Stories for Children and Schools

Reproduced by kind permission of the Telegraph and Argus, Bradford.

A spoken saga, a recited
eulogy, recreates not only
the way in which history
was recorded,
remembered and re-lived
by our ancient ancestors
but also the magic of an
ancient entertainment

Whether whispered or chanted, growled or
hummed, with soothing slowness or gripping speed
a spoken story can enthral, excite and delight,
moving the listener to share a story's sorrow or joy.

The stream of words flows into the fertile, waiting
landscape of the human imagination, bringing
to life our common heritage of folk-tales, myths
and legends

Performances can be given in Viking costume with authentic weaponry props.

NATIONAL CURRICULUM KEY STAGES THE STORIES COVER IN HISTORY AND ENGLISH (References are to Notational Headings in the National Curriculum Programmes of Study)

Ideas, beliefs, attitudes and experiences of people in the past (2.a)
are revealed in folk tales, Norse and Celtic myths; these and other stories illustrate the importance of the heroic ethos, oath swearing, gift-giving and receiving, loyalty, duty of revenge for murdered relatives.

Social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity (2.b)are highlighted in C6th poetic tales of Christian Welsh chieftains' struggles against the Pagan English; in the tale of the sacred grove from the Bronze Age to the Norman conquest and pre-migration Anglo-Saxon stories such as Offa of Angeln (now southern Denmark) whom Offa of Mercia claimed as a direct ancestor to enhance his kingly status.

In depth studies; the effect of Anglo-Saxon or Viking culture (9)are shown in heroic poems such as Beowulf and sagas such as Egil's saga (an Icelander who had dealings with King Athelstan of Wessex and King Erik Bloodaxe of York).

Learning across the National Curriculum: Promoting spiritual and moral development
through events in stories, issues of right and wrong (ie. between taking advantage of a situation or keeping the spirit of a promise), clashes of loyalties (ie. between your king and your family) and conflicts of values (ie. between Christians and Pagans).

Promoting cultural development: From the earliest English literature of Beowulf to stories from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Scandinavia and America.
Promoting social development through humorous tales of conflict between the sexes and between other groups and individuals.

EN1 Speaking and listening:
Many of the stories and the poems in them, have alliteration, rhyme, stressed metre and word play.
EN2 Reading: The stories cover the literature range requirements (6.a, c-g).

EN1 Listening:
The stories provide opportunities to listen to live talks and presentations (9.a).
EN2 Reading: The stories cover the Literature range (8.d-f); many stories include poems, myths, legends and traditional poems from European to Native American over a 1,400 year period.

EN1 Listening:
Live talks and presentation (9.a)
EN2 Reading: Literary heritage; ancient tales such as Beowulf and Arthurian Tales are very popular and show their appeal over time (2.a and c.).
Stories from different value systems but with recurring themes in folk motifs (3.a and d).