Wild Atlantic Words - Story Cube Sessions 2022

(This story was devised in a Story Cubes Workshop with the Third Class of the Educate Together National School, Castlebar, for the 2022 Wild Atlantic Words Festival in Castlebar. The writers were Alanna, Caitlin, Lilly, Aoife, Arya, Ryan, Kaz, Alex, Joseph, Noah, Dawid, Orin and Ken.

 Special Thanks to the Teachers Liam and Linda who were great.

The nine Story Cubes that were thrown were: a Sleepy Donkey, a Sheep, a Book, a Pyramid, a Parachute, Planet Earth, a Directional Arrow, a Beatle, and a Tent. The elements we ended up using in the story have been underlined above.)

 The Enlightenment of Beetroot and Cherry

Beetroot was a sleepy donkey who lived in a hilly field all by himself. To the south he could see the far away mountains and to the north he could see the small lake shining in the sun. Every day, at noon, Farmer Loftus brought him his hay and his beets, and he ate them all in one go then usually went to sleep again. Life was a bit slow and, although he wasn’t always sure, Beetroot reckoned he was at least a little bit unhappy.

His only companion lived in the next field, separated from him by a post-and-barbed-wire fence. Cherry was a sheep and she too lived all on her own. She had got her name from the Farmer’s youngest daughter who had been eating cherry ice-cream at the time she arrived.

Because there wasn’t much else to do, Beetroot hated Cherry and Cherry hated Beetroot right back. Every day they spent at least an hour swapping insults with each other over the fence.

“You are fat and woolly.”

“You are ugly, and you smell.”

The level of insult was never remarkably high because neither Cherry not Beetroot had ever been anywhere except in their field. It often got a bit boring but still they kept at it, day in and day out.

“You are woolly and fat.”

“You smell and you are ugly.”

The days passed slowly.

One day, Farmer Loftus cleared out his attic and drove half the stuff to the recycling centre in his jeep and his trailer. It was a very windy day and a particularly strong gust caught something in the trailer and sent it fluttering out over the fence between Cherry’s field and Beetroot’s field. It landed right on the fence and stuck there. Beetroot and Cherry rushed over to investigate. The thing was half on one side and half on the other and they each nosed their own side and wondered what it was.”

“What is it, Smelly?”

“I don’t know, Woolly, but I know that I’m going to eat it.”

Beetroot started to eat his side of the thing on the fence and Cherry, not to be outdone, started to eat her side of the thing with equal speed. Soon it was all gone.

Beetroot gave a little burp.

“That was most edifying,” he said.

Cherry burped too.

“Quite palatable,” she agreed.

They looked at each other. Neither had any clue what the other just said.

The fact of the matter was that the thing on the fence had been a Dictionary and Beetroot had eaten the A to M section and Cherry had polished off the N to Z part.

“Are you indisposed?” Beetroot asked.

“I am unwitting of your phraseology,” replied Cherry.

And neither had a clue.

The next day the farmer drove the second half of his stuff to the recycling centre and an Atlas flew off and landed on the fence. Beetroot and Cherry quickly ate their respective halves.

“Oh, “ said Cherry, ”how I would love to parachute into Egypt, which is over in that direction, and view the ancient Pyramids.”

“I know nothing of that, “ replied Beetroot, “but the Giant’s Causeway certainly seems nice.”

Beetroot looked at Cherry and Cherry looked back.

“You know things,” he said, “you know things that I don’t know.”

Cherry nodded.

“I could tell you about the things that I know,” she said.”

“And I could you tell you about mine.”

And so, from that day onward, Cherry and Beetroot sat by the fence and told each other of strange words and strange places they had known. And from then on, the mountains did not seem quite so far away, and the lake did not seem quite so small.

And the world was an altogether nicer place.

(This story was devised in a Story Cubes Workshop with 3rd Class, Castlebar Primary School, for the 2022 Wild Atlantic Words Festival in Castlebar. The writers were Andrea, Casey, Charlie, Darragh, Dmytro, Emma, Eric, Fatiha, Godsent, Isobel, John, Kyrylo, Lilianna, Linden, Lucy , Maja, Matej, Nathan, Nevil, Patryk, Santiago, Shahed, Sofia and Ken. 

Special Thanks to Teachers Siobhan and Helen, who were great.

The nine Story Cubes that were thrown were: a Radio, a Letter, a Beatle, a Sleeping Person, a Book, the Planet Earth, a Key, A Keyhole, and a Lock. The elements used in the story are underlined above.)

Love Me Do Plus Two 

“Ssshhh! It’s coming on.”

Every day, brother and sister Aoife and Kaz tuned in the kitchen radio at exactly five minutes past five. They shushed everybody else in the house, the Dog, the Cat, and Mum, and they listened intently.

“It’s time once again for the Greatest Beatles Competition of All Time.”

Aoife and Kaz held their breath tightly. All they wanted in the world was to win the mystery prize in Greatest Beatles Competition of All Time. They had entered one gazillion and forty times and some day their name would be called out and they would have their chance.

“And today’s lucky callers are…”

Aoife listened, Kaz listened, Mum listened, the Dog listened. The Cat didn’t listen. It just licked its belly.

“Today’s lucky callers are… Aoife and Kaz.”


“Mum, where’s the phone, where’s the phone, where’s the phone, they’re going to call in a minute, where’s the phone?”

Nobody knew where the phone was. Everybody used their mobiles, and the phone handset was never in demand. A frantic search began, cushions were overturned, mats were shaken, cupboards were peered-into. The cat got up in disgust and the phone was on the chair where she had been sitting. Aoife dived on it, just as it started to ring. She pressed the button to answer the call.

“We love the Beatles, and we love Radio Nine Point Two FM.”

That was the phrase that pays. If you didn’t say it before you said hello, you didn’t get to play in The Greatest Beatles Competition of All Time. You were toast.

Aoife and Kaz had to answer one tough Beatles question to win the prize. The competition had been running for weeks because the people who got to play only knew about Beyonce and Dermot Kennedy. The Beatles were ancient history.

Not to Kaz and Aoife though. When their Dad got ill, he left them all of his Beatles records and they played them every day after school. While the records were spinning it was often like Dad was in the next room and about to shout through about how the next track was a great one. It was nice.

So Aoife and Kaz had high hopes for the question. As did their Mum and the Dog and the Cat… well, no, the Cat didn’t care.

“What was John Lennon’s original middle name?”

It wasn’t fair. Any question about any song on any album and they would have been just fine. But who could know the singer’s middle name? Not Mum, not Aoife, not Kaz.

The Cat looked up from its licking.

“Winston,” it said.

Aoife and Kaz shouted it down the phone, both at the same time. “WINSTONNNNNN.” And that was it. They had won the mystery prize in the Greatest Beatles Competition of All Time. Almost immediately, there was a noise in the front hall. A Golden Envelope had been slipped under the door. Inside was a key and a note. ‘GO TO THE TREE THAT LOOKS LIKE A GUITAR.’

Kaz and Aoife knew the tree that looked like a guitar. It was in the woods up the back and they often ran there-and-back when it rained. There was a brown door in the tree that they had never noticed before. On the brown door was a green apple, just like the one in the middle of the Beatles records.

They opened the door and went inside.

It was smoky and dark and there were lots of people. Kaz and Aoife were at the back. Down the front, there was a small stage with four young men up on it. The one with the absolute nicest smile waved to Aoife and Kaz.

“They’re here now,” he told the crowd, “let’s have a big hand for Aoife and Kaz.”

Aoife and Kaz sang backing vocals for Love Me Do with The Beatles in the Cavern Club in 1962. When they finished, they fell asleep on the stage and woke up back in their own beds in 2022. Fearing it had all been a dream, they ran to the sitting room and put the old record on the turntable.

And there they were. Right there inside the vinyl.

John, Paul, George, Ringo, Aoife and Kaz.

Dad would have been really proud.


Carrie Berry said...

I love that you are doing this. What a great idea! The first story in particular is so perfect to illustrate my relationship with Jimmy over the years, each of us looking at the world from our own unique background and perspective in such a way that often seems isolating and magical at the same time. I won't say which is Fat and Woolly and which is Ugly and Smelly.

Ken Armstrong said...

Thanks very much, Carrie. I imagine Jim saves up a couple of his beets for later. :) x

Jim Murdoch said...

I’m afraid my wife ruined the first story for me but, to be fair, did not do a bad job retelling it in her own inimitable fashion. The second, however, reminded me of an exchange I had with my daughter when she was a bit younger than the kids in your class. We were watching TV and the Beatles came on. Thinking this would be a suitable moment to impart some fatherly wisdom I turned to her and asked, “Do you know who that is?” and she fired back, “Of course, Daddy, it’s the Monkees.”