Posted in Aesop's fabes, Animal Stories, Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, English as a second language, Esl, Esl Drama, expressive arts, Fairy Tales, Panchatantra plays, Storytelling, Storytelling in the Early years, Storytelling techniques

The Three Billy Goats Gruff -A Movement Story

Each child finds a space and sits down. Each child or a group of children are assigned a specific word and a corresponding action. The narrator/teacher reads the story aloud, and when the children hear their word, they must jump up and do their actions. The words are in bold to assist the teacher.

Movement: Action.

Billy goats gruff: Move like a goat and say triplet trip.

Bridge: Two children face each other; they place their arms over their heads and link their fingers together.

Troll: Roar and make an ugly face.

Smallest: Make your body as small as you can.

Middle-sized: Stand up straight.

Bigger/Biggest: Stretch your hands up in the air as high as you can.

Meadow: Get down on your hands and knees and graze on the grass.

Hungry: Rub your tummy.

Brother: Two children link arms.

Brothers: Three children link arms.

Eat: Mime gobbling food.

Narrator: Once upon a time, there lived three billy goats gruff. They spent every winter in a barn that kept them nice and warm. But when the summer came, they liked to trippety trip over the bridge to the beautiful green meadow on the other side of the river. “I’m really hungry. I think I will cross the bridge to eat some lovely green grass in the meadow,” said the smallest billy goat gruff.

What the billy goats gruff didn’t know was that under the bridge, there lived an ugly troll. The troll was nasty and horrible.

Nobody crossed the bridge without the troll’s permission, and he never gave permission.

“I can’t wait to get to the meadow,” said the smallest billy goat gruff. “Who is that trippety tripping over my bridge?” roared the troll.

“Oh, it’s only me. Please let me pass. I only want to go to the meadow to eat some sweet grass,” pleaded the smallest billy goat gruff.

“Oh no, you are not. I’m going to eat you,” said the troll.

“Oh, no, please, Mr. Troll, I’m only the smallest billy goat gruff. I’m much too tiny for you to eat, and I wouldn’t taste very good. Why don’t you wait for my brother, the middle-sized billy goat gruff? He is much bigger than I am and would be much tastier,” said the smallest billy goat gruff.

“Well, I suppose I could wait,” the troll said with a sigh.

“I think I will join my brother on the meadow and eat some lovely lush grass,” mused the middle-sized billy goat gruff.

“Who is that trippety tripping over my bridge?” roared the troll.

“Oh, it’s only me. Please let me pass. I only want to go to the meadow to eat some sweet grass” said the middle sized billy goats gruff.

“Oh no, you are not. I’m going to eat you,” bellowed the troll.

“Oh, no, please, Mr. Troll, I’m only the middle-sized billy goat gruff. I’m much too tiny for you to eat, and I wouldn’t taste very good. Why don’t you wait for my brother, the biggest billy goat gruff?” He is much bigger than I am and would be much tastier,” pleased the middle-sized billy goat gruff.

“Well, I suppose I could wait,” the troll said with a sigh.

“I am alone and hungry. I will join my brothers in the meadow and get some nice and sweet grass to eat,” said the biggest billy goat gruff.

“Who is that trippety tripping over my bridge?” roared the troll.

“Oh, it is only me. Please let me pass. I only want to go to the meadow to eat some sweet grass,” said the biggest billy goat gruff.

“Oh no, you are not. I’m going to eat you,” bellowed the troll.

“That’s what you think!” shouted the biggest billy goat gruff angrily. He lowered his horns, galloped along the bridge and butted the ugly troll. Up, up, up went the troll into the air. Then down, down, down into the rushing river below. He disappeared below the swirling waters. “That taught him a lesson,” said the biggest billy goat gruff. He continued across the bridge and met with his brothers, and they ate grass and played for the rest of summer.

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Posted in Role playing stories

Magical fairy tales -Improvisation

A book with a castle at the forest

Minimum number of participants: 4
Resources needed: Three lists: one with characters, one with settings, and one with objects
Instructions: Create three lists with the suggestions below or come up with your own. On the first is a variety of characters .
Here are some suggestions:
• Shrek
• Cinderella
• The Troll (from Three Billy Goats Gruff)
• Snow White
• The Wicked Queen
• The Bad Fairy (from Sleeping Beauty)
• Gingerbread Man
• The Wicked Wolf
• Buzz Lightyear
• Dora the Explorer
• Peppa Pig
• Mickey Mouse
• Little Bo Peep
• Pinocchio
• Jack (from Jack and Jill)
• Jill
• The Beast (From Beauty and the Beast)
• Little Miss Muffet
• One of the Three Little Pigs
• Prince Charming
• Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk)
• Ugly Duckling
• Fairy Godmother

The second list is a variety of places. Here are some suggestions:
• A castle
• A dragon’s cave
• A haunted house
• A jail cell
• A superhero’s house
• A dark forest
• A stolen ship
• A wolf’s den
• A dungeon

The final list is a variety of magical objects. Here are some suggestions:
• Magical wand
• Magic beans
• Magic kisses
• A genie
• Magical dust
• Magic ring
• Magic potions
• Magic carpets
• Magic lamps
• Magic swords
• Cloak of invisibility

Divide the students into groups of three of four and have each child choose a character. When they have chosen their characters, each group must choose one setting and one magical item. They can pick these randomly out of a hat or can choose from the list, whichever the leader prefers. In their groups, they make up a story with their chosen characters, setting and magical object. If they are more advanced, they can do an improvisation based on what they have chosen.

Posted in Fairy Tales

The Hidden Meanings behind Fairy Tales

Fairy tales of the past were often full of macabre and gruesome twists and endings. These days, companies like Disney have sanitized them for a modern audience that is clearly deemed unable to cope, and so we see happy endings everywhere. This list looks at some of the common endings we are familiar with – and explains the original gruesome origins. If you know of any others, be sure to mention it in the comments – or if you know of a fairy tale that is just outright gruesome (in its original or modern form), speak up.

10

In the tale of the Pied Piper, we have a village overrun with rats. A man arrives dressed in clothes of pied (a patchwork of colors) and offers to rid the town of the vermin. The villagers agree to pay a vast sum of money if the piper can do it – and he does. He plays music on his pipe which draws all the rats out of the town. When he returns for payment – the villagers won’t cough up so the Pied Piper decides to rid the town of children too! In most modern variants, the piper draws the children to a cave out of the town and when the townsfolk finally agree to pay up, he sends them back. In the darker original, the piper leads the children to a river where they all drown (except a lame boy who couldn’t keep up). Some modern scholars say that there are connotations of pedophilia in this fairy tale.

9

The version of this tale that most of us are familiar with ends with Riding Hood being saved by the woodsman who kills the wicked wolf. But in fact, the original French version (by Charles Perrault) of the tale was not quite so nice. In this version, the little girl is a well bred young lady who is given false instructions by the wolf when she asks the way to her grandmothers. Foolishly riding hood takes the advice of the wolf and ends up being eaten. And here the story ends. There is no woodsman – no grandmother – just a fat wolf and a dead Red Riding Hood. The moral to this story is to not take advice from strangers.

8

The 1989 version of the Little Mermaid might be better known as “The big whopper!” In the Disney version, the film ends with Ariel the mermaid being changed into a human so she can marry Eric. They marry in a wonderful wedding attended by humans and merpeople. But, in the very first version by Hans Christian Andersen, the mermaid sees the Prince marry a princess and she despairs. She is offered a knife with which to stab the prince to death, but rather than do that she jumps into the sea and dies by turning to froth. Hans Christian Andersen modified the ending slightly to make it more pleasant. In his new ending, instead of dying when turned to froth, she becomes a “daughter of the air” waiting to go to heaven – so, frankly, she is still dead for all intents and purposes.

7

In the tale of snow white that we are all familiar with, the Queen asks a huntsman to kill her and bring her heart back as proof. Instead, the huntsman can’t bring himself to do it and returns with the heart of a boar. Now, fortunately disney hasn’t done too much damage to this tale, but they did leave out one important original element: in the original tale, the Queen actually asks for Snow White’s liver and lungs – which are to be served for dinner that night! Also in the original, Snow White wakes up when she is jostled by the prince’s horse as he carries her back to his castle – not from a magical kiss. What the prince wanted to do with a dead girl’s body I will leave to your imagination. Oh – in the Grimm version, the tale ends with the Queen being forced to dance to death in red hot iron shoes!

6
Sleeping Beauty

In the original sleeping beauty, the lovely princess is put to sleep when she pricks her finger on a spindle. She sleeps for one hundred years when a prince finally arrives, kisses her, and awakens her. They fall in love, marry, and (surprise surprise) live happily ever after. But alas, the original tale is not so sweet (in fact, you have to read this to believe it.) In the original, the young woman is put to sleep because of a prophesy, rather than a curse. And it isn’t the kiss of a prince which wakes her up: the king seeing her asleep, and rather fancying having a bit, rapes her. After nine months she gives birth to two children (while she is still asleep). One of the children sucks her finger which removes the piece of flax which was keeping her asleep. She wakes up to find herself raped and the mother of two kids.

5
Rumpelstiltskin

This fair tale is a little different from the others because rather than sanitizing the original, it was modified by the original author to make it more gruesome. In the original tale, Rumpelstiltskin spins straw into gold for a young girl who faces death unless she is able to perform the feat. In return, he asks for her first born child. She agrees – but when the day comes to hand over the kid, she can’t do it. Rumpelstiltskin tells her that he will let her off the bargain if she can guess his name. She overhears him singing his name by a fire and so she guesses it correctly. Rumpelstiltskin, furious, runs away, never to be seen again. But in the updated version, things are a little messier. Rumpelstiltskin is so angry that he drives his right foot deep into the ground. He then grabs his left leg and rips himself in half. Needless to say this kills him.

4
Goldilocks and the Three Bears

In this heart warming tale, we hear of pretty little Goldilocks who finds the house of the three bears. She sneaks inside and eats their food, sits in their chairs, and finally falls asleep on the bed of the littlest bear. When the bears return home they find her asleep – she awakens and escapes out the window in terror. The original tale (which actually only dates to 1837) has two possible variations. In the first, the bears find Goldilocks and rip her apart and eat her. In the second, Goldilocks is actually an old hag who (like the sanitized version) jumps out of a window when the bears wake her up. The story ends by telling us that she either broke her neck in the fall, or was arrested for vagrancy and sent to the “House of Correction”.

3
Hansel and Gretel

In the widely known version of Hansel and Gretel, we hear of two little children who become lost in the forest, eventually finding their way to a gingerbread house which belongs to a wicked witch. The children end up enslaved for a time as the witch prepares them for eating. They figure their way out and throw the witch in a fire and escape. In an earlier French version of this tale (called The Lost Children), instead of a witch we have a devil. Now the wicked old devil is tricked by the children (in much the same way as Hansel and Gretel) but he works it out and puts together a sawhorse to put one of the children on to bleed (that isn’t an error – he really does). The children pretend not to know how to get on the sawhorse so the devil’s wife demonstrates. While she is lying down the kids slash her throat and escape.

2
The Girl Without Hands

Frankly, the revised version of this fairy tale is not a great deal better than the original, but there are sufficient differences to include it here. In the new version, a poor man is offered wealth by the devil if he gives him whatever is standing behind his mill. The poor man thinks it is an apple tree and agrees – but it is actually his daughter. The devil tries to take the daughter but can’t – because she is pure, so he threatens to take the father unless the daughter allows her father to chop off her hands. She agrees and the father does the deed. Now – that is not particularly nice, but it is slightly worse in some of the earlier variants in which the young girl chops off her own arms in order to make herself ugly to her brother who is trying to rape her. In another variant, the father chops off the daughter’s hands because she refuses to let him have sex with her.

1
Cinderella

In the modern Cinderella fairy tale we have the beautiful Cinderella swept off her feet by the prince and her wicked step sisters marrying two lords – with everyone living happily ever after. The fairy tale has its origins way back in the 1st century BC where Strabo’s heroine was actually called Rhodopis, not Cinderella. The story was very similar to the modern one with the exception of the glass slippers and pumpkin coach. But, lurking behind the pretty tale is a more sinister variation by the Grimm brothers: in this version, the nasty step-sisters cut off parts of their own feet in order to fit them into the glass slipper – hoping to fool the prince. The prince is alerted to the trickery by two pigeons who peck out the step sister’s eyes. They end up spending the rest of their lives as blind beggars while Cinderella gets to lounge about in luxury at the prince’s castle.

Contributor: JFrater