Sunday, June 12, 2011

Traditional Jump Story

Another collection of
scary stories for children
 by Alvin Schwartz.
I first heard a tradition jump story when I was attending Girl Scout Camp one summer. 

Years later when I read Alvin Schwartz’s’ Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark anthology I discovered that these stories take on all forms but they do have one thing in common—they are all structured to make the listener jump at the end of the story. 

Below is a variation of one jump story told to us as we roasted marshmallows around the evening campfire.

Let me mention here that our counselors were very adroit storytellers. They knew when to pause when to raise their voices to make the tales they told us even more dramatic. 

During one campfire one of our troop leader’s husbands taped eyes made out of tin foil to a tree truck beforehand and then when he told us one story, about a Lobo (wolf), he swept his flashlight beam through the surrounding forest until it illuminated the eyes which made them glow, we all jumped. This kind of creativity enhances a jump story.

This traditional story is about the Girl with the Green Ribbon:

Jim attended school with a very pretty dark-haired girl; the ribbon she always wore around her neck matched the color of her eyes. He was so shy it took him months before he raised enough nerve to talk to her. 

When he finally did he found she was as nice as she was pretty. The two formed a friendship that grew into a loving’ bond as they became young adults.

Jim gathering enough courage asked her to marry him. She accepted without hesitation. 

They married and were very happy but one thing kept gnawing at Jim. He had never once seen his wife without the green ribbon around her neck.

Not being able to stand it any longer he asked her to remove it. She smiled and replied, “not yet.” As the years rolled by Jim often requested she remove the green ribbon from her neck. She always replied, “not yet.”

(At this point the storyteller should lower their voice to a whisper)--

His wife became very ill and on her deathbed, he requested on last time she remove the green ribbon. She nodded yes but was too weak to untie the ribbon so she motioned for Jim to do it. 

(At this point the storyteller should raise their voice and then shout)-- 

He did, and her head fell off.

So you see the purpose of a traditional jump story is to startle the listener.

Here is a recording of the story The Green Ribbon from Schwartz's book.

No comments: