In addition to his love of images John has a
love of words. He loves to read and, on occasion, has been known to write a few words himself.
For many years he has enjoyed writing simple fables. Here is one of them.
fable not enough? Read The Spelling Bee or The See World Whale
The Centipede Who Went to School
by John Pearson
Once there was a velvety black centipede who had been walking
effortlessly and gracefully for years. Occasionally in early morning when birds were chirping
and it was an unusually beautiful day, he even danced on all hundred legs with a natural sense
But his mother thought he did not walk fast enough and
wanted him to learn to run. So one day she sent him to school. His classmates were tortoises,
hares, butterflies, lizards, frogs, and two other centipedes. The teacher, an eld erly
flamingo, constantly boasted about how she could stand on one leg. One day she summoned her
heterogeneous class of creatures together and read them long chapters from anatomy books about
how different animals walk, using as her model of course, the flamingo.
In a few days the class went on a field trip to the zoo where they
watched flamingos alternately walking and standing on one leg for hours. Then they returned to
class and saw movies about how storks, egrets, and herons walk, because the teacher was
broadminded and didn't want to give the impression that flamingos were the only creatures that
After a few weeks of school the teacher noticed that the
centipede wasn't wearing any shoes. So he was given a pass and sent to the store room. He
returned with a hundred tiny shoes which took him the rest of the day to put on. The flamingo
stood over him on one leg glaring and prating about how you have to learn to walk before you
learn to run.
The next day the centipede's feet were sore, and he had
begun to think about all the different ways of walking, and he became confused and was moving
slower and slower. His way of walking which had been so spontaneous didn't feel right anymore ,
and he began to worry about whether he was doing it wrong. He couldn't decide whether to put
his left fifty feet first or his right fifty feet first, which made him move a hundred times
By the time he was to graduate he couldn't walk at all. But
he could talk fluently about walking and so received his degree. His parents never understood
why , for no apparent reason, he would stare into space, and with a kind of reflex action lift
ninety nine feet off the ground and stand for several seconds on one middle leg.
Fable is copyright © John Pearson
Please respect that copyright.
One fable not enough? Read The
Spelling Bee or The See World Whale