My literacy class are writing quirky fairy tales where rather than waiting to be rescued by a heroic man, our princesses pluck up the gusto to free themselves and face the foes of the enchanted forest themselves.
The writing focus is about using dialogue, using parenthesis and being able to write humorously through wordplay, subversive characters and unusual vocabulary. Each child is creating their own characters for our heroine to face (my favourite one is called the No Eyed Deer…) and my example is Cedric the Multlingual Centaur.
Here is my version for the kids to see, and for anyone else who happens to have drifted onto this blog.
Ramona and Cedric the Multilingual Centaur
As the echoes of the falling tree faded into nothingness, Ramona skipped through the forest in search of the village, nursing her badly bleeding hand. Through a gap in the ferns, she spotted a dusty path and quickly got herself back on track.
“Phwoar” she whispered to herself in disbelief at the memory of her own strength. “I am hench!”
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of shaky rustling in the bushes beside the path. Ramona stopped dead in her tracks (metaphorically dead, not literally dead). Silence. But then not silence! With a clip and a clop, out from the bushes trotted a weird-looking foppish manhorse.
Staring aggressively into the face of me, the invisible narrator, the manhorse furrowed his brow.
“I dare you…” started the manhorse “… to call me a manhorse again. I am a centaur, a proud forest beast deserving of your respect and awe. Get your facts right, narrator.”
The blasphemous manhorse became more furious as I called him a manhorse again. Oops, and again.
“I’ll break your fingers with my fast-moving hooves!” whimpered the harmless manhorse who couldn’t frighten a new-born baby, never mind a fearless writer like me.
Suddenly realising that he could not compete with the omnipotent wrath of the narrator, the manhorse admitted defeat and apologised to me.
“Oy, Sir! You’re getting carried away – it’s like you’ve forgotten me or something! Just call him a centaur so I can get on with outsmarting and defeating him!” shouted Ramona.
Humbled, I decided to shut up and just narrate.
Ramona peered at the centaur, with indecision written all over her face. Remembering that she had randomly been copying words from the dictionary and tattooing them onto her forehead before Luke’s arrival at the castle, (captivity is boring, you have to fill the time somehow) she quickly began rubbing off all of the ink.
The centaur became distracted by her vigorous rubbing.
“Hold on a second. Aren’t you the princess from the big castle?” the centaur asked.
Ramona decided she would try to seem confident in front of this terrifying beast.
“What’s it to you if I am… donkeyboy?”
The centaur’s face twitched with anger at the word ‘donkeyboy’.
“I can see you are in the mood for a life-threatening hoof-clobbering!” he growled in equine rage. “I thought princesses were meant to be radiant, pretty and polite. You are grim, ugly and rude… And you smell of milk.”
“Well!” Ramona retaliated with newfound swagger, “I thought centaurs were meant to be intelligent, noble and masculine. You look like you’ve been battered with a dumb-stick and you trot like a filly.”
Steam hissed out of the centaur’s ears.
“Quite the subversive heroine, aren’t you?” drawled the centaur, sarcastically. “Well luckily for you, you have decided to insult the one centaur in this forest who uses his brain more than his brawn, so I shan’t break your face just yet. Je te tuerai avec mes mots, pas mes sabots.”
“What was that last bit?”
“ਮੈਨੂੰ ਆਪਣੇ ਚਿਹਰੇ ਨੂੰ ਖਾ ਜਾਵੇਗਾ.”
“لا تثق بي.”
“I … are you multilingual or something?”
“Sie haben eine Minute, bis ich treten Sie Ihren Kopf.”
“Right, this is now officially annoying,” snapped Ramona, “If I wanted to spend my time speaking to a brick wall I would have stayed imprisoned in the castle.”
“Oh I am no brick wall, princess,” smirked the centaur, “I am Cedric the Multilingual Centaur. I speak every language (literally all of them). I am highly intellectual and rational, and now I am going to kill you for that time you called me donkeyboy. Just because I didn’t respond doesn’t mean I have forgotten.”
Ramona saw life flash before her eyes. She grabbed a wet leaf and rubbed the word ‘flash’ from off of her eyelids, where she had written it earlier, during the dictionary tattooing session that I narrated to you already.
‘How can I defeat this beast and find that guy I love so much?’ she thought to herself, desperately.
She had a brilliant idea.
“Spranty plippop janvier yoo broo?”
Cedric the Multilingual Centaur narrowed his eyes in slight confusion. Ramona noticed this, and continued speaking.
“Gwee? Gwee flower-oh. Zeegy ziggy buggy dude. Spratflat. Shprail.”
“Stop it”, Cedric warned.
“Prow prow yindle di graggle jaggle voobers. Reebanker froop.”
“What?! What are you saying?!”
“I’m just speaking gibberish, gosh. Yom yom trag! Can’t you speak gibberish, I thought you were supposed to be the great ‘Cedric the Multilingual Centaur’ who can speak every language.” Ramona goaded. “Rog blip blap!!!”
“Well… where did you learn to speak this Gibberish language? I thought I knew all of them!” Cedric shouted, furiously.
“Well it’s called Gibberish and so I learnt it in Gibber, obviously.”
“…Then I want to go to there! Where is this Gibber where I might learn to speak the language of Gibberish?”
Ramona thought fast.
“In there” she replied, coolly, pointing to the thick bubbling gloop of the bog. “Right at the bottom. Riiiiigh in it.”
Without any hesitation, Cedric the Multilingual Centaur threw his glasses to the ground (or rather he bashed them clumsily off his face with his hoof) and nosedived gracelessly into the bubbling bog.
Ramona put her hands on her hips and smiled.
“Hard to speak gibberish…” she declared to nobody, “…when you’ve suffocated to death in a bog!”
Having outwitted her polyglot foe, Ramona picked up the discarded glasses of the centaur, as a trophy of her crime, and skipped sweetly down the hill, feeling as if she could defeat any enemy the forest could throw at her (not literally throw).