Storytelling solutions for those who work with young children

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Limericks and Rhymes

Story 1: Limerick Lenny   Story 2: The Grasshopper Rap

Limerick Lenny: (Adapted from Pete Seeger’s Abiyoyo)

Once upon a time there was a little boy called Lenny and he loved limericks. His father taught him how to make a limerick.

“Limericks have five lines,” said his father.

“And all the lines rhyme?” said Lenny.

“Sort of,” said his father. “ Lines 1,2 and 5 rhyme with each other and lines 3 & 4 rhyme with each other like this:

There once was a boy called Lenny
Who had a girlfriend called Penny

Lenny said, “I’m too young to have a girlfriend.”

His father said,”I know. This is just a silly nonsense poem.” His father started again:

There once was a boy called Lenny
Who had a girlfriend called Penny
But one fine day
She moved house and went away
Now Lenny cries tears so many

Lenny thought he could do a better limerick than that so he said:

There once was a dad
Who was ever so bad.
He always said silly stuff
Till his son had enough
And went to live in Trinidad
.

After that, Lenny loved making up limericks. Whenever he met a friend, he made a limerick with the friend’s name in it. When he met his friend Tim, he said:

There once was a boy named Tim
Who went to the river to swim.
He fell off a rock
Right next to a croc
And that was the end of him.

When he met his friend Paul, he said:

There was a boy named Paul,
Who went to a fancy dress ball;
He dressed as a pork chop
From the butcher shop
And was eaten by a dog in the hall.


When he met his friend Sue, he said:


There was a young girl called Sue
Who dreamt she was eating her shoe.
She woke in the night,
With a terrible fright,
And found it was perfectly true
.

Well, his friends got sick of Lenny’s limericks and told him they were boring and he should stop. They didn’t want to play with him anymore and they didn’t invite him to their parties.

Now in this town the people used to tell stories about the old days and they used to tell a story about a giant called Abiyoyo. The giant was as tall as a house and could eat a person whole. It was just a story. Nobody believed that old story. But one day a great big shadow blocked the sun’s light. The ground shook. Down from the mountains came the giant. His big steps sounded like thunder. Women screamed and men fainted.

“Run for your lives!” they yelled, “Abiyoyo’s coming.”

But Lenny didn’t notice all this. He had gone to play by himself in the park. He was so busy making up limericks he did not realise the giant was coming until suddenly there it was in front of him.

Abiyoyo had long fingernails because he never cut them. He had green fur growing on his teeth because he never cleaned them. He had potatoes growing out of his ears because he never cleaned them. His hair was all knotted and matted because he never brushed it. He had feet that were stinking because he never washed them.

Abiyoyo reached down with big claws toward Lenny. Lenny was so frightened he just started to do what came naturally to him. He made up a limerick.

There once was a giant named Abiyoyo

Now, when the giant heard his name he stopped and listened.

Lenny started again:

There once was a giant named Abiyoyo
Who loved to walk on tippy toe, toe
One day he stomped on the ground
And frightened the whole town
But all he wanted was to say hellolo
Abiyoyo laughed. Lenny laughed too.

Abiyoyo said; “Hello, hello, hello. My name is Abiyoyo.”

After that the giant walked on tippy toe so that the people would not be frightened and Lenny’s friends decided they liked his limericks.

The End.

The Grasshopper Rap

(Adapted from Papa Joe’s version of The Ants and the Grasshopper.)

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, far, far away, there was an ant hill. In the ant hill were ants. Lots of ants. Old ants, middle aged ants and young ants. In the spring and summer and autumn those ants had to get up very early in the morning. And after breakfast, they had to gather food for winter.

They had to dig the food up, pick the food up and then stack it up. The young ants thought this was BORING. Then one day they heard some music and then they heard this:

Vittle I Vittle I Vittle I
Dig it up, dig it up, dig it up,
Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up,
Stack it up, stack it up, stack it up,
Vittle I Vittle I Vittle I Vo

It was a grasshopper playing his fiddle. The young ants loved it.

They said, “Grasshopper, stay here and play for us. We’ll give you some lunch.”

Well, that was fine with the grasshopper. So he played and the ants danced and sang while they worked.

Vittle I Vittle I Vittle I
Dig it up, dig it up, dig it up,
Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up,
Stack it up, stack it up, stack it up,
Vittle I Vittle I Vittle I Vo

The young ants enjoyed the music so much they worked twice as fast.

Vittle I Vittle I Vittle I
Dig it up, dig it up, dig it up,
Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up,
Stack it up, stack it up, stack it up,
Vittle I Vittle I Vittle I Vo

They had their work done In half the time. The ants gave the Grasshopper lunch and said:”Grasshopper, play for us again tomorrow. We’ll give you breakfast in the morning.”

Well, that was fine with the grasshopper. So the next day he played and the ants danced and sang as they worked.

Vittle I Vittle I Vittle I
Dig it up, dig it up, dig it up,
Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up,
Stack it up, stack it up, stack it up,
Vittle I Vittle I Vittle I Vo

They worked so fast they had time left over to play. Of course, the ants asked the grasshopper to come back the next day. Well, that was fine with the grasshopper. So the next day he played and the ants danced and sang.

Vittle I Vittle I Vittle I
Dig it up, dig it up, dig it up,
Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up,
Stack it up, stack it up, stack it up,
Vittle I Vittle I Vittle I Vo

Once again they worked so fast they had time left over to play. And so it went day after day. When winter came the ant hill was filled so full it looked like a mountain. At least it did to an ant. Now the ants didn’t have to work anymore. They could sleep late and play all day long.

One cold winter night they heard a knock at their front door. The adult ants answered the door. It was the grasshopper. He was blue with cold and icicles hanging from his fiddle.

“It’s so cold and I’m so hungry,” said the grasshopper.

The adult ants said, “Serves you right for sitting around playing your fiddle all day. You should have been working to prepare for winter.”

But the young ants said, “He was working. He was entertaining us. We wouldn’t have gotten as much work done if it hadn’t been for his fiddling.”

Then they turned to the grasshopper and invited him in to their warm home and gave him food to eat.

The End

This story is inspired by the Aesop’s fable The Ant and the Grasshopper and retold by JB Rowley.

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Halloween

Storytelling program for young children. Halloween

1: Story 2: Song 3:Rhyme 4:Activity

The Hobyahs

Once upon a time, creatures of the night, called hobyahs, roamed the Australian bush. Deep in the bush where the hobyahs lurked was a hut made of bark- a humpy. In that humpy lived a little old man and a little old woman. They had a little yellow dingo who was the best guard you could ever hope to find.

One night the Hobyahs came. Out from the gloomy gullies creep, creep, creeping. Through the grey gum-trees; run, run, running. In the ghostly moonlight; skip, skip, skipping on the tips of their toes.

The Hobyahs said, “Hobyah. Hobyah. Hobyah. Pull down the hut, eat up the little old man, and carry off the little old woman.”

But little yellow Dingo knew they were there. He howled and howled and howled. The hobyahs were so frightened they ran home as fast as they could.

The little old man woke up and cried: “I can’t sleep with that Dingo howling all night. If I live through this night I will take off his tail.”

So in the morning the little old man cut off little yellow Dingo’s tail. That night the Hobyahs came again. Out from the gloomy gullies creep, creep, creeping. Through the grey gum-trees; run, run, running. In the ghostly moonlight; skip, skip, skipping on the tips of their toes.

The Hobyahs said, “Hobyah. Hobyah. Hobyah. Pull down the hut, eat up the little old man, and carry off the little old woman.”

But little yellow Dingo knew they were there. He howled and howled and howled. The hobyahs were afraid. They ran home as fast as they could.

The little old man tossed and turned and cried. “I can’t sleep with that Dingo howling. In the morning I’ll cut off one of his legs.”

So in the morning the little old man cut off one of little yellow Dingo’s legs. That night the Hobyahs came again. Out from the gloomy gullies creep, creep, creeping. Through the grey gum-trees; run, run, running. In the ghostly moonlight; skip, skip, skipping on the tips of their toes.

The Hobyahs said, “Hobyah. Hobyah. Hobyah. Pull down the hut, eat up the little old man, and carry off the little old woman.”

But little yellow Dingo knew they were there. He howled and howled and howled. The hobyahs were so frightened they home as fast as they could go.

The little old man tossed in his sleep and cried. “I can’t sleep with that Dingo howling all night. In the morning I will take off the rest of his legs.”

So in the morning the little old man cut off every one of little yellow Dingo’s legs. That night the Hobyahs came again. Out from the gloomy gullies creep, creep, creeping. Through the grey gum-trees; run, run, running. In the ghostly moonlight; skip, skip, skipping on the tips of their toes.

The Hobyahs said, “Hobyah. Hobyah. Hobyah. Pull down the hut, eat up the little old man, and carry off the little old woman.”

But little yellow Dingo knew they were there. He howled and howled and howled. The hobyahs were afraid. They ran home as fast as they could go.

The little old man sat up in his bed and yelled, “That Dingo keeps waking me up with his howling. In the morning I’ll take off his head.”

So in the morning the little old man took off little yellow Dingo’s head. That night the Hobyahs came once more. Out from the gloomy gullies creep, creep, creeping. Through the grey gum-trees; run, run, running. In the ghostly moonlight; skip, skip, skipping on the tips of their toes.

And the hobyahs said: “Hobyah. Hobyah. Hobyah. Pull down the hut, eat up the little old man, and carry off the little old woman.”

Because little yellow Dingo could not howl any more, there was no one to frighten the hobyahs away. They pulled down the hut. They took the little old woman away in a bag. They did not eat up the little old man because he ran away and hid behind a tree.

When the hobyahs arrived home, they hung the bag on a hook. They poked at the bag with their long skinny fingers and cried: “Ha! Ha! Little old woman. A tasty meal you will make.”

But by this time the sun had come up so they went to sleep. Hobyahs, you know, slept all day.

When the little old man found the little old woman gone, he was sorry. Now he knew why little yellow Dingo had been howling at night and he knew what a good guard dog he was. And because this was long ago in the days of magic, the little old man was able to put Dingo back together again. He gave Dingo back his tail, and he put back Dingo’s legs and he put back Dingo’s head.

Dingo was all one piece again. He sniffed the air and picked up the scent of the Hobyahs and went straight to their home deep in the gloomy gully. The hobyahs were fast asleep. Dingo heard the little old woman crying in the bag. He used his teeth to pull the bag open. The little old woman jumped out and ran away as fast as she could. Dingo did not run away. He crept inside the bag to hide. When night came, the hobyahs woke up, and they poked at the bag with their long skinny fingers.

They cried, “Ha! Ha! Little old woman. The time has come to eat you up.”

Out of the bag jumped the little yellow Dingo. He ate up every one of the hobyahs. And that is why there are no hobyahs anymore.

So if you venture out into the Australian bush at night you’ll be safe from Hobyahs… but…keep a careful look-out for other creatures of the night.

Traditional story retold by JB Rowley.

Note to storytellers: Don’t make the mistake of portraying the hobyahs as loud and fierce during the refrain; Hobyah. Hobyah. Hobyah. Pull down the hut, eat up the little old man, and carry off the little old woman.

The hobyahs are planning an ambush and their intended victims are sleeping. Sombre and sinister (or ‘sepulchral monotone’ as S. V. Proudfit puts it) is appropriate here rather than loud and fierce.

The moment for the hobyahs to be loud and fierce is when they are trying to intimidate the woman in the bag – at this point they are in a heightened state, excited about the victory of capture and anticipating the meal ahead.

Song: Five Little Pumpkins

Rhyme: Skin & Bone

There was an old woman all skin and bone
Wooooo ooooo oooooo

She walked thru the graveyard all alone
Wooooo ooooo oooooo

She looked up and she looked down
Wooooo ooooo oooooo

Dead bodies all around
Wooooo ooooo oooooo

The worms crawled here and the worms crawled there
Wooooo ooooo oooooo

Horrible smells filled the air
Wooooo ooooo oooooo

She went to the sexton and to the sexton she said
Wooooo ooooo oooooo

Will I look like that when I am dead?
Wooooo ooooo oooooo

And the sexton to the woman said
Wooooo ooooo oooooo

Yes, you’ll look like that when you are dead
Wooooo ooooo oooooo

And the woman to the sexton said:

YAH!

Activity: Make a string of Jack o’ Lanterns

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