This was a new kind of story I tried with our Elliot on the way to school one morning. I stopped at various points and asked him to make a decision and made up the next part of the story based on that.
Once upon a time, there was a little dragon called Elliot who lived in a lovely cave with his Mama, Dadda and toddler brother Callum dragon. One day Mama Dragon told Elliot that they were going on a long trip over the seas and it was so long they couldn’t fly with their wings.
Question: Do you want to take an ocean liner or a bridge?
Answer: Ocean liner
The thing about ocean liners is you don’t just sit in your chair and watch movies like on a plane. There are so many things to do!
Question: Do you want to go for a swim, watch a movie, set things on fire in the dragon practice room, or play games?
Answer: Games room
The whole family decided to go to the games room. There were already lots of games they knew there, like Pictionary, Uno, Charades and Sleeping Queens.
Question: What did they decide to play?
Answer: Sleeping Queens
They decided to play their favourite card game, Sleeping Queens, because it has dragons in it. Callum sang the song to put down a knight but Elliot thwarted him with a dragon. Just as Elliot put his dragon card down, the whole ship shook. Elliot’s eyes grew wide. Did he make that big thump when he put the card down? He looked around at his family who were all shocked, but before he could do anything else, the thump came again. It definitely wasn’t him.
Question: Do you go outside to find out what’s making the noise or stay inside the Games room?
Answer: Stay inside where it’s safe.
The family decided the best thing to do was to stay put, but they couldn’t play Sleeping Queens anymore because the ship was constantly shaking and they were sliding from one side of the Games room to the other. Mama’s idea was for all of them to hover off the floor a little bit so they wouldn’t be pushed around so much. Just then, toddler Callum cried out, “T-t-t-tentacle!” At first everyone thought he had just sneezed, but then they saw that he was pointing out the window. The family rushed to the window to see what Callum was talking about but they couldn’t see anything.
Question: Do you believe toddler Callum or do you think he’s making it up?
Elliot the dragon put his wing around Callum dragon and said to him, “I believe you little one. Let’s watch to see if it comes up again.” Then they all saw it rise up out of the water and wave in front of their window. It was an enormous pink tentacle with white suckers on it. Yikes! That must have been what was thumping on the ocean liner. But why was it going from side to side? What was on the other side of it?
Question: Do you go to find out, or do you stay put?
Answer: Go to find out.
Question: Who goes?
Answer: Elliot and Callum. Mama and Dadda stay in the Games room.
Elliot and Callum left Mama and Dadda in the Games room and went out the door.
Question: Do you go left or right?
The little dragons turned left and came face to face with the ship’s captain. He was looking very stern. “Why are you roaming around the liner?” he asked. “Everyone must return to their rooms where they are safe.”
Question: Do you return to your room or do you make a run for it?
Answer: Make a run for it.
Elliot the dragon nodded very obediently but he winked slyly at Callum and on the count of 3 on Elliot the dragon’s fingers, he grabbed Callum dragon’s hand and the two of them turned around and dashed down the hallway. The Captain cried, “hey!” and followed in hot pursuit but dragons can be very fast when they want to and he was unfit and soon he had to stop and pant against a wall while the dragons merrily continued on their way. They came out to the balcony on the other side of the ocean liner and there they saw what was on the other side. This creature had purple tentacles.
Question: Do you call out to the creature or do you fly up higher for a better look?
Answer: Fly up higher for a better look.
Elliot and Callum weren’t quite sure yet what the creature was. They’d only seen the tentacles. They thought they’d better find out, so they flew up in the air to try to get a better look. They flew so high they could see the ocean liner and the pink and purple creatures on both sides, pushing the ocean liner back and forth between them. They could also see what kind of creatures they were: giant squids!
That was when they noticed that there was a third creature, even bigger than the other two. This one was blue. Elliot said to Callum, “I think the pink and the purple giant squids are just children!” Callum replied, “Maybe the blue one is their mama.”
They saw the mama came over to the purple one, lift up one of its tentacles and rub it with one of hers. Then she put it back in the water and did the same thing with the other tentacles.
Callum said, “Hey, that’s like how Dadda washes me! Maybe they are in the bath.”
“They’re so big maybe they think the ocean liner is a bath toy!” exclaimed Elliot.
Question: Do you fly down and try to explain to them there are people in that ‘bath toy’ or do you wait until the bath is over?
Answer: Wait until the bath is over.
Elliot and Callum knew what happens after a bath: dinner, wee check and teeth, stories, Bible, prayers, and bed. Elliot figured that the bath must almost be over, and he was right. The Mama giant squid picked up each of the small one under her tentacles and took them off. The ocean liner stopped rocking and the dragons flew back down to it. As they were on the way back to the Games room, they passed the Captain again.
Question: Do you stop and tell the Captain about the giant squids or go straight back to the Games room?
Answer: Tell the Captain.
The Captain said, “Hey you two, you’ve got some explaining to do!”
Elliot told him about the three giant squids and how they thought the ocean liner was a bath toy, but the Captain just scoffed and said they must be lying.
Question: Do you try to convince him or do you go back to the Games room?
Answer: Back to the Games room.
The dragons ran away from the Captain again and burst through the doors to the Games room, babbling to their parents around what they had seen. Mama and Dadda dragon hugged the little dragons. Of course they had seen the pink tentacles from the window too and they were amazed to hear of the other three, and what wide decisions the dragons had made. They gathered up all the cards and sat back down to finish their games of Sleeping Queens.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.