Here’s an old story/traditional tale that has been used by storytellers to scare people for many years. I’ve retold it the way I remember it, but children may prefer to write and tell their own versions. If you’re a teacher, parent or librarian who’d like to use this story as a model for children who wish to become storytellers, go ahead and download it here.
If I were using it with a group of kids, I’d first make sure they became familiar with it after repeated re-readings. I’d probably collaborate with the kids over reading the script aloud as a choral piece. Then I’d discuss with them how best to tell the story to an audience themselves. Some kids will need to learn it by heart, and not want to deviate at all. Others will relax into the story and begin to think how to put their own stamp on it. I’d have the group look for parts of the story where they could use special effects, and build tension. Perhaps they might draw out the words “hairy toe”, and use a deep, drawn-out delivery for words like moan or groan. They might have a special voice and face for the old woman, and a different voice/face for the owner of the toe. As I’ve indicated, in that last sentence, tellers usually either grab the listener, or lunge toward a group of listeners to scare the daylights out of them.
This script is not Australian in origin, but certainly came to Australia in that amazing way stories do. I think it makes an accessible tale for students who want to learn to become storytellers, and celebrate Children’s Book Week – Australia: Story Country – in 2016.
If you’re interested in Children’s Book Week in Australia, check out my article, Children’s Book Week 2016 – Educational Activities.