I like to tell stories, as you might have guessed if you follow this blog. And I am happy to report that my toddler daughters finally like to listen to me tell stories. Each night at bedtime, they get the next installment in their own continuing adventures. Yes, they are princesses in the stories (and my wife and I are the Queen and King), but I would describe them as Adventure Princesses. Note: Janie and Serena are pseudonyms, as the princesses wish to retain their anonymity.
Once Upon A Time…
Janie and Serena are princesses who live in a giant sandcastle on the edge of an ocean. Although the ocean crashes against the base of the castle, it never washes the castle away, for it is a magic castle that can withstand the waves of time. The King and Queen also live in the sandcastle, but the needs of their kingdom often keep them busy. To the west lies an endless ocean. To the east there is a tall mountain range. To the north, there are grassy plains as far as the eye can see. And to the south, there is a vast desert.
Left to their own devices, the princesses often go on adventures…
The Giants’ Playground
One day, Serena and Janie were bored and they begged their parents for something fun to do. The King informed them that he and the Queen were too busy, but the Queen took pity on them and gave them some magic beans.
“Plant these and you will have an adventure,” she told the princesses.
“Some adventure,” Janie said. “This is probably a trick to get us to eat our vegetables.”
“It can’t hurt to try it,” said Serena.
They planted the beans in the garden, and seconds later the ground began to shake and tremble. A beanstalk shot out of the ground and into the sky, widening as it grew, until it reached the sky and was so wide across that Janie and Serena could not encircle it, even by holding their hands together and stretching as far as they could.
“Let’s climb it,” said Janie.
Serena agreed and they climbed the beanstalk up into the clouds. Once they made it above the clouds, they were surprised to find that they could walk on the fluffy white substance. They bounced along until they reached a giant playground made of clouds. The clouds were easy to climb, so they spent the day scaling the giant slides and swings and stairs of the playground, laughing and screaming in delight.
After a while, their shouts of glee attracted giant children, who were none too pleased that Serena and Janie were using their playground uninvited. The giants chased after Serena and Janie, who fled across the clouds and down the beanstalk.
When they reached the bottom, they looked up in fear. Would the giants chase them down? But no, the beanstalk lifted up out of the ground and disappeared into the clouds above.
“And don’t come back, neither!” came a booming voice from above the clouds.
Serena and Janie shrugged. The giants’ playground had been fun while it lasted.
Of Dinosaurs and Rocketships
One fine, sunny day, Serena and Janie were playing in the sand outside of the castle when they heard cries from the North. A villager ran up to them from that direction and reported that there were dinosaurs running rampant in the fields, eating up all of the villagers’ food.
“Dinosaurs?” asked Serena.
“There’s only one thing for it,” said Janie.
“Rocketship time!” they agreed.
They rushed back into the castle and headed for the rocketship hangar. Once inside, they fired it up and took off, soaring out of the castle and above the grassy fields. It didn’t take long to find the dinosaurs, a dozen of them at least. While Janie piloted, Serena dropped the grapple claw time after time and plucked the dangerous dinos off the field and into the rocketship’s cargo bay.
Once they had collected them all, Janie asked, “Now what?”
Serena, looking out of the cockpit, saw the full moon above them. “I’ve got an idea,” she said with a glint in her eye.
Janie followed her gaze and nodded. “You got it, kid,” she said.
And that’s how dinosaurs ended up living on the moon. This solved the villagers’ problem but caused some problems of its own. Those are stories for another time, however.
The versions of the stories shared here remain basic but are more polished than those told at bedtime. Telling a story while two toddlers bounce around their bed, giggling and yelling, is not easy, and I have to hit the highlights to keep their attention. I do take requests as to what they want the story to be about, so playgrounds figure prominently in many of these early entries because, well, my daughters like the playground.
A lot of the characters who show up are based on their toys, shows they watch, or games they have seen me play. The dinosaur request must have come from some cartoon or another, but putting them on a rocketship to the moon simply tickled my fancy, so I ran with it.
Finally, I’m not trying to create a world out of whole cloth here. Much is borrowed or reinvented. The goal is to have fun.