Request for Question Clarification by
26 Oct 2006 16:47 PDT
I think you may be remembering the story "Silly Will," by Lucy Sprague Mitchell.
"Silly Will. This story was about a young boy, Will, who did not
appreciate some of the necessities of life - food, shelter, and
clothing - and then experienced these necessities disappearing from
his life in what could only be called a progressive nightmare. The
image of this ungrateful child - suddenly out in the cold, hungry,
vulnerable, and totally bereft (before he 'woke up') - has stayed with
me throughout my life."
"I am looking for an anthology of fairy tales or 'cautionary' tales
for young children which has a chapter about a boy who learns, the
hard way, not top mistreat animals. In a very scary sequence, each
anuimal he has abused or taken for granted visits him during the night
and reclaims the product its species gave him. The sheep says 'I take
back my wool!' The boy's woolen clothing disappears. The goose says 'I
take back my feathers!' Down pillows and bed linens vanish. Finally
the boy finds himself outdoors - -cold, terrified half-naked and
alone, but appreciating animals for the first time in his life...
The story you are describing is called 'Silly Will', by Lucy Sprague
Mitchell. This story appears in The Golden Book of Nursery Tales (A
Big Golden Book)(c) 1948. In addition to the sheep taking back his
wool, and the goose taking back his feathers, the trees also take back
their wood, the cow takes back its hide (leather), etc. Illustrated w/
numerous small b&w pencil or charcoal sketches, plus one full-page
color picture of Will standing naked & shivering in front of what is
left of his house, at night, w/ the trees & animals in the background,
looks sorta like they are laughing at him."
What do you think? If this is the right story, I'll be glad to tell
you where you can purchase a used book that contains "Silly Will."