Creative Writing Prompt: The Ants and the Manticore

Every Friday in my English/Language Arts class, I project a random picture on my SMARTBoard and have my students write a creative story about the projected picture. I, along with them, come up with my own creative story about the picture.

FullSizeRender (1)Last year, I played a game of Dixit and I was immediately enthralled with the gorgeous art on the playing cards, done by Xavier Collette, or Colliandre as he is otherwise known. The art on each card was so expressive and begged of a story deeper than the ink on its surface. As is oftentimes the case, I found my imagination running rampant with story possibilities and characters. I got the game for myself and always planned to do a weekly exercise where I would randomly draw a card and write a short story about it.

Now that I am an English teacher at an Elementary school, I have the perfect opportunity to flex those creative muscles, while encouraging my students to do the same. We do a Daily Writing Prompt at the beginning of every class period having to do with some thought or question on the board, but on Friday, I mix things up by projecting one of Mr. Collette’s images on the board and asking the students to write the story behind the picture.

Every week I hear some…. interesting takes on just what is happening in the picture. It is amazing how art can be interpreted in so many ways. I hear stories ranging from fantastical adventure to one-line comedic attempts. I will try to share some of my favorite stories with you in the future, but for today, I would like to share a story I wrote for the card drawn this week.

Once upon a time, there was a manticore, a terrible creature with the face of a man, the body of a lion, and the poisonous tail of a scorpion. The manticore was the most ferocious and terrifying of all the beasts in the land. Over the many years of its terrible life, the manticore had gathered a large amount of gold and treasure in its dark cave.

One day, a knight of the kingdom said, “I am the bravest of all the knights in the land! I will go forth and duel this monster and claim his gold for the kingdom.” So, the knight marched up the mountain to the manticore’s cave. Upon seeing the manticore, the knight charged with his sword held high, but the manticore gobbled him up.

Then, there was a fox who said, “I am the craftiest and the slyest of all creation! I will trick the manticore and then steal all of his gold.” So, the fox slunk up the mountainside and asked the manticore a perplexing question. But the manticore answered the riddle quickly and before the fox could run away, the manticore gobbled him up.

Then, there was a dragon who said, “I am the most powerful and fearsome creature in the land! I will scare the manticore from his cave and take his gold for myself.” So, the dragon swooped out of the sky and roared mightily into the manticore’s face, but the manticore was not afraid. Then, the manticore gobbled up the dragon.

And finally, there was a colony of ants, who said, “We are surely the smallest and least of all the creatures in the land. We are not brave, we are not sly, and we are not fearsome, but we will still take the manticore’s gold.” So, the ants walked up the mountain and right past the manticore, since they were so small and he could not see them. Then, one by one, every ant grabbed a piece of the manticore’s gold and silently marched back down the hill. They continued in this way for hours, working hard, until the entire cave was empty.

When the manticore noticed his gold was missing, it was too late. The ants had already safely returned to their anthill with their own mountain of gold.

So, in the end it was not the bravest, or the smartest, or the strongest of creatures that won the gold, but it was those that worked the hardest and worked together.

The End

There you have it. My stories seem to always have a more Aesop’s Fable-like feel and be geared more towards teaching lessons to children. (I wonder if that has anything to do with me being a teacher… Hm…)

What are your thoughts? Do you have a story in mind just by looking at this picture? Tell me in the comments below!

Happy writing!

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