Give everyone a copy of the story. You may read it aloud while the students read it silently. Another alternative would be for you to take the role of narrator and assign particular students to read the dialogue of each of the characters.
This story, which was written by Honoel Ibardolaza, was published by Adarna House as a storybook with illustrations by Brian Vallesteros. It is available in most bookstores at a very reasonable price. You may wish to buy a copy so that you can read it to the kids while showing them the illustrations.
Note: The points to emphasize and the exercises are intertwined. There is an attached worksheet which the TD tutor can either print as is or modify. The TD tutor must make enough copies of the worksheet for all of his students.
Ask the students: Did you like the story? Why (or why not?) [The answers of the students can be a bridge to introducing the elements of the story. For example, the students may like the story because they were entertained by a certain character. They may like the story because of the way it was built up toward the conclusion (plot). They may like the story because it talks of a different kind of environment (setting). Or they may like the story because of the lesson (theme).
There are certain things or elements that make a story good. These things make us like a story. Sometimes, we can understand a story even better and like it even more than we already do if we stop and take a longer look at these things that make a story good. Some of the elements that make a story good are:
Setting – the place and time in which a story takes place
Characters – the people or participants in a story
Plot – the meaningful arrangement of events in a story. Here, “meaningful” means that the events lead to or build up toward other events. They are not simply events that come one after another.
Theme – a truth about life that is reflected in the story
Let us take a second look at our story in terms of these elements.
When and where did the story take place? In this particular story, the setting is not really stated directly. However, there are some things that can help us guess the setting.
What are these things that can help us guess the setting? What do these tell us about the setting
[The use of “rajah’, the mention of “Allah” help us guess that the story is set in a Malay or Indian kingdom.]
[The fact that the kite takes the rajah high up tells us that this kingdom is imaginary rather than real.]
[Ask the students to fill up the SETTING part of the attached worksheet.]
Who are the major characters of the story? [The rajah and the wise man]
What are these characters like? What are their traits? Sometimes a trait is stated directly. For example the very first sentence of the story says clearly that the rajah is greedy. Sometimes, you have to guess the trait based on what a character does or says. For example, what trait of the rajah is seen in the statement “If you do not get me that cloud, I will have you tied to a pole and bitten by the reddest of ants!” (par 6)
[Ask the students to fill up the CHARACTER part of the worksheet. Discuss after they finish answering.]
A story becomes exciting because there is a problem or conflict in the story. A conflict is a clash of two forces, for example two characters in the story. [But the conflict can also be between a character and himself/herself or another force such as nature.]
Who are the forces in conflict? What is the conflict between them? [Ask the students to fill up the CONFLICT part of the worksheet. Discuss after they finish answering.]
Because of the conflict, the story becomes more and more exciting. This is called the rising action. The action continues to rise until it reaches the highest point or the most exciting part. This is called the climax. After this point, the action takes a sudden turn toward the resolution of the conflict, which is why the climax is also called the turning point. What are the events that make up the rising action? What event can be considered as the climax? [Ask the students to fill up the RISING ACTION and CLIMAX parts of the worksheet. Discuss after they finish answering.]
How was the conflict resolved? [Ask the students to fill up the RESOLUTION part of the worksheet. Discuss after they finish answering.]
What does the story say about greedy rulers? What does the story say about being greedy? [Ask the students to fill up the THEME part of the worksheet. Discuss after they finish answering.]
What did you learn from the story? How can you apply what you learned to your life?
The worksheet will provide the TD tutor with some feedback about the areas of struggle of the students in relation to the elements of a story. Hopefully, the students can repeat the process of filling up this worksheet when they read another story.
This part will be prepared by the TD tutors.
Note: The story The Greediest of Rajahs and the Whitest of Clouds will be used as a take-off point for a grammar lesson on the degrees of comparison of adjectives and adverbs during the next lesson.
SOURCES Ibardolaza, H. (2004). The Greediest of Rajahs and the Whitest of Clouds. (B. Vallesteros, Illustrator). Quezon City: Adarna House.
THE GREEDIEST OF RAJAHS AND THE WHITEST OF CLOUDS
by Honoel Ibardolaza
Once there was a very greedy rajah. He wanted the fattest cows, the roundest pigs, the juiciest melons, the sweetest sugar, the finest silk, the purest of silver and gold.
Because the greediest of rajahs took everything from them, the people of his kingdom were the poorest and saddest. No one though dared defy the greediest of rajahs for he had the fiercest soldiers armed with the sharpest spears.
One day, while the rajah was sitting near the largest window of his biggest palace, he saw the whitest cloud drifting across the blue heavens. He was absolutely enchanted! It was whiter than the purest carabao milk he drank everyday and seemed fluffier than the softest pillows he slept on.
“Guards!” he bellowed. “Call in all wise men!”
“Get me the whitest of clouds!” he ordered all the wise men. “If you do not get me that cloud,” he roared, “I will have you tied to a pole and bitten by the reddest of ants!”
The wise men were given the whole night to figure out how to catch the whitest of clouds. Though they knew the task was impossible, they stayed up all night pondering, calculating and discussing.
It was daybreak when the wisest of the wise men entered the rajah’s chamber. “My venerable rajah,” started the wise man. “Heaven is home to Allah and only one who is pure and great can come close to it. Furthermore, the whitest of clouds can only be held by the greatest of men, and there is no one in this land greater than you.”
“That is true,” the rajah laughed with selfish glee. “Even as you speak I hear the invitation of Allah for me to visit him.” The wisest of the wise men smiled humbly. “So tell me scholar,” continued the rajah, “how can I go up there?”
The wisest of the wise men replied, “We propose that the largest of kites be constructed so that you may ride on it on your way toward the heavens. There you will fasten the cloud to your kite with a rope. After you have secured the cloud and your person, we will pull you down.”
“Well done!” the rajah exclaimed. “Bring me the most skilled of carpenters!”
Work on the great kite began at once. It was to be as grand as the greediest rajah, adorned with the finest of emeralds and rubies. The finest bamboo was gathered for the kite and the softest velvet was used for the rajah’s seat. A rope as long as a thousand coconut trees was attached to the kite.
Everyone was impressed with the magnificent kite—except the greediest of rajahs. “The kite should be three times as large,” complained the rajah, “the jewels should be four times as shiny and ten times as many, the chair should have more cushions, and the tail should be woven with golden threads that glitter at night…”
The rajah’s wishes were carried out and the grandest of kites was brought by fifty men to the palace’s largest courtyard. They didn’t wait long for the most powerful of winds started blowing and swept the kite and the rajah over the place walls, above towering steeples, toward the heavens. The strongest soldiers held on to the kite’s long rope.
As the kite went higher and higher, the starving and unhappy citizens of the kingdom rushed out of their houses to look at the most magnificent and largest kite ever flown in the kingdom. Even the peasants who toiled in the watermelon field straightened up to see the astonishing sight that graced the clear blue sky.
The rajah was ecstatic as the whitest of clouds was almost within reach. Suddenly, the kite stopped rising for it had become too heavy with all the jewels. The rajah turned red with rage.
He unsheathed his golden bolo and started slashing with blind fury at the threads that fastened the jewels to the kite. One by one, the threads began to snap and the jewels started to fall. A glistening shower of rubies, emeralds, pearls, and diamonds fell over the kingdom.
Overjoyed, the people scrambled for as many jewels as they could. Even the soldiers holding on to the kite’s rope let it go, for they also wanted a share in the rain of treasure. In their excitement, no one noticed that the greediest of rajahs was drifting farther and farther away, until he was nowhere in sight.
“The rajah is gone!” a little boy exclaimed, and the people let out their loudest shouts of joy. They had gained the most wonderful gems and lost the greediest of rajahs. They appointed the wisest of the wise to rule their kingdom. He ruled with love and generosity. What became of the greediest of rajahs, no one can say for certain. However, if you look at the evening sky long and hard enough, you might catch a glimpse of a distant trail of glitter streaking across the heavens. It is the greediest of rajahs still on his kite, chasing after the whitest of clouds.