Thursday, September 3, 2015

Storytelling Week 2: There Once was a Man from Tannuckett

(Precious Potion: Flickr taken April 29, 2009)

There once was a man from the town of Tannuckett. He had a steady job and a warm home, but he always longed for something more. One day, he decided to give up his steady job and chase his dreams of being a traveling entrepreneur. He traveled far and wide and went on many adventures along the way. One day, he was in a town called Rhodes. As he walked around the busy streets, he noticed a little side shop that had no customers. He decided to see what was in there. He pushed the door open and stepped inside. He immediately was hit in the face with cool, musty air and as he looked from left to right he noticed the shop was decorated as a perfected replica of a medieval dungeon. This frightened him. So he turned on his heels to hurry out of the shop, but as he spun around there was a frail, old woman blocking his way to the door. This startled him and he ran backwards and tripped over a small side table knocking various bottles of elixir into the floor.

“Why did you do that for!?” exclaimed the old woman. “Now I have to clean all that up and make new potions to go in them because some nosy, clumsy, mouse of a man was wondering what was in my shop…” she continued to rant and rave over how much inconvenience the man had caused her.

Not wanting to be such a burden to her, the man spoke up. “Excuse me ma’am, but I never meant to break anything. I was making my way out of your shop without touching anything when you snuck up behind me and scared me. I am very sorry that I broke those bottles. Is there anything around here that I can help you with so that I may make it up to you?”

The old woman’s eyes lit up. “Why yes young man. I do have something I need you to do for me. You see, there is a special flower up in the mountains that surround this city. As you can see I am old and fragile and I cannot make the trip. But YOU are young and able. I will warn you though, the flowers are located across a large canyon. You will have to jump it.”

“JUMP A CANYON?” the man yelled in disbelief. “I cannot even jump a mud puddle much less a canyon!”

“Silence. You did not let me finish. I will arm you with a powerful potion that will allow you to leap the canyon. You have to take it right before you jump and it will carry your jump far enough to make the jump over and back.”

So the man packed his supplies, making to be very careful about grabbing the potion. He ventured up into the mountains and finally, after hours of walking, came to the canyon. He reached into his pack and took the potion. He ran and jumped and sure enough, he cleared the canyon with ease. He quickly scooped up as many of the flowers as he could and took off back across the canyon. The man hurried down the mountain and to the old woman’s shop. She thanked him many times and said he was truly forgiven for knocking everything off of that table. The man could not wait to get home to tell everyone about this adventure he had. He walked to the town square and was bragging about the great “Leap of Rhodes” he made. Everyone scoffed at him because no one believed that someone could clear a canyon. One of the bolder member of the doubters told him, “If you made that leap in Rhodes, you can make that leap here also.” The man hung his head and let it go. He knew without the potion that the old woman had supplied him with, he would never make that jump again. He had learned his lesson. It was that day that he learned that deeds count, not boasting words.

Author’s Note: This is based on the story, Leap of Rhodes. In this story a man is always boasting about his great feats when he is abroad on adventures. However, the townspeople get tired of listening to him talk about how great he is and tell him to stop talking and show them these great feats. I chose this story telling style because when I read the original story, I knew that their needed to be a back story to it. The original story implies that the man is lying about his great feat, but I wanted to spin it in a way that made him tell the truth. However, because the truth was so unbelievable no one would ever believe him. I did this to show that no matter if you do something great, there will always be people who don't believe you. Just because no one believes you can do something as great as jumping a canyon, does not mean you shouldn't do it. There will always be people who doubt your abilities to accomplish tough goals.

I also chose the title because I always thought the old rhyme, "There Once was a Man from Nantucket" was super catchy.

Bibliography: Aesop (Winter) unit. Story source:The Aesop for Children, with illustrations by Milo Winter (1919).


  1. I really enjoyed your story. I like that you incorporated the lesson learned from the original story. It it nice that you didn't vaguely mention it, but made it the point of the entire story.

    You author's note was extremely helpful. I did a different section and I think your summarization of Leap of Rhodes allowed me to understand the meaning behind your story even more. Your take on the story in which he is forced to tell the truth is really relatable.

    I think you could enhance the story more if you provided a more descriptive setting. Having a more detail description of the canyon could have made his story even more unrealistic, despite his feat of jumping across it. A more descriptive setting could also strengthen the emotional connection you have with the story. I just think of stories as "word" movies. The more background information you have, the easier it is to picture it in your head.

    I love your descriptions of the people though!

    I look forward to reading more of your work over the semester!

  2. I really enjoyed that instead of making the man lie about his feats, you made his boasts true but he could not prove them! I think that really enhances the lesson that can be learned from this story and gives it a different twists! I also like that you gave the original story a back story, I would have never thought to do that!
    The author's note was super helpful, like Christina said, and I like how you explained what the original story was as well!

  3. Hi Karisa! To begin with, I think you retold your story very well. You made a good point where, even if you do something that may seem unbelievable (whether you're lying or telling the truth), there will always be someone who doesn't believe you. I also think that even if you have doubters, like in the story, if you did a good deed it's not always necessary to boast about it as long as you know what you did.

    Some other thoughts on your story are that I think it would be nice to add more detailed, descriptive word choice. Usually, I have a problem with having too much flowery word choice because I like to use the thesaurus a lot when writing. But I think adding more of it will help make the story come alive!

    Also, I think that the part of the plot of leaping the canyon could have been a little bit longer, possibly adding in emotion of the main character or how far the leap seemed, things like that. You could even add a twist to that part where something almost went wrong or where he almost backed out but didn't! Maybe I'm just rambling but still, overall, I think you did a great job! :)