We’re reading Green Smoke, by Rosemary Manning:
‘Is that what you did at your parties?’ asked Sue. ‘Told stories?’
‘Of course,’ answered the dragon. ‘What do you do at yours?’
‘Well, we play games, and sing, and eat buns, and jellies.’
‘Oh, we did those things as well,’ said the dragon. ‘But the story-telling was the most important. Don’t you tell stories at your parties?’
‘No,’ said Sue. ‘I don’t think we ever do.’
‘And your dear father and mother,’ went on the dragon. ‘Don’t they sit and tell each other stories in the long winter evenings?’
‘I don’t think so,’ said Sue. ‘I’ve never heard them.’
‘Extraordinary,’ said the dragon. ‘I suppose none of you know any. How sad. I’d better start teaching you some good stories at once.’
from Green Smoke by Rosemary Manning
This made me think of the parties we’ve had at Queens Wood Cafe, in North London.
The most memorable part of the afternoon for our daughter and her friends was always when Mr Mango, also known as Murray, the owner of the lovely cafe, led them into the magical woods, spinning a fantastical tale that ended with a picnic tea back in the café’s organic garden. Amazingly there never seemed to be any need for any other amusements, the kids were entranced by the stories and songs of those simple happy afternoons in the woods.