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A Folktale for Those With Closed Eyes and Flapping Mouths

by Shelly Tucker on March 31, 2011©

I’ve never met the parents who are objecting to the ghost story I told their children … the story that none of them heard. However, in my mind’s eye, I imagine that they have no noses. They cut them off to spite their faces. You see, that small (but very vocal) group of parents have now convinced the PTA at the school to refuse to fund programs for visiting artists, because they want to censor everything an artist might say. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bath water!

Did I hear you ask, “Where are the parents who have any sense?” Why, they are being deathly silent, so to speak. It’s a shame, because their children will not get the opportunity to see artists in their elementary school … just because they won’t speak up for sanity. Art is supposed to evoke emotion.

Mind you, I’ve heard nothing but praise from the people who actually heard the performance I gave. I’m not ashamed of my performance at all. I’m just profoundly saddened that this small group of close-minded people can so affect an entire school.

I’m thinking that these parents need to home school their kids so they can control everything that goes into their brains. They can protect them from the real world. Of course, their poor children won’t develop the ability to think for themselves, but at least other children won’t be bound by their narrow view of the world.

I’m sure that these people are moderately well educated, but I’ve decided that they didn’t hear enough stories when they were young. I feel the need to share another tale from my repertoire that is dedicated just to them. It should have been pounded into their brains when they were young. It’s for people with closed eyes and flapping mouths. I’ve never given it a name, but I’ll call it:

O.M.G.! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

On a hot, muggy summer day a rabbit curled up to sleep in the shade of a coconut tree. A monkey chattered angrily in the branches of the tree, but that didn’t bother the bunny. Soon he was snoring and twitching in his sleep.

The rabbit sat up, startled, when he heard a loud, “CRACK!” The rabbit shivered and squealed, “O.M.G.! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! The earth has cracked! The world is falling apart!”

As fast as a lightning bolt, that rabbit jumped and ran, zigging and zagging across the plains. Soon he bumped smack dab into another bunny and they both fell down on their cottontails.

“What in the world do you think you are doing?” demanded the second rabbit. “Has the heat fried your brain?”

The first rabbit screamed, “O.M.G.! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! The earth has cracked! The world is falling apart!” Both rabbits began to dash across the plains.

It wasn’t long before a herd of zebras, who were grazing in the grass, felt the earth begin to rumble. They looked up to see ten thousand rabbits zigging and zagging through the grass. One of the zebras called out, “Yo! Whassup?”

A rabbit paused, caught is breath and squeaked, “O.M.G.! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! The earth has cracked! The world is falling apart!” The zebras began to zoom along behind the rabbits.

After awhile the elephants, who were splashing in the water of the river playfully squirting water at each other with their trunks, heard a sound like distant thunder. The earth began to quake. Those elephants looked up and saw ten thousand bunnies racing along the grass with five thousand zebras zooming along behind them.

An elephant called out to a zebra, “Is it a parade?” The zebra shouted, “O.M.G.! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! The earth has cracked! The world is falling apart!” Immediately the elephants clambered out of the water and began clumping along behind the zebras.

Shortly thereafter, a tiger who was stalking his next meal was surprised to feel the earth begin to tremble. He heard a crashing sound. When he turned to look, he saw ten thousand bunnies racing along the grass with five thousand zebras zooming along behind, followed by a thousand elephants!

The surprised tiger called out to an elephant, “Hey! Is there a sale that I don’t know about?” The elephant bellowed, “O.M.G.! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! The earth has cracked! The world is falling apart!”

Not long after that Lion, the King of Beasts, was wakened from his nap. He had been curled on a flat rock, sleeping in the sunshine, when his teeth began to rattle in his head. He looked up and saw ten thousand bunnies racing along the grass with five thousand zebras zooming along behind, followed by a thousand elephants, who were all being chased by a hundred tigers!

Lion shouted, “ROAR!” All of the animals came to an abrupt halt, because everyone listened when Lion spoke, especially if he used that tone of voice.

Lion glared at the breathless animals and growled, “Will someone please explain all this commotion to me? You know I don’t like to be disturbed during my nap!” He turned to a tiger and asked, “Why are you chasing all the other animals?”

The tiger shivered with fear and said, “Your Majesty, we aren’t chasing them. Haven’t you heard?”

“Heard what?” asked Lion.

“O.M.G.!” screamed the tiger. “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! The earth has cracked! The world is falling apart!”

“Puhleeeze!” said Lion. “Don’t be ridiculous! Did you see the earth crack, Tiger?”

Tiger shrugged his shoulders and hung his head. He mumbled, “Well … no … but the elephants told us about it.”

Lion turned to an elephant and asked, “Did you see the earth crack?”

The elephant rocked back and forth nervously and replied, “No, but the zebras said that it did.”

Lion fixed his angry glare on the zebras. “Did you see the earth crack?”

“Ummm,” a zebra said.

Lion roared, “Ummm is not an answer!”

“Rrr..rrr…rabbits told us,” the zebra stuttered.

Lion whirled around to face the rabbits. “WHO STARTED THIS MESS, ANYWAY?” he shouted.

All of the quaking bunnies pointed at the very first rabbit.

Lion sighed. “Rabbit,” he asked, trying to control his temper, “did you see the earth crack?”

“Well,” said the rabbit, “not exactly, but I was asleep under the coconut tree and I heard it and …”

“BUT, DID YOU SEE IT?” shouted Lion.

“No!” the bunny squealed. “I’m not stupid I wasn’t going to sit around and wait for the earth to swallow me up! O.M.G. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!”

“CUT THAT OUT!” roared Lion. “Let’s go see this crack in the earth.”

Over rabbit’s protest, Lion made him lead all the animals to the coconut tree. Coconuts were scattered on the ground beneath that tree, and the monkey was still in the branches, angrily shaking a coconut.

“Hey, you! Monkey!” called Lion. “Have you seen the earth crack?”

“The earth crack?” asked the monkey. “No, I can’t even get these stupid coconuts to crack!” With that, the monkey threw the coconut to the ground … where it hit with a loud “CRACK!”

Lion stared at the coconut for a moment. He turned to rabbit and shook his head. “Look at you. You started all this commotion over nothing. Open your eyes! Use your brain and make sure that you know the truth before you start flapping your mouth!”

The other animals began to giggle at rabbit. Lion glared at them and said, “You aren’t innocent here. Before you believe a rumor, make sure you know the truth! If someone says the earth is falling apart, it might be nothing more than a monkey trying to crack a coconut!”

Lion went back to his nap. The other animals went about their business. But, the rabbit was so ashamed that he dug a hole and hid. From that day to this, he only comes out early in the morning or late at night (when no one will see). And, since that day, rabbits never start wild rumors … in fact they hardly speak at all.

~~~~~~

I realize that the people who need to read this story probably didn’t get this far. If they did they will not recognize themselves. The saddest part of all of this is that those people who will not look for the truth before they flap their mouths will raise children just like themselves. Bless their hearts.

{ 19 comments }

Robin from Israel March 31, 2011 at 8:22 am

Oh Shelly, I’m so sad over this. For you of course, but mostly for those children, especially the ones growing up with such closed-minded parents. They are going to miss out on SO MUCH in their lives, and grow up with limits and rules instead of possibilities and dreams. This really breaks my heart. Is there any chance at all that saner heads can prevail?

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Shelly Kneupper Tucker March 31, 2011 at 9:48 am

That’s the part that saddens me the most, too, Robin. Saner heads could prevail … but, sadly, those people have real lives. They don’t have time to get into petty arguments with people who will not listen!

Faire March 31, 2011 at 8:51 am

Sadly, I’m reminded of Edmund Burke’s dictum that all it wants for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing–but things like this are happening the whole country over: sensible people caving in to the demands of the crazies.

In my school daze (yes, I meant daze–I live in a community very much like this, where if one parent whines everybody gets denied the benefit of whatever story/activity/book they whine about) it was Steinbeck’s OF MICE AND MEN–because it had bad words in it. And yes, the parents involved were blinkered idiots (and their kids spoiled a**holes, but that’s another story entirely).

Too bad, Shel, that they probably won’t read this tale (a GREAT one! I love it!) and see how it mirrors their arrogance and narrowmindedness.

Lord help us all–

Shelly Kneupper Tucker March 31, 2011 at 10:17 am

No, they won’t read it, my friend. And, they aren’t going to change. The rest of us just have to grit our teeth.

barbara March 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

bless their hearts, indeed!

Ahhh Miz Shelly . . . . I think that proactivity is called for in this instance. Back in the day when I was p’lit’cly active, this is the type thing that would call me to a school board meeting. They have public comment times generally even for things not on the agenda.

This would also prompt me to write a nice letter to the editor of the local rag.

My best to you, my friend.

Shelly Kneupper Tucker March 31, 2011 at 10:31 am

I’m not going to be the advocate.

barbara March 31, 2011 at 9:29 am

This week’s 100 Word Challenge is Voice. I wrote about you. Hang in there my friend.

http://purplemoose.kenaiwriter.net/2011/03/31/2649/

Shelly Kneupper Tucker March 31, 2011 at 9:44 am

I liked that, Barbara, thank you. I didn’t see the comment box, so I’ll answer you with my own “100 words:”

They did not take her voice. They muffled the ears of their children that they might not hear. As they raised their voices in outrage against words they did not hear, they exposed their closed minds to the world. Do those who object raise their voices in opposition? No. As water takes the path of least resistance, so do they, and for that their children will not know the power of words. They did not take her voice. She will not be silent for the sake of fools. She tells the story, her truths, in words that fit her mouth.

allen March 31, 2011 at 10:34 am

test

Shelly Kneupper Tucker March 31, 2011 at 10:35 am

answering test

Van Sutherland March 31, 2011 at 11:41 am

Good story. Too many rabbits in the world right now. I think we’re experiencing the tyranny of the minority, and a shortage of common sense. Hang in there, Shelly.

Shelly Kneupper Tucker March 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Thanks, Van. I’m hanging …

shirley moretto March 31, 2011 at 2:04 pm

To many special groups being catered too.when they bring someone to her school she can come & get her kids. she has no right to forbid my children from seeing the special artists,We grew up seeing nude statues & paintings & called them art. I can’t see where it has harmed anyone. She did to.I know hollywood & TV are out of cintrol but thats why we hve off buttons on them. Also parents who say when you are grown you can make up your own mind & then procede to teach them proper manners, & right from wrong. To bad we.ve come to this type of thing.

Elizabeth March 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm

It is a crying shame! It’s one thing to let parents pull their kids from assemblies they object too (Obama’s speech to school kids was a big hullabaloo over here) but to prevent an artist from speaking? I can guarantee you that I would have spoken up against it in our PTO meetings. Sadly some parents might have but were drowned out by the rabbits. Maybe I can get the PTO to have you come here to Charlie’s school one day.

Shelly Kneupper Tucker March 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm

LOL I might not be telling stories by thn because this soured me!

Anne @ double curtain rods April 1, 2011 at 4:00 am

It’s really frustrating that there are parents that are so close and narrow minded. They don’t realized that because of their doings, they are not exposing their children to the real world thus making them also like them. Let’s expose our children to the arts.

Shelly Kneupper Tucker April 4, 2011 at 7:50 am

Amen!

ellen April 1, 2011 at 8:44 am

I think people have just gone mad. The story seems quite suitable to me, even innocuous – surely nothing worse than what the kids see and hear every evening on TV – I am assuming that these are people who are not sitting around the house listening to classical music. The concept of PC married to the idea that all opinions are equally valid has left us with nothing to say.

As to Art – what would such people make of capital A Art – that provokes, shocks and inspires? That shouts “Look!”? Very discouraging.

Shelly Kneupper Tucker April 4, 2011 at 7:52 am

Yep, it’s discouraging, but I’m hoping it is a fluke. I can’t imagine the frustration of teachers who deal with “helicopter parents” every day! They deserve sainthood, don’t you think?

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