Sunday, 21 July 2013


Mitch, the Dragon
"Mitch" is happy, sometimes sad.
He changes form when scared or mad,
Watching animals to learn their ways.
He flies, swims, and sleeps in a cave.

For food, Mitch eats meat and greens.
He seeks understanding of other beings.
He is puzzled by life and emotion.
Sometimes he creates a commotion.

Mitch respects lynx
A lynx was prowling and hidden from view.
He was fearless and distant, strong and true.
Mitch was amazed at his hunting skill.
With great respect, he watched and was still.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Discuss the food chain and circle of life.
Do animals have prized possessions? What?

Mitch loves butterflies
What flutters by on air and wing?
They are soft, colorful, peaceful things.
They journey from caterpillar to air.
While Mitch's amazement nurtures his care.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
How do you change as you get older? 
Why do creatures change?



 
 
Mitch carries animals
Mitch gives rides to other creatures.
They ride on his back and other features.
Pregnant animals carry babies in wombs.
What a mystery, an inner room!
 
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What are some reasons to carry or to be carried?
Discuss: purses, pregnancy, transportation.


 
Buffalo seem gentle but are dangerous
Buffalo were grazing and feeding their young.
They appeared gentle until they began to run.
They didn't fear Mitch, though he is large.
Mitch flew off to avoid their charge.
 
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Have you ever run away from danger?
What causes creatures to be afraid?
 
 
Mitch yells at a sneaky fox
A sneaky fox was watching Mitch.
She wanted his food, and stared from a ditch.
Mitch saw the sly creature and yelled very loud,
"Move your butt or be sorry, right now!"
 
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What is wrong (or right) with being sneaky?
Do you ever stare at others? Why?

Saturday, 20 July 2013

 
Will Mitch protect or eat a lamb?
Sheep don't seem to think for themselves,
They are easy targets. As a meal they'll do well.
Do they need protection from the hungry and mean?
Will Mitch attack, protect, or remain unseen?  
 
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What are the reasons to protect or attack the sheep?
Do you ever protect others, or need protection?


Bats gather around Mitch's head
Mitch often sees bats asleep, playing dead.
When they awake, they brush by his head.
Irritated, Mitch knows he's bigger than them.
But still doesn't want them in his den.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Do bigger people take care of smaller creatures?
Do people ever get irritated with you? Why?
 
Frogs are special
Refusing to choose between water and land,
Frog burrow deep into mud and sand.
Trying to fly, they jump high as they get.
They are what they are. "Ribbit".
 
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What are your special skills?
What would you like to be able to do?
 



Mitch sees a snake
Mitch saw a snake in a coil one day.
The snake hissed and offered him gifts and play.
Mitch said, "What do you want? Aren't you afraid?
I won't take your presents. Please go away."

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Should you ever reject a gift? When?
How do you know if someone wants something from you?


Mitch is curious about a porcupine
A porcupine was ambling,
Friendly, open, rambling.
Mitch the dragon touched his sharp quills.
He was pricked and wanted pain pills.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What is good or bad about drugs?
Has your curiosity ever caused you trouble?


Mitch plays with an otter
An otter was playfully sliding.
Mitch thought, "What fun, such gliding".
He slid down the bank and laughed as he sank,
For in mud, they were both now abiding.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What is play?  Do you like mud and paint?
How does it feel to play and explore?

Crows and ravens are interesting
Crows and ravens, blacker than night,
Defy time and distance in playful flight.
Mitch admires them, but is also bothered.
They are loud teasers and frequent robbers.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What is a mixed feeling?
When and how can we talk about feelings?



Spiders make webs in Mitch's cave
Arachnids make webs in Mitch's place.
Silk tickles his dragon nose and face.
Spiders have eight legs.  Mitch has four.
Beings are different. Some peep and some roar.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
How and why are beings different?
Discuss: people, snakes, bees, mosquitoes, beavers, etc.

Mitch watches ants
Mitch watches ants build their mounds.
Ants work together, carry sand around.
When seeing such patient beautiful craft,
Mitch is inspired to do his tasks.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What is inspiration and admiration?
How do others help to motivate you?
 
Mitch thinks a turtle is a rock
Turtles are slow and live in a shell.
Their bodies are soft and shielded well.
Mitch is interested in animal features.
Nature's creative and so are her creatures!
 
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Discuss how animals protect themselves.
How do you protect yourself?
 



Eagle attacks a rabbit
An eagle ambushed a rabbit,
He tore up the bunny, a survival  habit.
Mitch was alarmed, as this seemed cruel.
But Mitch eats creatures too, as a rule.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What is the food chain, the circle of life?
What skills do you need to live survive?



Beaver attack
Mitch was hammered by a beaver tail.
This left him confused, dizzy and frail.
Mitch felt ill, so he skidattled.
There are many choices, when you get rattled.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Discuss the choices you have when you are upset:
Attack, Run, Pretend, Lie, etc.

Mitch loves fish
Mitch must eat when he is hungry,
Else he gets weak and very grumbly.
He watches fish as they are yummy.
He grabs them fast, to fill his tummy.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What do you want when you are hungry?
Is food beautiful? How?


 
Mitch loves deer
Mitch knows that deer are loving and light.
He watches them when they're not in flight.
A calmness remains when Mitch thinks of them.
His fears go away, feeling happy, not grim.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What thoughts or things help you to feel good?
Can you keep these things around or within you?

Lion attacks  an elk
Mitch saw an elk with a lion on her back.
It was a hungry, fierce, dangerous attack.
Mitch decided to deliver help.
He charged the lion to free the elk.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What is a protective instinct?
Do you know people who protect others?

Friday, 19 July 2013


Mitch tries to sound like a  loon
Loons are deep divers, of interest to dragons.
Their young ride mothers, like on a couch or wagon.
Mitch tries to sing like a loon, high and low.
The loons respond,  relationship grows.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Can you make animal and bird sounds? Try it.
How do you start a conversation with others?


Mitch loves horses
Mitch wants to run with the horses.
But he scares them away with his forces.
Mitch is lonesome and somewhat odd.
The horses won't let him into their pod.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Do you ever feel that certain people won't accept you?
What is a tribe or a social group?


Mitch lives near a bear
When days get short Mitch loses his zest.
He gets fat, and wants to rest.
Bears also get tired in the Fall.
Both sleep until the Spring, a wake-up call.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What makes you sleepy? What wakes you up?
Why do hibernating animals wake up in Springtime?


Mitch fears the wolves
Mitch met a wolf who looked sad and alone.
Then there were seven! Would Mitch stay or run home?
Mitch tried to be invisible instead.
He stood very still, as he feared he'd be dead.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Do you ever change to fit in with a group? How?
Does this cause or solve problems for you?

Geese amaze Mitch
Geese were flying in a V formation.
They were a vital honking congregation.
They stayed together, strong and true,
Whether white, gray or blue.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Can we learn something from watching animals? What?
How does teamwork function for geese?

Squirrels irritate Mitch
Mitch was annoyed by a squirrely guest.
He said, "Please go home! I want to rest!"
The squirrel hid food in Mitch's socks.
They messed up his pillow and suitcase box.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Do you get frustrated when someone makes a mess?
Why is -what's fun for some, is irritating to others?

Mitch meets turkeys
Mitch was curious about turkeys one day.
He was grumbly and hungry. Was he OK?
The turkeys gobbled and displayed who they are.
Then they flew away, but not very far.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
If you were a dragon, would you eat a turkey?
What does it mean to be a meat eater?

Thursday, 18 July 2013


A cow talks with Mitch
A cow asked Mitch, "What do you desire?
You can have what you want if you aren't too tired".
Mitch said, "I want peace, love and awe,
To not be afraid, to be true, strong and tall".

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What do you wish for?
Discuss how you can make your wishes come true.

Whale seems to know Mitch
Mitch was swimming and then met a whale.
They stared at each other. They began to tell tales.
Simply by looking into the others eyes,
They shared history and secrets. None were lies.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
In what ways do you share experiences?
When you meet someone, what are your various reactions?
(ie. trust, apprehension, fear, friendship, curiosity, etc.)

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

"Legend of Superior" at LSSP Interactive Museum, 5 by 4 feet, acrylic

Lake Superior Wave Dragon

There are many stories about “ Misshepezhieu” that have spiritual significance to local Natives. Ellen does not attempt to tell these particular stories. 
 
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Peter Unwin has a chapter (3rd) about the dragon, Misshepezhieu, in his book called “The Wolf’s Head” (Viking, 2003).   Below are some references from his book with various descriptions of the creature.  These stories leave us with the opportunity to envision the dragon in various ways or as we wish.
 
Jean Allouez wrote about sacrifices to the spirit Missibizi in 1667 to make Sturgeon rise in the water.
 
Nicholaus Perrot called it Michipissy.  
 
Reverend  T.S.H. Baxter was upset about  immigrants and priests discussing the creature.
 
Bishop Baraga (Mishibiji) and  Raudot (Mishapoux) refer often to the creature, sometimes calling it a lion or snake.  Some say that the power of the entity resides in copper.
 
James Evans in 1838 referred to the creature as the Manitou and that one should stare him in the face to stay alive during a storm.
 
Father Paul LeJeune apparently saw a man catch a large fish-like creature resembling a lizard. The young man he was with made him throw it back into the water as keeping it could cause storms.
 
Pierre Radisson told stories about a “snake with a head like a turtle”.  
 
Vincent Germaine saw a dragon that apparently haunted him his entire life.
 
Francis Kellogg said that the dragon had the shape of Lake Superior itself.  
 
There are stories in Unwin’s book suggesting that the dragon was involved with the Edmund Fritzgerald tragedy.  There is a belief among many that the creature lives in caves below the surface of Lake Superior. There are stories about the dragon snatching children from the shore and causing storms when angry. Many native references refer to the dragon as a shape shifter capable of tricking others.
 
Edwin James wrote songs about the creature in 1830.
 
If you Google serpents or dragons on the Great Lakes you will find many reference stories.  As you can see, most of those above are referenced from white missionaries and settlers as well as Natives. All of these dragon stories have become a part of Canadian History. It is just recently that the dragon has entered common reference and usage.  Before modern times, dragon talk was scary and often taboo.
 

"Legend of Superior"

 Many people in Batchawana Bay still believe that the "dragon" exists. This may be a spiritual or an actual existence. Some offer tobacco to the waters to appease him. Some believe that he killed certain relatives that drowned in the water. Some believe that he lives in a tunnel between Griffin Lake and the "Narrows" by Batchawana island.
 
Our local dragon may have been developed as a personal touchable entity by which some people honor Lake Superior with the respect she deserves.
 
In my readings I have come across folklore where people believe that if you are in a storm and look into Lake Superior and see the dragon--you will live. This story promotes the idea that the dragon is protective rather that malicious.
 
There is evidence that many cultures glorify dragons as good (China) and others associate dragons with evil, and/or the unknown (Christian). All waters (Lake Superior) and dragons are associated with an emotional, mysterious, unknown world. An integrated conclusion would be this: The unknown is not bad but can be dangerous- as is Lake Superior.   For some, the dragon represents Lake Superior
 
Dragons are very powerful images that evoke conversation and argument from various cultural segments. They spark the imagination and the making of stories and myth.
 
Even some of the Jesuits who lived near/on Lake Superior claimed to have seen the dragon. Many have named this dragon "Misshepezhieu" as pictured at the Agawa pictographs.  Others think that the dragon may look more like the giant snake that many explorer/immigrants claim to have seen in the Great Lakes.
 
Dragon stories exist around big Lakes and Bays all over the world--ei. The Loc Ness Monster.
 
 

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

NOTES

“Mitch, the Dragon” observes animals and their characteristics.  DISCUSSION QUESTIONS end each “Mitch” rhyme/story/column. The questions are intended to bring families closer together through discussing important topics like: the food chain, relationship development, self-identity, safety, anger, truthfulness, and more.  
For 400 years explorers and natives have observed and discussed a dragon living in and around the Lake Superior area. He has been named throughout history,--a word starting with: Mis, Mech, Mitz, Mich.  In Lake Superior Provincial Park, he is referred to as “Misshepezshui”. 

FOLLOWING: AN OLD 2010 VERSION OF THE MITCH WORK. THESE WERE PUBLISHED IN THE ALGOMA NEWS A PUBLICATION OUT IN WAWA.NOT INCLUDED IN THIS BOG--MITCH AND THE ARCHETYPES, ANOTHER COLLECTION OF STORIES AND CARDS ABOUT MITCH. I'VE PUT THE COLLECTIONS IN CLEAR BOXES, ILLUSTRATION ON FRONT AND RHYME AND QUESTIONS ON THE BACK OF EACH CARD. I HAVE CLOSE TO A HUNDRED SETS.
 

Sunday, 30 May 2010

1

 

 

 Dragon "Mitch"  and Lake Superior

 

"Mitch" likes riding Lake Superior waves.

He's curious about boats and area bays.

He sneaks and peers from water to air.

He likes people, and to greet their stares.

 

Mitch gets blamed for wind and rain.

He protects those in danger of fear and pain.

How misunderstood "Mitch" has become.

Being a dragon is not always fun.

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION  QUESTIONS:

Is it fun to be you?

Do you sometimes feel misunderstood ("Mitch" does)?  How?

 

6

 

Mitch Tries to Become a Horse

 

Mitch loves horses, such wild rovers.

They cut his field by eating clover.

But they don't like the looks of Mitch.

So Mitch tries to fix this glitch.

 

Mitch shapeshifts, to be like them.

If he's scared or mad, he can change his skin.

He works himself into a tantrum.

Then Mitch becomes a horse-like phantom.

 

Mitch wandered into the herd of horses.

The horses could feel Mitch’s  strange distortion.

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

Do you ever try to be something that you are not?

Why did Mitch do this?

How did the horses know that something wasn't right?

 

5

Mitch Lives Near a Bear

 

When days get short Mitch loses his zest.

He gets fat and wants to rest.

Nearby is a sleepy shaggy bear.

His cave is next to Mitches' lair.

 

Each is tired and a bit saggy.

They avoid eachother when feeling so raggy.

Each fall asleep and dream within.

When spring comes they are lively again.

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

How do you feel when you are sleepy?

What does it mean to have "something in common" with another being?

 

 

4

 

 

Mitch Dreams of Fish

 

Mitch must eat when he is hungry.

Else he'll get weak and very grumbly.

He sits by the river, watching his reflection.

But he wants fish for his his digestion. 

In dreams fish whisper in his ear.

Mitch loves fish everywhere.

 

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

When you are hungry, how do you feel? 

How can Mitch love fish, yet eat them?

 

This series offers families opportunity to discuss feelings and human needs.

3

 

Turkeys Want to Play with Mitch

 

Mitch saw turkeys when he was hungry one day.

One said, "eat me" but first let's play.

Mitch said, "How can I eat you if I play with you first?

That's what cats do while you slowly get hurt."

The turkeys started gobbling and displayed who they are.

Then, they flew away, but not very far.

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

What is the food chain?

Does hunger change animal behavior?

Do you think that Mitch will eat a turkey?

How is the cat different from Mitch?

 

Note: Questions in this series promote discussion about animal and human behavior.

 

 

2

 

"Mitch" the Dragon

 

"Mitch" is happy, sometimes sad.

He changes form when scared or mad.

He watches animals to learn their ways.

He flies, swims, and sleeps in a cave.

 

Dragon "Mitch" eats fish and birds.

His understandings can be absurd.

He is puzzled by life and emotion.

Sometimes he creates a commotion.

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

What kind of emotions does "Mitch" feel?

How are you different than Mitch?

What is a commotion or disturbance?

 

 

8

Mitch Acts Like a Loon

 

Loons are odd, even to dragons.

Young ride their backs as if on a wagon.

They fly and dive to meet their needs.

Mitch also swims for his daily feeds.

Mitch tries to sound like the loons.   ooooowwwwws.

The loons smile at Mitch and their friendship grows.

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

How do you feel when someone imitates you?

Is it fun? a compliment or an insult?

What animal sounds do you like to make?

 

This series promotes family discussion and reading comprehension.

7

 

 

Lion Attacks Elk,  Mitch Chases Lion

 

Mitch was brave when he saw a lion attack.

An elk had a lion on her back.

The elk rolled over on the ground.

The elk winded the lion with a thumping sound.

 

Mitch was alarmed and delivered help.

He chased the lion to free the elk.

Fire was exhaled from his angry breath.

Therefore the elk wasn't put to death.

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

Why was the lion attacking the elk?

What is a "protective instinct"?

 

This Ellen Van Laar series gives families opportunity to discuss the food chain and natural instincts.

11

 

Squirrels Invade Mitch's Cave

 

Mitch likes nuts, corn, and grass.

He's sloppy and sleeps in a seedy mess.

Squirrels hide remnants of his grainy feed,

In trees, logs, dirt, and weeds.

 

Sometimes Mitch finds caches in his socks,

In his pillow, and suitcase box.

Squirrels are nervous and they don't listen.

Mitch yells, "Stop being sloppy and follow instructions!".

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

What frustrates Mitch about the squirrels?

Do people ever get mad at you about where you put your things?

 

This is a series that encourages families to discuss things before there is a crisis.

  

10

 

Eagle Eats Rabbit, Mitch Eats Eagle

 

An eagle swooped down upon a rabbit.

He ate him up with force and habit.

Mitch was shocked by the brutal bird.

Yet, Mitch eats animals too.  Is this weird?

 

Survival they call it. "We all must eat."

Eagles even take carrion off the street.

Mitch  laughed, causing the eagles ire.

Then Mitch ate the eagle, fried with fire.

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

Why was Mitch shocked and then later laugh at himself?

Did the Eagle think that Mitch was laughing at him?

What is a food chain?

 

 

Ellen Van laar

130 Batchawana Bay

P0S-1A0  Ontario

1-705-882-1247

9

 

Beaver Rattle Mitch

 

Beaver teeth cut trees to build their homes.

Three exits are built from their family domes.

Mitch was bathing near beavers one day.

He got wacked with a beavertail--not in play.

 

This wack, wack, wack, got Mitch all rattled.

Mitch had hoped to leave and skidattle.

But, Mitch became a beaver then.

He forgot his own name- in his chagrin.

 

He hit the beaver with his tail.

This left Mitch confused and frail.

When Mitch is mad he doesn't always cry.

He might:  attack, shape shift, run, or lie.

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

How does Mitch deal with fear, anger, or confusion?

When someone does something that you don't like, what do you do?

 

13

 

Geese Amaze Mitch

 

One goose was leading many others.

Some were goslings, sisters, and brothers.

They were flying in a V formation,

A vital honking congregation.

They all came down to Mitch's pond.

He asked them to explain their bond.

The geese said, "Stay together and be true,

Whether white, gray or blue".

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

 

Do geese have something to teach us?  What?

Do geese come in different colors and kinds?

What are some differences between people?

12

Mitch Loves Deer

 

To Mitch, deer look loving and light.

Mitch sits near them when they aren't in flight.

Sometimes it seems that they see his eyes.

Mitch sits still so as not to surprise.

Mitch feels calm when he thinks about deer.

He feels love and delight, far away, yet so near.

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

 

What does Mitch experience when he watches the deer?

Is there anything that you can think about that makes you feel good?

 

This series helps parents and children to develop "inner resources".

 

14

 Mitch Becomes a Wolf

 

Mitch met a wolf who looked sick and alone.

Suddenly, there were seven and Mitch felt like a bone.

Scared, he changed into a wolf just then.

The dogs sniffed and tumbled to get to know him.

 

Mitch liked the wolves and considered staying.

But he got nervous when they started howling.

Mitch feared he'd breathe fire if he yipped along.

For Mitch is a dragon and just didn't belong.

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

 

Do you sometimes try to fit in and then decide that you can't?

Mitch was frightened, later felt comfortable, then uncomfortable.

Have you ever had your feelings change, then change again? When?

 

15

Moose Bothers Mitch

 

Mitch was practicing piano one day.

A moose started bellowing while Mitch sang and played.

"You're making me nervous"  Mitch said to the moose.

"Are you in heat, or relaxed and loose?"

The moose liked music but was slightly aggressive.

Mitch said, "Go away, I'm not feeling festive".

 

 

FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

 

Why didn't Mitch want the moose around?

What are the things that Mitch could do to make the moose go away?