Learning, growth and fun are three words not often used in the same breath.This site aims to promote language growth through learning, all the while having fun.Hence the name PedaGrowFun. It consists of pedagogical materials designed to help in the development of language skills, and also contains the Christian and Corinne series of adventure stories of a young boy and his little sister,and their marvelous MAGIC TELEVISION. The adventure begins with the April 22, 2008 story.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christian, Corinne and the Wicked Witch of the East

“ Christian… Christian… Christian-n-n-n!”

“Yes! Yes! Corinne- please- a bit of patience- give me a chance to step into the house.”

It was Halloween time, a day quite cold and somber. There was even a hint of snow in the air. Christian had almost arrived home from school when his sister Corinne burst in upon the scene.

Christian looked at her, shook his head and smiled in manly fashion, trying to imitate their father, and asked, “ And what can I do for you little sister?”

“ Christian, do you know what- I was at Day Care today with my friends and Emmanuelle’s dad came to pick her up and he told us a story about the wicked witch of the east who doesn’t live far from here and…”

“Whoa! Whoa! Corinne” interrupted Christian, not wanting his little sister to get too flushed and winded. “It’s almost Halloween and it’s just a story to amuse and scare kids.”

“Me I’m not that sure about that Christian. Emmanuelle’s father was really serious when he was talking to us about the witch. He even told us where he’s pretty sure she lives….”

“Ah! Come on you! I’ve really heard just about everything!” exclaimed Christian. “Tell me, then, where does she live?”

“Not far from here – on Petrie Island.”

“O.K. Corinne- tomorrow it’s Saturday and I’m not going to school. We’ll go for a ride to Petrie Island with the Magic Television. It’s not far from here. We see it very well when we go to visit Pépé and Mémé in Rockland. And let me tell you,” Christian added with emphasis, “you will see that there’s no witch living there! It’s a water paradise. There’s a long beach, walking trails in the woods, wildlife and flowers, even fishing on the Ottawa River.”

The next morning the sun shone brightly. It was a beautiful day for a Television ride. Christian and Corinne woke up very early, much to the chagrin of their parents, had a quick breakfast, and headed to the backyard and their magnificent Magic Television.

“Good morning Television!”

“Good morning Christian. Good morning Corinne. Good morning you beautiful children. And how are you today?”

“We are very well and today we would like to go visit Petrie Island,” replied Christian.

“Not a problem, my little friends. Enter and as always, I will take you wherever you command me to go.”

About fifteen minutes later Christian and Corinne found themselves over this little island in the Ottawa River. From above they circled it several times. They saw a lot of water, a beautiful long beach, many trees….

All of a sudden Corinne pointed and cried out,” Look Christian- over there!”

Christian, eyes screwed, scanned the area where his little sister was wagging her finger at and finally saw it, a tiny cabin, built into the ground, having long grass and fallen leaves and branches for a roof, almost completely hidden in thick woods surrounded by swamp and cattail. On the roof of this tiny cabin was a small chimney from which rose puffs of smoke. Were it not for the smoke the children would never have seen the cabin.

“Whoa!” exclaimed Christian. “What have we here Corinne? There is definitely someone living where no one is supposed to live. Let’s approach slowly and go discover what exactly is going on. Maybe,” a tremor of fear now in his voice, “maybe Emmanuelle’s Dad was telling the truth.”

Slowly, very slowly, the children piloted their craft next to the cabin, behind a pile of stones. They disembarked and slowly approached this mound of earth and grass.

“Come here Corinne,” said Christian in a real low voice, standing about half way up the earthen mound, his hands busy parting the long grasses, most of it dry and looking like hay. “There seems to be a little window beneath the grass here.”

Corinne slowly made her way besides her brother. Together they finished the job Christian had been working on and discovered the little window. Together they peered in and what they saw made their little hearts leap and beat wildly.

The inside of the cabin consisted of a single room, all in white- the floor, the walls, the ceiling- everything except a big black stove and its black chimney situated in the middle of the room. Scattered here and there in this room was an assortment of brooms of all lengths and thicknesses imaginable.

On top of the stove sat a big black cauldron from which rose a thick black smoke. And standing in front of this stove, and this is what made their hearts beat so rapidly, they saw a witch with long black hair, a long chin, a long nose dressed all in black from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet. In her hands she held a huge ladle which she was using to stir what seemed like a heavy soup boiling in the cauldron.

“Listen Christian,” she’s saying something.

“Yes! Yes! Corinne. Sh-h-h- Let’s listen!”

The children could see the witch take ingredients from a big black bowl on the floor and put them in the black cauldron. They heard her chant in a nasal, plaintive voice,

“A bra ca da bra
Deer’s ear, owl’s bowel
Chimpanzee’s knee, quail’s nail
Bear’s hair, beaver’s liver
Fly’s eye, cat’s fat….”

Suddenly, she threw herself on one of her brooms, a long thin one, and started flying around the room, right side up , upside down, to one side then to the other, all the while yelling,

“A- I- I- I- I-, A- A- A- A-, O- O- O-, A- I- I- I- I-, A-U-U-O,- Ho! Ho! Ha!-, I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I------

After what seemed like an eternity of this clamor, she stopped and hurled her broom at the wall. She returned to the stove, picked up her ladle and commenced stirring the soup, all the while mumbling, “Yes! Yes it’s true. I’m going to spread this poisonous potion on Duquette’s pumpkin patch and his beautiful orange pumpkins are going to blacken and die and the children will not be able to celebrate Halloween this year. I-I-Yes! Yes! So true- no pumpkins, no Halloween, I-I-I-, Ho! Ho! I-I-I-!

Christian and Corinne looked at each other. “She is really wicked!” whispered Christian.

“Very, very wicked” replied Corinne. “Is there anything we can do to stop her?”

“I don’t know Corinne. Let’s go back to the Television and ask.”

The children made their way back to their precious Television, explained the situation, and asked if anything could be done to save Halloween. After several very long seconds the Television replied, “I’ve got an idea. Take some grass, small branches, small rocks, small dried leaves, in fact, anything you can get your hands on and without making any noise carry them up the roof next to the chimney. When you think you have enough throw it all down the chimney. If my calculations are right this will choke her fire and destroy the potion she is making. No potion, no possibility of destroying the pumpkin patch.”

Christian and Corinne followed the instructions of the MAGIC TELEVISION to the letter. Then they made their way slowly down the roof to the window and looked in. What they saw and heard only added to their terror, making them shake uncontrollably. The cabin was quickly filling up with smoke and the witch, in a fury, all the while yelling, “Someone has blocked up my chimney and destroyed my potion. If I get my hands on them I’ll put them in a new stew. I-I-I-I-O----“

“Quick! Quick! Corinne. To the Television before she catches us.”

The children made a mad dash to their Magic Television, jumped in with the witch close on their heels. The Television closed its screen just as she was getting ready to follow them in. From inside they heard her bump into it, fall heavily to the ground, breaking her broom.

Quite shaken up, by the time she managed to make it back to her smoke filled cabin, Christian an Corinne were back home in Ottawa, so rapid their MAGIC TELEVISION could be when necessary. The day was saved.

That night, as was the custom, the children related the day’s adventures to their parents.

“Papa! Maman! Christian and I saved Halloween.”

“It’s really true you know. The wicked witch wasn’t able to destroy M. Duquette’s pumpkin patch this year. Halloween has been saved,” added Christian, his voice breaking with pride and joy.

Their parents, as was also the custom, looked at their children, then at each other, smiled and shook their heads, each asking himself how long these imaginary tales would last….