The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

by Vicky on October 19, 2010

It was a Halloween extravaganza at Page Presents this week, featuring an elaborate puppet show requiring two puppeteers.  I had the inspired assistance of my husband, Stuart, who designed the complex marionette for the disembodied pumpkin head and clothing items, and also of my colleague, Amy, who operated the marionette with flair after a minuscule amount of practice.  And there was also the brilliant weekly musical contribution of Matt, who taught the kids ballet steps (jeté, chassé, de coté, and one more that I’ve forgotten) to perform with “Fossiles,” from Saint-Saëns’ Le carnaval des animaux.

Our featured story was The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams and illustrated by Megan Lloyd.

The story opens as the little old lady goes into the forest to gather herbs and nuts and seeds and roots.  After spending the entire day in the woods, she finally starts home as night is falling.  With only a sliver of moon, the forest is dark and shadowy.  Suddenly she hears a noise and sees two disembodied shoes clomping towards her.  “Go away, you silly shoes,” she exclaims, “You can’t scare me, I’m the little old lady who is not afraid of anything!”  And she continues on her way.  But behind her, she can still hear:

Two shoes go CLOMP, CLOMP.

In quick succession she is confronted by one pair of pants (wiggle, wiggle); one shirt (shake, shake); two gloves (clap, clap); one tall top hat (nod, nod); and one gigantic orange scary pumpkin head (boo, boo).  She begins walking faster, and, after meeting the scary pumpkin head, she starts to run.  But coming along behind her she can still hear:

Two shoes go CLOMP, CLOMP
One pair of pants go WIGGLE, WIGGLE
One shirt go SHAKE, SHAKE
Two gloves go CLAP,CLAP
One tall top hat go NOD, NOD
And one gigantic orange scary pumpkin head go BOO, BOO.

The kids loved chiming in to recite the list of all the things chasing after the little old woman.

Naturally, after the little old woman slams and locks her door and sits down by the fire in her rocking chair, there comes a KNOCK, KNOCK at the door!  Should she answer it?  Well, as you know, she is the little old lady who is not afraid of anything.  So she opens the door a  crack, and what do you think she sees?  Yes, you guessed it.

“What are you doing here?” she asks them.  “We’ve come to SCARE you!” says the scary pumpkin head.  “But I’m not afraid of anything,” she declares firmly, and the scary pumpkin head looks crestfallen and the pieces of clothing droop dejectedly.  “What are we to do, then?” the scary pumpkin head wonders.  “I have an idea,” she exclaims and whispers in the pumpkin head’s ear.  The clothes all perk up.  “Good night,” she calls to them. “See you in the morning!”  And she shuts the door and goes to bed. 

The next morning, she wakes up and looks out her window, where she can see…a CLOMPING, WIGGLING, SHAKING, CLAPPING, NODDING, BOOING Scarecrow frightening away  all the crows!

Amy had to magically disassemble the marionette and then reassemble it (in the proper order) on a pole, while I folded back the forest scenery to reveal the cornfield with crows, which I then flipped into the air with a final flourish.  But we really pulled it off, to everyone’s delight.

Then everyone made their own


Scarecrow puppet!

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