Ain’tcha gladger a badger?

Or would you rather be a beautiful tapestry, woven from a diverse collection of fibers?

In children’s books, it’s always a mix of species: A fox, a bat, a hen, two goats, and a talking bulldozer have an adventure. They learn to help each other, or to share, or both.

Why not a lion and a lioness, and a lion, and two lionesses, and another lion? Kind of a family (pardon the archaism) of lions. For example:

The lions and the cranes

The lions went to war with the cranes. Creeping near the edge of the river, the pride crouched in the bushes until the chief lion shook his mane and roared. Then they all leaped into the shallows, roaring ferociously as they charged the unsuspecting cranes. The cranes honked and flew away as the lions splashed through the shallows. “What’s with them?” asked one of the cranes. The oldest crane answered, “Who knows? Mammals are crazy.”

Having driven off the cranes, the lions celebrated their conquest of the river by killing and eating a wildebeest, and then sleeping in the sun all the next day.

Why don’t they write stories like that any more?

If you don’t like talking animals, you could base a whole series of folktales on talking machinery. I’ll start:

How Adding Machine stole the moon

One day Adding Machine said to Skid Loader, “Come and help me gather bolts in the junkyard.” Skid Loader agreed, and by sundown they had a fine assortment of hex-heads, and a few aircraft grade socket-heads too. They gave them all to Paint Locker to keep for the summer outage. During the night, Road Grader came, killed Paint Locker, and stole all the bolts. Finding the bolts gone, Adding Machine stole the moon from Road Grader, and set it up in the sky where Road Grader couldn’t reach it.

And that’s why the moon is in the sky, and not in the tool shed.

Such are the tales of my people.


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