Friday, April 25, 2008

The Story of Ticklin

When I was a little girl visiting my Grandma M, I begged for her to tell me this story. As far as I can recollect, she told it to me every time I asked (and I asked repeatedly.)

Why did I love this story so much? It’s hard to say. Can you imagine a story like this being sold in book form down at Barnes and Noble? Would it be banned? What would Oprah have to say about it? (She would make it into a movie, no doubt!)

I would tell this story to my kids in order to preserve it and my memory of Grandma M telling it, but if anyone heard me they’d probably call Child Protective Services.

Are kids today too sensitive for this kind of story, or am I just not giving them enough credit?

There once was a little girl named Ticklin who lived with her father and stepmother in a little house by a big river. Ticklin’s father was very kind, but hardly ever home. Ticklin’s mother was cruel and frightening and always home. She made Ticklin work day and night doing all the household chores.

One day, after Ticklin had just cleaned the kitchen floor, she was carrying two large buckets of water through the kitchen so she could empty them out the back door. The heavy buckets were full of water right up to the very top. Ticklin was careful not to spill the water, but just before she reached the back door, one, tiny drop spilled out of the bucket on to the clean kitchen floor.

Ticklin’s stepmother was enraged. She grabbed Ticklin, threw her into a big burlap bag, tied it up and went to get a stick to beat her with.

But, Ticklin was a clever little girl. She always carried a little pair of scissors and needle and thread in her apron pocket. So, she cut a little hole in the sack, climbed out, filled the sack with all of her stepmother’s prized china, and sewed the hole shut and ran to hide.

When Ticklin’s stepmother came back with the stick, she started hitting the bag over and over as hard as she could. She heard the sound of her dishes breaking and thought it was Ticklin’s bones breaking, so she hit even harder.

When she finally opened the bag and looked inside she saw all her best china, broken to tiny bits. She was so angry she ran and found Ticklin where she was hiding. She put her into another bag, tied it closed and went to find another stick to beat her with.

Again, Ticklin cut a hole in the bag and crawled out. This time she got her stepmother’s prize winning geese and put them in the bag instead. Ticklin ran down to the river and saw a kind man with a boat who rowed her to the other side.

When Ticklin’s stepmother returned and started hitting the bag she heard her geese honking and wailing. She thought it was Ticklin crying out and hit the bag even harder. When she opened the bag and saw her geese, dead as doornails, she was furious and ran to find Ticklin.

She came down to the river and saw Ticklin standing on the other side. So, in her sweetest voice she called out, “Ticklin, how’d you get across the river?”

Ticklin replied in her sweetest voice, “I put my right foot in my left ear, and my left foot in my right ear, and I JUMPED!”

So, the stepmother put her right foot in her left ear, and her left foot in her right ear, and jumped. And she sank to the bottom of the river and drowned and was never seen again.

The End


Catherine said...

This story is so messed up.

I absolutely love this story although I have a hard time telling it to my kids. It really was my favorite story in the world when I was a kid.

Anna said...

we all listened to this story and i think we turned out ok. i totally forgot about it. I asked Grandma about it once and she said her grandmother, the one from Denmark, used to tell it to her.

Afton said...

I loved the sing-songy voice grandma used when she said, "Ticklin, how'd you get across the river?"

I don't think Hansel and Grettel is any worse. Child abandonment and cannibalism? In both instances the children prevail, which is what I focused on rather than the potential for horrible abuse and the fear that must accompany living in that kind of environment.

Betty Grace said...

I liked that story as a kid too, although i'd forgotton about it. What is the moral to the story? There seemed to be a lot of these stories around. My grandma used to tell us the story of Little One Eye, Two Eye and Three Eye. I only remember the title. I'll have to find the story somewhere.

Gwen said...

I remember Grandma telling me that story when I was little too! I think we even have family video where Grandma is telling this story to Catherine, Claire, and Anna when they were little.