Mar 1, 2011

Princesses, Castles ….and a Bear

  As a father, I have often found myself doing things I never dreamed I would be doing, whether changing a dirty diaper or finding a discreet way to dispose of the object on your child’s outstretched finger that they have just removed from their nose during church. Not all of my parental duties have been as unpleasant as those instances, but I never dreamed I would be doing many of the things I now do as a Dad. Most prominent in my mind today is the role I have taken on of storyteller. The stories I tell are always based on the lives of three main characters; a princess named Olivia, a princess named Anna…..and a bear.

  The story of the bear and Princess Olivia first started as an object lesson to teach my young daughter that screaming was a highly inappropriate way of expressing herself. By telling a story about a young princess whose screaming awakens a slightly gruff yet kindly bear from his hibernation seemed to get the point across. Through this original “off the cuff” story, I attempted to teach my strong willed and very expressive daughter how to control her passions when things didn’t go her way. Soon this one little story grew into even more tales. Thus began the continuing narrative of a young lady of royal blood and her big furry friend.

  Over the years, Princess Olivia, and her friend Princess Anna from the neighboring kingdom, have been on many adventures together with their bear friend. These tales have now moved beyond the simple character lessons to stories just to entertain and settle restless little girls. More often than not, they are the impromptu tales I tell in order to avoid reading yet another one of those “Little House” books for bedtime. Quite often the characters are having fun doing something similar to what the real girls happened to be doing at the time. Somehow these stories have taken on a life of their own, growing and maturing right along with my eager audience.

  It was inevitable that my listeners wanted to add guest characters of their own creation to the stories, named after other family members. This prompted to introduction of the lovely Princess Emily and the handsome knight, Sir Kenneth. Sir Kenneth harbored a great mistrust for the bear initially, but the bear immediately took quite a liking to Sir Kenneth. His fondness for Sir Kenneth was due to the fact that the knight kept his armor polished so brightly the bear followed him around for a great while just to admire his reflection. (Apparently, bears have a little problem with vanity.)  Princess Emily usually invites the other two princesses over to her castle for royal banquets. The bear is also allowed, on the condition that he wears his black dress jacket and does not frighten the other guests.

  I have tried to add the King and Queen to the story whenever possible, but they always seem to be limited merely to giving their permission to do something or calling out the guards. Hopefully I will be able to expand these characters’ roles in the future.

  It pains me to think that one day these two little girls will grow too old to care so much about castles, or knights, or friendly, heroic bears. It’s inevitable that fanciful stories will eventually give way to the more tangible things of the realities of life. I can only hope that there will be times in their adulthood when they will think back fondly of sitting on the sofa and hearing their Dad begin another tale of “You know, one time the bear was sitting in the castle courtyard and”……………….

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my dear brother in law! Write those stories! I can see you sitting with your grand children some day telling them... and maybe getting as tired of them as the Little House books, but those grand babies will NEVER tire of them. :)