by: Katie Sigafoos
A story for children, with a rewarding message for those who learn to compromise….
Once upon a time there lived a little girl whose name was Eloise. This little girl despised nothing more than getting her hair brushed. Every day, when her mother came toward her with the hairbrush, Eloise would shriek and hide. Desperation caused her to make up some very odd excuses for avoiding her hair-brushing, like pretending to freeze to death and saying “On the loo!” for extensive periods of time. After many years of this terrible fuss the little girl’s mother came to the end of her tether.
“That’s it!” she shouted, “I have had enough!” Upon which Eloise’s mother flung the hairbrush into the dark crevices of the kitchen drawer.
“If you don’t want to have your hair brushed by anyone else in this family, then you can brush it all by yourself!”
As it happened Eloise was quite able at brushing the left and right sides of her hair; the center-back however, was a disaster and she could never seem to straighten it out.
“Oh well,” she said to herself, “That will do,” as she got on with her day.
Some days, weeks and even months went by and Eloise’s hair grew messier and messier.
“Your hair looks like a rat’s nest,” declared her mother. Although Eloise’s mother had been hoping her daughter would allow for family intervention, her statements procured the opposite effect.
Eloise walked quietly away from the living room thinking to herself, Well, a rat isn’t exactly the pet I had in mind but I suppose it’s better than no pet at all. And she began a series of very strange behaviours which bemused, entertained and worried her family.
It appeared as if Eloise had decided to coax a rat with her messy hair; firstly, she was spotted near the kitchen bin reading a book about rats and picking out rotten objects such as mouldy loaf-ends and cereal packets. After a few days she had proved unsuccessful in catching any rats and decided to make a camp in the side-alley.
The camp in the side alley was damp and dark and full of recycling. Eloise lay down on the ground, paying no attention to the prettiness of her dress, and lay in wait for a new pet rat. Despite her eagerness to succeed, she failed. No rat was coaxed into her hair.
Eloise, then and there, made a public vow to only eat cheese and peanut butter sandwiches in the desperate hope that her fondness for a ratty cuisine would draw one toward her. Of course, there came the time when Eloise’s family had well-and-truly had enough of her behaviour. The kitchen was always filthy, she had ruined half a dozen dresses and her insistence to eat cheese and peanut butter sandwiches thrice daily was causing a huge strain on supper time. To top it all off, Eloise’s mother hated to think what the teachers at school must have thought of her daughters’ despicable, bushy, knotty hairstyle.
Eloise’s mother promised Eloise, “If you give up all this silly rat-catching nonsense, then I will buy you a goldfish for your birthday.” And Eloise went off and had a long, hard think about it.
That evening after bath time, Eloise walked toward her mother with her hairbrush in hand and they made peace. All her tangles were brushed out, some were snipped, and her hair was once again as smooth as a babies bottom. In fact, the next morning Eloise’s mother even did her hair up in two pretty braids for school.
For her birthday Eloise received not one but two goldfish and she was so happy she named them Fish and Chips.
Three months later, Eloise’s hair had grown past her shoulders on its way to her little feet.
- The artwork featured in the header was created by the incredibly talented Agustina Woodgate. [↩]