An Interactive Story
By Linda Befeld
When I was little, all I wanted for my birthday was a goldfish. I could see her, golden and finny, swimming in a round bowl with colored rocks on the bottom, a little castle, and a nice plant. As a matter of fact, just saying “Goldfish” made me smile. Can you put a big smile on your face and when I count to three say “Goldfish?” 1-2-3 Goldfish!
But I didn’t have a goldfish…and that made me frown. Can you put a frown on your face and when I count to three say “Goldfish”? 1-2-3 Goldfish. (sadly)
So I went to my Grandpa, who always gave nice presents, to ask for my goldfish. And this is how I asked. “ I WANT A GOLDFISH!” (loud and demanding) When I count to three can you say it just like that? 1-2-3, I WANT A GOLDFISH!
Grandpa said, “That’s no way to ask for something you really, really want.” So I asked again, but this time I whined when I asked. “I wanna goldfish” Have you ever heard anyone whine? It can be very annoying. When I count to three, whine with me. 1-2-3, I wanna goldfish. (nasally and whiney)
Grandpa said, “That’s no way to ask for something you really, really want.” So I asked again, but this time I pouted. “I want a goldfish.” Can you stick your bottom lip out and pout when I count to three? 1-2-3 I want a goldfish. (pout, pout, pout)
Grandpa said, “If you really want a goldfish, before you ask again, you could help with the chores, brush your teeth before you are told, and use the Magic word.”
So I did everything he said and was as good as gold. And the next time I asked, I used that Magic word. Do you know what it is? That’s right, I said “Please, may I have a goldfish.” I’ll count to three and you can say it with me. 1-2-3, please may I have a goldfish?
And sure enough, on my next birthday, I got a surprise. There on the kitchen table was a little round bowl, with colored rocks in the bottom, a castle and a plant. And what was swimming around in the water? That’s right…a goldfish! When I count to three can you say “Goldfish” like you are surprised? 1-2-3, Goldfish! (throw up your hands and say it with surprise)
I named my fish Goldie, and Grandpa gave me a little round box of goldfish food and told me how to feed her. “Once a day, everyday, a little bitty bit. (hand gestures) “Once a day” (hold up one finger), “everyday” (make a sweeping motion with same hand), “a little bitty bit” (hold up thumb and first finger to show a small amount). “Remember, once a day, everyday, a little bitty bit.”
But that night, before I went to bed, I had a snack - some apple juice and peanut butter crackers - and Goldie looked hungry. She made a hungry goldfish face. Can you do it? (put hands on each side of cheeks, pinkies touching face and flap them in and out like gills while making goldfish lips) So I sprinkled more food in the bowl. (Pretend to hold a small container and pretend to sprinkle food on the kids three times. Start at left of crowd and sprinkle to the right while speaking.) “Eat some food, Goldie. Eat some food, Goldie. Eatsome, eatsome, eatsome.” (Say the last part very fast and with humor)
Well, after that, Goldie grew and grew and grew. (Hold hands up and separate them to show growth) Grandpa said, “We’re going to have to get her a bigger bowl. So we got her a huge bowl (indicate with arms outstretched, fingers touching to make a big round bowl) and a bigger jar of food! So he got her a bucket of fish food and a big scoop. “But remember, feed her once a day, everyday, a little bitty bit.” (hand motion)
But that night I had a snack – some graham crackers and milk. I looked at Goldie and she made that hungry goldfish face. (put hands on each side of cheeks, pinkies touching face and flap them in and out like gills while making goldfish lips) So I got the bucket and scooped out more food. “Eat some food, Goldie. Eat some food, Goldie. Eatsome, eatsome, eatsome.” (Make a motion like a big spoon going in a bucket and dump it on three sections of kids)
And Goldie got bigger, and bigger, and bigger. (hand motion) Grandpa said, “I’m not sure that Goldie is really a goldfish after all. She’s going to need a Tank” So we got her a great big fish tank with lots of plants and bubbly water and a tub of goldfish chow and a shovel. “Remember,” said Grandpa, “Feed her once a day, everyday, a little bitty bit.” (hand motion)
But that night I had a snack - some raisins and carrot sticks - and I looked at Goldie, who made that hungry goldfish face. (put hands on each side of cheeks, pinkies touching face and flap them in and out like gills while making goldfish lips) So I dragged the tub of goldfish chow and the shovel over to her tank. “Eat some food, Goldie. Eat some food Goldie. Eatsome, eatsome, eatsome.” (pretend to step on the shovel and get a big heavy load of food to toss on to the kids)
That night, after we were all asleep, we heard a crack, and a crash, and a splash. When we ran into the kitchen, we saw Goldie’s tank had exploded! There was broken glass and water all over the floor. But where was Goldie? I was so worried that I began to cry, “Goldfish, boo, hoo, hoo.” When I count to three, say it with me: “Goldfish, boo, hoo, hoo.”
Then I saw Goldie, but she had changed! She was wiggling her fins and chomping her teeth. Goldie had turned into a great big SHARK! I was so scared. Can you say Goldfish like you are scared? 1-2-3 Goldfish. (throw up your hands and use a loud, trembling voice) Goldfish.
Goldie was hungry, so she ate the kitchen table, and the chairs, and she was heading straight for me! I ran to get the phone and called that number you call when you are in trouble. What’s that number? Yes, you are right….911! But when the lady answered the call, I was so scared I lost my voice and I whispered “Goldfish” in the phone. Can you do it when I count to three? 1-2-3 Goldfish. (whisper into the pretend receiver)
“Oh my,” said the lady on the phone. “You don’t have to be scared of Goldie. She just needs a bigger place to live, that’s all. Just put her in the car and take her right down to the aquarium. Call her like you would call a puppy and she’ll come right to you.” So I called her like this: “Here, Goldie, come on Goldie, wuzza wuzza wu.” Can you call her when I count to three? 1-2-3 Here Goldie, come on Goldie, wuzza wuzza wu. (Use a foolish puppy-calling voice, a beckoning finger, and get close to the kids as though you are calling them)
Sure enough, Goldie got right in the car and Grandpa drove us to the aquarium. They put Goldie in a great big pool of water with lots of other fish and she lives there to this very day. And when I go see her, they let me feed her lots of fish food. And because I was so brave and knew just what to do, they gave me a reward. A round glass bowl full of - not goldfish that I would have to feed - but goldfish that would feed me. (pull out a bowl full of fish shaped snack crackers and share) Let’s say it one more time when I count to three. 1-2-3 Goldfish!
For additional stories to tell, try some of these.
The Crystal Heart: A Vietnamese Legend
The Frog Who Became an Emperor
The Stars in the Sky
The Water Maid