It was dark – really dark! Zeppo wanted to leave a light on when he went to sleep but all of the Imots said that he was just being silly.
“You can’t see anything with your eyes shut” Albert had told him “so what would be the use of leaving a light on? Close your eyes just before I turn out the light and you’ll never know the difference.”
Zeppo did close his eyes before Albert turned out the light. But he did know the difference. The difference was that he felt frightened.
Zeppo started to imagine what might be lurking in the dark. He imagined a lion about to let out a terrible roar; he imagined a crocodile with razor sharp teeth; he imagined a hippopotamus about to sit on him; he imagined a snake slithering into his bed; he even imagined a spooky white ghost although he knew that there was no such thing. Zeppo was great at imagining all sorts of frightening things but he was no good at all at falling asleep in the dark.
Finally, Zeppo decided that it was no use trying to sleep when all these terrible creatures might be creeping about the room. So he got up and turned on the light.
There was no lion about to let out a terrible roar; there was no crocodile with razor sharp teeth; there was no hippopotamus about to sit on him; there was no snake slithering into his bed and there was certainly no spooky white ghost. But there was one frightening thing – Albert! And Albert was angry.
“I thought I said to leave the light turned off” scolded Albert.
“But I’m frightened in the dark” complained Zeppo.
“There’s nothing to be frightened of” said Albert. “Just the same things are in the dark as in the light. Anyhow, how could a lion or a hippopotamus get in here. I’m going to give you a few minutes to get to sleep and then come back and turn off the light. I’ll close the door so that nothing can get in.”
In a few minutes, Albert came back. Zeppo had his eyes closed but he wasn’t asleep as Albert switched off the light and closed the door.
“What about scorpions?” thought Zeppo. “They could creep under the door. Or fire-ants that sting; or army ants. There could be millions of army ants coming under the door about to carry me away.” Zeppo was too frightened to stay in the dark. So, he climbed out of bed and crept into Gummo’s room.
Gummo was asleep but Zeppo soon woke him.
“Gummo!” he whispered. “Wake up! It’s really dark in here. There could be lions or crocodiles or hippopotamuses or snakes or, even, ghosts and we wouldn’t know.”
“Lions or hippopotamuses?” scoffed Gummo. “That’s impossible! Go back to sleep. Anyhow, it’s hippopotami.”
“What about scorpions or fire-ants?” asked Zeppo.
“I suppose that is possible” replied Grummo doubtfully.
“Or army ants – like Bill told us about. There could be millions of army ants and we wouldn’t know. And he said that if you’re too big for them to carry, they will chop you up and carry you off in bits!”
“Now you’re getting me frightened” said Groucho. “Okay, let’s turn the light on.”
Just then, the door opened. It was Albert again. “I’m getting really sick of you Emots” he said. “Turn your lights out and go to sleep!”
But Zeppo and Gummoo weren’t about to go to sleep now. They were much too worried about army ants.
“Let’s go and see Harpo” suggested Zeppo. “He never worries about anything. Maybe he can cheer us up.”
So, the two Emots crept into Harpo’s room and gently woke him up.
“We’re too scared to sleep” explained Zeppo. “We’re afraid that there might be scorpions or fire-ants or army ants in the dark.”
“Don’t be silly” said Harpo. “Army ants live in South America. There’s none around here. And we don’t have any scorpions or fire-ants either.”
Zeppo and Gummo were relieved until he added “It’s the giant poisonous spiders you have to worry about!”
Zeppo almost fainted in terror at the thought of giant poisonous spiders and Gummo was almost as scared. But Harpo just laughed “I was only kidding! There are no giant poisonous spiders either.”
The door slowly opened. “Oh no!” thought Zeppo “not Albert again! He’ll be really cranky now that there’s three of us awake.”
It wasn’t Albert at the door, after all, but Elvis
“What’s going on?” he asked.
Zeppo explained about the lions and crocodiles and hippopotami and snakes and ghosts. And Gummo explained about the scorpions and fire-ants and army ants. And Harpo explained about the giant poisonous spiders, although he was a little embarrassed at having played such a cruel joke on the two frightened Emots.
“You Emots get so worked up about everything! Why don’t you just think about nice things – and then you’ll get really happy?”
“We can’t just decide to think happy” explained Harpo. “We need something to give us happy thoughts.”
“What about a happy bed-time story?” suggested Elvis. “Albert knows lots of stories. I’m sure he would be glad to tell you some nice stories.”
“That’s a great idea!” exclaimed Zeppo. “Maybe he could tell us a story about koala bears. I really love koala bears!”
“And I love toys”, added Harpo. “Could it be a story about a toy koala?”
“Well, I really love ice cream,” said Gummo. “I wonder if Albert knows any stories about toy koala bears eating ice cream?”
Elvis switched the light off as the Emots fell asleep thinking about the wonderful happy stories they were going to be told.
to cheer him up.