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 growing group of families is reading this to their children as the story grows. Teachers are also using this story with their classes. My goal is to add a chapter each Monday and Thursday. Perhaps you will join us. Kim Allsup
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 ( as soon as it is available) at the end of each chapter.
Also, consider joining us on Facebook to discuss how to use this story with children at The Secret Prince Story Community. Many thanks to Joel Aragón Colín who is translating the story into Spanish and to Phan Lê Minh who is translating the story into Vietnamese. Please join us (and also find translations) here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/640925113394726/
Ronduin woke in the morning twilight and dressed in his linen shirt and the peasant breeches that he wore to school. He picked up the jug of water and the pail of chicken food he had left by the door to his room and walked down the quiet hallway to the balcony. Here he found the chickens wide awake. They stood by their empty food bowl tipping their heads to the left and to the right as if they were asking why no food had appeared.
“Just a minute.” said Ronduin. “I’ve got plenty of food for you.” Pouring the food from the pail to their food dish, he said, “Look, it’s yummy turnip peels and bits of porridge from the Queen’s very own bowl. She never finishes her porridge. Here are crumbs of bread I collected from the bread board. And my mother gave me too much kale and I didn’t finish it, so I brought it to you.”
The chickens pecked at their food while Ronduin poured their old water over the rail. He listened to it splash into the water below. Then he poured water from the jug into the water bowl.
“Agnes told me to come for breakfast when the sun is fully risen, but the sun isn’t up yet, so I can stay,” though Ronduin, looking for a good place to sit on the floor. When he found a clean spot, he sat down cross legged with his back against the railing. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of grain and held it out toward the chickens.
Sunrise took one cautious step toward Ronduin. She tipped her head to the right and then to the left. Ronduin sat very still. He was totally quiet. Sunrise took one more step.
“Only two more steps until you reach my hand,” thought Ronduin. He waited. Sunrise stood still like a statue. Suddenly, rays of sun brightened the door to the hallway. Ronduin didn’t dare turn his head to see the sun rising over the far turret. He knew that his slightest movement would likely scare the hen.
Ronduin pictured Sunrise nibbling out of his hand. “If I’m really calm and really quiet, perhaps she will be brave enough to come to me,” he thought.
Ronduin’s arm began to ache. “I didn’t think I could get tired from holding a small handful of oats,” he thought.
He looked Sunrise directly in the eye and smiled at her. She took one more step.
“Will talking to her scare her or calm her?” he wondered.
And then he started singing. He didn’t plan to sing to Sunrise. It just happened. Very softly, he sang
“Little chicken hear my plea
Little Sunrise come to me”
Sunrise took one more step.
Ronduin’s left hand held the grain and his left hand rested near the hem of his shirt. He took the hem between his fingers.
Sunrise took a short step and pecked at the grain in Ronduin’s hand.
It tickled. He smiled and managed to keep his giggles inside.
Now Ronduin could feel the warmth of the sun on the back of his neck. He knew the sun had fully risen.
Ronduin slowly pulled his right hand toward his body. Sunrise followed his hand and, when Ronduin’s fingers came to rest near his stomach, she again pecked at the grain. That’s when Ronduin reached around the bird with his left arm and drew her close. He tucked her under his left arm and fed her from his right hand. He waited for her to finish the grain, and then, while continuing to hold the hen, he leaned forward and rose to a standing position. Turning, they saw the golden sun, fully risen, lighting up the edges of the clouds.
Ronduin remembered a song he had learned at school. He felt like he had learned it just so he could sing it to his chickens at this very moment.
“The golden sun so great and bright
Warms the world with all its might
It makes the earth so green and fair
And tends each thing with ceaseless care.
It shines on blossom, stone and tree”
he paused and smiled at Sunrise then sang the next part about birds:
“On bird and beast on you and me.
So may each deed throughout the day,
May everything we do and say
Be bright and strong and true,
Oh Golden Sun like you.” *
*note: this is a song often sung in Waldorf schools. I could not find the name of the writer. If you know it, please contact me so I can give proper attribution.
Here is the portal to Chapter 16: https://childrengrowing.com/2020/04/21/the-secret-prince-chapter-sixteen-discoveries/