Again trying something new :-). This children’s story was inspired by one of my first blog posts, as well as a desire to write something not just about children, but for them. Initially I thought that this was just for little kids, but upon further inspection I decided that it could lead to interesting discussions with older kids as well. What do you think? Would also love to hear about any reactions from kids!
One evening, wolf, lion, and bear were sitting on a bench. The lion would take turns talking to the two companions on either side of him. He had a very strong neck that never got tired of turning back and forth.
At some point, when lion was talking to bear, the wolf caught himself thinking, “Why should I sit here idly while lion talks to bear? I should call over someone else to sit on the other side of me so that I can talk to them when I’m not talking to lion.”
And so the wolf called fox over just for that purpose. For a few brief moments everyone was chatting away happily, but then the bear (who was almost as fast of a thinker as wolf) found himself thinking, “Lion and wolf each have two animals to talk to and I have only one. I should call tiger over to be my other companion.”
No sooner had the tiger gotten there than the fox became bothered by the same thoughts as wolf and bear before him. And so boar was called. But by then the tiger had caught on to the trend and called anteater.
At this point, the animals at the ends were noticing the unfairness of the situation as soon as they were getting there and immediately calling the next animal. Thus, hyena, cheetah, leopard, koala, panda, and gorilla all joined the bench (it was a very long bench!).
But then – oh no! – there were no more animals to call over. The poor creatures left on the ends had no way of remedying their situations. This left them very unhappy, and when two are unhappy their sadness spreads to the rest. Suddenly, everyone stopped talking and just sat there in gloomy silence. It appeared that the evening was ruined and everyone was almost ready to go home.
But then the lion suddenly broke the silence.
“We have two animals sitting on the ends,” he said. Everyone agreed. “If there was only one then she couldn’t talk to herself, but surely two can talk to each other?” There was some stirring on the bench. The tension was high. Everyone agreed that surely it should be possible, but how? They were sitting so far away… “That’s it,” said the fox, “they need to be brought closer together!” “This bench is the wrong shape!” concluded panda, who was one of the unfortunates with no one sitting on the other side of her.
Everyone right away saw where she was going with this. They needed a bench that was not straight. They looked around, and before long they found one. Everyone fit on it just perfectly and the evening couldn’t have turned out better. What shape do you think the bench was?
Addendum: I am expecting that most kids will initially say “a circle”, but then one can have a discussion with them about what other shapes might work. With younger kids this could lead to a discussion about what shapes are out there (Katie was surprised that strange swiggly things can count as shapes!) With older kids, one can ask them to come up with a common feature of all shapes that the bench could be.