Wednesday’s list of words on the blackboard reads: The Great Ruby. Sarsaparilla. Pohutukawa.
. “No, too red,” replied the
dragon. Thursday’s list of words read: Theodore Junior. Titanic. Red Winston.
Big Red Mountain John. “Not quite me, but nearly”
sighs the dragon.
Very early on Friday morning, even before Miss Grey could read the 5th chapter about Jack and the bean seed, there was a tap at the classroom door and in walked the headmaster.
“All stand up for Mr Thoroughgood” calls Miss Grey.
“Good morning class,” says Mr Thoroughgood.
“Good morning Sir,” replies the class.
“You may sit down. I have come to look at the special chair that all the other teachers are talking about.” And the headmaster looked very hard at the dragon’s chair which was really very big.
Miss Grey thought quickly and before the headmaster could ask, or say anything more said, ”Oh you mean this chair? This is our storytelling chair. Anyone who is going to tell a story is allowed to sit in this chair.”
Headmasters often have very long names that are hard to remember and they like to use very long words. Mr Thoroughgood also thinks he is a very good storyteller. “If I may?” he asks Miss Grey and goes to sit in the chair. But no matter how hard he tries he can’t sit down because the red dragon is already sitting in it! The glass starts to giggle and Miss Grey in a little bit of a panic flaps her hand towards the chair, meaning, quick, quick, red dragon, get out of the chair and let the headmaster sit down!
On the 3rd try the headmaster sits down, makes himself comfortable and starts to tell a story about sailing ships and high seas and uses very, very long words, But when he sees one big yawn and then another adds pirates waving cutlasses and saying ‘yo ho ho’ and ‘walk the plank’. Then seeing the tears on Marie’s cheeks and him being a kind man says the pirates weren’t really bad. It was a hot day and the pirates used the gangplank as a diving board to go swimming. These pirates were very health conscious pirates and ate the very best yoghurt for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And Mr Thoroughgood got up and wrote up on the blackboard, right next to Theodore Junior,
“I like yogurt,” said a deep grumble voice.
Miss Grey has a sudden coughing attack. The class coughs even louder. Everyone is coughing so much the headmaster thinks they must all be getting the flu. He forgets to finish his story and saying,“tut-tut and “oh dear” hurries out the door with a handkerchief over his nose.
Miss Grey starts smiling. Janice starts giggling, so is Amy. Jack is laughing. Matthew and Michael are laughing even more and soon the whole class is laughing too.
The dragon though is dancing up and down. “My name, my name, can I have that name?” And he points to the words Theodore Junior and beside them the headmaster’s word, acidophilus .
Miss Grey looks at the dragon. Then she looks at the class. They all nod.
“A good choice” she says, but instead we shall place the word junior at the end. I shall put you on the class roll as Theodore Acidophilus Junior, but we will call you Theo for short.”
On Monday morning, after reading the sixth and last chapter about Jack and the bean seed, Miss Grey calls out the class roll. She gets to Tania,
then to Ted, and then to Theo. “Theo?” she calls out.
“Present Miss!” calls out Theodore Acidophilus Junior. He is a very happy red dragon.
The Day of the Nature Walk
One morning, instead of starting the day with a story, Miss Grey said, “Today were going to sing a marching song.”
The class liked singing just as much as they liked listening to stories. And they sang very loud. Theo sang too, not quite in tune, but no one minded. Then, because they liked the marching song so much, they sang it again.
“Why we sang a marching song, is because today we are going to do something different. We are going to go on a nature walk to the park,” says Miss Grey “and Room Eight is coming with us.”
“Please Miss, does that mean all of us? Can Theo come too? asks Matthew.
Miss Grey has the feeling that the day could become very difficult. She replied, “It is a long walk to the park, do dragons like nature walks?
“Umm,” answers Theo, then, “ah!” Then he says, ”I don’t know. I have never been our of the school grounds.”
“Never been out of the school grounds Theo? says Miss Grey in surprise, “Can you tell us how you get here every morning?”
“I don’t really know,” answers Theo wriggling uncomfortably in his chair. “One moment I am at home, and the next moment, pop, I am here!”
Jack is waving his hand in the air. “
Miss, we think it is because Matthew wrote a story about wanting a red dragon
so much for a best friend. When we heard the story we all said we wanted a red
dragon for a best friend too and next morning Theo was here!” Miss.
And everyone is smiling and talking at once – yes they agreed, we all thought that is why he came.
Miss Grey remembered Matthew with his red crew cut hair standing in front of the class and reading his red dragon story. It was a very good story; but she has no reply to the news of how a dragon came to be in her class other than to say it was very nice to have Theo in their class.
“Very well, Miss Grey continues, the question now is: if we take Theo with us who is going to look after him?” The first decision was that the group would have to walk at the back of the queue. Matthew would walk on the right side of Theo, Amy on the left side of him. Michael and Janice walk in the front and Jack and Marie would be behind, but a bit further back - to allow for the length of a dragon’s tail. “We can’t have anyone from Room eight bumping into an invisible dragon tail, said Miss Grey.” Then she said sternly, “Theo, if you are going to come with us you must promise me you are not going to talk!”
Theo promised and then chanted very fast for a whole five minutes, “I am going to the park. I am going to the Park,” to get all his talking out of his mouth.
Room Eight and Room Nine lined up on the tennis court. They each had a sunhat on and their lunch, notebook and pencils in their backpacks. Mr Thoroughgood walks by and calls out, “Room Nine are you feeling better from your flu?”
“Yes thank you sir,” they replied in unison, including Theo in his deep grumble voice. “Shhhh,” hissed Miss Grey. “Shhh,” went Room Nine, much louder. Together it sounded like one enormous sneeze. Poor Mr Thoroughgood he smiled faintly and said’ “Fine. Fine. Carry on,” as he pulled out his handkerchief and hurried away.
Theo tried very hard, but he had to talk - but he talked as quietly as he could. Everything he was looking at he had only seen before in the school library books. It was so exciting. He saw and heard a dog bark. He saw flowers and houses and cars and buses.
Matthew, Amy, Jack, Marie, Michael and Janice were kept very busy looking after the red dragon. They kept whispering things to him like, “No Theo, please do not eat those lady’s flowers.” “Stop barking back at that dog.” “No, we are not going to race that car.” ”No, no, that little girl does not want to be hugged, come on” “But she is so cute!” Theo replied. Fortunately everyone else was talking so much they weren’t overheard.
“What a nice day we are having, said Miss Grey to Mrs Hall who was the teacher for Room eight as they all sat under the trees eating their lunch. They had found slaters, and an earwig, a lot of red spotted ladybirds, a very long worm, two green caterpillars and a lizard. The class had taken down notes and drawn lots of sketches of them.
But Mrs Hall was looking very hard at Marie, Jack, Michael, Janice, Amy and Matthew sitting in a circle. “Have you noticed how those children have been acting strange all day?” she asked. ”And the way they always walk in a circle giggling and whispering. I was taken aback when Jack shouted we were murderers when I put that lizard in a jar and then all your girls all started crying so much I had to let it go! And was it also Jack who ate those two green caterpillars and the worm? Why, look at them now – Matthew is spooning yoghurt into the empty air!”
to be continued:
Copyright : Lois E. Hunter