STORY #4: EMRYS AND THE DRAGONS
Updated: Apr 29
ARTHURIAN LEGEND (with a little bit of teaching about SYMBOLISM!)
It's almost Easter so it's got to be about EGGS, right? Well, how about we go for dragon eggs instead of the fluff-covered clucky type we're used to? (Try saying that quickly grown-ups!)
In this story, we'll go way, way back to the fifth century to meet Merlin and dodge falling masonry! Watch my short and simple (15 minute) story-orientated English session below that uses story as a springboard for sharpening English skills! Suitable for kids (and grownups of all ages, with follow up ideas and activities to be found at the bottom of this blog! (Note: also with a bonus bit for parents!)
So, quick background-byte: as if you didn't know - Emrys (aka Merlin) is one of our best known wizardy figures! He first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's stories (they are old - like 10th century old), with no connection whatsoever to King Arthur...but later versions do link him with the legendary knight that we all know and you can check out Thomas Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur if you fancy learning a little bit more!
So what can I tell you about him? Well, his mum was human but his dad was a demon, (hence his supernatural abilities to see into the future etc), in typical chivalric tradition Merlin has a major weakness for beautiful women - his apprentice being Arthur's sister Morgan Le Fay (contrary to many modern works - Morgan and Merlin are buddies for the most part), and his most prominent lady friend being the not-to-be-messed-with Lady of the Lake. Merlin finally retires after a busy spell (no pun intended) of sleeping in a pit and trapped in crystal towers, to Bardsey island, where he apparently lives happily in a house of glass until the end of his days...or does he? Apparently, he's buried in Merlin's Mound in the grounds of Marlborough Cottage in Wiltshire. And buried by the River Tweed in Scotland. Oh, and was also laid to rest within the enchanted forest of Broceliande. I give up. Here's a nice picture of 'The Beguiling of Merlin by Edward Burne-Jones...
ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG CHILDREN - EYFS / KEY STAGE 1 (0-7 years):
1. Watch the classic Disney film 'The Sword in the Stone together!
2. Listen to Storynory's tale about 'THe fairies of Merlin's crag' https://www.storynory.com/the-fairies-of-merlins-craig/ or check out some of their other stories about dragons - https://www.storynory.com/st-george-and-the-dragon/
3. Watch this Youtube version of Emrys and the Dragons - have a watch before in case your little ones might not like it! youtube.com/watch?v=2_cL5KGzou4
4. Read Arthur High King of England by Michael Morpurgo, using the free Open Library resource! https://openlibrary.org/search?q=arthur&mode=ebooks&has_fulltext=true
4. Grab some props - of the general household variety - and check out just how dramatic you can make your own re-working of Emrys and the Dragons!
5. Try writing the story from the dragon's perspective - here's a funny little video to help remind you how to organise your story - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpWHZJZQDSE
6. Using story stones/dice (see my blog post about outdoor activities for kids), devise your own adventure for the white dragon now it's escaped!
7. Educational resources for writing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bIgvAH4T5A
8. Create and craft your own dragon eggs or dragon and hide them around the garden! https://www.adventure-in-a-box.com/how-to-make-fantasy-dragon-eggs/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZQ5pi8ngsk
ACTIVITIES FOR OLDER CHILDREN FOR KEY STAGE 2-4 (8-15 years):
1. Create an comic strip of this story - https://www.imagineforest.com/blog/how-to-create-a-comic-strip/, https://www.storyboardthat.com/storyboard-creator, https://www.canva.com/create/comic-strips/
2. Sharpen your skills before you break out your story scribbling equipment. Check out https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z839dmn/revision/2
3. Learn a bit more about Merlin and King Arthur - https://kids.britannica.com/kids/article/Merlin/543487
4. Read this story about The Sword in the Stone - https://www.storiestogrowby.org/story/king-arthur-and-the-legend-of-the-sword-in-the-stone-stories-for-kids/
5. Write your own version of what happened from the dragon's perspective. This might help remind you about how to structure your story - https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zwjsyrd/revision/1 , https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zy722hv/revision/1
6. Create and craft your own dragon or eggs! https://www.adventure-in-a-box.com/how-to-make-fantasy-dragon-eggs/, https://www.theartdream.com/blog/dragon-craft
“But fate, as Merlin always taught us, is inexorable. Life is a jest of the Gods, Merlin liked to claim, and there is no justice. You must learn to laugh, he once told me, or else you'll just weep yourself to death.” ― Bernard Cornwall, The Winter King: An novel of Arthur
1. Watch Guy Ritchie's 2017 film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1972591/
2. Read Bernard Cornwall's fictional books about Arthur - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20130470-warlord-chronicles
3. Impress your friends with your new found Arthurian knowledge! https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/king-arthur-facts-real-round-table-holy-grail-death-buried-lancelot-guinevere/
4. Walk (when lock-down is over) up Dinas Emrys itself! Maybe, even check out this link and dream about walking it while we're still stuck at home! https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/craflwyn-and-beddgelert/trails/the-legendary-trail-of-dinas-emrys