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    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
 
Submitted by Rebecca Talley on 30 March 2007 - 1:38pm. | | |

(This story is based on a true experience)

“I’d like to close our Family Home Evening lesson tonight with my testimony of prayer. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers and I’m very thankful for prayer,” Dad said. He turned to Mom and said, “Time for family business. What’s on our schedule for this week?”

Mom pulled out the calendar. After talking about a home teaching appointment, a choir concert, and piano lessons, Mom said, “And, we have our trip to Mesa, Arizona this weekend so Dad and I can attend the temple. Since it’s a seven hour drive from here, we’ll need to stay overnight.”

Angela played with her braids. She looked over at Dad and said, “Do you think we’ll ever have a temple closer to us, Daddy?”

“That’d sure be nice. The Mesa Temple is wonderful, but it’s so far away. Maybe we should pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him to bless us with a temple closer to our home. Then we could attend more often and not have to spend the weekend.”

Angela nodded.

That night by her bed, Angela knelt down for her own prayer. She remembered what Dad said about praying for a temple. She thought about her favorite song, “A Child’s Prayer,” and the words to the second verse,

“Pray, he is there; Speak, he is list’ning.
You are his child; His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer; He loves the children. . .” (CS 12 )

She bowed her head and asked Heavenly Father for a temple closer to
where she lived in Southwestern Colorado.

When she finished her prayer, she froze like a statue. Her eyes moved from side to side. “Is someone there?” she called out. Finally, she jumped up and rushed into the living room to find Mom and Dad.

“What’s wrong, Angela?” Dad said. .

Between breaths she said, “I was saying my prayers and I asked for a temple.”

“That’s good, isn’t it?” Dad looked puzzled.

Angela jumped up and down. “Something happened.”

“What?” Mom asked, reaching her hand out to grab Angela’s.

“After my prayer, I heard someone say, ‘A temple will be built here.’ I looked all around my room, but no one was there.” Angela’s eyes grew big.

“Hmmm. Sounds like you had a direct answer to your prayer,” Dad said.

Mom gave her hand a squeeze.

“I think so, too.” She pulled her mom and dad close to her and gave them a tight hug. She skipped back to her room and wrote all about her experience in her journal. That night, she thought about what happened until she drifted off to sleep.

About a month later, on April 4, 1997, she was watching General Conference at her ward building. President Hinckley stood at the pulpit and announced plans for a temple in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a four-hour drive from Angela’s house.

Angela felt tingles all over. Heavenly Father had really, truly answered her
prayer for a temple closer to her house.

Even more exciting, was the announcement at the next General Conference, on October 4, 1997, about plans for a smaller temple in Monticello, Utah because that meant there’d be a temple within two hours from her home.
She looked at her dad and said, “Now Heavenly Father has given us a temple even closer to our house and has answered my prayer again.” She grinned. “Sometimes, He answers prayers in more ways than one.”

***Angela and her family attended the open house for the Albuquerque, New Mexico Temple and the Monticello, Utah Temple. Her family has been blessed to regularly attend the Monticello, Utah Temple because they can now travel home the same day.

» 2 comments
Submitted by Raymond L. Step... on 10 March 2007 - 5:50pm. | | |

Howl came around in front of them, interrupting their fixation on the scene below. “You have already been in one dangerous situation down there, and I saw others that you narrowly missed, and, luckily were unaware of. You can see from here, some of the obstacles you face. There are many more you can’t see. But, I must warn you; up here, although we can only see from one ridge to the next, and things look quite safe, this can be very misleading. One danger in particular; we might run into the domeheads. Those guys are mean and nasty, and with their ugly round heads, they look just like the rocks, almost invisible until they open their
big toothy mouths to scream. It’s so loud, most animals freeze in their tracks until the domeheads catch them.”

All the others looked to Slayer for advice. “Are they fast?” He asked.

“No, not very, they rely on their scream. Other animals can’t tell which direction it comes from, because it seems to bounce around off the rocks.”

Slayer thought for a minute or two, then, almost like he was struck by lightning, he straightened, his head came up, and he turned to face the members of the patrol. “O.K., this is what we’ll do. At the first sound of a domie’s scream, Howl will answer with one of his loudest howls. Buzzy, you and Swoop have the best eyesight, so get as high as you can. Swoop, if you can, get in the air. They should poke their heads up to see what’s making the noise. If you let us know where they are, I think we can get them on the run. Dragon, if you can get your fire going, it will really throw a scare into them; in any case, make all the noise you can, and run towards them. They’re not expecting that.”

“Hey, Slayer,” said Howl, “That’s a good plan. I’ve never heard of anyone standing up to the domies.”

“O.K.,” said Slayer, “Let’s get moving. Howl, I don’t like to ask anyone to go in the front, but you know the area
best, and can find the trails easier, can you take the lead?”

“Sure, no problem; besides, I’ve heard the domies never come at you head-on; but wait to catch you off-guard, either from the side or behind. We all need to beware all the time.”

As the journey progressed, all were amazed at how well Howl could find really good trails where none were apparent to them.

Swoop could see Buzzy’s flight feathers beginning to grow, so he coached him on the aspects and techniques of flying. It was really comical to watch Buzzy hopping down the trail, trying to imitate Swoop’s long powerful wingbeats with his stubby little wings; but it was definitely strengthening his flight muscles. His legs seemed longer and stronger too. He could now jump over some of the smaller boulders.

Howl knew lots of little springs and rivulets that he led them to so they could quench their thirst. He also found a small pond, where they dined on fish, newts and
large insects of all kinds, including dragonflies. Howl and Dragon even managed to catch a few small rodents.

They continued their journey, but hadn’t been going long, when the thing they had been dreading happened. A shrill, ear-piercing scream seeming to come from all directions at once, put their nerves to the test. Practice and planning really paid off now.

Immediately, Howl let out with one of his loudest and longest cries. Dragon started whuffing and snorting, Slayer was on his hind legs, collar flaring and mouth wide; Buzzy and Swoop were high amid some boulders, and Swoop was quickly airborne.

The domies must have been surprised, for their screaming stopped. They poked their heads up to see what they had missed in their scouting. Buzzy’s sharp eyes immediately caught the movement. “Over there,” he pointed, “there’s only three of them.”

Howl kept up his fearsome serenade, which must have disoriented the domies, for as they charged out from behind the boulders, two of them ran into each other. One fell to the ground stunned; he recovered, and the two kept coming. Dragon got so excited his fire started, and burst from his wide open jaws in a searing tongue of flame, catching one of the attackers straight on. It turned the front of him black, and must have temporarily blinded him. As he

staggered around, black-grey-black-grey, he managed to trip his partner in crime. Swoop had managed to grasp a large rock that Buzzy was lifting up with all his strength; and flying over the scene, dropped it squarely on the head of the domie that was just gathering his senses from the first rush. That would be one less domie to worry about in the land.

The only whole domie left began to get to his feet to resume the charge. As he raised his eyes, the first thing he spied was Slayer, splendid and tall, powerful hind legs pumping, collar flared to the max, and the biggest mouth the domehead had ever seen coming straight at him. He just couldn’t help himself. With a scream, this one of pure fright, he turned, and as fast as his stubby legs could move, began to flee. Black and grey was just getting his vision back, and when he saw his partner in head-long flight, quickly followed. They spread the word fast. This was one patrol you better leave alone.
“They’ll hurt ya.”

As the fighters regrouped, congratulating each other with nudges, grins and cuffs. They noticed Howl was not among them. Immediately they were back on their guard. They heard some gurgling noises close by, and went to
investigate. As they rounded a large boulder, they saw Howl rolling on the ground. At first they were fearful that another domie had gotten by their defense, but soon realized that Howl was laughing. “Boy,” he said, “that was great. I’ve never heard of domies being beaten so soundly. Hehehe, did you see old Blackface (and thus he would be known forever)? He didn’t know what happened. And Slayer, you almost scared my tail off. What a bombing mission Buzzy and Swoop pulled off! Boy, I don’t think domies will mess with this patrol again. But there are other fearsome things we have to watch for. I think we better get moving on.”

Off they went, Howl once again taking the point.

After some time, they noticed the boulder-strewn landscape began to give way to a different makeup; one of more solid rock cliffs breaking up a cleaner surface of grass and soil. The trail was readily visible ahead, so they took turns in the lead. They could see that the trail disappeared over a large ridge way up ahead in the distance, but still had no real concern over their direction of travel.

They became so relaxed, and joyful, they were almost complacent, as they journeyed happily along.

Suddenly Howl’s ears perked up, he stopped dead in his tracks, and looked in all directions. “I’ve never been in this part of the land before, and I don’t recognize the sound, but it seems to be coming from everywhere.”

“Is that it?” Dragon had looked behind them. There was a huge mass inching, it seemed, along the trail in their direction.

“A cave wole.” Announced Howl.

“Shall I try to get my fire going, and fry it?” said Dragon, as he started to whuff and snort.

“Don’t bother,” said Howl. “It looks a lot closer because of its size, but we can easily keep ahead of it. Besides it’s scales are like armor, I don’t think your fire could touch it, but we must stay out of its reach or we’re goners.”

“Well lets get going then,” said Slayer.

Before long they all heard the sound that had Howl upset. A deep muted roar, it didn’t let up at all, it hardly even changed pitch. None of the group could give a name to it but they all unknowingly began to slow down. So much so, in fact, that the wole had gained a good deal of ground on them. As Dragon looked back, he was surprised, and called the groups attention to it. Now they could make
out the huge, scaly body, shaped like a common slug. It was of such immense size that it was unbelievable. Then Buzzy, with his sharp eyes, pointed out the dark, comparatively small eyes that seemed to stare at the little group.

Finally the thing that really got them on the move again, was when the monster opened its gaping maw. It was big enough to swallow all of them and a half dozen domeheads at the same time. Most of its food came from the huge fungi growth, deep in the damp caves that it inhabited.

Occasionally it ventured forth to try for succulent sheep or goats on the slopes. Spotting the patrol with its unusually sharp eyes, the wole set out in pursuit. Slow and determined, its goal was to trap the group, who unknowingly was being herded in that direction.

The going was quite easy across the wide mountain valley, the trail was level and smooth. Occasionally they walked (or hopped) two or three abreast. It could have been quiet pleasant, and they would have liked to stop and roll in the cool grass and fragrant flowers, but the constant threat form behind, and the increasing dreadful roar apparently from all around them, prevented any relaxation of mind or body.

On they went, increasing the distance between themselves and the wole. As they drew closer to the ridge, the roaring sound became louder and louder. It almost seemed to shake the ground. The air was getting damp too. Small droplets of moisture, ran down beaks and noses. They noticed spots of moss growing everywhere, and the trail was getting slippery. Still the sound grew louder, the wole kept following.

The mountain was so steep now and the slope so slick, they didn’t dare to leave the trail. It seemed the trail had really been climbing, it would be a long way down if one of them were to slip. On they went, fearing what came behind and not knowing what came ahead.

Submitted by Raymond L. Step... on 10 March 2007 - 5:48pm. | | |

As the group continued on their journey, the woods gave way to more of a plains topography. After quite a time, they noticed that the grass was getting taller and taller. The ground began to be damp, then wetter and wetter.
“Howwwlll!” They all looked at each other, and shook their heads. Whatever made the noise was a long way off, and

nothing to worry about. The grass turned to reeds, and grew so tall they couldn’t see over the top of it. “Howwlll!”
Was it their imagination, or was the sound getting nearer.

“Hey Swoop,” Slayer called, “why don’t you pop up to see where we are?”

“OK, Slayer, just give me a boost so I can get my wings working above this stuff.”

Slayer and Dragon both crouched down, while Swoop climbed up and put a foot on each of their heads. At the count of three, both raised up and jumped as high as they could from their strong hind legs. Swoop judged their jump, and just as they reached their highest point, he too jumped as high as he could, and began to flap his huge leathery wings, launching himself into flight. Higher and higher he circled.

High above their heads now, Swoop called down to them. “Hey, there’s a river up ahead. You’re on the edges of a swamp.”

“Howwlll.” Much closer now.

“Aieeyah! I’m sinking!” Dragon shouted. “Help me!”

Buzzy grabbed one of Dragons flailing forelegs with his beak, and leaning back, digging his feet in, pulled with all his might. Slayer caught the other leg with his front feet and mouth, and did the some. Swoop came low enough to grab one of Dragon’s horns, and put forth all his mighty wings could muster. Dragon pulled free so suddenly, Swoop, Buzzy and Slayer went flying through the air, not a controlled
flight either, they landed with a bump, thump, and a rolling thud.

Dragon was about to ask how everybody was, but was interrupted by a “Howwll!”

“What is that!” Dragon was pretty worried now.

“It’s something coming to eat us!” said Buzzy.

“Howwll!”

Boy that did it, they were so scared, they just started running; but, with quicksand in one direction, and the river in another, and not exactly sure which direction they just came from; all they did was get in each other’s way, and trip one another. “Howwll!” Now all they could do, was huddle together, heads down, and rear ends up and out. Rustle, rustle, rustle, Dragon just couldn’t stand it. He raised one fearful, half-closed eye to peer over Slayer’s already raised collar. “Look!”

Slayer jumped and turned on his rear legs, mouth wide, and collar flaring. He was ready to try his darndest to scare anything that might be there. Buzzy sat up, and put his fearful beak forward. Dragon started snorting and whuffing, trying to get his fire going. Where was swoop? Had he already been eaten? Finally they spied the little pterodactyl. He had managed to get airborne, but was flying
very erratically. Oh, no, they feared he had been mortally wounded. The beast must have hurt him.

Just then, another rustle and a movement in the reeds caught their attention. As they watched, horrified, a little black nose button appeared, then a grey and brown muzzle, two small red eyes, and two pointed brown ears. “Please don’t hurt me,” it said.

“H-h-h-hurt you,” Buzzy said, “we thought you were going to eat us.”

“Was that terrible noise you?”

“Uh, I guess so, I mean, I was trying to warn you about the quicksand. I have been following you, but I was afraid to get too close. What’s the matter with him?”

All of them looked around, Swoop was coming in for a landing, but his beak was wide open, and his head was tilted back. His flight was so jerky, he could hardly maintain flight. Crash! Tumble, bump, Swoop crashed into Dragon, bounced over Buzzy, and came to rest upside down on Slayer’s tail. What! He was laughing so hard he couldn’t even roll over. “Oh, boy! You guys sure were funny. That was a show worth watching, and I had the best seat possible. I thought you were all going to turn absolutely white you were so

scared. You had me laughing so hard I almost flew upside down. Hahahahaha, it was great.”

Pretty soon they were all laughing, the comical picture Swoop drew for them overcame all their past fears.

“I’m Slayer.” “Dragon”, “Buzzy”, “Hahaha Swoop here,”

“And I’m Howl,” said the newcomer, shyly. “Can I play with you?”

“Sure,” said Slayer, “only we’re on an exploring patrol. We’re trying to keep Booploop safe from weird critters.”

“Yup,” added Buzzy, “say, do you know the way out of this mess?”

“Sure,” said Howl,” just follow me.”

They all agreed that Howl made a great point-man; of course, it helped that he knew his own neighborhood like the tip of his bushy tail. Soon Howl had them back on solid ground. “Howl, that was marvelous,” Dragon had been thoroughly impressed. “I didn’t think I would ever get out of that terrible, sinking place.”

“Say, Howl, I don’t suppose you know where we could possibly get a bite to eat.” Buzzy was looking positively famished.

“Why, sure, you should have said you were hungry. Just a little way further, up at the base of the mountain, there was a rockslide. There are a lot of bugs, mice, beehives and stuff in the trees the rocks knocked down. I go there all the time.”

Although it seemed like a long time to them, the brave little self-appointed patrol soon reached the slide area; just as Howl had promised, there was food in plenty, for all their tastes.

Before long, their tummies were bulging, and yet they kept on eating. Finally Dragon looked up from the tasty honey-comb he was feasting on. There was Howl, flat on his back, four paws towards the sky.

“Howl!” Dragon cried.

“Ooooh!” My tummy is so full, I can’t roll over.”

As he looked around at each of each member of the patrol, he saw that everyone was in much the same state. Buzzy was propped against a fallen log, extended stomach resting on the ground between his feet, a large grub still dangled from his beak. Swoop had managed to cling to tree branch with his Talons, and was hanging upside down to relieve the pressure, but in so doing, was in danger of throwing up the whole repast he had indulged in. Slayer was
suspended also, but with his forelegs draped over a limb, and his back legs on top of a rock. His belly looked like a swing in between. He was certain no matter what happened right now, he wouldn’t be able to get his magnificent collar to raise even an inch. Dragon, seeing the state his friends were in, finally succumbed, curled his tail for a hollow cushion, and, carefully arranging his swollen abdomen in the center, allowed front and hind legs to hang over the outside, and almost immediately fell asleep.

Ah, pain! Something must have him in its mouth or claws. Slayer couldn’t decide whether to risk opening an eye, or continue to feign sleep. Finally unable to stand the pain any longer, he risked opening his left eye just a crack. Nothing there that he could see. Cautiously he opened both eyes, and slowly looked around. He could hardly believe it, the pain was caused by the awkward position he had arranged himself in. Then he noticed that the sun was in the East instead of the West. He must have been dangling there for about twelve hours. Slowly and sorely he managed to get his powerful hindlegs under him, and on the edge of the rock. Mustering all his will-power, he readied himself, then with a tremendous push, launched himself over the limb an into a forward somersault.

“Yeow!” Quickly rolling upright, he found he had rolled right into buzzy, squashing him against the log. In spite of the pain, he jumped up and helped buzzy to his feet.

“Wow, What a wake-up,” Buzzy gasped for air.

“Hey, what’s all the noise? What’s going on?” Dragon uncurled his tail and stood up, looking all around, eyes finally resting on Slayer and Buzzy.

“Oh, just trying to get the kinks out.” Said Buzzy.

Chuck, flap, ouch Swoop released his grip on the limb.

“Boy, it’s a good thing he has a hard head,” said Slayer. “Hey, where’s Howl?”

The little wolf was used to the rockfall abundance, and recovered quicker than the others. He had spent several hours scouting around while the others were still asleep. “Hoowl! Hey you lazy-bones, it’s about time you were waking up. What’s the plan? Do you want to continue along the mountain, or go down into the valley?”

Almost automatically, all heads swiveled to look down off the mountain bench. The sight sent a chill through each. There was the valley floor far below, There was the river, winding its way through the plain; marshy areas (sometimes with quicksand) extending outwards sometimes for miles. Sometimes thickets and clumps of small trees grew
right down to the water’s edge. In one place, they could see what appeared to be a dangerous whirlpool, as if the very river itself was being eaten by some gigantic monster. Mists arose from many areas of the plain, and spread out to cover much of the lowest parts of the valley. In the distance, they could see small specks moving slowly; if they could only realize just how fast these specks were really moving. It’s probably a good thing they couldn’t see what the specks actually were, and the carnage that accompanied the everyday food chain process of the valley. Their very size would guarantee them being almost at the very bottom of that chain.

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Submitted by Raymond L. Step... on 10 March 2007 - 5:39pm. | |

A beautiful shiny gold body, anyone would be proud to have it. Powerful legs that showed an ability to run fast and far. Especially noteworthy were the rear legs, very muscled, and formed for speed. Silvery white eyes gave an allusion of constant alertness. A grey head with the pinkest mouth, that could open unbelievably wide. There was a loose collar of bright orange and black. The collar rose up, framing head and wide open mouth when Slayer was excited. This made for quite a frightful appearance. He was surely one of the bravest lizards around.

It was about 8:00 in the A.M., Slayer was on his morning stroll, just moseying along. He called it his daily constitutional. So completely relaxed was he, that he allowed his long orange tail to drag behind him in the dust. He was passing beneath a rock ledge when suddenly something fell on him. It struck him on the head, and rolled right down his back, knocking him face first into the grit of the trail.

Slayer immediately pushed himself up onto his hind legs, mouth wide, and collar flaring; the effect of the
brightly glaring, flared collar slightly diminished by his frantic spitting of the gravel he found in his mouth.

Desperately he looked all around to see what monstrous thing had attacked him from above. All he could see was a small grey ball of fuzz over by a rock. Brave as he was, he couldn’t help himself, and he jumped back, startled, as the fuzzball moved. Wide-eyed, Slayer watched as the fuzzball struggled and finally sat up. A long skinny neck straightened up, supporting a puny little bony head, beady little orange eyes, and a big blue beak sticking way out in front. Again Slayer acted involuntarily, this time with his own funny unique little hissing laugh, “Hehehishishehehis”.

Slayer couldn’t take his eyes off the newcomer as the ridiculous little fuzzball attempted to clear the dust from his plump little body. He had calmed enough that his collar had smoothed down, but was again surprised when the beak opened, and out came squawking words that said’ “Hi, I’m Buzzy, Who are you?”

“I’m S-S-S-Slayer.” He was so startled, that was all he could utter.

“Where are we?” Buzzy asked.

“We’re in Booploop.”

“Booploop, I’ve heard of that, my mom told me that weird critters live down there. Are you weird?”

“Hisishehehishehishehe, I don’t think so. You’re the only weird creature around here. What did you attack me for anyway?” Slayer was halfway teasing Buzzy now. That kind of ruffled Buzzy’s pitiful little feathers. “I am not weird,” he squawked. “My feathers just haven’t grown out yet, besides, my mom thinks I’m cute.”

“Well, I guess, if you like blue fuzz.”

“What were you doing, anyway?” asked Buzzy.

“Oh, just keeping an eye on the neighborhood, making sure no weird critters dropped in, hehehishishe. You might say I am on patrol.”

“Oh! Can I help you, Slayer, can I? Huh, huh, please.” Buzzy was really excited, it sounded like a grand adventure.

“Well, I guess so. You seem like an OK kind of guy. Just don’t go attacking anybody along the way.”

”I won’t, Slayer, I won’t attack nobody.”

As the two wound through the woods, Slayer was surprised how well Buzzy could keep up, just hopping along on only two legs. “You know what, Buzzy, Sometimes I think that if I weren’t so brightly colored, I’d get more food.”

“Why’s that, Slayer?” Buzzy was puzzled.

“Well, look at those dragonflies, they can see me better than they can see you. I’ll bet you could get a lot more of them than I could; especially with that sharp, long beak of yours.”

“But you have a better reach with that long tongue of yours. Ah, Slayer, aren’t there more of those mean-looking bugs up there now? They sure are big.”

“Yeah, and there are more arriving every second. Look at them gathering. Why there’s a regular airforce up there now.”

“Uh, oh, oh, look out Slayer! I think they’re coming after us.”

“Here they come, Buzzy!”

Zap..snap..snap..snap..zap...back-to-back, the two friends fought. Dragonfly after dragonfly met their end there. Soon the two even began to outpace their appetites. Thank goodness those pesky fliers finally got the picture, and off they flew.

“Wow, Slayer, I’ll bet you ate a million of them rascals.”

“Boy, I feel like it Buzzy, and I’ll bet that beak of yours did in a million or two also.”

“They must have thought we were water lilies or something.”

Whuff-whuff-snort-wheee-snort-whuff-snort-flap-flap-whee. The two buddies looked at each other wild-eyed.

Flap-wheee-snort...”Wh-wh-what’s that, Slayer?”

“I don’t know Buzzy, but if it’s one of those insects, we’re in trouble. It’s over there, let’s go check it out.”

“Oh, Slayer, I’m s-s-scared.”

Right in front of them, out of the bushes, arose a pair of golden horns, followed by two silver ears, two orange beady eyes, some long droopy whiskers, a mouth full of teeth, and a long orange body with spikes on top of it.

“SLAYER!!!” The two friends were terrified, they didn’t know what to do. They started running, but it was as if they had their eyes closed, and very likely they did, for they ran in circles, and ended up running into each other, knocking both to the ground. What a sight.

“Aw, hi, what’s-snort-happening? Do either of you have a light? I haven’t learned how to get my fire started yet.”

The two friends froze in mid-circle. “What? Buzzy, did you hear that?”

“Yeah. Hey what are you?”

“Ah, I’m Dragon.”

“Dragon? Dragon what? Are you king of the dragonflies, or something?”

“No, I don’t think so. I’m just Dragon.”

“Well, that was sure a lot of noise. I understand the snorting and whuffing now, but what was that flapping sound?”

“Oh, that was “---swooooooop----”him.”

Buzzy was quivering all over. “Wow, what happened, what was that. Look out here it comes again!”

SWOOOOOOOOP—

“Swoop! Come down here, you’re scaring our new friends.” Dragon took it for granted that they would all be great friends.

SWOOOOOSHSKIDTUMBLESMASH!

“He’s still not to good with is landings, but he’s a good fellow, and he’s a lot of fun.”

Slayer’s collar was just beginning to smooth back down.” Is he all right?”

Buzzy just couldn’t take his eyes off the aerial newcomer. The fuzzy blue body was quivering all over. “He doesn’t have feathers either, but he sure can fly. Maybe he can teach me how.”

Grass, weeds, leaves and dust were thrown into the air as the flier shook himself. He was quite a sight. A terribly long beak, with rows of teeth to match, an elongated skull in back to offset the beak, huge leathery

wings, with little hands in the top of the middle fold, shiny yellow eyes and a brown fuzzy body with little short legs. He slowly looked from one to the other. Finally he said; ”I Swoop.”

“You sure did.” They all agreed. All together the new friends began to laugh.

“Hey, Swoop, will you teach me to fly?” Buzzy was still quivering about what he had just seen.

Swoop studied Buzzy. “Well, Beaky, I-” he started.

“Oh, Swoop, squawkhehe, my name is Buzzy, you silly thing.”

“Well, Buzzy, I think your wings need a little more growing, and some feathers. But, I’d say in about a month you’ll be ready to go. Then, by golly, we’ll swoop all over the place.”

Buzzy’s head was spinning with thoughts of flight.
“Oh, thank you swoop. I can hardly wait.”

“Hey,” said Dragon, “What are we going to do now? We can’t just stand around here all day, doing nothing.”

“Yeah, that’s for sure,” said Slayer, “I know, why don’t you join Buzzy and me on our patrol?”

Off they went, hippity-hop, scrape, flap-flap, pitter-patter; the great adventure had begun. They didn’t realize that they were already being followed. Far behind them, being sure to keep out of sight, something was keeping close track of their progress.

The companions’ progress was punctuated by laughter mixed with squawks, hisses, hehes, and a lot of playful nudges and bumps. “Hey, Buzzy, we gonna have a big air race after Swoop teaches you to fly?”

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Submitted by Raymond L. Step... on 27 February 2007 - 2:10pm. | | | |

“Cayce, Cayce, help me!”

Cayce could see his friend tearing down the road toward him. McConnell was yelling at the top of his lungs, arms flailing as if trying to swim through the hot, high desert air. His right hand kept dropping down to tug back up his sagging sweat pants.

“Quick, Cayce, you’ve got to hide me. My sisters are going to make me do the dishes. I’d die before I let them make me do a girl’s job.”

“Calm down, Mac, you’re working yourself into a rash.” Although nearly a year younger, Cayce was a full fifteen inches taller than his best friend. Where do you want to hide, in the hut we made in the plum bushes?”

Mac mopped his sweat-streaked face with his grimy red T-shirt. He looked up at Cayce with a hurt look. “Are you trying to get me dish-pan hands? You know the first place they always look for me is at your house. Cayce! They’re going to make me do the dishes!”

“Hey, I know. Dad told me of a place. It’s called Little Grand Canyon. It’s up in the foothills. Your sisters won’t come up there. There’s lizards, snakes, mice, dirt and all sorts of things to scare girls.”

“Yeah, Cayce, that sounds perfect. Hurry, let’s go.”

“We’ve got to follow the old dry ditch bed, so we don’t get lost. Dad said Little Grand is about four miles up. Your sisters will never be able to get that far. We have to go through a place Dad called the swimming hole.” Cayce thought Mac’s sisters, and all girls were scared of things like that.

Cayce glanced back, Mac’s legs were almost a blur as he tried to keep up to his own longer stride. The two blocks to the ditch bank seemed like a mile. They climbed the steep bank and were about to drop down into the deep bed.

“McConnell!” bellowed two loud voices. The sisters were hot on their trail.

Cayce was amazed at the power of those short legs as they reacted to the yell from below. They propelled his friend almost completely over the stream bed. Mac scraped his knee on a big rock and landed headfirst in a huge green sagebrush. Cayce watched helplessly as his friend immediately broke out in a fit of sneezing. The dusty aromatic scent of the sage was overpowering.

“Come on, Mac. We’ve got to out-run them now,” said Cayce.

He helped Mac back out of the brush. Cayce could see that Mac was bleeding slightly from a dozen brush scratches, and limping noticeably.

“Hey, Cayce, slow down. I don’t want to lose sight of you.” Cayce paled as Mac’s pleading voice triggered guilt in him.

“I’ll check on your sisters while you catch up.” Cayce was amazed. Girls shouldn’t be able to run so fast. “Mac, we can’t outrun them. They’re too fast! They have already reached the ditch bank!”

“Yeow! They’ll grab me by the toes and drag me all the way home. I’ll be dead by the time they get me there.” Mac was so intent on looking back for his sisters to come into view, he didn’t see the big pile of dead cedars. Cayce had to cover his eyes as Mac ran headlong into them. Now Mac was covered with more scratches and cuts. There was blood showing on both arms, and all over his face.

Cayce thought that even Mac’s sisters would feel sorry for him if they could see him now.

“Mac, do you think we should go back?” He looked at his friend, who was sweat-streaked, dirty, bloody, with one leg of his old sweats torn completely off. Cayce was really worried that his friend couldn’t keep up this pace.

“Cayce, get down here in the ditch. What are you waiting for? They’re not going to get me this time.”

“You’ve said that before, Mac.” A familiar determined scowl formed on Mac’s face. Cayce had to pinch himself not to show a grin.

“How far do we have to go?” McConnell now had a worried look on his face.

Cayce pointed far ahead at some big trees . “Those trees are where the swimming hole used to be. Little Grand is about three times that far.” Cayce was sure of the directions his dad had given him.

“Way over there?” Mac’s voice had become hushed. “And we have to cross that big open space? Oh boy, I’m dead.” He could hear the girls closing in on them now. He sat down and rested his elbows on his knees, his chin in his hands.

“Cayce! Look!” Mac gestured at the base of a huge squaw-berry bush. A large yellow and black blow snake was stretched out, sunning itself in the warmth. “My sisters won’t dare go close to that. We can hide around on the other side until they go by.”

“Okay, we better hurry,” said Cayce. Quickly they scampered around the thick bush.

It was only a matter of seconds until they heard the girls go huffing and puffing by. “Hurry up Larcy. We’re going to lose them. I’ll teach that lazy little rascal to run from us,” Cayce could see Mac shudder at the sound of Kate’s voice.

“He’ll do dishes every day for a week,” declared Larcy.

Cayce could feel Mac’s fist tighten on his arm as their pursuers raced by. To his total amazement, they glanced at the snake, but paid no other attention to it, even though Kate’s foot came within inches of the head. Weren’t the girls afraid of the snake? Then Cayce had another thought. Maybe girls weren’t so different after all. Maybe doing dishes wasn’t just a girl’s job.

Cayce offered Mac a possible solution. “Let them get out of sight, then we’ll double back. Maybe you’ll have time to finish the dishes by the time they return.”

This time the scowl that rolled over Mac’s face could have curdled milk. “I guess so. It would be better than having my toes pulled off.”

Shoulders drooping, the two friends headed back to
town. Cayce put his long arm around Mac’s shoulders. “I’ll help you with the dishes.”

A bright smile returned to Mac’s face.

The dishes were quickly finished. “That really wasn’t too bad,” said Mac. “It sure beat being dragged by my toes. But all these scratches sure burned in the dishwater. Hey, here come my sisters. They sure are sweaty and dirty. Let’s get in front of the TV and pretend we’ve been here all the time.”

“Yeah,” said Cayce, “let’s see how long it takes them to notice the dishes. It must have been someone else they’ve been chasing, huh? Hey, look, Kate’s got that snake around her wrist like a bracelet. She’s awesome. I didn’t know girls could be like boys.”

» 2 comments
Submitted by Dave Free on 26 February 2007 - 9:30pm. | | |

The idea for this story came one night as I was reading yet another dinosaur story to Jeremy, my five year old son.

It is written for kids and meant to be fun. I'd love some real kid and kid-at-heart feedback.

Enjoy!

» 8 comments
Submitted by Dave Free on 1 December 2006 - 5:04pm. | | |

By W. Dave Free

This is a night time story for kids. I wrote it several years ago. Hope you enjoy it.

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