant is also good for teaching steady beat. The beat can be pat out on your legs or tapped out on a drum.
No More Pie

(each line is echoed by children)
Oh, my!
No more pie.
Pie's too sweet.
I wanna piece of meat.
Meat's too red.
I wanna piece of bread.
Bread's too brown.
I think I'll go to town.
Town's too far.
I think I'll take the car.
Car won't go.
I fell and stubbed my toe.
Toe gives me pain.
I think I'll take the train.
Train had a wreck.
I fell and hurt my neck.
Oh, my!
No more pie.

Oh, my!
No more pie.

The last two lines a said just a little slower. As if a train were come to the end of the line.
This is a great song to use for thinking up rhymes or just new actions for the song.
Oh, no. (oh, no)
Too much snow. (too much snow)

or you can use the kid's names

Hello Paul (hello Paul)
Let's walk down the hall. (let's walk down the hall)

Unfortunately, all names are not this simple to rhyme but it can be fun to make up silly words.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ragtime Cowboy Joe

Here is another great songtale, lots of fun for the children to act out and to even add their own verses later. The lyrics are by Lewis F. Muir and Maurice Abrahams. The music was written by Grant Clarke. The copyrights for the song are unknown.

Ragtime Cowboy Joe

(I use a kind of rhythmic chant for this first verse)

Out in Arizona

Where the bad men are,

And the only friend to guide you

Is an evening star,

The roughest, toughest man by far

Is Ragtime Cowboy Joe.

Got his name from singing

To the cows and sheep

Every night they say

He sings the herd to sleep

In a basso rich and deep,

Crooning soft and low.

How he sings,

Raggy music to his cattle

As he swings

Back and forward in his saddle

On his horse

(A pretty good horse),

Who is syncopated gaited,

And with such a funny meter

To the roar of his repeater.

How they run,

When they hear the feller's gun,

Because the western folks all know:

He's a hifalootin', scootin', shootin'

Son-of-a-gun from Arizona,

Ragtime Cowboy

(Talk about your cowboy),

Ragtime Cowboy Joe.

There is a second verse but I rarely use it.You can find many versions of the tune for this song.

I tend to sing it slower than some I've heard, so that the kids can get it.

Here's one place to hear the tune:

Oh! Susanna

Stephen Foster wrote the original lyrics for this song in 1847.
When it was introduced by the famous Christy Minstrels in 1848, it became an instant hit.

This is a wonderful songtale. I have the kids act it out after they have learned it or they act it out as I sing. Sometimes we use puppets, sometimes we put it on as a musical.

Oh! Susanna

I come from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee
I'm going to Louisiana,
My true love for to see

It rained all night
The day I left
The weather it was dry
The sun so hot,
I froze to death
Susanna, don't you cry

Oh, Susanna,
Oh don't you cry for me
For I come from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee

I had a dream the other night
When everything was still
I thought I saw Susanna
A-coming down the hill

The buckwheat cake
Was in her mouth
A tear was in her eye
Says I, I'm coming from the south
Susanna, don't you cry

Oh, Susanna,
Oh don't you cry for me
For I come from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee

This also became the theme song for the 49ers who headed west for the goldmines of California. The version that the 49ers sang was called "Oh California". I have seen several versions of this song each with minor changes.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Monk and the Samurai

A Zen tale

There was once a samurai warrior who had a question that had been bothering him for some time.
He finally decided to travel to the home of an old monk.
Upon arriving, the samurai pushed through the door and without so much as a hello, shouted, "You must tell me. What is the difference between heaven and hell?"
The monk, who had not moved from his seated position on the floor, closed his eyes in thought for a moment. He then lifted his head and looked at the samurai.
"Ha!" he said. "Do you think yourself a samurai? Why, are barely more than a boy much less a great samurai warrior!"
The samurai was stunned. Too angry to speak, his hand reflexively reached for his sword.
"So, you have a sword" said the old monk, scathingly. " I doubt a boy in your condition could do much harm to anyone."
By now, the samurai was beside himself with rage. He pulled his sword from it's sheath and with both hands lifted it over his head.
His eyes and his mind were full of anger as he prepared to cut off the old monks head.
At that moment, the old monk looked into the samurai's eyes and said "There lies the path to hell."
Hearing these words, the samurai realized the the risk the monk had taken in order to teach him a lesson. He sheathed his sword and bowed to the old monk.
"And there" said the monk "lies the path to heaven."

retold by LLL,Storysinger/Storyteller

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Moose: a Songtale

A Storytelling song or a Songtale
I learned this song at Camp Togowoods in Wasilla, Alaska which is not very far from Anchorage.
This is an echo song.
First you, the leader sings, then the children repeat, echo, your words and movements.
Hmm... I will have to add the movements later**smile**.

The Moose

There was a great big moose. (echo)
He liked to drink a lot of juice. (echo)
There was a great big moose. (echo)
He liked to drink a lot of juice. (echo)

Chorus (each line is also echoed):
Say waaaaay-Oh
Way-oh, way-oh, way-oh, way-oh
Way-oh, way-oh
Way-oh, way-oh, way-oh, way-oh

The moose's name was Fred. (echo)
He liked to drink his juice in bed. (echo)
The moose's name was Fred. (echo)
He liked to drink his juice in bed. (echo)


He drank his juice with care. (echo)
But he spilled some on his hair. (echo)
He drank his juice with care. (echo)
But he spilled some on his hair. (echo)


Now he’s a sticky moose (echo)
Full of juice (echo)
On the looooooooooooooose (echo)


This song can be found with different verses all over the net. It is song by scouts and at other children's camps.

This is an "okay" version of the song although there are missing verses and the tune and movements are a little different. But you'll get the idea.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Three Princes Who Were Blockheads

The 3 Princes who were Blockheads

A Folktale from India retold by La

Once there was a wise king who had three sons, but they were………hmmm, well there is no nice way to say it, all three of his sons were Blockheads.
Not only did they know nothing (really I mean absolutely nothing), but if anyone
tried to teach them anything they closed their ears and their minds and sat looking
as dumb as, well as dumb as chucks of wood.

The king was in total despair.
Finally, at his wits end he called all of his counselors together,
and told them how worried he was about his sons.
"What can I do?" he cried.

The counselors began giving him all of the same old well used suggestions,more tutors etc.,
"No, no, no!", the king cried. "I have tried all of those things before!"
At long last, one of the counselors asked, "Why not trust them to Vishnusharma, the sage? It is said that he is so full of wisdom that he can make even the greatest truths clear to the mind of a child."

The king thought this a marvelous idea and summoned the sage from his hermitage.
When Vishnusharma arrived the king said, " I beg you, O Vishnusharma, waken the
minds of my three sons.
If you can do this and I will reward you with tracts of land."

Vishnusharma replied, "I have no need for land, but in six months time I will waken the sleeping mind of the three princes."
On hearing these words, the kings heart lightened.
And so the sage was given a small home in the corner of the palace garden.

The three blockhead princes had no idea who the old man living in the garden was.
In spite of themselves, they became curious about him.
And as no one would tell them about him, they spent a great deal of their time watching him.

Eventually the youngest prince asked the sage if there were lions and tigers where he came from.
The sage replied that there were, and quite naturally began to tell them a story about a lion.

Now it happened that above all else the three princes loved to be entertained.
When the old man, began telling his story the three sat with their ears and their minds open,
never suspecting that they were being taught anything by a story.

The first story ended in such a way that it led into another story, and the princes eagerly asked "What happened next?"
And so Vishnusharma told the second story, and the princes listened to him for the rest of the day.
When night fell, they made him promise to continue telling stories the next day.

The sage was wise enough to choose stories full of laughter, common sense, and wisdom.
The stories were full of wise saying from literature and the sacred writings of India.

After the first set of stories, the princes were overjoyed with their new friend and begged his to tell them the stories again and again until they knew them by heart.
Then the old man began another set of stories and so it continued for six months.

At the end of the six months, the princes who were blockheads, and proud of it,
knew all five sets of stories, and many of the wise sayings from literature and sacred writings.

And the princes who had once proudly closed their ears and their minds,
now permanently had their ears and minds wide open.

The king was greatly pleased with his sons and found that they were now ready to take their place in assisting him with the ruling of the kingdom.

The stories that the sage told to the three princes are in the Panchatantra, or Five Books, which has been translated into many languages.

So if there are any of you who desire a simple(?) path to wisdom you may read the stories in the Panchatantra yourselves.

Retold by LaurenLanita

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

One Word for Happiness

A Chinese Folktale

Chang Kung was the head of a very large household. Within his compound lived his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Plus a varied assortment of aunts, uncle and cousins.

What made Chang Kung household stand out was that the entire family lived together without quarrelling or unpleasantness of any sort. Everyone got along perfectly. Even the aminals in the compound did not fight. Everyone and everything in the compound was content and happy at all times.

Those of the village were amazed at the peace in Chang Kung's household and talked of it often. Eventually even the Emperor heard of the happy household. The emperor was curious and decided to visit this amazing household. He had to find out what the secret was to their happiness.

When Chang Kung saw the emperor approaching his home he rushed to welcome him. Upon arrival the emperor was astounded to see that everyone in the compound truly seemed to be happy.

The emperor asked Chang Kung, "How can you have all of these people living together in such happiness and contentment? What is your secret?"

Chang Kung did not answer the emperor immediately. HE merely took out his brush and began to write.
He continued to write for sometime, filling an entire sheet of paper. When he was finished, he handed the paper to the emperor.

The emperor read the paper. Written over and over again was one word.
The word was KINDNESS.

"Ahh," said the emperor, "Now I understand."

The emperor took the brush from Chang Kung and began to write.
He wrote a proclamation. In it he expessed his joy at finding a household such as Chang Kung's.
When he was finished, he told Chang Kung to paste the proclamation on his gate for all to see.

After that, Chang Kung's fame grew. People came from all around to read the emperor's proclamation and to ask for a picture of Chang Kung to hang in their own homes, so that they too could have peace and harmony.

To this day many Chinese kitchens have a picture of Chang Kung.
He is known as the Kitchen God.
He is there to remind them of the secret to happiness..........KINDNESS

retold by LLL, Storyteller/Storysinger