Sara Hurley

Sara Hurley / News / Mon 09 Jul 2012

Red Ball Storytelling 2

Red Ball Storytelling 2

Lazy Jack

I chose the story of Lazy Jack because it’s about, trying different things, finding what you’re good at and the world of effort and intent bringing results. It considers thinking about what you want to do and includes an encourager who’s using AHA.

I usually tell this story with Jack’s mother as a pantomime mum because it suits this type of classic British story. I usually don’t like making stories overly politically correct but I wanted to make the mum a more obvious encourager, rather than one who actually is but doesn’t seem like it. I took out “O’h you stupid boy!” (he makes mistake after mistake) and gave her Attention, Hearing/Listening and Asking questions, with the odd sigh! It was a tricky balance between not making her like a negative mum nor too right on and compassionate. Keeping her firmly in the world of stereotype it seemed to work ok.

This was also good story to use because it’s inter-active and Jack’s jobs can be changed to whatever the group give me and it’s ripe for throwing in some of the stories and references I’ve heard in the class. I always ask the group what the tasks are that he does each day and we do them with a few actions; which is fun when they’ve given me a strange job. In the end, through Jacks persistent efforts, he gets lucky in the way Jack always does!

For example at Mayfield the jobs were: working on the ghost train, a train driver, a babysitter.

The Story.
Once upon a time there was a boy called Jack who lived in a little cottage by the sea with his mum. Jack was a lazy boy, he didn’t really know what to do with himself. In the winter he’d sit for hours staring at the flickering flames of the fire, imagining himself as the best goalie in the world or maybe he could be a famous writer. In summer he’d lie in corn fields staring at the sky then go skateboarding for hours and feel free.

One Sunday morning Jack’s mum told him that he needed to go out and get a job to help pay for his weetabix. Jack wanted to please his mum and do the best he could so on Monday morning he got up bright and early and went down the road to ask the (…..?) farmer if he had any work. The farmer set Jack to work: milking cows, shovelling dung, planting seeds. At the end of the day the farmer told Jack that he had worked so well he would give him a shiny, new penny.

Jack was so happy he skipped down the road, along the lane, across he fields and home again. In his glee the penny fell out of Jack’s hand, but he didn’t notice.

When he got home his mum said, “hello Jack, you look like you’ve been working hard tell me what you’ve done today?” Jack told his mum all about his jobs on the farm. “Well that sounds great, Jack. Did the farmer give you anything for your trouble?” Jack held out his hand but the penny was gone. His mum sighed, “O’h dear me, Jack. Next time why don’t you try putting it in your pocket?” Jack thought this was a good idea. “OK mum, I will,” he said.

On Tuesday he went to work at the dairy and did three main jobs. At the end of the day the woman who owned the dairy gave him a jug of milk and Jack remembered his mother’s words. Putting the milk in his pocket he went down the road, along the lane across the fields and home again. His mum said hello and asked how he’d got on at the diary. Jack told her all about it but when he came to give her the milk he saw that the jug was empty and that his trousers were very wet.
“O’h Jack,” sighed his mum “never you mind. Next time try carrying it on your head.”
“Ok Mum. I will.” Said Jack eagerly.

On Wednesday he went to work with the cheese maker and he did three main jobs. What do you think he did? Jack worked so well that atthe end of the day the cheese maker gave Jack – which cheese? – a soft, round cheese. Jack remembered what his mum had told him, he really wanted to do it right this time, so he put the cheese on his head. It was a lovely sunny day and Jack walked down the road, along the lane across the fields and home again. His mum said hello and was about to ask what his day had been like when she saw that his hair was a matt of sticky goo. Jack pulled at his hair, trying to unstuck cheese from his hair.
“O’h Jack,” sighed his mum “never you mind. Next time just try holding it in your hands, plain and simple.” “Ok Mum. I will.” Said Jack, a bit dejected.

On Thursday he fancied a change from milk based work. If he was going to get covered in stuff it might as well be yummy stuff. He rose early and went to ask the baker if he had any work for him. The baker agreed and Jack spent all day…..what did Jack do today? He fashioned small, white rolls, put holes in doughnuts and made tray after tray of rich chocolate cakes. The baker gave Jack a strange payment. He decided to give Jack his cat, a fine mouser who had stopped the mice ruining the flour. Jack held out his hands (like his mum had told him) and took the cat. The cat was wild and high spirited and she scratched at his arms, bit his fingers and fled. All Jack went home with was stinging and bleeding arms.
Jack’s mum listened while he told her about what had happened and all the trouble he’d had that week. He was doing his best but nothing was going right.
“I can see you’re doing your best, lad. Just keep going and we’ll see what comes of it, she said, “one word of advice, next time tie a piece of string around it.”

On Friday Jack headed straight for the butchers. He wanted to bring his mum home a nice Sunday joint. It worried him to see her struggling and getting pale and thin and he wanted to help her out more than ever. He worked hard doing……..and as a reward the butcher gave him a fine leg of lamb. He tied a piece of string around it, pulled it along like a dog and went down the road, along the lane, across the fields and home again. His mum waved as he arrived home and he proudly held up his prize only to find that on the end of the string was nothing but a shiny, white bone. “O’h my dear, Jack. Next time carry it on your shoulder.”

Jack went off on his own all weekend and thought to himself about what he wanted to do and how to do the thing he most wanted to do. To give him and his mum a better life with more food, less stress and to find out what it was he was good at. On Monday morning he got up before dawn and went back to the farm where he worked like a strong man from morning till night. The farmer was so pleased with him that you’ll never guess what he gave him. A donkey. Jack approached the donkey. How would he get it on his shoulders?

One way or another he draped the donkey around his shoulders. Jack could hardly walk, the donkeys long face hung down with its tongue lolloping and drooling almost to the ground. Jack stumbled along but with the wide-eyed beast on his shoulders he couldn’t go down the road, along the lane, across the fields and home again. He had to take the main road. Down this road was a castle and in the castle was a princess, a princess who had neither smiled nor laughed for seven whole years. You may have heard about this particular story. The king had sent out word across the land that whosoever could make his daughter smile and laugh would be considered as next in line to the throne.

Out of her window the princess saw a red faced, tufty haired young man huffing and puffing down the road with a dribbling donkey perching like prince around his shoulders. At first smiling hurt her and she wondered where the weird animal noises were coming from. At the sound of her laughter the court came rushing into her room to find her rolling around on the floor snorting and screeching in a very un-princess-like way. When they saw Jack and the donkey they invited him straight away and he made the princess laugh and smile for the rest of the day. She decided that she wanted Jack to help her smile and laugh everyday and by the end of the following week they were married.

Jack and his mum moved into the castle where she wanted for nothing for the rest of her days. Jacks mum was happy seeing her son do what he did best. He helped the princess laugh and smile every day of their long marriage. The sound of her and Jack snorting and cackling resounded around the once quiet castle and in the end everybody lived happily after.

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