A Puzzling Tale: Stick with the Truth

based on a folktale retold by Karen Jameyson , illustrated by Nina Nill

Learning intention

I am learning to identify how texts convey details about cultural and historical contexts so that I can identify the contexts of the texts I read.

Success criteria

  • I can identify cultural and historical details in a story.
  • I can identify elements of my own cultural context.
  • I can consider a dispute I have been involved in.
  • I can include my cultural context in a story about a dispute.


Prior to reading A Puzzling Tale: Stick with the Truth, draw students’ attention to the byline and emphasise the fact that this story is a retelling of an Indian folktale. Ensure students understand that folktales are stories that originated long ago and that they were often passed down by word of mouth. Inform students that folktales can often provide insight into the cultural and historical context in which they were written.

Read A Puzzling Tale: Stick with the Truth. Discuss information about India from long ago that can be garnered from the story.

For example:

  • Most towns were small
  • Judges made decisions when townspeople needed help sorting out rights and wrongs
  • Judges would travel from town to town.

Distinguish factual information from fictional plot points such as the theft of the necklace.

Discuss information about the place and culture where students live. Note, this may vary depending on where the school is based. Include things such as climate, the local area, how students spend their time after school, what they enjoy doing.

Inform students that they will be writing their own brief story and that they will include elements from their own cultural context. Refer back to A Puzzling Tale: Stick with the Truth. Emphasise that the story focuses on a dispute. Discuss disputes students may have had, for example an argument between themselves and a sibling or a disagreement with a school friend over where to go after school. Remind students that they will be including their own cultural context in their story, and that these can form the setting where the story occurs. Provide an example such as:

My little sister never gives up once she’s set her mind on something, even when we’re at the beach. It was a typical, sunny summer afternoon. We’d gone to the beach to cool off with a swim after school. She’d decided she wanted an ice-cream, and she wasn’t going to let up until I agreed. I was saving my money for tickets to the cinema that weekend, so I didn’t want to spend a cent. So, there we were, soft sand beneath our feet, waves crashing on the shore and all she kept saying was ice-cream. I thought we were never going to agree, when suddenly she squealed, ‘I’ve found a $2 coin in the sand’. That was it, decision made. She was getting her ice-cream, and I would get to save my money.

Place students with a partner or in a small group. They may also work independently if they wish. Tell them to compose a brief story about a dispute and that they should include descriptions of their context as part of the setting.