The Secret Prince : Chapter 19 — A Bit of Mischief

Photo by Dhruv Singh on Unsplash 

Preface 

Children are facing a time of increased solitude. I am a retired teacher writing the story The Secret Prince to show 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 cannot 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 the experience of being stuck at home? 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.

Some teachers and parents follow the time-tested approach (used in Waldorf Schools) of telling a story on one day, then asking the child to retell it the next day. The day after that, the child engages in an activity related to the story: writing, math, drawing, making or using a jumprope, building a model or making a map for example.

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 for conversations, updates, ideas for follow up activities, new chapters and translations by joining The Secret Prince Story Community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/640925113394726/

Chapter 19

Ronduin’s father had said, “Let’s sit and you can tell us all about what you figured out.” But, when they entered the kitchen, his parents did not sit down at the dining table. Instead, they joined Cook Agnes by the fire which crackled so loudly that Ronduin could not hear their words from where he sat waiting at the table.

Ronduin watched the gray and white kitchen cat named Meow, just under the edge of the table, eating the last bits of food in her bowl. He put his hand down to pet Meow as she walked by, but she darted to the side as if to say, “How dare you try to touch me!” Ronduin was not surprised. Meow had always been a standoffish cat. Now she jumped onto the windowsill and glared at Ronduin. He felt like she was saying, “A cat that is so noble that is has one green eye and one blue eye does not agree to be petted by a mere boy.”  

Ronduin’s parents and Cook Agnes showed no sign that they were ready to eat breakfast. Ronduin was tired of waiting for them. He wanted to tell his parents about his dream. He wanted to explain how The Bowl was like the cider spill on the table. He wanted to explain why the floodwaters continued to rise even after the rain stopped.

Ronduin’s mother raised her voice so Ronduin could hear her ask a question in spite of the crackling of the fire. “Ronduin, did you say the water is higher today?” 

Ronduin got up from the table and walked quickly to the hearth. “Yes, it’s a bout a half step higher,” he said, holding his hands out to show how much the water had risen. 

Cook Agnes said, “And the water had already risen at least a step higher than when Sir Andrew left.”

Ronduin’s mother said, “When the water is a step and a half higher here, it’s also a step and a half higher in the village.”

“That much extra water won’t really affect us,” said Ronduin’s father, “but I wonder about how it might affect people in the village.” 

“Sir Andrew told me that the water level at Ricard’s farm was close to flooding the goat yard, said Cook Agnes.  “I know that farm. A step and a half more water means the goat yard is totally flooded. The house and their garden are higher than the goat yard, so they are still dry.” 

“Didn’t Sir Andrew say that Ricard’s family invited another family to stay with them?” asked Ronduin’s father. 

“Yes,” said Cook Agnes. “It’s the baker’s family. They have little twins and a boy who is older than Ronduin. Ricard’s family has a boy about the same age as the baker’s boy and, in Ricard’s family, there’s Mirabel and two younger children.”

Ronduin counted all the people who were living in Mirabel’s house. He counted on his fingers as he imagined each person:

Mirabel’s family has four children and the baker’s family has three children. And there’s Mirabel’s parents, two more. And the baker and his wife, two more. And Sir Andrew is staying there too.  

“The house is very small,” said Cook Agnes.  “Just one room with a sleeping loft. It’s smaller than this kitchen.”

“And they have to fit twelve people,” said Ronduin, who could not picture so many people in such a small house. 

“At least they get to go outside. We can’t go outside here, except on the balcony with the chickens,” said the Queen. 

“I had a dream about Mirabel,” said Ronduin. “It helped me figure out why the water is rising.”  

Cook Agnes stopped stirring the porridge, looked at Ronduin, and said, “I’ve been wondering about that too. Why does the water keep rising even though the rain has stopped?”

“If the porridge is ready, let’s take it to the table where we can eat while Ronduin explains,” said the King.

“I need some things to help explain it,” said Ronduin finding a wooden bowl, a small plate and a larger plate and and a jug of water. He carried these to the dining table. 

While Cook Agnes served the porridge, Ronduin set the two plates on the table with the small one on top of the large one.  He held the bowl in his hands. 

“It’s like this,” said Ronduin, pouring enough water from the jug into the small plate until it filled to the top of its narrow rim. 

“Imagine this is the normal amount of water in the lake,” he said, pointing to the water filling the plate.”

“Now, a big rainstorm continues for many, many, many days.”

“It falls on the lake and it overflows everywhere,” said Ronduin pouring more into the  small plate until it overflowed into the bigger plate with a deep rim. “This is the lake overflowing.” 

“The rain also falls on the mountains and fills the area called The Bowl.” Ronduin filled the bowl and held it above the plates.

“Now it stops raining,” continued Ronduin. “But The Bowl in the mountains drains very slowly because it comes out through a small crack in the rocks.”

Ronduin slowly poured water from the bowl into the small plate which overflowed into the big plate, filling it to almost to the top of its thick rim. “See, the flood waters are rising, even though the rain has stopped.” 

Cook Agnes, the Queen and the King nodded their heads. “That is exactly what happens,” said the King, smiling. 

“Then why do the flood waters eventually go away?” asked Cook Agnes. 

Ronduin thought for a moment while he finished pouring the last drops of water from the higher bowl.

“Well,” he said, “the river that flows out of the lake, will eventually carry the extra water to the sea.”  

Suddenly Ronduin felt a bit mischievous.”Like this,” he said, quickly tipping the plates so the water spilled toward the floor and could be heard splashing below.

His mother lifted her legs and barked in a shocked voice, “Ronduin!”. Cook Agnes called out, “stop!”

But Ronduin laughed as did his father. The King’s place at the table allowed him to see that Ronduin was not spilling the water onto the floor, but was simply pouring it into the empty bowl that belonged to the cat. 

###

An idea for a follow up conversation the day after reading the story: Ask your child whether it was naughty for Ronduin to appear to pour water on the floor.

 An idea for a follow up activity: Do something similar to the flooding demonstration that Ronduin did in the story.

A request to parents and teachers:  I have no way of knowing whether teachers and parents are continuing to find this story useful. I do see some statistics on my WordPress site, but these don’t include readers who get the chapters by email and they don’t differentiate ongoing readers from someone who just clicked on a chapter and then did not develop an ongoing connection to the story. If you have now read all 19 chapters, please consider helping me gauge ongoing interest by commenting below with the name of your country and the number of children who are joining us for the story. Thank you!  

Here is the portal to Chapter 20 https://childrengrowing.com/2020/05/04/the-secret-prince-chapter-20-mirabels-house/

  One thought on “The Secret Prince : Chapter 19 — A Bit of Mischief

  1. Audrie Brown
    April 30, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    I forward every chapter to the 17 children in my class and many report reading all of them. I think they are all getting much joy from the story. Thank you so much for continuing on. It is such a strange time and this is a true comfort. Warmly and with gratitude,
    Audrie Brown

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 30, 2020 at 6:51 pm

      Thank you for sharing with your class and for your kind feedback ❤️

      Like

  2. Kim Wetteland
    April 30, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    United States- one child…6 years old and she just told me that she wants you to know, “I like the book!” (I.e. It’s useful and enjoyable)

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 30, 2020 at 10:33 pm

      I do appreciate this feedback. Please tell her that I’m so happy she likes it !

      Like

  3. Jen
    May 1, 2020 at 7:55 am

    Hello 🙂 my two daughters (5 and 7 years) really love “the Ronduin story” as they call it. He is like a friend to them now. Many other chapter books are read quickly as they beg for more chapters… but as you have released the chapters slowly it has helped us to go slow and form a strong connection with the characters. They are always homeschooled, and in many ways we are so grateful to be safe and healthy and familiar with homeschooling days. But the children have now had six weeks without seeing another child and have missed all their usual group activities and outings. Your story has helped bring some specialness and comfort to this situation. Thankyou so much for your time and care 🙂 we really appreciate it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 1, 2020 at 8:18 am

      Thank you, Jen. I appreciate knowing that your children are helped by the Ronduin story. I smiled when I read your words about the chapters, “ released them slowly,”. I wonder whether some folks guess the chapters are written in advance of the release day. The truth is that I release a chapter at the end of the day when I write it. And, while I know in a general sense where the story is going, the details of each writing day are revealed by the characters who tell me what happens as I write. It feels like a magical process.

      Like

  4. mettajdhotmailcom
    May 1, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    My name is Indira and I am 4 and a half years old, my brothers name is Banyan and he is 2 and a half years old. We live in Tucson, AZ USA. We like your stories so so much, Thankyou for writing them, we read them with with my daddy every night. We would love to hear more about Ronduin his chickens, Sr. Andrew and the castle, they have become our favorite stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jackson-Veitchii
    May 3, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Where’s chapter 20!? We’re loving it

    Liked by 1 person

  6. May 3, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for your kind feedback

    Like

  7. May 5, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    My daughter’s 1st grade class in Oregon are following this story. I am following you and transferring the stories over to our google documents page (with credits!) when the new chapters come out. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nadine
    May 6, 2020 at 11:02 am

    We are reading, and always excited to find out what happens. U.S. 8 years, 7 years, 5 years, and 3 years (the oldest 3 children are most interested; the youngest less so). Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tara
    May 6, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Hello! We are still reading along and enjoying the story with everyone. It is very helpful and grounding to us during this time. It has become something they enjoy and look forward to every night. Thank you for sharing. We are loving being on this journey with Ronduin.

    2 children in NY, US. 6 and 9.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Rachel Quinn
    May 10, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    We are still loving this story and it is a huge help as my 7y.o. only-child daughter is talking lately about the loneliness she faces with not seeing friends. She loves this story and is excited on the nights we get to read it. Thank you for creating this!

    AZ, USA

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Melissa
    May 11, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    I read these to my daughter while she knits for her class, nearly everyday. Then I tell my younger son the story the next day.
    Thank you so much for doing these. We are
    very grateful. We love the story so much. You are so creative!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 11, 2020 at 8:31 pm

      I’m so glad the story is meeting your children. I love the idea of telling it to your son the second day !

      Like

  12. Natalie Fairlie
    May 14, 2020 at 8:59 am

    Loving it! Reading a chapter to my 3 children each night they are very curious and we love it!! Thank you. Natalie

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 14, 2020 at 9:26 am

      So happy your family is connecting with the story! You are almost caught up with me as a writer. I’m writing 2 chapters a week. Wish I could write faster as I know many would like a new chapter every day

      Like

  13. Heather Demir
    May 25, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    Hello! My 6 year old son requests to listen to this story every night before bed. I am US American (kids are half Turkish) living in Turkey. I think my son identifies with Ronduin a lot. He wants to do the activities that robduin does :). The story has also proven useful for him in processing his sadness regarding the quarantine. Thank you for making it available to us!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 25, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      I am so happy to hear that this story is helping your son. I love hearing that the story helps motivate children to try to do the activities that Ronduin does. Chapter 24 has a fun activity that helps with math.

      Like

  14. Melissa Arbotante Maglana
    June 3, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    I am reading this to my 6 year old daughter. We are from the Philippines.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. June 5, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    My daughters, seven and five, and I are really enjoying the story. I know a number of other first graders from the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor are also reading this! We attend there too.
    Jennie

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 5, 2020 at 9:04 pm

      It means a lot to me to hear that families are enjoying the story. Thank you for responding!

      Like

  16. Danielle Gregorio
    June 6, 2020 at 10:42 am

    We are in California and have been enjoying this story. My kids are 8 and almost 6.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 6, 2020 at 11:15 am

      Thank you for your kind feedback. I’m glad you are enjoying the story

      Like

  17. Katie Frazer
    June 12, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    Hi there,
    We’re in Melbourne, Australia. Even though I’ve been getting the emails for a while, I only started reading the story to my 8 year old daughter about a week and half ago.
    We’re reading a few chapters a day to catch up, and loving it.
    Zara goes to a Steiner (Waldorf) school here, we started back this week so trying to get back into the school routine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 12, 2020 at 9:18 pm

      I often think it would be more rewarding to start the story like you did. I write two short chapters a week and wish I could write them faster, so it’s slower going once you catch up. I recommend that parents use the Waldorf approach to stories by reliving them artistically through painting, drawing, modelling or engaging in some of the activities Ronduin does in the story.

      Like

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