The Impatient Imagination
Very Short Stories for Impatient Children with Imagination 2nd Edition, 2010

The Impatient Imagination is a storybook based on the premise that children are more mature than we give them credit. They are very creative when allowed. Encourage it!

It features twenty-two tales and poems written for children of all ages. Created by Edward Fisher, a professor emeritus who taught courses in computer graphics, these literary and artistic pieces include puzzles, interesting topics of discussion, plays on words, some strange characters such as a jackalope and a capybara, and new ideas to tinker with.


Adding to its appeal is a series of amusing variations of old children’s books that will capture the reader’s imagination. Some items here are in prose, others in poetry, and all come with a sense of humor. All in all, this book’s content can be read to kids with short pauses to explain some of the words and meaning. Fifth graders should be able to read the book and comprehend the pieces, perhaps with the help of a dictionary as some of the words are whimsical in nature.


Imaginative and creatively written, Fisher’s The Impatient Imagination will encourage children to think in a creative way – while having fun reading it.

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Illustrations by the author


THE IMPATIENT IMAGINATION: Very Short Stories for Impatient Children with Imagination


5. GUS’ GOOSE 11
20. BRAIDS 41


Some Story Summaries.
Edward Fisher

A capybara named Barry carries Jack to Dreamland.

During a snow storm, Jack goes in search of a crafty jackalope. Princess Precarious is angry with everyone and stomps out of the palace, only to be lost in a city she’s never seen. Find out what really happened when Jack built a house. Only people who live in areas where Canada geese roost know the dangers of walking behind one named Slick. What in the world is a Fibonacci number?

Find out how Bossy, Jack’s pet crow, saves the day. Jack tries to cheer his mother up with “welfare and decoration.” Is it possible to bake a whale in Nebraska? See how a princess saves her people by becoming a dolphin. Olaf is clever enough to tricks an ogre named after a potato. Jack gives the bravest tiny bird a winter gift. A selfless act makes an old man happy.

Oh, Rumplestiltskin has had his name legally changed, and is just as slippery as before. The Quwing and Keen had tea and crumpets during a battle. The Which of the Tooldes uses his imagination to make important decisions. Jack and Professor Paronomasia go looking for something to eat.

These are just a few of the twenty two stories in this book.

THE IMPATIENT IMAGINATION: Games, Riddles, & Puzzles


Story 1:

On a calendar find “the middle of July.”
What is Daylight Savings Time and why?
Give different names to eight different capybaras so that each name starts with one of the letters in the word “capybara.”
What would you call days when people bought a lot of things?

Story 2:

Name a food you would consider “glop.”
What chores do you do around the house?
Locate Nebraska on a map.
Would you want a jackalope? If so, where would you hide it?
While waiting to catch his jackalope, Jack plays some mental math exercises.
Pascale’s triangle (named after the French mathematician Blaise Pascal) has many practical applications and is easy to generate. It begins:


1 1
1 2 1
1 3 3 1
1 4 6 4 1
1 5 10 10 5 1
1 6 15 20 15 6 1


Each new row has numbers that are the sum of two of the numbers in the previous row. Add the next four rows.
He then started listing prime numbers (these are so old we don’t know who to blame). It is a list of all natural numbers (integers used in counting things): 1, 2, 3, etc. a number is prime if it can only be divided by 1 and itself without leaving a decimal. 1, 2, and 3 are prime numbers; 4 is not because it can be divided evenly by 1, 2, and 4. 5 is prime but 6 is not (in fact we can throw out all the even numbers from here on because they can all be divided by 2). 7, 11 and 13 are prime (show yourself why). Is 281 a prime number (that’s what Jack concluded)? Fibonacci numbers (named after the Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci) start as: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc. Each new number is the sum of the two numbers to its left, so the next would be 44. Is Jacks’ answer of 233 a member of this set?
What would you call pancakes made out of glop?

Story 3:

The cat’s name is Delice. What does the word mean? Is that a good name for a cat? Can you think of a better name for a cat? The name of the princess is Precarious. What does the word mean? Does the name suit her?
Create a menu for tonight’s dinner at the palace.What would you call the princess after she heard a funny story?

Story 4:

Read the poem before looking at the numbered notes. Then read the notes. Do the notes help make sense of the poem, or more confusing?
There is no correct answer.What in the world does “transmogrification” mean? Give at least two alternatives.

Story 5:

In some books there are “star-crossed lovers.” What does that mean?
Father works for Sun Rise, Inc. The explanation in the story for how the sun rises and sets seems plausible. Poke holes in this silly account.
Look at that map of Nebraska. Can you find the Nebraska Sea?
Find the Czech Republic on a map, a very new map. What was it called before becoming a republic?Who are Paul Bunyan and Babe?
Give the Royal Purple Python a name.
Are you afraid of snakes? You shouldn’t be. What feature should you look for to determine if a snake is poisonous or not?

Story 6:

Find the meaning of “thyme” and “furry.”
The word “inchoate” has several definitions. The scientific one helps to explain how snow flakes fall, and which way the wind will blow a minute from now.Look into it; it is quite mysterious.
“Has-been actor,” when said by the folks in England comes out, “has-bean actor.” You would probably say, “has-bin.” Find three other word that the English say one way and we another.
Is “bibelots” a real or made-up word?

Story 7:

Have you read Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol?” If you haven’t borrow a copy from the library and read it before this Christmas.
Some say Mr. Dickens really saved the holiday, by reminding his readers of the joys of that time of year.
Since Jack picks an iris flower, what season must it be?

Story 8:

The story is full of words starting with capital letters and ending with a funny little circle with a letter in it. Sometimes the letter is R, ,C, T, or TM. Find out what these letters mean; are all the words in the story labeled correctly? Hmmm.
Did you know that whales are mammals, just as we are, and must come to the surface of the sea for air? In fact many millions of years ago they lived on the land and had legs. They are distant relatives of the hippopotamus. The sea was shallow and krill, a small crustacean, and fish were plentiful for the early whales to eat. The sea receded and the krill and fish were farther out to sea. Only the animals that could swim far could get their food. Over a long period, these lost the need for legs. The rear legs atrophied, and the front ones became flukes, to help them swim farther and dive deeper after their food.
Can you think of a way to reduce the cooking time for the whale? Would you rather go to the Arthur Treacher’s? Is there one near your home? How about a Red Lobster?

Story 9:

Have you determined how King Esontneb got his name?How about Nodiesop?
What does the dolphin have in common with the whale?

Story 10:

Before there were cities, humans were hunters and gatherers, following their food from place to place. Agriculture and trade led to meeting places to store, and buy and sell things. Soon people settled in these trading posts, which became the centers of civilization. Find where the earliest cities were built.
Potatoes grow well, even in the rocky soil of northern Europe. They were easy to store and can be used in many dishes. In this area the words for potato came from the German word “kartoffal.”
Was the game fair? Did Olaf cheat the ogre, or was the ogre too dumb to ask more about gambling?
Is gambling a good thing or not?

Story 11:

Look at a bird book. Where do Kirtland pine warblers live?Name other kinds of warbler. What does “to warble” mean?

Story 12:

Have you heard a fairy tale where a person does a selfless deed and is rewarded? Yes, there are many. Others are about foolish people who do bad things and are punished. Which do you like better? Why are there the two types of fairy tails?

Story 13:

Even his name, Farmer Grasp tells you something about the man. Do you like him in the story? Many people wish they had enough money to leave a job they don’t like.
Did the wanderer keep his end of the bargain?
Changing straw into gold can only be done by selling a lot of it at a good price. Working hard and well can lead to a better life. What might be a good rule for living a good life?

Story 14:

This is a silly story, and doesn’t make much sense.
Who were the Lumpumps? Think of what a skeezle would be. How about a glooper? A wheezle? What is an armada of bloopers? Name a famous silly story.

Story 15:

Where in the world did the name Kaj come from? Hint: see Story 9.
How did you wake up this morning, grumpy, without concern, or happy?
Think of six things a which doctor could do for you.
Would you prefer getting a Sword of Justice or a crème puff? Explain.
The story mentions Solomon who was faced with a similar dilemma. Who is he and what was the problem he solved?
The mistress’ name is Dab Lirg. Use the trick you used in Story 9 to find her name in English.
Geometry is a branch of mathematics that studies shapes such as line, circles, and triangles. The early Egyptians used it to design the Pyramids 5000 years ago.Today it can be used by surveyors to make property maps. Find a way to determine the area of a square, a rectangle, and a triangle. One way of solving the Dribbles’ property problem would be to divide the curious shape into four triangles. Divide the land map into the triangles.How long is “ four score and seven years”? The most famous use of this expression was by a famous U.S. president. Who was he and what was the occasion?

Story 16:

Professor Paronomasia’s name is strange. What does paronomasia mean?
Jack wanted snacks.The professor thought he wanted snaqs. This led to the wild shopping spree. Think of pairs of words that sound alike but each means something different. An example would be to, too, and two. Wait, that’s three words. Nonetheless, it is an example. The letter Q is one of the least used letters in the alphabet. What is the name of a country that ends in a q?

Story 17:

There are places in the world where, if you stood and looked around everything would look flat. The oceans are like that on a calm day. As you go higher and higher, you can see that the horizon is curved.
Mrs. Vander Snoot utters the phrase, “noblesse oblige.” What does that mean?
Have you ever seen snail forks? Have you eaten snails? They are considered a delicacy in fancy restaurants.
The word bloody has appeared in at least two stories and is shunned by cultured people in Britain. Find out why.
What is an A&P?
Everyone in this story seems greedy, except the two boys and their parents. What makes people want more that they have?
How do snail forks move?

Story 18:

Find out about chipmunks. At one time there was a musical group named the Chipmunks.Have you heard any of their songs?
What does anamorphic mean (and why does the author use so many big words)?

Story 19:

Mistletoe has a long history, and means different things in different cultures. Trace its history back 2000 years.
While most bread today is made by the thousands of loaves in a factory, there are still some bakers who make and sell their bread and cakes in a shop.Sometimes they will slip an extra roll or doughnut into a bag of a dozen, just in case the customer might think one of the items is too small. It is also good business, because that customer is likely to come back to the bakery again. Is there a bakery shop in your town?
What would you call someone who pretends to make bread?

Story 20:

Use the trick you used in other stories to find out the English name of the village.
Moustaches come into fashion and out in various communities. The next time you are near a group of adults see how many men have moustaches. The same can be said about long and short hair.
Gypsies get a bad rap in many parts of the world, just because they are different. They have their own clans, beliefs, and often travel from town to town, and perform shows. Find a reliable source and learn about gypsies, where they are located, and their history.
When a barber sweeps up after a customer leaves, where does he sell the clippings?

Story 21:

Chipmunks and red squirrels do not get along well. They are fighting for the same territory with its food supply and places to hide when winter comes.
Where humans do not dwell, each chipmunk must also guard its territory from other chipmunks: nature gives each being (plant and animal) a set of skills. If a creature can use its skills where it lives it survives. If not, the creature dies. The coming of humans changes the territory and often provides more food and hiding places. Animals, such as chipmunks thrive in some of these places and form loose colonies. This is a major advantage when it comes to gathering more food and fighting natural enemies.
Find the technical name for chipmunks. How many varieties are there in the North American continent?The phrase “those above” applies to our family. We built a family room with a foundation of cement blocks to circulate air. There are three vents to help the circulation. Chipmunks can squeeze through very tiny holes and made the space under the family room floor their Palace. It has been quite an education to us seeing how the chipmunks interact with each other and the other animals and birds who visit our yard.
What would you call a chipmunk that has a knack for opening pecans?

Story 22:

People who live alone are often scorned by neighbors as hermits or spinsters. In times past they were also thought to be wizards or witches. In the worst of times, they were also persecuted and killed, just because they were different. One of America’s most famous “hermits” was Henry Thoreau. He wrote the book Walden that chronicled his life of harmony with nature on Walden Pond in Massachusetts.Look into his life and beliefs. He influenced many famous people, such as Gandhi, Tolstoy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
What would you call someone who carves wooden toys at Christmas?

Answers to some of the Riddles & Puzzles:


  1. Daylight Spending Time.
  2. Flop Glops.
  3. Hilarious Precarious.
  4. Going to St. Ives? None, they were all in the house going no place, fast.
  5. Look at the tail: nonpoisonous snakes have thin slender tails. Poisonous snakes have blunt, stubby tails. Avoid the latter.
  6. The word bibelots is made up.
  7. Iris blooms in late spring and early summer.
  8. Reduce cooking time by removing the blubber, which is used for cooking oil, lubricants, and candles.
  9. Dolphins and whales are mammals, along with seals, and sea lions. They are very intelligent.
  10. Gambling is neither good nor bad. It is one thing to bet your friend a nickel that you can throw the next snowball the farther. Some people become addicted to placing large amounts of money on a card game or spin of a roulette wheel. They loose all their money and often end up in financial ruin.
  11. Warbling means to have the ability to sing with trills and melody.
  12. Fairy tales are very ancient and were used to teach children the difference between good and bad.
  13. There are many phrases, such as “do unto others.” Perhaps it can be summarized as leaving the world a better place than it was before you were born.
  14. Perhaps the most famous is by Lewis Carroll: The Hunting of the Snark.
  15. A score is twenty years, so four score and twenty would be 87. President Abraham Lincoln used the expression in his Gettysburg address, November 19, 1863.
  16. Iraq.
  17. At a snail’s pace.
  18. Anamorphic means any devise that corrects pictures, such as a lens that can project a flat picture on a curved wall. In the story the flakes create the curved snow drift. The reason for using long words is that one can express a complicated idea with one word instead of ten or twenty. In other words, the word sounds nice.
  19. A baker faker.
  20. At a hair fair.
  21. A nut cracker.
  22. That has to be one of Santa’s helpers.