As promised, here is the story I tell the kids (when not falling asleep).
The Legend of Little Billy Tickle Not long ago, in a place far off from here, there was a small family that wanted peace and quiet. The Tickle family lived in a wilderness far from the glow of city lights and murmur of traffic.
Their cozy house was neatly tucked between the forest and mountains, with only the sounds of the wind and nearby animals. Dad and Mom Tickle were happy and spent there days gardening and sewing and making things from the earth.
The Tickle’s had a little boy name Billy. Little Billy was bored. He had no friends. No toys to play with, just sticks, rocks and leaves. Little Billy knew there had to be little boys and girls out there somewhere (besides animals) for him to play with.
So every night, after his parents put him to bed, Little Billy would do all he could to stay awake. He tried jumping up and down while singing, but he would always get tired and fall asleep. He tried counting the sheep patterns on his blanket but he would always get tired and fall asleep. He even tried reading “War and Peace” but he couldn’t understand the words and would get tired and fall asleep.
One night Little Billy’s dad was tucking Little Billy into bed. His Daddy kissed his forehead while tickling Billy’s tummy. Little Billy laughed and laughed. He had an idea.
When the lights where out Little Billy tickled himself. He laughed and stayed awake. And whenever he felt tired, he just tickled himself. When his parents where in bed Little Billy climbed out of his bed, walked down the stairs and went out into the wilderness.
All night he searched for another house. He walked from house to house, trying to find a little boy or little girl who might want to play. When he found one, he would tickle them awake. “Would you like to play?” ask Little Billy. “No. It’s the middle of the night and I’m tired. Go away.”
Every night Little Billy Tickle goes out to find a little boy or girl who will play with him, and tickle and tickle to keep them awake. And parents all around have to tell their kids to tell Little Billy Tickle and his tickles to go away so they can sleep at night.
Its not perfect, and I think I’ve changed it a few times, and probably need to revise, but there it is.