Bedtime Story

Tell me a bedtime story, sweetheart. Talk me to sleep.

A story, huh? Hmm, okay, let’s see. Okay. A long, long time ago, when we all lived in the forest and no one lived anywhere else–

I know that one. I’ve heard that one before.

Okay, how about this one. Hmm, well, okay. How about this? Once upon a time, when we all lived in the forest and no one lived anywhere else–

Dude.

What?

Dude.

What? Maybe it’s a different story, have you considered that, little miss smarty pants? Hmm? All the stories that start Once upon a time… aren’t the same story, after all.

Yeah, sure, but Once upon a time is a trope. Is that the word? A convention or something. We hear Once upon a time and we know what we’re going to get. We know what comes next. But When we all lived in the forest? That’s a story. One story.

How can you be so sure it’s the same story?

It’s the same story!

How does it start? I mean, we know how it starts. What’s it about?

It’s about a princess, a princess who died.

A princess?

Yeah, and the whole kingdom was stricken with grief and they all fell asleep. Like, in shock or something. Because the princess died.

That’s not what it’s about though.

Okay, no, it’s about the frogs. It’s a legend. The story of why frogs jump and croak. Because of the wizard.

Wizard?

Trickster wizard! Do you even know this story? The sparrows decide to take it upon themselves to save the kingdom, so they go to the wizard. They know better than to make a deal with a wizard but they go there anyway. And the wizard, he wants something in return.

What does he want, remind me again?

Well first he wants their wings, but they say no, without wings they can’t fly. Then he wants their feathers, but again, no go. I mean, obviously, right? So finally he asks for their song.

Their song?

The sparrows’ song.

Then what?

Then they say yes. The sparrows agree to trade their song for the life of the princess. And back in the kingdom, the sound of her laughter awakens all the people from their slumber.

What about the sparrows? When do the frogs come in there?

Right now, silly. Back at the wizard’s cave or hut or whatever, the sparrows fell to the ground, one by one. The wizard had tricked them. He’d taken their song, and their feathers, and their wings.

So why do frogs croak and hop?

Because they remember when they were once sparrows, and they remember the wizard who tricked them.

That’s a good story. You tell a good bedtime story. Thanks, hon.

Wait a– what the– where’s my bedtime story?

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Cynthia Lugo

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