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Katie and the Giants
The giants in this story don’t actually come romping into the playground and squash anybody. It isn’t that sort of story. Katie’s mum, who knows lots of wonderful stories, tells her about The Giants and the Gods to explain something important about life.
Which side are you on – the Giants or the Gods? When you’ve listened to the story, you can leave a comment and let us know.
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Read by Natasha. Pictures by CaiJia. Story by Bertie.
Katie and the Giants
Hello, this is Natasha and this is our latest story about Katie the witch. I ought to mention that there aren’t actually any giants in this story, so I hope you aren’t too disappointed about that. After all, Katie is an ordinary school girl, and it would be quite surprising if giants suddenly appeared in the playground. But giants are important to the story. – as you will hear.
There was a new girl at school. Her name was Jazz and you might have thought that she would be quite shy until she had time to settle in. Katie thought, “Poor Jazz, starting a school is such a big thing. She must be quite scared really.” After the first lesson, she went up to her and said: “Hi, My name’s Katie. Don’t worry, we’re all pretty friendly here. Well most of us are…”
Jazz frowned and stared past Katie’s face in a strange way. She said:
“Couldn’t you find your hairbrush this morning?” Samantha laughed at this remark, and made action like a monster: “Katie’s hair is always WILD,” she exclaimed. And then she added with a toss of thumb: “She’s the weird one.”
Jazz said: “Yes, I see that. Every class has one of those.”
Katie felt so hurt it was like Jazz had hit her. She decided to avoid her. But at lunchtime, lots of other people wanted to chat to the new girl, and she was instantly popular. Her mum was a presenter on one of those TV shows about buying a house that was a bit of a tip, and then doing it up to be a dream home. Everyone thought that was super-cool. Even Katie’s best friend Isis was impressed.
So all in all, it was quite surprising when Jazz came up to Katie the next day. Katie innocently thought that perhaps she wanted to apologise or say something kind to make up for the bad start. But she was wrong. Jazz said coolly:
“People say you’re a witch.”
“People say lots of things, said Katie, walking a little faster down the corridor towards the art class.
“I was in your mum’s magic crystal shop yesterday,” she went on. “What are those things supposed to do?”
“Magic things can make your house have good energy,” said Katie. “They can give you positive vibes.”
“Well that doesn’t do anything for me,” said Jazz. “My motto is, If you can’t see it, eat it, or spend it, then it’s no good to anyone. In fact, I don’t believe in magic. What you can’t touch, doesn’t exist.”
“Yeah, Katie’s mum is just selling fake spells,” said Samantha, who was also walking along with them: “A fake witch is worse than a real on if you ask me.”
“Well nobody is asking you,” said Katie.
“Actually, I’m asking her,” said Jenny, “Samantha, what do you think of Katie, her mum, and their shop.”
“Fake, fake fake,” said Samantha. And Jazz and Jenny thought that was hilarious.
Katie was used to being teased, but it particularly upset her when people said bad things about her mum. That evening she was still feeling glum, and she said to her mother:
“There’s a new girl at school who says that if you can’t see, spend, or eat something then it’s no good to anyone.”
“Well that’s nonsense,” said her mum who was busy mending an antique magic belt that was embroidered with all sorts of mysterious patterns. “There are lots of really important things that you can’t touch or see.”
“You mean like magic?,” asked Katie, “Because lots of people don’t believe it, so they think that we witches are fakes.”
“It’s not just magic that you can’t see,” said her mum. “And it’s not just magic that lots of folk don’t believe in. There have always been two types of people, and there always will be.”
“You mean like witches and ordinary people?”
“Not quite,” said her mother. “ Now, Katie, if you get your magic homework book, I’m going to tell you a story from Ancient Greece that explains what I am talking about. It’s a myth, so it’s not exactly true, but it has a deeper meaning…. that’s something lots of people find hard to understand too. According to the story, there are two great forces in the world. There are the giants who rule the earth, and the gods who rule the heavens. The giants are always trying to grab hold of anything that is solid, like rocks, trees, or buildings, and pull them to the ground. They want to dig up all the precious gold and silver that they can find, because they think that wealth will make them powerful. They plan to destroy the mountains that hold up the sky, so that the gods will come tumbling down to earth. But the gods are not afraid, because they don’t care about solid things. They value what you can’t touch or see. This war goes on and on, and it always will. We known this story from a wise man called Socrates, and it’s still just as true today as it was in ancient times.”
And when Katie still looked puzzled, her mum said that she was going to set some witch’s homework. By the end of the week, she had to find three important and valuable things that you can’t see, touch, spend, or eat – excluding magic. And although Katie thought that this was the strangest homework she had ever been set, she agreed to do her best.
The next day, Katie could not see anything invisible at all – which was not surprising when you come to think about it. Isis promised to help her look for something important that you can’t see, but she couldn’t find anything like that either – even though both of them kept looking hard right up until the bell for the end of school.
Her mum looked glum when she came to collect her. “Is anything the matter?” asked Katie.
“The owner of the shop is putting my the rent. I don’t think I can pay it. I’ll have to close at the end of the summer.”
“Oh that’s terrible !” said Katie giving her mother a hug, and trying not to burst into tears. As her head rested against her mother’s chest she thought, “Perhaps Jazz is right. Real things like money count for more than stuff you can’t see.”
Just as it seemed that life could not get any worse, it did. Their teacher, Miss Vile said to the class:
“This year’s school trip will be to a very special place. We are going to New York !” Everyone was super-excited because the furthest the school had ever been before was Clacton-on-Sea. But the letter they took home told their parents that the cost of the trip would be £800. Katie knew that her mother could not afford it. “Don’t worry mum,” she said. “I really don’t mind about the school trip.” But of course she felt left out. And it seemed like yet more proof that things like money really do matter most in life.
“I’m really worried,” said Katie to Isis, the next day, “because bad things always happen in threes. What awful thing can happen to me today?”
“Don’t believe that nonsense,” said Isis, “It’s only superstition.”
And Isis was right, because nothing bad did happen that day.
“Mum, I’m so grateful nothing bad happened today,” said Katie when she got home.
“Well done darling,” said her mum. “That’s one important thing you have found that you can’t see, touch or eat.”
“Have I? What?” said Katie puzzled.
“Gratitude”, said her mum. “We must always be grateful for anything good that happens, or anything bad that doesn’t happen. In fact we must be grateful for all the happinesses and good fortunes that we have. Gratitude makes us much more content with life.”
“Oh I see,” said Katie. “Now I’m beginning to understand.
It was Friday. Katie was secretly pleased that she had managed to get to the end of such a bad week. Isis’s mum picked her up from school to come over for a sleep-over. It was going to be such fun.
“I spoke to your mum today,” she said, “And she’s agreed that you can come pony trekking again with us at the half-term.”
Katie was amazed. “But isn’t Isis going on the school trip at half-term?” she asked.
“She doesn’t want to go to New York without her best-friend,” said Isis’s mum. And Katie realised that she had found another really, really important thing that you can’t see or touch : friendship.
Katie and Isis chatted long after light’s out about all sorts of things, but mostly about the important things that you can’t see, eat or spend. “I still don’t know who is right though,” said Katie, “The giants who believe in solid things like money and riches, or the gods who believe in things like gratitude and friendship. If you could see how worried mum is about having to close the shop, you couldn’t fail to see that money is really important.”
“Perhaps they are both right,” said Isis, “But I believe that the gods are more right than the giants.
Those sorts of of invisible things like friendship and gratitude are are much more important than the solid stuff.”
“I’m not sure that you are right,” said Katie, “But I do hope that you are.”
Katie’s mum came to pick her up from Isis’s house after tea on Saturday. The girls had been out to the pony farm to ride Isis’s horse and had enjoyed a lovely day. Katie noticed that her mum’s face looked far more relaxed than last time she had seen her. In the car she said: “Tell me mum, have you got some good news?”
“I have,” replied her mum. And she explained that a woman from a TV show called “DES RES” which was short for “Desirable Residence”, had been into the shop several times, and wanted to feature it in her next series. She loved some of the wooden statues and beautifully embroidered cushions, and she thought that they would feature in a make-over of an old-run down country house, which could be turned into some sort of Aladdin’s Palace.
“Wow”, said Katie, “Her daughter is in my class at school. Her name is Jazz and she said all sorts of horrible snooty things about your shop.”
“Well her mother loves it” ! Said Katie’s mum thrilled, “And the landlord says he won’t put the rent up for another year if we are on TV, because publicity will be good for the whole street. And of course it wouldn’t look nice for him if the TV show heard that he was being mean to us and that we had to close down.”
Katie was thrilled. She thought: “This is perfect revenge on Jazz. She’ll have to eat her words.” And she realised that revenge was something you can’t see, but she also knew that her mum would not approve of it, so she did not say what she was thinking.
On Monday, she went to school with a spring in her step. As luck would have it, she and Jazz both arrived in the classroom a few minutes early. They were alone together. Jazz said: “Katie there’s something I want to say to you.”
“What’s that?” said Katie getting ready for some nasty barbed comment.
“Sorry,” said Jazz.
Katie was amazed. She was more stunned than the time Jazz had been really mean to her. And she realised that she had discovered too more really important but invisible things. Apologising, and forgiveness.
And that was the story of Katie and the Giants. I do hope that you enjoyed it. Which side are you on, The Giants or the Gods ? Or perhaps sometimes you are on one side, and other times on the other? It’s something to think about. And for those who like to know about this sort of thing, the original story of the Giants and the Gods can be found in a book called The Sophist by Plato.
Our Katie stories are one of our most popular series on Storynory.com. There are many more stories on the site too, so do drop by and listen to some soon.
And you might like to know that you can now listen to our Story, Katie and the Witch’s swap, for free on the site. But if you would can buy our iPhone and iPad app with 17 original illustrations for story that would be fantastic. And thanks too to everyone who bought the Witch’s Swap story when it was for sale, and to everyone who has made donations to Storynory.
For now, from me, Natasha
Bye Bye !