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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: Stephen Randall and the Chickenpox Lie
By Dee Yoder


Summer came when Stephen Randall moved onto our street. I wasn’t happy about summer break until then. All of my friends had gone off with their families for vacation, and I was left behind.

I sat on the porch many nights just watching the fireflies hovering in the air, their tails afire, before they’d suddenly land next to their sweethearts in the deep grass below. A couple of times, I crawled slowly along the damp yard, trying to investigate what they were doing once their lights went out. Of course, I didn’t see a thing.

The unusual quietness of the neighborhood made me feel even lonelier. No one was calling me to a game of kickball under the streetlights; no one rounded me up to join in the Fugitive game. I couldn’t stand it. Then Stephen came.

The first night he walked down the street, he spied me sitting on my front porch and called to me right away.

“What’s your name?”


“Hey. I’m Stephen. I just moved in. Don’t know anybody in this town. Any boys around here?”

“Not right now.”

“No boys?”



He swirled the toe of his shoe in the dust a while and then sighed. “Well, OK then. You want to kick a ball around with me?”

“You don’t seem to have a kickball anywhere on you.”

“I can get it. Be right back.”

He took off to his house, and we ended up playing a kind of game that involved a lot of “ghost” players, but, at least, I was off the porch.

We walked to Ted Reese’s candy store the next day. After that, we explored the creek that ran past the dead end of our street and brought home a bunch of crawdads in styrofoam cups. Then we dragged and rolled five big old rocks into a circle in the field behind our houses and pretended to be journeying through the West in a wagon train. That’s why I say that when Stephen showed up, summer began.

One day Stephen called.

“Sheila, I can’t come over today. I’m sick.”

“What’s the matter with you?” I asked bluntly.

“I’ve got chickenpox. Mom says I can’t go anywhere for a while.”

“Is that so? Gonna be pretty bored, aren’t you?”

“Yeah. But my next-door neighbor came home yesterday. She’s pretty nice. She’s already had chickenpox, so she’s coming over. We’ll probably play some games.”

I was silent while I absorbed this news.

“Sheila? You there?”


“If you’ve already had chickenpox, you can come, too.”

“I don’t know…I’ll have to ask my Mom, but I don’t think I’ve had them yet.”

“Oh. Well, I’ll call you in a few days and let you know when I’m safe to be around. See ya, Sheila.”

“Yeah. Bye.”

I was fuming. It just wasn’t fair. Stephen was going to go right on having fun, but me? No. I was going to be stuck on the front porch again. I couldn’t stand it that he had a new friend, too; probably never give me another thought.

After dinner that night, I moseyed over to Stephen’s backyard. The lights were on in his room, and I could see him and his friend stretched out on the floor playing Monopoly. Ooh…that made me mad! His new friend would just have to scoot over because I was his first true friend in town.

I tapped the pane sharply, and Stephen glanced up, his face startled and confused.

“What’re you doing here, Sheila?” he asked when he opened the window.

“Just thought I’d visit a while. Mom said I’ve already had the chickenpox,” I lied.

“Oh yeah? Cool. Wanna play Monopoly with us?”

So that’s how it happened. Two weeks later, I had chickenpox all over my body, and Stephen found out I’d lied to him. After that, he never treated me the same; he spent more time with his new friend, and less time with me. My lie spoiled our friendship.

While I was waiting for the spots to disappear, Mom came in my room to play a game with me. As I was setting up the game, she told me she’d read a Bible verse she thought I should learn.

“Really? Which one?” I asked as I put our game pieces on the board.

“Um…it’s in Numbers.”


“…be sure your sin will find you out*”, she quoted and chuckling, she pointed to the giant chickenpox sitting on the end of my chin.

* Numbers 32:23, The Bible, King James Version

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This article has been read 1073 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw02/21/08
Great story that children everywhere need to hear. I'll be reading it to mine this evening. Right on illustration of the proverb as well.
Seema Bagai 02/21/08
A great story for kids.
Debbie Wistrom02/22/08
I thought Stephen was going to be the liar...Thanks for the twist and the lesson.
Holly Westefeld02/23/08
This was a fun read. I got caught in your twist, too, having also presumed Stephen to be the liar.
Jan Ackerson 02/23/08
This is just great!
Laury Hubrich 02/24/08
This is so cute! I love the chicken pox lie! I also love your description of the fireflies. Oh, so good. Never thought about what they did when their lights were out before. I'll never look at a firefly the same again -- lol!
Beth LaBuff 02/24/08
I love your voice in this story. Your descriptions of the fireflies and backyard summer evenings are perfect. I can still see it. (I quote that verse --Num.32:23 -- to my family frequently :) Great writing with this!
Lyn Churchyard02/25/08
I thought Stephen was the one who was telling the lie too. Love the dialogue and the descriptions. Great story; great example of the topic!
Joy Faire Stewart02/25/08
This would be perfect to use in "Childrens' Church." What a great message! Love it!
Joanne Sher 02/25/08
Great characterization - and a super analogy with great descriptions. Enjoyed this VERY much.
Patrick Whalen02/25/08
I certainly enjoyed reading this one. It reminded me too of summers spent at my grandmother's house with nothing to do.

It also brings to mind the Veggie Tales story "The rumor weed." I can't tell you how many times I've used that story to illustrate the power of lies to my own children.
Karen Wilber02/25/08
"Summer came when Stephen Randall moved onto our street." That is a great opening sentence--you don't need to offer any explanation later. It was already packed with meaning. I enjoyed this story and the lesson at the end.
Sheri Gordon02/26/08
So cute. What a great story/lesson for kids. Great job with the topic, Dee.
Shelley Ledfors 02/27/08
This is charming! A great lesson for all, young and not-so-young. Some really great descriptions in this piece. I really enjoyed this!
Sara Harricharan 02/28/08
Oooh. I'm sorry that she felt she had to lie to save a friendship that would've survived with just the plain truth. Chicken pox is no fun though, you did well with this piece and I liked the character of Sheila, it was realistic with flaws and dreams. Nice job. ^_^