Listen and Talk-a-Lot: A Story Especially for Boys Based on a Belarus Proverb

Mama and Papa Bison have two little bison:
Listen and Talk-a-Lot.
Listen stops, looks, and listens when Mama or Papa or anyone else talks.
Talk-a-Lot never stops talking, chatting, and interrupting long enough to hear anything.

Listen hears his opportunity clock, the birds chirping, and his parents say,
“Good Morning, Listen.”
Talk-a-Lot begins talking about his dreams the minute his opportunity clock sings. He misses the chirping birds and his parents’ greeting.

At breakfast, Mama Bison serves homemade sausage and potato pancakes.
Talk-a-Lot talks about what his friends eat for breakfast.
Listen hears when Papa Bison says,
“Grandma and Grandpa will take anyone ready by 9:00 a.m. to the Gorky Central Children’s Park.”
Listen is ready to go when Grandma and Grandpa arrive. Talk-a-Lot, still in his pajamas and still talking, of course misses the excursion.
Guess who has fun?

When Mama Bison is on the phone, she can’t hear because Talk-a-Lot is talking.

After the park explorers return, Mama Bison takes Listen and Talk-a-Lot to the library.
Listen picks out books, reads, and listens to a presentation on how to grow microgreens.
Talk-a-Lot talks.
Who do you think learns more?

In church, Listen is silent and learns what’s right and what’s wrong.
Talk-a-Lot talks, distracts others, and receives glares from everyone trying to pay attention.

The Deer family invites the Bison family over for dinner and a movie.
Talk-a-Lot tells all about his plans, his Legos, and his favorite things.
No one else has a chance to talk.
During the movie, Talk-a-Lot continues to talk.
No one can hear the movie.
Do you think the Deer family will invite the Bison family over for a movie again?

At school on Monday, Listen learns fascinating facts, study skills, and problem-solving.
In class, Talk-a-Lot talks again, distracts others again, and receives more glares from everyone trying to pay attention.
At recess, Listen pays attention to his friends’ stories, asks questions, and looks at the people speaking.
At recess, Talk-a-Lot notices no one is listening to him. A tear trickles down his face. He realizes he doesn’t have any friends.
Friends surround Listen.

On the way home, Talk-a-Lot asks Listen, “Will you help me make friends?”
“Yes,” Listen replies, “How…”
Talk-a-Lot interrupts, “I know! Smile, use people’s names, and talk about everything you know and…
Listen points to a sign:
Who talks little hears better. ~ Belarus Proverb
“To make friends, you have to be a friend, and the best friends listen and learn.”

Talk-a-Lot stops talking. He hears the birds. He hears the rustle of the wind.
“What is that I hear? Someone is struggling.”
Talk-a-Lot and Listen trot over and find Elk desperately trying to escape from a trap.
They rescue Elk. Talk-a-Lot is a hero! Then, instead of talking, Talk-a-Lot listens to Elk’s story and decides listening and learning is more fun than talking all the time.

“I’m going to stop, look, and listen whenever anyone speaks,” decides Talk-a-Lot, and do you know what? He isn’t Talk-a-Lot anymore. He’s Listen-a-Lot and learns many fascinating facts and life skills, and has many friends.