When I was a little girl, I had two favourite stories my father told me. One was about a stegosaurus and the other was about a baby pterodactyl. I’m going to tell you the latter story and why it scarred me as a child….
The baby pterodactyl had a mommy and a daddy and they lived in a nice nest. Each day, the baby would practice flying while his parents were out to find food. Each day, they told him to never fly so far away that he’d be too tired to return without resting.
"You see those mountains over there? Don’t fly past else you’ll be too wear to return" papa pterodactyl cautioned.
Of course, the baby pterodactyl grew curious about what lay beyond the mountains and being the curious sort, he flew from the nest to explore.
He passed beyond the mountains and saw many interesting things that lay beyond. However, he realized he had to rest during his return for he had grown too tired.
After spotting a nice tree, he landed on a branch to catch his breath.
The baby pterodactyl jumped.
He looked up into
A GIANT FACE.
The T Rex smiled.
"Hello" the gravelly voice said to the baby pterodactyl.
"H-h-h-h-ello" the baby replied. "W-w-what large eyes you have."
"The better to see you with."
W-w-w-w-what big nose you have”
"The better to smeeeell you with."
"What large t-t-t-t-teeth you have."
"The better to EAT YOU WITH"
And with that the T Rex chomped onto the branch, the baby pterodactyl barely escaping.
He flapped and flapped and flapped until he was home in the nest, falling in a heap and eyes bugging out. His parents looks down calmly at him.
"Decided to fly away from the nest did you?"
"Flew so far you had to rest before coming home?"
The baby pterodactyl nodded.
"Ran into something that was scary, huh?"
The baby hung his head.
"Never gonna do that again, are you?"
And so concluded my father’s tale to a little girl with a penchant for running off by herself. Despite the obvious rip off from little red riding hood, the story was effective in making sure that I didn’t disappear exploring too far from home.
Of course, that in of itself was not emotionally scarring.
One night, when I begged for the story, my father sat on my bed and began it like any other night. Except when he reached the bit with the T Rex…
the baby got eaten.
His reasoning was that sometimes baby pterodactyls don’t make it home to mommy and daddy and that it was something important to remember. My child self did not grasp the metaphor, merely the fact that a beloved character had been offed in a most unseemly way from a previously trusted source for bed time stories.
This is why I have trust issues.