Once upon a time, there was a castle. In that castle, there was a locked chest which no one had ever been able to open. It had been there ever since the present king's great grandfather. King Wolden was nervous about it because ever since the Bluebeard incident, people were very suspicious of locked chests or rooms and it could give him a bad name. Yet he didn't want to give a reward, so he issued a decree:
You have heard of the suspicious
locked chest I have. If anyone can unlock it,
he may have half the contents.
People talked about it for days, but nobody came.
In another part of the country lived a young locksmith named Samuel. He could barely support himself, so every night he prayed that he might earn more money. One night he dreamed of a voice, which said, "Go to the palace and unlock the chest. I have heard your prayer and will help you." Then he looked down, and there was a gold key with jewels in his hand. When he woke, the key was still in his hand. He then obeyed the voice and left.
He went along the path for many days and came to a wood. Samuel went through it, though it was nearly dark, to camp on the other side. However, halfway through, he heard a howl. Looking around, he saw wolves had surrounded him. Samuel began to pray. As soon as he started, the wolves ran off. He continued on his way praising God.
He was not bothered for three weeks. Then thieves came and robbed him. Actually, they took the key because it was the only thing of value about him. Samuel was heartbroken, not because he couldn't unlock the chest and become rich, but because he couldn't obey God.
He decided to follow them. He followed them for weeks. Samuel finally caught up with the thieves at an inn. He despaired because they were richly dressed and everybody would think he was lying, because rich men would be more likely to have a gold key. He sat down and put his head in his hands.
The innkeeper's wife came to him and said, "What's the matter?"
Samuel said, "You must not tell." She promised and he told her everything.
She said, "I'll help you." She told him her plan.
At night when the thieves went to bed, they took their money pouch with them. She knew the key was in it. She stole into their room.
She yelled, "Thief!"
Then she told them the thief went out a window, so they chased "him." While they were gone, she exchanged the gold key for a brass key. She took it to Samuel and he thanked her. She said he should leave now, so he did.
Finally, Samuel arrived at the River Tetannus, which separated the capital from the rest of the country. There he began crossing the river in a boat. As he reached the middle, crocodiles tipped the boat. He fell on one crocodile's back. The crocodile gave Samuel a merry ride.
Finally, he fell off. He then went down a waterfall. "Aaaaagh!" SPLASH!
Samuel washed against the shore, but he was several miles downstream of the city and it was dark. He decided to camp there.
In the morning, he went to the city. The king had the chest brought and his wife and daughter, Ruth, come. At first glance, Samuel and Ruth fell in love.
Samuel put the key in the lock and it fit! He unlocked the chest and opened it. Inside were seven fine paintings, five goblets, and plates. The goblets and plates were of gold. The paintings were of Jesus. One was of Jesus' birth. One was Jesus in the temple. Another was Jesus calming the sea. The fourth was of Jesus with children. Then there was Jesus in the garden. The next was of Jesus' crucifixion. The last one was Jesus rising in the air. The king wanted the gold things. Samuel wanted the paintings.
All this time, Samuel and Ruth have been stealing glances at each other. The king was in such good humor that he said, "Since you've only got those paintings, Samuel, you may marry Ruth if she consents." She did, so in two weeks they married. When the king died, they ruled the land kindly and wisely.
Note: This piece was written by an 11-year-old girl with a huge imagination! I'm very proud of her.
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