Once upon a time

Bedtime! I’ll read you one story before lights out. Ah, here’s a classic.

Once upon a time, long ago … No, I don’t think there were velociraptors. It wasn’t that long ago. No, there weren’t any sabre-toothed tigers, either. Yes, I know you like them, but they can’t be in the story. Why? Because I’m telling it!

Once upon a time, in a land far way…No, it wasn’t Nepal. Yes, I’m sure it is a beautiful country, but the story didn’t happen there. How about France? It may not be now, but it was far away then. Okay, okay, it was a far away country that doesn’t exist now called Landia. I don’t care if it’s a stupid name; that’s where the story happens.

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess … What! No, she didn’t stink! Where did that come from? People in general may not have bathed long ago, but this was a very special country where they all bathed every day. No, she didn’t have to go to school. Why? Because she was a princess. I know Prince Harry went to school, but she didn’t. No, she wasn’t ignorant; she had tutors! Yes, they would have taught her about velociraptors…and Nepal. The solar system? I don’t know. I give up!

Once upon a time, during the late Cretaceous period, in Nepal, there lived a perfectly ordinary, smelly girl who was eaten by a velociraptor. The End. Happy?

No, I don’t know what else the velociraptor had to eat that day.

7 thoughts on “Once upon a time”

  1. This made me laugh and laugh. Very well captured, the (unheard) obnoxiously-clever-child is just perfect, and the growing exasperation (and the increasingly bizarre questions) are very well put across.

    I have nothing to fix or offer other than this works really really well, and I enjoyed it.

    I know you’re on constructive crit, and still i just plain like it :)

    1. I’m very glad you liked it so much. I came up with the idea early on but couldn’t make it work / feel inspired about it for ages. Then it finally came together. I almost feel like I acted both parts and wrote down what was said, getting irritated as adult and being wide-eyed as kid.

  2. Great piece. Reminds me a lot of the little boy’s interruptions in the Princess Bride, and of this Werewolf Story in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman that I must show to you at some point (which also has an interrupted fairy tale teller).

    I think that telling this as a one-sided dialogue worked well, and gives us a sense for both of the characters.

    The piece is very amusing, and had me giggling all the way through. :) I especially enjoyed how the narrator tries to finish this all off, only to be confronted by yet another question about the story.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great idea; love the one sidedness of the conversation.
    You got the imagined tone of the child just right and the irritating clarity with which they focus.

    Love the general playing with space and time (‘It may not be now, but it was far away then.’ – great ) and humour around the child unwillingness to buy into a generalised fantasy.

    I think I preferred the beginning (when the adult was less abrupt) to the end but I
    don’t know what to criticise in this – great idea, excellent implementation.

  4. I agree with the chorus above re perfect capture of obnoxious, clever, irritating child. Lots of character with any direct exposure.
    The interruptions really, really, work. I’m with Roodles on the Princess Bride-y-ness.

    Loved the ending: “Happy?” Classic “Fine, have it your way” but still not good enough.


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