Children are facing a time of increased solitude. I am writing the story The Secret Prince to show them a child who faces a similar situation in which he is stuck at home (well, a castle in his case). A flood surrounds the castle and Prince Ronduin can not go to school in the village and cannot run through the woods. How does he pass his time? Can Ronduin be a role model for children today? Can the story help to normalize their experience? I’ve been pleased to learn that a small but growing group of families is reading this to their children as the story grows. My goal is to add a chapter each Monday, and Thursday. Perhaps you will join us. If you are new to this story, start here: https://childrengrowing.com/2020/03/15/stories-for-children-in-times-of-trouble-storytelling-help-for-parents-in-the-era-of-covid-19/
You will find a link to the next chapter at the end of each chapter.
Looking out his bedroom window during the pre-dawn twilight, Ronduin delighted at the cloudless sky. He dressed quickly and, wearing his linen shirt, grabbed the small sack of oats and jug of water he had left by his door, and darted through the third floor hallway to the balcony.
Ronduin stepped out onto the balcony just as the first rays of sunlight lit the sky beyond the castle walls. The two hens were perched on top of their baskets. Ronduin emptied their water bowl over the railing. He heard the water from the bowl splash into the water below. Then he refilled the bowl from the jug. The hens watched him with what looked like curiosity. But, when he poured oats in their now empty dish, they fluttered across the balcony and began pecking at their breakfast.
Just then Sir Andrew opened the door and stepped out onto the straw-covered balcony.
“I see you’ve made a nice home for these two fine hens,” he said. “I’ve stopped to say goodbye. I’ll make a trip to the village this morning and another trip this afternoon for the workers finishing the roof.”
As Sir Andrew said this, workers emerged onto the brightly lit roof across the courtyard.
“What did you see in the village?” asked Ronduin.
“I was surprised to see two boats there already,” said Sir Andrew. The Mountain Kingdom sent them. They could see from the hilltop that our whole valley is flooded and they thought the villagers might need food. They kindly sent many bags of grains and they offered to take villagers back to the hills. A few families with no second floors went back with them.”
“How is Ricard’s family?” asked Ronduin.
“Their house is on a little hill at the edge of town,” said Sir Andrew. “Theirs is one of three homes that sit on land higher than the floodwaters. In the village people spoke with me from their second story windows because, like this castle, the first floor is flooded. When we got to Ricard’s home. Mirabel spotted us coming and ran down the little hill to meet us. We tied the boat to their goat yard fence. They invited me in for soup. I have to tell you, I was never so happy to have warm a bowl of soup.”
Listening intently, Ronduin fidgeted with the hem of his linen shirt. He wished he had something he could send to Mirabel.
“They kindly offered to let me stay with them when I return to the village,” continued Sir Andrew. “Ricard’s family and the other two homes with no flooding have room for a few more people. They have asked that I bring the families with the littlest children.”
Just then the two hens both let out a loud cackle. They both stepped out of the same basket, tipping their heads to the left and right. In the straw-lined basket sat two eggs.
Sir Andrew laughed. “Looks like you’ve got breakfast,” he said.
“Actually,” asked Ronduin, “could you take these eggs to Mirabel and her family?” I think they will be safe to travel in this small sack of oats.”
Ronduin opened the half-full bag and tucked the eggs deep into the center of the oats. He tied the top of the bag and handed it to Sir Andrew.
“I will carry this to Mirabel’s family with great care,” he said.
Here is the portal to Chapter 13: https://childrengrowing.com/2020/04/11/the-secret-prince-chapter-13-wind-tickling-the-water/
Note to parents: A teacher told me that she is using this story in conjunction with a math block. Parents have told me that their children have drawn pictures of Prince Ronduin and Mirabel and some have made jump ropes and shown an interest in sewing. We now have a Facebook page where teachers and parents working with this story can share ideas about how to make the story come alive for their children. I hope we can chat on the Facebook page about how to fit the story into home school and regular school curricula. This is also a place to share your children’s pictures and is a place to tell me anything you would like me to weave into the story as it develops. Join us at The Secret Prince Story Community here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/640925113394726/?epa=SEARCH_BOX
I hope to see you there!
Kim Allsup, author of The Secret Prince