A Little Fable

Charlie was like other coyotes his age. Nothing was more fun than pulling pranks. If he wasn’t pouring glue in the milk jug, he was convincing his little sister that Santa Claus had real claws. His parents shook their heads and did everything they could to get him to stop, but he didn’t. Making Lisa cry at her fourth birthday party was the last straw, so they contacted his teacher for help.

“Do you think that might work?” Mrs. Wolfe looked at Charlie’s teacher and was not convinced.

“I think it will, if we all stick to our guns,” she said, grinning.

“Well, okay,” Mr. Wolfe said, nodding. “We’ll start it tomorrow.”

With a new plan of attack in place, they returned home and froze. In the hour they had been gone, Charlie had thrown toilet paper all over the outside of their den, dug up his mother’s flowers, and tied terrified Lisa to the desert willow.

His mother sighed and clenched her teeth, then screamed, “CHARLES BAXTER WOLFE!”

Charlie’s grin dropped as soon as he saw his mother’s crimson face.


Charlie kicked the ground and stomped to his room, slamming the door behind him.

That night, the Wolfe family, minus Charlie, played games and laughed in the living room. Charlie sulked on his bed. He didn’t like being excluded from fun.

“Good morning,” his father said as Charlie sat down at the table for breakfast.

“Morning,” Charlie mumbled, rubbing his face. He picked up the cereal box and shook it. “Any more?”

“Oh, sorry, hun,” his mother said. “Lisa must have gotten the last bowl.”

Charlie looked at his sister’s empty chair. “Where is she?”

“School.” Mr. Wolfe looked at his watch. “You’re ten minutes late.”

“What!” Charlie dashed from the table, grabbed his bag, and ran out of the house.

Lisa came out of the pantry and giggled.

“So glad you could join us, Charlie,” his teacher said over his classmates’ giggles. “You missed a pop quiz.”

Charlie sank in his seat and opened his backpack only to find Lisa’s things instead of his. He lifted the bag and saw a pink fluffy unicorn staring back at him. The thud of his head hitting his desk echoed around the room. His teacher did her best not to laugh, then she nodded toward Alice.

Alice walked to the front of the room and read from her paper. “Charlie and I researched the moon.”

Charlie’s eyes grew wide and he gulped. How could he have forgotten? It was due next week, wasn’t it? What would his parents say when they find out he missed another assignment? “Um, Mrs. Howard, may I go to the nurse, please?”

Mrs. Howard smiled and nodded. The class giggled as Charlie ran from the room.

Inside the nurse’s office, Nurse Sarah took his temperature. “Here, take this, Charlie.” She handed him a small cup that he happily swallowed in one gulp. He didn’t notice the grin that she tried to hide.

Charlie’s stomach gurgled and he bolted from the office, down the hall, and toward the outhouse.

“Oh, sorry, must have mixed that up,” Nurse Sarah said to an empty office, laughing.

Charlie stayed in the outhouse for the rest of the day. At the end of the school day, he was defeated. Nothing about that day had been fun. Hearing the other kids laugh and play and make fun of him through the outhouse door hurt his feelings.

On the walk home, he wiped the tears from his eyes. Lisa’s tear-soaked face flashed in his mind. He had been a horrible brother.

As soon as he opened the door, he apologized to Lisa, and his parents. He never wanted to be treated like that again, and he would never treat her bad again. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’ll never play another prank again.”

“Well,” Lisa said, hugging him. “You can if it’s not a mean prank.”

Charlie smiled.


15 thoughts on “A Little Fable

  1. This is such a good lesson. Although, I personally would not do this, it seemed to work for this fable. If I could find something that would be effective in helping my 5 year old listen and stop misbehaving, I would jump on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When my son was 5, he was quite the handful. That’s when I started the “think about actions before you do them,” “think about your choices,” and introduced the “good boy fairy” (this person worked with Santa and helped keep an eye on kids during the year. When my son was behaving I would say that the GBF would make a note of that and around July he started being really good, so the GBF left him an early gift saying that he saw how much he tried to make the right choices). It worked for a few years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve tried so many things with my son and nothing seems to be working for him. He just has the mind set that he wants to do what he wants. He’s not a bad kid. He just doesn’t like being told no and doesn’t like being told what to do. The only time we have found he will listen is at his Jui Jitsu practice which is great to see.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. What does he do when he gets to make the decision? (as long as there are consequences for bad decisions). Not saying it would work, but it might give him a sense of control over his life. It’s cool that he likes martial arts. My son tried it but didn’t have the patience (and self control) for it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. He enjoys making the decisions and o try to allow him to make as many decisions as I can. But when he is t able to make decisions he throws temper tantrums and tells me that I am mean, a bully, and don’t listen to him. It’s a struggle some days.

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          2. ha ha ha…I heard that so many times. I just said, “yep, I am.” That stage passes. I let mine be upset and gently reminded him that even adults don’t get to make the decisions all of the time. Temper tantrums (and flying Thomas trains) fade.

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          3. That happens. Other people will be jerks, but you can’t give in or lose your cool. When he would start acting up, begging, or anything else, I would just smile, nod, and say, “Yep, I can see why you think that, but it’s still no.” and continue on with what I needed to do. Sure, I ended up pushing the cart forward a few steps and dragging a screaming child with the other before he caught on, but I always did it with a smile and agreeing that “I am a bully for not letting him .” Once passersby hear why he was having a tantrum, they usually chuckled. It didn’t matter where we were when he was younger, I never raised my voice when we were out. Home was another story, but then I would stop myself and take a time out. My breaking point came years later when he was sleepwalking every night.

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          4. That’s his job lol. Look at it from his perspective. He doesn’t understand (really understand) why he can’t do/have/say etc. He can’t. He’s too young. All he knows is that he wants and should get.

            The more he feels like he’s not being heard, the worse it can get (at least it was with mine). Taking a deep breath and calmly saying, “you’re feeling right now, right?” helps too. Giving time for both you and him to calm down, then talking about it helps as well. He sounds like a smart little guy. When he does things that makes things easier, say that. It helps too. Even if its just “Gee, I really appreciate it when ” When things were really hard, I would say that every time we left somewhere if he didn’t have a tantrum (i.e. “Boy, son, I really appreciate you helping me in the store by not fussing. It’s so nice when we can work together.”)

            It will pass though. The more he wants to work together to get rewards (feeling good inside, a thank you, the occasional treat), the more he will cooperate. That’s what its really all about…being a master manipulator to make them think cooperating was their idea lol

            Liked by 1 person

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