a short tall tale


My first grade classes are studying a quick folklore unit. Last week was the introduction to some of the many types (fables, fairy tales, folk tales, legends, and tall tales). This week I got their attention by beginning class with a picture of my dog, Jiffy, and the following story:

Jiffy goes zoom!

Kiddos, last month I told you a little bit about my dog, Jiffy. He is a greyhound, and used to be a race dog. He loves to go fast and is built like a cheetah for speed. Here he is racing toward me….

…and back again!

And here he is running away from me. He looks happy, right? Well, last weekend something amazing happened that I bet you won’t believe!

He was running back and forth to get some exercise, when suddenly he must have felt like he was back on the racetrack, because he zoomed right past me and kept going in a circle around the house! I was worried, because if he goes somewhere else it could be dangerous, and there’s no way I am fast enough to keep up with him! So, the next time he came around the house, I reached out and yelled STOP! But he didn’t listen. Instead, he went even faster!

And the next time around the house, my family and I all yelled STOP JIFFY! but he just went faster! I tried to catch him on the next trip around the house, but he went so fast he zoomed right through my legs! Soon we thought he would run out of energy, but not this guy – he just went even faster! At this point, he was barely even touching the ground as he raced around and around. And the next time around I couldn’t believe it, but he was actually above the ground – flying at warp speed!!

Now I was REALLY worried – how would I bring him down?! Because each time around the house, he got higher and higher off the ground, until he was over my head! Once he got to the roof, I knew it was time to stop him the only way I knew how. I raced inside and got some bacon dog treats. He could smell the bacon right away, and he stopped finally… at last! The problem was, once he did that he fell!! and he landed so hard after going so fast that he left a huge crater in the back yard! So, my wife is thinking that we can finally get that pool installed where the hole is!!

And do you know what that speedy dog did the rest of the day? the rest of the weekend?? In fact, I think he is still doing this:

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!

It’s always interesting how far I get before kids say “No way!” But they are always invested, and get the idea quickly that my tall tale is taking something possible (he was a great race dog!) and stretches reality until it becomes impossible! In general, I don’t have a tight plan the first time that I tell my dog tale (it changes each year). And then each subsequent time, I can elaborate and find the best beats – much like a storyteller of lore in days gone by may have held an audience.

I enjoyed holding my audience for a short tall tale!

… And the last truth to this tale is that my wife really does want that pool in the back yard 😉


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