When I came to London and long before I had a child, I was struck and seduced by British children’s stories. I read many for my own pleasure, and soon enjoyed writing a few short ones myself.
Here are two of them in their entirety: DODI THE DOZY DODO, a cautionary tale for young children, and SCHOOL FOR BIRDS, also for the very young.
Others are called: GRANNY MAKES CRUMBS, ZOE THE FLYING TORTOISE, BILLY THE LITTLE MOLE, and KING CAT.
DODI THE DOZY DODO
(a cautionary tale!)
- Helene Pascal-Thomas
Everyone liked Dodi.
He was friendly;
he smiled at everyone;
he shared his sweets with all his friends and
he knew lots of jokes.
But Dodi had a problem:
he looked like a bird,
he sang like a bird,
more or less,
but he couldn’t fly:
his wings were too short.
Some of his friends teased him:
-You are a bird that cannot fly!
-That’s true, said Dodi, but I can walk, I can sing, more or less, and I am nice.
-Yes, you are nice, but you are a bit dozy, they said, you should be more careful!
-Why should I be careful? said Dodi, everyone is nice!.
-Even Mr Hunter? said the rabbit.
-Mr Hunter is very nice, he smiles at me, said Dodi.
-Some people are wicked, you know! said the tortoise.
– He even wants me to come to his house, insisted Dodi.
-Oh, Dodi, said the rabbit, you are so dozy, why do you think he wants to be your friend?
-Because he likes me, replied Dodi.
-Dodi, remember you cannot fly! said the rabbit.
– I don’t mind, said Dodi. Since I can walk, why would I want to fly?
-To escape, Dodi! said the tortoise, to escape danger!
-But there is no danger! said Dodi.
The cat arrived; he had heard the conversation.
-Oh, Dodi, you are such a dozy dodo! he said. Did anyone tell you that you also taste delicious?
-Oh, thank you, said Dodi, that’s a nice thing to say.
-No, it’s NOT! the rabbit cried out. He means it’s dangerous, Dodi!
-But why? Dodi asked, puzzled.
-BECAUSE, said the cat patiently, because tasting delicious means you can be eaten!
-But no-one wants to eat me! Dodi protested.
-Oh, Dodi, the rabbit cried, don’t you know what happened to your brothers and sisters?
-They went to play far away, Dodi said.
– No, Dodi, they were caught and eaten, that’s what! And your mum and dad too!
– And you are the only one left, the cat said.
– Oh dear, Dodi said, and he was silent for a while.
– So don’t go to Mr Hunter’s house! the tortoise said.
-But he is very nice, said Dodi.
-OH, DODI, YOU ARE SUCH A DOZY DODO! they all cried out together.
Well, you know what happened: One day, Dodi disappeared, and you also know why.
All his friends missed him, of course, because he was so friendly, and he helped everyone; because he also shared his sweets, and knew lots of jokes.
It was just a pity he was such a dozy dodo.
SCHOOL FOR BIRDS
- Helene Pascal-Thomas
High up in the tree, Blackbird was teaching the young chicks about the new world they will soon explore:
– Next week, you will be leaving your nest, your parents will stop feeding you, so you will have to find your own seeds and worms. This will sometimes be difficult.
Now, you must have noticed – Robin, pay attention! – there are human beings down below: they are very heavy and clumsy.
– They cannot fly! exclaimed Sparrow.
– That’s right, replied Blackbird, and a very good thing too. They stay on the ground and they dig their gardens at week-ends, bringing out worms and grubs we can take when they have gone indoors. That’s good!
Now, look inside this house, you will see a woman and a little boy, called a child: they can be noisy and run around screaming for no good reason, but they are not bad; when they notice us, they sometimes stop.
– They don’t stop for pigeons! exclaimed little Wren.
– That’s right, said Blackbird, but pigeons are too often at their feet, you must be careful.
Now, what was I saying? Oh, yes, this woman: she is called GRANNY and she loves us. She throws us bread and seeds out of her window and then she stands smiling as she watches us eat. That’s because she thinks we are CUTE: that means small and sweet.
-You are not ‘cute’, said cheeky little blue Tit.
– True, replied Blackbird, because I am quite big, but my singing is fabulous. That’s why I am your teacher.
Now, listen you lot, it is important that you are ‘cute’, because you will get attention, that means easy food.
So, Robin, when you see Granny coming, show her your red breast and sing a tune, she will like that. And you, Blue Tit, show her your lovely blue cap and your pretty song.
Sparrow, you don’t look much, but as long as you hop and chirp she will love you. And you, little yellow Finch, you are shy but you can sing on your feet and that is very cute. What you must remember is that Granny is very SWEET. Some human beings are sweet, but this Granny is the best.
When the sun shines, she comes out to read in the garden with a cup of tea and a packet of chocolate biscuits: this is the best time for us as she makes lots of crumbs that drop at her feet. You will then discover chocolate, which is a wonderful experience.
Now, it’s nearly time to stop, so you should get ready to go back to your nests. Tomorrow we shall be doing: Worms and Grubs. See you then! Bye-bye!