I wanted to create a simple story focused entirely on plot theme (aka a fable). Fables traditionally don’t emphasize character development or complicated scenes. The idea is to keep it simple and drive the theme (and moral) right through to the end. I tried to experiment with language use, but, as you can probably distinguish, my personal style faded back as the story progressed. I actually think it’s a decent first go at a type of storytelling that’s very well known. I just hope the moral stands out. Thoughts? You can comment below. Enjoy
The Tale of Tip and The Stone
By Alice Radwell
Once upon a time there was a small village of strange creatures. They were small, so small they could hide behind the leaves of the forest, and each one was slightly different to the other. All were basically the same from the front. They all had two eyes, a little nose and a mouth through which to speak. All had two arms to collect the vegetation of the forest, and all had two legs to carry themselves over the branches, and all would cry when they were sad and smile when they were happy. However, stuck on the back of each creature was a magical stone; each individual creature had a separate stone. They were all different colours and shapes. Some had red or yellow or green. Some resembled hearts and others looked like fish, but everybody had one, except one creature who lived high, high up in the tree.
This little creature was named Tip, and he stayed safely at the top of the tree. From high up he could watch all the other creatures scurrying and having fun below, and he could see all their beautiful stones glowing on their backs.
“Oh,” Tip signed, wearily. “How beautiful they are. If only I had a pretty stone all my own, then I would be happy too.” But poor Tip just didn’t know what to do, and he sat by himself at the top of the tree thinking about all the wonderful stones the other creatures had.
Sometimes the other creatures would climb up to see him. Often they would sit with him and talk about how sad they were.
“Oh, Tip,” said Bun, one day. “I wish my stone were like Brush’s stone. Mine is small and looks like a cake, but his is tall and looks like a paintbrush. All I can do is bake. I wish I could paint glorious pictures like Brush. Why isn’t my stone as nice as his stone?”
And little Tip smiled at Bun. “Your stone is wonderful,” he replied, truthfully. “With your stone you make the best cakes and bread in all the tree. Why, if I had a stone as wonderful as yours, Bun, I would be happy and proud and bake all day long!”
Tip would do this for everyone who came to him in woe; he would be so happy to see their stones glowing again that he would even forget he didn’t have one. Then when night came and it was quiet, he would look up at the sky and feel sad, because he just wanted to be like everyone else, and have a stone as special as wonderful as everyone else. “Why Mr Sky?” he would ask, mournfully. “I’d do anything to have a stone all my own,” but Mr Sky just stayed very still.
Then, one night, Tip was woken by an odd noise outside his leafy home. Something was ruffling about outside. Tip hurried out to discover a large, white and black bird. It’s little eye shone in the moonlight, and in its beak, twinkling like a tiny star was a small stone. Enchanted, Tip hurried over to the bird. “Hello! Hello!” he called, gleefully. The bird turned to him, laying the stone down on the branch. “Mr bird! It is wonderful to see you tonight!”
“Thank you, little one,” the bird replied. “My name is Mrs Magpie.”
Tip stopped suddenly, his cheeks flushed at his mistake. Mrs Magpie laughed kindly and gestured him over with a wing; Tip hurried over, despite his embarrassment. “I’m Tip,” he said. “People call me that because I live at the tip-top of the tree. I was just wondering, Mrs Magpie, where you found such a beautiful stone.”
“There are many of them in the pond not far from here,” she explained. “They glitter in the water in the moonlight, and I take them for my nest.”
Tip was elated. Finally! If he could go to the pond, he could choose a stone, and then his stone would be as lovely as everyone else’s. “Thank you, Mrs Magpie!” Tip exclaimed. “Tomorrow I will walk to the pond and get a stone for myself.”
Surprisingly, Mrs Magpie laughed again, in a kind way, as though to a silly child. “Tip, why would you venture so far for such a silly trinket?” she asked.
“I would like a beautiful stone like that one,” he said, resolutely. “Goodnight, Mrs Magpie!” and he hurried inside to pack his things for his journey. He packed a map and some food into a bag and went to sleep.
The next day, Tip climbed all the way down the trunk to the bottom of the tree. He set out across the grass, which was taller than he was, motivated by the thought of his perfect star stone waiting at the bottom of the pond. When he returned with something so special, all the other creatures would smile and cheer, and agree he had a stone as wonderful as any. But, suddenly, a little way from the tree, Tip heard a strange noise. Sniff sniff, sob sob. Confused, he began to call out. “Hello? Is somebody there? Do you need help?”
“Hello?” came a small, shy reply. Tip followed the voice to a small bush, where two yellow eyes peeped out at him. “Who are you?”
“I’m Tip, who are you?”
“Amber,” she responded.
“Why are you crying, Amber? Are you hurt?”
She shook her head and gave another quick sniff. “I’m lost. I’ve been going around in circles for days and days, and I don’t know what to do.” The poor creature looked scared and lonely, and Tip thought she must miss her home very much.
“You can have my map!” he said, pulling the paper from his bag. “If you follow the route on this map, you’ll get back home in no time!” and without another thought, he handed the map to Amber. She beamed at him, taking it in her tiny fist.
“Oh thank-you!” she said. “Now I can go home!” And she hugged him quickly and started off for her home.
Tip continued towards the pond, but after just a few more minutes of walking, he heard a strange noise nearby. “Grrrrooorrrrrrggghhh” it went, and again, “Grrrrrooooorrrrggghhhh” So, curious, Tip followed the sound to a rock. Sitting against the rock was an elderly creature, clutching his belly, which rumbled loudly. “Hello,” said Tip. “Are you alright?”
“Oh! Hello!” the old man, replied. “No, no I don’t think I’m alright. I wondered too far and ran out of food, and now all I can do is lay around, too hungry to move.”
“Oh no!” Tip cried. The poor old man must be in pain having not eaten for so long. Tip dug his hand into his bag and pulled out the bread and jam he had packed for his journey. With a smile, he held it out to the hungry man. Instantly, his eyes brightened just looking at the offering; he quickly snatched it up and devoured it. Tip smiled. Suddenly, the rumbling of the old man’s belly stopped and he got to his feet.
“I can stand!” he exclaimed. “Oh, thank you, thank you! I should go home!” And he was off, using his new energy to get himself home.
And little Tip continued on, getting closer and closer to the pond, and to his dream of owning a stone. At last he would be special. What colour would it be and what shape? He remembered the stone Mrs Magpie had and smiled to himself. If his stone was half as enchanting he would never be unhappy again.
Suddenly, for the third time that day, Tip heard an unusual sound. “thud thud thud, huff!” it went, and a minute later, “thud thud thud, huff!”. Tip scurried over to find out what the problem was. Someone was rustling through the grasses, pushing between the blades. Every few seconds they would stop and then begin again. “Hello?” called Tip. “Do you need some help?”
“Thud, thud, thud, huff!”
Tip pushed through the grass until he found the source of the disturbance. A woman plodded along, her arms heavy with large berries. As she stumbled forward, her face hidden by the round delights, she lost her balance and the berries fell to the ground. Thud, thud, thud. Frustrated, the woman gave an audible huff. She noticed Tip and placed her hands on her hips. “I have to get these berries home!” she said, “my children will want their tea, but every time I walk, I drop them.” Tip felt for the poor woman and her children waiting for their dinner. If she only had something to carry the berries, she would get back to them in not time. Then, Tip remembered he had given away his map, and his food and now his bag was empty. He promptly offered the empty satchel to the woman, opening the top to allow her to place her goods inside. She gratefully unloaded her arms, moving them around to ease the stiffness in her muscles. “Thank-you!” she said. “Now I can carry these with no problem!” She secured the bag over her shoulder, and bid Tip farewell, walking with ease away through the grass.
Finally, as the sun began to set, Tip reached the pond. He was hungry and tired, but could only smile at the sight of it. Sadly, he could see no stones twinkling at the bottom, only his own reflection on the surface of the calm water. As the light faded, Tip rested his feet and peered down into the pond, and surely, as the sunlight dimmed and finally gave way to night, glimmering spots appeared in the water. Tip’s eyes grew wide as he watched more and more stones shimmer beneath the waterline, hundreds of them. Which one should he choose? Tip removed his shoes and waded into the water. The pond was cool, and rippled with his movements. He dived down and reached for a stone, now so near. The cool, slippery surface of the stone found him even in the darkness; he closed his hand and pulled it up with him.
At least he had it. A stone his own. He swam back to the land, excited to see what it looked like, to see it shine as he remembered, but it did not. The stone was black and dull, with no twinkle at all, and it was a lump of bumps and dimples. When he tried again, he emerged with a similar stone. No matter how many times he tried, he couldn’t find a beautiful stone, not one that shined like those on the back’s of his fellow creatures. Dejected, he sat alone watching the water fall still again, realizing the sparkling was simply a reflection of the night sky. And the stars were simply too far to reach.
Tip fell asleep on the bank of the pond and was woken the next morning by Mrs Magpie. Sadly, Tip had been fooled by the moonlight on the stone she had found, and had been tricked by the laughing stars. “I don’t understand why you wanted one anyway,” Mrs Magpie asked. “When you have that pretty one right in your back!”
“What? But I have no stone!” Tip replied.
“Yes you do!” Mrs Magpie, insisted. “I thought, when I saw it, it was the most beautiful jewel I had ever seen.”
Tip rushed to the water, and turned his back to see his reflection in the dawn sun. Sure enough, right there on little Tip’s back was a shimmering stone, as lovely as any he had seen. “It’s true!” he cried, happily. “A stone my very own, right here on my back, but I couldn’t see it!”
“That’s because it’s on your back,” laughed Mrs Magpie. “It makes it easy for others to see, but not you.”
“It’s green!” Tip continued. “It’s green and it looks like a watering can!”
“I think they call you Tip,” said Mrs Magpie, “not because you live at the tip-top of the tree, but because you tip up your kindness onto others.”
And Tip remembered all the people he helped at home and on his journey, and he was proud of his stone which was as lovely as everyone else’s.