Tickle’s Way Is Best

Tickles Way - Independent Solutions

This is an open-ended metaphor. It is designed to help your child’s ability reach a satisfactory end to it. The metaphor it has no 'perfect' conclusion itself. Every child should reach their own conclusion. The story can be used to help children think about several different solutions.

It is designed to:

  • develop their personal creativity
  • ease workability testing of ideas
  • join elements of different ideas to find a better solution
  • sharpen their problem-solving abilities
  • build the internal mental resources needed to reach a realistic outcome
  • deal with put-downs

Once there was a cat named Tickle who lived at home with its mother. I said its mother as I don't know if Tickle was a boy or girl cat. You can decide that. So in the story below when I write 'it' or 'its' you can change it to boy or girl if you want to.

Tickle and its mother were both poor. Tickle did not have a dad. I can't remember why that was but I would like to guess that you know why.

Tickle had always done whatever its mother told it to do. The young cat never learned to think for itself. Lots of people and cats might think it is fantastic to have such a well behaved little one. But in some situations is not such a great quality.

I do not know why Tickle didn’t think itself himself. Let's see if we can think of some reasons:

  • Tickle's mother might have always done the thinking for
  • The little cat might have been too insecure to think for itself
  • Maybe something would wrong if it made its own choices so Tickle got worried
  • It is easier to go along with what its mother said
  • Perhaps it couldn’t be bothered to think for himself

You may agree with some or all these reasons. You may have some of your own. It does not matter what the reasons were, this is the way things were when our story begins.

I am sure you remember that Tickle and its mother didn’t have a lot of money. So mummy cat decided that Tickle had to work so they could eat and pay the bills. Tickle tried looking for little jobs to earn some cash. The little cat looked after school and weekends. Then one day it found work at a local builders merchant stacking bags of gravel. It was hard work, but Tickle was strong for a little cat. After the little cat completed the work the manager gave Tickle £10. Tickle rushed home carrying the money in his hand. Tickle bumped into another cat and it dropped it. It was a windy day and blew away and Tickle could not find it.

When Tickle got home mummy cat was waiting and she was angry when she heard what had happened. “You silly little cat,” she said, “Why didn't you put it in your pocket?”

Tickle was upset and apologised but promised to put the earnings in its trouser pocket.

The day after Tickle found some easy work got a job a corner shop. The work was easy but his pay was much less. The shopkeeper gave him a bag of lose chocolates instead of money. The little cat had promised to put the earnings in its trouser pocket. So, Tickle stuffed the chocolates into the pocket. When Tickle pulled the bag out the chocolates had melted into a gooey mess. Mummy cat told Tickle off again. “You stupid cat, you should have put them in a carrier bag.”

“I’m sorry,” apologised Tickle. “I will do what you say next time.”

On the next day Tickle for some work in a pet shop. The little cat enjoyed cleaning and feeding the animals. The owner saw how the animals liked Tickle so paid its wages by giving him a puppy. Again there was no money.

Tickle's mother told him to use a carrier bag. So the little cat put the puppy in a plastic carrier bag. But, and you may have already realised what happened, the puppy soon chewed its way out and ran off. Tickle got home and told its mother what had happened. Her reply. “You are such a silly cat. You should have got a lead or some tied a string round its neck and led it home.”

Again Tickle apologised, saying, “I always do what you tell me to do.”

On the fourth day he helped the butcher. He was so impressed with the work that Tickle had done, the butcher gave the little cat a neck of lamb. Tickle thought mummy cat will be pleased with the wages today.

Tickle did as mummy cat had told him. He tied a some string around the neck and started walking home pulling it along. Soon all the village dogs and his runaway puppy were following him, biting chunks out of the neck of lamb. When Tickle got home there was nothing but string and bone. Tickles mother told the little cat off once again. “You are such an idiot. Why did you not carry it on your shoulder and run home?”

Tickle apologised and promised next time to do as she said. But Tickle was starting to get annoyed as well. Every day the little cat was doing what mummy cat had said but it was always wrong.

The next day was a Saturday so Tickle set off for a local farm to get a whole days work. Tickle worked hard all day, so the farmer gave him an old mule for wages. I am sure you can remember what Tickles mother had said. Yes that's right put it on your shoulder. Tickles tried to lift the mule onto his shoulders. It was too big and heavy. So Tickles remembered her other instructions.

“Put it in your pocket,” but the mule was too big to go in.

“Carry it in a plastic carrier bag,” even if Tickle had one the mule was going to fit in it.

"Tie string round its neck and lead it home". Tickles decided that this would work. After all dogs would not eat a living mule - it would kick them. The farmer gave him some string, but the mule dug its heels in and the string snapped.

Tickles did not know what to do. The little cat had run out of mummy cats instructions.

  • What do you think Tickles did next?
  • How do you think Tickles might solve this problem?
  • If you were in Tickles place, what would you do to get the mule home?
  • What do you think the Tickles and mummy cat should learn from this?


Tickles did get the mule back home, maybe using a method you chose. Before mummy cat could complain and put the little cat down again. He told her none of her ideas worked. That they were all useless and no help at all.

Tickles went on to say "My idea worked best so I do not have to say sorry or apologise to you. I can now think for myself and if I get it wrong I will learn from it. If your instructions fit things in the future I will use them. But if they don't I will find new ones of my own".

Mummy cat smiled and nodded.


Cat adopting Tickle's way
Tickle is upset after a put-down by Mummy Cat. Before Tickle's way is found

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