I hope you enjoy tonight’s bedtime story about Nelly The Nervous Night Owl. Nelly is afraid to go out and catch food because she fears not doing it well enough and being laughed at by the other owls. After speaking with one of her friends, Nelly decides to make a choice to empower herself.
🎧 Bedtime Story Podcast #20
Nelly The Nervous Night Owl
Most owls aren’t nervous. But Nelly was. While all the other owls would fly out at night to go and capture food, Nelly was often frozen to a branch of the tree in which she lived. But she was not frozen because it was cold. She was frozen because she was afraid.
“What’s wrong, Nelly?” another owl called. Nelly did not respond for a while, and the other owl, named Dominic, flew up and perched beside her.
“I’m afraid,” Nelly said.
“Of what?” Dominic said.
“I see you and the other owls always going out and getting plenty of food. What if I can’t? What if I try just as much as you, and I fail? What if I can’t do it?”
Nelly often couldn’t catch her own food. She would have to rely on other owls to bring her home some scraps.
“Have you tried to catch food before?” Dominic said.
“Once,” Nelly replied. “It didn’t go well. I didn’t catch much.”
“It just takes practice,” Dominic said. “Most things do. If you do something again and again, you get better at it, but not straight away. Over time.”
“But what if I don’t?!” Nelly said. “What if I’m just not cut out for catching food like the rest of you?”
Dominic laughed, very strangely. Out of all the owls laughs, his was the strangest. It sounded like sandpaper rubbing on wood.
“You are scared of failing because you think you have something to lose.” Dominic said. “But you don’t. You have nothing to lose.”
“What if the other owls laugh at me?” Nelly said. “What if they think I’m no good?”
“You can’t live your life based on what other owls think about you,” Dominic said. “Their opinions are their own business. Not yours. And anyway, is it so good being known as the owl who is too afraid to hunt?”
Nelly was quiet. “No,” she said. “But it’s better than being known as the owl who can’t hunt!”
Dominic looked out into the night sky, and decided to say one final thing.
“Nelly,” he said. “You have to make a choice.”
“What?” Nelly said. “What choice?”
“You have to decide what is more important: you living as you would like to live, or the fear of other owls’ opinions. At the moment you are making fear of other owls’ judgement more important than what you really want to do. But now you must make the choice consciously.”
Then Dominic flew off. He disappeared into the night, and Nelly was left alone.
And on that night, Nelly did decide to choose. She saw herself in her own mind, flying free, completely fearless, being independent and doing everything she wanted to do, and then she saw herself afraid, on the branch, concerned about what others would think if she failed to catch enough food.
There was one version of herself that she preferred. She chose that one, on purpose, and now the thoughts of the other owls meant nothing.
She took off into the night air, and she flew in the direction her instincts wanted to take her.
“Look!” She heard another owl shout. “It’s Nelly. And she is free!”
Story written and read in English by Adam Oakley, Copyright © Adam Oakley