Saturday, 28 May 2016

Fairy Tales...Daddy-style!



My kids are 9- and 11-years-old and sometimes when they are especially devious, they appeal to my writer's ego to manipulate me into making up a story at bedtime. Fortunately, the standards are low as the story doesn't actually have to be entertaining at all so long as it prolongs their evening.

Here is a transcript of this evening's session:

NOAH: Dad, tell us a story.

RIHANA: Yeah, your stories are the best, Dad!

NOAH: Yeah, Dad. The best!

ME: Well...

BOTH KIDS: Pleeeeeeeeze?

ME: Ok. Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Noah who had a small pet rabbit. He fed it carrots, but it refused to eat. So then he tried cabbage, but again, it did not eat. After this, he tried corn and peas and licorice and coffee and tobacco. But it would not eat any of these things, which, on the whole, was probably for the best as rabbits are jumpy enough. One day, as Noah bent to fill the rabbit's bowl with amphetamines, the creature nipped off a lock of the boy's hair and began to chew greedily. That's when Noah realized that his bunny was actually... a hare.

BOTH KIDS: D-a-a-a-d!

They're groaning dramatically and rolling their eyes, but I can tell they liked it.

ME: Ok, ok. Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Rihana who had a small pet fly. Why did she have a pet fly? Because she was that poor, that's why. Anyway, she tried feeding her fly fly-foods but it refused to eat. She tried fermented fruit, but it did not eat. She tried rotten vegetables, but it would not eat. She tried raw sewage, but still, her pet fly refused to eat. Finally, one day she was making a butter sandwich (because she was too poor to afford jam) and a small speck of butter flew off of her finger (because she couldn't afford a knife) and on the lid of her fly's jar. The fly immediately buzzed over to it and started licking the butter through the single air hole (because she was too poor to afford more air holes) and that's when she realized that her fly was actually... a butterfly!

BOTH KIDS: D-a-a-a-a-d! Seriously?

Those simple ideas occurred to me a few weeks ago and I'd held on to them for just such an occasion. But earlier, at dinner, another one popped into my head and I've used those first two stories to stall while I gather and organize the elements for this one...

ME: OK. I will now tell you the tragic story of the man with three birds.




One day a man walked into a pet shop and purchased a beautiful bird and a beautiful golden cage in which to keep him. The bird had feathers of every colour of the rainbow and sang a hundred beautiful songs; many of them Taylor Swift's. The man was very pleased with his purchase and every day he spent hours gazing into the golden cage at the gorgeous creature, listening to its top one hundred.

But one day, the bird no longer sang and the man was puzzled. This continued and the man became concerned. He returned to the pet shop and sought advice. The store owner sold him the very best seed after which he immediately returned home and filled the bird's bowl with the expensive mixture. But this changed nothing. A few days later he returned again to the pet shop and sought more advice. The store owner pondered, then suggested a mirror. Perhaps if the bird had the image of another bird to sing to it would restore its inspiration to sing. The man bought a large and ornate mirror that matched the cage and installed it but this also changed nothing. Once more the man returned to the pet store and this time the owner sold him a golden brush with which to preen the bird, one feather at a time. The man did this for hours, religiously, every day and yet the bird would not sing.

Finally, in desperation, the man gathered up the cage and returned to the pet store whereupon, after hearing his customer's complaint, the manager took one look at the tiny creature and declared, "Well, I know what your problem is."

"You do?" asked the man, hope swelling in his heart.

"Oh yes. Absolutely," said the store owner. "This bird's dead."

So the store owner sold that same man another bird that he guaranteed would sing and was of a much heartier stock so that it was much less likely to stop singing just because of death. The man went home and was thrilled as the bird sang a sad, but beautiful song all the way home and on into the night. But after a few weeks, the man became depressed. The bird would only sing heart-rending melodies that made the soul ache. He thought to cheer the bird by filling its bowl with the highest quality seed that he'd previously purchased for his last pet. Greedily, the bird ate the seed but still its songs remained sad. Then the man thought, perhaps the bird is lonely, so he installed the mirror that he'd purchased for his last bird. The bird spent hours ogling and singing to his reflection, but all the songs remained sad. Finally, the man returned to his ritual of brushing each feather with the special brush he'd purchased at the pet store, but no matter how much time and care he invested, the bird's songs remained sad.

Finally, in desperation, the man gathered up the cage and returned to the pet store whereupon, after hearing his customer's complaint, the manager took one look at the tiny creature and declared, "Well, I know what your problem is."

"You do?" asked the man, hope swelling in his heart.

"Oh yes. Absolutely," said the store owner. "This bird's a blue bird."

At this point, the man became agitated. Feeling that the pet store owner had twice deceived him, he returned the bird and this time he chose his own bird, not allowing the store owner to say a word so that he might not be thrice led astray. Perusing the store, he came upon a magical-seeming creature that could spontaneously alter its colour to any hue of the rainbow. The bird did not sing, but it was so lovely and unusual in form that the man was very pleased, and anyway he now considered the lack of voice to be a blessing. Refusing all help from the store owner, he placed the bird in the cage himself, paid and returned home.

Much to the man's delight this bird's magic did not diminish. It still changed colour many times a day and, blissfully, remained mute. But after about a week, the man noticed that the bird looked thin and frail. He immediately filled its dish with the premium bird seed, but the bird refused to eat and a few days later, looked even thinner. He installed the mirror and though the bird did gaze into it, it continued to weaken until it fell from its perch and lay, listless, at the bottom of the cage. He got the special brush and brushed the bird's entire body, leaving no patch unpreened. But still, the bird continued to deteriorate.

The man was very concerned, but suspecting that he had now been thrice fooled and not keen to endure more humiliation, he did not return to the pet store. Instead, he took the frail creature in his hands and stepped out onto the balcony of his 55th-floor apartment, leaned out over the railing and drew back his hands, setting the little bird free—at which point it plummeted the entire 55 floors, landing with a sticky splat!—magically transforming into a small red smudge on the sidewalk below.

The man was horrified at what had occurred and immediately called a veterinarian who arrived within minutes whereupon, after hearing his customer's complaint took one look at the remains of the unfortunate creature and declared, "Well, I know what your problem is."

"You do?" asked the man, hope swelling in his heart.

"Oh yes. Absolutely," said the veterinarian. "This was a Chameleon."


BOTH KIDS: Goodnight, Dad.

ME: Nailed it!

 ___________________________________________

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6 comments:

  1. I'm really grateful for your fairytales for my kids. They are very interesting and my children will be pleased. Look in here to get new research paper service Sleep well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! I do whatever it takes to get the little ones to want to sleep.

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  2. Replies
    1. I'll do my best. Thanks for taking the time to read my article.

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