Amy T. Wilkinson
Illustrations by Austin Beach
Tacey Brox was a small red fox. His home was at the edge of a wood.
He lived in the ground and he ate what he found and slept in a bed, just like you or I should.
He had a mother and father, a sister and brother, an uncle and grandfather too.
He had a white fluffy tail, four black legs, and two eyes of the deepest blue.
One day, in the spring, as he lay in the sun, a sparrow flew to him.
It perched in a tree and whistled a song and looked down from its place on the limb.
"Tacey," it trilled as it turned its small head, "Why are you looking so blue?"
"Are you sick? Are you sad? Are you lonely or mad? What is the matter with you?"
"My life is stuck," said Tacey as he turned to the bird, "I feel like Iím in a rut."
"Iíve lived here so long, itís time to move on, but it seems like the doors are all shut."
"You canít think that way," the sparrow replied as it flew up and away.
"You can make your own doors and be happy with life, or you can sit here complaining all day."
"Heís right," thought Tacey as he sat up tall, "I canít just sit here and pout."
He thought and he thought of what he could do and an idea started to sprout.
"I know what to do, Iíll go through the woods and live on the other side.
It will be quite the journey and it will be tough but if I fail, at least I have tried."
Tacey ran straight back home and gathered his things; he wanted to set out at once.
He knew not how large the forest was, the journey, perhaps, could take months.
He entered the woods with a spring in his step; he let out a skip and a bound.
His heart filled with joy as he playfully leapt and ran across the soft ground.
Then, with no warning, he slid to a stop, because there in his track
Stood a strange looking bird with a belly of grey, a long neck and a head that was black.
"What are you?" asked Tacey and the bird replied, "Young fox, please, donít be obtuse."
It lengthened its neck and rattled its wings and exclaimed, "I am a goose."
Itís a pleasure to meet you," Tacey began, but before he could say one more word,
The goose flapped its wings, getting dust in his eyes, and poor Taceyís vision was blurred.
Tacey turned and he ran, this way and that, as fast as his legs could bear,
And it was while he was running with his eyes tightly shut that he crashed headlong into a hare.
Now the hare, he was knocked clean off his feet, he hit the ground with a thud.
His ears flopped to one side, his whiskers were bent, and his tail was covered in mud.
"Iím sorry," yelped Tacey as he jumped to the hare, "I wasnít watching where I ran."
The hare looked at Tacey, cocked his head to one side and began to develop a plan.
Then the hare staggered, forward and back, he threw himself down in the dirt,
He let out a cough and a moan and a groan and exclaimed, "Help me! Iím hurt!"
Tacey didnít know the hare was up to no good, that he was a trickster, a fraud, and a thief.
That hare had been all over the woods causing nothing but trouble and grief.
Three days later Tacey was still with the hare, doing his bidding and gathering him food.
After two weeks there, the little fox began to believe that he was being used.
He went to the hare and said, "I must leave. I canít stay here, donít you see?
I am moving my life to the other side of the woods and it is time I looked after me."
The hare threw a tantrum, he pounded his fists; he screamed and kicked his feet.
Still, Tacey left, for he had decided that this chapter of his life was now complete.
You see, there are times in our life we might find a person we think is a friend,
And maybe they are or maybe theyíre not; we only know truly in the end.
So, off Tacey started on his journey again, this time, he hoped, with no distraction.
After hours of walking, he saw an animal trapped in a bush and sprang forward into action.
It was a young deer, Tacey saw, as he stood by its side as it struggled and kicked in fear.
He spoke calmly and softly and said to the fawn, "Itís ok, Iíll help you, Iím here."
Tacey began to chew the bush; he gnawed through thorns, branches, and vines.
After hours of working, the fawn was freed. He was shaken and scared, but was fine.
"You saved me," the deer said as he got to his feet, "Thank you, that was a kind deed."
"Youíre welcome," said Tacey, for he knew that in life, there is always time to help someone in need.
Tacey turned and he started off again, feeling downtrodden, tired, and sore.
But what he saw next stopped him dead in his tracks, his excitement fully restored.
For far up ahead, at a break in the trees, he could see light shining through;
He had made it to the end of the woods and was excited to begin anew.
Now this tale has moral, for isnít it grand,
what a difference you can cause just by lending a hand?
What a change we could make if only we would start
to treat others with kindness, compassion, and heart.
Read other Bedtime Stories by Amy Wilkenson
Amy Wilkinson is a graduate of Hood College with a Bachelorís in Law and Society and lives in Frederick Maryland.
Amy began writing and telling stories at a very young age. Starting with daily journals at around 8 years of age, she later progressed to fiction and poetry never putting her pen down for more than a few hours. Nature and animal lover, essayist, and poet, Amy Wilkinson sets many of her stories in a forest or other outdoor setting. Much of the
material for children focuses on various life cycle, coming of age, morality, and individual interaction issues frequently seen through the everyday lives of her woodland creatures. Her bedtime stories balance equal parts of lively prose with food for parent/child discussions.
Austin Beach graduate from Urbana High School and is a current Frederick Community College student studying art.
Austin has been drawing since before he could walk but did not begin learning other traditional mediums until high school when he began art classes. He has worked in most mediums including but not limited to oil paints, watercolor paints, pastels, Ink pen, charcoal, pencil, and digital media. In addition he has worked with many mixed media projects, clay, and found objects.
Austinís subject matter has included landscapes, figure studies, portraits, whimsical illustrations, and fantasy related scenes and characters among other things.
In addition to art Austin has worked with numerous advocacy oriented organizations in Frederick and has been recognized as an emerging leader by Vice President Biden for founding and becoming Executive Director for a local Non-Profit.
He can be reached for other commissioned work via Facebook at Facebook.com/AustinBeachArtist.