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, sewing a bean bag, 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/
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 slept with his new throwing sack under his pillow.
As soon as he opened his eyes he felt under his pillow and pulled out the throwing sack. Sitting up, his finger traced around its edges to be sure all the seams were tight, especially the last spot that he had stitched up after filling the sack with pease.
Ronduin closed his eyes and felt the weight of the throwing sack in his hand. It was about as heavy as an apple and, when he squeezed it into a round shape, it was as big as an apple. When he opened his eyes and pulled back his bed curtain, he smiled as he realized that the perfect name for his very red throwing sack was Apple.
“Good morning, Apple,” said Ronduin. “You are very young still. So I won’t throw you just yet.”
Holding Apple, Ronduin slid his feet to the floor and walked to the window. “Look,” said Ronduin, holding Apple up to to see the view. “It looks like a lake, but it’s not. It’s a flood and it will go away. And where the water is now we will someday see fields of oats and barley. But you have to be patient. We don’t know when the water will go away. Now you must rest while I get dressed. Then you get to meet the chickens.”
Ronduin walked back to his bed, smoothed the pillow and gently set Apple in the center of the puffy mound. He watched Apple while he dressed and then gently tucked Apple into the deep pocket in his trousers.
“You will be safe in there,” he said and then gathered up the food bucket and the water jug and made his way through the hallway to the balcony where he placed the bucket and the jug on the floor. Sunrise ran right up to Ronduin. He scooped her up with one hand and used the other hand to reach into his pocket and pull out Apple.
“Apple, meet Sunrise,” he said. “Sunrise, meet Apple.”
Sunrise pecked at Apple. “Don’t be afraid, Apple,” said Ronduin.” Sunrise won’t hurt you. Now back to my pocket for a moment.”
Ronduin filled the food bowl, dumped the water bowl and refilled it and then he put straw in the basket and collected two lovely eggs. When he pulled Apple out of his pocket, he said, “I think it’s time for you to learn to jump, but not here when you could fall off the balcony.”
Ronduin carried Apple into the hallway and set down the bucket and the jug.
“Now let’s try one little jump,” said Ronduin to Apple. He held Apple at waist level and gave the throwing sack a tiny toss, so it only flew up as high as Ronduin’s eyes. Catching it, he said, “That was easy, wasn’t it?”
Ronduin threw Apple again and again, never higher than his head. He always caught Apple and Apple never fell to the floor.
“Are you ready to fly higher?” asked Ronduin. He looked at Apple for a moment until he was sure she was ready. He threw Apple up so high that she almost touched the high ceiling. When she fell down, he caught her.
“If you like going high, we can try it again,” said Ronduin.
He was sure Apple liked flying really high, so he threw her again and again and again. Just when Ronduin was thinking that Apple had a magical ability to always land in the right place in his hands, she landed on the high part of the scaffolding.
“Don’t worry, said Ronduin.”I’ll be right there.”
Ronduin clambered up as quickly as he could and found Apple leaning against a board. “You look like you want a rest,” he said. ” And it’s time to check on the water in the first floor. I have to tell my parents whether it’s going up or down or just staying the same.”
Ronduin put Apple into his pocket and, carrying the bucket and the jug, found his way around the scaffolding, down the stairs and around the furniture stored in the second floor hallway. Ronduin left the bucket and the jug near the wall on the second step and took Apple out of his pocket.
“I won’t let you fly about in here,” said Ronduin. “You just landed on the scaffolding because you’re tired. I can’t let you fly off to take a rest here. Because, if you’re still tired and don’t come right back to me, you could end up underwater.”
Ronduin was so busy talking with Apple that he got as far as the last dry step before he looked at the water level. Now he noticed something.
“Look, Apple, the water has gone down half a step! The water was right up to this step. But, now It’s going down! It really is! Look, the wall is still wet where the water was yesterday. And that means we have to mark that place! We have to take a stone out like Cook Agnes said they did in the last flood to show the highest level of the water.”
Ronduin had not heard the door open at the top of the stairs. But, now he heard his mother’s voice.
“Ronduin, you are late for porridge. The sun was fully risen long ago,” she said. “I thought I might find you here.”
“I’m sorry I’m late,” said Ronduin. “I guess I was distracted by my throwing sack. If you come down here you can see what happened! The water is going down! And we have to remember this spot and take out a stone. It’s gone down half a step.”
“Yes,” said the Queen. “We will want to mark the highest level. I will bring down this water jug and we can leave it on the step that is at the highest level of the flood .”
Ronduin was about to slide Apple into his pocket, but his mother was already beside him holding the water jug.
“Oh, I see who you were talking to,” she said. “Apple must be your throwing sack. When I was a child, I found a beautiful white stone. I named him Balder and I talked to him every day. I would carry him around from room to room and take him outside. I liked to set him in the window in bright light and he would seem to light up from within. I always felt that he made my day brighter. I think Apple will make your days brighter too.”
Here is the portal to Chapter 24 : https://childrengrowing.com/2020/05/18/the-secret-prince-chapter-24-a-bird-in-the-castle/