The Blanket Story
The Blanket Story is something I made up to teach my kids about colonization. I had them sit on the couch and act it out with my son’s favourite blanket. Here is the story adapted so that others may use it if they wish:
When Billy was just a little wee baby boy, he was wrapped in a soft, warm fuzzy blue blanket. It was a knitted blanket that was all his.
When Billy was a little bit older, he gave his blanket a name. “Fuzzy.” he called it as he hugged it close to his chest.
When Billy was a little bit older he figured out that Fuzzy took care of him; kept him safe during the night, comforted him when he was hurt or sad, played with him when he needed to build a fort and kept him warm even when the coldest winds would blow.
When Billy was all the way older and he turned 10 years old, he still loved Fuzzy and promised to always take care of it as best he could. Billy didn’t know how to mend Fuzzy’s holes and he didn’t know how to put Fuzzy in the wash or to soften it up again after it got wet but he knew how to love Fuzzy, to put it away on his pillow and never forget it somewhere like he did when he was little.
Then Billy’s parents told him that a visitor was coming. Granny was getting older and couldn’t take care of herself anymore and needed to stay with them from then on.
The day Granny arrived, Billy watched her things being unloaded from the car and into the house. He was excited to see what it was like when Granny was around all the time because on their visits she usually gave him sweets and she had a way of saying things which often made Billy laugh.
When all of her things were unpacked, Granny sat down on the couch next to Billy to rest her weary bones.
Billy’s parents asked him if he’d like to share some of his blanket. So Billy gave Granny one, small corner.
Later his parents said, “Granny looks a little cold, she could probably use a little more of your blanket.”
Billy laid more than half of his blanket across his grandma’s lap. Even though she was a small lady, she was still much bigger than him and he really didn’t want her to be cold. “Like this Granny,” Billy said, as he showed her how to run a soft corner of Fuzzy on her cheek.
“Oh my!” Granny held Fuzzy up in front of her eyes and peered through a large hole. She leaned over to Billy and whispered, “Don’t worry, I know how to knit. I can mend your blanket for you.”
She rubbed Fuzzy on her check and sniffed. “Oh my!” she said, “Your blanket is smelly but don’t worry, I can wash it for you.”
“That’s okay,” Billy reached over and began to pull his blanket back. “I like fuzzy the way he is.”
“Fiddlesticks!” Snapped Granny, which normally would have made Billy laugh but this time it didn’t. She tightened Fuzzy firmly over her lap. “While I’m living in this house, we’ll wash and mend your blanket. And stop calling it Fuzzy, you’re 10 years old and it’s a blanket so you should call it a that.”
Billy was not pleased. But although Granny might be proper and set in her ways, she was not a mean old lady. Before he knew it Granny had fished a package of candies out of her pocket and handed it to Billy. Billy smiled.
Over the next few weeks whenever Billy sat on the couch to read his book or watch TV, Granny sat right next to him and pulled her portion of the blanket right over her lap. She mended the holes and kept it washed and gave it fabric softener and even though it looked good and smelled good, Billy wasn’t happy. He never had his whole blanket anymore. And it didn’t look and feel like his good ol’ Fuzzy. In fact, he could only call his blanket Fuzzy when he was alone in his room at night.
So Granny started to give Billy two packs of candy whenever they sat together because she didn’t want him to be sad but she also didn’t want him to give up his new and proper use of the blanket.
One night Billy could not go to sleep. He was having such a pain in his cheek that even rubbing his blanket over it didn’t make it feel better. It was a toothache. Billy had a cavity from all those candies he’d been eating.
“Granny, you need to stop giving Billy any more candy!” his parents warned.
“Don’t worry,” Granny assured them, “the dentist will fix Billy’s cavity and I’ll pay every cent.” Granny walked off to call the dentist. It didn’t console Billy very much. He didn’t want to go to the dentist, even if it was free.
Later, when Billy's tooth was fixed and the dentist visit was behind him, he and Granny resumed their regular routine of sharing the blanket in exchange for treats. When Billy went to sit on the couch one day, he couldn’t find the blanket anywhere.
“Oh the blanket was due for a wash,” Granny told him, “it’s in the machine.”
Billy ran to the laundry room. When he opened the door and pulled his blanket out, half of it stayed behind in the drum. One of the threads had become caught in the wash and was completely unravelled inside the machine, leaving it in one huge tangle of a knot!
With what was left of his blanket in one hand and the knotted tangle in the other, Billy returned to the living room looking grim.
“It can’t even get fixed!” Billy announced from the doorway. “It’s ruined!”
Granny looked chagrined. She beckoned Billy over and gave him a hug. Taking the tangled knot in her hands she realized Billy was right. The mess couldn’t be undone. In spite of her best intentions, she had made her grandson very sad indeed.
“I’m sorry Billy.” Granny said, and Billy could tell that she meant it. “What can I do? I know that I can’t fix it, but is there anything I can do at least to make it better?”
Billy thought about it and said. “His name is Fuzzy.”
Granny nodded her head.
“We can keep him clean, (it actually smells kind of good), but you need to be more careful from now on-“
Granny nodded her head again.
“-and ask me first.”
Granny nodded harder.
“Okay. I’ll do it. Now should we do something about this mess? I’ve got some yarn in my things that just about matches.”
Billy and Granny went to work on Fuzzy together. They both knew that it would never be back like it was before but that didn’t mean Fuzzy couldn’t be great again.
Fuzzy flourished from then on with two people who looked after it and appreciated it in their own ways.
When Billy was a little bit older, he sometimes let Granny have Fuzzy all to herself, which made Granny feel especially loved. And Granny made sure to show Fuzzy the very best care and appreciation which made Fuzzy feel loved. And Fuzzy would softly stroke Billy’s cheek and be there for him whenever he needed it. And Billy felt loved.
Billy represents the First Nations of Canada, Granny represents the European settlers and the land is represented by the blanket. I chose to write the story referring to Fuzzy as “it” because, although Billy personifies his blanket, it should have no gender.