Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Great (07/06/06)
TITLE: Haley Hall the Small
By Sharlyn Guthrie
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stood a tall, inviting forest that the children called “The Wood.”
No one knows quite how it started, but nearly every day
the children packed their lunches, then went in “The Wood” to play.
Yes, all the children went to play, that is, except for two.
“You’re little,” sneered the others, “There’s not much that you can do.”
As the kids set out each morning to run and romp and hunt,
they rudely snubbed poor Haley Hall as well as Felix Funt.
“Be sure you’re home for dinner, son,” instructed Mrs. Hall,
“and today you’re taking Haley. She’s your sister, after all.”
“Aw, Mom!” the boy protested, but his mother’s narrowed eyes
soon had her son persuaded. Haley whooped at the surprise.
The children quickly gathered just beyond the garden wall.
Accusingly they grumbled, “you brought Haley Hall, the Small?!”
“I had to,” groaned her brother as Haley plugged her ears.
She donned her pink sunglasses to hide her brimming tears.
Haley joined the group despite the insults that they hurled.
Their protests became milder as she strolled into their world.
The path was cool and shady, though at times the sun broke through.
Haley thought she was in Heaven. It seemed too good to be true.
The joy Haley was feeling came abruptly to an end.
A large rope net descended as they curved around the bend.
“Stop right there!” A voice demanded, “for now you have to pay.”
“Drop your lunches in the basket and you’ll soon be on your way.”
“Who are you?” Haley’s brother begged, his voice quaking with fear.
“I’m Thomas Tate the Great,” it boomed. “Obey me! Do you hear?”
So one by one, begrudgingly, they let their lunches fall.
The last to reach the basket was Haley Hall the Small.
Haley’s stomach rumbled as she knelt to tie her shoe.
With a brief but fervent prayer she asked God what she should do.
Rare courage swelled within her and her eyes lit up with hope.
Then she stood and started scaling the net made out of rope.
“Go back! Get down, I tell you!” Thomas roared from the treetop.
But nothing he could do or say could make brave Haley stop.
The children stared in wonder, still frozen where they stood,
wishing they had never left their pleasant neighborhood.
Haley kept on climbing ‘til she disappeared from sight.
A rustling of the branches made the children scream with fright.
An object came a-tumbling and crashing to the ground.
With caution they approached; a megaphone is what they found.
From above came a commotion, then Haley’s voice exclaimed,
“You aren’t Thomas Tate the Great… and you should be ashamed!”
“It’s okay,” Haley hollered. “We have nothing more to fear.
It’s only Felix Funt!” “…THE RUNT?!” the children jeered.
Haley and a sheepish Felix Funt climbed down at last.
As the group rushed forth in anger Haley interceded fast.
“No harm was done,” she told them. “Felix hasn’t spoiled our plan.”
“I was wrong,” Felix admitted. “Please forgive me if you can.”
Some voiced their disapproval, and some just scratched their head.
Then Haley’s brother cleared his throat and this is what he said,
“Felix Funt and sister Haley, we’ve been selfish and unkind.
You both have lots of courage. Our pride has made us blind.”
“We underrated both of you, based only on your size.
We teased you and we taunted, now our sins we realize.
Haley, we commission you as queen of all ‘The Wood.’
Felix, you’ll defend her. Use your cleverness for good.”
“We are now your loyal subjects, and it’s just as Jesus said.
Those who want to be the first will be the last instead;
while those who are the least will be the greatest of them all.”
That’s how our heroine became Queen Haley Hall the Small.
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