A long time ago before you and I were born the elders would tell stories to their grandchildren. These stories would be passed on orally over the years from one generation to the next, until they became internalized by the storyteller and as much a part of them as anything else. The stories answered the curiosities and wonderings of the people who inhabited the land such as why do birds fly south every winter or how day becomes night. The stories helped our ancestors to make sense of the world around them. These stories gave meaning to all who listened.
We now call these stories folktales or pourquoi tales. They are written down in books. They are preserved. We are entertained by their rhythms and the animals who take on humanlike qualities within those stories.
So it was no wonder that when we received a letter from a woman from the High Desert Museum named Meadow Lark, calling for kids to write folktales about the high desert animals outside of their front door that we were delighted by the prospect. Several trips to the museum, Tumalo State park and our own neighborhoods allowed us to discover the different ecosystems and habitats that encompass the high desert. Research allowed us to learn scientific truths about the physical and behavioral attributes of the animals. Folktales from around the world were read aloud and talked about; they were dissected and ingested. Armed with this background knowledge we were open and ready to start writing our folktales.
It was a wonderful process to brainstorm and write; and write and edit; add and delete to come up with a tale that each storyteller crafted. There was a general feeling of satisfaction as we filled out our submission form for the contest, crossed our fingers and put our stories in an envelope destined to arrive on the desk of Meadow Lark.
Would Meadow like our stories? Were there really 1000 entries? Would we win? We wondered many of these questions as the weeks passed. It wasn't long before we heard that we did. The fruits of our labor are what you have in the book in your hands today.
So today we celebrate our storytellers as we culminate the story that led us to this moment. It is your dedication to learning about and exploring your world with boundless curiosity and never ending wonder that has provided you with a story that will last a lifetime and is yours to pass on to the generations to come.