Once upon a time, in a sleepy little town high up in the mountains of the Alps, lived a Master Clock Maker. One day he created two clocks to work together as one. The first clock said, ‘Tic’, and it told the hour. The second clock said, ‘Toc’, and it told the minute. The two clocks sat together on the shelf and happily said ‘tic toc’ and always correctly told the time.  

One day after the Master Clock Maker had left the shop for his afternoon walk, a suave looking gentleman from the city stepped into the Master Clock Makers store. He looked at Tic and Toc and he laughed. He said, “What was the Master Clock Maker thinking when he made you? Look at you, you aren’t real clocks, you are both only half a clock. Clocks are supposed to say, ‘tic toc’ and tell the complete time, not just the hour or the minutes separately.” Tic and Toc did not know what to say, they had both lived so happily together until now. They hadn’t realized anything was wrong with them. Tic said, “It can’t be true, we have always lived like this and we are both happy doing what the Master Clock Maker created us to do.” The suave gentleman pulled a fancy pocket watch from his pocket and flipped it open. “See here, my clock was made in the city, listen to it, it says tic toc, tic toc, tic toc.”  

Tic and Toc were silent as they listened to the fancy city pocket watch do by it self what they worked together to do. “And see this,” the suave gentleman said, “My watch can tell both the hour and the minute.” Tic and Toc stared, it was true. “Now look around you, every other clock in here is doing the same thing as my pocket watch. You both were pretty stupid not to know you were only half a clock. But say, if you let me, I can fix you up so you will be like all the other clocks.”  

Tic and Toc hurriedly agreed. They were so embarrassed they had spent their entire lives being only half a clock and couldn’t wait until they were each a whole clock. The man opened them up and moved their insides around, removing some of them all together and slipping them inside his pocket. He rearranged their faces and tipping his hat quickly left the store. Tic and Toc eagerly tried out their new insides. “Woof woof, growl,” said Tic. “Meow, hiss,” said Toc.  

Now Tic’s face showed the minutes, but they were three minutes off and Toc’s face showed the hour, but it was off by 5 hours. They continued to bark and growl and meow and hiss, argueing the afternoon away until the Master Clock Maker came back in from his walk. Tic and Toc tried to hide, but it was hard to do sitting on the front shelf to be seen by everyone who came in. They tried to be quiet, but they couldn’t stop barking and growling, and meowing and hissing. They hadn’t realized how horrible they sounded until the Master Clock Maker walked in.  

A sad look crossed his face when he saw his master creation, which had been created unlike any of the other clocks, had been changed by the suave gentleman from the city. He approached them and said, “I can fix you and return you to your original creation.”

‘Tic’ and ‘Toc’ who were now known as ‘Growl’ and ‘Hiss’ by the other clocks in the store said, “No, no thank you, we can fix ourselves.” So they shook themselves mightily and their parts fell onto the shelf they were sitting on. They did their best to put themselves back together but nothing worked. They read ‘How to Build Clocks’ books, but they were missing pieces and all the instructions were for clocks that said, ‘tic and toc’ and told both the time and the minute.  

So Tic and Toc fixed and argued and growled and hissed at each other trying to tell the other how they should work. One day Tic became so angry he pushed Toc off the counter and he fell with a great crash to the floor. Tic was horrified, he called for the Master Clock Maker to come and help. Immediately the Master Clock Maker brought his broom and swept up the pieces. He quietly sat the dust pan on the shelf next to Tic who said, “Oh please, can’t you do something to help him?”

“I can if he wants me to help him.”

“Oh Toc, please say you need help, please.” Toc whispered out a plea for help. The Master Clock Maker pulled out his repair kit and one piece at a time put Toc back together again. When he was finished Toc’s face accurately displayed the minutes and he happily said ‘toc’.  

Tic felt tears run down his face. He wanted to be restored to his original condition and do the work the Master Clock Maker had created him to do too. “Please, please make me ‘tic’ again,” he begged, “I’m so sorry I listened to the suave gentleman from the city.”  The Master Clock Maker gently picked him up, replaced all the needed parts, and set his face to correctly tell the hour. He placed Tic next to Toc and they resumed taking turns saying ‘tic’ and ‘toc’ and displaying the correct time together. They lived happily ever after and were never tempted to want to be like other clocks again.  

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