The Giant who loved hopscotch: A bedtime story about giants for kids

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

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(This bedtime story about giants was more influenced by a dream that Leah had and the subsequent explanation her mother gave her for why giants might be coming to see her)

Picture of hopscotch squaresOnce upon a time in the Land of Giants, there was a little giant of three years who loved the game of hopscotch. That in itself is not particularly interesting because everyone knows that giants big and small, young and old, love to play hopscotch. They play it when they wake up, they play it after lunch and after supper and they play a big game as a family before bedtime. It’s giants playing hopscotch that makes the earth rumble from time to time and as humans we accept this because we like having fun too.

But, we’re not as familiar with the pressure child giants are under to become good hopscotchers. Maxwell, was an especially nervous giant who was worried about how good he would be at hopscotch because his older brothers had won hundreds of golden eggs at hopscotching competitions across the Land of Giants and his parents expected no less of him.

“You will win many golden eggs Maxwell,” his dad told him every morning before he got out of bed and every evening before he got back into it. Maxwell knew as soon as he turned four, he would need to hop in front of his family, a coming of age type of party that all giants went through.

Maxwell knew he was very unlikely to win any golden eggs as a hopscotcher because he could not finish an entire stretch of scotch no matter how hard he tried.

You see, Marcus had terribly tiny feet for a giant and if you’ve played hopscotch, you know that stable feet are an important skill to have. After every fall, Maxwell would tug on his toes to try and make his feet longer. Then he’d jump up and down to try and make them wider. The next morning he’d try again and he’d fall again and he’d tug again and he’d jump again.

His older brothers knew this and like good older brothers encouraged him to keep trying.

“Our feet were once small and our balance was very bad,” they’d tell him. “But we became very good because all giants become very good at hopscotch,” they’d add, holding up their many golden eggs.

“But your feet grew when you were still babies, I’m three and have the feet of a human,” he’d lament.

“We’re sorry Maxwell, the only advice we can give you is to keep trying. Think of the first giant who ever played hopscotch. If he had given up, we wouldn’t be playing this game at all.”

Maxwell did think of Gerious often. He was a hero in the Land of Giants and all children learned about him on the first day of school. And the second day, and every day until they turned four. But Maxwell had always been taught that Gerious had the biggest feet any giant so he wasn’t sure what he could take away from this hero giant that would help him at hopscotch.

Maxwell practiced twice a day every day until it was finally the eve of his fourth birthday.

“Are you excited to hopscotch with the rest of us tomorrow?” his mother asked him.

“I am nervous because my feet are small and I fear I won’t win many golden eggs.”

“Sure you will, you’re a giant. I’ve never heard of a giant, no matter how small his feet, that couldn’t balance.”

Maxwell was more worried than he had ever been. After he fell, he figured his family would send him to live with humans where his tiny feet would actually look big. But humans would cook his meat on a stove and make him watch television instead of playing outside–things that made him sick to his stomach.

To clear his mind, Maxwell picked up his book about Gerious, a book he had read a thousand times. He didn’t even bother trying to lengthen or widen his feet that night.

…Gerious took a piece of chalk and outlined what looked like a cross with a half circle at the top onto the ground. The other giants watched Gerious, afraid to call him crazy but wanting to do so because they had never seen anybody draw on the ground like this. Then Gerious threw boulders onto the drawing and lifted one foot to jump. He jumped higher than any tree and tumbled to the ground. The other giants gasped since they had never seen Gerious fall. Gerious didn’t care that he had fallen. He stood up and hopped on one foot even higher than his first jump. This time he landed on one foot and then jumped again and again. Everyone watched, amazed, and nobody remembered his fall…

“So Gerious fell,” Maxwell whispered to himself. “But he tried again anyway.”

With this story filling his head, he sailed off to sleep and dreamed of completing a perfect hopscotch. His family showered him with golden eggs and even the legendary Golden Goose sat at his feet singing his praise.

When morning came, he was as confident as he’d ever been that he would impress his parents.

“Would you like some cow?” his mother asked, offering the traditional giant fourth birthday meal. Maxwell instead walked straight to the family hopscotch grid.

He balanced himself on one foot and thought, “if I fall I’ll be just like Gerious. No matter what happens, I’ve succeeded.”

He jumped as high as he could and landed as soft as a giant can without falling. He immediately bounced again. And again. And again, until he’d hopped scotch 10 times without falling, his nimble feet dancing a hopscotch storm.

“My goodness,” his dad yelled, “you’re better than Gerious himself!”

The rest of the family joined in and they played all day long, taking only the occasional break to eat some giant food or another.

And they played more than any other giant family from that day on, and even though Maxwell’s feet did grow, he never worried about them again.

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