Ella Bella is the envy of all the dogs in town – she has everything a dog could wish for – bones and treats and toys and a family who loves her. When a stray dog comes to visit and tells Ella Bella how much he enjoys his freedom, she decides to leave her house and set off on her own, but soon discovers that freedom is not all she had hoped for. An original tale by Kathleen Pelley – perfect for Thanksgiving. (duration – 10 mins) An episode from Journey with Story, a storytelling podcast for kids.
Have you ever got a little mad at some of your family? Maybe you felt they didn’t appreciate you? Or maybe they scolded you for breaking something or not cleaning up your room. And maybe when you were feeling a little mad or sad, you might have thought you would be better off with another family?
Hello everyone. I’m Kathleen Pelley. Welcome to JWS. Today’s tale is an original story written by me about a dog who feels a little mad at her family – so much so that she decides to run away and see what life is like without all of them telling her what to do all the time. So, let’s see how that turns out for her.
But first – Thanks to Hazel and her little brother, Owen for senind me their fabulous drawings inspired by The Tale of the Linani Beast – great job, Hazel and Owen. And thanks to your mum who tells me that our podcast is the “bright spot in your day.” AWww. How marvelous.
And thanks to all of you who have been rating and reviewing this podcast and sharing it with others. –YOU are the bright spot in my day.
Let’s take a Journey with Ella Bella – written by Kathleen T. Pelley
Ella was a good dog, soft and golden with flip-flop ears and a wiggle-waggle tail. “Beautiful!” everyone gasped, the moment they saw her. So often did they say this, that her family decided to give her a second name – Bella. “It’s Italian for beautiful,” they explained to anyone who asked.
Ella Bella lived a lovely life with her family at 11 Lavender Lane. She learned how to sit and stay and stand. She had balls to fetch, bones to gnaw, a yard to romp around, a perch by the window to watch the world go by, and always someone to toss her a toy or tickle her tummy. Yes, indeed, Ella Bella was the envy of every dog in town.
One day a stray dog appeared on the doorstep of 11 Lavender Lane. “Poor fellow,” cried Mr. Francesca. “Looks like you’ve been in the wars!” He fed the stray and bathed him. Mrs. Francesca bandaged his paw. The children gave him a collar, a leash, and a name – Rags. Quite the handsome hound he is now, thought Ella Bella. Soon the two of them became fast friends.
Ella Bella shared her toys with Rags. In turn he told her of his life on the road. He told her how he loved to run free – free as the wind and wild as the wolves. He told her how he foraged for food, scampered after squirrels, howled at the moon, and wallowed in mud. “I can do whatever I want all day long,” he boasted.
“How marvelous,” gasped Ella Bella.
“I only stopped by here to rest up for a bit,” Rags explained. “ I won’t stay long. I never do. The wide world is always calling me.”
And the next morning when Ella Bella awoke, Rags had gone. Ella Bella missed her newfound friend. She often thought about him out there in the wide world, running free as the wind and wild as the wolves. And every now and then she felt a stirring deep down inside of her. A longing for something………more…something…………beyond. Ella Bella wondered. Could it be that the wide world was calling her? Surely not.
One day when she was home alone, Ella Bella caught a whiff of something tasty in the trash. Her nose quivered. Then it twitched. She thought of what Rags had said. “I can do whatever I want…” Ella Bella edged closer to the forbidden trash. Why not? she finally decided. And in she dived.
When her family returned, they were most upset. “How could you!” scolded Mr. Francesca.
“Naughty dog!” chided Mrs. Francesca, as she shut Ella Bella into the laundry room with a scowl and a finger wag. Ella Bella lay down and sighed. Once more she thought of Rags running free as the wind and wild as the wolves with no one to scold him or tell him what to do. She began to brood. Then she began to mope and sulk and pout. Finally she made up her mind. The wide world was calling her. It was time to hit the road.
As soon as she was let out into the yard, Ella Bella headed for the hole in the fence, the one no one had ever noticed, except her. Out into the wide, wide world, she wiggled and wriggled. It didn’t take her long to find the woods at the edge of town. There she zoomed around and around, smothered in smells galore. For hours she sniffed and snuffled to her heart’s content. She barked at birds. She chased squirrels. She dug tunnels. Then she howled at the moon, and fell asleep beneath a star-sprinkled sky.
The next day dawned dank and drizzly. But that never bothered Ella Bella. All morning long she frolicked and cavorted through mud and mire. Finally she flopped down on a heap of soggy leaves and snuggled in for a snooze. Suddenly the loud bang, bang of a rifle rang out. Startled, Ella Bella leapt up and fled, her tail squeezed between her legs. Gasping and panting, she finally stopped at the edge of the woods. Her paw hurt. Her skin itched. The first pangs of hunger gnawed at her belly. Time to forage for food, Ella Bella decided. Off she trotted into the open countryside.
Soon she came upon a farm with goats and sheep and chickens. They might be fun to chase, thought Ella Bella. Or maybe even………..eat. She poised herself, tail a-quivering, nose a-twitching. Just as she was about to pounce, out came the farmer. “Get out of here you mangy cur!” he bellowed, as he picked up a stone and hurled it at her. It skimmed past her head and grazed her ear. Ella Bella turned and fled pell mell. Shaking and trembling, she hid behind a rickety barn at the bottom of the lane. Her ear stung. Her paw throbbed. And her skin itched all over.
All this running free and wild was beginning to feel very……….very………..tiring, Ella Bella decided. With a whine and a whimper she lay down, buried her nose between her paws and went to sleep.
Hours passed. The rain stopped. The sun poked its head out. The world glistened a warm, wet gold. But when Ella Bella opened her eyes, everything looked gray and grim to her. Nothing seemed right. The grass wasn’t as green. The sky wasn’t as blue. Something was missing. Now Ella Bella knew exactly what it was. She stood up, put her nose to the ground, and followed her heart all the way home.
But at the doorstep of 11 Lavender Lane, all was still and quite. No one was there. Ella Bella hoped that her family had not decided to run off free and wild into the wide world as she had. She lay down to wait… and… wait… and…wait.
At last, she heard the crunch of tires on gravel, the sound of voices raised, and doors slamming. It was them! Ella Bella raced to greet her family. What a tangle of arms and legs and paws! What a flurry of hugs and kisses and licks.
Later that night, all clean and cuddled and fed, Ella Bella lay scrunched up on Mrs. Francesca’s feet. Someone opened the front door. Outside an owl hooted. A fox scurried by. The moon smiled. The wide, wide world was calling to Ella Bella again. But this time Ella Bella never answered. Instead she rolled over, yawned, and stretched. Then she fell asleep with all the world she ever wanted right there beneath her paws.
Well – what do you think this story’s souvenir is – that little glimmer of truth about what it means to be human? Yes, I think it has something to do with what we hear in many, many stories – sometimes what we long for and what we wish for is not actually what we want at all – and sometimes we forget to be thankful and grateful for what we have already – and what is there to be more thankful for than…..our family and friends and loved ones.