How To Ruin a Completely Wonderful Children’s Story

It’s not what you think… ;)

On most evenings, after bathing the twins, we allow them to ‘chill out’ in their room before bed. Normally, one of us is on the floor with them, and they tear apart their bookshelf. Usually this involves them sitting in front of the bookshelf and indiscriminately tossing one book after another behind them until the bookshelf is relieved of books. Then, one of the twins lets me know when he’s ‘interested’ in a particular book by taking said book and shoving one of its corners into my right eye…

Anyhow, after our ‘reading session’, I put the twins to bed and began the process of putting all of the books back on the bookshelf. I don’t know why I hate myself that much, as each book that I put away will end up back on the floor the next day, but that’s the ‘routine’, and hell hath no fury like a routine broken, so I do it. However, I made the biggest mistake of my entire life in the process….

…. I picked up The Little Engine That Could, and read it through my own eyes….

Now, this isn’t the same as reading the story to your child, for when you read the story to your child, you have a general idea of the intended meaning of the story for the child, which is ‘try really hard while helping others, and good shit will happen’. Also, when you hear the story as a child, you’re too tied up on all of the pretty pictures and all that other happy horseshit to care too much about anything else except pretty pictures and happy horseshit.

However, after many, many years of not reading the story, taking it and reading it for yourself MIGHT… just might… ruin it for you…


So, without further ado, here’s how I interpreted the story after reading it for myself. Note: If you don’t want the story ruined for you, please, by all means, STOP READING!! :)

Once upon a time there was this train that was carrying all sorts of great stuff to those in need. There were toys, books, talking dolls, games, and even fresh food. Then, all of a sudden, the train breaks down. Oh shit. The train breaks down. Oh, and by the way, there isn’t a contingency plan in place… nor does anyone have a damn cell phone. Oh well, I guess we’ll ask passing trains to help us on our way. The first train is a really fancy, classy-looking train that basically says ‘Hey, we’re too damn classy for you, so suck my caboose!’ and moves on. What an asshole. The next train was ‘too strong’ to help. TOO STRONG?!?! What a bastard. The last train was just an old fart that wouldn’t be able to help.

So, we have a ‘rich’ train, a ‘powerful’ train, and an ‘old’ train that say ‘EFF IT’ to the train carrying, essentially, handouts to those in need….

… old, powerful, rich…. old, powerful, rich.. not helping those in need…..

WAIT!!! Here comes an inexperienced BLUE train that’s willing to help!!

I think I can… I think I can….. (Now, I’m thinking… Yes We Can!… Yes We Can!)

.. and a talking toy clown is leading this train across the hill…

Oh no…

…it can’t be….

… holy shit….

The Little Engine That Could… a book about politics?!?!?


and THAT.. my friends.. is how I ruined a completely wonderful children’s story…

I read the damn thing to myself.

    • Chris said:

      Thanks for the plug ;)

  1. Cretin said:

    Great piece. I have read that story to my kids about 2012 times and never really understood the allegory (that’s the correct term, right?). One of my little angels must have torn out the last two pages because I don’t remember reading the part where the clown realizes he’s in a bit over his head as both trains plummet off the edge of a cliff…

    • Chris said:

      HAHA!! :) Yes, the last page shows the Little Engine cresting over the hill. I suppose the ending is a cliffhanger; could the Little Engine apply the brakes in time before plowing into the village? Hmm… ;)

  2. I never liked that one anyway, but please don’t read “Where the Wild Things Are”. Because I don’t even want to know…

    • Chris said:

      Haha! :) Yah, best leave that to someone else, I suppose ;) Thanks for stopping back!

  3. Luke Heikkila said:

    Thanks…one of the most entertaining posts I’ve read in a long time….and a good way to start the week.

    • Chris said:

      Thanks Luke – I appreciate the kudos, and I hope that you have a great week – enjoy! :)

  4. Good one, Chris! Always wondered what the difference was between a great kid’s story and propaganda…:) And I grew up listening to that story on RECORD! Those lines still ring in my ears …LOL.

    • Chris said:

      Thanks Alana! :) Makes you think a bit, right? ;) lol Thanks for stopping back in!

  5. i just commented and now it’s gone…. that damn blue engine took it I bet.
    The crux of it was, I never read any more than the actual words and certainly not between the lines… neat post :)

    • Chris said:

      Wait… I got your first comment… should I comment again, but with a completely different tone as the first one? ;) lol

      • really, it came through?, do what you want. now I feel silly, it just diappeared from my screen and i thought it was lost. :)

  6. Bah, politics, what a load of rubbish. Even i I read it myself I would never have come to that conclusion, but then I jsut read the words and take on board (haha) Exactly what is written. reading too much between the lines causes too much frustration and stress. Enjoy the damn book. Be a kid!
    Intersting psot by the way ;)

    • Chris said:

      Thanks! :) I know, I know… I’ll lighten up… ;) lol

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