CORNISH piskies were recently spotted at the Castle Bude, with an exciting new storytelling project arriving at Bude’s doorstep.
After receiving a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Liskerrett Community Centre, home to the Mazed storytelling team, began the Mazed North initiative, in an aim to revive North Cornwall’s traditional folk tales, from pirates to mermaids, and piskies to witches.
Who would have known that Betsy Laundry, the witch, lived in North Hill, and that the world’s worst pirate came from Pipers Pool?
Year 2 pupils at Bude Infant School took a fancy to Cornish piskies, imagining their own piskey characters and choosing a local tale, The Piskey Who Rode in a Pocket, to be illustrated by Cornish manga artist, Keith Sparrow, for this exciting new storytelling project.
Additionally, children from four other schools also worked with an artist to illustrate their tales of different places, including King Arthur at Blisland, Mermaids at Padstow, the Piskey Spoon at St Kew and Betsy Laundry the Witch and Digory Piper the World’s Worst Pirate, at Boyton.
These children’s colourful illustrations were recently on show at the Castle Bude, along with a special puppet of Padstow’s Nellie Sloggett, who collected tales 100 years ago and rewrote them under the pen name of Enys Tregarthen.
Sue Field, lead of Mazed, explained to the Post that the initiative involves old Cornish stories and the people who originally told them, in an aim to get children to participate to tell the stories in ‘brand new ways that bring them alive again’.
Mazed recently visited Bude Infant School with four traditional tales, allowing the children to choose one tale and illustrate and tell the story in new ways. They chose the tale about Cornish piskies and have created vibrant illustrations, stories and textile hangings from this.
The children have also made a vibrant story cloth of the tale, each episode illustrated with abstract symbols to remind the storyteller what happens. The children had no problem remembering the tale for a tea treat performance at the school.