Once there was a Small Boy who would get agitated and nervous and worried in those hours of stillness in the very middle of the night when everything was quiet, everything in its own strange, drowsy state.
Except for one thing. And this was what had made the Small Boy feel worried. He had tried to speak to his parents, his friends, his teachers, even complete strangers about it but every time he opened his mouth only garbled sounds that made no sense at all to anyone would emerge.
In his room was a Thing.
It wasn’t a Big Thing like his parents, or a Small Thing like him. It was a Thing that was exactly the right size to fit in the dark corner under a Small Boy’s bed. He didn’t really know what to make of this Thing apart from that it did make him agitated and nervous and worried all at the same time. It seemed to dare him to do, well, stuff. Not bad stuff but stuff he would normally in his everyday life be a tiny bit scared to do. And what was worse was the Small Boy was starting to like how it was beginning to make him feel. He began to like, only sometimes mind you, that when it got quiet and dark and sleepy in the house and in the garden and in the street and in the city, apart from those few places that saw life in a different sort of way, this Thing – that was exactly the right size to hide under the bed deep in the corner - would whisper to the him. Not nasty words, oh no, not this Thing, words that were much much more terrible than that. Encouraging words. Words that made the Small Boy’s heart soar. Words that made the Small Boy excited. Words that made the Small Boy feel he could achieve absolutely any idea in the whole world.
Well. The Small Boy was not used to this at all.
The Thing under the bed in the dark corner whispered that the Small Boy could be a swashbuckling pirate or he could be a clerk in a shoe shop, or he could be the prime minister, or he could be a tiger tamer, or he could be a brain surgeon, or he could be a librarian, or he could be a master decrypter, or he could be a university professor, or he could be a contemporary dancer, or he could be a postperson, or he could be a cosomonaut, or, or, or... These weren’t the sort of occupations a Small Boy like him could dream of but what lurked under his bed told the Small Boy he could be any of these things and more even. He could write computer games or build floral displays. He could be anything he wanted to be.
All the Small Boy had to do, the Thing whispered was to come out from under the covers and put a foot on the floor and then another foot and then just the tiniest of steps in whichever direction he chose.
Not anybody else choosing on his behalf but the Small Boy himself.
On one particular night when the Small Boy was feeling a little less agitated, a little less nervous, a little less afraid, he returned the whispers with ones of his own, reaching as far down with his head as he could dare to speak to the Thing that lived in the dark corner under his bed.
“What’s your name?” he asked to what he referred to as the Monster down there.
“Courage” came the reply.