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Syndic Literary Journal


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



Drawing the Line

Written by Paul M. Levitt

Narrated by Charles Rammelkamp

  Mr. Brillo thought his daughter, Angela, was perfect, except for one thing:  when she drew in her coloring book, she never kept within the lines.  She always strayed across the borders and colored in the empty spaces.  No matter how many times he told her to color inside the lines, she would still cross the boundaries and color outside the lines.

     It wasn’t that Angela was stubborn or uncooperative.  Time and time again, she tried to stay inside the lines; but the crayons seemed to have a mind of their own—and simply wandered across the lines and into the open spaces.  Mr. Brillo couldn’t understand why his daughter didn’t follow instructions.  He believed in lines, and rules, and regulations, and thought it very good training for his daughter, who was seven years old, to learn what was right and what was wrong.  So he scolded her for not coloring in her book properly.

     Angela, a smart little red-haired girl, listened quietly to her father’s complaints.  Then, one day when he asked her if she understood why it was important to draw inside the lines, she replied:

     “Yes, because if all the children at school ran out of the playground, someone could get hurt.  We have to stay behind the fence.”

     “You’re a very clever little girl,” Mr. Brillo said, “very clever.  So the next time, be sure to color inside the lines.”

     Angela thought for a long time about the lesson her father was trying to teach her.  She understood that if people were to get along with one another, they had to obey the laws.  But she wondered if learning to color inside the lines would really help her follow all the rules and regulations when she grew up.  After all, she saw for herself how others behaved, including her father.

     “Why,” she asked him one day, “do you jaywalk, when you’re supposed to cross between the lines?”

     “Jaywalk!” her father blurted.  “I?  Well, of course, sometimes a person is in a hurry.  And to take a shortcut, I cross in the middle of the street.”

     “You shouldn’t,” said Angela.  “That’s like coloring outside the lines.”

     Her father didn’t know what to answer, so he quickly changed the subject.  A few days later, Angela again approached her father.

     “Daddy,” she asked, “do you remember last Saturday, when you took me to the movie?”

     “Of course I remember,” he answered.

     “There was a long line,” she said.


     “Why,” she asked, “did you ask a friend of yours near the front of the line to buy our tickets?”

     “Because of the long line,” he answered.

     “You shouldn’t have asked him,” she said.  “That’s jumping the line.”

     “Jumping the line,” he stuttered.  “Well . . . I guess it is . . . sort of . . . but I had a reason,” he said.  Then he changed the subject.

     Not long after that talk, Angela sat down next to her father and said, “When you and Mommy were playing badminton in the garden yesterday, didn’t you hit the birdie over the fence?”

     “Yes,” he answered, “I did.  Why do you ask?”

     “To get the birdie back,” she said, “you climbed over Mr. Baker’s fence.  You crossed his property line.”

     “That’s right,” said her father.

     “You shouldn’t have,” she said.  “That’s like crossing the lines in a coloring book.”

     Now, Mr. Brillo certainly believed in a tidy coloring book and an orderly world, but when his daughter asked him why he rode his bike on the sidewalk instead of sticking to the bicycle lanes, and why he wrote on a slant instead of a straight line, and why he skied out of bounds instead of in bounds, he wasn’t so sure that all the rules needed to be followed.  It occurred to him that if he had to follow every lesson he taught Angela, he’d be boxed in by his own instructions.  He’d no longer have a mind of his own.  What would happen to his freedom?  All of these thoughts troubled him, but none troubled him more than the answer Angela gave him when he asked her:

     “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

     “A lawmaker,” she answered.


What would you advise?

a. that Angela color outside the lines;

b. that Angela break some rules but not all;

c. that Angela not become a lawmaker;

d. that  Mr. Brillo follow all the rules;

e. that  Mr. Brillo follow some rules but not all;

f. that Angela be encouraged to throw away her coloring books and to draw the crooked shapes of ancient buildings?


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