Storyteller Katie Knutson shares a tale with children attending the Chatfield Public Library's story hour last Friday morning. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Storyteller Katie Knutson shares a tale with children attending the Chatfield Public Library's story hour last Friday morning. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Oh “deer!” One mama’s stinky wish frightens her fawns. The tale of the bear tail ends in something not so fishy and the boy’s spotty secret is scaring the giants!
“This story is based on ‘The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings,’ but I’m going to tell it about a creature you might see from the Minnesota woods,” said storyteller Katie Knutson, standing before a group of little ones last Friday morning at the Chatfield Public Library. She shared “wild Minnesota tales” to get their imaginations in action during a special program held during the summer reading program.
Knutson asked for the children to volunteer the name of an animal they know lives in Minnesota, and the first suggestion was “deer,” prompting her to tell about how that deer, a doe, admired all the other animals in the woods — the squirrel, the wolf, the rabbit and especially the skunk – and how she wanted to be like them in the worst way. She wished and wished for the chance to smell just as beautiful as she’d heard that skunk could smell.
She came upon the owl, who sent her to the wishing stone and instructed her to walk around it three times while making her wish, and that doe certainly got her wish.
But her children, Knutson observed, weren’t sure what to do about that strange, awful-smelling animal that came to their thicket and they all ran away.
“So the doe went back to the wishing stone and walked three times around it, felt her nose tingling, and she no longer smelled like a skunk,” Knutson continued. “She went back to her thicket to find her children there…telling her there was this terrible-smelling deer that looked like mommy who scared them all away.”
Knutson told how the doe eventually realized she was just lovely the way she was.
The next story included the tale of the bear’s stumpy tail – how Bear used to have a long, luxurious fluffy tail he showed off to all the animals in the woods, along with his fearsome-looking claw he’d hold up while telling them to exclaim how beautiful his tail was. The red fox, who also had a long, luxurious fluffy tail, outsmarted the bear by sending him ice fishing, using his tail as a line so that when he got up, his tail remained there, frozen in the ice.
“Bear got up and was going to go find Fox, but then he looked at his tail frozen there in the ice and his claw and he thought about how they’d gotten him into trouble in the first place, so he went back to his den and slept all winter long,” Knutson told the children. “That’s why bears have short tails and sleep all winter long – they’re just too afraid to admit they were once such bullies.”
Her final story took the children on a trip through the woods with a boy who had a secret to tell his mother. In the woods, he met some horrible-looking, very smelly giants who took him to their house because he wouldn’t tell them his secret. They studied him and then darted in howling fear when he told them his secret.
The secret, however, was one that, once he escaped their very large house, did not frighten his mother at all. She “didn’t cry, run or scream for help – she put him to bed, and the next morning, he was covered head to toe in red spots – he had chicken pox.”
Knutson’s engaging appearance at the library was part of the regular Friday morning summer storytime, sponsored in part with funds from Minnesota’s cultural legacy fund made possible through a vote of the people in 2008.
Chatfield Public Library director Monica Erickson and the children gave Knutson a round of applause for her generous storytelling, thanking her for coming all the way from Minneapolis to tell them about dismayed deer, stumpy-tailed bears and giants who didn’t want spots.