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Syndic Literary Journal

Some Moral Fables

Written by Paul M. Levitt

Narrated by Syndic Literary Journal Poets

Published by LeRoy Chatfield

Introduction by the Publisher

Paul. M. Levitt, Professor Emeritus of English,  University of Colorado at Boulder, has written 14 Moral Fables that I have agreed to publish ~ and narrate ~  in serial-fashion in Syndic Literary Journal.

The titles of these Moral Fables are: Bad Words; Crybaby; Making Believe and Day Dreaming; Drawing the Line; Eating; Pocket Money; Nay Saying; Practice; Respect; Shouting; Tidiness; Telling the Truth; Whining; and No Bullying

The narration for each Moral Fable is  provided by a Poet  from Syndic Literary Journal.

I hope you will enjoy these moral fables as much as I do.

~ LeRoy Chatfield, Publisher


Moral Fable No.8  ~  Nay Saying

Narrated by Poet Alison Morse


     Jimmy Kinko always said no.  Whatever his mother asked him to do, the answer was no.  No, he wouldn’t eat his spinach; no, he wouldn’t clean his room; no, he wouldn’t take out the garbage.  Jimmy’s mother grew desperate.

     “You must learn to say yes,” she warned.

     “No,” Jimmy replied.

     “Then you’ll never have any friends,” she said.

     “Who cares!” Jimmy answered.

     “For my sake, please care,” his mother pleaded.  “Think of me.  You’re driving me crazy.  Pretty soon I’ll have to see a doctor; and then the doctor bills will drive us all to the poorhouse.”

     Jimmy was troubled by what his mother said.  He didn’t know what the poorhouse was, but he knew that he didn’t want to live there.

     “All right,” he mumbled.

     “Then you’ll say yes?” his mother asked.

     “Yes,” he answered.

     His mother was overjoyed.  She hugged and kissed him; and she promised that he could go to basketball camp and shoot baskets all the day long.

     “Wow,” thought Jimmy, “I get to go to basketball camp—just for saying yes.  Maybe if I keep saying it, other good things will happen to me as well.”

     So he began to say yes—to everything.  He said yes to the man who asked for a quarter, yes to the woman on the telephone who asked for a donation, yes to the boy who wanted to borrow his ice skates, yes to the child next door who wanted to ride his bike, yes to his classmate who wanted to copy his homework, and yes to all his friends who asked him to be their best friend.

     Jimmy’s mother began to worry.  Now that he said yes to everyone and everything, the telephone never stopped ringing.  All his friends wanted favors; all the salespeople wanted to sell him their products.  Things were getting out of hand.  But Jimmy Kinko kept right on saying yes.

     “Jimmy,” asked his mother, “what happened to your new basketball?”

     “Jeffrey wanted to know if he could have it,” answered Jimmy, “and I said yes.”

     “Why did you do that?” she asked.

     “Well,” he answered, “if I didn’t, he might have been mad at me.”

     “Jimmy,” she scolded, “you must learn to say no.  I’m not going to support all the kids on the block just because you want to be popular.”

     “Yes,” replied Jimmy.

     “By the way,” remarked his mother, “what happened to this week’s allowance?”

     “Happened?” repeated Jimmy.  “Nothing happened.  I gave my allowance to Suzie Jay.”

     “You did what?” shouted his mother.  “Why did you do that?”

     “Because she said she’d be my best friend if I did,” replied Jimmy, “so I said yes.”

     “You’re impossible!” cried his mother.  “If you don’t learn to say no, you’ll drive us all to the poorhouse.”

     But Jimmy could no longer say no.  He had lost the will power to turn anyone down.  He was now in the grip of a different power—one that is stronger than the wish to say no.  He was gripped by the power of being popular.  He truly believed that if he said no, he would hurt somebody’s feelings, which of course is why he said yes.

     “I don’t understand,” said his mother, “how you can say yes to everyone.  You must learn to pick and choose.  Not everyone and everything is worthy of a yes.”

     But Jimmy didn’t want to pick or choose one person over another.  If he did that, the person he didn’t pick might not like him.  To say no was to run the risk of not being popular.  Therefore it was better to tell everybody yes and be liked by one and all.

     His mother tried to explain that the word yes has value only because of the word no.  But if no is never used, then yes is ordinary, not special.  She pointed out to him, for example, that if every teacher said yes to every child who asked for an A, then an A wouldn’t be worth much, because everyone could have an A just for the asking.  She also pointed out that if all his friends were his best friends, then really he had no one best friend, because all his friends were the same.

     Jimmy just smiled.  Having discovered that saying yes made him immensely popular, Jimmy wasn’t about to say no. 


What would you advise?

  1. that Jimmy start saying no again;
  2. that Jimmy say yes all the more;
  3. that Jimmy ignore his mother;
  4. that Mrs. Kinko leave Jimmy alone;
  5. that Mrs. Kinko start preparing for the poorhouse;
  6. that Mrs. Kinko say no every time Jimmy says yes?



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