Selasa, 28 Oktober 2008
PENELITIAN PENDIDIKAN UNTUK LOMBA KARYA TULIS GURU
Oleh : Zulkarnaen Syri Lokesywara
Secara umum metode penelitian diartikan sebagai cara ilmiah untuk mendapatkan data dengan tujuan dan kegunaan tertentu (Sugiyono, 2008: 3). Cara ilmiah berarti kegiatan penelitian didasarkan pada ciri-ciri keilmuan, yaitu rasional, empiris, dan sistematis. Rasional berarti harus dilakukan dengan cara-cara yang masuk akal, sehingga terjangkau penalaran manusia. Empiris berarti cara yang dilakukan dapat diamati oleh indera manusia, sehingga orang lain pun dapat melakukan kegiatan yang sama. Sistematis, artinya proses yang dilalui dalam penelitian tersebut menggunakan langkah-langkah tertentu yang logis.Data yang diperoleh dalam suatu penelitian adalah data empiris (teramati) yang mempunyai kriteria tertentu yaitu valid. Validitas suatu data menunjukkan derajat ketepatan antara data sesungguhnya dengan data yang dikumpulkan peneliti.
Tujuan dalam peneltian secara umum dapat dikelompokkan menjadi tiga, yaitu penemuan, pembuktian, dan pengembangan. Penemuan berarti data yang diperoleh betul-betul belum pernah diketahui. Pembuktian, artinya data yang diperoleh dapat digunakan untuk membuktikan adanya keragu-raguan terhadap informasi atau pengetahuan tertentu, sedangkan pengembangan berarti memperdalam dan memperluas pengetahuan yang telah ada.Kegunaan penelitian yang utama adalah untuk memahami, memecahkan,dan mengantisipasi masalah. Memahami berarti memperjelas suatu masalah yang tidak diketahui dan selanjutnya menjadi tahu, memecahkan masalah berarti mengurangi atau menghilangkan masalah, sedangkan mengantisipasi masalah artinya berupaya mencegah suatu masalah akan terjadi.
Berdasarkan paparan tersebut, dapat dijelaskan bahwa yang dimaksud dengan peneltian pendidikan adalah upaya ilmiah untuk mendapatkan data suatu pengetahuan tertentu untuk memahami, memecahkan, dan mengantisipasi masalah-masalah dalam bidang pendidikan.B. Memulai PenelitianDiakui atau tidak, suka atau tidak suka, rela atau tidak rela, kegiatan penelitian belum menjadi kebutuhan bagi sebagian besar guru di Kabupaten Klaten. Penelitian dianggap sebagai kegiatan yang sangat sulit dan memberatkan, karena harus menguasai berbagai hitungan statistik yang rumit atau metodologi yang membingungkan. Kenyataannya, kegiatan penelitian tidaklah sesulit atau seberat yang dibayangkan.
Hal-hal yang perlu dipahami dalam memulai penelitian adalah:1. Menemukan masalahMasalah penelitian bisa ditemukan dari pengalaman guru dalam proses pembelajaran sehari-hari, baik di dalam kelas maupun di luar kelas. Misalnya rendahnya nilai ulangan harian para siswa, kecenderungan siswa mengantuk ketika proses pembelajaran berlangsung, sebagian besar siswa tidak dapat membaca teks Bahasa Inggris dengan lancar, siswa kesulitan memahami konsep-konsep abstrak, dan sebagainya. 2. Memilih metodeMasalah-masalah yang ditemukan perlu dicari jalan keluarnya dengan cara mencari sumber penyebab masalah tersebut. Dengan mengetahui berbagai kemungkinan penyebab masalah, guru dapat menentukan suatu tindakan yang dapat dikembangkan melalui pendekatan tertentu, metode pembelajaran, model pembelajaran, atau alat peraga yang diyakini mampu memecahkan permasalahan yang dihadapi guru.3. Membaca referensiMembaca buku, jurnal, majalah, makalah, atau sumber-sumber lainnya merupakan kegiatan mutlak yang harus dilakukan. Hal ini berkaitan dengan kajian teori yang mendasari gagasan dan alternatif yang dipilih.4. Mengumpulkan dataData digunakan untuk mengetahui apakah alternatif yang dipilih berhasil mengatasi masalah yang dialami. Data dapat didapatkan peneliti secara langsung melalui wawancara, kuesioner, tes, observasi (data primer), maupun memanfaatkan data yang diperoleh pihak lain, seperti data penduduk dari BPS, nilai rapor siswa, data dari internet, dan sebagainya (data sekunder). 5. Menganalisis dataAnalisis data dilakukan dalam tiga tahap, yaitu reduksi data, yaitu memilah data yang bermanfaat, paparan data yaitu analisis data dalam bentuk narasi, grafis, tabel, dan matrik. Ketiga adalah penyimpulan, yaitu proses menarik intisari atas sajian data dalam bentuk pernyataan singkat dan padat tapi mengandung pengertian yang luas.6. Menulis laporan Laporan dibuat agar hasil penelitian lebih bermakna, karena diketahui oleh orang lain dan membuka kesempatan untuk diterapkan di tempat lain. Selain itu, pada beberapa penelitian, laporan wajib dibuat dan diserahkan kepada lembaga yang mendanai penelitian yang dilakukan atau dibuat untuk mengikuti lomba karya tulis.
Umumnya laporan penelitian memuat hal-hal sebagai berikut:
a. Bagian Awal : Halaman Judul, Abstrak, Halaman Pengesahan, Kata Pengantar, Daftar Tabel/Gambar, Daftar Isib. Bagian Utama : Pendahuluan, Kerangka Konseptual, Metodologi, Hasil Penelitian, Penutupc. Bagian Akhir : Daftar Pustaka, LampiranC. Lomba Karya Tulis untuk GuruSelain berguna untuk memecahkan masalah yang dihadapi dalam proses pembelajaran di kelas, hasil penelitian dapat dimanfaatkan untuk mengikuti lomba-lomba karya tulis. Beberapa lembaga secara rutin menyelenggarakan lomba karya tulis bagi guru di Indonesia dan sekolah Indonesia di luar negeri.
Setiap tahun Depdiknas menyelenggarakan Lomba Keberhasilan Guru dalam Pembelajaran yang ditujukan untuk semua guru dari jenjang TK/SD/SMP/SMA/ SMK. Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia menyelenggarakan Lomba Kreativitas Ilmiah Guru (LKIG), Lembaga Penjamin Mutu Pendidikan Jawa Tengah dengan Forum Ilmiah Guru tingkat provinsi untuk memilih wakil Jawa Tengah di tingkat nasional, Dinas Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Provinsi Jawa Tengah secara rutin menyelenggarakan Lomba Penelitian Tindakan Kelas (Class Action Research), Penghargaan Toray (ITSF) bagi guru-guru MIPA SMA, dan Lomba Karya Tulis Peningkatan Keimanan Siswa.
Selain lomba karya tulis tersebut, beberapa lomba dapat diikuti oleh guru (kategori umum), misalnya Academic Writing Contest yang diselenggarakan oleh PT. Rohto Mentholatum (www.rohto.co. id), XL Award Writing Competition (www.xl.co.id) , Lomba Karya Tulis Bank Syariah, Lomba Menulis Honda dalam Kehidupan, dan sebagainya.D. ManfaatDari pengalaman mengikuti beberapa lomba, beberapa manfaat yang dapat diperoleh dari kegiatan tersebut adalah:1. Menambah wawasanSeperti dikemukakan di bagian awal, kegiatan penelitian mendorong individu untuk mengetahui hal-ihwal obyek penelitiannya. Kegiatan tersebut disadari atau tidak memperkaya wawasan guru dalam bidang pendidikan, yang tentu saja sangat berguna bagi upaya peningkatan kualitas guru.2. Mendapat penghargaanDalam sebuah kegiatan lomba, penyelenggara selalu menyediakan hadiah uang atau barang kepada para juara. Besaran yang diberikan bervariasi tergantung pada level kejuaraan. Lomba Tulis Yayasan Peduli Hutan Lestari memberikan hadiah bagi Juara I uang sebesar Rp 20.000.000,- dan note book, Juara II Rp 15.000.000,- dan note book, dan Juara III uang tunai sebesar Rp 10.000.000,- dan kamera digital. XL Award Writing Competition 2006 memberikan hadiah uang dan barang sebesar Rp 17 juta, printer, dan pulsa XL sebesar Rp 1,2 juta untuk Juara I, Rp 12 juta, printer, dan pulsa Rp 1,2 juta, dan Juara III uang tunai Rp 7 juta, printer, dan pulsa Rp 1,2 juta.3. Angka kreditUngkapan golongan maksimal guru adalah IV/a seperti diamini banyak guru akan semakin hilang apabila para guru aktif melakukan penelitian dan menuangkannya dalam karya ilmiah. Untuk sebuah karya tulis hasil penelitian yang disahkan oleh organisasi profesi, penulis berhak mendapatkan poin sebesar 6. Demikian juga halnya kalau hasil tersebut dimuat di jurnal ilmiah atau memenangkan Juara I, II, atau III di lomba karya tulis tingkat nasional. 4. Tambah kenalanLomba karya tulis selalu membawa dampak positif terbukanya kesempatan saling mengenal antara satu guru dengan guru lainnya. Pertukaran informasi antarguru ternyata bermanfaat bagi peningkatan wawasan dan kualitas guru.5. Spirit untuk majuSatu hal yang paling dirasakan pada saat pelaksanaan final lomba atau penyerahan hadiah dan tidak ditemukan dalam berbagai referensi adalah terciptanya momentum suasana yang mendorong semangat untuk lebih maju. Suasana tersebut tercipta akibat berkumpulnya guru-guru dengan minat yang sama dalam sebuah even ilmiah. Selanjutnya, yang diperlukan adalah mempertahankan momentum tersebut agar tidak segera surut.E. Kiat Memenangkan LombaUntuk memenangkan lomba-lomba karya tulis, ada beberapa kiat yang selama ini penulis lakukan. Beberapa di antaranya adalah:
Penelitian yang dilakukan relatif baru, artinya belum dilakukan orang lain.
Perlu dilakukan penginterpretasian tema dan tujuan lomba. Karya tulis hasil penelitian yang tidak sesuai dengan tema dan tujuan lomba, sudah barang tentu tersingkir di bagian awal.
Penelitian yang dilakukan mempunyai nilai manfaat tinggi bagi upaya pemecahan masalah pendidikan.
Memberi nama model atau metode yang digunakan secara taktis, artinya diupayakan lebih “membumi”.
Sebagian guru menganggap, penggunaan Bahasa Indonesia secara benar dan baik bukan sesuatu yang penting, yang lebih penting adalah isi atau pesan yang ditulis. Anggapan tersebut selayaknya segera ditinggalkan, karena dalam sebuah lomba, proporsi penggunaan EYD mempunyai persentase yang tidak kecil.
Menguasai teknik-teknik presentasi, seperti penggunaan media yang tepat, alokasi waktu yang disediakan, penggunaan humor, pemilihan warna, dan sebagainya.
Yang tidak kalah pentingnya adalah doa, karena dengan doa peserta yang akan mempresentasikan karyanya merasa tenang, dan pada akhirnya meningkatkan kepercayaan diri.
F. PenutupKegiatan penelitian pada dasarnya dapat dilakukan oleh semua guru. Seperti kegiatan lain, apapun kegiatan itu, pada awal pelaksanaan memunculkan perasaan gamang. Akan tetapi setelah masuk dalam kegiatan penelitian, sedikit demi sedikit perasaan tersebut berganti dengan keasyikan. Janji Tuhan: Setelah kesulitan pasti ada kemudahan (QS. Alam Nasyrah: 5).BIODATAZulkarnaen Syri Lokesywara, lahir di Klaten, 28 Oktober 1966. Sekarang bekerja sebagai guru Sosiologi di SMA Negeri 1 Jatinom. Beberapa penghargaan yang diperoleh di antaranya:Juara III/ Fakultas Lomba Karya Ilmiah Kokurikuler antarjurusan FPIPS IKIP Yogyakarta 24-25 Oktober 1987Juara II/ Kabupaten Lomba Karya Tulis Gerakan KB Kantor BKKBN Kabupaten Klaten Oktober 1992Juara Harapan/Nasional Lomba Foto Arsitektur Institut Seni Indonesia Yogyakarta 1 Agustus 1994Juara Harapan II/Nasional Lomba Penulisan Naskah Kebudayaan Daerah Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan RI 5-7 Desember 1999.Juara Harapan I/Provinsi Lomba Penulisan Opini Lingkungan Hidup Universitas Soegiyopranoto- Yayasan KEHATI Agustus 2000Juara Harapan III/Nasional Lomba Karya Tulis Pendidikan Kependudukan Departemen Pendidikan Nasional RI 26-28 September 2002Juara II/ Kabupaten Pemilihan Guru Berprestasi Dinas Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Kab. Klaten 5 Juli 2003Juara I/Nasional Lomba Karya Tulis Telekomunikasi Universitas Gadjah Mada-PT. Telkomsel 5 Agustus 2003Finalis/Nasional Lomba Karya Tulis Pendidikan Kependudukan Departemen Pendidikan Nasional RI 27 Agustus 2004Juara II/Nasional Lomba Menulis Nonfiksi Simpatizone PT. Telkomsel 2005Juara II/Nasional Lomba Kreativitas Ilmiah Guru (LKIG) ke-14 Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (LIPI) 10-13 September 2006Juara III/Nasional XL Award Writing Contest 2006 PT. Excelcomindo Pratama Tbk. 10 Oktober 2006.Juara Harapan Utama/Nas. Lomba Menulis Esai tentang Mata PT. Rohto Mentholatum 24 Juli 2007.Juara II/Nasional Lomba Kreativitas Ilmiah Guru (LKIG) ke-15 Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (LIPI) 24 Oktober 2007
http ://www.zulkarnaensl .blog.friendster .com
Sumber : Kabar Indonesia dot Com
Jumat, 26 September 2008
Wolf and Dog Story
A dog slipped off his leash one day and went for a walk in the woods. After a time, he met a wolf.
The dog said to the wolf, "Brother wolf, you look so thin! How can you be happy when you are so thin? You should come live with me and my master. I eat everyday and I never want for food."
The wolf thought for a moment and replied, "Yes, you are right. Why should I be out here in the wild hunting for small bites of food when someone else will give it to me? And you are so well fed. Very well, I will come to live with you."
"Good," said the dog, "then follow me."
As they trotted off to the dog's home, the wolf noticed a patch around the dog's neck where the fur had been worn off.
"Brother Dog, " asked the wolf, "why do you have that patch around your neck where there is no fur?"
The dog slowed down, stopped and turned to the wolf with sadness in his eyes.
"That is where they place the leather leash around my neck. They do this so they can control me and keep me in my place." replied the dog, sadly.
"Never!" said the wolf as he began to trot back into the forest. "I would rather be starving and free than to be fat and a slave."
Wrapping Paper Story
This Story has scary parts and is meant for Boy Scouts, Webelos scouts.
Decide for yourself if it is appropriate for your younger scouts or not.When my great-aunt Matilda died, her house had to be sold so I went there to get it ready. It would take about 4 days to clean it up so I brought my sleeping bag and sacked out in the living room.
Just as I was falling asleep, I heard a faint sound, like "rap, rap, rap", something in the distance. I got up to see if I could find where it was coming from.
At the base of the steps leading to the second story, it was louder, "Rap, Rap, Rap" so I climbed the stairs.
At the top of the stairs, I heard it again, louder and seeming to come from the attic stairs - "RAP, RAP, RAP." I opened the door to the attic, brushed some cobwebs away and climbed the creaky, shakey steps.
When I reached the top, the noise was obviously coming from the far end of the attic - "RAP, RAP, RAP!!"
As I slowly walked forward, I saw a large chest in the corner and it shook as the sound came again - "RAP, RAP, RAP!!". It was coming from the chest.
I reached out to the latch on the chest and, with a slight "Click", I opened it. The noise was deafening as I opened the chest lid - "RAP, RAP, RAP!!!"
I peered inside and saw ...
A sheet of wrapping paper.
Scouts on an Indian Grave Story
This Story has scary parts and is meant for Boy Scouts.
Decide for yourself if it is appropriate for your younger scouts or not.Notes:Very scary story for a camping trip.A few years ago, we lost 2 scouts near here. There used to be campsites over in that area, but its all closed to camping now. We set up camp, had campfire, and got ready for bed - 2 scouts per tent.
Around 2:30 in the morning, there was an awful, blood-curdling scream that echoed all across the prairie here. Everyone woke up and I got on my shoes and ran over to the tent where the scream had come from and where I could hear someone crying hysterically. I opened the tent and there was one scout sitting there crying.
'Where's Randy?' I asked.
'I don't know. He's just gone!' said Joey Marshall. 'I just heard some weird scraping sound and then Randy screamed and was gone.'
Looking around with my flashlight, I saw Randy's sleeping bag torn to shreds. There was also some blood on it. But, there were no rips in the tent and Randy's shoes were still sitting by the door just fine. But, looking again, I noticed the floor of the tent had a large rip in it under Randy's sleeping bag.
I told the other scouts that had gotten up to go in pairs and check out the campsite looking for any clues, but to not go more than 50 feet out. I ran to the park ranger's cabin for help.
About 5 minutes later, the ranger and I were running back here when we heard another awful scream. When we got here, all the scouts were crowded around the campfire - all except Joey. The scouts said the scream came from Joey's tent but none of them would go near it. They said they had heard some scraping noises and then Joey's scream and then silence.
I opened the tent flap and Joey's sleeping bag was ripped up just like Randy's and the floor of the tent was shredded.
The park ranger called 911 and in about an hour, just around dawn, the sheriff was here with dogs. They searched the entire camp - not a trace of either boy.
The local newspaper had a story of the tragedy and the investigation continued for weeks. The boys' folks were heartbroken and our scouts had a rough time of it too.
A couple days afterward, I got a call from an archaeologist expert in local Indian history. He said that the tribe of Indians that used to inhabit this area were especially ruthless and fought the whiteman's invasion to the very last brave. Their burial grounds were protected with many signs and curses and he believed that there was a burial ground somewhere on the camp property. I contacted the park ranger and he, the expert, and I spent a weekend exploring the area where we had camped.
After some digging, sure enough, he found some bones, arrowheads, and knives. He also found a pocketknife and compass - they were marked with R.R. - Randy Roberts. These were found in an Indian grave 4 feet underground directly under where Randy and Joey had pitched their tent. We quickly filled in the excavation and then the ranger closed off that part of camp and seeded it with nettles, poison ivy, and brambles to keep everyone away.
To this day, I'm a very light sleeper when out camping. When I lay down, the slightest rock or root beneath my tent will keep me awake remembering how Joey and the other boys described the scraping sounds - and wondering if it is really just a root, or maybe a finger.
Seagulls Daylight Story
This Story is meant for Boy Scouts, Webelos scouts.
Decide for yourself if it is appropriate for your younger scouts or not.When the world was created, everything was in darkness. All the daylight was kept in one little box. That one little box was hidden in Seagull's house and greedy Seagull kept it all to himself.
Now Raven, who was Seagull's brother, thought that this just wasn't fair. It was so dark and cold without any daylight. If only he could get that box. But how? Raven sat down and thought and thought. AHa!! He had it - a plan, a great plan.
That night, when the tide was low, Raven went down to the beach and picked up some sea urchins. A sea urchin has a hard shell with little sharp spines all over it. After he had eaten these sea urchins, he quietly tip-toed up to Seagull's house. Quietly, he spread the sharp spiny shells all around the door step, then quickly crept back home.
The next morning, Raven strolled over to see his brother. Seagull was in bed. His feet were all swollen. Poor Seagull.
"Oh my! What happened to you?" cried Raven.
"Did you gather some sea urchins last night?" asked Seagull.
"Why yes, I did," replied Raven, looking surprised.
"Well, I guess those children of yours went and dropped their shells all around my front steps. I stepped on them and now look at my feet, just full of thorns."
"Let me have a look," said Raven.
"Put your feet up here."
Seagull lifted up his feet.
"Now how do you expect me to see in this darkness? Open up your daylight box a little, Seagull."
Seagull opened up his box a tiny, tiny bit. Raven had a knife and kept jabbing Seagull with it, in the wrong place. "Ow! Ow! Ouch!" yelled Seagull.
"Well, if you give me a little more light I could see what I was doing," complained Raven. "Give me more light!"
Seagull opened the box a bit more. Raven kept pricking and jabbing Seagull's foot with his knife. "Oh please, Raven, leave my feet alone. You can't take the thorns out; You're killing me."
Seagull brought the box closer. Quick as lightening, Raven threw off the lid, and then the daylight escaped and spread all over the room. Then outside it went, spreading it's lovely warm glow wider and wider until daylight spread all over the whole world.
Seagull saw his beautiful daylight escaping him, and he began to cry and cry. And he is still crying for his daylight today. Just listen sometime, you can hear him, too.
Shaggy Dog Story
Way up in the very north of
Out in the wilderness, Sam did not get visitors nor much mail. But, he did have a newspaper subscription to help stay current with the world. Once a month a plane flew over and dropped out Sam's copy of the newspaper from the closest town which was 98 miles away.
Today just happened to be newspaper day so Sam picked up the paper, went to his cabin, made a cup of hot chocolate and sat down to read. After reading the entire paper, Sam noticed an interesting ad on the back page. It said that way down south in
Carefully he tore the item from the newspaper and placed it in his pocket. Whistling for Rover, he hurriedly packed for his journey. It would be a long haul through some of the worst of the winter months, but he could do it!
And so, with packsack and snowshoes, and Rover on a makeshift lead, he headed south.
(At this point you should add your own horrific tales of icy crevasses, blizzards, starvation, polar bears, thin ice, thick snow: anything to make the journey as difficult and as courageous as possible.)
Weeks passed as Sam and Rover, footsore, frostbitten and weak from lack of food, fought their way nearer and nearer to the millionaire's deathbed. Would they find his house? Would he have found another dog? Would he still be alive? Urgently, Sam asked at each trading post or small homestead he passed.
"My word, that's a shaggy dog you have there!" folks remarked whenever he stopped.
"That's the shagiest dog I've ever seen!"
"Is there a dog under all that shaggy hair?"
Finally, Sam and Rover reached the mansion of the multi-millionaire and stopped at the huge oak-studded front door. Raising a weather-beaten hand, Sam tugged at the wrought iron bell-pull. Distantly, the bell clanged. The door opened and a butler stood in the doorway.
"I've come about the shaggy dog ad in this newspaper," said Sam, carefully drawing out the clipping from his pocket and offering Rover's lead to the butler.
Silently, the butler withdrew with the dog. Sam listened to his footsteps cross the huge hall and climb the massive circular staircase. He waited patiently on the doorstep, dreaming of the luxury soon to be his. At last the butler reappeared. Solemnly, he handed back the dog.
"Not shaggy enough," he said, and shut the door.
Falcon and the Duck Story
Notes:Do not exult too soon; nor is it wise to tell of your brave deeds within the hearing of your enemy.The wintry winds had already begun to whistle and the waves to rise when the Drake and his mate gathered their half- grown brood together on the shore of their far northern lake.
"Wife," said he, "it is now time to take the children southward, to the Warm Countries which they have never yet seen!"
Very early the next morning they set out on their long journey, forming a great "V" against the sky in their flight. The mother led her flock and the father brought up the rear, keeping a sharp lookout for stragglers.
All day they flew high in the keen air, over wide prairies and great forests of northern pine, until toward evening they saw below them a chain of lakes, glittering like a string of dark-blue stones.
Swinging round in a half circle, they dropped lower and lower, ready to alight and rest upon the smooth surface of the nearest lake.
Suddenly their leader heard a whizzing sound like that of a bullet as it cuts the air, and she quickly gave the waming: "Honk! honk! Danger, danger!" All descended in dizzy spirals, but as the great Falcon swooped toward them with upraised wing, the ducklings scattered wildly hither and thither. The old Drake came last, and it was he who was struck!
"Honk, honk!" cried all the Ducks in terror, and for a minute the air was full of soft downy feathers like flakes of snow. But the force of the blow was lost upon the well-cushioned body of the Drake, he soon got over his fright and went on his way southward with his family, while the Falcon dropped heavily to the water's edge with a broken wing.
There he stayed and hunted mice as best he could from day to day, sleeping at night in a hollow log to be out of the way of the Fox and the Weasel. All the wit he had was not too much whereby to keep himself alive through the long, hard winter.
Toward spring, however, the Falcon's wing had healed and he could fly a little, though feebly. The sun rose higher and higher in the blue heavens, and the Ducks began to return to their cool northern home. Every day a flock or two flew over the lake; but the Falcon dared not charge upon the flocks, much as he wished to do so. He was weak with hunger, and afraid to trust to the strength of the broken wing.
One fine day a chattering flock of Mallards alighted quite near him, cooling their glossy breasts upon the gently rippling wave.
"Here, children," boasted an old Drake, "is the very spot where your father was charged upon last autumn by a cruel Falcon! I can tell you that it took all my skill and quickness in dodging to save my life. Best of all, our fierce enemy dropped to the ground with a broken wing! Doubtless he is long since dead of starvation, or else a Fox or a Mink has made a meal of the wicked creature! "
By these words the Falcon knew his old enemy, and his courage returned.
"Nevertheless, I am still here!" he exclaimed, and darted like a flash upon the unsuspecting old Drake, who was resting and telling of his exploit and narrow escape with the greatest pride and satisfaction.
"Honk! honk! " screamed all the Ducks, and they scattered and whirled upward like the dead leaves in autumn; but the Falcon with sure aim selected the old Drake and gave swift chase. Round and round in dizzy spirals they swung together, till with a quick spurt the Falcon struck the shining, outstretched neck of the other, and snapped it with one powerful blow of his reunited wing.
Falling Rock Story
An Indian chief, Rising Sun, was concerned with how white men were expanding across the forests, plains, and mountains. His tribe was very small, but as every tribe and nation was being overpowered and sent to reservations, he came up with a plan to save the People.
His son, Falling Rock, was a strong, intelligent, and trustworthy young man and Rising Sun loved him very much. Rising Sun asked Falling Rock to travel across the whole of the country and talk to every tribe he met. He was to convince them to join forces and repel the invasion of the white men.
Falling Rock left in the spring with 4 other braves.
When the leaves fell in late summer, one brave returned to Rising Sun to tell him that they had contacted all the tribes in the desert SouthWest.
When the snow began, another brave returned telling of their success with the
A third brave arrived home just as the spring flowers bloomed and told how the strong tribes of the
Finally, the last brave returned in high summer from the Eastern tribes with their promise to fight. This last brave also said that Falling Rock was now racing back to all the tribes, telling them to meet at the
Rising Sun's small tribe prepared for battle and, when the snow melted, they traveled to the
By snowfall, all the warriors had reached the other tribes and returned to Rising Sun. All the tribes had waited to hear when the war was to take place, but Falling Rock had not been seen by any of them so they had stayed put. This worried Rising Sun terribly since he loved his son and missed him terribly.
The small tribe was forced to wait there through the harsh winter and when spring arrived, so did the white soldiers. They surrounded Rising Sun's tribe. Rising Sun knew they could never win without the other tribes so he talked to the leader of the soldiers.
Rising Sun promised to go peacefully to a reservation if the white men would promise to help him find his lost son. This was a small price for avoiding a fight so the white men agreed and Rising Sun's tribe did not resist.
To this day, Rising Sun waits for his son to return. And, to this day, the white men have held up their end of bargain struck that day. People across the country are still searching and everyone is asked to help. That is why you will see signs along the road that say, "Watch for Falling Rock".
Field Mouse and
Notes:If you are proud and selfish you will lose all in the end.Once upon a time, when the Field-Mouse was out gathering wild beans for the winter, his neighbor, the Buffalo, came down to graze in the meadow. This the little Mouse did not like, for he knew that the other would mow down all the long grass with his prickly tongue, and there would be no place in which to hide. He made up his mind to offer battle like a man.
'Ho, Friend Buffalo, I challenge you to a fight!' he exclaimed in a small, squeaking voice.
'You can't do it! 'replied the Mouse.
'I tell you to keep still,' insisted the
'I dare you to do it!' said the Mouse, provoking him.
Thereupon the other rushed upon him. He trampled thc grass clumsily and tore up the earth with his front hoofs. When he had ended, he looked for the Mouse, but he could not see him anywhere.
'I told you I would step on you, and there would be nothing left,' he muttered.
Just then he felt a scratching inside his right ear. He shook his head as hard as he could, and twitched his ears back and forth. The gnawing went deeper and deeper until he was half wild with the pain. He pawed with his hoofs and tore up the sod with his horns. Bellowing madly, he ran as fast as he could, first straight forward and then in circles, but at last he stopped and stood trembling. Then the Mouse jumped out of his ear,and said: 'Will you know now that I am master? '
'No!' bellowed the
'Eho!' said he, 'I have killed the greatest of all beasts. This will show to all that I am master!'
Standing upon the body of the dead
All at once he thought he heard a distant call: 'Bring a knife! Bring a knife !'
When the call came, Red Fox started in the direction of the sound. By and by he came upon the huge body of the
'I want you to dress this
'Thank you, my friend, I shall be glad to do this for you,' he replied, politely.
The Fox dressed the
When the Fox had finished his work, the Mouse paid him with a small piece of liver. He swallowed it quickly and smacked his lips. 'Please, may I have another piece?' he asked quite humbly.
'Why, I gave you a very large piece! How greedy you are!' exclaimed the Mouse. 'You may have some of the blood,' he sneered. So the poor Fox took the blood and even licked off the grass. He was really very hungry.
'Please may I take home a piece of the meat?' he begged. 'I have six little folks at home, and there is nothing for them to eat.'
'You can take the four feet of the
'Thank you, thank you!' said the Fox. 'But, Mouse, I have a wife also, and we have had bad luck in hunting. We are almost starved. Can't you spare me a little more?'
'Why,' declared the Mouse, 'I have already overpaid you for the little work you have done. Be gone!'
Thereupon the Fox jumped upon the Mouse, who gave one faint squeak and was no more.
Ghost with One Black Eye Story
This Story has scary parts and is meant for Cub Scouts.
Decide for yourself if it is appropriate for your younger scouts or not.Notes:Quite a few different versions of this and it is similar to 'Ghost of Able Fable'.
Could be done as a skit.My great-grandfather ran a hotel downtown back in the days when people were tough and times were hard. Folks traveling through town would need a place to wash off the road dust, eat, and sleep a spell. His hotel turned a nice little profit and many nights during the summer, every room would be filled - that is every room except one!
As the story goes, this one room was haunted. Seems that way back when the hotel was first built a man got in a fight over a girl down in the bar. He took a tremendous left cross right in his left eye and it knocked him out - just one punch. Folks hauled him up to his room to sleep it off, but he never woke up - died right there in the room.
Since then, no one was able to sleep in that room cause of the ghost. One day, a barmaid needed a room.
Grandpappy said, "Sorry, miss, I've only got one room left and its haunted."
"That's ok, I'll take it," replied the barmaid.
While getting ready for bed, she heard, "I'm the ghost with one black eye. I'm the ghost with one black eye."
Scared the bejeebers out of her! She ran downstairs in her nightgown, right out the front door, and was never seen again.
A few years later, a cowboy rented the room. Grandpappy said it was haunted, but he said, "Shoot Heck, pardner, I rope bulls and don't spit out my chaw juice. I ain't afeared of no ghost."
But, as he was taking a bat, he heard, "I'm the ghost with one black eye. I'm the ghost with one black eye."
That cowboy gulped, choked on his chaw, his face turned purple, his eyes bulged out, he jumped out of the bath, covered his private parts with his hat, and skidaddled out of town like a jackrabbit across the prairie.
The room sat vacant for more years until a U.S. Marshal drove into town in a new fangled automobile instead of on a horse. He asked Grandpappy for a room, but this was the busy season and guess what - there was only one room left and Grandpappy explained it was haunted.
"That's just fine," said the Marshal. "I've killed 37 men, been shot 12 times, bit by a rattlesnake twice, and gargle with turpentine every morning. I'm not too concerned about some silly ghost."
So, he went up to his room. But, no sooner had he closed the door when he heard, "I'm the ghost with one black eye. I'm the ghost with one black eye."
He turned and smashed right through the door, leaped the entire flight of stairs, picked up his automobile, and ran out of town screaming and hollering at the top of his lungs.
[Make up any number of characters, getting tougher each time...]
A couple years after that, in the early 1900s, a family was passing through town on a family vacation. Any idea how many rooms were left?
NOPE - there were TWO rooms left!
But, the mother and father wanted their own room and their young son could have his own. Grandpappy told them about the ghost, but the boy just said, "Wow! A REAL GHOST? Cool!"
The mom and dad went to their room and the boy opened his up. He took a bath, got ready for bed, and hopped in. Just then, he heard, "I'm the ghost with one black eye. I'm the ghost with one black eye."
And, the boy hollered back, "Well, I'm a Cub Scout and you don't scare me! If you don't shut up, you're gonna be the ghost with TWO black eyes!"
Funny Stories of last week #1:
On Tuesday we did the groceries, we stopped and brought a massive water melon and a yummy smelling rockmelon from a man selling them on the side of the road. So when we got home, Dad and I took the kids and melons inside, then went out to get the rest of the groceries. When we were coming back insdie Tianna met us at the door, pointing and saying "look what Kye did". She was pointing at a very squished and busted rockmelon! I'm guessing one of them sat on the water melong and the other one sat on the rockmelon, which didn't hold up quiet to well. The house smelt like yummy rockmelon for the rest of the day, pity we didn't get to eat it.
Funny Stories of last week #2:
On Thursday the plasters were here, they finsihed off the new wall in Tianna's room. They were still working in there when it was nap time, so I put chooks mattress on Kye's floor, so that they could both have their afternoon nap together. It didn't go so well, he was far too excited to have her in his room and wouldn't go to sleep and kept making too much noise for her to go to sleep. So half an hour later when the plasters finished in her room, I pulled her bed out to the middle of the room and told her she had to stay in bed and not touch the wet plaster. Weeeeeeeell, no longer than 10 minutes later, she tiptoes out to me, and says "Mummy, I have something to tell you", took my hand, walked back into her room and pointed at the wall saying "it wasn't me, the action fingers did it" Looks to me like the action fingers went skating!!
The Crows are in the Corn
S. E. Schlosser
It happened in
The crows were gathered in a large oak tree, having a big morning meeting. They noticed that there was nobody stirring around the house, and that the corn was ripe in the field. So they adjourned their meeting mighty quick and flew over to the field to eat some corn.
"Caw-n, caw-n," they cackled excitedly.
The old rooster woke up to their activities and started to crow excitedly to the sleeping family. "Wake up, wake up, wake up!"
The farmer and his wife just kept sleeping, and the crows kept eating the corn.
"Caw-n, caw-n," they called.
"The crows are in the corn! The crows are in the corn!" The rooster cock-a-doodle-dooed with all his might.
The farmer kept snoring, and his wife just rolled over and pulled the pillow over her head.
The rooster was frantic. He tried once more: "The crows are in the corn. They're pulling up the corn!"
The farmer and his wife kept right on sleeping. And the crow's kept right on eating.
The rooster quit crowing in disgust. Nothing would wake the farmer and his wife.
The old turkey came strolling into the yard and watched the proceedings. Finally he said to the rooster: "The corns all et up, all et up, all et up."
When the farmer and his wife finally rolled out of bed, they found that the corn was all gone. That is why in
The Fisherman and the Bear
S. E. Schlosser
One fine day an old
Well, the old man was not the timid sort. He went to the back of the shack, put his head in the window and gave a loud yell. The bear jumped and ran out the door. It was running strangely. The old man saw that the bear was holding up the foot covered with molasses so it wouldn't get dirty.
The bear ran to the lake shore. Standing on its hind legs, it held up the paw full of molasses. Soon all the flies and bugs and mosquitoes were swarming all over the sticky sweet paw. Then the bear waded into the water with his sticky paw full of bugs. It held the paw out over the water. Suddenly, a big trout came jumping out of the water trying to get to the flies. The bear gave it a swat and it flew to the shore and flopped there. Then another fish jumped into the air after the flies, followed swiftly by another. Every time a fish jumped after his paw, the bear cuffed it ashore. Soon it had a large pile.
Finally, the bear decided he had enough fish and waded to shore. The bear had caught a mess of fish any fisherman would envy. The old man had caught nothing. He watched that bear eat half a dozen trout, his stomach rumbling. All he had for dinner was some bread and what was left of the molasses. Finally the bear paused in his eating, and looked over to the bushes where the old man was hidden. The bear stood up and laid the remaining fish in a row. Then it walked away up the shore. It kept looking back at the bushes where the old man stood.
The old man crept out of the bushes and down to the shore. Sure enough, the bear had left six large trout for him. He looked over at the bear. It was standing at the edge of the wood watching. "Thanks a lot," the old man called to the bear. The bear waved the now-clean paw at the old man and disappeared into the thicket. "Well," said the old man, "That's the first time a bear has ever paid me
Heron and the Hummingbird
S. E. Schlosser
Heron and Hummingbird were very good friends, even though one was tall and gangly and awkward and one was small and sleek and fast. They both loved to eat fish. The Hummingbird preferred small fish like minnows and Heron liked the large ones.
One day, Hummingbird said to his friend: "I am not sure there are enough fish in the world for both of our kind to eat. Why don't we have a race to see which of us should own the fish?"
Heron thought that was a very good idea. They decided that they would race for four days. The finish line was an old dead tree next to a far-away river. Whichever of them sat on top of the tree first on the fourth day of the race would own all the fish in the world.
They started out the next morning. The Hummingbird zipped along, flying around and around the Heron, who was moving steadily forward, flapping his giant wings. Then Hummingbird would be distracted by the pretty flowers along the way. He would flit from one to the other, tasting the nectar. When Hummingbird noticed that Heron was ahead of him, he hurried to catch up with him, zooming ahead as fast as he could, and leaving Heron far behind. Heron just kept flying steadily forward, flapping his giant wings.
Hummingbird was tired from all his flitting. When it got dark, he decided to rest. He found a nice spot to perch and slept all night long. But Heron just kept flying steadily forward all night long, flapping his giant wings.
When Hummingbird woke in the morning, Heron was far ahead. Hummingbird had to fly as fast as he could to catch up. He zoomed past the big, awkward Heron and kept going until Heron had disappeared behind him. Then Hummingbird noticed some pretty flowers nearby. He zip-zipped over to them and tasted their nectar. He was enjoying the pretty scenery and didn't notice Heron flap-flapping passed him with his great wings.
Hummingbird finally remembered that he was racing with Heron, and flew as fast as he could to catch up with the big, awkward bird. Then he zipped along, flying around and around the Heron, who kept moving steadily forward, flapping his giant wings.
For two more days, the Hummingbird and the Heron raced toward the far-distant riverbank with the dead tree that was the finish line. Hummingbird had a marvelous time sipping nectar and flitting among the flowers and resting himself at night. Heron stoically kept up a steady flap-flap-flapping of his giant wings, propelling himself forward through the air all day and all night.
Hummingbird woke from his sleep the morning of the fourth day, refreshed and invigorated. He flew zip-zip toward the riverbank with its dead tree. When it came into view, he saw Heron perched at the top of the tree! Heron had won the race by flying straight and steady through the night while Hummingbird slept.
So from that day forward, the Heron has owned all the fish in the rivers and lakes, and the Hummingbird has sipped from the nectar of the many flowers which he enjoyed so much during the race.
(Lenni Lenape Tribe)
S. E. Schlosser
It was so cold. Snow fell constantly, and ice formed over all the waters. The animals had never seen snow before. At first, it was a novelty, something to play in. But the cold increased tenfold, and they began to worry. The little animals were being buried in the snow drifts and the larger animals could hardly walk because the snow was so deep. Soon, all would perish if something were not done.
"We must send a messenger to Kijiamuh Ka'ong, the Creator Who Creates By Thinking What Will Be," said Wise Owl. "We must ask him to think the world warm again so that Spirit Snow will leave us in peace."
The animals were pleased with this plan. They began to debate among themselves, trying to decide who to send up to the Creator. Wise Owl could not see well during the daylight, so he could not go. Coyote was easily distracted and like playing tricks, so he could not be trusted. Turtle was steady and stable, but he crawled too slowly. Finally, Rainbow Crow, the most beautiful of all the birds with shimmering feathers of rainbow hues and an enchanting singing voice, was chosen to go to Kijiamuh Ka'ong.
It was an arduous journey, three days up and up into the heavens, passed the trees and clouds, beyond the sun and the moon, and even above all the stars. He was buffeted by winds and had no place to rest, but he carried bravely on until he reached Heaven. When Rainbow Crow reached the
The Creator was drawn from his thoughts by the lovely sound, and came to see which bird was making it. He greeted Rainbow Crow kindly and asked what gift he could give the noble bird in exchange for his song. Rainbow Crow asked the Creator to un-think the snow, so that the animals of Earth would not be buried and freeze to death. But the Creator told Rainbow Crow that the snow and the ice had spirits of their own and could not be destroyed.
"What shall we do then?" asked the Rainbow Crow. "We will all freeze or smother under the snow."
"You will not freeze," the Creator reassured him, "For I will think of Fire, something that will warm all creatures during the cold times."
The Creator stuck a stick into the blazing hot sun. The end blazed with a bright, glowing fire which burned brightly and gave off heat. "This is Fire," he told Rainbow Crow, handing him the cool end of the stick. "You must hurry to Earth as fast as you can fly before the stick burns up."
Rainbow Crow nodded his thanks to the Creator and flew as fast as he could go. It was a three-day trip to Heaven, and he was worried that the Fire would burn out before he reached the Earth. The stick was large and heavy, but the fire kept Rainbow Crow warm as he descended from Heaven down to the bright path of the stars. Then the Fire grew hot as it came closer to Rainbow Crows feathers. As he flew passed the Sun, his tail caught on fire, turning the shimmering beautiful feathers black. By the time he flew passed the Moon, his whole body was black with soot from the hot Fire. When he plunged into the Sky and flew through the clouds, the smoke got into his throat, strangling his beautiful singing voice.
By the time Rainbow Crow landed among the freezing-cold animals of Earth, he was black as tar and could only Caw instead of sing. He delivered the fire to the animals, and they melted the snow and warmed themselves, rescuing the littlest animals from the snow drifts where they lay buried.
It was a time of rejoicing, for Tindeh - Fire - had come to Earth. But Rainbow Crow sat apart, saddened by his dull, ugly feathers and his rasping voice. Then he felt the touch of wind on his face. He looked up and saw the Creator Who Creates By Thinking What Will Be walking toward him.
"Do not be sad, Rainbow Crow," the Creator said. "All animals will honor you for the sacrifice you made for them. And when the people come, they will not hunt you, for I have made your flesh taste of smoke so that it is no good to eat and your black feathers and hoarse voice will prevent man from putting you into a cage to sing for him. You will be free."
Then the Creator pointed to Rainbow Crow's black feathers. Before his eyes, Rainbow Crow saw the dull feathers become shiny and inside each one, he could see all the colors of the rainbow. "This will remind everyone who sees you of the service you have been to your people," he said, "and the sacrifice you made that saved them all."
And so shall it ever be.
Why Dogs Chase Cats
S. E. Schlosser
Once long ago, Dog was married to Cat. They were happy together, but every night when Dog came home from work, Cat said she was too sick to make him dinner. Dog was patient with this talk for a while, but he soon got mighty tired of fixing dinner for them both after a hard day's work. After all, Cat just stayed home all day long.
One day, Dog told Cat he was going to work, but instead he hid in the cupboard and watched Cat to see if she really was sick. As soon as Cat thought Dog had left, she started playing games with Kitten. They laughed and ran about. Cat wasn't the least bit sick.
Dog jumped out of the cupboard. When Cat saw him, she stuck a marble in her cheek and told Dog she had a toothache. Dog got so mad at her he started chasing her around and around the house.
Dogs have been chasing Cats ever since.
S. E. Schlosser
There once was a crazy ghost over
Now when my friend Joe heard a fancy old house in
Well, the agent gave Joe a key, but refused to look at the old house with him, which should have told Joe something. But Joe's a stubborn man who won't listen to reason. He even waited until after dark to visit the house for the first time, just to prove his point.
Joe got to the house around nine p.m. and he entered the front hallway. It was a large entrance and well-proportioned, but neglected-looking, with creepy cobwebs and dust everywhere. As Joe paused near the door to get his bearings, he heard a thump from the top of the staircase facing him. A glowing leg appeared out of nowhere and rolled down the steps, landing right next to Joe's feet. Joe gasped out loud and stood frozen to the spot. An arm appeared and rolled down to meet the leg. Next came a foot, then another arm, then a hand. Glowing pieces of body kept popping into existence and plummeting down the steps towards Joe.
Joe held his ground a lot longer than anyone else ever had, but when a screaming head appeared at the top of the steps and started rolling towards him, Joe had had enough. With a shriek that could wake the dead - those that weren't already up and haunting the house that is - Joe ran for his life; out of the house, out of the street, and right out of town, leaving his car behind him.
He called me the next day and asked me to drive his car down to the hotel where he had spent the night. Joe was headed back to
Bear Lake Monster
S. E. Schlosser
If you travel to
A feller I heard about spotted the monster early one evening as he was walking along the lake. He tried to shoot it with his rifle. The man was a crack shot, but not one of his bullets touched that monster. It scared the heck out of him and he high tailed it home faster than you can say Jack Robinson. Left his rifle behind him and claimed the monster ate it.
Sometimes, when the monster has been quiet for a while, people start saying it is gone for good. Some folks even dredge up that old tale that says how Pecos Bill heard about the
Course, we know better than that. The Bear Lake Monster is just hibernating-like. Keep your eyes open at dusk and maybe you'll see it come out to feed. Just be careful swimming in the lake, or you might be its next meal!
S. E. Schlosser
There once was an evil priest who did not fear God or man. His duties for the church included counting the offerings and ringing the bells to summon people to Mass. But his heart was filled with greed, and he began to take advantage of the good people of his parish. The priest stole money out of the offerings to keep for himself, and when he had filled a chest full of gold, he killed a man and buried him with the chest so the murdered man's ghost would guard it. Anyone who tried to dig for the treasure would be devoured by the skeleton of the murdered man.
The evil priest planned to return to
The Padre who attended the dying priest did not heed his words. But the sweeper who was working in the hallway at the time of the evil priest's death was struck by the notion of buried treasure. He was very poor and wanted a better life for himself and his family, so the sweeper determined to take the treasure for himself. Each night for a week, he took a shovel and dug in the monastery gardens, searching for the priests treasure. He found nothing.
One night the sweeper was awakened from his dreams by the sound of the parish bells ringing out loudly in the darkness. He leapt to his feet, fearing some emergency, and then realized that his wife and children had not stirred in their beds. Remembering the evil priest's last words, the sweeper felt sure that the mysterious ringing of the bells was for his ears alone, to lead him to the treasure.
Taking his shovel, the sweeper followed the sound of the church bells up and up into the hills. He was gasping for breath when he reached the source of the sound. He was on a wide ledge overlooking the valley. Two trees guarded the spot, and it was beside these trees that the glowing, ghostly church bells hovered. Taking his shovel, the poor sweeper dug a deep hole among the roots of the trees. After several moments, his shovel hit something hard! Eagerly, he swept the dirt away from the object and found a small chest. He hauled it out of the ditch with trembling hands, placed it on a rock, and broke the lock with the edge of his shovel. when he opened it, piles of yellow gold met his dazzled eyes. He gathered up a handful of coins, reveling in the weight of so much money. The coins were cool to his touch, and he felt the smoothness of the metal as he rubbed the coins between his fingers. And that was when he heard the moaning...
Looking up, the sweeper saw the skeleton of the murdered man whom the evil priest had buried with the treasure. It was rising out of the pit under the trees, eye sockets glowing with blue flames. "Mine," the skeleton intoned, stretching its bony arms toward the sweeper. "Mine!"
The sweeper screamed in terror and leapt away from the box of treasure, dropping the coins that he held in his hands. He ran down the hill as fast as he could go, the skeleton in hot pursuit. Behind him, the bells began to ring again as he fled for his life from the ledge.
The sweeper kept running long after the sounds of pursuit ceased, and did not stop until he reached his home. It was only then that he realized he had left his shovel back with the buried treasure on top of the hill. it was an expensive shovel and he could not afford to lose it.
Waiting until daylight, the sweeper went reluctantly back up into the hills to retrieve it. When he reached the ledge, there was no sign of the skeleton, the chest of money, or the hole he had dug the night before. He found his shovel at the top of a tall tree whose first branches began nearly twenty feet above his head. The skeleton must have placed it there after it chased him down the hill, he decided grimly, knowing that there was no way he could retrieve it.
Turning sadly away, the sweeper's eye was caught by a gleam in the bushes near the rock where he had placed the treasure chest the night before. Carefully, keeping his eye on the place where the skeleton lay buried, the sweeper felt around the rock until his hand closed on two gold coins that the ghost had missed. Casually he put the coins in his pocket and hurried from the ledge. When he got home, the sweeper put the coins into a sock and hid it under the floorboard for safekeeping.
The sweeper never went back to the ledge to retrieve the evil priest's buried treasure, though sometimes he was still awakened by the mysterious sound of the bells. He knew it would take someone more pious than himself to banish the ghost of the murdered man and reclaim the money for God. But he did use the gold coins to send his eldest son to school, and with the left-over change, he bought himself a new shovel.
S. E. Schlosser
The nefarious pirate Blackbeard (who's real name was Edward Teach) was a tall man with a very long black beard that covered most of his face and extended down to his waist. He tied his beard up in pigtails adorned with black ribbons. He wore a bandolier over his shoulders with three braces of pistols and sometimes he would hang two slow-burning cannon fuses from his fur cap that wreathed his head in black smoke. Occasionally, he would set fire to his rum using gunpowder, and he would drink it, flames and all. Many people thought he was the Devil incarnate.
For twenty-seven months, Blackbeard terrorized the sailors of the Atlantic and the
In November of 1718, Blackbeard retreated to his favorite hideaway -- called Teach's Hole -- off
On November 21, 1718, Maynard engaged Blackbeard in a terrible battle. One of Maynard's ships were between Blackbeard and freedom. Blackbeard sailed his ship - the Adventure - in towards shore. It looked like the pirate was going to crash his ship, but at the last second the ship eased through a narrow channel. One of the pursuing Navy ships went aground on a sand bar when they tried to pursue the Adventure. Blackbeard fired his cannons at the remaining ship and many of Maynard's men were killed. The rest he ordered below the deck under cover of the gun smoke, hoping to fool the pirates into thinking they had won. When the pirates boarded the ship, Maynard and his men attacked the pirates.
Outnumbered, the pirates put up a bloody fight. Blackbeard and Maynard came face to face. They both shot at each other. Blackbeard's shot missed Maynard, but Maynard's bullet hit the pirate. Blackbeard swung his cutlass and managed to snap off Maynard's sword blade near the hilt. As Blackbeard prepared to deliver the death-blow, one of Maynard's men cut Blackbeard's throat from behind. Blackbeard's blow missed its mark, barely skinning Maynard's knuckles. Infuriated, Blackbeard fought on as the blood spouted from his neck. Maynard and his men rushed the pirate. It took a total of five gunshots and about twenty cuts before Blackbeard fell down dead.
Maynard seemed to think that the only way to ensure that Blackbeard was dead was to remove his head. They hung the head from the bowsprit and threw the pirate's body overboard. As the body hit the water, the head hanging from the bowsprit shouted: "Come on Edward" and the headless body swam three times around the ship before sinking to the bottom.
From that day to this, Blackbeard's ghost has haunted Teach's Hole, forever searching for his missing head. Sometimes, the headless ghost floats on the surface of the water, or swims around and around and around Teach's Hole, glowing just underneath the water. Sometimes, folks see a strange light coming from the shore on the Pamlico Sound side of
Blue Hen's Chicks
S. E. Schlosser
Well, these cocks could fight! They were so fierce, they caused quite a stir among the men. It did not take long for the
The Doctor and the Ghost
S. E. Schlosser
Little Simeon came running into the surgery. He bent over, winded, and gasped desperately several times before he could speak.
"Doc. Doc! My paw got strychnine poison in his thumb. We amputated it right away, but the poison is still moving up his arm. You gotta come quick!"
The doctor grabbed his medical bag and hustled out the door immediately. It took but a moment to saddle the mare, and he swung the boy up in front of him and galloped out of the yard and down the road towards the Houd place, which was two miles away.
Simeon the elder was lying on his bed being attended by his wives and a large number of his children.
"Doctor, you must help me," Simeon gasped, waving the stump of his thumb at the doctor. "The strychnine is up to my shoulder. If it gets in my vitals, I will die."
His wives started wailing, and all the children echoed them so there was a tremendous noise in the room. The doctor held up his hands and shouted: "Be assured my sisters and brothers, that God has sent me in good time to cure Brother Simeon. With my Thomsonian medicines to aid his recovery, Brother Simeon will soon be well."
His words calmed the family. After repeated reassurances, Simeon's wives bustled out of the room followed by the children, leaving the doctor room to work. As the doctor treated Simeon with the first dose of medicine, he could smell dinner being prepared and hear the voices of Simeon's children doing their homework around the kitchen table.
When the doctor descended the stairs, Simeon's wives came out of the kitchen, and asked him to stay to dinner. He declined regretfully, having other patients to see that evening. But before he left he gave them careful instructions on the care of Simeon, and told them he would be by tomorrow to give Simeon another dose of the special tonics.
The doctor visited Simeon every morning and night for four days, giving him a thorough case of Thomsonian medicines each visit. By the fourth day, Simeon was so much better that the doctor determined that the poison had been checked. Deciding that no more treatment was necessary, he declared Simeon well and went home, well satisfied with the successful recovery of his patient.
Two nights later, the doctor was awakened from a deep sleep by a bright light shining right in his eyes. He sat up quickly, shading his eyes. At first he thought that he had overslept. But the light was not coming from the window. As his eyes adjusted to the brilliance, he saw a woman dressed in white standing at the foot of the bed. She was surrounded by a heavenly light, and she glowed within as well. The doctor gasped in fear and huddled underneath his bedclothes.
"Do not be afraid," the spirit said in a kind voice. The doctor took heart at her words. He withdrew his head from the covers and looked right at the glowing woman.
"I have been sent to you from the other world," the woman said.
"Who are you?" The doctor asked.
"In life, I was called Sally Ann. I was a cousin to Sisters Thompson and Smith."
"Why have you been sent here?" asked the doctor.
"I have been sent to tell you that Brother Simeon will die of strychnine poisoning if you do not double your diligence."
The doctor swallowed guiltily, remembering his pride in having cured Brother Simeon. One of the earliest lessons he had learned was how pride goeth before destruction. Yet here he was falling into the same trap.
He thanked the ghost for her warning and promised to go to Brother Simeon at daybreak. Satisfied, the ghost vanished and the room was in darkness once more.
The next morning the doctor went to Brother Simeon's house and recommenced his treatment. Simeon confessed to the doctor that he had begun having trouble with his arm again, but was unsure whether or not it was serious enough to call him out. The doctor continued dosing his patient with the Thomsonian medicine until Simeon was completely well.
Brother Simeon lived for another twenty-five years in good health, for which he credited the doctor and his Thomsonian medicine. As for Sisters Thomson and Smith, they recognized the doctor's description of the ghost at once. It was their cousin Sally Ann Chamberlain from Nauvoo, who had died fourteen years before.
The First Tears
S. E. Schlosser
Once long ago, Man went hunting along the water's edge for seals. To Man's delight, many seals were crowded together along the seashore. He would certainly bring home a great feast for Woman and Son. He crept cautiously towards the seals. The seals grew restless. Man slowed down. Suddenly, the seals began to slip into the water. Man was frantic. His feast was getting away.
Then Man saw a single seal towards the back of the group. It was not moving as quickly as the others. Ah! Here was his prize. He imagined the pride on Woman's face, the joy in Son's eyes. Their bellies would be filled for many days from such a seal.
Man crept towards the last seal. It did not see him, or so Man thought. Suddenly, it sprang away and slipped into the water. Man rose to his feet. He was filled with a strange emotion. He felt water begin to drip from his eyes. He touched his eyes and tasted the drops. Yes, they tasted like salty water. Strange choking sounds were coming from his mouth and chest.
Son heard the cries of Man and called Woman. They ran to the seashore to find out what was wrong with Man. Woman and Son were alarmed to see water flowing out of Man's eyes.
Man told them about the shore filled with seals. He told how he had hunted them, and how every seal had escaped his knife. As he spoke, water began to flow from the eyes of Woman and Son, and they cried with
Later, Man and Son hunted a seal together. They killed it and used its skin to make snares for more seals.
S. E. Schlosser
You can talk 'til you're blue in the face about the thickest of fogs in ye merry olde England, but I'm tellin' you now, sure as I'm standing here, that England's fogs don't hold nothing over them thick fogs which roll in over the Bay of Fundy here in Maine. These ain't your little pea soupers, you can betcher life. These fogs is so thick you can drive a nail into them and hang yer hat on it. It's the honest truth.
One of my neighbors works a fishing boat, but he can't do nothin' when a
"Maude, we got a mighty long house," he told his wife over supper. "Took me all day to shingle."
Well, Maude knew right enough that they lived in a small house. After all, she'd been cleanin' it for nigh on twenty years, so who would know better? She went outside to take a look. And I'll be jiggered if she didn't discover that my neighbor had shingled right past the edge of the roof and out onto the fog! <
S. E. Schlosser
My wife Jill and I were driving home from a friend's party late one evening in early May. It was a beautiful night with a full moon. We were laughing and discussing the party when the engine started to cough and the emergency light went on. We had just reached the railroad crossing where
Not wanting a repeat of the train crash, I hit the gas pedal, trying to get our car safely across the tracks before it broke down completely. But the dad-blamed car wouldn't cooperate. It stalled dead center on the railroad tracks.
As if that weren't enough, the railroad signals started flashing and a bright light appeared a little ways down the track, bearing down fast on our car. I turned the key and hit the gas pedal, trying to get the car started.
"Hurry up, Jim! The train's coming," my wife urged, as if I didn't hear the whistling blowing a warning.
I broke out into a sweat and tried the engine again. Nothing.
"We have to get out!" I shouted to my wife, reaching for the door handle.
"I can't," Jill shouted desperately. She was struggling with her seat belt. We'd been having trouble with it recently. She'd been stuck more than once, and I'd had to help her get it undone.
I threw myself across the stick-shift and fought with the recalcitrant seat belt. My hands were shaking and sweat poured down my body as I felt the rumble of the approaching train. It had seen us and was whistling sharply. I risked a quick glance over my shoulder. The engineer was trying to slow down, but he was too close to stop before he hit us. I redoubled my efforts.
Suddenly, the car was given a sharp shove from behind. Jill and I both gasped and I fell into her lap as the car started to roll forward, slowly at first, then gaining speed. The back end cleared the tracks just a second before the train roared passed. As the car rolled to a stop on the far side of the tracks, the engineer stuck his head out the window of the engine and waved a fist at us; doubtless shouting something nasty at us for scaring him.
"Th..that was close," Jill gasped as I struggled upright. "How did you get the car moving?"
"I didn't," I said. "Someone must have helped us."
I jumped out of the door on the driver's side of the car and ran back to the tracks to thank our rescuer. In the bright moonlight, I searched the area, looking for the person who had pushed our car out of the path of the train. There was no one there. I called out several times, but no one answered. After a few minutes struggle with her seatbelt, Jill finally freed herself and joined me.
"Where is he?" she asked.
"There is no one here," I replied, puzzled.
"Maybe he is just shy about being thanked," Jill said. She raised her voice. "Thank you, whoever you are," she called.
The wind picked up a little, swirling around us, patting our hair and our shoulders like the soft touch of a child's hand. I shivered and hugged my wife tightly to me. We had almost died tonight, and I was grateful to be alive.
"Yes, thank you," I repeated loudly to our mystery rescuer.
As we turned back to our stalled vehicle, I pulled out my cell phone, ready to call for a tow truck. Beside me, Jill stopped suddenly, staring at the back of our car.
"Jim, look!" she gasped.
I stared at our vehicle. Scattered in several places across the back of our car were several glowing handprints. They were small handprints; the kind that adorned the walls of elementary schools all over the country. I started shaking as I realized the truth; our car had been pushed off the tracks by the ghosts of the schoolchildren killed at this location.
The wind swept around us again, and I thought I heard an echo of childish voices whispering 'You're welcome' as it patted our shoulders and arms. Then the wind died down and the handprints faded from the back of the car.
Jill and I clung together for a moment in terror and delight. Finally, I released her and she got into the car while I called the local garage to come and give us a tow home.
The Ghost That Followed Me Home
S. E. Schlosser
I have a fascination with genealogy, which is what started all the trouble. My next-door neighbor and I were fellow hobbyists, and we often supported each others search for long-lost ancestors. We would spend hours pouring over stacks of dusty country records, wandering through poison-ivy strewn graveyards, and getting lost on back lanes trying to find the homes of retirees who remembered what our forbearers were like way back when.
On this particular day, we were traveling to a distant graveyard which conveniently happened to contain the graves of ancestors from both of our (completely unrelated) families. Cheryl's great-great-aunt and her other kin were quite easy to find, but we had to search high and low before we found the tomb of my third-cousin-once-removed, one Samuel Beauregard Smith. I took a rubbing, recorded his information into one of my copious notebooks, and then stood examining the fancy stone for a few moments.
"No expense spared here," I said to Cheryl.
"Either someone really loved him, or someone was glad to see him go," Cheryl agreed with a grin. "Do you have any idea which it was?"
"Nope. I just found out about his existence last Friday," I replied.
We packed up our stuff after that, lunched at a quaint little tea house in the vicinity, and then went home. The early evening proceeded normally; at least, it did until I heard the squeak the front door made when it opened. I knew I had shut the door firmly when I came in, and I was pretty sure I'd locked it, but when I went into the hallway, the door was wide open, as if someone had just walked in.
Behind me Soot, my black cat, started to purr. She walked delicately toward the front door and started twining herself around and around, as if she were rubbing against someone's legs in greeting. But there was no one there. My arms broke out in goose bumps, and I hastily shooed Soot away and closed the door. The cat continued to purr and leisurely walked into the living room, as if she were dogging the footsteps of some invisible presence.
In the living room, Terry, my ancient fox terrier, huffed a greeting to a very-empty-looking spot in the middle of the room, thumping his tail a few times before settling back down in his basket to snooze. I hurried away to the kitchen to do something normal - like the supper dishes - and then went right to bed, telling myself I was being over imaginative and silly.
The next morning, some of the cabinets were open, as if someone had been searching through them, looking for breakfast food. Pretending that I must have left them open last night (I hadn't), I closed them, and ignored Soot's purred greeting to someone who just happened to be occupying the empty chair across from mine as I ate some cold cereal and got ready for work. I also pretended not to see the unfolded newspaper on the kitchen table as I grabbed my keys and I absolutely did not see one of the pages start to turn as I walked out the back door.
For almost two weeks, I ignored the invisible person living in the house with me, although he (it felt like a he) drove me crazy, leaving cabinets open, scuffling up the rugs, rearranging the furniture to suit his fancies, and forgetting to turn off lights. But when he started whistling off-key, I'd had enough.
I'd told Cheryl about my unwanted guest. She'd been reluctant to believe me, until she came over one morning and found someone invisibly reading the newspaper. After that, she gave me the name of a psychic, and I gave the woman a call.
Cheryl wanted to be here when the psychic arrived, but she was called over to her daughter's house to baby sit, and so she missed out on the grand entrance. The psychic was a nice, normal looking brunette who stiffened as soon as she entered the house and said: "Yes, you do have a ghost," before I'd even had a chance to take her coat.
We sat down in the living room, and the psychic quickly made contact with the spirit. And what do you know? It was Samuel Beauregard Smith. Apparently, he'd seen me visiting the graveyard, and decided I reminded him of his first wife, so he'd followed me home.
"I'm flattered," I said carefully, "but it isn't seemly for a widow to be sharing her home with a bachelor such as yourself."
As the psychic relayed my message to the ghost, I heard Cheryl's car pulling into her driveway, and knew she would be over any minute.
"Samuel has agreed to leave the house," the psychic said. I wondered where his spirit usually resided, but decided it would not be appropriate to ask such a personal question. A moment later, a feeling of emptiness filled the room. "Samuel is gone," the psychic told me.
After thanking the psychic and paying her for her services, I escorted her to the front door, just in time to see Cheryl hurrying up the front walk. The two women nodded to each other as they passed, and then Cheryl burst into the hallway.
"Was that the psychic? What did she say? And who was the old-fashioned man with the white mustache who came out your front door just as I was pulling into my driveway?"
My mouth dropped open in shock. Closing it, I swallowed and sat down rather abruptly.
"What is it? What did I say?" asked Cheryl, alarmed by my pallor.
"Nothing," I said, slowly beginning to grin. "You just saw Samuel Beauregard Smith leaving the house at my request."
Now it was Cheryl's turn to sit abruptly. "Samuel Beauregard Smith?" she asked incredulously. "That third cousin of yours with the fancy tombstone?"
"I just saw his ghost?" she said.
"You just saw his ghost," I confirmed.
For the first time since we'd met, Cheryl was speechless.
I laughed suddenly and got up. "It will be nice to have my house to myself again," I told her, and went to the kitchen to make us some tea.
The Golden Hand
S. E. Schlosser
He never paid much attention to the neighbors living on his city block until the day the pretty middle-aged widow moved in two doors down from him. She was plump and dark with sparkling eyes, and she always wore dark gloves on her hands, even indoors.
He went out of his way to meet her, and they often "bumped" into each other in the street and stood talking. One day, as she brushed the hair back from her forehead, he caught a glimpse of gold under the glove on her right arm. When he asked her about it, she grinned coquettishly and told him that she had lost one hand a few years back and now wore a golden hand in its place. In that moment, a terrible lust woke in his heart - not to possess the lady herself, but to possess the solid gold hand that she wore under her long black gloves.
He courted the widow with every stratagem known to him; flowers, trips to the theater, gifts, compliments. And he won her heart. Within a month, they were standing in front of a minister, promising to love one another until death parted them. Within another month, he was a widower and had buried his ailing wife in the local cemetery - without her golden hand. It had been so easy. A slow poison, administered daily to resemble a wasting disease. No one - not his wife, not the family doctor, not their neighbors - suspected murder. And the night after the funeral, he slept with the golden hand under his pillow.
It was a dark night. Clouds covered the moon, and the wind was whistling down the chimney and rattling the shutters of the town house. He was deeply asleep when the door to his room slammed open with a loud bang and a wild wind whipped around the room, scattering papers and books and clothing and table coverings every which way. He sat up, startled by the sudden noise, and his pulse began to pound when he saw a greenish-white light bobbing slowly into the room. Before his eyes, the light slowly grew larger, taking on the shape of his dead wife. She was missing one arm. "Where is my golden hand?" she moaned, her dark eyes blazing with red fire. "Give me my golden hand!"
He tried to speak, but his mouth was so dry with fear that he could only make soft gasping noises. The glowing phantom moved closer to him, her once-lovely face twisted into a hideous green mask. "You stole my life and you stole my hand. Give me back my golden hand!" the dead wife howled. The noise rose higher and higher, and the phantom pulsed with a strident green light that smote his eyes, making them water.
He cowered back against his pillows, and the hard shape of the golden hand pressed against his back. And then he felt the golden hand twitch underneath him as the mangled green phantom that had been his wife swooped down upon him, pressing his face against the pillow in a suffocating green cloud. He tried to scream, but it was cut off suddenly by a terrible pressure against his throat, cutting off his breath. The world went black.
The next morning, when the housemaid came into the room with her master's morning cup of tea, she found him lying dead on the floor, with the golden hand clutched around his throat.
S. E. Schlosser
A young woman lay suffering on her deathbed, her stillborn baby lying against her chest. Her young husband crouched close, stricken with grief. His beautiful wife crooned a lullaby to her dead baby, her voice growing fainter as death drew near. Finally, she looked at her husband and asked him to bury her back East, beside her dead mother. Choked with grief, the young husband agreed.
But after his wife lay still in death, her husband could not bear to be parted from her and their dead child. He had them buried together beneath a lonely pine tree on a gently sloping knoll near their home, where he could visit the grave. As spring drew near, fragrant wildflowers bloomed across the knoll and the small grave.
One night, the husband threw himself across the flower-strewn grave, head buried in his arms as he tried to control his grief. As he lay there, the stillness of the night seemed to deepen. A light breeze tousled his hair and swayed the branches of the pine tree. At that moment, he heard a soft voice crooning a lullaby. He started upright, searching about for his wife. He heard a gurgle from an infant, a happy sound of contentment. Then the breeze died away, and the branches of the pine tree stilled. Then a shining light seemed to descend from the dark sky and hover over the young husband and the small grave under the tree. The husband heard the singing again, and the happy laugh of a small child. And then there was darkness. The husband went home that night with peace in his heart for the first time since the death of his wife.
People say that on dark, summery nights you can still hear the young mother singing a lullaby, and hear the happy chuckles of her tiny child.
The Hairy Toe
S. E. Schlosser
Once there was an old woman who went out in the woods to dig up some roots to cook for dinner. She spotted something funny sticking out of the leaves and dug around until she uncovered a great big hairy toe. There was some good meat on that toe which would make a real tasty dinner, so the old woman put it in her basket and took it home.
When she got back to her cottage, the old woman boiled up a kettle-full of hairy toe soup, which she ate for dinner that night. It was the best meal she'd had in weeks! The old woman went to bed that night with a full stomach and a big smile.
Along about midnight, a cold wind started blowing in the tops of the trees around the old woman's house. A large black cloud crept over the moon and from the woods a hollow voice rumbled: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!" Inside the house, the old woman stirred uneasily in her bed and nervously pulled the covers up over her ears.
From the woods there came a stomp-stomp-stomping noise as the wind whistled and jerked at the treetops. In the clearing at the edge of the forest, a hollow voice said: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!" Inside the house, the old woman shuddered and turned over in her sleep.
A stomp, stomp, stomping sound came from the garden path outside the cottage. The night creatures shivered in their burrows as a hollow voice howled: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!" Inside the house, the old woman snapped awake. Her whole body shook with fright as she listened to the angry howling in her garden. Jumping out of bed, she ran to the door and barred it. Once the cottage was secure, she lay back down to sleep.
Suddenly, the front door of the cottage burst open with a bang, snapping the bar in two and sending it flying into the corners of the room. There came the stomp, stomp, stomping noise of giant feet walking up the stairs. Peeping out from under the covers, the old woman saw a massive figure filling her doorway. It said: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
The old woman sat bolt upright in terror and shouted: "I ATE your hairy toe!"
"Yes, you did," the giant figure said very gently as it advanced into the room.
No one living in the region ever saw the old woman again. The only clue to her disappearance was a giant footprint a neighbor found pressed deep into the loose soil of the meadow beside the house. The footprint was missing the left big toe.
How the Rainbow Was Made
S. E. Schlosser
One day when the earth was new, Nanbozho looked out the window of his house beside the wide waterfall and realized that all of the flowers in his meadow were exactly the same off-white color. How boring! He decided to make a change, so he gathered up his paints and his paintbrushes and went out to the meadow.
Nanbozho sat down in the tall grass and arranged his red and orange and yellow and green and blue and violet paint pots next to him. Then he began to paint the flowers in his meadow in many different colors. He painted the violets dark blue and the tiger lilies orange with brown dots. He made the roses red and pink and purple. He painted the pansies in every color combination he could think of. Then he painted every single daffodil bright yellow. Nanbozho hummed happily to himself as he worked in the brilliant daylight provided by Brother Sun.
Overhead, two little bluebirds were playing games with each other. The first little bluebird would chase his friend across the meadow one way. Then they would turn around and the second bluebird would chase him back the other way. Zippity-zip went the first bluebird as he raced across the sky. Zappity-zing went the second bluebird as he chased him in the brilliant sunshine.
Occasionally, Nanbozho would shade his eyes and look up…up into the endless blue sky to watch the two little birds playing. Then he went back to work, painting yellow centers in the white daisies. Above him, the two birds decided to see how fast they could dive down to the green fields below them. The first bluebird sailed down and down, and then pulled himself up sharply just before he touched the ground. As he soared passed Nanbozho, his right wing dipped into the red paint pot. When the second bluebird dove toward the grass, his left wing grazed the orange paint pot.
Nanbozho scolded the two birds, but they kept up their game, diving down toward the grass where he sat painting and then flying back up into the sky. Soon their feet and feathers were covered with paint of all colors. Finally Nanbozho stood up and waved his arms to shoo the birds away.
Reluctantly, the bluebirds flew away from Nanbozho and his paint pots, looking for another game to play. They started chasing each other again, sailing this way and that over top of the giant waterfall that stood next to Nanbozho's house. Zippity-zip, the first bluebird flew through the misty spray of the waterfall. The first bluebird left a long red paint streak against the sky. Zappity-zing, the second bluebird chased his friend through the mist, leaving an orange paint streak. Then the birds turned to go back the other way. This time, the first bluebird left a yellow paint streak and the second left a pretty blue-violet paint streak. As they raced back and forth, the colors grew more vivid. When Brother Sun shone on the colors, they sparkled radiantly through the mist of the waterfall.
Below them, Nanbozho looked up in delight when the brilliant colors spilled over his meadow. A gorgeous arch of red and orange and yellow and green and blue and violet shimmered in the sky above the waterfall. Nanbozho smiled at the funny little bluebirds and said: "You have made a rainbow!"
Nanbozho was so pleased that he left the rainbow permanently floating above his waterfall, its colors shimmering in the sunshine and the misting water. From that day to this, whenever Brother Sun shines his light on the rain or the mist, a beautiful rainbow forms. It is a reflection of the mighty rainbow that still stands over the waterfall at Nanbozho's house.
I'm All Right
S. E. Schlosser
We knew right from the start that Johnny was going to be a soldier. Even as a child, all his concentration was on the military. So we weren't surprised when he joined the Marines right out of high school.
Johnny excelled in his chosen career. He was so happy to be serving his country. I could see it in his face every time he came home on leave. He was itching to get into some "real action", something that - as a mother - frightened me. He was my only son, and I didn't want to lose him. But he was also a grown man with a wife and a baby on the way. I was very proud of the way he was living his life.
Then came the terrible day in September when everything in our world changed. I knew as soon as I saw events unfolding on the television that Johnny was going to get the action he craved. And I started praying: "Please God, keep him safe."
Johnny went to the
My relief was intense when Johnny came home. I ran to him and almost knocked him over in my excitement when he stepped out of the car. He hugged me tightly, and then reached into the backseat to remove his little daughter from her car seat and show her off to us.
I tried to conceal my fear when he told us a few months later that he would be going back to the
Johnny's emails on this trip were sporadic and his tone was grim. Things were tough over there, although he did not say much about it. He just spoke of little things like the rapid growth of his beautiful girl and the many activities of the wonderful woman who was her mother and his wife.
One night, late in August, I awoke from a deep sleep, certain that I had heard Johnny's voice.
"Mom," Johnny said again.
I turned over and blinked in the dim light coming from the streetlamp outside our window. Johnny was standing beside the bed, gazing down on me tenderly. I sat up immediately.
"Johnny," I gasped.
He smiled and sat down beside me, as he had often done when he was little. He took my hand and said: "I want you to know how much I appreciate you and Dad. It couldn't have been easy, raising a head-strong boy like me, but you did a wonderful job."
Johnny's words filled me with a great joy and a terrible fear. Tears sprang to my eyes. He gently wiped one away with his finger. "I came to tell you that I am all right. Take care of my girls for me."
"We will," I managed to say, realizing at last what this visit meant.
"I love you, Mom. We'll be together again real soon," Johnny said. He leaned forward, kissed me on the cheek, and then he was gone.
I fell back against the pillows, too stunned even to weep. My husband, who was a heavy sleeper, woke when he felt the bed jerk. He rolled over and mumbled: "Are you all right?"
"Something has happened to Johnny," I said, too grief-stricken to be tactful. "I think he's dead."
My husband jerked awake. "What?!" he exclaimed fearfully.
I started sobbing then, and told him about Johnny's visit. We held each other close for the rest of that long night, waiting for dawn and the news which would surely come with it.
The days following the official notification of Johnny's death -- killed in action in the
The King of Sharks
S. E. Schlosser
One day, the King of Sharks saw a beautiful girl swimming near the shore. He immediately fell in love with the girl. Transforming himself into a handsome man, he dressed himself in the feathered cape of a chief and followed her to her village.
The villagers were thrilled by the visit of a foreign chief. They made a great luau, with feasting and games. The King of Sharks won every game, and the girl was delighted when he asked to marry with her.
The King of Sharks lived happily with his bride in a house near a waterfall. The King of Sharks, in his human form, would swim daily in the pool of water beneath the falls. Sometimes he would stay underneath the water so long that his bride would grow frightened. But the King of Sharks reassured her, telling her that he was making a place at the bottom of the pool for their son.
Before the birth of the child, the King of Sharks returned to his people. He made his wife swear that she would always keep his feathered cape about the shoulders of their son. When the child was born, his mother saw a mark upon his back which looked like the mouth of a shark. It was then she realized who her husband had been.
The child's name was Nanave. As he grew towards manhood, Nanave would swim daily in the pool beside the house. Sometimes, his mother would gaze into the pool and see a shark swimming beneath the water.
Each morning, Nanave would stand beside the pool, the feathered cloak about his shoulders, and would ask the passing fishermen where they were going to fish that day. The fisherman always told the friendly youth where they intended to go. Then Nanave would dive into the pool and disappear for hours.
The fishermen soon noticed that they were catching fewer and fewer fish. The people of their village were growing hungry. The chief of the village called the people to the temple. "There is a bad god among us," the chief told the people. "He prevents our fishermen from catching fish. I will use my magic to find him." The chief laid out a bed of leaves. He instructed all the men and boys to walk among the leaves. A human's feet would bruise the tender leaves, but the feet of a god would leave no mark.
Nanave's mother was frightened. She knew her son was the child of a god, and he would be killed if the people discovered his identity. When it came turn for the youth to walk across the leaves, he ran fast, and slipped. A man caught at the feathered
The people chased Nanave out of the village, but he slipped away from them and dived into the pool. The people threw big rocks into the pool, filling it up. They thought they had killed Nanave. But his mother remembered that the King of Sharks had made a place for her son at the bottom of the pool, a passage that led to the ocean. Nanave had taken the form of a shark and had swum out to join his father, the King of Sharks, in the sea.
But since then, the fishermen have never told anyone where they go to fish, for fear the sharks will hear and chase the fish away.
S. E. Schlosser
She was just another poor, bedraggled woman, struggling to feed her family. He saw them all the time, their faces careworn, and blank. The Depression had created hundreds of them. He was one of the lucky ones who still had his grocery and money coming in to feed his family.
She came one day to his shop, carrying two empty milk bottles, and wordlessly placed them on the counter in front of him. He took the empties and replaced them with full bottles, saying: "Ten cents, please."
She did not reply. She just took the bottles and left the shop. He might have gone after her to demand his money, or called the police, but he did neither. Her need was in her face, and he always felt a little guilty at being one of the lucky ones with money and a job. She was probably one of the migrant workers, he decided.
She was back the next day with two empty milk bottles. He replaced them with full bottles and watched as she hurried out the door. She looked so worried that he wondered if she had a job at all. If she came back, he would offer her a part-time position cleaning the store.
She came again the next morning, and exchanged her empty bottles for full without saying a word. He tried to talk to her, to ask if she wanted a job, but she practically ran from the store with the milk. Her urgency worried him. He followed, wondering what he could do to help.
To his surprise, she headed away from the migrant camp outside of town. She went instead to the graveyard by the river. As he watched, she hurried up to a stone marker and then disappeared into the ground. He rubbed his eyes in disbelief. Then he heard the muffled cry of a baby. It was coming from the ground underneath the stone marker where the woman had disappeared!
He ran back to the store and phoned the police. Within minutes, the graveyard was swarming with people, and the workers started digging up the grave. When the casket was opened, the store owner saw the woman who had visited his store lying dead within it. In her arms, she held a small baby and two full milk bottles. The baby was still alive.
Mrs. Peter's Pens
A Tongue Twister Tale
S. E. Schlosser
Listen to the story (4 mb download)
"Oh pooh," said Mrs. Polly Peters to her pet parrot Petey. "Where did I put that pen?"
"Petey's pens," said Petey Peters, bobbing his green head up and down inside his cage.
Mrs. Peters started looking for her pen. She crept under the desk, until only her pink penny-loafers were showing.
"The pen is not under here!" she said. When Mrs. Peters crawled back out, she was all dusty.
Next, Mrs. Peters crawled around the pink rug, looking for her pen. Her nose was close to the floor, because she had forgotten to put on her glasses. She looked like a pink-and-purple puppy dog.
Petey bobbed up and down excitedly in his cage. He wanted to play the new game too.
Mrs. Peters looked inside all the flowerpots on the windowsill. But she still could not find her pen.
"I have misplaced four pens this past week," Mrs. Peters said with a frown. "This is a most maddening mystery."
Mrs. Peters was a poet. She wrote poems for Petunia Press. She used her pink and purple pens every day. Mrs. Peters had no pink and purple pens left, so she put on her hat and went to Patsy's Odds 'N Ends to purchase some pens.
Mrs. Peters told Patsy her problem. Patsy sold Mrs. Peters a purple pen holder in which to put her pens.
"This will put an end to misplaced pens," said Mrs. Peters.
Mrs. Peters placed the purple pen holder on her desk and put her pink and purple pens inside it. The next morning, they were gone!
"This is perfectly preposterous!" cried Mrs. Peters.
Petey Peters peered out of his cage.
"Petey's pens," Petey remarked, blinking his brown eyes at her.
"Petey Peters," said Mrs. Peters. "Someone is stealing my pens."
"Petey's pens," agreed Petey Peters, bobbing his green head up and down.
"We must catch the thief," Mrs. Peters exclaimed.
Mrs. Peters went to Patsy's to buy more pink and purple pens. She also purchased a Polaroid camera. When Mrs. Peters got home, she placed the pink and purple pens inside the purple pen holder. Then, she covered Petey Peters' cage with a pink and purple polka-dotted cover and put herself to bed.
At midnight, Mrs. Peters snuck out of bed with her newly purchased Polaroid. She perched on a purple cushion in the doorway.
Soon, Mrs. Peters heard a plink. Then Mrs. Peter's heard a flapping sound and a thump. "I caught you red handed!" shouted Mrs. Peters, snapping a picture on her Polaroid. There came a clatter, a flapping sound, and another plink.
Mrs. Peters turned on the light. A purple pen lay on the floor! The pink and purple polka-dotted cover on Petey's cage was crooked. A pair of brown eyes peered out at her.
Mrs. Peters watched the Polaroid picture develop. Soon she saw Petey Peters, her pet parrot, pulling a purple pen out of the purple pen holder!
"Petey Peters have you been taking my pens?"demanded Mrs. Peters, pulling the pink and purple polka-dotted cover off of his cage.
Petey peered out at her.
Mrs. Peters pulled up the papers from the bottom of Petey's cage. Underneath the papers, she found all of her pink and purple pens! Mrs. Peters was pretty peeved with Petey. She purchased a new cage with a door that Petey could not open. Then Mrs.Peters took away all of Petey's pens.
Except for one purple and pink striped pen.
Now, whenever Mrs. Polly Peters takes out her pink and purple pens to write poems for Petunia Press, Petey Peters pulls out his favorite pen so he can play too.
S. E. Schlosser
The old storage sheds along the tracks were abandoned shortly after the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was built, and it wasn't long before the poor folk of the area moved in. The sheds provided shelter - of a sort - although the winter wind still pierced through every crevice, and the small fireplaces that the poor constructed did little to keep the cold at bay.
A gentle, kindly woman named Jenny lived alone in one of the smaller sheds. She had fallen on hard times, and with no family to protect her, she was forced to find work where she could and take whatever shelter was available to someone with little money. Jenny never had enough to eat and in winter her tiny fire barely kept her alive during the cold months. Still, she kept her spirits up and tried to help other folks when they took sick or needed food, sometimes going without herself so that another could eat.
One cold evening in late autumn, Jenny sat shivering over her fire, drinking broth out of a wooden bowl, when a spark flew from the fire and lit her skirts on fire. Intent on filling her aching stomach, Jenny did not notice her flaming clothes until the fire had burnt through the heavy wool of her skirt and began to scorch her skin. Leaping up in terror, Jenny threw her broth over the licking flames but the fluid did nothing to douse the fire. In terror, Jenny fled from the shack and ran along the tracks, screaming for help as the flames engulfed her body.
The station was not far away, and instinctively Jenny made for it, hoping to find someone to aid her. Within moments, her body was a glowing inferno and Jenny was overwhelmed by pain. Her screams grew more horrible as her steps slowed. She staggered blindly onto the tracks just west of the station, a ball of fire that barely looked human. In her agony, she did not see the glowing headlight of the train rounding the curve, or hear the screech of the breaks as the engineer spotted her fire-eaten figure and tried to stop. A moment later, her terrible screams broke off as the train mowed her down.
Alerted by the whistle, the crew from the station came running as the engineer halted the train and ran back down the tracks toward poor dead Jenny, who was still burning. The men doused the fire and carried her body back to the station. She was given a pauper's funeral and buried in an unmarked grave in the local churchyard. Within a few days, another poverty-stricken family had moved into her shack, and Jenny was forgotten.
Forgotten that is, until a month later when a train rounding the bend west of the station was confronted by a screaming ball of fire. Too late to stop, the engineer plowed over the glowing figure before he could bring the train to a screeching halt. Leaping from the engine, he ran back down the tracks to search for a mangled, burning body, but there was nothing there. Shaken, he brought his train into the station and reported the incident to the stationmaster. After hearing his tale, the stationmaster remembered poor, dead Jenny and realized that her ghost had returned to haunt the tracks where she had died.
To this day, the phantom of Screaming Jenny still appears on the tracks on the anniversary of the day she died. Many an engineer has rounded the curve just west of the station and found himself face to face with the burning ghost of Screaming Jenny, as once more she makes her deadly run towards the Harpers Ferry station, seeking in vain for someone to save her.
The Shadow Train
S. E. Schlosser
A miner was on his way to Dos Cabezas, where here heard there was good prospecting, when he found himself lost and alone in the flats just north of the
The landscape wobbled before his eyes, and he staggered forward, determined not to drop. But the heat of the desert flats seeped deep into his body and he found his wits wandering. The last sensible thought that crossed his mind before he collapsed was the sorrow his mother would feel when he did not return home from his wanderings.
He was awakened by a steady chug-chug sound. He raised his head from the hard and dusty ground and looked blurrily around him. It sounded like a train was approaching. But that was impossible. There were no tracks in this inhospitable location, and no town for miles. Clackity-clack. Clackity-clack. The sound came again, louder this time. Chug-chug-chug. Then the hiss of steam from an engine. He was hallucinating, he decided.
The miner laid his head on his arms and waited for death to come. As he broiled in the heat, he seemed to hear the words of the old-timer from whom he had learned of the good prospecting sites in the north. The grizzled man had spoken of a shadow train that had come bursting out of nowhere and ran just above the flats where no railroad tracks had ever lain. The shadow train had sped across the desert before his very eyes, a dark smudge against the dazzling light of noonday. It had vanished into the distance while the old man watched, wavering into mirage and then vanishing into the dazzle of the sun.
At the time, the young miner had thought the old man was a bit of a nut. It was an illusion caused by heat stroke, he assumed. But with the steady chug-chug-chug growing louder in his ears, he was not so sure. He raised his head again, and saw a black speck, dark as the deepest shadow, approaching rapidly. He heard the sharp whistle of a train, once, twice. The speck grew larger, and he could make out the shape of a black steam engine pulling two cars. A yellow headlight gleamed oddly in the white-hot glare of the sun.
The whistle sounded sharply again as the train hurtled toward him. The young miner wanted to leap out of its path, but his body was too far gone. He could not even lift himself. He closed his eyes and braced for the impact, but the train slowed suddenly and stopped just a few feet from his head. A jolly-faced conductor stepped out of the train and came over to him. The conductor bent down and lifted him from the ground. Someone else whom he couldn't see caught his feet, and he was carried inside a passenger car. He felt himself laid down in the aisle, and kind faces surrounded him. "Water," he gasped faintly, just before losing consciousness.
He was wakened by the feeling of cold water smoothed onto his face. He opened his eyes and saw a tall man wearing a sheriff's badge carefully trickling water from a pitcher over him. The man put down the pitcher and held a cup to his lips, careful not to give him too much water at once. The miner had to swish the water around his swollen tongue several times before he could swallow. When he was finally able to speak, he asked the sheriff what had happened.
"Fellow found you nearly dead about five miles out of town," the sheriff answered laconically.
"What town?" asked the young prospector cautiously, visions of shadow trains and jolly conductors in his head.
The sheriff looked at him strangely. "That sun sure must have messed with your head, son, if you can't even remember where you was headed," said the sheriff. "You're in
"It's a stop on the train, then?" he asked hesitantly.
"Train? There ain't no train around for miles," said the sheriff. "You'd better have some more water and rest a bit. That sun's nearly sent you loco!"
The young miner laid back down thankfully and closed his eyes. He wasn't sure why the shadow train had come to his rescue, but he was sure glad it had stopped for him.
Years later, the Southern Pacific Railroad put a track right through
Wait Until Emmet Comes
S. E. Schlosser
A preacher was riding to one of the churches on his circuit when darkness fell. It was about to storm, and the only house nearby was an old mansion which was reputed to be haunted. The preacher clutched his Bible and said: "The Lawd will take care o' me".
He went into the mansion just as the storm broke. He put his horse into the barn and made his way into the house. The door was unlocked. He went into a large room which contained a fireplace that filled one wall. There was wood laid for a fire. He laid a match to it. Then the preacher sat down to read his Bible.
Gradually, the fire burnt down to a heap of coals as the storm howled around the mansion. The preacher was roused from his reading by a sound. He looked up from his Bible. A very large, black cat was stretching itself. Then it walked to the fire and sat down among the red hot coals. It picked a coal up in its paw and licked it slowly. The cat got up, shook of the ashes, and walked to the foot of the preacher's chair. It fixed blazing yellow eyes upon him, black tail lashing and said quietly: "Wait until Emmet comes".
The preacher jumped from Genesis to Matthew in shock. He had never heard of a cat talking before. Nervously he kept reading his Bible, muttering to himself, "The Lawd will take care o' me."
Two minutes later, another cat came into the room. It was black as midnight, and as large as the biggest dog. It lay down among the red-hot coals, lazily batting them with enormous paws. Then it walked over to the other cat and said: "What shall we do with him?"
The first cat replied: "We should not do anything until Emmet comes".
The two cats, black as midnight, sat watching the preacher, who read through the Gospels at top speed, aware of blazing yellow eyes watching him.
A third cat, big as a tiger, entered the room. It went to the fire full of red-hot coals and rolled among them, chewing them and spitting them out. Then it came to the other two cats facing the preacher in the chair.
"What shall we do with him?" it growled to the others.
"We should not do anything until Emmet comes," the other cats replied together.
The preacher flipped to Revelation, looking furtively around the room. He closed the Bible and stood up.
"Goo'night cats. I is glad of yo' company, but when Emmet comes, you done tell him I been heah and went."
The White Horse
S. E. Schlosser
A Cree chief had a very beautiful daughter who was sought after by many brave warriors. There were two suitors who led the rivalry for her hand, a Cree chief from Lake Winnipegosis and a Sioux chief from Devil's
The Sioux chief was enraged by the rejection of his suit. On the day of the wedding, he gathered a war-party and came thundering across the plains toward the home of the beautiful maiden. The Cree chief tossed his lovely bride on top of the white horse and leapt upon his own gray steed. The couple fled to the west with the rejected Sioux and his war-party on their heels.
The canny Cree chief doubled back several times and the couple hid among the prairie bluffs. For a time, it seemed as if they had lost the Sioux. But once they were on the plains again, the beautiful white horse was visible for miles, and the war party soon found them. A rain of arrows fell upon the fleeing lovers, and the warrior and his bride fell dead from their mounts. At once, the Sioux captured the gray steed, but the white horse evaded them. One man claimed he saw the spirit of the young bride enter into the horse just before it fled from their clutches.
The white horse roamed the prairies for many years following the death of the Cree warrior and his lovely bride. The inhabitants feared to approach the horse, since the spirit of the maiden dwelled within it. Long after its physical body passed away, the soul of the white horse continued to gallop across the plains, and the land where it roamed became known as the White Horse Plain. They say that the soul of the white horse continues to haunt the prairie to this very day.
A statue of the white horse was erected at St. Francois Xavier on the
S. E. Schlosser
By the time he finished his daily tasks, the light was failing. But everything he needed to accomplish before he made the journey to visit his betrothed was complete. He was eager to see his love, so he set out immediately, in spite of the growing darkness. He would paddle his canoe through the night and be with his beloved come the dawn.
The river sang softly to itself under the clear night sky. He glanced up through the trees, identifying certain favorite stars and chanting softly to himself, his thoughts all of her. Suddenly, he heard his named called out. He jerked back to awareness, halting his paddling and allowing the canoe to drift as he searched for the speaker.
"Who calls?" he asked in his native tongue, and then repeated the words in French: "
There was no response.
Deciding that he had imagined the incident, he took up his paddle and continued down the dark, murmuring rivers. A few moments later, he heard his name spoken again. It came from everywhere, and from nowhere, and something about the sound reminded him of his beloved. But of course, she could not be here in this empty place along the river. She was at home with her family.
"Who calls?" he asked in his native tongue, and then repeated the words in French: "
His words echoed back to him from the surrounding valley, echoing and reverberating. The sound faded away and he listened intently, but there was no response.
The breeze swirled around him, touching his hair and his face. For a moment, the touch was that of his beloved, his fair-one, and he closed his eyes and breathed deep of the perfumed air. Almost, he thought he heard her voice in his ear, whispering his name. Then the breeze died away, and he took up his paddle and continued his journey to the home of his love.
He arrived at dawn, and was met by his beloved's father. One look at the old warrior's face told him what had happened. His beloved, his fair one was gone. She had died during the night while he was journeying to her side. Her last words had been his name, uttered twice, just before she breathed her last.
He fell on his knees, weeping like a small child. Around him, the wind rose softly and swirled through his hair, across his cheek, as gentle as a touch. In his memory, he heard his beloved's voice, calling to him in the night. Finally, he rose, took the old warrior's arm and helped him back to his home.
To this day, travelers on the Qu'Appelle River can still hear the echo of the Cree warrior's voice as he reaches out to the spirit of his beloved, crying: "
Why Lizards Can't Sit
S. E. Schlosser
Back in the old days, Brer Lizard was an awful lot like Brer Frog, meaning he could sit upright like a dog. Things were like this for quite a spell. Then one day when they were walking down the road by their swamp, Brer Lizard and Brer Frog spotted some real nice pasture land with a great big pond that was on the far side of a great big fence. Ooo did that land look good. Looked like a great place for Brer Lizard to catch insects and other good food. And Brer Frog wanted a swim in that big ol’ pool.
Brer Lizard and Brer Frog went right over to the fence, which got bigger and bigger as they approached. It kinda loomed over them, as big and tall as they were little and small. And the boards of that fence were mashed together real tight, and deep into the ground. It was too tall to hop over, and neither of them was much good at digging, so they couldn’t go under. That fence said Keep Out pretty clear, even though no one had put a sign on it.
Well, Brer Lizard and Brer Frog sat beside that tall fence with their bottoms on the ground and their front ends propped up, ‘cause Brer Lizard could still sit upright then jest like a dog, and they tried to figure out how to get through the fence. Suddenly, Brer Frog saw a narrow crack, low to the ground. “I’m going ta squeeze through that crack over there,” he croaked. “Lawd, help me through!” And Brer Frog hopped over and pushed and squeezed and struggled and prayed his way through that tiny crack until he popped out on t’other side. “Come on Lizard,” Brer Frog called through the crack.
“I’m a-comin’!” Brer Lizard called back. “I’m a-goin’ to squeeze through this here crack, Lawd willin’ or not!”
Brer Lizard scurried over to the crack in the fence and he pushed and squeezed and struggled and cursed. Suddenly, a rail fell down and mashed him flat! After that, Brer Lizard couldn’t sit upright no more. And he never did get through that fence to eat them insects, neither!
S. E. Schlosser
'Course, I've heard they also get a pretty mean wind when you cross the border into
The Yellow Ribbon
S. E. Schlosser
Jane wore a yellow ribbon around her neck everyday. And I mean everyday, rain or shine, whether it matched her outfit or not. It annoyed her best friend Johnny after awhile. He was her next door neighbor and had known Jane since she was three. When he was young, he had barely noticed the yellow ribbon, but now they were in high school together, it bothered him.
“Why do you wear that yellow ribbon around your neck, Jane?” he’d ask her every day. But she wouldn’t tell him.
Still, in spite of this aggravation, Johnny thought she was cute. He asked her to the soda shoppe for an ice cream sundae. Then he asked her to watch him play in the football game. Then he started seeing her home. And come the spring, he asked her to the dance. Jane always said yes when he asked her out. And she always wore a yellow dress to match the ribbon around her neck.
It finally occurred to Johnny that he and Jane were going steady, and he still didn’t know why she wore the yellow ribbon around her neck. So he asked her about it yet again, and yet again she did not tell him. “Maybe someday I’ll tell you about it,” she’d reply. Someday! That answer annoyed Johnny, but he shrugged it off, because Jane was so cute and fun to be with.
Well, time flew past, as it has a habit of doing, and one day Johnny proposed to Jane and was accepted. They planned a big wedding, and Jane hinted that she might tell him about the yellow ribbon around her neck on their wedding day. But somehow, what with the preparations and his beautiful bride, and the lovely reception, Johnny never got around to asking Jane about it. And when he did remember, she got a bit teary-eyed, and said: “We are so happy together, what difference does it make?” And Johnny decided she was right.
Johnny and Jane raised a family of four, with the usual ups and downs, laughter and tears. When their golden anniversary rolled around, Johnny once again asked Jane about the yellow ribbon around her neck. It was the first time he’d brought it up since the week after their wedding. Whenever their children asked him about it, he’d always hushed them, and somehow none of the kids had dared ask their mother. Jane gave Johnny as sad look and said: “Johnny, you’ve waited this long. You can wait awhile longer.”
And Johnny agreed. It was not until Jane was on her death bed a year later that Johnny, seeing his last chance slip away, asked Jane one final time about the yellow ribbon she wore around her neck. She shook her head a bit at his persistence, and then said with a sad smile: “Okay Johnny, you can go ahead and untie it.”
With shaking hands, Johnny fumbled for the knot and untied the yellow ribbon around his wife’s neck.
And Jane’s head fell off.
he Monkey Who Loved Chocolate
This chocolate-crazed story should get you in the mood for an easter-egg hunt. Look out for a surprise-guest appearance from a famous fluffy animal dear to the hearts of chocolate-lovers everywhere.
Jim is one of the very few boys on earth who doesn’t like chocolate. When Aunty Judith takes him to the zoo, she gives him a chocolate bar. Jim throws it to Theo the monkey - but little does he know what chaos and mayhem will follow from his kind gift.
Read by Natasha. Duration 14.05
This is a story about a very unusual boy, and an even more unusual monkey. The boy was out of the ordinary as boys go, because he didn’t like Chocolate. No, not at all. Not even one little bit. And I must stay, I’ve never met a boy like that. Not in my entire life. And the monkey was unusual because he absolutely adored chocolate - this particular monkey went absolutely bananas for it - and as you may guess - very few monkeys are mad about chocolate, if only because, they’ve never even tasted it.
The boy was called Jim.
And the monkey was called Theodore, or Theo for short.
One day, Jim’s Aunty Judith took him to the zoo. Jim’s mother had told her that Jim didn’t like chocolate, but she didn’t believe that.
“Poor little thing,” she said to herself. “His mum won’t buy him chocolate because she’s too mean. But I’ll buy him an nice lovely bar and give it to him while we are out.”
And that’s what she did. Only it was true. Jim really didn’t like chocolate.
“Oh thanks Aunty Judith” he said when she gave it to him. “That’s really kind of you. I’ll just save it for later, if you don’t mind.”
But he did like seeing all the animals in the Zoo.
The prowling bears weren’t at all cuddly - but they were super cool all the same.
The giraffes had lovely soft noses. The snakes in the snake house made Jim’s blood run cold - but he liked being scared really, - just a bit.
And the monkeys - well everyone loves monkeys. They looked silly but intelligent all at the same time. And in particular, one was nicer than all the others. He came up to the bars of the cage and pressed his face through them. That little monkey was Theo. Jim thought he looked hungry, and then he remembered the bar of chocolate in his coat pocket, and decided to give it to him.
Aunty Judith was starting to move on to the next cage full of chimpanzees. Jim unwrapped the chocolate bar, and threw it to Theo. The chocolate bounced against the cage, but Theo reached out with his little hand through the bars and grabbed it. Instead of stuffing it down his mouth, he started to lick it. His big brown eyes started to go all dreamy. He was in monkey heaven.
Just then Aunty Judith called to Jim and he had to run after her. “Thanks for the chocolate aunty Judith”, he said. “It was delicious.”
And Aunty Judith thought:
“Such a mean mummy not to give Jimmy chocolate. He loves it. Obviously.”
But it was Theo who was in love with chocolate. It went straight to his stomach, and then straight to his brain, and soon he was swinging from around the climbing frame of his cage like a mad mad monkey.
“Ooo oooo Ah Ah!” he said at the top of voice for the next hour and a half. And the keepers and all the other monkeys thought he had gone crazy. Which he had. He was crazy for chocolate.
But when the chocolate high wore off, Theo felt really really down. Have you ever felt like when you’ve eaten too much chocolate? First it makes you really happy, and then later, you feel a bit sad. Well that’s what happened to Theo. And all the next day he sat in his cave thinking to himself.
“Poor poor me. Now I’ve tasted chocolate, I’ll never be happy again.”
The keepers noticed that he had gone off his bananas and they worried that he was pining away. One of them thought that he must be in love, and that a girl monkey had turned her nose up at him. Another thought he was sick, and but the vet couldn’t catch Theo because he started to swing away.
“There’s nothing wrong with that monkey” he said.
But nobody guessed that Theo was planning to escape so he could find some chocolate. And the very next day, his chance came. The keeper came in carrying a big bucket full of bananas, and he didn’t close the door properly behind him. Theo was watching for something like to happen, and in a moment he was out.
“Oi You! “Stop!” Shouted another keeper.
But Theo didn’t. Soon he was heading for the turn styles, which were meant to stop people coming in without paying. As Theo was jumping over them, he saw a boy in the queue eating a fruity chocolate bar - he grabbed that and made his way down the street. The boy was too startled to cry. He just said,
“Mum, did you see that monkey stole my chocolate” he said.
But his mum hadn’t seen and she said, “Don’t tell fibs. I’m not buying you another one. You’re the greedy little monkey”.
Theo gobbled down the stolen chocolate, and now he was on a high. He headed straight for the shopping centre - not because he knew that chocolate was there - but he sensed it.
Now the emergency services started to get lots of strange calls. They are the people you call when something terrible happens - like a fire, or an accident, or a theft.
First of all a little girl called and said that a monkey had stolen her chocolate. The woman who took the call told her to stop mucking around and wasting time or she would get a visit from a policeman.
But then the owner of a corner shop called and said that a monkey had rushed into his shop and rushed out again with an arm full of nutty choco-bars.
And then a gift shop rang to say that somebody had stolen several pounds of hand made
And the head of the super market grocery store rang to say that a monkey was swinging over the shelves, knocking tins, jars, and bottle of milk all over the place, and generally creating mayhem.
“I don’t suppose you believe me,” he said sadly. “But you can hear the noise. Those are my customers. Some of them are screaming and others are laughing”.
“Oh yes, I do believe you” said the telephonist at Emergency Services. “And I can tell you now that he’s heading straight for your chocolate shelves.”
Which of course he was.
Now the situation was becoming serious. The Police set up a special
The local television news had pictures of all the chaos caused by Theo, and interviews with children whose chocolate he had stolen.
The television reporter said,
“This disaster could not have happened at a worse time. Easter is on its way, and shop keepers say it is too dangerous to put out Easter Eggs. Our Children may have to go without chocolate this Easter.”
They mayor was so furious that he called up Chief Inspector Clews told him that he was so bad at his job that he couldn’t even catch an escaped monkey. And Chief Inspector Clews didn’t like that. So he decided to set up a special trap.
First he got a special cage with an automatic door, and filled it with chocolate bars. He left it in the middle of the park, because he guessed that Theo was hiding there -which he was. But Theo wasn’t stupid. He saw the policemen bring the cage, and he knew that it was a trap. Instead he climbed into the back of a supermarket lorry just as it was unloading. That time he got away with a whole cardboard box full of chocolate bars.
Then the police were armed with tranquilizer guns which fired special darts to make Theo go to sleep. But it’s hard to hit a fast-swinging chocolate-charged monkey, and they couldn’t shoot Theo.
Now every year, it was the tradition to have an easter egg hunt in the Mayor’s back garden - which was so big, it was almost like a park. All the children from the town were invited to come and look for eggs hidden under flowers and behind trees. But this year, the Mayor said he wasn’t going to have an Easter Egg hunt because he couldn’t trust his police force to stop the monkey coming and spoiling it all. So all the children were very sad.
And so was the Easter Bunny.
The Easter Bunny decided to go and have a word with Theo. He knew where he was hiding in the park, because he had often smelt chocolate around a certain hollow tree. He went here and called out:
“Hey you. What do you think you are doing spoiling everything for the little children?”
They looked out and saw the bunny. He wasn’t afraid of a little fluffy bunny rabbit, and so he came out to talk to him.
He said, “What do you mean spoiling everything for the children? There’s enough chocolate in this world to go round isn’t there?”
But the Easter Bunny was very cross. And when he was cross, he looked surprisingly fierce, even though he was all fluffy and white.
“How can I go around hiding Easter Eggs when I know at any moment you might come along and steal them? Stealing is wrong, and even a monkey should know that.”
And that night Theo couldn’t sleep because his conscience kept on telling him that the bunny was right. Stealing is wrong.
So the next day he went back to the Zoo and surrendered.
Everyone was ever so surprised to see him. But he sat in his cage looking ever so sad, because he thought he would never eat chocolate again. In fact, he though he would die without chocolate.
A week went by and he was still sad. And eventually Sunday came. And it was a very special Sunday because it was Easter Sunday.
And the Easter Bunny bought chocolate to all the children.
And do you know what?
He also bought a special supply of Easter Eggs to Theo. And he bought eggs to Theo every easter after that, so that all year long he had something to look forward too. And even Theo realized that you can’t eat chocolate all the time because you’ll get fat, and then you won’t be able to swing from tree to tree and go “ooo oooo aaah aaah”. So it’s much better to keep it for a special treat.
Unless of course you don’t like chocolate.
And that’s the story of the Monkey Who Loved Chocolate.
Bertie and the Lion
I was walking along by the Palace Pond when I heard Tim the Tadpole’s squeaky voice saying: “Bertie can I have a puppy? Oh please Bertie. I would so love to have a pet to play with.”
Bertie was looking a bit stumped for a reply, because he doesn’t like to say “no” , but he can’t always do what Tim wants. Even though he used to be a prince, he can’t do everything. In fact, now that he’s a frog, most things are more difficult than ever: Except for hopping. And catching flies with his tongue.
But before Bertie could explain to Tim why it’s tricky for a tadpole to keep a puppy, Colin the Carp butted in:
“Oh Dear. Is there no end to the silly questions of little tadpoles? You can’t have a pet that’s bigger than yourself. If you had a puppy, you would be the puppy’s pet – or his breakfast.”
“Oh yes you can have a pet that’s bigger than yourself,” said Bertie. “The Queen once had a camel and that was even bigger than her majesty.”
“Well you can’t have a pet that’s big enough to eat you,” said Colin. “And Tim wouldn’t even make a light snack for a puppy. He would be like little morsel on the end of his tongue.”
“Oh yes you can have a pet that’s big enough to eat you,” said Bertie. “When I was a prince, I had a Lion for a pet.”
‘Rubbish!” said Colin. “You’re just making up stories again,”
“Well I’m allowed to make up stories, “ said Bertie, “Because that’s what I’m best at. But this one happens to be true.”
And then Bertie told all the pond life the story of how he had a lion as a pet. I stopped to listen because it sounded jolly interesting..
One time when Bertie was still a small princeling, he went with his mother to the pet shop. This all happened in the good old days before the Wicked Queen took over and turned Bertie into a frog. Bertie’s mother was much nicer, all though a little bit eccentric, which meant that her ideas were sometimes out of the ordinary. She wanted to buy a camel because she thought it would look interesting roaming around the palace grounds. The shopkeeper considered himself to be a bit of a whit, so he said to the Queen:
“Ah yes Ma’am, a camel. Will that be one hump or two?”
The Queen gave the shopkeeper one of her stares, as if she meant his head to be chopped off. So he stuttered.
“Of course Ma’am. I do so apologise. Right now we are out of camels. But we do have all sorts of interesting animals fresh in from
The Queen was about to say: “You silly little man! Lions are for statues, not pets” but Prince Bertie had already run over to the cub’s corner of the shop. He was so small, fluffy and cute, and he also looked just a bit sad to be living in a box. He gave Berte a tiny little roar like:
And so Bertie said:
“Mummy Mummy. Do let’s have a lion cub. I promise I’ll look after him all by myself. Honest I will. I’ll keep him with me always and we’ll be bestest friends.”
Bertie’s mother sometimes seemed a bit fierce, but she was a big softie really, and she thought that the lion cub looked very cute and harmless too. So she gave the shopkeeper a gold coin and they took the cub home to the Palace.
Bertie called him Tiddles because he thought that was a funny name for a lion. The Queen said that it was alright for friends to call him Tiddles, but that he would have to have an official name too for special occasions. So she said that his proper name would be Leopold the First.
Leopold the First, or Tiddles as everybody called him, loved living in the palace. At night he slept in Bertie’s bed where he looked just like a fluffy toy lion. During the day he liked sitting on the roof and watching everyone come and go. Up there, he looked just like a statue of a lion, until he started to move and prowl along the battlements – which gave anyone who noticed a big surprise. At other times he went for walks around the palace grounds, and everyone agreed that he was far more interesting and royal than a camel would ever have been.
For breakfast, Tiddles ate raw steak. For lunch he ate raw steak. And for supper he ate raw steak.
And Tiddles grew. And he grew. And he became quite big.
But however big he became, he still loved Bertie. When he saw Bertie coming home from School, he would leap off the roof of the palace into the branches of a big oak tree, then he would climb down and bound up the drive to greet Bertie. He would jump up and hug him with his paws and lick his face. And then they would run into the grounds and play soccer together. Tiddles was great at dribbling the ball with his nose. Though one day when he was hungry he ate Bertie’s best football boots, but Bertie didn’t mind because he loved Tiddles so very much.
Anther game they liked playing was frightening the Royal Nanny. Tiddles and Bertie would both hide behind the curtains, and when they heard her coming along calling :
“Bertie. It’s way past your bedtime young prince!” The would both leap out and roar like this
And she would be so frightened that she would run off to her room and Bertie and Tiddles could say up for another half an hour and play.
But one day the King said to Bertie over breakfast:
“That cub of yours has become quite a lion. He’s already growing a mane. It’s time he went to the zoo.”
“The zoo!” said Bertie. “You can’t put Tiddles behind bars! And besides I love him ! You should think of my feelings too Daddy!”
Of course he king didn’t want to make Bertie sad, so he agreed that Tiddles could live in the palace a little longer. But then one day Tiddles did something that made the king cross. Very cross indeed.
He had just appointed a new prime minister. The Prime Minister and all the grandest and most important people in the land came to see the King in the palace.
And Tiddles was waiting for them. By now Tiddles wasn’t quite a grown-up lion but he was no longer a cub. By the standards of cats he was big. Well actually, he was huge. And if you didn’t know him, you would be quite scared to meet him. In fact, you would be terrified.
A big velvet curtain hung behind the thrown, and sometimes Tiddles liked to sleep behind it. It was his hideaway place.
When the new ministers trooped into the thrown room to meet the King, three musicians sounded their trumpets :
The sound woke up Tiddles and he thought that there would be a party with lots of music and games. So he strolled out from behind the curtains, stretched out his body, and then turned around to lick his bottom. In actual fact, he didn’t do anything very frightening at all.
But the ministers were frightened.
The Minister of War climbed out of the window and jumped into a rose bush where he tore his trousers on the thorns. The prime minister had more metal than that, and he picked up a chair and held it out in front of himself like a lion tamer. Tiddles yawned and showed all his teeth. That was too much, the whole government including the Prime Minister leapt out of the widows.
The king was furious because they trampled all over his roses. He decided that he didn’t like the Government after all, so he sacked the lot of them and appointed some new ministers.
The next day the newspapers ran headlines like:
King throws ministers to the lions
Lion-Taming Prime Minister Gets The Sack.
The king was furious when he read the papers, and he resolved that Tiddles must go immediately. The new prime minister, who had replaced the old one who had run away from Tiddles, said he thought that the best place for a lion would be
And so that’s what happened. The Minister for Nature put Tiddles on a flight to
Three years later, the Royal Family chose a very special holiday. They went on Safari in
One night they camped on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater. The King and Queen decided to rest for the next day before continuing their safari.
Bertie had become friendly with the chief guide whose name was Joshua. He asked Joshua if had ever heard of a lion who had lived in a palace and been released into the wild. And to Bertie’s surprise, Joshua said that of course everyone who worked in the game reserve had heard the story of the royal lion called Tiddles.
Now he was a big strong grown-up lion, and was the leader of his pride – which is like a group of lions .
He agreed to take Bertie the next morning to see Tiddles come down to his favorite watering hole. But he made Bertie promise to stay in the car, because Tiddles was a wild lion now and might be dangerous.
So Bertie got up at 5AM. Rosy red clouds still veiled the fierce African sun so that the air was still lovely and fresh. The great Ngorongoro crater was filled with mists so it looked like a witch’s cauldron. Then the treetops started emerge from the swirling brew. They got into the car and slowly drove down the winding route into the base of the crater. By now the sunlight was starting to play on the bark of the acacia trees. Zebra and deer were grazing in the long grass, always watching with their big glassy eyes for any suspicious movement that could be a big cat hunting for its breakfast.
Eventually they came to the watering hole where Joshua said that Tiddles like to come and drink sometimes. He didn’t come here every day, so they would need to be lucky.
And so they waited. And Bertie saw lots of beautiful pink flamingos. And he saw a hippo give the biggest yawn he had ever seen. And eventually the grass began to move and a big lion followed by three lionesses began to gamble down to the water. Although he was much bigger than when he had last seen him, Bertie knew right away that it was Tiddles. But Tiddles took no notice of the car. He was used to tourists and didn’t think to see who was inside. Instead he led his pride down to drink. Bertie wound down the window and called out “Tiddles” but still Tiddles didn’t hear him. So then Bertie did something very silly indeed. He forgot about Joshua’s warning, and he opened the door of the car and jumped out onto the ground. He started to walk towards Tiddles. Joshua immediately leapt out of the driver’s seat and trained his gun on Tiddles.
“You’re royal highness,” he said. “You had better get back into the car. Just come back slowly. Don’t run. If you run they will attack you.”
But Bertie carried on walking towards the lions and called out “Tiddles, Tiddles, don’t you remember me? I’m Bertie. Your best friend.”
Tiddles took his mouth up from the water and looked round at Bertie. He stared at him for about half a minute, and then he started to bound towards him, with a great cat like spring in his step. Joshua squeezed his trigger but his gun didn’t fire. Dust had blown up from the wheels of the car had got into the gun and jammed it. It all happened so fast. Bertie didn’t have time to be afraid or to regret not taking Joshua’s advice.
Tiddles feet took off from the ground. He flew towards Bertie, wrapped his paws around him, and licked his face. Then Bertie and Tiddles did a kind of dance under the acacia trees. The friends were united and over-joyed to see each other once again.
And that’s the story of how Bertie had a pet lion, set him free in the wild African bush, and then went out to meet him again. Bertie says that if you are ever near a wild animal you must be ever so careful and follow all the instructions that you are given. Wild animals are very beautiful but very dangerous.
And don’t forget, there are loads more stories at Storynory.com. We have stories about Bertie, both when he was a prince and now that he’s a frog. We have other original stories about Theo the Monkey, Katie the Witch, and Gladys the songwriter. And we have loads and loads of traditional fairy tales, myths and legends. So drop by soon and listen to another one soon. For now, from me, Natasha, Bye Bye !
The Hare and the Tortoise
When somebody boasts in a story, you can be sure that they are heading for a come-down. The hare in this famous fable by Aesop does a lot of boasting - and so it’s not unreasonable to expect that he’s about to learn a lesson the hard way.
But the hare is just a bit fed up with the bad reputation that Aesop has created for him. And so the Storynory version is told by the hare himself - just to set the record straight.
Hare’s voice by Natasha. Duration 13.16.
Hello. My name is Speedy, and for good reason. I’ve got long, long legs and I can really go ! You can catch me if you can – but I don’t think you will.
In a race, I come first. Always. I never, never lose. Well alright, there was that one time that one time that I took the silver medal. But it only ever happened once. It’s so unfair that people keep going on about it. I blame that Aesop. He’s the one who wrote it all down.
It happened in March, and that’s the time of year that we hares go a bit crazy you know. We’re so busy springing in the Spring that sometimes our thoughts just can’t quite keep up with our legs. Look, I’ll tell you what happened – just so that you understand that it wasn’t really my fault. It could have happened to anyone.
Do you know that old tortoise who lives in the next field? He’s so slow, that the first time I saw him I thought he was a rock. In fact, I’ve seen rocks than move faster than he can. His head looks like, well, a cabbage. And his feat look like
One day I was leaping around the fields and he was just watching me, and nodding that cabbage-like head of his. I bounced up to him and said, “Come on you lazy old thing – is that all the exercise you take – just nodding all day long. I’m surprised you don’t nod off to sleep.
The tortoise didn’t answer. His mouth was full of grass and he was chewing – very slowly.
Just then the fox popped out of the hedge-row. He scratched his flea bites and said:
“Don’t you know that the tortoise hibernates?”
“Hiber-what’s?” I asked.
“Hibernates,” said the fox again. It means that he goes to sleep for the whole winter.”
“HA! Sleeps – For the whole winter!” I said. “That’s incredible. He must be the laziest creature alive. In fact, it’s hardly fair to say he is alive. If he was dead it would be hard to tell the difference.”
It was all to easy to mock the tortoise. He couldn’t be bothered even to stick up for himself. He just kept on munching, so slowly.
But the fox, who’s a big know-it-all, replied for him:
“Most likely he will be around after we are both long gone. Tortoises can live for over 100 years.”
“A 100 years! “ I exclaimed. “Just nodding, chewing, and occasionally plodding. I’d get bored out of my mind. I have to run and jump and win races. If you’ve got speed, then you can really know that you’re alive!”
Then that wily old fox said: “I’ll lay a bet that the tortoise can beat you in a race. Not a quick dash of course. He’s hardly a sprinter. But a proper race over a good distance. Say – up to the top of that hill and back. I don’t believe you’ll beat him in a race like that.”
“Pah!” I said. “I’ll beat that old tortoise over any distance, any day, any time.”
And that’s how I got myself into that infamous race with the tortoise. The fox arranged it all for us the next day at noon. The sun was high in the sky, and the heat was scorching. It was more like summer than spring.
All the local creatures came to see the fun. The crows cawed and the cows munched like they normally do. But you could tell that something interesting was going to happen because they were swishing their tales, and not just to keep the flies off. It was the biggest thing to happen around these parts for ages.
Of course almost everyone was backing me to win. You only had to look at me, lean,fit, with a terrific bounce in my step. And then look at HIM, old, cabbage head, with a great shell on his back. I was the clear favourite. Only the fox was backing the tortoise. He was taking bets off his cronies, the badger and the rat. If I won, he would do them a month of services and favours. And if the tortoise won, they would have to work for him for a whole month. The badger and the rat thought the fox must have gone soft in the head to make such a silly bet.
At last the fox called out: “Ready, Steady Go !” I hung around for a moment to see the tortoise lumber off the starting line, but he was taking so long about it that I got bored and shot off towards the hill. I was flying across the field, but I must say, the hill was a long way. Even I couldn’t get there in a moment. At the end of the field I looked over my shoulder and saw that the tortoise had hardly got started. I’d say his top speed was about one mile per week. I had no doubt at all that victory was mine.
I crossed another three fields, and at last I got to the hill and I started to make my way up. It was tougher going now, and my legs were starting to feel less springy than usual. I took another look back and saw that tortoise was only half way across the first field. I decided to stop for a breather and a bit of a chuckle.
How did the fox ever think that old cabbage-head could beat me? Doesn’t he know that I’m speedy by name, speedy by nature? And I thought he was smart.
In fact, just to show him how confident I was of winning, I sat down. “Give the old lumber-along a sporting chance,” I said to myself. “And when he gets near, I’ll dash off again. That will make the race more entertaining.”
And so I stretched out and chewed on a long piece of juicy grass. I knew one of the beady-eyed crows would see me and report back to the crowd how I was so far ahead that I could afford to take things easy. In fact, I thought it wouldn’t do any harm just to close my eyes for a moment or two. My eye-lids certainly were feeling a bit heavy after running up hill under a hot sun. In fact, I thought that 40 winks would refresh me, and I would set off all the faster when I got going again.
And oh, how pleasant it was to lie down on such a glorious day. The grasshoppers were singing and the breeze was rustling ever so gently in the trees. Soon I was dreaming of victory. They would be talking about this on the farm for weeks. But dear, dear, dear me. I must have well and truly dozed off, because when I woke up, I shivered. The sun was going down, and the air was a bit cooler. For a moment, I couldn’t remember where I was, and then I recalled the race. I stood up and scanned the hill below for sight of the tortoise. Perhaps he had just done the logical thing and given up and gone back home. So I started to jog up to the top of the hill, and then run gently back down again. Still no sign of my rival.
It was almost dark when I got back to the farm gate and the finishing line. The cows had gone off to be milked, and only the fox, the badger, and the rat were waiting for me.
“Hello guys,” I said. “What’s my prize?”
“What’s your prize?” said the badger. “You’re prize is that we are working for the fox for a month.”
“GRRRR ! ” said the rat, really quite angry. “You’ve well and truly let us down. You might be Speedy by name, but your dead lazy by nature. Beaten by a 100 year old slow-coach. It’s disgusting, truly disgusting.”
Only the old fox had a sly grin on his face.
“Thank you hare,” he said. “You’ve proved me right, as I usually am. The tortoise plodded in home just over an hour ago. It only goes to show that slow and steady always wins the race.”
And so now you know all about the one and only time that I came less than first in a race. Of course you shouldn’t go supposing that the tortoise is faster than me. It was just a one-off kind of disaster. I mean, over-sleeping like that, it could have happened to anyone. I’m still the fastest creature on the farm – and don’t le any one tell you different.
Well I must dash. No time to hang around chatting like this. Catch you later !
And that was the story of the hare and the tortoise, as told by the Hare.
Prince Bertie and the Dragon
As you may know, our own Bertie the Frog used to be a handsome prince and was engaged to be married to the Lovely Princess Beatrice. But then he was turned into a frog, and the wedding had to be called off. Sadie the Swan, who lives on the pond with Bertie, has been dying to know just how Bertie and Beatrice met and fell in love. We now reveal the secret of how Bertie fought a Welsh dragon to win the hand of Beatrice.
Read by Natasha Lee Lewis. Duration 19 minutes
Prince Bertie and the Dragon
Hello Everybody, my name’s Natasha, and I’m just dropping by with a juicy piece of gossip I just picked up from the pond where Bertie the frog lives.
Of course, Bertie used to be a handsome prince and was engaged to be married to the lovely princess Beatrice - but then he was turned into a frog and so the Royal Wedding was called off at the last minute. Well Sadie the Swan has been dying to learn how Prince Bertie and Princess Beatrice met and fell in love, but she’s been afraid to ask Bertie in case it’s private. As usual, Colin the Carp has been going around the pond spreading ugly rumours behind Bertie’s back. “the lovely princess beatrice can’t be that lovely,” he says. “Or else she would have found a half-decent prince, not a dunder-nut like Bertie.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” hissed Sadie when she heard this. “Princess Beatrice is famous all over the world for being lovely and ever so kind to children and animals. Only the lowest pond-life don’t know that.”
And so to put an end to Colin the Carp’s mutterings, she finally decided to ask Bertie to tell the story. As she feared, Bertie looked a little sad when he remembered the good old days before he was turned into a frog: “Oh dear, he sniffed, “Those were such happy times. We used to have chocolate cake every afternoon for tea, and I had a whole palace full of toys.” And then he croaked bravely, “But of course it wasn’t all play you know. Princess have work to do.”
“Oh do tell us about a prince’s work,” said Tiny Tim the Tadpole,
“Well for one thing,” said Bertie, “Princess are supposed to slay fire-breathing dragons. And as it happens, that’s how I won the hand of the lovely princess Beatrice.”
At this point, Colin the Carp interupted rather rudely, “He’s just making it up,” he said. “Anyone with half-a-brain knows that dragons don’t exist.”
“Oh, Yes they do,” said Bertie.
“Oh, no they don’t” said Colin.
“Well if you don’t believe in dragons, then don’t listen to the story,” said Bertie. And so Colin the Carp sunk to the bottom of the pond and pretended not to listen. But I was there, and I heard what Bertie told Sadie the swan and Tim the tadpole, and so now I will tell you the storynory of Prince Bertie and the Dragon.
Princess Beatrice lived in a far away kingdom called Wales, which is famous for having lots of dragons who live in caves and pop out and burn people by breathing fire on them. Apart from that, it’s a very nice place to live. Fortunately, the Welsh dragons don’t breath fire on people very often, unless they are in a bad mood about something. But there was a one particular dragon who was causing lots of trouble. He liked to sing songs, and when he did, fire came out of his mouth. One summer he burned down a whole forest with his singing. The king decided that enough was enough, and he announced that who-so-ever would slay the dragon, would win the hand in marriage of his daughter, the lovely princess Beatrice.
Now as it happened, ever since the lovely Princess Beatrice had been a little girl, she had always done her maths homework on Tuesday evenings with Prince Freddie from the next-door kingdom. A long time ago, she had decided to marry Prince Freddie, but she had kept her plan a secret. Her wicked Step-mother also wanted her to marry Freddie. You see, because although he was rather boring, he was terribly good at maths, and at saving money. He was also very good at growing vegetables in the garden. It was generally agreed that he would be a very sensible choice as a husband for the Lovely Princess Beatrice. And so when the King announced the competition to slay the dragon with the prize of his daughter’s hand in marriage, Princess Beatrice was very sad.
“Oh no,” she said to her step-mother, “I’ll never marry Prince Freddie now. You see, although he’s terribly clever, I don’t think he knows about fighting with swords and killing monsters. It’s not what he’s good at at all.”
When Prince Freddie heard that he was supposed to slay the dragon, he was even more worried. “Oh dear oh dear, he said. I don’t think I want to meet a dragon. Couldn’t the king change the contest into a vegetable growing competition? I might be able to win that? Or perhaps he would say who ever saves the most money over the next year can marry Beatrice?’
“Don’t be such a scardy -cat. ” hissed the step mother of Princess Beatrice who is rather horrid and is secretly a wicked witch. “You’d better slay that dragon, or I’ll turn you into a creepy crawly and see how you like that! Now don’t worry. I’ll give you a fire-proof suit of armor. Put it on and you won’t have any trouble at all.”
“Wouldn’t that be cheating?” asked Freddie.
“Cheating! Listen you soppy pimple nosed goody-too-shoes, do you want be burned into smitherenes by the dragon?”
“No thanks. I’d rather not,” admitted Freddie. and he agreed to wear the fire-proof suit of armor.
And so when the day came, Freddie put on the suit of armor and rode very slowly and carefully on an old horse, up the mountain to the cave where the dragon lived. When he arrived, he got of his horse, and hid behind big tree waiting for the dragon to come out of his cave.
“Oh deary, dreary me,” he said to himself, shaking with fear “I really don’t want to fight the dragon. I’m not sure that I want to marry Princess Beatrice at all. I think I’d rather do my maths homework on my own from now on. I’ll just wait here until tea-time, and then go home and tell everybody that the dragon has agreed to be good from now on.
And so that’s what he did. But the very next week, when the king was out in his garden, the dragon jumped over the wall of the palace and burned all the daffodils as well as his prize eaks. The palace guards came running, but the dragon had wings and flew away before they could catch him.
“Right said the king,” looking at his burnt garden. “I’m never going to let that nincompoop Freddie marry my lovely daughter now. I always thought he was a frightful bore anyway.”
And to tell you the truth, the Lovely Princess Beatrice wasn’t that sad after all. She realized that if Freddie had truly loved her, he would have at least tried to kill the dragon, and not made up a fib about him agreeing to be good from now on.
The following week, a new prince rode through the gates of the palace. He had blue eyes and long blond hair, and was ever so handsome. Princess Beatrice and her step mother watched him from the top of the palace tower. They both agreed that he looked terribly strong and brave and would make a very fine husband. They were both so sure that he would succeed in slaying the dragon, that the step mother didn’t even bother to offer to lend him her fire-proof suit of armor in case he got offended.
Now this Prince, who was called Boris the Brave, had been to school with Prince Bertie and to tell you the truth, they really don’t like each other very much. Although Boris the Brave has lots of admirers, nobody admires him more than he does himself. He used to go around saying that he was a truer prince than Bertie, and when they played football, he used to kick Bertie in the shins when the referee wasn’t looking. When they were very small, he used to pinch bertie under the desk during class, and when they got bigger, he hid Bertie’s skateboard and stamped on his conkers. In fact, Bertie really really didn’t like Boris the Brave at all, and so when he heard that he was riding out to
Bertie arrived at the Palace soon after Boris. The wicked step mother of Princess Beatrice was not at all impressed. “Humph,” she said. “He doesn’t look like a real prince at all. He’s wearing his baseball cap back to-front and quite frankly, he’s rather chubby. You might even call him fat.”
Just then, Bertie did a backward flip on his skateboard, in the center of the court where everybody could see him. Then he jumped off and did a bow. All the courtiers clapped, and the page boys hurrahed. Beatrice didn’t say anything, but secretly she thought that Bertie looked rather nice and hoped that he would slay the dragon before Boris the Brave.
Both the Princess where given rooms at the palace to stay in, and the next morning Bertie got up for Breakfast. Boris the Brave was nowhere to be seen.
“We have a saying in my Kingdom,” Bertie said to Beatrice’s father, the old King. “The Early Bird Gets the Worm.” I’ll go and kill that Dragon before Boris gets out of bed.”
Princess Beatrice’s step mother spluttered with laughter into her cornflakes. “You’ll find that hard,” she said. “Boris the Brave was up at six o clock this morning and rode straight up the mountain to seek the dragon. I’d say he’s probably slayed him by now, and will marry Beatrice next Monday Morning. Would you like another slice of toast and black current jam before you go home, Prince Bertie?
Now Prince Bertie was dismayed to hear this news, and so he ran out into the courtyard and jumped onto his skateboard. He was determined to catch up with Boris the Brave. It was very hard work going up the mountain, and he had to carry his skateboard on his shoulder. His sword was rather heavy, and its sharp point trailed along in the dust as he tramped up the track to the dragon’s cave. “Oh bother,” he thought to himself, “I bet that Boris has truly killed the dragon and will marry the lovely princess Beatrice. He’ll be thumbing his nose at me for years to come. It’s so, so annoying.”
Finally Bertie came within sight of the cave. It looked very dark and scary. Now, tt’s one thing to decide to go and slay a dragon, and it’s another to actually go an do it. Perhaps, said Bertie to himself, I can sneak into the cave and kill the dragon with my sword while he’s asleep. Then he thought. Oh bother! What if he isn’t asleep? He’ll breath fire on me, and that will be the end of Prince Bertie.
Bertie had heard the story of how Prince Freddie had returned home, and then been made to look really really stupid by the dragon. He realised that he was stuck. He didn’t want to go into the cave in case he got burned to smithereans, and he didn’t’ want to go back to the palace in case he was made to look stupid. Just then, he heard a terrible noise, a sort of Wooosh! and Boris the Brave came charging out of the cave on his white horse. He was chased by a ball of fire just inches behind the heals of his horse. Boris and his horse headed straight for the mountain path and charged as fast as they could down the track. Bertie dived behind a rock. He heard the dragon stomping around outside his cave and singing, [out of tune so as not to breach copyright]
Why, why, why-eee, Jermimah?
Oh Golly, said Bertie. That’s the most frightening sound I’ve ever heard. And he lay very still in case the dragon might see him and breath fire on him. Eventualy though, the dragon went back into his cave, and Bertie heard his voice echoing
What’s up spotty-dog? Arooo! Arroo!
What’s up spotty-dog? Arooo! Arroo!
What am I going to do, thought Bertie. That singing is more unbearable than the fire. And then he had an idea. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his mobile phone. Ten minutes later there was an even louder roaring than the dragon’s singing, accompanied by the sound of a bell. A big red fire engine was coming up the track.
Right boys, said Bertie. There’s a fire-breathing dragon in that cave. He’s already seen off two brave princes. Let’s give him a bath. There wasn’t a tap anywhere to be found, but fortunately one of the firemen knew that there was a lake at the top of mountain. They took one end of the hose up to the lake, and pointed the other through a chimney in the roof of the cave. They could tell taht the dragon was inside because they could see smoke coming out of the chimney pot. Soon the water was running down the hose and into the dragon’s cave. A very wet and bedraggled dragon came out, too cross and miserable even to sing. He saw Bertie and the firemen and opened his mouth to breath fire on them, but fortunately they were ready with a second hose which they squirted into his mouth.
UGGGGG! roared the dragon - for his fire was quite put out by the water. And before he could flap his soggy wings and fly away, the firemen waiting on top of his cave dropped a net on top of him. Soon they hauled him up onto the fire engine and drove him down the mountain into the City. When the news got round that the dragon had been captured, the people came out onto the streets and whistled and cheered and threw their caps in the air. Bertie stood on top the the cab of the fire engine and waved his sword and took deep bows. The lovely Beatrice watched all this from her tower and thought that Bertie did look like a real prince after all, even if he was a bit chubby. The firemen took the dragon to the City zoo where he now lives quite happily, and still sings songs to himself, only without breathing fire, and some say that he’s even learned to sing in tune. Prince Bertie returned to the palace and that evening there was a 12 gun salute - which is when 12 cannons fire gun powder to mark a royal celebration - and then there were fireworks over the City, and page-boys went up and down the streets giving away gingerbread to the people. The wicked step mother tried to persuade the King that Bertie had cheated by calling the fire brigade, but the king would hear nothing of it. “it was a jolly clever idea,” said the King, “And besides, your Prince Freddie and the Boris the Brave didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory.”
The wicked step mother was really really cross, and would have liked to have turned Bertie into a creepy crawly there and then, but she didn’t’ dare because she knew the king would be angry with her, and perhaps put her in prison. So she smiled and pretended to be pleased. Boris the Brave and Prince Freddie were nowhere to be seen. The lovely princess Beatrice allowed Bertie to kiss her hand and it was agree that she would marry Bertie soon and come to live in his palace, and Bertie promised to share all his toys with her.
And that’s the storynory of how Prince Bertie won the hand in marriage of the lovey princess Beatrice. Colin the carp is convinced that Bertie made it all up, but sadie and Tim the Tadpole believe him, and so do I. …. One day I might even go and look at that dragon in the zoo.
Bertie has loads more stories - most of them are classic tales like The Three Little Pigs and Jack and the Beanstalk, and there are more about Bertie and his friends too. All of them are absolutely free, but if you want, you can buy a personalised story for a special person in your life. So tell all your friends to drop by at Storynory.com and say hello to Bertie. For now, from me, Natasha, Bye Bye.