School is boring? Let’s jump ahead to graduation. Can’t wait to have enough money to get married? Skip to the wedding. Tired of waking up with a cranky baby every night? *poof*, that baby is now a child.
Eventually he pulls out so much yarn that he leaps to his golden years. His children are grown, he’s too old to work, his wife grows frail and dies and he is left alone with a patchy memory of the last 60+ years.
Just as he is about to give up hope, though, the old – now young – man wakes up and realizes it was all a dream. He solemnly swears to savour every stage of life and goes off to visit his sweetheart. I was all of eight years old at the time and even I knew that was an exceedingly poor poor way to end the story. 😉
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. It’s very easy to gloss over the difficulties in life, though. Would it be great to have the boundless energy of childhood again? Yes! Do I want my parents to tell me what to eat, which television shows I’m allowed to watch and when to go to bed? Not in the least.
That story should have ended with Thomas (the name I’ve assigned to the old man – I’ve forgotten what he was originally called) either figuring out a way to wind the ball of yarn up again or dying peacefully, the last scene of the story showing someone new stumbling across this mysterious ball of yarn.