A few weeks ago I went back to my Primary School to do a story building workshop with the children. It was a wonderful morning, and the children gave me a fabulous story involving a grumpy scientist, a chicken and a group of clever mice. Together we built the story and I loved it so much that I wrote it up and sent it back to them.
So here it is :
Professor Snarflerock and the Extermi-chick2000
By Year 3 and Sarah Todd Taylor
The day he invented the Extermi-chick2000 was the best one in Professor Snarflerock’s life. Better than when he got his international award for ‘General Cleverness’. Better than when his book on ‘Lots of clever things I understand better than you’ was published. Better even than when he found a bar of chocolate he had forgotten about tucked away in his jacket pocket. The day he invented the Extermi-chick2000 Professor Snarflerock knew his world was about to change.
Professor Snarflerock lived in a beautiful bamboo mansion in the middle of the jungle. It had seventeen bedrooms and a library that stretched over three floors to keep all the Professor’s books in. They were mostly very clever books about very serious subjects, but in the middle of the library, in a case all by itself, sat Professor Snarflerock’s favourite book. It had fluffy feather binding and a satin bookmark shaped like a beak, and it was called ‘Hunting Chickens.’ Professor Snarflerock had read it over and over till he knew it off by heart. He now knew all about the chickens in the jungle. He knew where to find the chickens, and how to hide from the chickens, and how to creep up on the chickens, but there was one thing he did not know – and that was how to get rid of the chickens.
You may wonder why a very clever man like Professor Snarflerock was bothered about a few chickens. The truth is that Professor Snarflerock had a deep, dark secret. It was something he had never told any of his very clever friends or his even cleverer family.
Professor Snarflerock was scared of chickens.
He was scared of their sharp and shiny beaks and their fluffed up, puffed up feathers. He was scared of the clucky noise they made when they were happy and the squarky sound they made when they were upset.
Of course, Professor Snarflerock never admitted to anyone that he was scared of chickens. He just said that he hated them. ‘Horrible, scratchy things,’ he said to his friends and family. ‘I wish I could get rid of all of them for good!’ And that is when Professor Snarflerock had the idea for the Extermi-Chick2000.
Behind his lovely bamboo mansion with the humongous library, Professor Snarflerock had a workshop. In this workshop he would build clever inventions for his lovely mansion. He built a lift so that he didn’t have to climb ladders in his humongous library. He built an alarm system so that if he was at one end of the mansion and the front doorbell rang at the other end he could see who was at the door. He made a camouflage cloak covered in tiny mirrors so that when he moved through the jungle he was invisible to every other living creature in it.
And he built the Extermi-Chick2000.
The Extermi-Chick2000 looked like a handbag-sized cannon, with a long copper funnel that folded out from one end and a pair of bellows at the other end. It would turn any chicken that Professor Snarflerock chose into a small pillow or (if he turned the dial on the top to the right four clicks) a chair cushion for Professor Snarflerock’s study. The was even a ‘chicken’ mode so that the Professor could turn people he didn’t like into chickens he liked even less and then turn them into cushions or pillows. It was Professor Snarflerock’s cleverest invention, which is a shame because it was really rather mean. Professor Snarflerock could not wait to use it.
One afternoon, when he had finished a delicious breakfast of crumpets and tea, Professor Snarflerock crept quietly through the jungle, the Extermi-Chick2000 tucked safely under his arm. The Invisi-cloak hid him from view and he chuckled to himself quietly as he thought of the great glass case that would soon hold not a book about hunting chickens, but a real stuffed chicken to remind him of the day he rid the jungle of the horrible creatures once and for all.
He had read the book once more before leaving the lovely mansion, so he knew just where to find the chickens. In the middle of the jungle there was a quiet glade where all the chickens liked to gather. It was peaceful there and there were plenty of berries to peck at and lots of water from a cooling spring to drink and paddle in. It was the chickens’ favourite place.
The mice of the jungle would also gather there, to gather up any berries that the chickens missed and to take little mouse showers in the spring water and keep their paws and tails clean. The mice liked the chickens and the chickens liked the mice and none of them thought much about Professor Snarflerock.
On the day that the Professor went on his chicken hunt the chickens were pecking at the berries and the mice were paddling in the spring pool. The feathers on the back of the chickens’ necks and the hair on the back of the mice’s necks began to tingle.
‘Someone is coming’, thought the chickens, but when they looked around the quiet glade they could not see anyone. Professor Snarflerock was very well hidden under his Invisi-cloak.
The mice, however, were very clever indeed. With their super sensitive hearing they could hear Professor Snarflerock breathing under the Invisi-cloak. With their particularly perceptive noses they could smell that he had had bacon and eggs for breakfast. With their awesomely acute eyes they noticed that the grass in the jungle was being trod down by something.
‘Someone is coming,’ agreed the mice. Then they were very clever indeed. They crept towards Professor Snarflerock in his Invisi-cloak and, as they were drawing close, took deep breaths and let rip with a dreadfully deafening SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEAK!!!!
Professor Snarflerock was so shocked that he squealed with alarm and dropped the Extermi-Chick2000 on the jungle floor. The clever mice seized their chance and, jumping on it, turned the dial round past ‘cushion’ and ‘pillow’ to ‘Chicken’ and aimed it at Professor Snarflerock.
There was a billow of smoke and a fluff of feathers and a new, and rather surprised looking chicken stood in the middle of the glade. Professor Snarflerock was a chicken.
Now we don’t have time to tell all the stories of what Professor Snarflerock got up to as a chicken. How the other chickens taught him where all the best berries in the jungle were. How the mice showed him how to make particularly ingenious inventions on the tiniest of scales. How, in short, he discovered all sorts of things to write up in his new book, to be called ‘Lots of clever things chicken and mice understand but you don’t’. It is enough to say that as he spent more and more time with the chickens Professor Snarflerock learned that chickens were not something to be scared of and want to be rid of. They were his friends.
Many months later, the chickens and Professor Snarflerock found the Extermi-Chick2000 buried under a pile of leaves in the glade. The Professor looked at it sadly. ‘I have enjoyed myself being a chicken,’ he said, ‘but I think I would like to go back to being me now.’
The clever mice nodded and turned the dial to ‘Undo’.
‘Goodbye,’ Professor Snarflerock clucked to the chickens and mice. With a PFFFT! he was the Professor again, surrounded by chickens pecking at his feet.
So now you know why, in the middle of the jungle, there is a beautiful bamboo mansion with a large library at one end and a workshop at the back and a sign over the front gate that reads ‘CHICKENS WELCOME’.