This is a story we invented while on a safety break at the pool. Fifteen minutes is a ridiculously long time for a safety break so this helped pass the time.
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Catherine. She had lovely blonde hair, rosy red cheeks, and bright blue eyes. She loved to swim and play in the pool. One day when she was swimming, an enormous bird flew over the pool. She swooped down and scooped Catherine out of the pool with her gigantic beak. She quickly flew off to her nest and dropped Catherine down. When she got a good look at her, she was very surprised. She said, “you’re not a fish.” Catherine replied, “NO! I’m a girl.” The bird apologized. She explained that she was very hungry and thought she was a fish. Catherine said, “that’s okay. I like your nest. Sometimes I wish I were a bird.”
“Oooh, ooh, I’m a bird. I’ll show you how to be a bird,” she replied. “I can show you how to fly.” She flew up in the air, twirled around, and landed in the nest. Catherine shook her head, “no, I don’t have feathers and my bones are too heavy. I can’t fly. I would fall.” Then the bird thought of another idea, “How about worms? I can show you how to eat a worm.” Catherine wrinkled her nose. “Yuck! Little girls don’t eat worms.” The bird tried yet again to think of something she could show her. “How about lay an egg. Birds are good at that.” Catherine laughed as she tried to picture herself laying an egg. “No silly,” she said. “People don’t lay eggs.” Finally the bird said, “I’ve got it. I will teach you a song. I love to sing.” And so the bird sang a beautiful bird song. Catherine smiled because she could sing. So she sang with the bird.
Then, the bird said that she had always wondered what it might be like to be a little girl. Could Catherine teach her something about being a little girl? Catherine suggested drawing a picture, but the bird didn’t have fingers. She suggested tying shoes, but birds don’t wear shoes. Then she suggested dancing. Catherine loved to dance and she showed the bird some of her jazz moves. The bird liked to dance. Her feathers made her look extra fancy.
Catherine and the bird then decided they were friends. The bird took Catherine home and said good-bye. She promised to visit. So every once in awhile, Catherine can hear the bird singing outside her bedroom window. Sometimes she will even catch a glimpse of her dancing.
Notes: We did not end up deciding on a name for the bird in this story which is unusual. Frequently my named characters will reappear in future stories. These threads in our pretending can bring some of the joy of an old story into the new. Catherine also loves to dance and that makes the ending particularly tailored to her. The more ways the story is individualized to the listener, the more excited the listener will be.
In my storytelling training, the presenters suggested two bad ideas before you come to a resolution. In this story I have three in one spot (fly, worms, eggs) and two in another (drawing, tying shoes) in another. A good basic story can come from an interesting problem, two failed solutions, and one good one.