Tonawanda News


September 29, 2013

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Once upon a time, there were two little boys

Tonawanda News — “Mommy, tell me a story.”

It had been a long day. Ain’t they all? My younger son’s question threw me out of the usual get-the-kids-to-bed routine, but since we often pick out a storybook at bedtime, it didn’t really surprise me. I’d just read his brother “Little Quack” for the estimated 12,000th time.

“Sure, buddy. What do you want to read?”


The child already has that I’m-not-quite-rolling-my-eyes-but-I-could-be tone down. I thought that didn’t start until at least 13. 

“TELL me a story. A kingdom story.”

“A kingdom story?” 

Mommy was not very quick on the uptake this evening.

“Yeah. A story with a king. And a castle. And that kind of stuff.”

He settled back on his Perry-the-Platypus pillow, content and confident that Mommy would come through.

Mommy’s mind was a complete blank.

I like stories. I love stories. I became a writer at an early age — not so much older than Sam — because I love to tell stories. I still do today, although now I tell real stories about real people, which can be even better.

But that evening, I was tired, and the ideas just weren’t clicking. So I fell back on the classics.

“Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Arthur ...”

Cribbing heavily from both the Disney “The Sword in the Stone” and the T.H. White novel from which it originated, I told him the story of a little boy who would be king, his quirky teacher and their adventures, concluding with the incident of the aforementioned sword in the aforementioned stone. He wanted to know what happened next. I told him it would have to wait. I’m a great fan of Arthurian legend with a fascination for the hundreds of versions, but I wasn’t going near some of it with a 12-foot pole when it came to a 5-year-old.

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