Monday, March 8, 2010

Magpie Tales: Better that way (a children's story)

clouds sprinkled the sky like dust, the day the elephant came to live at our house. it was rich and blue, not like the grey storm you would come to expect, or lightning flashing strobe lights through the pane. no it was blue, and the elephant small.

i kept him under my bed, better that way, as no one felt the need to talk about him. not that you would, even if he walked passed the kitchen table while you were eating dinner, or tried to slip him a lima bean to avoid their nasty texture squishing between your teeth. no, no one every really talked about him, even though he was there.

while he did not eat lima beans, and i would not blame him, he must have eaten something as he began to grow bigger and bigger. pretty soon, he would not fit under my bed, and though i tried to squish him into the closet, he found a comfortable place in the corner, where i piled my dirty clothes. i think it made him feel closer to me, it was probably better that way.

i could not tell anyone about him, who would believe any way that there was an elephant in my room. once it almost slipped out, but a hush, hush and off you go, kids you know, left him sitting squarely in the middle of the room again. it was hard to miss him, he was as big as the station wagon at this point, but visitors just walked around him politely, and quietly. better that way, as he just might stampede.

i figured my family would ask him to move out eventually, as he was taking up so much space, but they just left him, even when he put his foot through the window one day trying to turn around. duct tape came to the rescue and we just stopped going into the living room, by then he was too big to get out. we painted him to match the wall paper, it was better that way.

one day, sitting in my wooden desk at school, scarred with the initials of previous inhabitants, i was astounded to see the elephant walking through the school yard, on his way to the playground. his trunk held high, he was blowing a mighty tune, finally getting his overdue attention. all the kids ran to the window, cheering and giggling, to the teachers dismay. me, i just smiled from my desk, thinking its better this way.

elephants are meant to live free.

This was written for the prompt at Magpie Tales. It is not my childhood, I just tell it for the kids that live with elephants.

99 comments:

becky said...

That was so cute.I loved that, you are amazing Brian.By the way I love Lima Beans who doesnt like them;)

only a movie said...

love this!

william said...

brilliant story Brian, high imagination, as always well thought out, loved this :)

JeffScape said...

Dude! Now we're talking!

Where has this style been for the past... however long I've been badgering you???

Mighty M said...

Oh, what a great tale for kids. My daughter lives in this dream world and this is totally up her alley.

Lima beans are GROSS to me, too!

slommler said...

What a wonderful story. I think all kids should live with elephants!
Hugs
SueAnn

Catalyst said...

A wondrous and wonderful story, Brian.

mo.stoneskin said...

Lovely piece, but I wish I knew what "lima beans" are, they sound tasty.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Sweet.

lakeviewer said...

Ah, you were expecting that ending, something too big to be held prisoner. Good one.

Realliveman said...

What a great story to end the day!

Tracy said...

I love this, Brian. Duct tape is the answer for everything. Even elephants.

blueviolet said...

Is this one you've told to your own kids?

But Brian, you're so wrong about lima beans. They're delicious!

Tom said...

sounds like dad telling stories again. awesome! I haven't seen this from you,and i like it!

Kim A. said...

And the elephant's head didn't end up on someone's mantle nor did he gore the poor school janitor to death. I knew you had a soft, fluffy, Dr. Seuse inside you.

Namaste

Daniel said...

Intriguing and fun, but what lies at its heart?

jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com said...

sharp, and educational post!
thank you for being such an admirable writer and blogger!

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Eva Gallant said...

Oh, that really needs to be published in a book! It's a great little children's story!!

Mama Zen said...

Is there anything you can't do, Brian? Brilliant!

Ariel said...

Great imagination and a good message too. I love pets but it always makes me sad to see people having caged birds as pets. Your story suddenly took me there...

Susan said...

I loved the "it's just better that way" repetition. Excellent piece. I used to have a blue Republican elephant. I'm a Democrat. It was a gift of subtle propaganda from a family friend, LOL.

TechnoBabe said...

Excellent! I hated Lima beans when I was a kid too. Now I really like them. This is really a sweet childrens story.

fancypants said...

Great story! It really felt like a child was telling the tale.

CatLadyLarew said...

Run little elephant! Be free!

5thsister said...

That was precious to someone who set her elephant free a long time ago!

Magpie said...

Great job, Brian...but sorry guys. Brian's right about lima beans - Yuck!

otin said...

I really like the last couple magpie tales. They seem to have brought out a different style in you. Very creative writing. I often see an elephant in the mirror! LOL

JStar said...

Very well done Brian...I wish I had the stories i had written as a child...

CottageGirl said...

What an imagination you have!
You took me back to my childhood mind which loves the tall tale and the well-told story!

Susan said...

Brian, I'm dropping a poem @ 9:00 my time. I hope you stop back and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Brian Miller said...

daniel, you may be onto something there...

and for the record, lima beans are of the devil...i am just saying...it probably has to do with being forced to eat them as a kid...i took them like pills, swallowing them one at a time...

Vicki Lane said...

Love the way you played with 'the elephant in the room'!

MeganRebekah said...

What a cute story!

willow said...

Brian, I think this is the best piece you've written! Love it.

She Writes said...

Always enjoy a little whimsical tale. I liked it!

Fragrant Liar said...

Dude, no self-respecting elephant will bow to lima beans. They're far too drab for an elephant in the know. Elephants, if you must know, want salsa and chips so they can shake and rattle and roll and make quite the scene because no one seems to be paying them any attention!

Still, I love your stories. You always make me think. Quite the feat, if you ask my children ...

endswith8741 said...

This elephant reminded me a bit of Snuffaluffogus (sp?) from Sesame Street and also that phrase about an elephant in the room. None of the adults seem to want to address the elephant in the room, but the kids were all about it. LOVE it!

Uma Gowrishankar said...

There are many elephants here in our jungles in India. I'll bring one home for my son. Tale beautifully told, Brian - very endearing, brings a smile :)

The Retired One said...

So cute, Brian!
And I am with you...Lima beans are the work of the devil (or maybe the devil's mother) ha

Jingle said...

a man could be as sweet as orange juice. you put a big smile on my face, thank you for the kind comments and uplifting spirits.

your story about living with an elephant reads like a fairy tale...
I can not believe that you only started poetry for about five months, me, only three months of poetry history, you grow and learn speedy,
Glad to meet!

Luisa Doraz said...

You are quite the storyteller! :) I love it! Have a great week!

Smart Mouth Broad said...

You have incredible eyes that SEE.

ishabellemanalo said...

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amy said...

Ditto Titanium's remark ....

Ronda Laveen said...

It's better this way!

The Muse said...

ah...you say this is not written from your childhood...but i do believe it is written from the inner child...that still dwells with you~
for such sentiments...of both lima and pachyderm, are voiced with that of dreaming soul!

Hilary said...

This was wonderful. I've seen this elephant circulating around the blogs. He seems quite at home here.

Mona said...

Believe it or not, I had a neighbor who had an elephant for a pet. A full grown huge pachyderm!

We find them all around in India, they even walk the roads with us, just like the buffaloes , the cows, the sheep , the horses, the donkeys and the stray dogs do!

& sometimes, the bridegroom arrives to wed his bride, astride an elephant ( although mostly it is on a female horse)

I too have ridden an elephant! :)

Ocean Girl said...

Oh what a wonderful story. This could be a children's book Brian. Please just put the copyright sign with your name on it on your blog on the sidebar. Or a notice that all materials on the blog belongs to you and shall not be used or reproduced without permission. You said you write for your children, please protect your writings for them.

Matty said...

What a story based on that picture. I hate lima beans. PERIOD! My dad used to force me to eat them, so I would bury one in my mashed potatoes and try to swallow whole without chewing so I didn't have to taste it. YUCK! And to this day I. WILL. NOT. EAT. THEM.

Ocean Girl said...

Brian, I do not mean to be "bossy". I apologise because I do not like the tone of the comment I wrote.

spacedlaw said...

An enchanting story, reminiscent of Winsor McCay.

Daddy Forever said...

Excellent story! Reminds me of a children book about a wish that grew too big because the kid fed it too much. But unlike your story, the fish was never freed.

E said...

There's a treehouse in the forest. Come visit. Bring the kids if you like. Nothing fancy, just a space where I write and think about other things.

Ciao
Lola xx

LadyFi said...

A delightfully whimsical tale! Good for kids AND adults! ;-)

Protege said...

I agree, freedom is the word. And imagination as well.;)
xo
Zuzana

järnebrand said...

Never did have any lima beans... :)
This is a cute story with a lot of depths and symbols. I love when you write about things from a kid's perspective, you do this very well. :) And how they painted him to match the wall paper... Because it was "better that way"... That's just the thing an adult would tell a kid. Explaining why without really explaining why.
I loved this, Brian. Well done. :)

rel said...

Brian,
Imaginary friends should be kept to one's self; It's better that way. :)
Perfect for magpir!
rel

SUN DANCE HILL said...

Profoundly touched by this... I took this as a much deeper story, the obvious not spoken, i.e., the elephant in the room! Glad the child finally set that elephant free, it is 'better that way'.

Pauline said...

you had me from the beginning though I have to admit I was sure that elephant would end up in the living room as some monstrous problem that was deliberately being ignored.

souldose said...

Great story, you my friend are a story teller.

Eternally Distracted said...

Very cute. How do you do it?!!

Goofball said...

a small elephant in the house would be cute but why do animals have to grow :(
If they'd not grow, i'd keep a lot of animals at home. But I guess they are meant to be free indeed so fortunately they grow!

Jessie said...

very clever Brian -- however i can't help but feel that the elephant is a personification for something else. ... ???

you are a sly one Mr. Miller...bravo!

throwing roses onto your stage,

Lyn said...

That's the thing..no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room..but all he wants is freedom! Kids should pay attention...thanks...

Ima Weed said...

Good story. Limas picked from the garden made with fresh cream sauce are devine.

Betsy said...

Very nice...I bet your boys like it, too! :)

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

Such a wonderful story!
Hope you have a great day!:)
Betty

JennyMac said...

So creative. You tell such a great story!

Peter Goulding said...

Oh thats very clever and very amusing, sir. Well done

AmyLK said...

Cute story! And its amazing the elephants that kids live with these days!

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Very clever...yes indeed elephants are meant to be free! I love the "better that way" This brought out the kid in me!

Jen Chandler said...

This is wonderful, Brian! Very well done :)

Jen

Sh@KiR@ CK said...

Me got tributes and awards for you!
Please drop by.....

hugs
shakira

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE TO STAY, LET'S DANCE!

Valerie said...

Every one a winner, Brian, and this one got the cup. Loved it, loved the imagination, and the writing.

Jennifer said...

Oh hooray, a children's story! And "the elephant in the room" is only one of the layers one could peel from it. And love the "better this way" repeated line - kids love that.

Poetikat said...

What have you been smoking? LOL!

buffalodick said...

You're a good man, Charlie Brown! It's good to know other people take flights of fancy...

Joanna Jenkins said...

I am loving this story Brain. (Although I do not love lima beans.) And I might have to borrow it the next time I spend time with a child :-)

Hope your week is good.

Jingle said...

I wish you a beautiful day!
It is not easy to be the master of the blogging world, you have done winsome job!
Happy Tuesday!

Jannie Funster said...

It is a soul treat to read such good writing as this.

A gift, really.

Glad I found you!!

christine said...

Of course the elephant could be hidden in the corner under the pile of dirty clothes, thats why little boys have them!
Christine

Kaylen said...

Ha - this one goes out to all the kids with live with elephants!

Cute story. Love the pic!

Six Feet Under Blog said...

What a great story for kids. I hate Lima beans-blah, blah!

Six Feet Under Blog said...

Oh, dont forget to let your readers know that you are in the spotlight tomorrow!!

steviewren said...

Lots of us have elephants living in our houses that we never talk about. We all live more freely once he's out in the open.

Fun way you met the challenge.

Captain Dumbass said...

The lima beans might have given the elephant gas, and that would not pass (heh) unnoticed by anyone in the house, no matter how hard they tried.

Grand Pooba said...

This was just plain cute. I loved it!

Cabo said...

That was great, bro. :)

C.M. Jackson said...

whimsical --as viewed from a child's eyes life becomes very colorful! thsnks!

secret agent woman said...

No one ever talks about the elephant in the room, do they?

rob kistner said...

Your work is bold your spirit is awesome, and you are courageous and free -- come visit me…

…rob
http://image-verse.com

The Hausfrau said...

The elephant in the room--wonderful! Love the lima bean part...

Corrie Howe said...

Just think about all the white elephants who live the children's homes.

Suz said...

On the surface a nice story
but like the elephant in the room
this story wants to be free
well done
I enjoyed it

little hat said...

Brian, or Brain as someone has dubbed you. You are a prolific man. I'm envious. Time is the enemy. You seem to have made it your friend. Loved the story and the structure. I can still see myself sitting on the side of my kid's beds "tell us another story dad'. Precious times.

Nessa said...

Secrets can never be hidden - and it's better that way.

T13 - Kindle Krazy

Pat said...

This would make a GREAT children's story. I can just see the illustrations with this! I think you should try to get this published!