What follows is the very first work of fanfiction I ever posted online. I'd been peeking in on the Redwall Fanfiction Board for a few months in early 2001, reading all the stories there, but I wasn't sure whether it was permitted for someone to join until they'd actually put up a fanfic on the RFF. Since the two Redwall works I'd written up to that time were both lengthy, multi-chapter tales, I whipped up this little caprice as my introductory fic, a way to ingratiate myself and my literary talents into the community. It later turned out that posting fanfiction was not in fact a requirement of joining the RFF, but at least I got this humorous short-short out of the bargain, so I figured I might as well share it here. Enjoy!


"Tell us a story!" all the Dibbuns cried, their incessant voices melding into one continuous plea that hammered at Sister Aurelia's eardrums. The mousemaid shook her head to clear it of the confusion wrought by their vociferous demands. She swore silently to herself that this was positively the last time she'd let Abbess Vanessa talk her into taking the nightly tucking-in duty for Redwall's children.

She clapped her paws until some small semblance of calm and quiet returned to the dormitory. "All right, all right! If I tell you a story," she said teasingly, "will you promise to all settle down and go straightaway to sleep?"

A dozen furry heads nodded as one.

"Oh, yes, yes!"

"We promise!"

"Boi okey, uz'll be good!"

"Very well, then." Aurelia dragged a broken old butter churn into the center of the stone floor. The churn's handle had been removed and its top padded so that it made an excellent stool, in keeping with the Abbey's philosophy of waste-not, want-not. She settled herself onto it and glanced about the room. An expectant gaze returned her own from every occupied bed. And so she began.

"Once upon a time there was a mouse.

He was born, he lived for awhile -

nothing much very interesting ever

happened to him - and then he died.

The end."

The Dibbuns were flabbergasted into utter silence; for the space of many heartbeats the only sound was the scraping of wood against stone as Aurelia stood and dragged the churn back to its place in the corner.

Then the storm broke, an almost tangible wall of protest over their elder's trickery. Aurelia finished replacing the churn, then sternly barked for silence.

"I said I'd tell you a story," she admonished them. "I never said it would be a GOOD story. Now, I expect all of you to keep your promise, and go to bed without any more fuss."

"That's cheating!" accused a particularly troublesome hedgehog named Droge.

"Not at all. I fulfilled my obligation, and now I expect all of you to fulfill yours."

"Wuzza obblegashurn?" asked Padgett the mole.

"It's a responsibility. A duty you agree to undertake."

Droge sniggered. "She said doody!"

"My paw will have a lot to say to your prickly backside if you don't stop causing trouble!" she warned.

Droge instantly piped down.

"Now, then," Aurelia said as she extinguished the lanterns, mindful to keep one or two lit for the benefit of the younger babes, "if you're all good and behave yourselves well, as proper Abbey children should, maybe someday I'll tell you a REAL story. One with brave heroes and dastardly villains. Until then ...