The Little White Cottage

"Mommy, will you tell me story?" E asked me last night. "I'm not very good at telling stories," I said. "Can't we just read your Betsy book?" E replied "I need a story to make me feel safe. Please? It's easy. Make it about me and Snowball (her stuffed dog). Here's how you begin "Once upon a time in a little white cottage with a thatched roof...."

At which point, she paused and looked expectantly at me. I took a big deep breath, and somehow the story spun out. The poor, hungry little girl living in the little white cottage was saved by her brave puppy who ventured into the cold, met a kind polar bear (another stuffed animal in her bed), and brought home a mysterious basket. The basket held kindling for the fire, a beeswax candle, bread and butter, and a Babushka doll that turned into a warm, loving Mama. Of course, they lived happily ever after with nothing to be scared about.

E has been having a terrible time going to sleep. On the spur of the moment a few nights ago, I told her a little story about how a princess kept herself safe. At the end of the story, E said "Mom, the princess in that story was me. There's no such thing as dragons and you made it all up just so I would go to sleep." I was sure that E, at 8 1/2, was too old for such transparent stories. But in the morning, she greeted me with a warm smile and told me that the story had made her feel safe all night. Now, it appears, a nightly story is necessary.

This is a big challenge for me. I really don't feel like I know how to tell stories. I feel like what comes forth is lame, lame, lame, spinning along with no clear direction. And, yet, these past few nights, E has been touched by them and, in the end, so have I. There has been a quiet, warm space around us. We've been just a little more centered and we both have been sleeping more deeply. Somehow, I think there will be more cozy events happening in the little white cottage with the thatched roof.

Ilse –   – (September 19, 2007 at 5:27 AM)  

what a lovely story !! i know i will come true this days all happy and save. thank you

ooh and that holly outfit, wauw...that must have been wonderfull!! lucky you haha

heather –   – (September 23, 2007 at 7:49 PM)  

i love your story! i can relate to feeling a little weak in the story telling department... yours was beautiful. lucky and "safe" little girl.

big mama  – (October 4, 2007 at 6:13 PM)  

Hi there, I came over after you left a comment on my blog. I'm also not much of a story teller, but I try to remember that for kids it's not so important that we tell them a polished story, but that they see us strive to work from ourselves. Whatever comes is good.

Also, I thought that story was great!


Jennifer  – (January 23, 2008 at 9:14 AM)  

This was a beautiful post - from before I had discovered your blog. I, too, feel tentative about telling stories, especially since my husband is a writer and has lots of opinions about stories. But the kids don't mind, and they love hearing little bits of this and that in their lives. Thanks for the reminder...

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