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Tales from the Stuffed Fabulist

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.
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Once an aardvark was set on writing a book.
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 the Apocalypse arrived, but about a half hour late.
Once an armadillo came across a tattered tabloid with the headline "Psychic Warns, World to End!!!"
Once Attila the Hun applied for a position in the administration.


Once large parts of the globe fell victim to flesh-eating bacteria.
Once a badger had a drug problem.
Once a bald eagle found itself turned into a gas-filled parade blimp.
Once a barnacle weighed the moral pros and cons of moving on.
Once a bear attracted quite a following in faith-based wrestling.
Once a beast-within spent a lot of time licking its wounds.
Once some beavers got together to build a dam.
Once a bedbug thought it had found God.
Once a Bigfoot headed straight for the trees.
Once a Big Lie considered demanding equal time.
Once a bird of paradise answered a personal ad in a highbrow singles magazine.
Once somebody failed to clean out the lint trap at the bottom of a black hole.
Once blind men undertook to fabricate an elephant out of a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan, and a rope.
Once a bloatosaurus was invited to advise the government on energy policy.
Once a bloodhound lost its sense of smell.
Once a boa constrictor made no excuses for being enamored of itself.
Once a bogeyman got rather winded.
Once a booby and a loon were hired to host a talk-radio show.
Once booklice ate their way right through a display copy of the Constitution.
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 windshield with gusto.
Once a bull opened a china shop.
Once a bullfrog was urged by many to become their guru.
Once the bumblebees of this world (Bombus republicanorum) were flying high.
Once a butterfly fell in love with a moth.
Once a flock of buzzards became the star attraction at a felony trial.


Once a cactus went for the record in achievements by a succulent.
Once a camel called its agent in a panic.
Once canaries were prohibited by Executive Order from dying.
Once a cantipede was hired as the press secretary for a leading political figure.
Once a cat read the obituary on its 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 cheetah outran its welcome.
Once a chicken and an egg nearly came to blows over which should go first.
Once a brood of little chickies fell in love with the sound of their own voices.
Once the Chimera had a difficult time filling out the compatibility profile of 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.
Once a civet cat worried about body odor.
Once a clam aspired to being an oyster.
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 before it.
Once a country mouse found itself the envy of a city mouse.
Once cows went mad, certifiably mad.
Once all the crabs signed a contract of amorous intent.
Once a crane passed the examinations to become a diplomat.
Once all creatures great and small demanded anonymity before speaking to the press.
Once a 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 worried about their parenting skills.
Once cut-out dolls took over a social networking site.


Once old Dobbin the workhorse considered the vicissitudes of life.
Once it was thought the dodo had died out.
Once a Doppelgänger wondered what it would be like if . . .
Once a dormouse dreamed of winning the lottery.
Once dots chafed at all the efforts 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.


Once an elephant longed to stop remembering.
Once it was suggested that runaway populations of entrepreneurs be culled.
Once an ephemera, the creature of a day, thought it had all the time in the world.
Once an ersatz found itself in everybody's thoughts.
Once the rich really did manage to squeeze through the eye of a needle.


Once a fatted calf suspected something might be up.
Once Faust sought to renegotiate the fine print.
Once fear went on holiday.
Once the finches were all very different from each other.
Once a fish found itself out of water.
Once the flamingos resolved to make important social issues more chic.
Once a fox came up with a fail-proof entrepreneurial strategy.
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.


Once, determined to improve lackluster ratings, a cable news and opinion show signed up two gargoyles.
Once the Department of Homeland Security was finally compelled to raise the 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 the whole world.
Once a gnat was invited to join a political focus group.
Once an old goat nearly overdosed on Viagra.
Once a goose declared it had a mission to accomplish.
Once an 800-pound gorilla wondered if it should go on a diet.
Once a groundhog was coaxed by handlers from its secure underground location to offer its wisdom to the waiting populace.
Once a grub listened to its inner child.
Once a guinea pig couple received a shocking letter from the fertility clinic.


Once a hallucination sensed the good times were coming to an end.
Once a hamster took an animal rights group to court.
Once a hare felt the need to win at all costs.
Once there was considerable uncertainty about the exact location of "Harm's Way."
Once a hawk had trouble maintaining eye contact.
Once wearing your heart upon your sleeve was all the rage.
Once Hercules awoke in a sweat.
Once a hog grew philosophical.
Once a homing pigeon lost 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.


Once Icarus went for a swim.
Once an immortal seriously considered calling it quits.
Once an insect awoke from uneasy dreams to find itself transformed into Gregor Samsa.
Once a radioactive isotope couldn't wait to reach the end of its first half-life.
Once two strains of ivy climbed the Tree of Liberty.


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


Once a killer smarm invaded an average home in an average neighborhood.


Once a lab rat had a pre-existing condition.
Once the larks agreed to give up their free and happy ways.
Once laughter was the only thing that kept a body going.
Once a set of lawn dwarfs 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 animals put a lion in a cage.
Once a pride of lions gathered at a much-touted restaurant called "Top of the Food Chain."
Once a plague of locusts decided to stay put.
Once a lone wolf found itself longing for the company of strangers.


Once a metronome hypnotized itself.
Once a migratory bird stopped by the local travel agency.
Once the milk of human kindness curdled and turned sour.
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 fear it might not reach its full potential.
Once a mole and an owl shared a soul.
Once a monitor lizard came to wield 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.


Once Narcissus decided to step back from his pond.
Once a navel started gazing back.
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 night crawler was tracked down by the thought police.


Once an ol' cowpoke finally sidled outta town.
Once an old dog decided there wasn't much point in learning new tricks.
Once Orpheus tried to reconstruct exactly what happened.
Once an ostrich and an emu chanced to lay eyes on one another.
Once Congress moved to outlaw the goring of one's own ox.


Once a pack rat resolved to make a little list.
Once "the great god Pan" rolled over and declared, "I'm not dead yet, folks. Not quite."
Once a panda snapped open a fortune cookie and found a message that read "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 suffered from acute dehydration.
Once a pawn tried to size up the board.
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 heart valve it was about to donate to an ailing human.
Once Pinocchio was determined to ride his gift for wooden mendacity all the way to the top of the political pile.
Once a pit bull refused to go for the throat of every other dog in the world.
Once a poodle took up ballroom dancing.
Once a porcupine went in for body piercing in a big way.
Once a possum came to understand how difficult it is to appear dim.
Once a potato thought it heard a voice.
Once a praying mantis excelled at conducting grief-and-victim interviews on TV.
Once a proboscis monkey went 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 was invited to appear on public television.
Once a Pusillanimus democratius got stuck in the mud.


Once it was proposed the question mark be declared obsolete.
Once quicksand demanded a bonus. And a big one.


Once a raccoon was determined to wash its hands of everything.
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 missed the dawn.
Once a rubber chicken began to fret that it lacked gravitas.
Once it was proposed that the White House and both wings of the Capitol building be equipped with rubber-lined rooms.
Once the nation's rumor mills came very close to violating EPA guidelines.


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 of the water and kept right on going.
Once a sanctamander cut off its own tail.
Once a sardine was feeling kind of lonesome.
Once a satyr set himself up as a lifestyle coach.
Once a scab signed a seven-figure book deal.
Once the scapegoat was hunted nearly 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 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 that morning and collecting any tufts of its fur to be found.
Once a shark suffered from bleeding gums.
Once a sheep rented a wolf suit.
Once Sisyphus was arrested as a public nuisance.
Once the Environmental Protection Agency sent out skunks to investigate a big stink in the land.
Once the Slough of Despond wondered how it was going to get through the rest of the day.
Once a slug suffered from severe stress.
Once a thick smug spread from sea to shining sea.
Once a snake tried to pull on each of its discarded skins again, all the way back to the year of its birth.
Once a snowflake was told there had never been a snowflake like it. Ever.
Once the wisest judges in the land decided to cut Solomon in half.
Once the scales for weighing souls broke under the strain.
Once the Sphinx just got tired of it all.
Once a spider set to work on its last web of the year.
Once the Spirit and the Flesh were forced to undergo relationship counseling.
Once a squid was assigned the task of inking out passages in top secret documents scheduled for declassification.
Once a stem cell was asked to make a choice.
Once a stone wondered whether it should say something.
Once strays terrorized a neighborhood.
Once a sunflower lost its bearings during a total eclipse.
Once a swan turned into an ugly duckling.
Once a flock of swifts struck a wall at high speed.
Once a slice of Swiss cheese had a thought.
Once rogue sycophants roamed the land.


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 a tiger came face to face with its stuffed likeness.
Once "time immemorial" ran out.
Once topiary animals took the shears to themselves.
Once a tortoise realized its time was drawing nigh.
Once a tree fell in the forest when nobody was around to hear.
Once anthropologists discovered a primitive tribe whose members 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.


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


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.
Once a vulture learned to feel good about itself.


Once a wacko fell right off the ceiling.
Once a sudden rise in sea level caught a pod of walruses off guard.
Once a warbler couldn't get a song out of its head.
Once water-skippers fanned out across the shallow waters of the Sunday talk shows.
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 whale became concerned about the size of the ocean.
Once a withered tree was having some trouble looking on the brighter side of life.
Once a pack of wolves won a 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 worm came back from the grave.


Once a xenophobe showed up in the nation's blood supply.
Once a zebra found itself in a herd of black and white horses.
Once the Zeitgeist felt a bit confused.

Copyright © 2004-2018 by Geoffrey Grosshans           Artwork by J. Savage