Long ago in a land far away a stream ran through a valley. When the rains fell, the stream became a tumbling torrent that tore down the valley as if it could hear the sea calling and could not wait to get to it. But at the time of our story there had been no rain for many weeks. The stream was merely a tiny trickle that you could step over without getting your feet wet.
The stream ran over a bed of stones that had been rubbed and knocked and tumbled together for so many years that they were worn quite smooth. Some were bigger than footballs. Others were pebbles small enough to fit in your hand.
Five of these pebbles were brothers. They were called Pitter, Patter, Petter, Potter and Putter. We meet them lying, quite dry, about five paces from the water's edge.
"I'm bored!" moaned Potter. "There's nothing to do but lie in the sun."
"I think there's quite enough adventure," replied Patter. "Yesterday the cows nearly stood on me. I was scared silly."
"And you can listen to what the soldiers are saying," added Pitter, encouragingly.
"But even that's boring," wailed Potter. "Every day that giant shouts at the top of his voice: Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Send a man to fight me. If he kills me... Blah, blah, blah. And then the ground thud-thuds as he tramps back to his tent, and the air shakes with his evil laugh, and the Israelite weapons clatter and their teeth chatter as they scatter back to their camp."
"I wonder why no one will fight him. That would be exciting," piped up Putter.
"From the sound of that big guy I can't say I blame the Israelites. Whoever fights him will be squashed like grass under cattle's feet."
"Shh!" said Petter. "It's starting again."
The pebbles listened as the giant shouted to the Israelites. For a while everything sounded just the same as on all the other days. Then Pitter heard a voice none of them had ever heard before.
"Who's that?" he asked. "Someone's talking to King Saul. He's saying– Oh, bother! I can't hear properly."
All the pebbles lay still, but they couldn't quite hear what David and Saul were saying. It was just beginning to seem as if that day would be like all the other days, when suddenly they heard the new voice again.
"Hey! This guy can sing," said Potter. "And he's coming our way!"
"Oh, do shut up!" snapped Patter. "I'd rather listen to his song than to your prattling."
"A table you have spread for me, in presence of my foes.
My head with oil you do anoint, and my cup overflows."
Suddenly, in the pause before the next verse of the song, the five pebbles were scooped up from the sunny stream bed and dropped into a leather bag.
"What's happening? Where's he taking us? Oh, I wish the stream had left us on the other bank!" wailed Patter.
"Nonsense! This is the moment I've been waiting for! Yipee!" Potter kept up such a flow of excited chatter that none of the pebbles heard anything else for some minutes. Patter was just about to tell Potter to shut up again, when all of a sudden he did shut up. In fact he disappeared. David's hand reached into the bag, and where there had been five pebbles, now there were only four.
Those four listened as hard as they could, but for once Potter seemed to have nothing to say.
They heard the giant shouting insults at David, saying he would give his body to the birds. Then they heard David call back that he wasn't afraid, because his God was bigger than any wicked giant. Then they heard a whirring sound... and a terrifyingly loud thud.... and a huge cheer that ripped the air apart.
Then they were bouncing and rattling together as David ran helter-skelter to where the giant lay stunned. And when he bent down to pick up Goliath's sword and cut off his huge head, they wriggled... and jiggled... and rolled out of the bag to lie with Potter on the soft grass.
And there they stayed ever after. And Potter's children, and grand children listened every day to the story of the most exciting day of his life, the day he helped David to kill Goliath.
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