(A/n: This is a read-to story for very young children. Let me know if you think the little 'uns will like it.)

The Boy Who Tamed Laughter

Have you ever heard someone say: "I nearly died laughing?" or "I was tickled to death?"

Well, once upon a time that really happened.

It was way, way, way back; so long ago that there was only the Sun and the Moon shining brightly in the sky. After a while, the Sun said:

"It's not much fun shining all the time when no one can see how bright we are. I think I'll make a World."

"That's a bright idea," said the Moon, and smiled at his own joke.

So the Sun made the World and covered it with mountains and oceans and lots of land and running rivers and all kinds of animals and trees and stuff.

"Now the World will go around me," said the Sun, "And I will shine on all of it."

"But how will it know which way to go?" asked the Moon.

"I will make directions," said the Sun.

He made East and West and North and South. Then he made the World travel around him and spin like a top, so there would be night and day.

"This is much more fun," he said. "Isn't that a nice World I've made?"

"Yes," said the Moon. "But none of the creatures on it seem to notice how bright
we are."

"I'll fix that," said the Sun. "I'll make People."

In the North he made a man and called him Northman. Then in the South he made a woman and called her Southwoman. In the West he made a little boy called Westboy, and in the East he made a little girl called Eastgirl.

Then the Sun guided the four People so that they could come together and live as a family. All day long they admired how bright the Sun and Moon were. At night they went to sleep early so they could get up at dawn and see them rise in the East.

The Sun was very pleased with his work. But something didn't seem right.

"They are nice People," the Sun said. "But they feel the same way all the time. Maybe I should give them something to make them happy."

"Let me do it," said the Moon. "You've made everything else. Now it's my turn."

"All right," said the Sun. "See what you can do."

But the Sun did not know that the Moon had a very bad idea in his mind. He was jealous of the Sun because he was so much bigger and brighter. He knew he could not make a World himself, so he decided to make something that would really mess up the Sun's World.

The Moon found a dark, dirty swamp and scooped up a lump of mud. He shaped it into the ugliest, meanest-looking thing you could ever see. Then he brought it to life and named it Laughter.

When Laughter saw his reflection in a pool of water, he was so angry at how ugly he looked that he rushed off to kill everything he could. He found a rabbit and tickled him and tickled him and tickled him until the poor thing laughed himself to death. Then Laughter found a bear and did the same thing to him. Then a squirrel and a bird were tickled to death. Even trees and rocks could not resist Laughter.

The Moon was glad to watch Laughter doing so much damage. Then the Sun found out about it and was so angry that he sent the Moon away to the other side of the World.

But there was no way he could stop Laughter, and he was very sad to see so many things being killed.

Finally Laughter came to where the four People lived. He saw Eastgirl and started tickling her. Eastgirl tried to run away but Laughter caught her and pushed her down on the ground, where she rolled around with loud giggles and tee-hees and haw-haws.

Westboy heard her and came running. When he saw what was happening, he shouted:

"Hey, you ugly thing! Leave my sister alone!"

"No! I'm going to tickle her to death," said Laughter. "And you can't stop me!"

"Yes, I can," said Westboy, and he started tickling Laughter.

That had never happened to Laughter before, and much to his surprise, he burst out laughing uncontrollably. "Stop! Please stop!" he begged. "You will make me laugh myself to death!"

But Westboy would not stop, because he loved his sister and did not want her to die. So he tickled and tickled and tickled the bad, ugly Laughter. And as he tickled, he started laughing. Eastgirl laughed, too, but this time with happiness.

Now, wonderful things can happen when laughter is used with love. The bad can be made good, and the ugly can be made beautiful, and life can replace death.

Laughter laughed so hard and so long that he began to turn into something good and beautiful, with a furry body, four legs, floppy ears and a wagging tail. He became Dog!

Dog loved Westboy and Eastgirl and they loved him and they played and laughed together happily ever after.

If you are wondering if this story is true, just ask yourself: have you ever seen a little boy or a little girl playing with a dog and they weren't laughing?

Well, have you?