On one particular Saturday night, Ellis occupied my “bed” and wouldn’t budge unless I told her a story.  I am not the designated storyteller in the family. Mia is.  However, she was already asleep.  So, I had to make something up fast.

I lead up the story by asking Ellis whether she knows what her full name is.  She is not familiar with her own name because she has responded only to her nickname for the first two years of her life.  Though, she has since  become familiar with her English first name but has not with her middle and last name yet.  So, I thought up this story to help her remember her middle name better.

Long ago in a Pyrenees town, a young child Sebastian was born in a small village to circus performing parents.  Because of their jobs, the parents traveled often, so the child was brought up by his grandfather.  One day, the grandfather fell ill and could no longer work, so their landlord wanted to kick them out of their house when they couldn’t make rent.

Eventually, grandfather succumbed to his sickness, and Sebastian was evicted.  He found a makeshift home under a bridge.  One day, returning  “home” after food foraging, Sebastian saw the townspeople gathering.  Sebastian asked what they were doing, and they responded rudely that they were chasing after a beast that were harming the town’s children and  claimed they didn’t want to speak any further to a homeless, destitute orphan.

Sebastian returned home and found someone or something had taken up residence.  As Sebastian made his way closer to the new tenant, Sebastian was greeted by a growling beast the size of a small bear and in a ready to pounce stance.

Sebastian, frightened, tried to run, but the beast fell to the ground and was whimpering.  Sebastian, instead of turning the beast to the townspeople, took a closer look at the beast and finds out he was merely an enormous dog decorated with wounds all over. And, Sebastian started nursing him back to health.

Sebastian snuck the dog out of town and into the hills where few people venture.  And, each afternoon, Sebastian brought the dog some food.  After nursing the dog back to health, Sebastian took him to the river and gave him a wash.  The dog jumped into the river: Sebastian goes through his fur that was tangled with leaves and twigs a good scrubbing.

After the wash, Sebastian discovered what was once a grotesque monster is actually as elegant as a show horse standing tall and proud with a thick fur mane as white as snow.  At that, Sebastian decided to name the dog Belle.  Ever since, the boy and the dog were inseparable and became to be known as Belle and Sebastian.

Then, I asked Ellis, do you know what your middle name is?  She said “no”.  I told her she was named after this dog that everyone first thought was a mere ugly beast but was the most elegant creature.  So, I asked again, do you know what your middle name is?  She responds, “Belle?”

I was about to continue the story about how the tandem were about to embark on a journey to find Sebastian’s parents when Ellis decided to go back to her own bed and sleep.

However, Ellis was not named after the dog Belle but actually named after Ellis Bell, Emily Bronte’s pseudonym.  And, I used Belle instead of Bell to make it sound a bit for feminine.


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