Angels at Bedtime – The Old Man and the See-saw

Posted by Karen Wallace
5 December, 2011

This is an Advent treat for the little ones – a bedtime story, with a lovely message about sharing.

The Old Man and the See-Saw

Relax, be very still and listen carefully to this story about two selfish princesses called Tiara and Topaz.

Princess Tiara and Princess Topaz lived in a castle. They had everything they wanted, but they wanted more. They were always arguing because they didn’t know how to share or play together.

Although they were twins, the two princesses were completely different. Tiara was tall and chubby with long, think black hair. Topaz was short and skinny with curly hair the colour of carrots. Tiara liked doing tough things like pushing her sister into the castle moat, while Topaz liked doing sneaky things like hiding in a tree and dropping flour on her sister’s head.

One day, their father, King Phoenix, banged his walking stick on the floor, “If you don’t stop arguing and start getting on with each other,” he cried, “I will leave my kingdom to your cousin Cecil instead of you!”

Both princesses were horrified.

“But it’s MY kingdom,” cried Princess Tiara.

“No! It’s MINE!” shouted Princess Topaz.

Then Tiara said, “Cecil is a weed. I don’t like him.”

“I don’t like him either,” said Topaz.

“See,” said Tiara. “We agree on something.”

“Yeah,” said Topaz, looking suspiciously at her sister.

“That’s not good enough,” said King Phoenix. “If you don’t learn how to get on and share things by sunset, Prince Cecil will get the kingdom, not you two.”

All that afternoon, the two princesses tried to do things together in the castle gardens, but they found it impossible. Tiara offered her sister a sandwich from her picnic box, but it turned out she had already eaten the filling.

Topaz finished off the lemonade before her sister had even had a sip. Slowly but surely, the sun began to set.

“What are we going to do?” wailed Princess Tiara.

“It’s all your fault,” shouted Princess Topaz.

A sound of hammering came through the trees.

“What’s that?” demanded Princess Topaz.

“How should I know? snapped Princess Tiara.

They ran to look. Behind a hedge they found a strange old man with shining grey hair, wearing a long white robe. Nearby a long plank was balanced on a block.

“What on earth is that?” asked Tiara.

“A see-saw,” said the old man. “I built it specially for you to share. One sits at one end and one at the other, then you push up with your feet.”

There was something about his voice that made both princesses do what he said right away.

It was AMAZING! The princesses soared up and down in the air. It was the first time they had every played together properly and they had the best time ever.

That night they told their father about their adventure. King Phoenix hugged his daughters. “That man must have been an angel,” he cried. “Only an angel could have made you two learn how to share.”


  • Everyone has a good side, no matter how annoying they may seem at first.
  • Squabbling over little things doesn’t just make us unhappy, it also upsets all the people around us. Try to be generous.
  • Being close to someone – such as a sister, a brother or a friend – is the most important thing in the world.
From Angels at Bedtime, ©2011 by Karen Wallace, published by Watkins.

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