Animal stories

Youngsters put on impromptu plays based on old tales


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Zhane Derry, 9, acts out a puppet story involving bears, wolves, eaglets and a small rabbit at the Eagle River Nature Center’s Puppet Storytelling event Saturday, Jan. 4.

CINTHIA RITCHIE

Bears, wolves and eagles romped and flew around the Eagle River Nature Center during the Jr. Naturalist “Animal Puppets Storytelling” event Jan. 4.

Chief naturalist Ute Olsson read “Aesop’s Fables” to the group and then let them loose on the center’s puppet collection for a chance to enact their own tales.

At first, the children simply imitated the stories she had read, Olsson said.

But as their confidence grew, they began making up their own stories, initially based on fairy tales and branching out through their own interpretations.

Isabel Kurle, 6, did a long and complicated rendition of “Snow White,” using animal puppets for the characters.

According to Olsson, this is exactly what Aesop did.

He was a slave, she explained, and used animals in his stories to substitute for the often powerful people he couldn’t afford to offend.

“She (Kurle) did the same thing,” she said. “In a sense, it was much like a circle.”

Other children told tales of bears and wolves out hunting but not killing a rabbit, a snake that slithered the wrong way home and an eagle and her baby eaglets.

 

Contact Star reporter Cinthia Ritchie at 694-2727 or cinthia.ritchie@alaskastar.com.

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