Last year, I went to Bard College, in the Hudson Valley, for a semester as an exchange student (it was awesome, but that’s another story). It gave me the opportunity to stay a few weeks in New York City. A city I’ve visited with my family, with my friends, by myself; a city I loved (and still love).
Enjoy the stories that remind us of King Midas’ foolishness, as written by Andrew, and illustrated by Janyce, that we told at Bard College during the Symposium last May, while we keep on searching for partners willing to help our project. I hope you’ll like it as much as the children!
This is a story from a time when gods walked on earth and looked as human as you or I. They spoke to people, and gave them gifts, and sometimes they punished them. Other times the gifts they gave were more punishment than gift…
Once upon a time, there was a mighty king named Midas, about whom two stories are told.
Midas ruled a rich and powerful kingdom, and lived in a beautiful palace. He lived a comfortable life with every kind of enjoyment, but he was never satisfied. Always Midas wished for more, more, more. Once upon a time, he got his chance to have it.
On May 3rd 2011, thanks to the support of Bard College Classics department, we had the chance to present our project to the faculty and students, as part of the Bard Ancient Studies Symposium. With the Classics professors’ help, we were able to set it up, and to find three children, aged respectively five, seven and ten years old willing to participate in an interactive experience. In front of an audience of approximately 25, we first explained our project and its objectives. This presentation was followed by a try out of what we are actually planning to do when we meet with classes around the world.
Thus Andrew told the myth he had prepared to the children and the audience: the two stories of King Midas. This exciting narrative was illustrated by our artwork, showing our own interpretation of the myth. We had a drawing for each story, and a few others used to explain the meaning of some specific words to the children: a satyr, a lyre, a panpipe …
When the storytelling was over – King Midas’ shameful secret being revealed to the world, we encouraged the children to choose a story they knew and to take 20 minutes to get inspired by it to make a drawing. We also invited the audience to participate in this drawing session, and were really glad to see everyone take a pen or a crayon to join the activity.
After a very creative and inspiring art session, we invited the children to become the storytellers: and they dived in this role with no embarrassment, and a lot of enthusiasm. The younger boy drew, with the help of an adult, an episode of Homer’s Odyssey, before he told us a poem about this epic,
the seven-year-old girl chose the story of Daphne and Apollo,
and the oldest child offered an inspired version of the myth of Icarus.
All of these stories were based on wonderful drawings.
As it was a school night, the children left early, but this was not the end of the Symposium: some members of the audience were eager to share their stories with everyone. And we heard amazing interpretations of Cinderella, the myth of Phaeton, some family foundation stories, or a funny German story.
From our, the children’s and the audience’s point of view, this night was a success, full of beautiful artwork and inspiring stories. This gives us great hopes for the actual journey!