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Star Story Book


The stars are more than just pretty points of light that make dot-to-dot pictures. The night sky works like a machine that can be used for for keeping time and for navigation. For millenia people have used the night sky as clock, calendar and compass.

Using the stars in this way meant learning the names of many stars and constellations. Star stories were not just entertainment – they were an important aid to learning the sky.

This Star Story Book contains high interest stories that will stimulate and assist your students' in learning the stars too.

Story Book Contents

The Star Story Book concentrates on the constellation Orion. (Other constellations will be added as material is developed.) It comprises two complementary resources: Orion Story Book and Orion Picture Book.

Orion Story Book contains three stories from three different cultures about the same group of stars. These stories are not story outlines, but complete stories suitable for reading aloud. Each story is about 500 words long. Reading the stories aloud to your class is an excellent way to increase motivation and interest. The pictures that accompany these stories are in the Orion Picture Book.

The full text of the stories is available for download. The story outlines of the three stories are:
  1. Orion the Hunter (Greek)
    Orion makes a drunken promise to kill all of the animals. In response the Earth sends a scorpion to attack him. He flees into the sky. This version was written by storyteller Eryn Makinson based on one of the Greek versions of the story of Orion.
  2. Take no Fushi (Japanese)
    The title of this story means bamboo pole. Two sisters are returning home through a bamboo grove. The younger sister is carrying two heavy buckets of water on a bamboo pole over her shoulder. When the sisters are attacked by an ogre they escape by climbing a rope into the sky. The ogre manages to grab hold of the younger sister's foot and bites it off. This version was written by astronomy educator Chris Hilder based on a story outline in Yowatashi Boshi; Stars that Pass in the Night.
  3. Tautoru the Bird Hunter (NZ Māori)
    Tautoru was a renowned bird hunter who was having a love affair with a spirit of the air. She visited him only at night, and he was not permitted to see look at her. When he managed to sneak a look she was lost to him forever. In his grief he suffered an accident and fell to his death. To honour his great achievements as a bird hunter he was placed in the sky as a constellation. The constellation is in the shape of one of the snare perches that he used. This version is written by author A W Reed and is reproduced with the permission of Reed Publishing. It includes a glossary of Māori words used in the text.
Orion Picture Book is an Internet slideshow of pictures that accompany and extend the three stories. View on line here, or download the whole slideshow for off line viewing.

Follow Up and Extension

Having told the story Orion the Hunter, get your students to use their star wheels to see that Scorpius rises when Orion sets. This demonstrates that the story is not just entertainment, but it also contains information about where the stars are. The story is an aid to learning where to find Orion and Scorpius, and learning how they move.

Downloadable Resources

Subscribers Only

Orion Story Book ready-to-print

Subscribers Only

Orion Picture Book zip file
This zip file contains all of the files needed for off-line viewing of this Internet resource. Just unzip the files into a new directory and double click on "Orion Picture Book.html." View on line here.

Help with printing and downloading

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URL http://www.AstronomyInYourHands.com/activities/starstory.html   Publication date 30 Nov 2002
Copyright © C J Hilder, 2002. All rights reserved.