Benjamin has always wanted a webkinz. For those of you without school age children, a webkins is a stuffed animal that comes with its very own computer code to access online games. The kids play the games, earn money, then buy things for their animal's room. I've never allowed him to have one, not because I think the web site is bad, but in general I am opposed to giving the kids screen time. I'm concerned that he will spend time on the computer instead of playing outside, reading, fighting with his brothers, etc.
Well, my plans were foiled. Last month their school had an author night, where a local children's author came in the evening and gave a presentation about writing. Any children who attended could submit a piece of writing and she would pick the best story in each grade level. The winners receive, you guessed it, a webkinz. Benjamin put off writing his story for awhile, and then the night before wrote a story about Goldenthorn the dragon. As soon as I read it, I knew he would win.
On Friday, he came home walking about 5 feet off the ground. Sure enough, Benjamin won the fourth grade contest. He is now the proud owner of Plumpster the Hippo. He and Alexander have been tasked with coming up with rules for the computer subject to our approval. He earned it, and to be honest, he appreciates it much more than if I had bought one for him. Congratulations, Benjamin! Read below for his story:
There was a problem in Southeastern Brambleberry. A major problem. Especially for the king and queen, King Phoncible and Queen Barb. The great golden dragon, Goldenthorn, was attacking. They were supposed to deal with it! Every day servants and messengers rushed up to the rulers bringing news of the latest death, attack, or crusade on Goldenthorn and all the while they had to do the usual kingly stuff. Finally, during a meeting with the king of Scotland the Brambleberry king fell asleep.
As terror began to devour the land the queen began to search for a knight, one strong and brave enough to confront Goldenthorn. She held numerous contests to scour the kingdom for the perfect knight. At the 55th fair she was able to find a contestant suitable. His name was Saint Chris.
The rulers decided to hold a meeting with Saint Chris. When the day of the meeting arrived, the saint came to the castle. The king sent a messenger to tell Saint Chris to proceed immediately to the Throne Room so the Saint did just that. When he arrived the royal couple was waiting so they proceeded with the meeting. They decided that the saint was, indeed, going to go on the legendary quest.
On the day of the quest, St. Chris saddles his horse. He took his sword from one of his servants and put it in his belt around his waist. He saluted to the king and queen and was off. The Saint rode day and night. He encountered many obstacles including blistering tundra, burning deserts, shadowy forests and even a few mountain lions. When his horse finally ran out of energy, he found some shelter under a towering cactus. He found a couple fruit hanging from the cactus’ branches. He took one, and gave the rest to his horse. Instantly after he ate, he fell asleep.
Finally, when he woke up, he found that his horse was not yet awake. He noticed a few more cacti. Upon them he saw that there were some fruit. To get his horse awake he took the fruit and waved it under his snout. The horse was jolted out of his dreams. He checked the straps of his saddle and his sword, and a few minutes later he was riding again. He encountered a lot of the same obstacles as before; yet, he made it through. For the second time on his quest, he and his horse fell to sleep.
When he woke up he found that he was not yet hungry. Finding that he still had more of his energy, he took off on his horse. He lasted only a few hours before falling asleep. Finally, he reached Goldenthorn’s cave. It was a monstrous cavern and was dimly lit. His horse squealed with fright at the smell of smoke. St. Chris patted his horse and nudged him into the cave.
His horse kept whinnying, but always kept walking. Saint Chris shivered with cold. Then he noticed that he had not ventured far into the cave even though he had been in there at least a half hour. The Saint was mystified, yet never gave up hope. Finally, it seemed he was making progress, as agonizing as it was. Then he noticed that there were small torches lighting his way. “Aha,” he thought, “Now we’re getting closer.”
Saint Chris could feel his horse preparing to bolt. He quickly reacted and jumped off, slamming his head against the cave wall. When he woke up, his head felt hot. He reached up and felt dried blood. Jolting into consciousness, he jumped up. He heard the receding hoof steps of his horse. He thought, “Now I’m all alone.”
The Saint walked on. Suddenly, the passageway began to curve and grow wider. He gasped, “This must be the cave.” Sure enough, small wisps of smoke floated around him. He crept around the corner, searching for any signs of life. “Nothing except the wind,” he thought as he sighed with relief. As he inched along, he saw two glimmering dots in the distance. He squinted at them. “What is that?” he thought. All of the sudden the passageway blazed with light. A huge yellow figure wrapped around him. He studied it and saw that it was a long tail. As he followed it, he saw not only the tail, but the body, head, and appendages of Goldenthorn.
Goldenthorn’s eyes burned with hatred as he reared up. Steely talons flashed as he dove at St. Chris. St. Chris reacted ripping his sword from its sheath. Metal met scales as the sword slashed through the air. Goldenthorn screamed with pain, rearing up again. As he plunged down toward St. Chris, St. Chris ran out of the way. Goldenthorn smashed to the ground. The whole cave shuddered. St. Chris came out of where he was hiding. Goldenthorn’s sharp eyes saw him quickly. Goldenthorn raced toward St. Chris. As he jumped up toward him, St. Chris ran at a pile of gold that was sitting in the corner. He plunged in. Goldenthorn scattered the gold and jewels everywhere, searching for the lost Saint. Meanwhile, the Saint grabbed on to Goldenthorn’s tail. With his scales being so thick, Goldenthorn did not feel a thing. He continued to search. He must have decided that the Saint was outside, because he took the passageway that led toward the end of the cave.
When they got outside, Goldenthorn’s eyes searched the horizon. Coming up with a plan, St. Chris launched himself off Goldenthorn’s tail. Goldenthorn’s claw rushed to meet him. It smashed against his armor. His armor was crushed, and he could barely breathe. He knew he would have to get it off soon, or stop fighting. Goldenthorn’s head lashed toward him, preparing to swallow St. Chris whole. With his last minute plan in his head, St. Chris slashed toward Goldenthorn’s mouth. His sword connected with the roof of Goldenthorn’s mouth. Goldenthorn’s head thrashed wildly as he tried to stop the pain. St. Chris withdrew his sword and jumped out of the mouth. He lashed out at Goldenthorn’s neck. Goldenthorn spotted the sword, but it was too late to stop it. It imbedded itself in his neck. Goldenthorn’s mouth tried to form the words, “You killed me,” but his mouth already had too much damage. Goldenthorn’s last breath was used to try to crush St. Chris’ head. St. Chris nimbly dodged Goldenthorn’s claw and pulled off his ruined armor. He climbed onto his horse, who had been watching everything. Not reluctantly, the horse zoomed off towards the castle. All the way home, St. Chris thought, “I’m a hero.”
Copyright 2008 by Benjamin Weinrich