28 March 2012

Creating Young Local Historians Project

I've had a fascinating time working with Lindy Sugars, the president of the Ashgrove Historical Society, helping to design a project to encourage young members take an interest in and get involved with local history.

We've designed some workshops and are applying for BCC Community History Grant funding to trial the workshops and evaluate their popularity with young people and their ability to attract new young membership of the Ashgrove Historical Society.

The ninety minute workshops will be run in the local library and utilize sets of historical objects, characters and settings from Ashgrove history.

A typical workshop will include a mix of:

- guessing competition about the connections between specific photos and objects
for example, photo of Alexander Stewart in kilt, a penny and a historical photo of Glenlyon House (ca. 1870)

Alexander Stewart

Glenlyon House ca 1890

- listening to and creating fictional and factual local history stories
- best team story with felt pen illustration
- utilising Google Street view to explore local settings
- publishing text of created history stories on project blog
- embedding group podcast recording of story in blog
- games
- creating Facebook posts about workshop discoveries
- creating QR code (Quick Response code) for the blog entry site and asking young people to help distribute them to friends and community groups they belong to.

Here's the QR code for the Young Explorers of Ashgrove's History blog. Scan it to get back to that wonderful project.

I'm sure we'll come up with more games and exercises and lots of stories as we go. Should be fun.

 If you see lots of cubs, scouts and young library users with handfuls of QR code cards around Ashgrove grab one and scan it and see what fascinating new local history fact you can learn.

13 October 2011

Yr 7F Jindalee State School :

2011 was an exciting year for the Year 7 classes at Jindalee State School because they all went together on a camp to Tallebudgera on the Gold Coast.

When they got out of the bus they could see lots of buildings and some had work being done on them. On the far side of the camp was the ocean with the surf rolling into the beach and on the other side there was Tallebudgera Creek.

tallebudgera creek

As they looked across the creek they could see the scrub rolling up to the top of Burleigh Heads National Park.

One of the teachers, Mrs Foxcraft, said, "Students, welcome to Tallebudgera Camp. In a minute I'm going to be introducing you to one of the camp instructors. While you are at Tallebudgera, one of the rules is - anytime one of the instructors asks you to do something, you do what they say. Is that clear?"

"Yes Mrs Foxcraft."

"Good now your luggage is off the bus so I want you to grab your bags and file past me. I will give you a cabin tag. That is the cabin you'll be sleeping in. So take your luggage to your cabin and make up your bunk. I would like everyone back here in 10 minutes to meet Bob."

So that's what they did, grabbed their suitcases, grabbed their tags and off they went. The cabins held up to seven students. There were three double bunks and one single bunk. Most of the cabins worked it out quite peacefully but in one of the girls cabins, a fight broke out.

Mrs Foxcraft heard a scream. She went running down to the cabin and when she arrived there were two girls screaming at each other.

"I'm not going on the top bunk!"

"Yes, you are!"

"Girls. Stop fighting please. We've only been here 10 minutes." She closed her eyes, spun around three times and the girl she was pointing at got to sleep on the top bunk. She left the cabin to check on the rest of them.

When the students got up to the assembly area though, the instructors were there but the teacher wasn't. Everyone was looking around but they couldn't see her anywhere so they sat down and waited. After a few minutes, one of the instructors came over and said, "Your teacher did say, she would be back here didn't she?"

One girl said, "Yes. She said she was going to introduce you. Oh my name's Carla by the way."

The instructor said, "Oh my name's Bob. You can call me Mr Singer."

Bob said, "Look can one of you volunteer to go down to the teachers' cabin and see if she is there?"

The school captain said, "I'll do that."

He jumped up and ran down to the teachers' cabin and knocked on the door. There was no answer. He knocked again but there was no answer. He was just about to go back when he saw something at the foot of the steps. He bent over and picked up the teacher's name tag and realised that it was partly cracked.

He ran back and said to the instructor, "She's not there but I found her name tag at the bottom of the steps."

Bob said, "Ah, that sounds a bit serious. Everyone wait here. I'll go and make an announcement over the PA system. She might be in hearing. She might have just lost her tag and someone stood on it."

Bob walked into the hall and into the office and they heard over the PA. "Attention, attention, we're looking for Mrs Foxcraft. If Mrs Foxcraft can hear this can you come to assembly please. We're outside near the main hall."

The students listened but there was just silence apart from the traffic on the main road. They could hear the waves crashing onto the beach.

Bob tried again, "Mrs Foxcraft are you within the camp area? If anyone sees Mrs Foxcraft ask her to come to the assembly area please."

He walked back out and said, "No sign of her eh?"

Students and teachers said, "No."

Bob said, 'We'd better organise a search and I think I'll call the police just in case."

Well pretty soon the students were organised into search parties with a teacher or an instructor with each group of students. First of all they looked around the camp area.

Just then the two girls that had been fighting came out of a cabin and said, "What's happening?"

"We're looking for Mrs Foxcraft. She's disappeared. We've found her badge."

They said, "That's strange. We were just getting over our fight and we didn't come up to assembly but we did hear something."

"What did it sound like?"

"It was like glass breaking or something."

Bob said, "Oh, we'd better check all the windows. Can everyone run around all the windows and see if any are broken. Come straight back here."

"There's no windows broken anywhere."

Bob scratched his head and looked down at his feet and realised that there was broken pieces of glass on the grass. He bent down and picked some up.

One of the students said, "That looks like it could be from Mrs Foxcraft's glasses."

Five steps away they found the broken frames of her glasses and some scuff marks on the ground.

"She must have been grabbed and swung around and her glasses fell off. I think she was dragged away. They went that way," said a student pointing towards Tallebudgera Creek.

They stood looking but the silence was broken by the strident shreak of a police siren and they turned and looked as two police vehicles pulled up in the car park.

QLDPOL Traffic Branch F6 Typhoon

Four police officers were quickly out of the cars and one opened up the back of the ute and let out a big, black labrador police dog. They walked over and the instructor said, "It's a bit suspicious. One of the teachers is missing after she said she would be here at assembly. When we organised a search we found these."

He held up the broken glasses and pointed to the scuff marks.

One of the police officers said, "Right we'll see what we can find."

They brought the dog over so he could sniff at the broken glasses.  The dog sniffed, barked and went bounding over the sand towards Tallebudgera Creek. The police officer called out, "Burlo. Burlo."

But the dog just jumped into Tallebudgera Creek and started swimming towards the other side.

One of the students said, "Hey, he's swimming towards Burleigh Heads."

"Come back you stupid dog." But the dog kept swimming.

Everyone started to run along the creek and across the bridge to the other side of the creek. They ran along the track towards where the dog had disappeared.

"Burlo, Burlo, Here boy."

"Oh where's that dog gone?"

They heard him barking in the scrub and went running along the track towards the sounds. Past the scrub turkey's mound and around the corner towards the big, black basalt columns.

Well that's as far as we completed the story in our story creation session. The year sevens have agreed to finish it off for us. Come back next week to read the rest of the story.

10 October 2011

'Oh that flood!'

Centenary State High School is located in the middle of Jindalee, and is sandwiched between 4 streets; Jarup, Curragundi, Moolanda and Yallambee.  It is built on a hill, which can make travelling around the school tedious and tiring, however it did that the area was not subject to flooding during the Brisbane floods of January 2011.  Jindalee State School on the other hand was heavily flooded, particularly one block.  It was decided by the Principals of both Centenary High and Jindalee State School that the year 7s at the state school would be housed at Centenary for the first 8 weeks of the school year while the flooding was dealt with.

I saw a small blond girl near the tuckshop.  She was wearing a yellow and blue shirt with a large sun on the left side of her chest that said ‘Jindalee State School’.  She appeared to be nervous.  I came across to her and said, “Are you okay?”  She shrugged and said, “I feel a little out of place, but I’m okay”.  She then shuffled off silently and sat on a patch of grass.  I noticed that she had assumed a cowering position by sitting down and hugging her knees.  Her eyes were darting from left to right and back again, and her lip was quivering.

I realised that she seemed anything but okay.  I went over to her again.  I bent down and patted her on the back, and asked her again, “Are you sure you’re okay?  All of a sudden the small girl jumped up and screamed in my face, “Don’t touch me!”  She waved her hands around like a lunatic, and before I knew it, she slammed a meat pie from the tuckshop straight into my face. She then said sighing, “Oh that flood!”

I was confused, why would that small nervous girl shove a pie into my face? The pie dripped slowly off of my face and onto the grass. The girl suddenly burst out crying and ran away into a toilet saying the word “Flood”, over and over again. I then remembered what she had said before. “Oh that flood!” What does that mean? It must be something to do with the floods earlier this year, but what? I then saw the girl walking out of the toilet, body quivering with red teary eyes. I was about to approach when she saw me and ran off to another block. The bell rang and I knew that I had to ask her after class what she meant about the floods.

Once class was over I raced down to the block where I saw the girl running to earlier which was the English block. I found her coming out of one of the classrooms head down, looking forlorn. I approached her and before she could do anything, I began steering her away from the rest of her class back to the tuckshop. Once we got there I asked her as gently as I could what she meant when she said “oh that flood!” and suddenly, the girl’s face had a faraway and distant look to it and for once she didn’t run away but instead, she launched into a story.

“It was a day that wouldn’t stop raining. It was the Christmas holidays so we didn’t have to go to school. It had been raining nearly every day but not as bad as that day. I never liked rain so I stayed inside watching movies, huddled on the couch, not wanting to go outside at all. Suddenly thunder rumbled and lighting struck so I buried my head into the couch because I hated storms more than I hated rain. But this was no ordinary storm. As the storm violently continued on, a strange noise started ringing in the house. It sounded like a creepy wind gust that had an eerie feel to it. I was curious so I ventured off the couch to discover where the noise was coming from. After looking through a few rooms I found that the noise was coming from my bedroom. But when I opened my bedroom door I got the biggest shock of my life!

Dozens of lit candles were floating in my room. They provided the only light from the pitch black bedroom. There was a mini storm of lightning, rain and thunder pouring down from my ceiling which created a mini flood on my carpeted floor. I was so scared and shocked that I went to leave the room when I realised that the door was somehow locked and I was stuck in there. I screamed my head off for help but I then realised that my dad was working and that my mum had gone out grocery shopping. I was helpless!

I didn’t know what to do and then I saw some writing on the wall in the colour red that said, “You have been warned from this storm. Much pain and loss will come your way!” I wept and wept. Those very frightening words reminded me of a story an old man was telling me when my parents and I moved into this house a few years ago. Apparently someone died here in this house before us and his spirit still lives in the house, creating weather like no other. My parents told me it was just a silly old ghost story and I believed them until now.

Between sobs and screams for help my parents arrived home and rushed into my room which suddenly turned back to normal. They started asking me what was wrong, but I couldn’t speak so they comforted me and gave me a glass of water; none of which helped. Not late after that, the floods occurred and we had to evacuate. We stayed at a friend’s house and helped clean up the neighbourhood after the wrath of the floods finished. But I still couldn’t stop thinking about what happened in my bedroom. Our house was destroyed which was devastating but we soon enough bought a new house a few streets down from our old one.  Whenever I walk by the remains of my old house I can always see a faint glow of a candle hovering within the rubble.”

I was shocked beyond belief. Was this girl telling me the truth? She seems genuine, so I comforted her and this time she took my sympathy with gratitude and we soon enough became friends. But even to this day I have never stopped thinking about that story and how there always seemed to be a faint glow of a candle at that girl’s old house.

co-created by
Mikala Crawley
Year 8
Centenary State High School
as part of the CLASS Project
with Daryll Bellingham
(the first 3 paras of the story were created in a group improvisation with the Year 8's)

05 October 2011

Story Starters

It's good to keep narrative structure (character, setting, problem, resolution) in mind when you are starting a story.

Here are some settings that also suggest problems. See if you can create a story with one of these ideas as your story start.

Brisbane River Flood - Jan 2011

Need an umbrella? - Brisbane Floods
Who left the umbrella? What happened to him/her? What happened inside this house?

Children's playground floating down the river - Brisbane Floods
Children's play equipment in the river. How? Why? What happened?

Brisbane Flood Aftermath, 16th January 2011

Kangaroo Pt Brisbane Floods Jan 2011

Storms and Cyclones

Cyclone Yasi 2.2011 
Tree brought down by Cyclone Yasi

Lightning, Australia
What were they doing out in that storm?

Anecdotes & Tall Stories at Centenary High

Spent the day at Centenary High today with Year 10's, Year 8's and Year 11's.

We were working with anecdotes with the 10's and 11's and tall stories with the year 8's.

Anecdotes are a bit challenging for high school students because they are basically personal stories. Still my 'All the People Who ' game comes in handy.

Tall Stories are related of course. Often the start of a tall story is an anecdote. Worked with the year 8s to do the start of a tall story set in Jindalee. Here's the start. They have to finish it off.

Centenary State High School is located in the middle of Jindalee, and is sandwiched between 4 streets; Jarup, Curragundi, Moolanda and Yallambee.  It is built on a hill, which can make travelling around the school tedious and tiring, however it did mean that the area was not subject to flooding during the Brisbane floods of January 2011. 

Jindalee State School on the other hand was heavily flooded, particularly one block.  It was decided by the Principals of both Centenary High and Jindalee State School that the year 7s at the state school would be housed at Centenary for the first 8 weeks of the school year while the flooding was dealt with.

One morning I saw a small blond girl near the tuckshop.  She was wearing a yellow and blue shirt with a large sun on the left side of her chest that said ‘Jindalee State School’.  She appeared to be nervous. 

I came across to her and said, “Are you okay?”  

She shrugged and said, “I feel a little out of place, but I’m okay”.  She then shuffled off silently and sat on a patch of grass.  

I noticed that she had assumed a cowering position by sitting down and hugging her knees.  Her eyes were darting from left to right and back again, and her lip was quivering.

I realised that she seemed anything but okay.  I went over to her again.  I bent down and patted her on the back, and asked her again, “Are you sure you’re okay?” 

All of a sudden, the small girl jumped up and screamed in my face, “Don’t touch me!”  She waved her hands around like tree branches in a storm, and, before I knew it, she slammed a meat pie from the tuckshop straight into my face.

I got an email today with a Year 8 story in it. Mikala has finished the story off. Here it is.

04 October 2011

Gindie Silos

A little over 10 years ago in 2001, I was invited to take part in a Writers in Residence project in Springsure. Along with a number of writers, poets, illustrators and publishers I was flown up to Emerald and then driven down to Springsure. I spent most of the week working in two schools in Springsure itself.

I enjoy both telling and creating stories with students and Springsure was no exception. Of all the stories that we created then, there are two that I still regularly tell. One was from the Catholic School, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Primary School, and the other from the state primary to year ten school.

The state school one was called 'The Gindie Silos'. It came about because I chipped a school student who was sitting up the back of the group. He'd lifted up a bandaid on his leg and was scratching an itchy scab. I told him to put the bandaid back on and asked him what happened.

He told us all what happened in his backyard in Gindie and we worked on creating the story. You can read it as I published it on my website here.

Now I usually try to publish more than just the text. I usually invite students to do some illustrations. Find a Google map reference, maybe some Creative Commons photos and sometimes an audio podcast.

Since 2001 the Google maps and satellite images have got heaps better and so has their street view. Now if you want to have a look at the silos in the Gindie Silos stories you can. Go here and place the 'street view orange man' near the yellow house marker.

Here's a screen grab from the street view.

After the week had finished we were driven back to Emerald to fly home and, of course, drove through Gindie. I had trouble working out which house was David's but we did drive right past the silos and there was some burnt grass around the base of them. Maybe that's why I remembered the story so well.

02 September 2011

Scrub Turkey Adventure

One Monday at Belmont School, a year one student asked the teacher, " Miss, are we going to Boondal Wetlands tomorrow or on Thursday?"

"Tomorrow, Jimmie. Don't forget your hat, your water bottle and your lunch. Don't bring anything else except you permission slips please."
Well, the next day after parade all of the students were excited but their teacher said, "We'll stay here till the bus arrives."
As soon as they heard a bus horn the teacher said, "Come on line up at the door. I need to check you off on the list."

They walked together down to the bus and when the door opened with a hiss they walked up the steps and sat down in the seats.

Once the teacher had collected all of the permission slips and marked everyone off on her role, she said, "All right, we are going on an excursion to Boondal Wetlands. On the way, stay in your seats and watch where we go."

Jimmy said, "Will we go over the Gateway Bridge miss?"

"Yes Jimmy."

"Cool. You can see ships in the river from the top of the bridge."

Well the bus driver closed the door, started up the bus and drove slowly out of the carpark at the back of the school. He turned left into Scrub Road and turned right at the traffic lights into Old Cleveland Road.

"Next left bus driver. That's the Gateway entrance," said Jimmy.

The bus accelerated onto the Gateway and was soon zooming along with the cars and trucks. It slowed down at the toll booth and as it went by they heard the 'beep' of the toll tag.

At the top of the bridge everyone was looking down to the river and shore enough there was a passenger liner being pulled down the river by a tug boat. They waved to the passengers on the deck and were really pleased when some waved back.

Not far past the airport turnoff the bus slowed down and turned off the Gateway. They drove around the roundabout and into the Boondal Wetlands Centre. Standing in the carpark was one of the Boondal Wetlands Guides.

"Welcome to the Boondal Wetlands today we are going to go for a walk along the track and see what bush tucker and what animals and plants we can see."

"Excuse me, what's bush tucker."

"Food. Bush food. The Aboriginal people who lived around here knew all the plants and animals that were good for eating."


"No, bush tucker is good for you. Not that we are going to kill any animals to eat today but we should see lots."

Off they set along the track following the Boondal Wetlands Guide. They walked over a bridge and beside a swamp.

"Now, what can you all here?"

"Quack, quack, quack."

"That's right. Ducks, Black Ducks. They're really good to eat."

"Oooooh. Do you eat their feathers?"

"No. You have to burn the feathers off in the fire or pluck them out.

Now look at this paperbark tree here. What do you think you could use the bark for?"

"Cooking ducks?"

"Well yes you could. You could also cook fish or crabs. You wrap them up in wet bark and bury them in the ashes of a fire. You can also use it to make a roof of a house."

"What's that bird?"

"That's a scrub turkey. Look at it scratching in the leaves and grass."

"Dad said that they're like a bulldozer with feathers."

"That's about right," said the guide, "he's making a mound."

"What's the mound for."

"Well that's where Mrs Scrub Turkey lays her eggs."

"Not in a nest? Birds lay eggs in nests."

"Yes but not Mrs Scrub Turkey. She lays her eggs in the mound that Mr Scrub Turkey scratches up and they keep nice and warm. Don't leave anything laying around or that scrub turkey will scratch it up onto the mound."

'Beep, beep, bip, bip, bop.'

'What bird's making that sound?"

"Nah, that's not a bird that's young Jimmy over there playing on his video game."

"Jimmy!" said the teacher, "Bring that game here."

"Oh Miss."

"Well put it in your pocket then and listen. You might learn something."

Jimmy hurried to catch up and slipped his video game into his pocket. Well, he thought he did. He wasn't concentrating and it fell straight onto the path. 

As quick as feathered lightning that Scrub Turkey scratched it up onto the mound.

"Hey Jimmy look. The Scrub Turkey is going to play on your video game!"

"Oh no," said Jimmy, "Give me back my game you silly turkey."

Jimmy went to climb up onto the mound to get back his video game but the Scrub Turkey was too fast. It scratched Jimmy up onto the mound as well and was soon covering him over with leaves.


The teacher said, "Oh no." She started to walk up to the mound and you can guess what happened can't you?

Chmmm, chmmm, chmmm. The Scrub Turkey scratched the teacher up onto the mound as well. "Help! Help!"

To be continued ...

31 August 2011

Spanish Pilgrims Magic Soccer Game

One morning in Spain, the church bells were ringing as a line of pilgrims were walking down from the mountain towards the church. The first in line was a priest carrying a cross. 

The second in line was a famous Portugese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo carrying a soccer ball. He had a broad smile on his face and when everyone saw him coming they all cheered. 

Third in line was a young girl. Her name was Lucy and she was looking really sad.

She was saying, "Where's my mummy?"

When all the people heard her they said, "Oh."

An old Spanish Grandmother came hurrying out. She had a shawl around her shoulder and a walking stick.  

She reached out her hand to touch the girl on the shoulder and a ring on her finger sparkled in the sunlight. 

The old lady said something in Spanish to the girl. The ring turned into a necklace around the girl's neck. She said, "Oh that's nice. I wish, I wish my mother was here to see it." 

There was a loud woosh and her mother appeared and gave her a big hug. "Oh. Wow! That's great. This necklace must be magic!"

The priest turned to her and said, "Sssssh!"

Lucy said, "Oh I wish you would go away!" and woosh, the priest disappeared.

Ronaldo the soccer player said, "Cool!"

Lucy said, "Oh. You're Ronaldo the soccer player. Oh, I wish I could play soccer with you."

Woosh! Lucy and Ronaldo appeared in a huge soccer stadium and all of the people were cheering.

The soccer ball landed between them. Ronaldo kicked the ball to Lucy.

Lucy headed the ball back to Ronaldo. Every called out "Viva Lucy!" Lucy said, "Cool this is great!"

Ronaldo kicked to ball again and Lucy kicked it forward to Ronaldo and kicked the ball into the goal.

Hooray! Lucy and Ronaldo were so excited that they went running across the field and skidded across the grass on their knees. Lucy was jumping up and down she was so excited but she didn't realise that the necklace had caught on the corner post and broken and that the jewels were scattering across the soccer field.

The other team kicked off with the ball sailing high up into the air. Lucy called out, "Oh I wish I could intercept that ball."
But nothing magic happened. Lucy missed it and one of the other team members scored a goal.

Ronaldo gave Lucy a disappointed look and Lucy realised something was wrong but what? 

She reached up to touch the necklace but it wasn't there.

The other team had the ball again and Lucy said, "Oh I've got to do something quickly. Oh I wish someone would help me."

High up in the stadium was sitting an old Spanish lady with a walking stick. She pointed her walking stick at the broken necklace where it lay on the grass. With a woosh, all of the stones slipped back onto the necklace and the necklace came flying through the air.

It hovered over Lucy's head and when she looked up it dropped over her neck. Lucy said, "Oh, I wish we could win!" 

Lucy could see the ball flying towards her. She jumped up and headed the ball down towards Ronaldo. He passed it back to Lucy who gave the ball a tremendous kick and it sailed over the goalie's head and into the corner of the goal.

"Yes, yes. We've won. We've won."

They ran off the field and into the change rooms as everyone cheered. Ronaldo said, "Thank you. Thank you." He gave Lucy a big kiss.

Lucy said, "Oh it wasn't me. It was the old lady's magic necklace."

Ronaldo said, "Lucy could you give me the magic necklace?"

Lucy said, "Oh no. I need it to wish my mum back."

As soon as she did, Lucy's mum appeared, and Lucy said, " I wish, I wish my mum could marry Ronaldo."

There was a woosh and the priest appeared with his cross and straight away he married Ronaldo and Lucy's mum. And sometimes, just sometimes, Lucy lets Ronaldo borrow the magic necklace so he can score more goals.

(This story was created by Daryll Bellingham and the students from year 2A and 2B from Belmont State School as part of the 2011 Belmont Literature Festival.)

30 August 2011

Jimmy and the Trampoline Bug

One day Jimmy and Lucy were playing on Lucy's trampoline.

They were seeing who could bounce the highest.

Jimmy bounced so high, he hit his head on a branch of a tree.

Lucy said, "Are you all right Jimmy?"

"Yes," said Jimmy, "My head hurts though."

When Jimmy took his hand down from his head, his hand was covered in blood.

"Mum, mum. Jimmy has been hurt."

"Oh my goodness," said Lucy's mum, "We'd better call the ambulance."

It wasn't long before they heard the ambulance come driving down the street with its siren wailing.

The ambulance officers were just putting a bandage on Jimmy's head when they saw something orange and green with purple spots in the cut on his head. With forceps they pulled out an orange and green bug with purple spots on it.

"Wow. That bug looks serious. We'd better take him in a specimen jar to the hospital."

 "Lucy can you run next door and tell Jimmy's mum that he has to go to hospital?"

Lucy ran up to the door and knocked but no one came to the door. All she could hear was someone snoring. "Wake up Jimmy's mum. He has to go to hospital."

Lucy came and told the ambulance officers and they said, "You'd better come in the ambulance with Jimmy then."

When Jimmy was wheeled into the hospital, the doctor said, "My goodness Jimmy, your cut has healed already. How did that happen?"

Lucy said, "Maybe it was the orange and green bug with purple spots."

"You could be right," said the doctor, "We'd better do some research."

They put the bug in it's own insect home in the hospital so it could help heal other cuts on patients.

When Jimmy's mum arrived at the hospital she took both Jimmy and Lucy home.

The next day they moved the trampoline so that no one would hit their head on the tree when they were jumping high.

(This story was created by Daryll Bellingham with Prep C and Prep D at Belmont State School as part of the Book Week Literature Festival.)

29 August 2011

Terracotta Magic

One day an iron ore ship was being loaded at a wharf in Western Australia.

A workman stood watching the red iron ore travel along a conveyor belt into the hold of the ship.

He saw something glinting like gold and said, "Stop the conveyor belt. A gold ring just fell into the ship!"

But the foreman said, "No! There are too many ships to load. They are waiting for iron in China."

The ship was filled and set sail for China. No knew that the gold ring was an ancient magic ring and when the ship got to China and was being unloaded the ring grew wings and flew away across seas and rivers.

It flew across a wide plain and across Shaanxi provence where it flew around the terracotta soldiers being dug out of the sand. There were terracotta warriors, terracotta horses and a terracotta general who stood with one hand extended.

The ring flew down and landed on the finger of the terracotta general.

"At last," said the general, "We have been waiting for thousands of years to come to life and fight for the emperor. Army of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang, come to life and march across the land!"

The whole terracotta army marched out of the pits and across the plain with spears and swords. Soldiers on terracotta horses rode with their terracotta bows and arrows.

People ran for their lives as the terracotta army followed the general with the magic gold ring.

But the general made a mistake. He marched into a wide valley just as a wild storm broke and as the rain fell and the valley filled with water the terracotta army got soggy and melted in the waters. The ring fell off the soggy generals finger and floated and swam down the river.

Eventually it was swallowed by a fish that swam all the way across the ocean to Australia.

So be careful, if you are ever fishing and find a gold ring in a fish's mouth.

Don't ever put it on your finger. It is a magic ring.

(Created by Daryll Bellingham and years 4B and 4C
as part of the Belmont State School Book Week Literature Festival.)