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.
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. Also, a volunteer has offered to translate The Secret Prince into Russian!
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/
Also, you might want to sign up to receive an email with the full text of each chapter when it is posted on this blog.
Ronduin peered out his bedroom window very early in the morning. It was light enough that he could see birds floating below his window, but it was still dark enough that he could not tell whether they were ducks or sea gulls.
Then, suddenly, a loud quack told him that the birds were ducks. They bounded into the sky and climbed high enough to be lit by the first rays of sunshine. Ronduin watched the ducks flying toward the the forest. The last he saw of them, they appeared to be over the part of the woods that Ricard had pointed to one time when he told him about their little homestead.
“How I wish I could fly with those ducks to Mirabel’s house,” thought Ronduin.
The ducks looked down and saw a little house sitting on an island in the flooded forest. Here, the door opened, and a young girl named Mirabel, stepped outside and heard loud quacking in the sky. She carried a wooden bucket that held three fat turnips.
Mirabel saw the sky brighten and then turn pink. Now that the day had fully dawned, she was able to see that, under the shade of the trees, water still covered the forest floor.
She carried the bucket around to the back of the little house.
“Oh my,” she thought as she looked at the goat pen with a green boat tied to it. “Yesterday the goat pen was mostly underwater and today it is completely flooded. How can it be that the water has been slowly rising for days even though the rain stopped? Good thing the gate was left open so the goats could get out.”
Mirabel saw right away that the goats, Daisy, Bluebell and Firefly, had left their wet pen and had clambered up onto the wood pile. She tossed the three turnips on the ground and the goats climbed down and began chomping on them. This gave her a chance to take hold of the rope collar around Daisy’s neck.
Mirabel led Daisy to a big stump. Daisy jumped up on it with the turnip still in her mouth. Mirabel sat on a smaller stump and began to milk the goat. The milk shot in steady streams until Daisy decided she had given enough milk and jumped off the stump and climbed back up on the wood pile.
Now Mirabel looked across the flooded goat yard to where the trees parted in the forest. She was looking at the opening to the path that her family traveled to walk to town, the same path she had run home on so many times after running with Ronduin after school. Now the path looked like a river through the trees.
“I wonder where Ronduin is now,” she thought. “I wonder whether he’s upstairs in his house because his farm has water up to the first floor windows. Or, maybe his farm has a house like ours that has a bit of dry land to walk on.”
Thinking about running with Ronduin caused Mirabel to wonder whether their small patch of dry land might just have enough space for running. “I could run around and around and around the house,” she thought. “But not with a milk bucket. First I have to keep that safe from the goats. And if I take it inside, I’ll be given a job to do and I won’t get to run.”
Mirabel opened the garden gate and set the bucket down next to a kale plant that already showed yellow flowers.”I would pick those flowers to bring some beauty into the house,” she thought. “Except that would mean this kale would make fewer seeds.”
Mirabel stepped out of the garden and wrapped the rope around the fence post to secure the gate. Then she ran along the back of the little house past the goats who looked at her with curiosity. She slowed for the corner and then ran through the wood chopping area. She slowed again for the corner to the front of the house, then ran by the front door, slowed for the next corner and ran toward the flooded goat yard. Reaching the back yard, Mirabel stopped. She realized that she had never reached top speed in her loop around the house because she had to keep slowing down for the corners.
“But, even though I can’t run at top speed,” she thought, “it’s still running and it’s a miracle I’m out here alone.” Mirabel took off again, past the goats, around the corner into the wood chopping area and around the next corner and toward the door and suddenly she stopped.
Her mother had just stepped out the door following her little brother, Merek. And then the Mom from the baker’s family stepped out, followed by her two little twins, followed by Mirabel’s sister, Adelaide, and their older brother and the baker’s son. The small yard was full of people and not everyone was outside yet.
Mirabel heard laughter from inside the house. It was her father’s voice speaking and Sir Andrew and the baker laughing. Mirabel turned back and walked through the wood yard to collect the bucket.
There would be no more running today.
Here is the portal to Chapter 21 https://childrengrowing.com/2020/05/07/the-secret-prince-chapter-21-a-sack-of-pease/