Funny Stories for Children

News: Read my latest story in The Curioseum (Te Papa Press)

1. Fairy Tale Madness

[How many Grimm’s Fairy Tales can you find?]

Once upon a breakfast time …
“ Little pig! Little pig!” shouted Cindy. “I’m telling father.”
“I was just kidding around, Cinders,” said her brother, Hansel. But it was too late, she’d rushed upstairs to their father.
Hansel couldn’t understand Cindy – all he’d done was pour a glass of milk into her slipper. Now he could hear his father, Mr Wolf, huffing and puffing his way downstairs. Hansel felt as if this was the last straw; he couldn’t stick it any longer in this brick house. He always got growled at, so he decided to run away.
But first, Hansel crept into the kitchen to find food.  Plates of porridge sat on the table and a loaf of white bread. He stole a spoonful of porridge. Yuk!  Father always made it too hot or too cold – never just right. He shoved a piece of bread into his pocket.

Out of the cottage and along Princess St he ran. Hansel caught a pumpkin-coloured tourist coach to Port Charming where his Granny lived. Hansel hopped off at the docks. He walked along the wharves looking for her houseboat, munching on the crumby bread.
Finally, at wharf number seven he saw Granny’s houseboat. His grandmother was leaning over the side, painting a name on the front of the house boat. It read ‘gIngerbread shIp.’  It was strange she’d put a capital I in each word.
“Hello, Granny,” said Hansel. “What big I’s you have.”
“All the better to go to sea with,” said Granny. “If I ever finish painting.”
“I’ll help you,” he said.
“Bless you, sweetie,” Granny said. “Now I must go to the market and buy a new mirror for my wall, at the fairest price of all.”
She gave Hansel a tin of sky blue paint, and off she went. Hansel worked all day painting the houseboat.  He huffed and he puffed and he blued the boat up and down.
Hansel had just finished when he heard a rumbling sound. He was surprised to see a huge tin of beans rolling along towards him. He jumped onto the wharf and grabbed the tin before it fell into the sea. The label read, “Jack’s Baked Beans.”
Suddenly someone grabbed his arm.
“Stealing my dinner, eh.” said a giant voice. “Hand it over, small fry.”
Hansel looked up into a tall man’s angry face. He had black whiskers on his chin.
“I’m no thief,” Hansel said. “Who are you, anyway?”
“Russell Stiltskin is my name. Don’t move while I call the police.” He fiddled with his mobile phone. “Rats, there’s no reception. Wi-Fi-Fo-Fum!”
Hansel tried to pull away. “Let me go!”
‘No, no” said Stiltskin.
So Hansel pulled the hairs on his chinny-chin.
“Not my beard, you little goat,” said Stiltskin, in a gruff voice.
Hansel broke free and dived off the wharf into the water. He kicked like a frog and he hid beside a yacht.
He heard a trip-trap, trip-trap sound on the bridge of the boat. Then a loud thump and a voice cried out, “Hansel?”
It was mother! Hansel climbed back up onto the wharf and there was his mother standing over Stiltskin who was covered in baked beans.
His mother hugged him. “I was so worried when I woke from my beauty sleep and saw you’d gone.”
Stiltskin groaned. “Ouch, my head’s a spinning wheel.”
“Well, well, the beans talk,” Hansel said. “But how did you find me, mother?”
“Simple,” she said, letting down her hair. “I followed the bread crumbs. They looked snow white on the seven wharves.”
Now everyone groaned.

And happily, they all lived.

2. Stumpy

“Morning tea’s ready,” called Grandad.                                 

Zoey ran into the kitchen. “Yeeeoooow!” she screamed. Blood welled up beneath her finger nail. She had jammed her finger in the door.

“Grandad, quick!” yelled Zoey. She was visiting her grandfather.

“Give us a look,” said Grandad. “Not much damage — just a cut. We’ll pop a plaster on that.”

Zoey was barely holding back the sobs.

“I lost the tip of my finger when I was about your age,” said Grandad. He held up a stumpy little finger. “I’ll tell you how it happened.”

Zoey had always felt too shy to ask about the finger. She couldn’t help staring at it when Grandad was eating. At last the mystery would be solved.

“It was a morning like this,” said Grandad, “about 1930-something. My mother was doing the Christmas ham. We were the first family in our street to get a fancy meat slicing machine. Vicious-looking things. You fed the chunk of meat past this big round blade while turning the handle. It sliced wafer thin pieces of ham — you could see through them. Anyway, I was in the habit of picking at the food while Mum was cooking dinner. She was always whacking my fingers and telling me to…”

“I can guess how you lost your finger tip,” said Zoey.

“Not so fast,” said Grandad. It’s too early in the story. I shall continue”

“Just then a nice fatty wedge of ham fell onto the lino floor. I ducked onto the floor and was about to gobble it when Bob came into the kitchen. Bob lived next door. Very friendly fellow. He worked for the police, catching burglars and whatnot, but he never got paid. How do you figure that Zoey? But I’m getting away from the story. I was about to grab this meat, when Bob makes a grab for it and wolfs it down — chomp. That was a close shave.

‘Away home, Bob,’ said my Mum giving him a friendly scratch behind the ears. I should add at this stage that Bob was the local police constable’s dog. ‘And you too. Go and help your father.’

Mum shooed me out of the kitchen and I went to watch Dad doing the laundry. In those days we had these diabolical devices on top of our washing machines — called wringers. They were two evil rubber rollers that turned inwards, sucking the wet clothes through and squishing out the water. ‘Can I help Dad?’ I reached out and pulled at a flattened hanky as it oozed out from the rollers.”

“Now I know how you squashed your finger,” said Zoey.

“Not the rollers, “ said Grandad. “Keep listening for clues.”

“Anyway, my father smacked my fingers (it was a wonder I had any fingers left the way they whacked me). He warned me about the dangers of modern machines, gave me a penny and told me to go down to the shop, buy a bag of lollies and watch the trains. Now my father didn’t know that was a much more dangerous idea to plant in my brain. I’d watched my older brothers putting pennies on the track and watching the trains squash them. I took a shortcut across the paddock and hopped over the fence to the railway line. I quickly balanced the coin on the steel track and retreated behind the fence. I could hear the train coming, but when I looked back at the penny, it had fallen off the rail —”

“I know, I know,” said Zoey, “the train wheels sliced your fingertip off.”

“Sorry, Zoey, you’re not even on the right track.”

“I figured it was more than my life was worth to put that penny back on the rail. After the train had gone through,  I retrieved it and went to the shops. I bought a gobstopper and an apple for Teacher. I walked back past the paddock. Teacher was having a lying in the sun, flicking pesky flies off his backside. I held out the apple and quick as custard, Teacher was up and trotting towards the fence. He opened his mouth and chomped down on my hand with whopping great teeth —”

Zoey said, “I’m probably way off again, but did Teacher eat your finger tip?”

“Wrong guess again,” said Grandad, “I’ll give you a tip-off when we are close to the main event.”

“Teacher would have bitten my finger off,” said Grandad, “but I held my hand out flat — always remember that with horses. So I wandered home sucking on my gobstopper and wondering what exactly was inside it. They were huge lollies that would just fit inside your mouth — one false swallow and you could block your windpipe. My mate Trev reckoned that if you cut through the middle it looked like the solar system. So when I got home I went out to the wood shed and found Dad’s hatchet. I put the gobstopper on the chopping block and tried to slice it in half. But the dashed thing kept rolling off. I steadied it with my little finger — figuring this was the smallest part of my hand, so I was less likely to hit it —”

“And that’s when you chopped it off,” said Zoey.

“I would have” said Grandad, “if my mother hadn’t yelled out, ‘Morning tea’s ready!’ I ran into the kitchen and slammed the door shut behind me. Trouble is I forgot to take my finger out. No micro-surgery in those days. The rest is history.”

 

3. First Dance

Imagine having to dance in front of an audience when you’ve never danced before in your entire life. Sound pretty bad? Because it gets worse. There are hundreds in the audience watching your every step – and if you make a mistake, they will be very annoyed.  I had to do just such a dance. Here’s how it happened.

It was my first day on the job as a Scout and I was determined to prove myself by going somewhere  exciting – the forest. My Sisters didn’t often go there. The forest was wild and everyone said there were predators there – hairy spiders and savage birds. I gathered my courage and dodged in among the trees.

I’d just crossed a stream and was heading into the setting sun. It must have blinded me  because I went smacking into a curtain of water. A waterfall. I spluttered and then I saw it – towering above was the most massive tree I’d ever seen. It was dripping in white star flowers and the smell was amazing. I couldn’t wait to tell my Sisters , so I headed home, taking a note of landmarks on the way.

It was just on dark when I got home and one of the Guards at the front door gave me quite a telling-off. She went on and on about getting lost after sundown and the danger of wasp attacks.  I tried to explain to her what I’d found, but she told me to save it for the morning meeting.

Problem was, I didn’t want to make a mess of this in front of my sisters. I’d never danced before, and I had always been the clumsy one. They’d even nicknamed me ‘Stumble-Bum’. I was always bashing into tree branches, or tripping over the Builder’s feet. But I thought about the delicious scent of that tree and knew that I had to try.

That night I hardly slept, going over the exact steps in my head. You see, this was a special dance. It had to tell the story of a journey – my journey to the white tree. It would have to show the landmarks, the direction I’d taken, how far away it was, and warn of any hazards on the way.

Morning came and I headed for the dance floor. The Harvesters were waiting, tongues hanging out. They’d be watching every tiny movement in my dance — it would tell them where to go to get food for the day.

I made sure I was first up on the floor. I didn’t want to wait for my nerves to get in a knot. Then I started the dance with all the energy I could find inside myself. My feet drummed softly first then louder and louder. I moved my body in figure of eight turns, sometimes even weaving in and out of the audience. Then I waggled my backside and that got a laugh. My dance showed them the rock wall, the river, the sudden waterfall and finally the huge tree.

I overheard someone say that I was dancing so hard I might melt the wax on the dance floor! But I didn’t make a single mistake. At the end of the dance, I raised my front legs and buzzed my wings. The audience cheered and gathered around, touching my face with their antennae, absorbing the smell of the white flowers.

After that, the Harvester bees flew off to find the tree. When they returned that evening, everyone agreed it was the sweetest nectar in the whole forest. We feasted the all that long, long winter on the honey that the Chef’s made from those fabulous white flowers.

And I have a new nickname, but I don’t mind anymore.

I’m now called Sweet-Feet.
All stories © 2014 by Raymond Huber

Thank you to Philip Webb for his great bee cartoon.