Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)
TITLE: Old Arthur
By Llewelyn Stevenson
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Old Arthur lived on the volcanic Isle of Gehenna with eight orphan children in the Village of Man. The businesses were kindly to Arthur as they were aware he had no source of income and used his miserly pension to support the orphans. The baker gave him bread; the dairy farmer milk, and people brought him clothes, new and used for himself and the children. Life was comfortable and the people were cheerful. No one spoke ill of anyone, or anything.
One day a stranger appeared, coming down the side of the mountain bearing evil tidings for the town. “Beware,” he cried out. “Save yourselves and move to Paradise Island for this mountain will blow in three days and all you know will be covered in molten rock. Nothing that remains here will survive the wrath of the mountain!”
The townsfolk laughed at the mountain man for Gehenna had never been known to erupt in the history of the village, which went back many, many years. On the other hand a tsunami was known to have drowned flat Paradise only twenty-five years ago; the land was so low lying it was considered beautiful, but unsafe to live on.
Billy and Gracie, two of the orphan children heard the bad news and ran to tell old Arthur what had been predicted. When they arrived they found Arthur surrounded by others who had heard the same story. Every excited child was trying to speak at once and Arthur had an awful time understanding it. After he cleared the matter up he went to speak to the other villagers but they just pooh-poohed the warning as unsubstantiated gainsaying.
Arthur had such a restless night that, in the morning he gathered the eight children together and informed them he was going to hire a boat to take them to paradise. Some of the children had heard the arguments of the villagers, were very frightened, and began to cry, but Arthur was resolved to think of the children’s safety. In the end Arthur had to buy the boat and leave under the cover of dark early the following morning lest any other villagers saw him taking the children. This intrigue kept the children quiet although they were still fearful.
On the afternoon of the third day Mount Gehenna erupted and Arthur and the children watched and wept as the Village of Man was swept away in molten lava, just as the stranger had predicted. Arthur rejoiced that his sober thinking had saved nine lives and only wished there had been more.
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