“I want to tell a story.”
It wasn’t what Miss Kelley was expecting to hear from her students, and certainly not from this particular student, shy and a bit slow to learn. She looked down at Diandru thoughtfully. “What kind of story, Di?”
“I had a dream,” the very earnest child told her. “And it was like a movie, with everything very clear and bright, and there were explosions and gunshots and people were crying. And there was a dragon.”
“It sounds like a very interesting dream.” Miss Kelley found herself leaning forward, intrigued by the suggestion of a story.
“It was really cool. But I don’t know how to draw it and I’m not very good with letters yet.” Diandru held up a few crayon drawings. “They don’t look right.”
“Well, then.” Miss Kelly patted the bench next to her. “Let’s figure out how to tell this story, then, you and I, okay?”
“Okay.” Diandru scrambled up next to the teacher, and the two began to plot.
So it was that, at storytime the next day, Diandru began to speak, in a voice as clear as a bell, holding up illustrations drawn by Miss Kelly, labeled in painstaking handwriting by Diandru.
“The dragon came into town in the middle of the night. It was very cold, so cold that his fire wouldn’t light.”
The children leaned forward, intrigued, even those who wanted to be dismissive.
“He was looking for a warm place, somewhere that would make his steam turn back into fire. Dragons don’t like the cold, you know. Like Miss Carpenter’s snake.”
The children nodded. Snakes didn’t like the cold. They knew this to be true.
“There was a building on fire. It was in the part of town where the firemen took their time, a scary neighborhood where people shot just to hear their guns.”
The kids shivered, and nodded. They knew those neighborhoods. Some of them lived there.
“And the dragon saw this building, and its fire – it was a house,” Diandru hurried to add, but managed not to break the flow of the story anyway, “with people trying to get out. And the dragon settled down around the house, soaking up the fire like a cat in the sunlight.”
The children smiled at the image, but leaned in. “What about the people?” demanded a classmate.
“Well, they shot at it. That’s what people did in that neighborhood.”
“That was silly!”
“Yep. It was very silly, because the dragon didn’t even notice. It just kept soaking up the fire, eating it up, getting warmer and warmer… so that by the time the firemen showed up, the fire was all gone, and the people were saved.”
“And what about the people who had shot at the dragon?”
“Well, they felt really silly about shooting at something that was helping,” Diandru answered, holding up the picture labeled “feeling silly.” “And they threw all their guns into the lake…. Where the lake monster ate them for dinner!”
As the children giggled happily, Diandru hugged Miss Kelley’s legs. Looking down at the small child, the teach couldn’t help a giggle of her own. “Next week,” she whispered, “we can tell them the story of the Lake Monster.”
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