For more information on dysautonomia and kids, visit http://www.dynainc.org/dysautonomia
This story is about a fainting goat. Partially written as a safe way to approach Dysautonomia awareness, it is meant to be simple and applicable in many situations. The ending is somewhat open to allow children to add their stories. See the suggested questions and activities that may be used with children to encourage dialogue, deeper thinking and creative solutions.
Max & Paxton
Max is a gray donkey. He is stubbornly protective over his best friend, Paxton. Paxton is a fainting goat. If he gets overly excited or scared, he falls over and looks like he has gone to sleep. Paxton always wakes up shortly after falling over. He knows that sometimes the other animals can be mean and laugh at him. They must not realize how scary it is to faint again and again.
Paxton has fine splotches of short, multicolor fur and sleepy eyes. He and Max live on a farm with all of the usual farm amenities. The farm has plenty of grass, hay, a warm barn and many other animals.
When Max trots on all four hooves, Paxton likes to ride along on his back. Paxton loves to jump, and he can get very excited. There is so much that Paxton wants to do. He has so many ideas. But again, Paxton is a fainting goat. This means that sometimes things do not go as planned.
Today, Max needs to go to town to sell some carrots for the farmer. Paxton, who loves to window shop at the market, begs Max to take him. He opens his droopy eyes as wide as he can, “Oooh, oooh, I want to go! Can I ride on your back?”
“No Paxton,” replied Max. “I’m riding the bicycle. Just wait here and I’ll be back in 10 minutes.”
“Ooh, but I want to go with you. Please, please, please,” begged Paxton as he jumped up, down and all around the bicycle.
Max crossed his arms and rolled his eyes, but it was no use against Paxton’s begging. “Paxton, it’s very crowded and noisy at the market. If you had just let me leave 10 minutes ago, I’d already be back.”
“Pleeeeease,” cried Paxton.
“Fine,” answered a reluctant Max, “but you have to sit in the basket with the carrots.”
“Ooh, thank you. I’m so excited,” said Paxton as he leaped in the bicycle basket. Then he passed out from all the excitement, and Max peddled to town.
They arrived at the market and Max began to remove the carrots for sale.
“How much for the lazy goat in the basket?” asked one lady as she pointed to Paxton.
“He’s not lazy and he’s not for sale,” barked Max.
“What a terrible sales-donkey,” mumbled the lady as she walked away.
Max went about his business and sold most of the carrots. Unfortunately, there was one carrot that could not be sold because Paxton drooled on it.
Max peddled back to the farm. Just as the bicycle rolled onto the field, Paxton woke up. “Is it time to go to the market?” asked a foggy Paxton. “I’m so excited. Let’s go. Let’s go!”
Max broke the news to his little friend. “We already went and came back. Maybe you can go next time.”
“Not again,” sighed Paxton as he started gaining his balance in the basket. “What’s this?” he said, pulling out the unsold carrot. Paxton proudly exclaimed “Look Max, I found a carrot for you!” Paxton, fully pleased with himself, handed the carrot to Max.
“Thanks little buddy. It’s a great carrot.”
Questions for Activity/Discussion
- What should Paxton think or do when the other animals laugh at him?
- Why didn’t Max want to take Paxton to the market?
- Why did Max get so mad at the lady at the market?
- What can Paxton do to make sure that he doesn’t get hurt?
- What made the carrot at the end of the story so special?
- Have kids write their own short story about Max and Paxton. Ask them to include some of the other farm animals.