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Fables by John Pearson

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In addition to his love of images John has a love of words. He loves to read and, on occasion, has been known to write a few words himself. For many years he has enjoyed writing simple fables. Here is one of them.

One fable not enough? Read The Spelling Bee or The See World Whale

The Centipede Who Went to School
by John Pearson

Once there was a velvety black centipede who had been walking effortlessly and gracefully for years. Occasionally in early morning when birds were chirping and it was an unusually beautiful day, he even danced on all hundred legs with a natural sense of rhythm.
But Flamingo standing his mother thought he did not walk fast enough and wanted him to learn to run. So one day she sent him to school. His classmates were tortoises, hares, butterflies, lizards, frogs, and two other centipedes. The teacher, an eld erly flamingo, constantly boasted about how she could stand on one leg. One day she summoned her heterogeneous class of creatures together and read them long chapters from anatomy books about how different animals walk, using as her model of course, the flamingo.
In a few days the class went on a field trip to the zoo where they watched flamingos alternately walking and standing on one leg for hours. Then they returned to class and saw movies about how storks, egrets, and herons walk, because the teacher was broadminded and didn't want to give the impression that flamingos were the only creatures that walked.
After a few weeks of school the teacher noticed that the centipede wasn't wearing any shoes. So he was given a pass and sent to the store room. He returned with a hundred tiny shoes which took him the rest of the day to put on. The flamingo stood over him on one leg glaring and prating about how you have to learn to walk before you learn to run.
The next day the centipede's feet were sore, and he had begun to think about all the different ways of walking, and he became confused and was moving slower and slower. His way of walking which had been so spontaneous didn't feel right anymore , and he began to worry about whether he was doing it wrong. He couldn't decide whether to put his left fifty feet first or his right fifty feet first, which made him move a hundred times slower.
By the time he was to graduate he couldn't walk at all. But he could talk fluently about walking and so received his degree. His parents never understood why , for no apparent reason, he would stare into space, and with a kind of reflex action lift ninety nine feet off the ground and stand for several seconds on one middle leg.

Fable is copyright © John Pearson
Please respect that copyright.


One fable not enough? Read The Spelling Bee or The See World Whale
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Last Updated 19 June 2006.