#22 – The Tale of Dean and The Problem-Solving Machine

Once upon a time, in a town where everyone had a problem or two, there was a boy named Dean who loved building new and fanciful machines. He would see a problem that needed solving, and he would start planning and drawing a new machine to solve this problem once and for all. He would then begin the fun part of collecting the things he needed and start building the machine. In fact, he loved building his machines so much, that his mother had given him the entire garage to use as he saw fit, and Dean saw fit to use it to build his machines.

One example of Dean’s near-genius happened when he was sitting outside watching the garbage trucks and cement mixers go by. Sitting on the porch with his pet cat, he noticed that the mailman was only able to deliver mail to a single house at a time. Hmmm, he thought, I could make it far easier for the postman to deliver the mail, so he then spent the rest of his day solving the problem.

He spent hours planning and drawing and building a clever “Y” shaped machine that would allow the mailman to “slide” pieces of mail in two different directions at once. Dean showed the mailman his invention the next day but he was quickly disappointed when he wasn’t allowed to carry his massive invention down the middle of the road for any length of time. In fact, it was so big, it made his new machine useless.

Unfortunately, it seemed that with every new invention, something would always get in his way to stop it from solving the problem, but this never kept Dean from wanting to solve the next problem and the next one after that.

One day, after a hard day of trying to invent a machine that would allow birds to fly without flapping their wings, Dean walked into his house and saw his mother hunched over the table with her head in her hands. On the table was an opened envelope and a single piece of paper with a great number of words typed on it. “What’s wrong, Mummy?” Dean asked quietly.

Dean and his mother did not own as many things as other families, but his mother tried to teach him to always be thankful for the little things. She looked up and replied, “Nothing is wrong when I have you, my dear boy.” Dean could see that she had been crying but he knew better than to keep asking questions.

Over the next few days, it became clearer that his mother was thinking very hard about something. One night at dinner, while his mother seemed particularly sad, he told her, “I want to solve this, Mummy, but I don’t know what the problem is.” His mother smiled and replied, “While we are on this Earth, we will always have problems, son. You cannot solve them all.” But this didn’t discourage Dean at all. Little did Dean’s mother know that she had just given him an excellent problem to figure out and so he then spent the next seven days, planning and drawing and building his greatest invention yet.

Finally, the day came where he was able to reveal his problem-solving invention. Dean called for his mother to join him in the garage.  He was extremely excited to unveil his machine for the first time and as she walked into the garage, she couldn’t believe what she saw. In front of her, was a giant machine. It was mostly yellow and brown with some red hearts painted on its side. There were lots of switches and wires and it had parts at the font which looked as though they were designed for digging. These were connected to two poles Dean was holding while standing on the platform at the back of the machine. He asked her if she liked it and, being ever thankful, she told Dean that she loved it. But she just wasn’t quite sure what it was.

“You told me we will always have problems while being on this Earth, so I have invented a machine which allows us to go UNDER the Earth and solve our problems!” Dean’s mother chuckled a little, “You are very sweet”, she said, the noise from the machine drowning out her words. He was waving his hand towards her. “Jump on. This will work, Mummy. Trust me!”

But instead of climbing aboard, his mother just shook her head and smiled. Once again, Dean felt very sad. He was tired of his inventions not being able to solve the problems they were designed to solve.  It was time to prove once and for all that they would work so he began digging.

The garage floor was made of concrete, but Dean had made sure that his machine could easily break through it and it was only a matter of minutes before he had reached dirt underneath. As his mother watched with concern, she realised that she had to try and stop her son from continuing to dig, in case there was an accident. But she didn’t want to get too close to the giant machine and she was unable to yell over the top of the loud noise as the machine continued to dig away.

It was digging deeper and deeper and wasn’t long before Dean’s machine had dug so far down that neither Dean, nor his mother, nor his pet cat could see the bottom. He turned off the machine and the three of them stood silently looking down into the dark hole. Dean went and got the rope ladder he had made using sticks found in their backyard and threw it over the edge.

He picked up his cat and went to the edge, determined to be the first to climb the ladder down into the hole. He waited for a moment to see what his mother would do. Would she follow him down to underneath the earth?  She smiled at her son and the three of them climbed down into the hole, which would lead them to that place underneath the Earth where all the problems would be solved.


My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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