Story Telling: It's What Kids Do
I like to tell Stories.
I guess that is the best part of being human, is that we can tell stories. Oh of course there are a lot of other things we can do, that some of the earth's species cannot do, we have opposable thumbs for instance which allows us to do wonderful things, but story-telling, that is almost born into us.
The smallest child, without even the ability to use understandable words, will attempt to tell you a story. They try so hard to communicate, that it makes me wish I knew what they were trying to say. The reason for this hub is two fold. First: April 2nd, was Hans Christian Anderson's birthday, Google celebrated by using artwork based on his stories, and if you clicked on that, you were taken to a wonderful article about him. Second: there is now an application for your phone that will allow you to understand animals. Ironic, as Hans Christian Anderson, among others, often used animals to tell his tales.
I must say, I knew for years that it was coming. When my son was small, he told me stories, one of which was about when he grew up and became a scientist.
Sean has wanted to be a scientist for as long as he has known the word. On this particular day, we were at the grocery store and a woman was there with a very young baby. The baby would not stop crying and the young mother was getting more and more upset. The more she jiggled the cart to sooth him, the more the child would scream, it sounded so sad. The mother shopped hurriedly and left the store. Sean looked up at me and said:
"Mommy when I grow up and I'm a scientist, I'm gonna make an invention that will help new mom's understand their babies."
I said, "Well that would be a true miracle, Seany, but how would it work?"
He went on to explain that his baby-sitter knew what was wrong with every baby. A client who's baby wouldn't stop crying would call and just by hearing the cry, his baby-sitter would tell the new mother what was wrong.
"See, when the baby cries, he needs something," Seany explained. "If the mother doesn't know what he needs, the baby gets scared and cries harder. Then the mommy gets scared, and that makes the baby feel even more upset." Of course this is true, and science can prove it, but Sean was no more than five when he came up with this idea. That was 10 years ago. So this new application can tell you what a donkey, dog, and pig is saying, but not a baby. Someone wasn't thinking!
Stories Children love to Tell
Children love to tell stories. In times past my children fascinated me with tales of leprechauns, princesses, and even ghosts. The very youngest child may use this talent to explain away the mess on the floor, or how an accident happened. You might ask, "You're such a big girl, why is it you wet your pants" and you will get a tale that leaves you trying not to laugh, as the child explains what happened, bringing in all of the characters at her disposal.
These are not exactly lies. In the child's mind, you have asked a question. If they ask a question, you generally, forgetting that they are children, give them too much information. So, they think that is what an answer is. Of course with Seany, it was always about the dog, or his sisters. He thought early on, that one might distract mommy, by placing the blame elsewhere.
"Sean, where did you get that pizza?"
"Uh, it was here."
"So you didn't get it out of the refrigerator?"
"no" Very cautiously looking past me.
"So if I wake your sister up, she'll say she left it out?" All I wanted to know was if the pizza he had not yet eaten had been safely refrigerated, or if he risked food poisoning, if he ate it. I get this answer.
"Yookie, Mats made a mess. Bad Mats." And Seany spreads his arm wide to show the mess that Max (the dog) made of the living room while we slept. No longer interested in the pizza , I asked.
"Seany, you want some cereal, instead?" He nodded. I knew he really wanted the pizza, more than anything. But I couldn't take the risk. What if the girls hadn't put it away? Of course in Sean's mind, I had not asked if he got the pizza out of the fridge, I had asked if he had done something wrong. Sean knew he was not allowed to open the fridge, and that if he woke up, he was supposed to come to me. He was always getting up between 2:00 and 4:00 am, and just doing stuff. Playing. dragging things out of closets and drawers, or his toy box. We had told him early on that he was to get one of us, but he liked the freedom. Still does.
Hans Christian Anderson
Hans Christian Anderson was, sadly, a writer who adapted stories of his own life into the fairy tales, that he told. The story of The Ugly Duckling, was about his own suffering at being different than others as he was growing up. The original Disney short from 1939 did stay true to the Hans Christian Anderson tale, and the Ugly Duckling does find a place where he fits in, and is even welcomed, by the Swans. He did not ever turn into a beautiful swan, but he was accepted by his peers, so I guess for him that would have to be enough.
He wrote The Little Mermaid, a story of unrequited love. In the real life instances that inspired this story, he wanted to die, because of the pain, he turned his thoughts into tales, however, in which the death is a result of the one you love, loving someone else.
Of course he did not die, but never married, nor did he ever have children. He wrote The Nightingale, about his next true love, whose relationship with him would remain a platonic one. In the story a Chinese emperor loves the nightingales song, but cannot own her, yet she will sing for him.
If his own biography is believed, there is a good chance he even died a virgin, for in his tales, although he frequented a brothel on more than one occasion, all he did was talk. His insecurity was too great to share his real self with anyone.
Sadly, his tales have been remade and the real endings can be found in older versions, Disney was not true to the end of his story of The Little Mermaid. In the real story, she chooses to go ahead and die, but is rewarded by the daughters of the air with a chance at a soul.
When Hans Christian Anderson died of liver cancer in 1875, he did so with friends around him. This quote I found is probably my favorite of all. It is on a biography by CD Merriman.
“First, you undergo such a terrible amount of suffering, and then you become famous.” —fromThe Fairy Tale of My Life (1855).
The Amazing new Software
Google's new Translate for Animals Adroid application has got to be the most innovative advance so far, if it is to be believed, and not just some Magic 8 Ball. I am ever the skeptic. I mean, it is not as if we will ever know.
The animal's voice is recorded and sent back to the data base, and then the translation is zipped back to your phone. It is truly amazing technology, if it is real. Currently the translations only come back in English, but of course it won't be long before other languages are added.
It is in Beta testing now, which usually, my son tells me, means you can get it cheaper, or even free? Can that be right? I don't have a mobile phone, but I will check that out for you, right now. Yep it's free! So what's the catch?
Well, it is among one of the funniest April Fools Day jokes ever, but of course you diddn't think you'd really be able to talk to the animals? Did you? See, even the people at Google like to tell stories.
So Google, if you're listening, let's really try Translate for Babies. PS I have that idea copyrighted, right here on this page.
I mean, story-telling, it's what kids do after all, animals, not so much. So if there is an application in the works, wouldn't you love to know what the babies are really saying?
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