The Art of Storytelling: Norse Sagas from Millfield School Pupils #1

16 Jun
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Image by Nat Hall

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Year 9: Norse Sagas

Featuring

Olivia and Natasha

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Our Year 9 pupils have studied the craft of story-telling, and what better way to learn than by reading the Norse sagas, with their epic storylines and memorable characters? We gave them a brief to create their own variations on the Norse saga, drawing upon the old tales for inspiration, but taking them into new territory. Everyone in the English teaching team was impressed by the boldness and skill of the stories our young pupils wrote. Here is [ part 1 of ] a small selection. I hope you enjoy them. Our thanks go to Nicky for giving Millfield pupils such an exciting platform for their creative writing!

James Baddock

Head of English, Drama & Media
Millfield, Somerset, UK

ArtiPeeps is thrilled to be having Millfield school working in tangent with one of our projects (The Nine Realms), and to see their talented, creative pupils on our site once again. It just goes to show how inspiring the Icelandic sagas still are and how alive the art of story-telling still is! For the next three weeks we will be posting out 5 short stories from 5 of their very creative pupils. Watch out for another two stories next week.

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Loki

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English Saga

by Olivia

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The towering pillars and castle turrets sparkled in the dazzling sunlight. It was yet another beautiful day in Asgard, as you would expect for a land of the Gods. Loki sat rested against the trunk of a flowering tree, ripping up chunks of grass in a restless manner. Desperate to create some havoc (after all, he was the God of mischief) he racked his brains for ideas.

It was surprisingly quiet for such a lovely day; the courtyards and gardens lay untouched. That is, until the sound clip clopping sound of heels in the distance grew ever louder, until Lilija and her heels made it to the courtyard. Her ankle length silk gown swooshed past Loki as she paraded through the garden, providing him with a gentle breeze – much appreciated in the stifling heat. This was the most action Loki has seen all day, and he was growing increasingly restless and deprived of mischief. Frustrated, he turned back to what was left of the churned up grass beneath him. Until… Lightbulb! His face lit up; he knew what he was going to do.

Her glossy golden locks flicked back over her shoulder in the gentle wind as she made her way across the bridge from Asgard to Midgard, the land of the mortals. Although days as beautiful as this one were not rare, Lilija never grew tired of them and would never miss the opportunity to stroll though the beautiful forests of Midgard. Dappled sunlight fell upon her delicate shoulders through the canopy of trees above, and a soft breeze brushed against her skin. Usually she loved the escape from Asgard, and the opportunity to have her own space and be alone with her thoughts… but was she alone?

The brilliant sun dipped behind a large white-grey cloud and suddenly the woods became eerily dim, and a sudden chill fell over her like a blanket. Papery leaves rustled in the bushes and scraped past her ankles. Bewildered and unsure of what was going on, she became self conscious – she was not used to being out, alone in the woods when it was grey. Her mind sprung into overdrive, overthinking every danger gaining inspiration from every insecurity of the young goddess (there was many to choose from as she had such a comfortable life). Do you ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Lilija did.

Loki perched on a branch in the form of a crow, watching over Lilija. It was not long until Lilija would tire and fall straight into his prank.

Lilija began to relax once she found her way out of the dense forest, and made her way towards a large flat rock to sit and rest her legs. It was cleansing for her to sit and watch the perfect nature that wasn’t artificially beautiful like everything where she was from. Although relaxing, the sun was hot and had been beating down on her for several hours now, and she was parched. Loki knew that Lilija would not be prepared for this – she never was – and this is where his plan came in.

To Lilija’s delight, she spotted a glass of water (or so she thought) glistening in a shady spot under the edge of another rock. Maybe if she wasn’t so desperate, or had the common sense to check whether it was water and not some foreign clear potion made by Loki, then what happened next would not have taken place.

Feeling rather pleased with herself, Lilija lay back on the rock to soak up some more rays before making her way back – or at least, she tried to. Something was stopping her! Bewildered, she turned around to investigate, and to her horror she found an oily, curly green tail sprouted from her coccyx! Her eyes shot back to her hands, which had now become dry, wrinkled and that same off dark green colour yellow/white claws had replaced her manicured nails. She felt her dress become increasingly tighter until a boil covered, bloated pot belly burst through the seams of her tailored silk dress. Lilija had never been so horrified in her life! Meanwhile Loki sat watching the whole thin, screeching with side splitting laughter; his potion had worked, he’d turned the princess into her worst enemy, a goblin!

Distraught, Lilija fled back through the forest to the bridge, so she could burst through the gates to Asgard and make it to her quarters before anyone could see her. However, the gates were guarded at all times by Horatio, guardian of the golden gates. Inevitably, she was stopped at the gates, and told to leave or face fatal consequences. As much as she begged and pleaded, Horatio was having none of it – understandably, he thought this ‘goblin’ was crazy. Distraught and in despair, Lilija fled from the bridge. What was she going to do now?

Loki couldn’t help but feel dreadful for causing the goddess such a hard time; he only wanted a bit of fun. He felt it was his duty to fix what he had started. Just as he had done earlier that morning he began to concoct a potion that would hopefully reverse the effects of the previous potion. Meanwhile Lilija was slumped, sobbing at the foot of a tree.

Several minutes passed before Loki’s potion was finally finished and sealed it in a small flask with the label ‘drink me’. Loki, still disguised as a crow, flew over Lilija and dropped the concoction into her lap. Confused, Lilija picked up and inspected the flask. Drink me? She has enough sense to ponder drinking this unknown liquid, but she was so distraught and in such a bad place mentally that she would rather die than live the rest of her life a goblin. Relived, Loki perched nearby to watch the potion kick in.

Lilija tossed the flask on the floor and held her head in her hands, staring down at her ugly feet. only they weren’t ugly anymore! Her manicured toenails and slim ankles looked identical to how they had when they left the castle that morning! Looking down, she noticed more and more of her was her own body! Immediately she ran over to the water, and stared back at her reflection. Beside herself with joy and relief, she ran to the gates before anything else could happen to her!

She flopped onto her plush queen size bed and sighed. It had been a long day, and certainly a walk she’d never forget.

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The Giant Skymir

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The Land of the Ice Giants

by Natasha

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Complete devastation. The war was done and lost. Any memory of a life before had long since been abandoned. You could still smell the dead in the air and the lingering of sadness dangled from the surrounding icicles. The snow was stained a vermilion red, decorated with bloody limbs and weapons retired from battle. It was harder than I imagined it to be. To return and see the utter desolation. The once alive mountains stood silently, mourning as they were forced to witness the slaughter and were able to do nothing about it. I wandered aimlessly for a while, reminiscing in the part I played that destroyed this once tranquil place. It was then the memories came flooding in…

My bloody sword hung limply from my quivering grasp. All determination had deserted me, but I knew deep down that I couldn’t give up now. The beast towered over me, I could feel his warm breath brushing against my sweaty skin. I swung my sword with all the strength that remained but I unanticipated the distance. The beast saw my fault and pounced while I was off-guard.

Suddenly I stopped myself, I didn’t want to remember. Maybe coming back here was a bad idea after all? I looked up at the sky. As a child I was told stories about the wonder and beauty of this place. How in the morning the sky would turn a pinky-orange colour and how gradually throughout the day it would transition into a deep purple. People travelled from all parts of the country to gaze up at those skies. Now as I look up all I see is black. Enormous black clouds, bulging with rage. What has become of this place?

The beast leaped on me with such force it knocked all of the air out of my lungs. My head hit the ice with such intensity that I feared I wouldn’t be able to get back up again. My eyes glazed over, a mixture of fear and fury. The beast pressed my sword against my gulping throat. I couldn’t fight it, I wasn’t strong enough…

I immediately stopped myself because I knew the worst was to come. A shudder of fear engulfed me as the memories replayed themselves, still as vivid as ever. To my horror my eyes fell upon a terrifyingly familiar sight. The gem still shone bright, even after all these months. The ruby stone was so large I could vaguely see my panicstricken face in the reflection. Slowly, I crouched down and clasped it in my hands. I am forced to remember.

The end was about to come. I knew it and didn’t have anything left in me to fight it. The beasts grin was repulsive, his eyes narrowed as he relished in my suffering. I had lost all hope. Suddenly the beasts expression altered dramatically. He roared in agony and turned his ugly head to peer behind him. Surprised, I tilted my head to see the disturbance. An emptiness filled my stomach. A fear worse than death consumed me. Gilleous stood behind me, sword at the ready, his arm dripping from a fatal wound.

A tender feeling came across me as the potent memories cut deeper into the already aching feeling in my gut. Never had I felt so much pain. I couldn’t fight back the tears so I fell to my knees. Hoping the Gods would rescue me from this
inescapable grief…

Gilleous looked deep into my eyes then swung his sword across the beasts chest. The beast howled in agony and retaliated by hurling his axe at Gilleous. However, he narrowly missed his left shoulder. Seizing the opportunity Gilleous plunged his sword into the beasts chest. The beast screamed with rage and fell to the floor. Gilleous stumbled over to me, holding out his hand to help me stand. I laughed with relief. Everything was going to be alright. Immediately I regretted that thought. Gilleous’s comforting smile was suddenly replaced with a shocked, pained
expression. He dropped to the ground and to my horror I saw an axe, encrusted into his back. I saw the despair in his eyes as his body crumpled into a heap on the ground. The beast was lying on his back, bleeding profusely, grinning hysterically. Satisfied with his final kill.

I just wanted to die. The pain was so unbearable. I hadn’t cried like this since the day of his death. It seemed that I had been building up all this emotion deep inside of me. The drought was the worst part of grieving, now it seemed I was drowning in my own tears. I clasped the gem in my trembling hands. At least I would have something to take back to his family. Suddenly a strange feeling came across me. I could breath. Amongst all the sadness I found a glimpse of comfort just in the memory of Gilleous. Although I missed him with every bone in my body, deep down I knew that he died protecting me. I had to honour his memory. That’s what he would have wanted after all. I took one final look at the miserable battle scene and mounted my horse. I stroked her blonde mane affectionately, I remembered the day
Gilleous brought her for me. I could barely sit properly the first time I rode her, but over time Gilleous taught me. He was always the best teacher. I was soon the finest rider in our kingdom. Yes, I said to myself aloud. That’s how I would remember Gilleous. As the man who nurtured me, helped me mature and grow as an individual. The greatest man who ever lived.

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You can find some more poetry and writing from Millfield pupils here and here (their Freshly Pressed’ Sense of Place’ poetry) and their QUEST short story openings here. More sagas coming from Millfield pupils next week!

Thank you for your interest.

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3 Responses to “The Art of Storytelling: Norse Sagas from Millfield School Pupils #1”

  1. Gill O June 16, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

    What absolutely splendid and imaginative writing, Olivia and Natasha. Very different styles and stories and you both had me completely hooked.

  2. orwell531 June 23, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    Dear Olivia and Natasha, I would like to congratulate you for your excellent writing, I so enjoyed them! You showed tremendous imagination and perception of the world of the Poetic Edda and its characters. Keep writing and thank you. With warm wishes, Karin.

  3. nordicblackbird June 25, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    Reblogged this on nordicblackbird and commented:
    First instalment of creative language from pupils in conjunction with #theninerealms

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