Bedtime Stories

Paradise

Paradise Story

Tom and Lucy lived on a farm, but they did not have much. They had an old plow. They had an old tractor. They had an old hen named Madge. The name of their farm was Paradise.

“It sure doesn’t feel like paradise,” Tom always said.

Tom could not plow, plant, and pick the corn by himself. Lucy tried to plow, but the plow got stuck. She tried to plant, but the seeds blew away. She tried to pick the corn, but she pulled too hard. More corn needed to be planted. But they had no money to buy more seed.

“We’ll have to sell Madge,” Tom said.

Lucy set off down the road with Madge under her arm.

Lucy walked and walked. Madge cackled and squawked. They reached the bird farm.Madge fluttered from Lucy’s arms and flapped across the barnyard. Lucy ran after her.

Madge flapped through a puddle. Lucy fell in the puddle. Mud splashed all over her.

Madge flapped through the goose pen. Lucy slid through the goose pen. Geese honked at her.

Madge flapped through the duck pen. Lucy skidded through the duck pen. Ducks quacked at her.

Madge flapped through the turkey pen. She fluttered through the chicken pen. She flew through the peacock pen. Lucy tripped on a turkey. She flipped over a chicken. She landed beside a peacock.

Madge flapped out of the barnyard and down the road toward Paradise. Lucy picked herself up and ran after her.

Back at the farm, Tom heard Madge squawk.

He looked up to see Madge running down the road.

A strange creature was running after Madge.The strange creature was as big as a person. It had goose feathers on its head. It had duck feathers on its arms. It had turkey feathers on its belly. It had chicken feathers on its back. Trailing behind it were lovely peacock feathers.

The strange creature ran toward Tom. It looked up at him on the tractor. It opened its mouth to speak.

“I didn’t sell Madge,” it said. “I didn’t get the corn seed. But look at all the lovely feathers I brought back.”

“Lucy? Is that you?” Tom asked.

“Yes, it is. We had a little accident at the bird farm,” she said. “I don’t think Madge wants to be sold.”

“Well, I’ll sell her,” Tom said, and set off down the road with Madge under his arm.

Tom walked and walked. Madge cackled and squawked. They came upon a house. A woman was standing in the yard. She raised a cup over her head and counted to ten. “Full!” she said. She slapped her hand over the top of the cup. She ran inside the house.”Oh, no!” Tom heard the woman cry. “Not again!”

She came back outside with the cup. She looked sad.

“Howdy,” Tom said. “My name is Tom. I live down the road at a place called Paradise. Do you need help?”

“I’m trying to take sunshine into my kitchen,” the woman said. “Sunshine flows into the cup when I stand outside. I put my hand over the cup and then I run inside.”

“But when you lift your hand,” Tom said, “the sunshine is always gone.”

“Yes,” the woman said. “I would give you one hundred dollars to bring sunshine into my house.”

“You want sunshine inside your house?” Tom asked. He picked up an ax. He chopped a hole in her wall.

“Now you have a window,” he said.

“I wanted to make a window,” the woman said. “I was afraid it would be too much work. Thank you!”

She handed Tom one hundred dollars.

Tom put the money in his pocket. He set off down the road carrying Madge under his arm.They came upon another house. A man struggled to put on a shirt. His arms were through the sleeves, but his head was stuck. There was no hole for his head.

“Howdy,” Tom said. “My name is Tom. I live down the road at a place called Paradise. Do you need help?”

“Yes, I do,” the man said. “I want to wear this shirt. But I can’t get it over my head. I would give two hundred dollars to wear this shirt.”

“You want to wear this shirt?” Tom asked. He asked the man for a pair of scissors. He snipped a hole in the top.

“Now you have a neck hole,” Tom said.

“I wanted to make a neck hole,” the man said. “I was afraid it would be too much work. Thank you!”

He handed Tom two hundred dollars.

Tom put the money in his pocket. He set off down the road carrying Madge under his arm.

They came upon another house. A woman was crying into a handkerchief.”Howdy,” Tom said. “My name is Tom. I live down the road at a place called Paradise. Do you need help?”

“You’re from Paradise?” the woman asked.

“Yes, I am,” Tom said.

“You are just the man I wanted to see,” the woman said. “I’d give three hundred dollars for a new suit.”

“A new suit?” Tom asked. “Go to town and buy one.”

“It’s not that simple,” she said. “My husband died and we buried him in his work clothes. I wanted him to have a nice suit, but I was afraid it would be too much work.

But I don’t want him wearing work clothes in Paradise. You’re from Paradise. Could you give him this money to buy a new suit?”

The woman handed Tom three hundred dollars.

Tom put the money in his pocket. He set off down the road carrying Madge under his arm.”Those people were all alike,” he thought. “They were all silly. They were all afraid of work. Now I have enough money for corn seed, and enough to live on for years. I don’t even have to sell Madge!”

Tom arrived home with money in his pocket, a chicken, and a wife he loved. This was Paradise!

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