Category Archives: Stories

Terrible Tales for Curious Kids: 5


As an alternative to burial or cremation Mabel’s approach may be seen by many as deeply inappropriate. But is it right that we should criticise without knowing truly what her intentions were? She and her dear brother may have been animal lovers; perhaps Mabel saw her actions as respecting Freddy’s feelings as she perceived them, and thereby giving him the opportunity, in death, to provide for the animals he loved.

Mabel and Freddy at the Zoo

Mabel Eddy loved her Teddy
And her brother, Freddy, too.
But when poor Fred died in bed
She tried to sell him to the zoo.

The keeper smiled and shook his head,
“We have no use for Freddy dead.
If you’d brought him round here yesterday
We might have been prepared to pay.

“The lions and tigers think, what a bore,
With meat that lies there on the floor.
But their ears prick up to hear the sound
Of little lads that run around.

“We like our dinners quietly steaming
Not chasing up and down and screaming.
Lions and tigers aren’t the same
The chase for them’s part of the game.”

Mabel thought for just a tick,
“What if I poke him with a stick?
That might help them make their mind up,
Unless they catch on it’s a wind-up.”

So they threw poor Freddy in the den
And counted slowly up to ten.
A lion appeared and looked around
And spotted Freddy on the ground.

The keeper hissed, “Wait for my nod,
Then grab your stick and start to prod.”
The lion approached with steady tread,
But seized poor Mabel’s stick instead…

One mighty heave, without a pause,
Till Mabel reached its slavering jaws.
The moral of this story’s true…
Don’t take dead siblings to the zoo.


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Terrible Tales for Curious Kids: 4


We should all be free to follow our dreams, that goes without saying. But sometimes such dreams, or fantasies, may have unexpected consequences; whatever we may perceive as the initial benefits. This was certainly true in the case of Henry (“Hen” to his friends) Pendragon-Brown…

A Cautionary Story

My brother’s a chicken, at least that’s what he said.
He eats nothing but cornflakes and lives in our shed.
We should call a doctor, our Sis often begs;
I reckon we could do, but Mum needs the eggs,
They’re tasty and fresh; we have them on toast.
But I’m worried about Dad… he loves Sunday roast!

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Matilda’s Magic Christmas

Last year I wrote a Christmas verse for my grandchildren, self-published as an illustrated booklet. This year I thought it might be fun to try to turn the verse and pictures into a cartoon video. You can see the result above.

It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this, so it’s something of an experiment. But I hope you enjoy it.

For those interested in the technicalities, I used a combination of PowerPoint, Adobe After Effects, CrazyTalk Pro, CyberLink AudioDirector, and Serif DrawPlus and PhotoPlus, pulling the whole thing together in MoviePlus.

Matilda’s Magic Christmas

Matilda’s a genuine penguin, you know,
Her wings are like flippers and she lives in the snow.
But Matilda’s quite special, shall I tell you why?
One day in each year she’s able to fly.

It happened one Christmas when old Santa’s sledge
Got stuck on an iceberg, high up on a ledge.
‘Twas Matilda who found him, marooned, in despair,
Santa, his sleigh, and some tearful reindeer.

“Can you help us, Matilda, we’re lost and alone.
I’d call the AA, but I’ve forgotten my ‘phone.
We left late last night with a full reindeer flight,
But Rudolph got sick and had to go home.

It was just outside Sheffield he started to cough.
He said that the carrots he’d had for his tea had gone off.
I thought that the others would be quite enough
To get round all the children and drop off their stuff.
How many are left? Well, there’s still quite a few…
Seven million, ten thousand, nine hundred and two.”

Said Matilda, “Oh Santa, I’d love to help out.
If I knew any reindeer, I’d give them a shout.
I would if I could take Rudolph’s place on the sleigh
So you could finish your journey before Christmas Day,
But though I’ve got wings, I can’t fly.”

Then Santa just smiled, and with a gleam in his eye,
Said, “If your heart has wings
There’s no end to the things you can do.”
If Santa says that, thought Matilda, it’s got to be true.
So she wiggled her wings and proudly stepped up to the trace
And at the head of the reindeer there and then took her place.

Santa laughed loud and picked up the rein,
Reindeer and Matilda took up the strain
Like eagles in flight, skyward they came,
As Santa whistled and shouted and called them by name:

“Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen,
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blixen;
Follow Matilda, away through the night!”
And as the stars twinkled down, they were soon out of sight.

Matilda’s the happiest penguin I know,
Though her wings are like flippers and she lives in the snow.
You see, she’s quite special, and now you know why…
At Christmas each year she’s able to fly.

So Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year
When things seem impossible, never despair…
Remember Matilda and be of good cheer,
Close your eyes, make a wish and wiggle one ear.

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Not a Door

He wanted to tell his mother a joke his friend Paul had told him at school. “When is a door…” he began.

His mother turned on him, “No Peter, ‘now‘ is a door. When may be a door, but what if your when has gone? Or is lost so far in your future that you can never catch it? Tomorrow never comes, and some whens never come either.”

Peter thought about this carefully. He knew his mother was right, so he ran to his room, got out his little silver penknife and seized the moment.

He’d intended to cut a hole in it, a little secret gap that only he would know, but his young, unskilled hands whittled it into such a tiny misshapen scrap of time that from then on his mother only ever saw him in brief flickering seconds.

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