Welcome to our bedtime story series! Each time I’ll start with a couple of words that come from kids, things they’d like to hear a story about. Then I’ll briefly outline for you what my quick mental process was in figuring out how to make a story from the elements. Then I’ll give you the finished story (short and silly most of the time, just right for bedtime). I hope you get inspired to riff off of the elements and make a story of your own!
Story elements: Princess, puppy
Process: What’s a strange thing a puppy could do? Dance
What’s a possible result of the dancing? People making fun of it
What’s a way to overcome the problem? Dancing proving useful in some way
Once upon a time there was a princess who also happened to be a puppy. Her father, King Bowser, ruled over all of Canine City, and her mother, a Maltese known only as “Queenie,” was the most beautiful dog in the land. The princess’s name was Ruffle. (I know, Ruffle is more of a thing you might have on your skirt than a name for a princess, but her father came from a long line of Barksters and Ruffalos and Arooperts, and his favorite uncle had been named Ruffing, so really, Ruffle was lucky to at least be named after something girly. It could have been much worse.)
In any case, Ruffle didn’t care much about her name. She was only interested in dancing. She loved all kinds of dancing, and she would have done it twelve hours a day if she weren’t required to do princessy things from time to time (like telling important people how delighted she was to meet them and ordering elaborate dresses so the Royal seamstresses would have something to do). As it was, she managed to spend most of her time on the dance floor. Her father had ordered the servants to make sure she always had a dance partner, which the servants found quite annoying. (Dogs, as you know, do not have hands and so cannot hold hands while dancing. This means that in dog dancing “partners” are really just two dogs dancing quite near to each other and occasionally bumping noses or tails. Princess Ruffle could have danced quite as well on her own, and the servants could have gotten on with their work, but King Bowser was very strict about certain rules, and for some reason, this was one of them.)
The servant who most often got stuck dancing with Princess Ruffle was the Paper Hound. Paper hound was his job and not his name of course, though he was called Paper Hound more than anything else. The Paper Hound was the pup in charge of fetching the newspapers every morning, so the king could read all about what was happening in the world, and for delivering the important letters the king sent out to the post office each afternoon. The rest of the time, the Paper Hound hung around and did odd jobs, which was how he so often ended up dancing with Princess Ruffle. His real name was Rawlph.
Rawlph always complained about having to dance with Princess Ruffle, but the truth was that he actually liked it. True, Princess Ruffle was very bossy, and she was very particular that he do all the right dance moves, but once he learned them, it was really fun to dodge and twirl and romp around on the dance floor.
The worst part of it was that the other boy puppies used to make fun of Rawlph for having to dance with Princess Ruffle. They said he looked stupid with all that twirling and stomping. Rawlph tried to ignore this, but it wasn’t easy. When someone says you look stupid that is a very hard thing to overlook.
One day, though, everything changed. And, of course, it was the ants who changed it.
The queen of the ants, Queen Antella, was the arch enemy of King Bowser, and she had always wanted to take over his kingdom. Ants, of course, are much smaller than dogs, but they are very strong for their size, and there are so many of them. On the day of the ant invasion, Queen Antella’s army numbered in the thousands.
When the ants swarmed the castle, the dogs fought valiently, but they were at a disadvantage. Dogs generally fight things the same size as they are, or perhaps bigger even. This means that they are used to standing their ground and snapping with their fierce teeth. Unfortunately, when you are fighting ants, standing still is the worst thing you can do, and teeth are much too large to hurt ants. King Bowser’s soldiers found themselves snapping at the air while ants swarmed up their legs, injuring them with a hundred tiny ant bites.
Things were looking bad for the dogs until Princess Ruffle saw the solution. You probably see it, too, don’t you?
“The fox trot!” Princess Ruffle shouted at Rawlph as the ants rushed down the hallway.
Rawlph knew exactly what she meant.
Princess Ruffle and Rawlph began their usual twirling and stomping. The ants tried to climb onto them, but their twirling threw the ants off. The ants tried to get away, but each stomp of a puppy’s paw, crushed a dozens of them.
Soon the other dogs were trying to follow Princess Ruffle’s and Rawlph’s example. All the dogs were twirling and stamping with all their might. It was the biggest dance party the kingdom had ever seen.
And it worked. Soon so many ants had been killed that Queen Antella called the retreat. The ants left the castle and the kingdom, and they never came back.
The dogs all collapsed, exhausted but happy from their dancing and their victory.
And you had better believe that no puppies ever made fun of Rawlph ever again.
In fact, Princess Ruffle had no trouble coming up with dance partners after that. Everyone wanted to learn how to dance, and they all begged her to show them.
She did, of course, because princesses must always help those in their kingdom who need help. But Rawlph was still her favorite partner.