I stand ready, tall and straight
With eagerness I anticipate
All that I Will do and say
While I’m here at school today.
After settling into our spaces, I told the story of The King of Bighorn Island, borrowed and modified from another inspiring blog, Schooling from the Heart. My version goes something like this:
One day the King of Bighorn Island learned that there was trouble in his kingdom. The hens weren’t laying any eggs, the plants weren’t giving fruit, and the Queen was always sad. He went to sit by the Lantern, which had always helped him find answers, but now its light was dim. He pondered as to what to do, and finally sent out word to the people to feed the hens more, give water to the plants, and come and love the Queen. So the people went out with food for the hens. They carried out their kitchen scraps and the children took the hens fat wiggly worms. Greens and weeds from the garden were fed the hens daily, and they served the hens all the corn that they had stored. Buckets of water, cans filled from the creek, barrels of rainwater and jars of pond water were given to the plants. From far and wide people came and gave the Queen hugs and kisses. The children cuddled up on her lap. The good people brought fresh baked bread, butter, cheese, eggs, and yogurt for the Queen, and they knitted her hats and scarves with songs on their lips to bring her happiness. But nothing worked.
The King visited the Wisewoman in her hut in the woods. She invited him in for tea, and as they sipped she said, “I have heard of the troubles you face dear King. Perhaps there is something I can do to help.”
The King said, “Any wisdom you might have dear lady will be welcome, for my heart grows heavy as the light of the Lantern is dimming daily and nothing I have thought of seems to work.”
“Well,” said the Wisewoman,”Give me three days to see what I find.”
They finished their tea and he took his leave. Then the Wisewoman packed up a bag and hiked up a trail in the woods to a cave by the top of the spring that fed the Sweetwater Creek, which flowed past her hut. Here she smoothed out a spot and drew a circle. Into the circle she placed a candle, which she lit. Then she threw her stones and shut her eyes. She sat like this, cross legged and eyes shut, for three days until the candle sputtered. When she opened her eyes, she found the answer she was seeking in the picture made by the stones and wax inside the circle. Then she packed up her things and smoothed out the circle, and hiked down the trail past her hut, all the way to the castle.
She met with the King and said, “I have the answer you seek and now need your permission to go out on a Quest across the great big waters. I must take with me the Lantern, your son Prince Broadwing, and my daughter Blossom in order to succeed.”
“My son!” exclaimed the King, “How can I part with him?” Then he thought for a while and spoke, “He is eager for adventure and would enjoy a Quest greatly. And if it is as you say, without his aid your Quest will be for naught and the island will continue to have travails, so go he must. As to the Lantern, it is this islands treasure, but dimming as it is, it will soon be of no use to anybody, so that too must accompany you on your journey.”
So it was that at dawn the next morning, the King and Queen waved farewell to their son, Prince Broadwing, the Wisewoman, and her daughter Blossom, as they boarded a boat with the Lantern and set sail across the Great Big Water.
After the tale was told we went outside for a snack and some circle games. Once back inside, we drew K’s with chalk and crayon, made K’s with our fingers and bodies, with rocks, and string until the K’s were exhausted! Little Man went outside to catch a breeze on his bike, while Tenderfoot thought of words beginning with K and the silent K, as in knob and knot, was introduced. These she carefully wrote in her handwriting book, painstakingly erasing any backward letters that she noticed . . .. she pays such attention to these details! . . .. and rewriting until she was satisfied.
The day seemed to go very smoothly and Stormy joined in for the circle time and colored while we worked, then eventually went off with Little Bird to play.