Give a round of applause for our first place winner, Faith! She did not send it in with a title so I came up with one. So here you have it:
A gentle wind brushed my face as I looked out over the valley below. Like tiny ants, the farmers scurried from their fields to the barns as they worked to store up food for the winter. I gave a little sigh, rested my chin on my hands and scooted uncomfortably on the hard rock ledge. I was bored. Of course, according to them, I was doing an important job. I was watching for the upcoming storm that was supposed to sweep our valley. I snorted. Whatever.
Then a small smile crested my lips. Why not. I jumped to my feet and gave a loud shout, waving my arms up high in the air. Below me, I could see the men looking up at me, then sprinting back to the fields, trying to gather up as much food as possible. I grinned and sat back down. It was funny to see them scurry about.
“What do you think you’re doing!?” a voice snapped at me. I turned around and met my father’s gaze, his eyes burning holes in my forehead. His chest heaved from the steep climb he had taken to see the storm for himself.
“Just trying to have some fun,” I dropped my eyes and ran a hand through my hair.
“It’s not fun when people’s lives are at stake. If the storm comes before we are ready, everything in the fields will be put to waste.”
“All the more reason for them to work harder down there,” I quipped.
“Not if they collapse in weariness,” he took a deep breath, holding back his full rage. “Don’t do this again.”
I watched him make his way back down the hill. I smirked. The people below had already slowed their work, weariness beginning to overtake them. I hesitated. Why not? Just one more time before my father made it back down to them. I leapt to my feet and waved my arms again. Like before, the people below began to work furiously.
My father whirled and shook a fist at me. I ducked back down and bit back a chuckle. For the next few minutes everything was peaceful. Then I saw it. A dark cloud on the horizon. Then another one. And another. Then they melded into one. It was coming. Fear pricked at my heart as I shouted at the men below waving my arms. But they ignored me. Fear turned into panic. They didn’t believe me. I sprinted down the hill.
“It’s coming!” I shouted.
The men shook their heads and ignored me.
“Father!” I grabbed his arm desperately. “I mean it this time. It’s really coming!”
He pushed me away. “I will not fall for your lies again. Go to the house.”
I backed away, my body shaking with fright. They couldn’t see the storm clouds from here. But I knew it was coming. Tears rushed to my eyes. The storm was going to come and destroy the crops left in the field. And it would be my fault if the stores that were already laid up were not enough for the coming winter. “I’m so sorry,” I whispered.
Here is Jesseca Dawn's entry. She calls it:
It Cost Everyone
Harry and Jarod, two of the hired cowhands leaned idely against two tall trees at the edge of a small lake. The two-thousand head of cattle were being forced to enter the water by the other numerous cowhands.
“We should be helping.” Jarod stated.
“Ahh, no one even realizes we’re gone! After all, we deserve a break. Riding the trail sure is a lot of work.”
Jarod smirked, “We. . .umm. . .actually realized that when we signed on.”
“Course we did! Now, I’m thinking we need a little excitement around here.”
“Like, I’m not sure. But something to add some excitement to this drive!”
“Harry, Jarod, get off your lazy behinds and help us with these cattle!”
Both men looked up as David, the trail boss rode up.
“Alright, boss.” Harry muttered.
As David rode off, he turned to Jarod. “When we’re on guard tonight, what do you say we give everyone a little surprise.”
Jarod looked at him doubtfully, “A surprise?”
“Yeah, a wolf.”
“A what! Harry, you’re crazy! One wolf will have the cattle in a stampede!”
“Calm down, not a real one! You’ll be one.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll see what I mean.” Harry mounted his horse and rode off.
“Sure, I always get to do the dirty work,” Jarod muttered as he mounted and pushed his horse into a gallop after the herd.
“Wolf, there’s a wolf!” Harry’s cry tore across the open prairie and the other trail hands grabbed their pistols. “Where, where?”
“Over there. I saw a shadow.” Sure enough, another shadow slinked between the trees.
Half a dozen pistols were cocked and aimed at the lone grove of trees. Harry burst out laughing and he slapped his leg. “That is one of the funniest thing I have ever seen!”
The men turned to him, bewildered.
“That there ain’t no wolf! It’s Jarod!”
David turned glaring eyes to Harry, “If I didn’t need every hand I could get I’d fire you both here and now!” he exclaimed as Jarod joined them taking off the gray wool blanket he had draped over his back.
“I don't want any more of these tricks ever again!” He slammed his pistol into the holster and stomped back to the fire, the other men following his lead.
The next two nights the cry ‘wolf!’ rang out over the camp, and every time it was greated with a loud laugh from both Harry and Jarod when they realized the men had once again fallen for their trick. The third night, though, it seemed the men had learned their lesson, for when the cry ‘wolf’ was heard, no one came.
“It looks like we’ve worn this trick out.” Harry remarked to Jarod.
Jarod nodded, “Now to think of another. What do you say we--”
“Jarod, look!” Henry interrupted.
Jarod turned as a low growl was heard. Silhouetted against the full moon, five wolves stalked the herd.
Both men cocked their pistols, “Wolf, there’s a wolf!” Jarod yelled.
“Sure, like we’ll fall for that again,” A man yelled back at them before rolling over and trying to get comfortable on the hard ground.
“No, no, there really is one!” Harry yelled as he tried to take aim, but didn’t fire for fear of hitting the cattle.
No one replied except for the groans of men, weary of being woken from their sleep.
By this time, the cattle and horses had caught the scent of the wolves and began to shift around uneasily. At that moment, the lead wolf struck the nearest cow. At the same moment Jarod fired. The attack of the wolf as well as the sound of the gun going off was enough to set off the already spooked cattle. Within moments the horses had run off, their stakes still attached to their halters. The cattle became a thundering stampede, and, without the horses, the men had no way to round them up. Harry and Jarod looked at each other as they realized that their “innocent trick” had cost the whole herd. This would not only affect them, but the many ranchers who had sent their cattle on the drive.
For our tie in third place, here is Rebekah Eddy's entry. I came up with the title for this one:
There once lived a young shepherd boy, whose name was Flavian. The youngest boy in a family of five sons, he was given the job to watch their family’s sheep. One day, early in the morning, his father came and shook him awake.
“Son! I need you to come out to our barn right now!”
Flavian obeyed. “What is it father?” He asked anxiously.
“Bessy, our cow, is going to give birth to her baby calf any day now, and I want to you to keep an eye on her while your brothers and I go out to the corn field to work.”
“But who will watch our sheep?” Flavian asked worriedly. He felt a bit protective about them, since they were his special responsibility usually.
“Caleb will. If Bessy begins giving birth, yell ‘Calf is coming!’ and we’ll come straight to your aid.”
By this time, father and son were out in the barn, and soon Flavian was left by himself in Bessy’s stall. The cow looked fine. Flavian began wishing himself back at his usual job.
Then he remembered what his father had said to do if he wanted them to all come running. An impish grin appeared at the corners of his mouth, and he walked outside of the barn and began yelling for all he was worth, “Calf is coming, calf is coming!”
Soon his older four brothers and father were standing around him, worry written on their faces. “How is she? Has she dropped the calf yet?”
Flavian burst into laughter. “I was only kidding!” He said.
His father gave him a stern warning not to do this again, and then the five men went back to their work. An hour passed before the stern warning faded, and Flavian grew bored again. “Calf is coming, calf is coming!” He yelled yet again.
Once more his father and brothers came running, and when they found out that they had been tricked again, Flavian was soundly scolded and sent back to the stall.
With the scolding still ringing in his ears, Flavian went back to the stall only to find Bessy on her side, mooing pitifully and in obvious pain. Wide eyed, Flavian dashed back outside the barn. “Calf is coming, calf is coming!” he yelled once more.
But no one came. They shut their ears to his yelling because they thought he was only joking and they were determined not to be bested by him again. Because of this, the calf was lost and Flavian earned himself a sound thrashing when his father found out.
Let this be a warning to those who lie a lot: sometimes you’ll tell the truth, but then nobody will believe you.
Here is Emily McConnell's entry. She calls it:
The Boy who screamed Birdies
There lived in a small Germanic town a boy named Gerhard. Now Gerhard was a wild boy, full of nonsense and bad ideas. He was known throughout his small village as the Wild Boy. He played pranks mercilessly and could never stay out of trouble.
One day, young Gerhard was given the job of guarding the cats of the small town. They raised cats in this town for their fur, then come summer they clipped them and made fur hats for the Prussians across the border. Now Gerhard was excited that he was given such an important job, but he quickly found out it was really boring.
Why am I even doing this? This is so dumb. I want to do something fun. So Gerhard decided he'd make his own fun.
Now these cats that were raised for furs were known for their excellent mousing skills. But they were afraid of birds. So afraid, in fact, that whenever they saw one they fell down in a faint. Gerhard wondered just how fast the towns' women would come running if he called out- "BIRDIES!"
Next thing he knew, he was surrounded by women who were fussing over their little cats, but nothing was there.
"Naughty boy!" they scolded him. "Where are the birdies?"
"Not here," Gerhard laughed heartily. "I made it up!"
The women left in a huff, glad their precious baby-waby kitties were okay.
Gerhard had gotten a big kick out of the first trick, so he did it again. Once more the women came running. Once more Gerhard fell to his knees, laughing his head off.
Towards the later afternoon, the joke had worn off and no one came when he called Birdies. Gerhard got tired of watching the cats fight and chase each other, so he went to sleep. The next instant, he heard screaming. Leaping to his feet, he beheld a million little yellow birdies flying around the cats, pecking at them. The cats all fainted, and the birds turned towards Gerhard.
"Birdies! Birdies! BIRDIES!" Gerhard shrieked.
But no one came. No one believed there were birdies.
Needless to say, by the time Gerhard got home that night, he was covered head to toe in little cuts from the birdies' sharp beaks. The women of the village had been shocked when he returned in such an array, and when they discovered what had happened, they immediately ran out to check on their cats.
"I hope your learned your lesson today, Gerhard," Gerhard's mother clucked her tongue as she washed his face off from the cuts.
Gerhard nodded. "I learned that yellow birdies are evil and I shouldn't lie. Plus, why on earth do we raise cats for fur? I vote we raise lamas."
Super job to all my entrants! Thank you for your participation!
To those of you who entered: Did you enjoy it? Would you like me to do another?
To my readers: Did you enjoy reading? If I did another, would you like to enter?
I hope you all had as much fun reading these as I did!