Given that it's the second week of the school holidays in my neck of the woods, this post is for the kids. It's a frivolous twist on one of my favourite childhood fairytales, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks was such a gutsy gal, marching right on in to those scary bear's cottage and making herself at home. I longed to have hair like her and to be so bold. She was my perfect heroine.
(I wrote this text as a picture book. The Big Family are fox terriers.)
The Four Little Bigs & The Surprise Visitor
Once upon a time there was a family called, The Bigs.
There was Mummy Big.
And Baby Big.
They all lived happily in Big Cottage. Until one day there was a knock at the door.
‘Ratty tat tat.’
‘I’ll get it,’ said Daddy Big. Mummy Big was busy making a big pot of hazelnut porridge.
‘Ratty tat tat,’ went the door again.
‘Hold your squirrels?’ said Daddy Big.
But when he opened the door, no one was there.
‘Strange?’ said Daddy Big.
‘Porridge?’ said Mummy Big.
So Daddy Big, Mummy Big, Toddler Big and Baby Big sat down to breakfast.
‘Ow!’ said Toddler Big. ‘My orr-idge oo ot.’
‘Wa me oo!’ cried Baby Big.
Let’s go into the orchard to check our rat traps and gather some more hazelnuts,’ said Mummy Big. ‘While our porridge cools down.’
A silly mistake that had been made before.
Daddy Big, Mummy Big, Toddler Big and Baby Big all put on their little coats and their little boots and trotted into the orchard.
While they were out, that rat you saw banging a nut on the front door earlier crept into the house. Miss Ratty, made herself quite at home.
First of all, she ran upstairs and tried on Toddler Big’s dress-up tutus. But they were way too big and scratchy.
Next, she tried Mummy Big’s lipstick. It was awfully bright pink and sticky.
Then, she tried Daddy Big’s hair gel and terrier-ized her hair.
Finally, she found Baby Big’s brand new onesie. ‘Ah perfeck,’ she sighed to herself. 'Well mostly.'
By then Miss Ratty was STARVING. So she slid down the bannister and tested each bowl of porridge.
‘Ew, this porridge has no brown sugary sprinkles on top.’
‘Arghhh, this porridge is too glue-ey and gloopy.’
‘Oi, this porridge has too much milky.’
‘Mmmm, what’s in this porridge? A dollop of gooseberry jam swimming in a pool of thick creamy cream. Yummykins! I’m going to eat it ALL up.’
Just then Daddy Big grabbed Miss Ratty by her tail.
‘Oh no you won’t you little vermin. I think I’ll eat YOU up. On toast, after my porridge. Mouse traps anyone? Ha ha ha,’ boomed Daddy Big.
‘I’m a rat actually,’ squeaked Miss Ratty.
‘SO? You must have been the cheeky thing knocking on our door this morning. I don’t like practical jokes,’ shouted Daddy Big. ‘Or pesky rats.’
‘Nice rat Daddy. Nice pet Daddy?’ said Toddler Big. ‘Pease Daddy. Rat fink. My fink.’
As Daddy Big turned around to answer Toddler Big, Miss Ratty’s tail slipped from his claws.
Miss Ratty wasn’t sure what would be worse, being Toddler Big’s pet or Daddy Big’s mouse-trap. So she ran as fast as she could out the front door, through the nut orchard and into the woods. Getting Baby Big’s onesie really grubby on the way.
But as she was never going to be seen again, that didn’t really matter.
She wasn't going to try and sneak back and eat that delicious nutty porridge just one more time. The porridge with the creamy jammy fruity bits that she’d fallen in love with.
However, there are always two sides to every tail. A hairy one and a smooth one in this case.
And Toddler Big may have still been a small Big, but she was the cleverest Big of all. And when she wanted something, she made sure she got it.
Right at the back of the garden, Toddler Big made a lovely cosy nest of nutshells for Miss Ratty behind the compost bin. Then every day she delivered Baby Big’s leftover creamy jammy fruity porridge.
And eventually, after a time, Miss Ratty and Toddler Big became best of friends.
Together they set OFF the rat traps, played dress ups and invented new ways to crack hazelnuts and make Nutella. Keeping well out of Mummy Bigs and Daddy Bigs’ hair, all summer long.
And thankfully to this day, Miss Ratty has never had to steal porridge again.
(picture book text by Jane Bloomfield, 664 words)
For some REAL classic kiwi fairy tales you should check out Peter Millet Books.