The Elephant & The Storm

7th June 2016 018 3What better way is there than to mark ones own birthday with a short story. One that was written in fifteen minutes, in order to set up a creative writing exercise for your own kids?

The idea for this is not mine. It comes from Christina Grau; homeschool-mum-extraordinaire, who’d posted the idea sometime back on her blog. {I’ve since lost the link to her outstanding original article, and my time-limited search hasn’t been able to pinpoint it.}

Nevertheless. Christina’s idea stuck. The basic premise is this: Come up with a title. Set aside a small amount of time and write. Start by sharing my own pre-written story, inspiring our homeschoolers to create their own unique narrative using the same title. All inside a sixty minute window.

This works well for older kids. However, as we’ve found, younger ones need some guidance. To facilitate this, I gave them a realistic target of five sentences, drew three lines on our white board and then gave each column the heading: adjective, noun and verb. We then came up with words to fill each column. The only catch was that each word had to be relevant to the title.

For example, our  chosen title yesterday, was The Elephant & The Storm. Since the words elephant and storm are nouns, we already had a small head start. This set the younger ones up for success and in addition covered some handwriting practice.

In the end five short stories were written (including my own posted below).

All had a unique take on:

The Elephant and The Storm.

Elephants are strange creatures. Big trunk. Big feet. Small tail.

The particular elephant of our tale, however, was larger than most.

He was raised in the grasslands of Africa. A slow turn to the left of Arabia, south from Egypt, should put you right there.

It was here that our larger than normal elephant’s story began.

Thuds could be heard for miles. KAA-thump. KAA-thump. KAA-thump.

Each loud boom rustled trees and rippled ponds. Each thud was often accompanied in the distance by the words:

“Watch, out!”

‘’Coming through”

“Out of the waaaay!”

You see, Jack was so big, that the other elephants felt like ants when they were ever anywhere near him.

This caused a lot of problems for Jack. He could never go to parties, and so the other animals never invited him to them.

He even had to have his own watering hole, so that there’d be water left for everyone else.

Bath time for Jack was even more alarming. He’d have to walk an extra 3 kilometers down river, to avoid the colossal tidal wave, which legend has it, once threw even the hippos out of the water.

Yes. Our Jack was big. It was because of all this that one day, he’d decided to leave. He no longer felt welcome and or useful, like the other animals around him.

It was a lonely life for poor Jack. Then one day,  a few hours before Jack had settled on his journey, an unexpected storm arose.

This storm was like nothing the animals of the grasslands had ever seen.

It swished and blew. Howled and brought down dark blue clouds, which darkened the sun.

All the animals scattered to the trees for shelter, but each tree they came too was violently tumbled over by the force of this strange wind.

Everyone was trying to hold on. Except for Jack. Jack’s stature was so firmly footed to the ground that the wind was barely tickling his ears.

“I’m not really going to go far in this darkness and rain” He thought to himself. So Jack sat down.

Once Jack sat down, all the animals noticed, and one by one quickly decided to flee towards him, taking shelter next to him.

Jack, the larger than normal elephant had found his usefulness after all.

‘God rules the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, He stills them.’ – (Psalm. 89:9, ESV)



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