Sample Stories & Excerpts


“Feast and Famine”
Andrea Kamens
Puppet Showplace Theater
11/15/12 massmouth story slam (second-place winner!)


Andrea creates custom programs to fit a theme, content or style (for example movement programs or stories focusing on a particular culture). She will work to design the perfect fit for you!


Andrea Kamens Storytelling on YouTube

Andrea Kamens Original Story on NPR


My storytelling troupe, grades 1-4, are working on how to construct their own stories, both true narratives and folk or fairy tales. We started by adding details to this traditional story of 4 unusual friends. We’ve used sounds, stuffed animals, pieces of fur, scarves for the river, and nothing but our own voices to create and recreate the story, and each child has also rewritten it completely.

*The Four Friends

Once there were four friends: a cat, a dog, a bird, and a mouse. It was easy for them to be friends because they lived in a place where there was always enough to eat.

Their mistress had a magic ring. All she had to do was turn it once like this and the table would be filled with delicious food.

There wasn’t just food enough for her and her husband, but fish and milk for the cat, meat on the bone for the dog, and the most delectable crumbs left over for the bird and the mouse. They were always satisfied.

Until one day, when the mistress could not find the ring in the little dish by her bed where she put it every night. It was gone!

They looked everywhere. The mouse looked inside the walls of the house and the bird flew up into the tree in the garden, but the ring was nowhere to be found.

The woman and man had never learned how to cook and they were awful at it. Yuck! They couldn’t shop properly or budget their money. It wasn’t long before everyone was hungry and grumbling and snappish and… “We must find that ring,” said the bird. He flew off and came back with the news.

The ring was across the river, past the mountains, in a great castle owned by a giant who slept only once a fortnight, and it was almost time for the giant to go to sleep.

The four friends set off at once but the mouse said, “with my litte legs, I can never keep up.” So the cat picked her up and placed her on his back and off they went.

When they came to the river, the cat rrrrowwwww! would not go in. Mm-mm. No. So the dog picked up the cat, and with the cat on the dog’s back and the mouse on the cat’s back and the bird flying overhead, they crossed the river.

They went over the mountains and when they came to castle the bird flew up to the bedroom window and saw the giant just putting on his pajamas and Yaaaaawning.

Still, they would have to be very quiet. You don’t want to wake someone up even if they sleep every night. Imagine waking a giant who only sleeps once a fortnight!

“I’m too noisy,” panted the dog.

The mouse, well, quiet as a mouse is not so quiet after all. Have you heard a mouse in your house before?

So the cat went in on little cat’s feet, into the castle, up the stairs, into the giant’s room. …


*A Tale for Paddy Ahern (a traditional Irish ghost story)


… Speaking of stories, have you ever heard of a person who didn’t have one? Paddy Ahern lived in County Limerick, Ireland, where stories, thank the stars, do not grow on trees, for if they did, the trees would fall down under the weight of them. Paddy lived in a time when fairies were still stopping folks at crossroads to pose three riddles. He lived when leprechauns were cheating to save their pots o’ gold. How he could have no stories, I can’t say. But because of it, no one would hire him.

He was a good farmer and a strong worker, but Paddy traveled from town to town and couldn’t get supper or a bed for the night more than once in a place.

“Tell us a good one, Paddy,” a new person might say at the supper table. Paddy would look up, he’d look down. A story? Nil.

Paddy would clear his throat – a song? Nil. Paddy would shift in his chair and shuffle his feet – he was going to dance a jig. Nil.

Nil. No. Nothing. And that would be the last evening Paddy could spend there. For no one trusts a man without a story.

One night, Paddy took a road he had never taken before. It went through a bog. He squished through the mud and …


*The Girl and the Three Lions (a healing story by Andrea Kamens, 2010, based on an Ethiopian news story and traditional African tales)

Once there was a girl named Aida who lived in at the foot of the Bale Mountains in Ethiopia. She was friends with the animals. Antelopes gave her hair from their tails, and birds dropped feathers for her. She made a necklace from the antelope hair and the feathers, and had it been made of beads and gold, it could not have been more beautiful.

One day, she followed an ibex trail high up into the mountains. Suddenly seven men jumped out at her. The biggest and strongest said, “You will be my bride.” All seven began to hit and kick her. She cried like a cub, like a lion cub she roared and whimpered.

From higher up on the trail, real lions came. There were three of them with big black manes, male lions who usually won’t rise up for anything but supper.

The first lion growled, and two of the men ran away. The second lion roared, and another two ran tripping down the mountain. The last lion had only to raise an eyebrow. Two more men ran away, leaving only the biggest and strongest.

He brandished a knife and said, “I am not afraid of you!” So, the lions ate him up.

Aida stayed curled on the ground. She was sure the lions were going to eat her next. But they did no such thing. They sniffed her. Then they licked her all over.

Everywhere they licked, her cuts and bruises healed. Her bones and muscles grew stronger. Her arms became long, her neck long, her cheekbones high, and her lips full. Her legs were like the legs of the giraffe that dances on the plains.

She had to touch her feather necklace to make sure she was still the same Aida.

The lions lead her into the great caves where the Weyib River flows. The walls are smooth, polished by thick green water that’s dripped, dripped, dripped since the beginning of time. Little bats roost upside down in the ceiling, singing in their high thin voices. Whheeeee.

Whump, whump, whump… and the river behind the walls sounds like the inside of a mother’s womb.

On and on they walked, until they reached the Chamber of Hearts.  …

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