The Journey Motif and a Story

Some of the greatest stories I know of are tales of discovery. Commonly known as the journey motif, these stories allow us to go with the main character to discover new and amazing places. On the journey, the protagonist makes discoveries about herself as well and grows into a better, stronger, and self-assured person or hobbit or (fill in species or life form here).

You know these stories. They are woven into the fabric of our culture. At least, I'd like to think they are. I'm probably showing my age here, but I'm afraid the under twenty crowd are culturally deprived. I was talking to someone who teaches at a college. Curious, he asked his students to raise their hands if they knew what, say, the Mona Lisa was. If I remember correctly, two thought they had heard of her. Another friend shared with me a story she had read from a high school student who wrote that the Sistine Chapel had been viewed in a museum. Let us take a moment here to shake our collective heads and say in our best old geezer voices, "What's the world coming to?" then I shall jump off this tangent.

Some great journey motif stories are Lord of the Rings, Narnia Chronicles (yes, the journey can even begin in one's closet or, if I remember from the first book, crawling through the neighbor's attic), Wizard of Oz, The Incredible Journey (one of my favorite kid books), Canterbury Tales, Heart of Darkness, The Illiad and the Odyssy.

I add to this illustrious list, a story composed only last night entitled (drum roll, please) "The Longest Thunder." I was privileged to act as the scribe for this story, written by Calvin, a six year old boy. I understand this story was inspired by some YuGiGo trading card game.

Here it is without any edits.

One rainy day, a boy had his cards. And he didn’t know that every time it thundered, the guys from the cards would pop up out of their places. And when the boy saw it, he was shocked in disbelief. And he heard a growling thunder, but it was too long. Actually, it was definitely too long. It sounded like it didn’t even end. And the cards popped out and they stayed there. And one of them asked, “Who are you?” And the boy said, “I am John.” And the boy also said, “Who are you?” And he said, “I am Golden Homunculus.” Golden Homunculus said, “This is Caius the Shadow Monarch.” Every card that he had said, “We have to get out of this place because a very, very, very, very, very, very bad guy locked us up in some cards. Now we remain in these cards until thunder roars.” And the boy said, “Why is that ogre looking guy that is green dragging himself on the floor?”

Caius said, “Oh, that’s just Ogre Man. He’s trapped in a red thingy. He’s trying to drag himself out of the trap.” The boy said, “What are those tree looking things all around him?” Golden Homunculus said “Those are tree lumps. They stick around him. Whenever they see you, they start picking you up with their arms. The only one that can defeat them is Fire Bomb. He can defeat the tree monster.” One of the monsters said, “We are trying to go somewhere deep, deep, deep where a magician can get us out.” The boy said, “Can I help?” One of the spell guys said, “Sure.” Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer said, “But, we have to go where dangerous things are. It’s like the same thing of tree monsters. Actually, you can lead us. You are the one who has all of us so you can control us.” The boy said, “Then come on. Let’s go!” They begin their journey, but first they went past the park and then there were tree monsters. And the boy saw one of the eye rocks (a rock with one eye on it.)

The boy said, “This must be the fire monster eye rock. We have to touch it.” So the boy touched it. So you know the fire monster also came. So they defeated him. But they had one more thing they had to do. They had to jump over ten thousand volcanoes. The boy said, “Look! Another eye rock! That must be Eagle Falcon. We have to touch it, so we can ride on Eagle Falcon.” And they touched it, and they rode on the bird. There was the magician standing with his magic book. There were lots of volcanoes that put steam out on him. Some of the birds who were really crazy took a bath in them. And the boy said, “We went on a journey so I could free the monsters from the cards.” The magician said, “The only spell you can do is magic dust.” So the magician put magic dust on every card the boy had. And the thunder was almost over. So the boy said, “Come on. We have to run in that cave or else you will fall back into your cards.” And as the boy went into the cave he said, “Rip up the cards that trapped the monsters.” And the magician did so. And they lived happily ever after.

The end.

Is this not brilliant? Did I mention this child is only six? I bask in his greatness on this Mother's Day weekend.