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Tales from the Stuffed Fabulist
(all)

The "moral" or "lesson" of each tale is left to the reader to decide.

Scroll through the opening lines and select highlighted text to read a tale in full.
A PDF version can then be downloaded from a link on that page.
If necessary, Adobe Acrobat Reader is available free from www.adobe.com


A

Once the good citizens of Delphi decided they'd had enough of Aesop.
Once an amoeba visited a psychotherapist.
Once the Angel of Death gave the champagne service a pass.
Once an ant and a grasshopper crossed paths after being out of touch for years.
Once it was claimed God had taken sides in a war between ant colonies.
Once an ape answered the casting call for a Hollywood blockbuster.
Once Attila the Hun applied for a government position.

B

Once a badger suffered from irritable brain syndrome.
Once a bald eagle found itself turned into a parade blimp.
Once a barnacle weighed the moral pros and cons of letting go.
Once a bear attracted quite a following in faith-based wrestling.
Once a beast-within spent a great deal of time licking its wounds.
Once some beavers got together to build a dam.
Once a bedbug thought it had "found God."
Once a Big Lie considered demanding equal time.
Once a bird of paradise answered a personal ad in a highbrow singles magazine.
Once a bloodhound suddenly lost its sense of smell.
Once a boa constrictor made no excuses for being enamored with itself.
Once a booby and a loon hosted a Talk Radio show.
Once a bubble took itself very seriously.
Once two troops of lowland buffoons squared off on a patch of ground where the Halls of Congress now stand.
Once a bug threw itself at a car's windshield with brio.
Once a bull opened a china shop.
Once a bullfrog was looked to by many who sought a spiritual master.
Once a butterfly fell in love with a moth.
Once a buzzard appeared as a guest host on a prime-time "felony whodunit" show.

C

Once a cactus went for the record in lifetime achievements by a succulent.
Once canaries were prohibited from dying in mines by executive order.
Once a cantipede was hired as the press secretary for a high-profile politician.
Once a cat read the obituary for its just-ended eighth life.
Once a caterpillar reached the edge of a leaf and paused to consider what might lie ahead.
Once a chameleon found it could change the color of anything it touched.
Once Charon the boatman decided to turn the money down.
Once a chicken and an egg nearly came to blows over which of them should go first.
Once a brood of little chickies fell in love with the sound of their own voices.
Once a Chimera had a difficult time filling out the compatibility profile for an online matchmaking service.
Once a chipmunk looked down when it should have looked up.
Once Church and State hooked up at a singles bar.
Once a cicada emerged from seventeen years underground to find little had changed in its absence.
Once a civet cat worried about body odor.
Once a young clam aspired to being an oyster.
Once an inflatable clown wondered how many more times it could be punched to the floor and still bounce back.
Once a coelacanth assumed a leading role in the Culture Wars.
Once a corpse in a wildly popular "Bodies" exhibition had some things to say about the crowd milling around it.
Once cows went mad, certifiably mad.
Once crabs signed a contract of amorous intent.
Once a crane passed the examinations to become a diplomat.
Once a well-feathered crony grew so fat its perch threatened to give way.
Once an octogenarian hesitated over the last entry in a crossword puzzle.
Once a crow sat on a branch and contemplated the condition of man.
Once the crows of Wall Street asked themselves, "Why not have it all?"
Once a pair of cuckoos devoted a great deal of thought to their parenting skills.

D

Once old Dobbin the workhorse mulled the vicissitudes of life.
Once it was thought the dodo had died out.
Once a Doppelgänger wondered what life would be like if . . .
Once a dormouse dreamed of winning the lottery.
Once dots complained about all the attempts made to connect them.
Once an ophthalmologist had some good news and some bad news for a dragonfly.
Once drones lawyered up by the thousands.
Once a dung beetle had intimations of immortality.

E

Once an elephant was conflicted about remembering.
Once an ephemera assumed it had all the time in the world.
Once an ersatz found itself in everyone's thoughts.
Once a rich man managed to squeeze through the eye of a needle, followed by another rich man, and another after that.

F

Once Faust sought to renegotiate the fine print.
Once fear went on holiday.
Once finches were all very different from each other.
Once a flock of flamingos resolved to make important social issues more chic.
Once a fox came up with a fail-proof entrepreneurial scheme.
Once a foxhound began to have second thoughts about chasing the fox.
Once a free spirit stubbed its toe.
Once a fruit fly became obsessed with genealogy.
Once an immense green fungus, Campaignaria greenbackae, spread across the land.

G

Once a garden stone wondered whether it should say something.
Once, determined to improve lackluster ratings, producers of a cable news-and-opinion program signed up two gargoyles.
Once the Department of Homeland Security felt compelled to raise the political-gasbag threat level to "IMMINENT."
Once a gazelle found itself in a state of suspended animation.
Once a gene fell victim to identity theft.
Once a gingerbread man became enamored of its own shape.
Once a glutton for life dreamed of swallowing it all.
Once a gnat was invited to join a political focus group.
Once an old goat nearly overdosed on ED pills.
Once an 800-pound gorilla wondered if it should go on a diet.
Once a groundhog was coaxed by handlers from its secure burrow to offer its wisdom to a waiting crowd.
Once a grub listened to its inner child.

H

Once a mass hallucination sensed the good times were coming to an end.
Once a hamster took an animal rights group to court.
Once a hare was driven by the need to win at all costs.
Once there was considerable uncertainty about the precise location of "Harm's Way."
Once a hawk had trouble maintaining eye contact.
Once Heracles awoke drenched in sweat.
Once a hog grew philosophical.
Once an elderly homing pigeon began to lose its sense of direction.
Once great flocks of hornswoggles swept out from their swamp, and the rest is history.
Once a horse leapt the fence and ran up and down the land.
Once a hummingbird worried about its personal space.
Once the Hydra noticed its heads were growing smaller and disappearing one after another.

I

Once Icarus went for a swim.
Once an immortal decided to call it quits.
Once a radioactive isotope couldn't wait to complete its first half-life.

J

Once jackals developed attitude.
Once it was proposed that jack-in-the-boxes be held accountable for their behavior.
Once a jellyfish got caught in the riptides of the mind.
Once Jonathan Swift auditioned for a stand-up comedy gig.

K

Once a killer smarm invaded an average home in an average neighborhood.
Once a knight, Death, and the Devil approached the edge of a Dürer engraving.

L

Once a lab rat had a pre-existing condition.
Once larks agreed to give up their free and happy ways.
Once laughter was the only thing that kept a person sane in this life.
Once a set of lawn gnomes seized control of a grand estate.
Once a leaf had a premonition of fall.
Once a leech almost bled to death.
Once a lemming went online to get a life.
Once a leopard declared it had changed its spots.
Once all the other members of the animal kingdom put a lion in a cage.
Once a movement was founded to support the claim that “the jury’s still out regarding life on this planet.”
Once a pride of lions gathered at an exclusive restaurant called "Top of the Food Chain."
Once a plague of locusts decided to stay put.
Once a lone wolf felt a yen for the company of strangers.

M

Once a mantis excelled at conducting grief-and-victim interviews.
Once a metronome hypnotized itself.
Once a migratory bird stopped by a local travel agency.
Once the milk of human kindness turned rancid.
Once a mink tried on a sable coat.
Once the Minotaur decided to take its labyrinth with it wherever it went.
Once reports came in that a misanthrope had been spotted on the outskirts of town.
Once a missing link chose to ignore the scientific evidence.
Once a molehill came to worry it might not reach its full potential.
Once a mole and an owl shared a soul.
Once a monitor lizard wielded considerable influence at a leading health maintenance organization.
Once a monkey took up the painting of horses.
Once a mosquito landed a job waiting tables.
Once a mouse was summoned for jury duty.
Once a mudskipper got bogged down.
Once a glob of mud reflected on its state.

N

Once Narcissus decided to step back from his spring.
Once the last Neanderthal looked out from the mouth of a cave, lost in thought.
Once Nero thought about making a comeback.
Once a newborn struggled with post-partum depression.
Once a nightcrawler was tracked down by the thought police.

O

Once an old dog decided there wasn't much point in learning new tricks.
Once Orpheus tried to understand exactly what happened.
Once an ostrich and an emu chanced to lay eyes on one another.

P

Once a pack rat resolved to make a little list.
Once the great god Pan rolled over and declared, "I ain't dead yet, folks."
Once a panda snapped open a fortune cookie and found the following message: "A change for the better which will be made against you."
Once a panther was well aware of the spell it cast over all who came to the zoo.
Once a parrot became a bird of renown by mimicking others.
Once Pavlov's dogs nearly died of acute dehydration.
Once a pawn tried to size up the chessboard.
Once a pelican was arrested for shoplifting.
Once a robot took its pet human for a walk in the park as usual.
Once a great nation adopted petrified wood as its symbol.
Once a phoenix considered having itself embalmed.
Once a pig had mixed feelings about the donation of a heart valve it was about to make to save an ailing human.
Once a pit bull refused to go for the throat of every other dog around.
Once a poodle took up ballroom dancing.
Once a porcupine went in for body piercing in a big way.
Once a possum came to realize how difficult it is to appear dim.
Once a potato thought it heard a voice.
Once a proboscis monkey paid a visit to a plastic surgeon.
Once Prometheus investigated the merits of canned heat.
Once it was widely believed prunes grew on trees.
Once a film crew set out to document the march of the pundits.
Once a pushmi-pullyu appeared as a guest on public television.

Q

Once it was proposed that the question mark be declared obsolete.

R

Once a ram butted its head against one stone wall too many.
Once a rattler stayed out in the sun too long.
Once a rhinoceros noticed it had a bruise.
Once a roadrunner feared it was running out of road.
Once a robot created an artificial human being.
Once a rooster overslept the coming of dawn.
Once a rubber chicken began to fret that it lacked sufficient gravitas.
Once the nation's rumor mills came very close to violating EPA guidelines.

S

Once a group of saber-toothed cats came upon a tar pit.
Once a sacred cow worried about its fan base.
Once a salmon broke the surface and kept right on going.
Once a sanctamander cut off its own tail.
Once a sardine was feeling kind of lonesome.
Once Sasquatch headed straight for the trees.
Once a satyr set himself up as a lifestyle coach.
Once the scapegoat was on the verge of being hunted to extinction.
Once schadenfreude didn't play the important social function it does now.
Once a scorpion experienced a moment of compassion.
Once a seal signed a multimillion-dollar contract to play with balls in public.
Once a selfie failed to recognize itself.
Once the Seven Deadly Sins formed a support group to buck up their spirits.
Once a shaggy dog spent every afternoon retracing the path it had taken since morning and collecting any tufts of its fur to be found on something it had brushed against.
Once a shark suffered from bleeding gums.
Once a sheep rented a wolf suit.
Once Sisyphus was arrested as a public nuisance.
Once the White House sent out a surfeit of skunks to investigate a big stink in the land.
Once a slug suffered from severe stress.
Once a noxious smug spread from sea to shining sea.
Once a snake tried to draw each of its discarded skins on again, all the way back to the first.
Once a snowflake was told it was unique.
Once the wisest judges in the land decided to cut Solomon in half.
Once the Sphinx grew weary of it all.
Once a spider set to creating its last web of the year.
Once Spirit and Flesh were directed to undergo relationship counseling.
Once a squid was assigned the task of inking out passages in top secret government documents scheduled for declassification.
Once a stem cell was asked to make a choice.
Once stray dogs terrorized an entire neighborhood.
Once a sunflower lost its bearings during a total eclipse.
Once a swan turned into an ugly duckling.
Once a flock of swifts hit a wall at high speed.
Once a slice of Swiss cheese had a thought.
Once herds of sycophants roamed the earth.

T

Once a tapeworm readied itself for the latest stop on its motivational speaking tour.
Once a termite applied for a grant to carry on with its work.
Once a very large think tank sprang a leak.
Once the expiration date on "time immemorial" came and went, but few noticed.
Once topiary animals took the garden shears to themselves.
Once a tortoise realized its time was drawing nigh.
Once a tree fell in the forest when nobody was there to hear the sound.
Once anthropologists discovered a primitive tribe whose leaders wore nothing but pieces of their children’s skin.
Once a trilobite had the distinct feeling it was being watched.
Once a pair of turtledoves wondered where they'd gone wrong.
Once a bevy of little twittering birds sat on a wire.

U

Once a unicorn lost its horn trying to make a career change.

V

Once vampire bats came out of their caves by the millions to discharge their civic duty.
Once a vegetable slipped into a persistent human state.
Once a vulgarian decided not to crawl up on dry land and stay there for good.
Once a vulture learned to feel good about itself.

W

Once a wacko fell right off the ceiling.
Once a sudden rise in sea level caught a pod of basking walruses off guard.
Once a warbler just couldn't get an annoying song out of its head.
Once a president's water-skippers fanned out across the shallows of political talk shows in support of their boss.
Once a weak ego signed up for the trial offer of a home gym.
Once a whale beached itself in a furniture showroom recliner.
Once a pack of wolves won a Department of Defense contract to howl at the moon.
Once a pair of wood ducks grew old together.
Once a woodpecker suffered from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Once a woolly mammoth sensed the world was growing warmer.
Once a work in progress said, "What's the big hurry?"
Once a worm came back from the grave.

X Y Z

Once a xenophobe showed up in the nation's blood supply.
Once the self-described “greatest yak in history” took a vow of silence.
Once a young zebra found itself in a herd of black horses and white horses.
Once the Zeitgeist felt a bit confused.


Copyright © 2004-2020 by Geoffrey Grosshans           Artwork by J. Savage