A wonderful bedtime story!
"Good luck." said Chance.
"Good luck." said Phil.
They were both feeling very proud of themselves for being so brave. Phil picked up the porcupines, which had been the start of this whole mess, and told Chance, "If we get out of this in one piece, I'm never going to tell another lie as long as I live. I promise!!!"
Just then, the heavy wooden castle door started to slowly open.
A huge rhinoceros wearing bright silver armor and standing on his hind legs stepped out from behind the huge door. He stared at the two of them without saying a word for a long time. It made both of them feel very uncomfortable.
Finally, Chance spoke up, "We're... uh... here to see the king... if... uh... if he's available..."
The big rhinoceros stared coldly at Phil, then looked down at the porcupines.
"He's been expecting you," he said in a very uninviting voice, "You're to follow me."
He turned, and marched back into the castle. Chance and Phil looked at each other. Phil raised his eyebrows and tried to force a grin onto his face. It didn't work very well.
"YOU'RE TO FOLLOW ME!!!" the rhino bellowed from inside the castle.
But maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Let me back up a little, to the beginning of the story. But pay attention, you won't want to miss a thing.
Anyway, it goes like this...
Chance awoke happily as the first streams of sunlight trickled through his bedroom window, and once again brought his room back to life.
There was no holding back his sleepy smile when he remembered what day this was. The endless weeks of waiting were finally over.
The happiest day of every child's life had finally come. The first day of summer vacation was actually here!
But if Chance had even dared to imagine how magical this summer was to be—how many wonderful adventures were in store for him—he would have already been galloping down the stairs as fast as his eight year old legs could carry him. But of course, you never really know when an adventure is going to pop up.
So Chance simply rolled out of bed, and started this summer like he had started all the other ones he could remember—which was four of them—by pulling on his clothes and heading straight for the kitchen, where he could already smell his favorite breakfast being cooked, like only his mom could do it.
After rinsing down his last bite of waffle with a gulp of cold milk, Chance started wondering what he could do for the rest of the day.
Since his family had only moved from the city a little while ago, Chance hadn't had much opportunity to make new friends. And his one new friend, Billy Montgomery, was going on a family trip for three whole weeks!
But after a few pretty boring suggestions, his mother came up with a great one; looking around in the woods behind their house for a tree just perfect for a tree-house!
"That's a great idea mom! I can build on it while Billy's gone, and won't he be surprised!" Chance said with delight, "Then we can play on it the whole rest of the summer!"
With this thought fresh in his mind, Chance headed straight through the door. As he hopped over their wooden fence, he could hear his mom yelling from the back porch, "Make sure you're back before dinner, and be sure to remember where you found your tree!" Chance really did love his mom.
After walking a short while, he grew tired of staying on the path that led from the back of his house, and decided to himself, Any tree that's worth finding has got to be deeper back in the woods, where no one has seen it for years. That's where I'll find my perfect tree!
So Chance headed off through the bushes and trees, up hills, over rocks and creeks, and after traveling for some time, he noticed that the deeper he got into the woods, the darker it became. Which, he had to admit, made him a little more nervous than usual.
Every tiny sound that he heard started to worry him more and more.
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