I am writing this from a vague memory but the overall theme of the cartoon I remember very well. It aired before 2000 but definitely after 1985.

It's a cartoon about a boy who is given a ball or something with a piece of string sticking out from it by an old lady. This boy who is supposed to go to school is resting on some piled up hay and talks something to his friend or girlfriend about how boring school is or he doesn't care much about school and how he wants to skip it.

The main point is he is not happy with his current life and wants to jump ahead in time. So this old lady comes out of nowhere and hands him this ball with a string. She tells him each time when he wants to jump time just pull the string out a little and it will be done. The first time he pulls the string he jumps into a time where he is dating this friend. Again he pulls then he finds himself married to her, he pulls again to find that he is middle aged or something and he pulls it finally to become an old man. Then he realises that he is not supposed to do that and wants to go back to being a kid. He wakes up as boy in the same pile of hay and realise all that was a dream and is happy to go to school.

Again the above is a vague outline of what I remember. The boy, the pulling of the string from the ball, the time jumping, him being old and waking up as if it was a dream is clearly in the memory.

  • the movie Click (2006) with Adam Sandler exploit the same idea.
    – Candid Moe
    Jun 1, 2020 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


The story is Peter and the Magic Thread, which is a traditional fairy tale. You can read a copy of it here.

I would guess you saw it as part of the series Adventures from the book of virtues that was shown on US TV in the late 1990s. This is based on The Book of Virtues published by William Bennett in 1993.

  • 3
    Thank You Mr. Rennie. I saw this in long back in India. My daughter talks the same way peter does in the story and i definitely want her to see it. Jun 1, 2020 at 12:16
  • If she'll smart she'll counter by offering you a magic ball that traps you back in the traumas of powerless childhood. Jun 2, 2020 at 2:10
  • see also scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/33743/… (about the story on which the cartoon is based)
    – Otis
    Jun 2, 2020 at 4:11
  • This is quite interesting, because I knew of another version of the story where the guy became old and sick all the same, but he was so tired and life was so painful that he decided to pull on the thread one last time to finally die. The story ended saying that since getting the magic thread he had lived six months.
    – ChatterOne
    Jun 2, 2020 at 8:40

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