The Kingdom



The following story is a way to set the stage for discussions around racism, diversity and inclusion. After reading the story, work through the questions, and talk with your students about assumptions, prejudices and biases and how they impact our everyday lives.


I need you to listen very carefully. I have a story to share with you. Do I have your attention? OK, let’s get started.

Did you know that once upon a time, not so very long ago, and not very far from where we are right now, there was a kingdom ruled by a very kind King, a compassionate Queen and their children, River and Lake? It’s true.

River and Lake had long, soft golden hair, and deep brown eyes. They loved running and swimming and enjoyed feasts of marvelous food. River and Lake were happiest when they spent time in their kingdom playing in the park. Wherever they went, both River and Lake would stop and happily greet everyone they met, and everyone praised them for making their days brighter. Everyone, except for Dart.

Dart lived in the kingdom, but was an outcast. Unlike River and Lake, Dart’s coat was always dirty. Others complained that Dart smelled horrible. Dart slept outside and found food that others had discarded, often making a mess in the process. The King and Queen feared Dart. Often, if Dart came close to their castle, the King and Queen would keep River and Lake indoors and wouldn’t let them explore.

One night, River and Lake overheard the King and Queen talking about Dart.

“It happened again last night,” the Queen said. “There was a mess along the whole street.”

“Yes,” said the King. “I saw it. And I heard that young Oak had a run-in with Dart.”

“Oh, how terrible. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been for the whole family. And Oak? What would we do if River or Lake had the same fate?”

The King decided that something had to be done. He called out in the kingdom, in search of anyone who could rid the town of their foul enemy Dart, promising a reward to his captor.

Lake and River were excited by the news. They wanted to go back to the park and play with their friends. They hadn’t seen Oak in a long time and were worried about their friend.

Two days later, there was a call at their castle.

“I’ve captured Dart,” said a man. “You and your children were lucky - I found Dart hiding in your courtyard. Lake and River could have experienced the same fate as Oak.”

The Queen called her children to her and hugged them closed,  thankful they were spared. The King lived up to his promise and paid the man a generous reward. Soon, peace was restored to the kingdom and the children were allowed to play freely again - including Oak who still couldn’t understand why Dart had been so mean when he had only invited him to play.

<Optional BREAK End of Day 1>

(If a day break quickly, reflect back on the activity.)

QUESTIONS: True or False

  1. The kingdom is ruled by a King, his Queen, their son, River, and their daughter, Lake.
  2. The children are very beautiful.
  3. The children love playing with others and they are often complimented for being kind, compassionate and fun.
  4. Dart is ugly and evil and causes everyone in the kingdom a great deal of upset.
  5. Dart attacked Oak and hurt him.
  6. The King promised a generous reward to anyone who killed Dart.
  7. The King and Queen were lucky, because when he was found it was learned Dart was planning on harming them.

Before taking up the questions with your students, ask them to draw a picture of one or more of the characters and to share their pictures.


  1. False - the kingdom is ruled by a King, Queen and their two children - we don’t know if they are sons, daughters or one of each.
  2. False - we know the children have long, soft golden hair and deep brown eyes, but we are not told whether or not they’re beautiful.
  3. False - we’re told that the children made others’ days brighter, but not that they are kind, compassionate and fun.
  4. False - we know that Dart lives on the street, has a bad smell and has a dirty coat, and later we hear Dart described as a foul enemy, but we are not told that Dart is ugly or evil.
  5. False - we know that Oak had a run in with Dart and that it must have been terrible for the family, but we do not know what happened or if Oak was hurt.
  6. False - the King promised a reward (doesn’t say generous) to anyone who captured Dart and removed him from the city.
  7. False - the captor said they were lucky because Dart had been sleeping behind their shed.

Ask the children what changes, if any, they would make to their drawings now that they’ve taken up the questions.

<Optional BREAK End of Day 2>

(If a day break quickly, reflect back on the activity.)


(If a break, do review/summary)

Would you all like to know more about the King, Queen, Lake, River and Dart? OK, well, would you be surprised to know that the King and Queen’s children were bought? How do you think that could be? Does this shock you?

Well, you see, the King and Queen were just regular people living in a house not far from here. River and Lake were their pet dogs - Golden Retrievers to be exact.

Now that you know that, who do you think Dart could be and why were they all so afraid of him? (Skunk)

So then the captor who received the reward, who do you think that was? (Pest control, reward was his payment)

We all made a lot of assumptions during this story. Do you know what an assumption is? An assumption is something we accept as true without any proof. For example, we accepted that Lake, River, Dart and Oak were human children, not dogs and a skunk.

Assumptions can be a problem because they lead us to make decisions about things or people without learning more about them first. Can you tell me when you think this could be a problem?

Assumptions can lead to prejudices (making an opinion or judgment on something or someone without any experiences or proof) and stereotypes (believing that a whole group of people must behave or act in a certain way based on generalized statements, often assumptions and prejudices). Do you think that prejudices, stereotypes or assumptions can be harmful? How?  

Have any of you heard the term racism before? Racism happens because people use assumptions to make decisions about a person based only on the colour of his or her skin. It is an extreme form of a prejudice and is often fuelled by assumptions and stereotypes. What can we do to help stop racism or other forms of prejudice? (ask questions, look for answers, don’t jump to conclusions, be accepting, be respectful, treat others kindly)

Victoria Ford

Victoria thinks the world could do with a lot more heart. Her goal? To encourage others to stand up, speak out and push back against hatred.


The following story is a way to set the stage for discussions around racism, diversity and inclusion.