I first started capturing her storytelling using the video mode on our digital camera, around about April, but she soon refused to let me film her. So I tried writing her stories while she told them, using pen and paper. That lasted for only a few stories too, before she caught on. Since then, I've been recording her using a mini MP3 recorder, which is pretty unobtrusive, and transcribing the audio later. She then objected strongly to this as well... Nowadays I use a combo of MP3 and video to record her before transcribing. I only manage to record a fraction of the stories she tells. I always have a backlog of stories on the recorder that still need transcribing, as it's impossible for me to keep up with her. To help new readers, I've marked my favourite stories with a star (*), so at least you have somewhere to start if you don't know where to begin. Don't forget to check the older archives too - there are some gems in there as well!

Thursday 29 April 2010

Lissie Lies About Hootah

This is a new story from today. It's not that she hasn't been storytelling, but rather that I haven't had the time record let alone transcribe anything. But today she insisted that I record her, and publish her "audiobook" for the benefit of our friends, whom she told me hadn't heard anything from her for a long time, and that it was about time I posted something :) So, here's her latest story, at the ripe old age of 5 1/2 years old now.

Listen to her tell her own story HERE
(It's worth listening to - she's VERY expressive!)

She sat down with me after recording herself and asked me to transcribe it too, checking that my transcription was indeed correct and making some minor edits (such as deleting a word or phrase here and there from the audio track) as well.

One day Lissie was walking down the street when she saw Hootah. Hootah was doing something very strange. This strange thing was only done 800 years ago in Hootch World and she didn’t know why Hootah was doing it now, so she lied that Hootah had done something mad.

Said Hootah, “I didn’t do anything weird! I did something we did a thousand years ago, didn’t we? And that is just what I did! Tch! No thanks, I don’t want to go anywhere! I don’t want to go to that insane asylum Hoot went to! I never want to go to it. Never!”

With that, she tried to get away even though everybody grabbed her and said she must go there because she’s doing something a thousand years ago. And Lissie feeled very pleased with herself. She felt so pleased in fact that she almost laughed. But Hootah just said it was none of her business and she shouldn’t laugh about it.

So that day, Lissie just lied about Hootah. Now, in this measure, she had been such a thing that she said, “Oh please, please… could you?”

“I could, if I wanted to," said Lissie, "but I won’t."

“Why won’t you? It’s such a dramatic thing if you don’t.”

“Well, because I want you to go to that insane asylum where your brother went yesterday.”

“Please don’t let me go there, please… Anywhere but there will be better. I don’t want to go there because I will be alone there and I won’t be with you. How could you? You betrayed me! You told me if I did something thousand years ago you wouldn’t tell, and now you told… You broke your promise!”

With that, Hootah tried to struggle away, but everybody didn’t let her go.

“Well (laughing),” laughed Lissie, “I could if I wanted to, but I don’t want to keep my promise,” she added, seeing the look on her companion’s face. “Well, of course I would want to. I’d want to… well, just would, couldn’t I?”

With that, Hootah flung her arms around Lissie and said, “Lissie, never, ever lie about me again! It’s so… so gloomy!”

“No, it’s not gloomy,” said Lissie laughing (laughs). “It’s (laughs some more) in fact funny!”

“You wouldn’t think it’s funny if you were… you were… if you were… If you didn’t want to be put in an insane asylum and you were!”

“Well, hoohoo," laughed Lissie, "I would never. I’m too important!” she said.

“You’re not important. You’re not even a grown up!” cried Hootah, “Aren’t you? Of course you are not a grown up.”

“I am, I'm certainly old stuff,” cried Lissie. “I think you’ve really lost your mind. Now, take her away!”
With that, everybody took her away.

They found Hootah was struggling by the time, and one day she had a surprising guest in the insane asylum… Lissie.

Lissie said, “Please, I’m sorry, I will try and let you go.”

“Alright, that’s better,” said Hootah. “But still…” in a very fierce voice.

It felt like ice going through Lissie. She said, “Please… just… I’ll let you go.”

“Alright. But in one moment’s time you have to do it! Not any more than one moment’s time, or one hour, alright?”


So they promised, very solemnly.

So of course Lissie had to get her free, otherwise the torment was more than she could imagine. She said, “Please, let Hootah free.”

“Alright,” she persisted. “I’ll let you free, but it will take one day.”

“One day!”

“Yes, they have to unlock all the masons that I put in”

“What?....” she said.

“Yes, because now they know that everything I told them about everybody is lying.”

With that Hootah felt more enraged than she had ever done before. She said “OH!!! Beautiful, so beautiful!” With that she turned and left. It was plain to Lissie that she wanted everybody in the asylums to get out.
“Just lovely!” cried Hootah, turning around and looking at Lissie. “I couldn’t believe so much as that! I, even I!”

With that, she turned and she fled away, laughing, gasping for breath. (Laughing) laughed Lissie. “It was very funny of me though.”

“Not funny!” cried Hootah.

“Could we be friends again? Oh, could we, could we, could we? And Anne and Diana too? ... Yes, we can all be friends,” persisted Lissie.

“Alright Lissie, come on, let’s go.” With that, they turned and went.

Diana met them on the road. She said “I’ve got something to tell you!”


“Mrs Hoofan is coming down from town today. You know how she is like.”

“Yes I know!” cried Hootah. “She’s… I don’t like her. Ya…. I don’t like her. I don’t like her,” she said.

“Well, she’s coming down today. And she said she’s going to bring you some DOG biscuits!”

“WHAT???” cried Hootah with disbelief. “How can Hoofan, even Hoofan, bring me DOG biscuits! Is she too insane to do that?” she ended.

“Of course she is. She is mad. Madder than mad. I don’t know what she does if she sees you, not being like a dog. She thinks you are a dog, everytime.”

“Oh,” cried Hootah, “that will be terrible!”

Suddenly, they found out how much now they were talking, and Lissie said, “Oh, I need to go, bye!” So she went.

As she continued, she thought of what she had done. She knew she shouldn’t have lied about Hootah, but she thought it was fun. She said, “Maybe next time I’ll tell her I am sorry.” And she walked on.

The End.

Thursday 25 December 2008

I Ate Myself Up, 2008-12-21

This is one of the first stories she's allowed me to record for many many many months. In fact, she actually asked me to get a video of her telling this story, esp. to post for her Internet friends. I'm only posting the transcript here as that now she's older I don't really want to post any pictures/videos of her in the public domain.

Her new set of characters are Hootch (her major character for many many many months now), Hoohp, Hook, to name a few. Hootch is a dinosaur with a human head, but he can change shape from time to time, by magic.

This story also includes "backstroke language", her own made up language that she invented many many months ago. Where such terms occur, I have indicated what they mean in parentheses (she explained it to me when checking on my transcription).

Ok, here's the story. For the record, she's now 4 years and 2 months old.

One day Hootch was very very yonk (=evil), and he ate what you think to be Sam, and he was very very not nice for he longed to be evil.

So one day he made a potion but it didn't last long, when he got smashed into tiny pieces. For when he was evil, he was very very very very very very bad.

And one day Hootch ate himself up!

And Hook killed Hootch. And one day Hook killed Hootch.

And there was another Hootch called Hootch Randeraft!
(That's when Hootch Randeraft comes up. But he's called Hootch for his real name. They don't call him Hootch Randeraft. Because they want him to be called Hootch, not Hootch Randeraft).

So one day Hootch came over. And he said, "Why there's a dead Hootch over here? I thought I'm the real Hootch!"

But he said, "It isn't. You are not the real Hootch!"

So he said, "Why? Why am I not the real Hootch?"

"Because the other Hootch that is dead is the real one."

"What?? Then who killed him?"

They said, "Hmm.... it's you Hook!"

"Hook, why did you kill someone? It's very evil!"

Hook said," Hmm... because I'm very evil!"


Suddenly, there was a dungeon. Suddenly somebody slammed open the dungeon. And Hook said, "Why?" "Why? Why? Why didn't you... you... you..."

"I will kill you!"

Suddenly.. (they're killing because it's very scary). And suddenly... {pretends to gag}... "I'm going to die.."

"You are not really going to die," they said. "We know you're bluffing, we just know. Are you bluffing?"

She said, "No, I'm not bluffing!"

Hootch didn't believe it. "You are must not be bluffing." He said, "I'm the real Hootch, that's not the real Hootch, that's the fake Hootch."

"Look, I know you are not the real Hootch, you're the fake Hootch!"

So he took off Hootch Randeraft's bone, and they found it was not Hootch.

"Now we have no more Hootch!"

Suddenly Hootch came back to life! They said, "What?? How is Hootch going to come back to life?"

"Now you have no more Hootch," Hook said to Hoohp.

And Hoohp said, "Hmm... do we have any good ones?"

"No, not even.." Suddenly they stopped. And said, "Hmm... what shall I eat? Cooked villains?"

He stopped. (Pretends to munch). Then, they ate themselves up. And with a large (clicking sound).

Then they ran down, to the large bone. Suddenly they keep running and running until there was a large bone in their front. And they said, "This belongs to a large dog."

"No." So they ran ran ran ran ran ran, dragging the bone behind him as fast as they could so they could get a closer look at him.

Hootch Randeraft was one day licking a large ocean when he said "I'm the real Hootch. I'm not that Hootch. I'm the Hootch that's Hootch. I'm just a Hootchy Hootch Hootch."

But suddenly the real Hootch came!

"I thought... I thought you were dead. That you were the fake Hootch."

"No I'm the real Hootch! You are.."

(Both of the Hootchs are arguing. Hootch Randeraft is the fake one).

Hootch thought, "Maybe this Hootch Randeraft doesn't like me. So he sent up a form of me," he said. "Are you dismayed about the arnodmoned? (=type of phone for imaginary friends to talk to the storyteller).

"What? Who are you?" Suddenly Hootch killed Hootch Randeraft.
He was dead.

"Why are you killing everyone Hootch?" everyone said, as he was washed overboard.

Everyone said, "Washed immediately? Cold? Swim? That's unusual! That's ragged. Evil. Tricky."

"No, I'm not tricky."

"Are you hid? You must be sick."

"I'm not sick. I'm Hootch."

"You are not just Hootch. You are Hootch Randerafti!"

"I'm not Hootch Randerafti. I'm just Hootch."

"You are Hootch Randerafti."

"Who's Hootch Randerafti anyway?"

"You don't know who you are! You must be Hootch Randeraft. If you are you must say answer. You must answer me. Answer me at once."

Hootch didn't reply. He was actually Hootch, not Hootch Randerafti. So Hoohp put the truth potion in him.

He said, "What's a potion?"

"A potion? We don't have any potion here."

"You will tell lie. I know it!
I know it, I just know it. Your bad tricks of Missoe" (=from her imaginary world). Hootch thought.

"Could you stay, please? For one food. One last for all?"

Hootch thought. He had the elsewhere. "I have somewhere else to go. I might be on the mattress though. It might be broken. It could be bad."

Hootch thought, "It cannot," but he stepped. "I'm unsure that I will die. I will really die. I will really die. I will... I just will."
Hootch could not see anyone. "How scary is it?" asked Hootch.

"Hootch! Hootch!"

Hootch thought Hoohp turned around and said, "You must not trouble me again Hook!"

So they waited for Hootch to go. Then they dived into the sea and swam over to Hootch and took his life away. "Bad Hootch, bad!"

The End.

Sunday 27 April 2008

Hootch the Dragon, 2008-04-21

This is the first story she's asked me to really record in ages. She's still been telling loads of stories, just not allowing me to record them. Anyway, I've transcribed this only part way and will put up the rest of the transcription when I have the time, soon. (plus the audio file).

At first Hootch didn’t know of new evidence of all the monks, that go and awakened the beast, the beast of the all. Hootch said quietly, as Hootch got his evidence and blazed it into the sunlit moonlight.

Hootch hummed as he singed,
Hmm hmm go away...
faded into song.

Humming song,
Away the moon, no more...
(To me: do you want to hear the song?)

But without the cause of the moon,
The wild beast of more, this beast
He came and saw the place
(To me: that’s what the song is all about)

But his moon couldn’t help, because he was going and couldn’t come. And couldn’t come back.

Hootch never wanted him to help it. But outside the moon, the ent moot, it was really nothing but this little moon. The ent moot cried, “No, we have to leave him. Leave him. We need evidence.” So they ran and fatted Hootch up.

Hootch had laboured in the chamber. Hootch had chambered. Hootch had killed Hoos, maybe out of Hootch to protect him from all.

“Oh,” Hootch cried. But outside, inside this little moon, the ent moot fattened them up, and ate them. “This is real people,” Hootch said. Hootch thought to himself, “and I’m a story maker.”

“No,” Hootch cried. (Whispers) Some riddles. (Normal voice). Going to say some riddles. Hootch said some riddles. “Thirty white horses on a red hill. First they champ and then they stamp and then they stand still.” (Lifted from The Hobbit). “What is that?” Hootch cried. “Teeth,” Hoos muttered, to himself.

But Hootch wanted Hoosh to mutter some riddles that we already know. In Hootch roasted halls we listened, as the Hop shouted, “WIND WAT WOAT WHAT WHITTLE!”

Hootch started singing a loud, hot sound.

Flop, pop, hot
In a pot
Fifteen birds, they went up a tree
And more to help a bigger more

We come, up down
Inside the ground
He put them inside the leaf

In the east Hootch looked, and... the mermaids looked across the moon. “Come and wait!” she said. Hootch cried and couldn’t help it. “What?” Hoot said, “the cobwebs?”

Hootch had rolled down the barrels. “Where?”

Back where Hootch was, Hoot was sitting sunrise. Hoot ordered Hoos to go home, back where, their hall. Hootch set fire, but Hoos didn’t listen, instead he... Hootch said, “I’m looking, but, you knew what?”


Hootch failed again. The sharp sword of Glitherath where the (mumbles, indecipherable).

(To me: Mummy! Hootch is a dragon! See? Mummy, see...)

Hootch said, “I do look for Hoot.”

“What?” Hoot said.

Hoos saw Hootch floating in the air. “What are you doing?”

“You are just a human. I’m (whispers menacingly) dragon.”

“Oh,” Hootch cried. “I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t.” And hopped and (indecipherable).

“Ghost!” Hootch said, “Come and prepare for fight, ghost!” Hootch looked for Hoos, and... you know what?


Thursday 17 April 2008

First Lego Movie, The Rescue of Eomer and the Repentance of Jasmine, 2008-04-16

This is our first attempt and rather pathetic, but since we put in so much effort, I thought I'd like to share anyway. It's less than a minute long. The story idea was Bethany's of course. I took the photos then strung them together in Windows Movie Maker. Then we recorded the voice overs - that wasn't easy, since B didn't feel like doing it again by then. In the end we had to get started on some other similar themed pretend play and I just let the recorder run and ripped various clips from there. I also added some sound effects too.

I think our crude film making meant that a lot of Bethany's storyline was lost, so here it is: Jasmine was an evil giant enchantress who was lying in wait for an unsuspecting victim to kidnap and take back to her cave for whatever purpose. The guard returning from duty was her victim. Then the rest of the army got mobilized to go rescue him. He was trapped within the tunnels (cardboard tubes) under which Jasmine sat when they confronted her. She refused to hand him over of course, so they pulled out their secret weapon, a ring with the captured light of Earendil (the Elven star in LOTR) which when shone directly on anyone or anything has the magical power to transform them into someone/something good (all B's ideas of course, not mine!) After that she handed the captive back to his leader. Then they gave her The One Ring, which had also been transformed by Earendil's light and now instead of bringing out any evil in a person instead amplifies their 'goodness'.

Sunday 6 April 2008

The Song of the Barrow Wights, 2008-06-04**

The Barrow Wights in the Lord of the Rings have quite caught her imagination. She's been doing a lot of pretend play with them, and today she made up a long song about them too. I only got the last couple of minutes on video, but here it is.

Here is the poem

The Song of the Barrow Wights, an original song by Bethany

The barrow will not run along
Or lock away from man
Away from the moon, away from the spoon
Then the way... was locked!
Away from the moon, away from the spoon

Oh my tummy is round
With a tummy's old sound
With a rum, with a tumble
With a bum, with a bumble
A rum with a bumble with a slam....ble

With a tummy old rum, they slammed away
Away from the moon, away from the spoon
Away from the sun, away from the spoon
Away they go, away...

Without a word they imagined Hoon
But with us
Without a number they ran and saw

Far under the old stones, all right
They saw a bunch of barrow wights

Far in the Old Forest we saw...
A bunch of barrow wights
They gave us quite a fright
They gave us such a fright

Away we ran, but they caught us
(Indecipherable phrase)
We cried... cried...

But they away and into the night they ran

Thursday 20 March 2008

Song of the Ringwraiths, 2008-03-18*

Ok this is the poem I mentioned in my post yesterday, that was actually recorded the day before that one.

Supposedly sung by Legolas, whom she was holding in her hand (a small dice!) She’d actually been singing the “Song of the Ringwraiths” (she announced her own title), supposedly made up by Bilbo and Legolas, all evening long, ad-libbing many different lines as she went along. Sadly she didn’t allow me to record most of it except for this little bit, which hardly does justice to the myriad of lines she came up with and her own intriguing original tale of how the Ringwraiths were all destroyed – supposedly their mouths were cut off in a battle with the elves and they subsequently starved to death!

You can hear her singing/chanting this poem HERE

In the candles deep
them Lonely Mountains bare,
The Ringwraiths died for because they
Because they had no more renown;

They had no more
because they aimed them mighty bows,
Because they aimed;

They aimed a mighty bow of him,
He passed and fast and founds they dead,
They dead of sweet,
Balin got seized,
The fens was brought to more of gold;

(Stops chanting to explain to me:
B: It means that actually the Balrog is like a big {mumbojumbo own word} fan.
Me: What’s that?
B: The Balrog.)

The wind was bled,
The bare was pound on pounds they could;

(Stops chanting to explain to me:
B: That means there’s not only one entrance to go in the Misty Mountains but you can also, but there’s a hole in the top so you can also go inside by that side.)

The road was dead,
Their brain was bended,
Brought the bones in house of Eld;

They ‘ell ha ha,
Their fares was bread,
They bare of time,
They hold their bread,
They had no more,
They fed and fled,
To best they fought forgotten gold;

God stayed far, God said that;

In Mirkwood they fed and fled,
Because of the fire they placed on front of daisies,
They front and aimed their mighty bow,
The fifteen birds was plan they torched,
The torch is bad,
The flaming spread,
They meant and fought forgotten gold;

They fled and earned through mighty bow,
They aimed and end
They fled

(Suddenly switches to talking instead of chanting)
Hootch said, “That will be not Legolas for certain. It might be not Hoon even.”
Hootch began to sing a song.

(Sings – this is verbatim Tolkien)
Far over the Misty Mountains cold
Through dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away...

(Mutters to herself, “No...”)

(Sings – more verbatim Tolkien)
Far over the Misty Mountains cold
Through dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ‘ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep where dark things sleep
In hollow halls beneath the fells

For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a song in gleaming hoard
They shaped and wrought
True light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword

Wednesday 19 March 2008

The Ballad of the Dwarves and Smaug, 2008-03-19**

Sorry for not posting anything new for so long - she's had me on a recording ban again since the last story I posted (of course no excuse for not clearing the backlog though...). She's been still pouring out many stories a day though, just not allowing me to record anything... until last night.

She's in a new phase at the moment - inventing her own poetry! Her current great obsession is all things Tolkien - this has been going on for more than a month now, maybe closer to two. It's a completely immersive obsession on a grand scale - involves his books, related movies, pretend play, searching for background information on Middle Earth... the whole works. She's memorized all the poems in The Hobbit and sings them daily.

Yesterday she moved from singing memorized poetry to ad-libbing her own. She's been spouting this stuff nonstop since yesterday evening. Yesterday it was "The Song of the Ringwraiths" supposedly by Bilbo and Legolas. I only got a short recording of that and will add it later when I have time, although in fact she went on for the entire evening ad-libbing all sorts of new lines, but not letting me record much at all.

Today it was all about "The Ballad of the Dwarves and Smaug", supposedly sung by Legolas again (can you tell he's her favourite character at the moment?) She went on for almost 45 minutes while we were traveling somewhere in the car. I've transcribed about 3.5 minutes of this and am posting it here, along with the excerpted recording (audio only).

p.s. for whoever's not familiar with The Hobbit - this is her own idea of what should have happened to Smaug, not what really happened in the book!


This pines was roaring like its ‘ind,
The pits was brought the dwarves of night,
The dwarves killed Smaug,
They planned of sword,
They stormed and sung and heard dwarves plan;

The flecks and flat to fled them did,
They died of it in bitter storm,
They killed a dragon done and dead;

They killed a spot through bend of dawn,
They bend and bled,
Through dent in sped,
They killed a bads and tortured me.

(Stops to explain to me: Actually the dwarves.... they killed Smaug!)
(Continues chanting/singing)

The pines was roaring on the height,
The wind was blown in on the night,
The dragon’s fire,
More tough than skyer(?),
Hootch had blowned an bend of elves;

They died for war when all their height,
They planned and pond through end of night,
They under the mist,
The mist had fought,
Far over the flat, far over;

They fanned and fled, through ‘fraid of them,
To Sauron’s bed,
To sometimes sped,
They sped and aimed a might of him;

They took no more of him, and elves,
They took war torn,
The sand of Dhun,
Their arms and ems(?) and ‘fessed and fussed;

They fanned and fanned for more of dead,
They dug them bed,
To days and died,
They died for Ann, beneath Hoon’s feet;

But as they touched the dam they aimed,
They aimed of dead,
They came, so fled,
Mm hmm, the day, the day no more;

The mountain’s cold beneath the moon,
They aimed and banged through chant of doom,
They hear, they sped,
They sped and fled,
To teach the pat(?) and Hoon bite the spat(?);

Hootch bite elves and dwarves bite the dragon,
And aimed a might of ford of stead,
They died and fought,
They bite the Smaug,
They spawned(?) a tongue and ate the tongue;

They banged and watched two fat jaws beat,
They ate foul deck(?),
They ate... the vultures was been,
And born to die there,
Vultures died and men looked at...

(interrupted, but continued after brief conversation...)

The pines were roaring on the height,
The wind was blown in on the night,
The bed was dead,
They bled and drag,
The dragon was dead,
They haps instead;

The bled and took their noise and told
They took no more,
They took in more gold,
And pressed a span(?),
And planned of them;

They aimed a might of for themselves,
The dragon was dead,
The burns of stead,
They aimed a tight of throne and thorn;

Then elves came behind them,
And other things had burned...