Friday, November 2, 2007

The Goblins

The goblins came every year during the mid autumn festival. All the folks of Gillygulch Hollow hurried into their houses and locked their doors. But Billy didn't hear his mama calling, so the goblins snatched him away.

When the folks found out he was gone, they cried to the goblins, “Give him back! His mother will not stop weeping.” But the goblins refused. They took Billy to a cave high in the mountains overlooking Gillygulch Hollow, and they set guards all around.

Now, Billy wasn't scared of the goblins, but he was hungry, so he began to fuss a little. The goblins plied him with sweets and treats, candy, cakes, and cookies. Billy ate until he felt woozy, and then he missed his mama and started to cry in earnest.

The goblins did tricks and clowning to make Billy laugh, but he laughed so hard that he cried again. So they played games with him instead. Billy beat every single goblin in checkers, and then they grew tired of him.

In exchange for Billy, the goblins asked the folks of Gillygulch Hollow to place a soup pot full of gold in the meadow below the mountain. Billy's mama said she would gladly give her wedding band, but the folks were poor, and no one had enough gold to fill the pot.

They thought and they thought. Someone thought of fooling the goblins, and all the folks agreed. So they filled the pot with leaves instead—the golden leaves of autumn—and put it in the center of the meadow. Then they hid in the trees.

When the goblins came to the edge of the meadow and saw the pot, they whooped and hollered and danced all the way there. But the folks of Gillygulch Hollow snuck quietly past them through the trees and all the way to the cave where they found Billy fast asleep.

And while the goblins discovered the trick they had played, the folks stole Billy away back to his mama in Gillygulch Hollow. Then the goblins ranted and raved and tore their hair and stamped their feet. But there was nothing they could do about it.

At the end of the festival, the goblins went away and never returned. But the folks of Gillygulch Hollow continued to place a pot full of golden leaves in the meadow every year, just in case.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sophie Makes Strudel

Sophie flung open the front door and stepped into the house.

"Mom?" she called, dropping her backpack and kicking off her shoes.

"I'm in the kitchen," answered her mother. "Please put your things away."

Sophie hung her backpack on the hook and put her shoes in the basket. Her mother was sitting at the kitchen table, writing a shopping list. "How was school?" she asked.

"I want to make a strudel for Halloween," Sophie announced. "I'll make a list of what I need so you can get it at the store."

Sophie made a list with these ingredients: bricks, mortar, live shark, block of wood, agate stone, chemistry set. Sophie's mother added these ingredients to her shopping list: phyllo dough, butter, pecans, cheddar cheese, eggs, cottage cheese, chicken, olives, tomatoes.

That night, Sophie dreamed about building a pyramid in Egypt.

The next day, Sophie made strudel. First she was a bricklayer. She spread a thin layer of mortar evenly over each brick and stacked them neatly on top of each other.

Next she was a veterinarian dentist. She carefully extracted all the rotten teeth from the shark's mouth (her mother was a little nervous).

After that she was a sculpture, shaving away at a block of wood. She got carried away and ran out of wood, but her mother said not to worry.

She cracked open the agate stone while she was a geologist and found a yellow crystal formation inside. It was messier than she expected, so she cracked open the next one directly over a bowl.

Then she got out her chemistry set and mixed together the shark's teeth, the wood shavings, and the agate crystals. Sophie knew something was missing, but she couldn't think what. In the end, she decided to just add everything from the set and see what happened. When nothing exploded, Sophie was disappointed, but her mother was relieved.

Finally, she was a mail carrier, carefully wrapping up packages for delivery.

Sophie's mother baked the strudel for her while Sophie cleaned up her mess. When it was cool, they each tried a piece.

"Not bad," said Sophie's mother.

"I like the colors," Sophie admitted.

They served the rest of the strudel for dinner that night; Sophie's dad said he liked the shark's teeth, even though they were crunchier than usual.

That night, for some reason, Sophie had trouble deciding what costume to wear for Halloween.