Joseph’s Story Part 1

Joseph’s Story 

Part 1

 

“Yow! Boy, does my head hurt. Where am I?”

I tried to open my eyes.

“Oh man, even my eyes hurt and it’s too dark to see anything. Okay, what can I feel?”

I sat up and began feeling around with my hands and feet and could feel nothing but dry, dusty, hard, round surfaces and walls.

“Nothing but rocks here, it’s terribly hot, it’s exceptionally dry and dusty and—oh, my head still hurts, my eyes hurt and so does just about every other part of me … and I’m talking to myself. How crazy is that? Okay, what can I hear or smell?”

I leaned back, listened, and sniffed.

“So, I can hear some sheep and it smells like someone has used this cistern as a latrine. Wait a minute,  where is my coat? Oh no, Father is going to kill me if I lost that coat. But I’ll have to wait to worry about that. For now, how did I get here and … for that matter where is here?”

I rubbed my sore head and then my eyes before trying to open them again. 

“Alright, I can finally see a sliver of light up there. Okay, I think I get it now. My brothers took some unreasonable offense to something I said, beat me up, stole the special coat that father made for me and stuck me down a dry cistern. Wow! I knew I wasn’t popular with them, but what did I ever do that made them mad enough to do this? Hmm … it may have started soon after we moved here from Paddan-Aram. Come to think of it, it may have gotten worse when I had those dreams. Oh man, my head still really hurts. I think I’ll sleep for a bit using these rocks for a pillow like Father did on his way to Paddan-Aram before he met Mother. Yes, a little nap is what I need to get it all straight in my brain.”

 

# # #

 

I remember sitting at the desk in my father’s tent tallying up columns of numbers to help Father manage our flocks and herds. Then father entered the tent and I called him over to show him what I had found, “Father, did you know that since we arrived here in Canaan, our flocks have grown by 25%? The pastureland here must be much better than it was at Paddan-Aram. Also, you might want to think about selling some of them off. The size of our flock is getting too large and difficult for my brothers to manage. They are having to move the flocks much more often to find new pastures.”

Father sat on a chair near me stroking his beard and said, “You know, I think you might be right. Why don’t you go to where your brothers are keeping the flocks and report back to me what you see.”

I am pretty sure I made a face and said, “Are you sure about that Father? I have not been warmly received by them since you gave me this wonderful new coat.”

Father just smiled and said, “Why don’t you let me worry about them. You just go first thing tomorrow morning and then bring me a report on how your brothers and our flocks are doing.”

“As you wish, Father.”

That night, I had a large meal and then retired to my tent where I had a strange dream. My brothers and I were out harvesting grain and stacking the tied up sheaves in neat bundles. It was really hard work. I remember getting really sweaty and then the beginnings of blisters on my hands. The blisters hurt a lot, but then the strangest thing happened. One of my sheaves stood up on end and then the sheaves of my eleven brothers all bowed down to it. It was so weird that I woke up and had to get a drink of water. After that, I slept for the rest of the night without any more dreams. That dream stuck in my head so I couldn’t forget it. 

When I found them, they avoided talking to me but Reuben gave me some tasks to do. I did them quickly so I could do the inventory that Father asked for. 

At lunch, I decided to tell my brothers about my strange dream. That might have been a mistake. I spoke up loud enough for everyone to hear and said “Listen to this dream. We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!” 

At first, it didn’t seem like they wanted to listen. Some of them turned away from me at the beginning but when I got to the part about their sheaves bowing down to mine, they got angry, rushed at me and started yelling at me, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” Then they all stomped off to care for the sheep. Talk about getting in my face! Needless to say, I shut up and silently continued with the inventory Father had asked for.

When we got home, I reported to Father that my inventory did not match up with the numbers that my brothers had given him. I told him that I thought they were selling some of the sheep without telling him so they could have spending money. I thought I saw some women hiding in their tents while I was there. Father said nothing about my report, but he questioned them thoroughly when they got home a week or so later. They seemed to pretend from then on that I did not exist. None of them, except for Reuben would even talk to me. 

Several weeks later, I had another dream and one night at dinner I stood up and shared the dream with my father and my brothers. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!” Father scolded me. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” This surprising reaction from my father seemed to match my brothers. I think they were jealous of me. My brothers wolfed down the rest of their food and took off. They rushed rudely past me nearly knocking me over with their arms and elbows.

After his initial outburst, Father sat quietly while he finished eating. He said nothing to me when I left to go to my tent. 

# # #

A few weeks passed by and then Father asked me to go and check on my brothers again and bring back another report. I can tell you, I was not in any big hurry to see them again, but headed to Shechem as I had been asked to do.

The next morning I packed a bag, put on my special coat, and rode my favorite donkey to where my brothers were supposed to be tending to the flocks. But, they weren’t there. So I had to look around for them. After an hour or so, I ran into a man that told me that they had gone to Dothan. Typical. They are so unreliable.

When I first saw them, I could tell that they could see me too. I waved at them and could see a lot of hurried activity. They seemed to be huddling together about something. I hoped that it was because they had forgiven me for telling them about my dreams. I hoped for a warm welcome.

But, when I got there, they grabbed me by the arms and tied me up. They were arguing among themselves trying to decide what to do with me. I have to say I was actually frightened when I heard them say, “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!” 

But then, Reuben came to my rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” 

I was hoping that Reuben was secretly planning to rescue me and take me back to father. But my brothers ripped off the beautiful robe I was wearing and threw me into an empty cistern. 

 

# # #

 

I woke up from my nap to the sound of my brothers arguing again. It seems like that’s all they ever did. But then I heard the sound of camels, They removed the lid from the cistern and threw down a rope so I could pull myself out. I have to say that I got my hopes up that they had changed their mind. It was a wonderful feeling that lasted only until I got up to the top of the cistern and climbed out. Then they grabbed me and took me over to some rough-looking men with a caravan of camels and shoved me to the ground in front of them. I looked around to see if Reuben was there to stick up for me, but he was nowhere to be found. The traders gave Levi what looked like twenty pieces of silver and then grabbed me, tied my hands together, and then tethered me to one of their camels.

As we traveled away, I could hear one of my brothers say, goodbye dreamer! It felt like my life was over. I needed to connect with my father’s God. No one else was going to help me. So I prayed as I walked. 

“God of my father Jacob, his father Isaac and my great-grandfather Abraham. I have taken you for granted all of my life, but I need you now. I was born into privilege and luxury. I was the favorite son of my father and did not appreciate any of it. When I had dreams of being worshipped and bowed down to, I took pride in my lofty position and lorded it over my brothers. I am sorry, Lord. I am sorry for my pride and my arrogance. I know that from now on I will need to walk closely with you and learn humility from you in order to survive. A slave’s life is very hard. Please accept my repentant heart and walk with me on a daily basis. Teach me to walk in your ways, O Lord. Keep me close to your heart and protect me with your powerful right arm. Amen.”

A few weeks later, after walking all day every day behind a camel and trying to make sure that I avoided stepping in his droppings, we arrived in Egypt. I was taken to a slave market and sold to an important looking Egyptian man named Potiphar. I was then taken to his house, cleaned up and put to work cleaning everything in sight.

 

 

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Enoch and Noah – Part 6

I was frightened by the big cats at first, but they turned out to be pretty friendly as long as I didn’t get too close.

Then I saw another ladder leading even farther down.

Hmm, I’m pretty sure that this is where Papa told me not to go. But, I wonder what it looks like down there”.

Just then I heard some strange rustling around noises and noticed that the lamps that lit up each of the lower levels seemed to be out. I began to get very curious. I looked around to see if anyone was around.

Papa will never know if I look just once.”

So, I began climbing down the ladder and I was turning and twisting around trying to see what was there when suddenly the ark lurched and my foot slipped. I lost my grip on the ladder and began flailing around trying to grab onto something when my left leg got caught in one of the steps of the ladder.

There was excruciating pain, a horrible snapping sound and then I landed hard on my back, flat on the deck. The next thing to hit must have been my head because I blacked out for a while.

When I awoke, I was in more pain than I had ever imagined in my whole life. I realized I had broken my leg badly. I couldn’t keep from yelling and crying it hurt so badly, but no one came. I was down there all alone.

I realized that my father and uncles were cleaning out stalls at least two decks above me and couldn’t hear me.

Where is Grampa’s God when I need Him?

I immediately felt completely alone and in the dark. Then I began to feel afraid. I didn’t know how often they came down to this level to care for the animals.

My eyes began to gradually get used to the dim light.

I began to yell again.

“Help,” I yelled as loud as I could.

“Help!”

“Help!”

After the second or third yell, there was this really weird echo. It sounded a lot like a horn of some sort.

Every time I hollered help, that strange horn echoed back to me.

After about five or six times, I tried to sit up and look around.

Through the tears in my eyes and into the dim light, coming toward me was the biggest animal I had ever seen.

It was sort of a brownish grey with big floppy ears and a long huge nose, an absolutely monstrous, grey, wrinkly body and legs twice as big around as my Uncle Ham. Just as I started to get a good look at it, it rose up its nose and made that horn sound I had been hearing.

It walked slowly over to me with its nose pointed at me sniffing me and then touching me. I was scared at first, but its touch was so gentle I stopped being afraid. It pushed at me a little bit, like it was trying to help me stand up. I reached up to feel it’s long nose and it began to pick me up and cradle me with it. I felt the pressure on my leg get less and the pain got easier to handle.

I wasn’t sure what was going on or why this animal was doing this. I looked up and I could tell the big thing was also looking down at me. I began to feel very relaxed and very tired. My eyes had trouble staying open and I must have fallen asleep for a while.

When I woke up, the animal was still holding me up. I began to call out for my father. “Papa,” I would call out. I was not very loud at first. I did not want to frighten my protector.

“Papa!”

I would repeat a little louder each time.

“Papa!”

“Papa!”

After a while, I stopped because I wasn’t getting any answers. The pain was still pretty strong and I was getting tired again. I was also very thirsty and starting to get more afraid that no one was answering me.

I was getting scared and I didn’t know what to do.

I thought about what Grampa might do and, just as clearly as day, I could hear his voice talking to me. “Enoch” he said “you just tell the Lord what you need when you need His help. He will help you. God is faithful, just you wait and see.”

Enoch and Noah – Part 5

“Enoch … Enoch … come on son, it’s time to get up.”

“Okay Mom, just five more minutes …”

I had one more stone to roll before I would beat those town boys at their own game. I lined up my shot and just as I was about to make it …

“Enoch, you need to get up and do your chores. Come on, son.”

“Okay, okay …” Realizing the game was just a dream; I stretched my arms and legs, and then opened my eyes and tried to focus.

The room was pretty dark, “Where was my window, my furniture … my stuff?

Then suddenly I felt my bed lift up from behind me and tilt to my left. I quickly looked around, “What is going on? My whole room moved!

“Huh? Wha—where am I?” I said out loud.

“It’s alright, this is your first time waking up on the ark,” my Mom’s voice again filtered through the morning fog in my head.

Then things began to look familiar, “Oh, yeah, that’s right …”

Memories of the last days, weeks and months began to flood back into my mind, the work on the ark, the fire, the townspeople attacking Grampa, the animals arriving, the rains and flooding and finally the door of the ark closing on the outside world the Lord had decided to destroy.

“Ok Mom, I’m going.”

I got up, dressed, washed, grabbed a chunk of bread from the table and headed up toward the large pen with the netting containing all the birds that came with us on the ark. I have to feed them and clean out their pen.

There was singing and wild calls coming from the top of the ladder I had to climb to get to the upper level. I really like all the birds, feeding them isn’t too bad. It’s the cleaning up after them that’s yucky.

I grabbed a couple of buckets and filled them with the different kinds of food the birds liked and went into the pen. When they saw me with the food, the sound of all the birds got so loud I nearly had to cover my ears.

Looking up into the branches of the trees my Pop and uncles had brought in and mounted to the walls of the pen, I saw many of the birds moving to the lower branches. They seemed eager to eat.

It’s a good thing I looked up because one of the birds was dropping something yucky. I just barely got out of the way in time.

After cleaning out the pen and putting out the food, I sat on the bench inside the enclosure and thought for a while. “This is going to get boring real fast if this is all I have to do every day,” I said to myself.

I had asked Grampa how long we were going to be on this trip. But, the only answer I could get from him was “The Lord will let us know when He is done out there. Just be patient, Enoch.”

So, I decided to explore the Ark.

The first thing I did was to walk all the way from end to end on the deck my birds were on. I had already done that topside (that’s what we call the top deck of the Ark where you could go outside) but, I didn’t want to stay out there because it was still raining.

But, I wanted to see everything.

So I walked and walked and walked, each day I went to a new and lower level.

I looked and looked and looked. I had never seen so many different kinds of animals in all my life. A lot of the animals were new to all of us and we didn’t know what to call them. Many had come from very far away and many were very strange.

I wanted to see them all, even all the creepy, creeping things, no matter how long it took.

One night at supper, we talked about what I was doing.

“What did you see today, Enoch,” Mama asked.

“I saw the monkeys and the antelope and the . . . um . . .striped horses,” I said.

Papa laughed and said, “Those are called zebras son.”

Then he spoke up in his stern voice, “I don’t want you going down to the lowest levels son. The big cats and other very large, dangerous animals are down there. They may be safe enough but, I don’t want you to take any chances. Do you understand me?”

“Yes Papa,” I said.

There were still lots of other parts to explore that I hadn’t seen yet. And, there were lots of animals yet to see.

Every day for several weeks I went out and looked and explored. I was having a great time until one day when I was going down to one of the lower levels where we kept the larger animals.

Hmm, here’s another ladder going down, I don’t remember seeing this one before.” I thought to myself. Down at this level, the cages were much larger than the ones higher up.

Wow! I bet the really big animals are down here. One more level won’t hurt …

Enoch and Noah – Part 3

Then I got to thinking about all the extra birds and remembered the big area toward the top of the ark. It was like several really big rooms without walls. We had hauled in and mounted a bunch of different sized dead trees, so they would have someplace to roost if they wanted to. Then I remembered the stuff called fish net Pop had hauled up there. He said it would come in handy for keeping the birds where they belong. That was a little confusing to me because the net stretched from the floor to the ceiling and everyone knew chickens can’t fly. But, I had lots of other things to do, so I had no time to think about that.

The next day, right about the time the sun came up, Grampa came and woke me himself.

He said, “Today is the day, Enoch.”

“Today is the day for what?” I said.

“Today is the day the animals will begin to arrive. We need to be ready.”

“How do you know that, Grampa?”

“The Lord told me, and He is faithful, just you wait and see.”

Grampa was right. Even before breakfast, the animals began to arrive. They came in pairs. Grampa had me counting them to keep track. There were lions, pheasants, elephants, tigers, cows, horses, sheep, oxen, cats, dogs, monkeys, bears, and even snakes and all sorts of animals I had never seen before. They showed up…all by themselves. Pop and my uncles pointed them into one of the many, many pens or stalls that had been built. There was no fighting. It was amazing!

As for me, I couldn’t believe the numbers and types of birds that began to show up. Pop had gotten the netting up only a day or two before, and all of the birds either flew in or walked right into the big room we had prepared for them. I couldn’t believe it. This went on for seven days. Grampa was right. The Lord was being faithful. He was bringing all of the animals to us!

While all of that was going on, Grammie Naamah, my mom, my two aunts, and all of my sisters and cousins were helping get our stuff onto the ark. I had to tell them what I wanted to bring and what could be left behind. This was starting to get a little scary. It was really happening! For a while, it was sort of like…a dream! But, now…it was way too real. How was this ark going to float with all of these animals and us inside? How were we going to take care of all of these animals?

Grampa must have noticed the way I was feeling. He came over and pulled me aside. He squatted down next to me and looked me right in the eyes.

He told me there was nothing to be afraid of. The Lord had promised to take care of us, and He always kept His promises. “God is faithful,” he said, “just you wait and see.” And then, he gave me a real big hug. I felt better.

Then I saw Pop watching us. He smiled, came over, and hugged me too. He told me to trust Grampa and to trust in the Lord. “God is faithful,” he said, “just you wait and see.”

Pop then told me I had been doing a much better job of being dependable. He was going to count on me to take care of all the birds, not just the chickens. He was sure I could do it. He put his hand on my shoulder and smiled at me. I was so happy, I felt like my heart was going to bust out of my chest.

There were a lot of animals on board. So I got really busy taking care of all the birds. I needed to care for them the same way I took care of the chickens at home. It was the same job, only it was a lot bigger than before. I went up to where they were kept to sort of look around, and I couldn’t believe all the different types of birds. I still had no names for them, but boy, were some of them beautiful. They were different shades of every color in all sorts of combinations and, boy, were they noisy! Each one seemed to be talking or singing or chattering in some way. It was noisy, but beautiful.

We had covered the floor with sawdust and wood chips left over from the construction of the ark. That helped a lot with the mess the animals left on the floor. We also had a lot of hay to use both for food and to cover the floor. That way the animals could lie down and sleep at night.

Then, after the seventh day, the animals stopped coming. It was weird after they had been coming for so many days.

Then it got really cloudy outside. These clouds were darker than I had ever seen before, and soon it was almost like nighttime. The wind blew harder and harder, and then…water started falling from the sky. I’d never seen water fall from the sky before. Then it came down harder and harder. It came down so hard we could barely see a stone’s throw away.

Night Lights in the Forest – 10

Galalithe stepped forward, took Emmy by the arm with one hand and Eryndir with the other. “Both of you, my office, now! The rest of you, back to work. We have an important mission to mount. I want status in fifteen.”
The three of them walked quickly. Galalithe, still gripping their arms, walked them into an office with what looked like glass walls. There were small torch like lights mounted around the room, just below the ceiling creating a diffused lighting effect. The desk was the same grainy wood as those in the larger room, with the same leafy wires leading to monitors on the windows. She released their arms. “Sit. Please.”
Eryndir spoke, “Commander Galalithe, Mom please, I…” Galalithe held up a hand like a stop sign and looked at Emmy. “Young lady, do you know who you are? Better yet, have you even a clue as to what you are?”
Emmy looked back and forth between Galalithe and Eryndir sputtering, “I am . . . who? What?”
“It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but your face is so much like hers.”
Emmy scooted forward on her chair, “My face?”
Eryndir sucked in a big gulp of air, “Oh my!” He looked at Emmy and then Galalithe and then back at Emmy. “I thought you looked familiar! They were all supposed to have died! They were lost!”
Galalithe leaned on the edge of her desk between Eryndir and Emmy. “Right, we thought that Gwyn had captured and destroyed them. We had given up hope.”
Emmy stood up, “Hold on, stop the train, and back up the bus. Who, or what are you talking about. I am completely lost and confused, but all I care about is getting my sister back from those faeries who kidnapped her! So, can we concentrate here on what really matters and not whoever or whatever you think I look like that’s long gone and dead?”
Galalithe smiled and looked at Emmy, “We will, trust me, people out there are working on a plan as we speak. But you also need to understand why your sister was kidnapped. They almost got you as well. May I ask you some questions?”
Emmy shrugged, “As long as we get to the important stuff soon, ok.”
Galalithe leaned forward, “Do the names Aranhil or Aegliriell mean anything to you?”
A tiny chill caused Emmy’s neck hairs to flutter, “Uh, no. Should they?”
“How about Eruraina or Miluiel?”
Emmy got that chill again, a bit stronger this time. “No…”.
Galalithe stood up and walked over to one of the glass walls, touched it and spoke. “Show me the Lost Elders.”
A rectangular portion of the wall darkened, and a set of pictures displayed showing a group of twelve Elven men and women.
“These are our ‘Lost Elders.’ We had a terrible war with the Fae and had to hide some or our Elders in order to keep from losing them to the Fae.”
Galalithe, using her fingers moved and enlarged a portion the picture so that two of the group were visible.
Emmy gasped. “That’s . . . they . . . they are my parents! They look different and are dressed differently. But, oh no! That’s ridiculous. They’re just normal people, like me.”
Emmy fell back into her chair.
Galalithe squatted next to Emmy’s chair. “That would have been the whole point. To escape detection, murder, or capture by the Fae. The last two remaining Elders would have to appear as normally human as possible. They would need to take deep cover, to blend in completely. Their two daughters would have to never know their true heritage.”
Galalithe stood and returned to the screen. “Show the ending of ‘The Final Battle’ and mute sound and other sensory experience features.”
“What are the sensory experience features?” Emmy whispered to Eryndir.
He leaned over and whispered into her ear, “We call it smell-o-vision. It’s a nice feature, but trust me, you don’t want it for these scenes.”
“Oh, okay.” Emmy said as she focused her attention on the screen again.
The picture on the wall showed a panoramic view of a completely devastated landscape, bodies scattered everywhere.
“We lost nearly everything, but the Fae were banished from the earth to another reality to keep them from conquering the earth. That was a thousand human years ago. We have spent that time rebuilding our society, strengthening our defenses, preparing for the day when they might try to strike back.”
She touched the screen again and swiped those pictures away.
“Show incursions of the Fae on earth over the last hundred years.”
The screen lit up with a rotating darkened globe showing specks of light at various locations.
“Notice the significant concentration of incursions in the area around this location. We believe that they have discovered our underground headquarters. We now also believe they suspected that the ‘Lost Elders’ were located somewhere close by. Those lights you saw near your home were faery manifestations designed to attract attention.”
Galalithe stood silent for a moment and then turned to face Emmy.
“I now believe that they were designed to attract human attention. The Fae may believe that capturing human children, draining their life force, may give them the power they need to overcome the magic that had kept them banished.”
Emmy spoke, “So that’s why they tried to capture me but got my sister instead?”
Galalithe nodded, “There may be more to it than that. They may have actually suspected who and what you were and targeted you specifically. There is no way to know that yet.”
She moved back to the screen, “Re-display photo of Lost Elders.”
The picture re-appeared and Galalithe cropped it to show her parents again.
“We believe that these two, the last of the elders are your parents.”
“But, if those two are elves . . . ”
Galalithe moved to Emmy’s chair, squatted down and touched Emmy’s shoulder, “That is right. You, my dear, are also an elf. You are one of us and a descendant of the royal family. That is why the workstation out in the command center responded to your presence even though your appearance has been magically altered to appear human.”
Eryndir added, “Then that would also explain why the command center door unlocked and opened when you touched the entry panel!”
Galalithe stood, “Where are your parents? Are they nearby?”
“Yes, they were still sleeping when I left home.”
“How close is your home? If the fae kidnapped your sister, they must know who and what she is by now. They will also know that your family is near. We need to get to them and bring them safely down here as quickly as possible! They could be in mortal danger. Can you show us where the house is?”
Emmy gulped, “Yes, of course.”
“Excellent! Wait here.”
Galalithe quickly moved out of the office, called out some names and huddled briefly with a group in uniforms.
Returning she addressed Eryndir, “Take Emmy and get her suited up for an op. Take her and your strike team, get her parents and bring them here.”
Eryndir stood, snapped to attention and saluted, “Yes, ma’am. Right away. Come on, Emmy. Let’s go get your parents and bring them to safety.”

Night Lights in the Forest – 3

Emmy awoke to the smell of dirt. Not regular dirt, but the sweet smell of freshly turned earth that she always associated with her mother’s garden in the spring.
Still tied up with her hands bound tightly to her sides but, otherwise unharmed, she looked around the room. It looked like a cave with wooden crates scattered around the dirt floor. The was also a door ajar with light streaming in around it from what might be a passageway, of sorts.
Struggling, she managed to sit up and lean against the dirt wall. She looked around and saw Booger near her, but sleeping.
“Booger,” Emmy whispered.
She nudged him with her foot.
“Booger!” she said, a little louder.
Booger looked up, whimpered and smiled weakly.
“Hey, boy! How are you feeling?”
Booger whimpered again and laid his head back down on his paws.
The door swung open, “So, you’re awake now are you?”, a male voice queried.
Startled, Emmy looked up and saw the outline of a figure standing in the doorway.
“Who are you and why was I kidnapped?”, she snapped.
“Kidnapped? We rescued you. Those faeries enchant people and make slaves out of them. The only way we could get you away from them was to enchant you in a different way and carry you safely to our underground stronghold.”
“But you, knocked me out, tied me up and hid me in this, this—dungeon!”
The voice chuckled, “Oh, yeah, sorry about that. Sometimes humans struggle a lot under that enchantment. We didn’t want to get anyone hurt while we were trying to save you and your dog.”
“Humans? What the heck are you? Aliens?”
“Ha ha, no way. We are an ancient race of elves.”
“You’re a what?” Emmy interrupted.
“We are elves, wood elves to be precise.”
“There are no such things as elfs or elves or whatever,” Emmy sputtered.
“And you are an expert on that how?” Eryndir countered.
“Elves only exist in children’s fairy tales.” Emmy responded with a laugh.
Eryndir crossed his arms and cocked his hips, “Those are literary elves. We are wood elves. Same race, different species. We don’t really claim them.”
Emmy rolled her eyes, “Yeah, right. So, you can please untie me now, Mister Elf — sir!”
“Look, I’m sorry, but no. Not for another half hour. That’s enchanted cord. It ties itself and stays tied for two hours. Sorry, you’ll just have to wait.”
“Ok, can you, at least, step into the light so I can see you?”
Stepping into the light was a boy that looked not much older than Emmy. He wore loose green pants, a dark brown shirt tied around his waist with a cord and what looked like knit stocking cap pulled down over his head so that it half-covered his ears.
“You know, I think we got off on the wrong foot. My name is Eryndir. What’s yours?”
“Emmy.” She stared for just a bit and asked, “How old are you?”
He smiled, looked down and shuffled his feet just a bit, “Well, that sort of depends on how you count.”
“What? How can you count differently than 1, 2, 3…”
“No, I mean what type of years you count.”
“Oh, well, that clears it up.”
“Ok, let me try it this way. How old is your dog?”
“We got him when I was a baby so, I would say 10 or 11.”
“Do you count dog years the same as human years?”
Emmy thought for a moment, “No, each one of ours is . . . umm, 7 of his.”
Eryndir smiled, “OK, I am an elf—”
“That has yet to be established,” Emmy interrupted.
Eryndir sighed and then continued, “and our years are like that only backwards. For every ten of your years, I age one elf year. I just celebrated my 14th elf birthday, so I am one-hundred and forty of your years.”
“But, you look the same age as me. How can you be a hundred forty? That’s crazy.”
“It’s not crazy, it’s just . . . ” Eryndir paused to look at his feet, “different.”
He took a step back, focused his eyes on Emmy again and crossed his arms, “You look familiar for some reason.”
“Yeah, you were spying on me before you kidna—rescued me?”
Eryinder shook his head, “No—look, are you hungry?”
Just then, the sound of many voices accompanied by the thud of running feet echoed down the hallway.
Eryndir turned and ran out of the room. The excited voices and thudding feet grew faint as they moved away.

Elwood’s Hazardous, Dangerous, Exciting Trip to the Library – Conclusion

Here is the additional ending bit for this story . . .

The two boys took off running back across the street towards the park.

Uncle Jim put his hand on his shoulder. “What’s going on here, Elwood?”

Elwood then explained the whole story and showed him the pictures from his phone. Uncle Jim took him inside the station, sat him down in the waiting area, talked to the sergeant and showed him the pictures on Elwood’s phone. The sergeant nodded, picked up the phone and spoke briefly. Then two officers walked in, talked to the Uncle Jim for a minute and then headed back down a long hallway.

Uncle Jim sat next to him, “We have been trying to catch this ring of bike thieves for over a month. You’ve given us just the break we needed. Show me where this tree is.”

They stood up and started to walk toward the door but, Elwood tripped on his shoelace again.

“Can I please tie my shoelace first?”

Uncle Jim chuckled, “You bet!”

“Oh, and one more thing,” Elwood reached into his backpack and pulled out a book. “Can we stop by the library? My mom will kill me if I don’t get this book returned today.”

Elwood’s Hazardous, Dangerous, Exciting Trip to the Library – Part 2

“Bike thieves”, he whispered, “right here in the middle of the park, hidden up in a tree!”

No one seemed to notice him, so he climbed back down to a lower branch and started thinking about what he had to do to get his bike back.

His brain was working rapid fire coming up with ideas and tossing them out as impractical. Finally, he thought of three possible ideas.

First, he could climb back up and steal his bike back. That wouldn’t work though because the guys up in the tree were all bigger than he was.

Second, he could round up all his friends but, even with all of his friends they probably couldn’t overpower those guys and force them to give him his bike back.

“I’ll go to Uncle Jim; he’s a police officer.”

“But wait, he’s going to want proof!”

He reached into his pocket for his “Emergency Only” phone.

“It has a camera, and this is an emergency.”

He climbed back up very slowly, took out his phone and took several shots of the tree house workshop and the thieves. One of the thieves must have heard the little shutter sound the camera made, because one of them turned and started toward him.

Elwood flew down so fast he almost fell, then he ran toward the police station as fast as he could. But, he tripped on his still untied shoe lace and did the most splendid face plant ever seen in all of history and nearly knocked himself silly.

“Ok, another dumb move!” His head was spinning round, and he saw all sorts of blinking lights.

“I really need to tie that shoe.”

“There he is!” came a voice from the bike thieves tree.

Elwood looked and saw two huge boys running toward him, and they did not look like they wanted to help him.

Without getting his shoe tied, he jumped up and headed for the police station again. When he got to the street, the light at the crosswalk was red, and a lot of traffic was whizzing by.

“There he is just waiting for us!”

Elwood turned and saw the two boys running hard after him.

“Uh oh! I better get going somewhere!”

Elwood ran to the left. The police station was down that direction anyway, and he could cross the street when it was clear.

After running two blocks without tripping, he saw the police station across the street. He looked both ways, saw that the traffic was clear enough for him to cross the street.

He crossed without tripping and was almost in front of the police station when the two bigger boys caught up to him. Each grabbed an arm and jerked him to a stop.

The one on his right said, “No you don’t twerp! You’re not gonna squeal on us!”

The one on his left pulled him around so he was facing away from the station, put his face right in front of Elwood’s. “Yeah, because if you do, we’ll pound you to a bloody pulp.”

Just then a voice came from behind him. “Is there some sort of trouble here boys?”

It was Uncle Jim’s voice!

The first boy stiffened. “Oh, no . . . officer . . . sir, we were just . . .”

Elwood wrenched himself out of the boys grasp and turned around, “Oh yes, there is Uncle Jim!”

Elwood’s Hazardous, Dangerous, Exciting Trip to the Library – Part 1

Elwood’s Hazardous, Dangerous, Exciting Trip to the Library

By: Steve Mathisen

“Elwood!”

The tall boy rolled over and tried to use his pillow to block the sound of his name being called.

“Elwood Phineas Dunkle! Get yourself out of bed and down here for breakfast this very minute,” his mother shouted

He knew the tone and that she would no longer tolerate being ignored.

He groaned, rolled over, slid out of bed, pulled on jeans and T-shirt and headed for the kitchen with a slight detour to the bathroom to wash up.

When he got to the table, there was a book instead of his cereal bowl. Elwood looked at his mom.

“That book is due today. You need to make a trip to the library.”

“But Mom, I was going to−”

She set his bowl in place.

“You can do that after your trip to the library.”

“Okay, Mom.”

After breakfast, Elwood put the book in his backpack and rode his bike toward the library.

He was taking a shortcut through the park when his shoelace came untied and got tangled up in the chain of his bicycle. He glanced down at his foot and hit a hidden tree root. The bike stopped suddenly. Elwood did a complete flip over the handlebars and landed staring up at the sky through the branches of a huge oak tree.

“Well, that was a dumb move,” Elwood said to himself. As he began tying his loose shoelace, he looked around for his bike only to see its rear wheel disappear around the trunk of the tree.

Forgetting his laces he jumped up and yelled, “Hey, that’s my bike!” and then ran to where he had last seen his bike and . . . nothing. There was no bike to be seen anywhere. He ran back around the other way and again. . . nothing.

“What is going on here?” He said.

Clunk!

“What was that?” Elwood ran around the tree again looking for the source of the sound and once again . . . nothing.

Clang!

He looked up and saw his bike, hanging twenty feet up, bouncing against the tree and going higher, with a rope around the handlebars!

Elwood quickly found the lowest branch and scrambled up the tree after his bike. He just barely got his hand on the rear wheel of the bike before it disappeared into the darkness of the upper branches of the tree. He climbed higher. He wanted to know what was going on.

He felt cold . . . and blind. It was so dark toward the top of the tree that he couldn’t see anything but, he heard voices.

His eyes adjusted to the dark, he could see three guys on a platform that was built right into the top of the tree. They had at least a half-dozen bikes. The guys were taking them apart, putting the little parts in boxes and hanging the bigger parts on racks hung on branches.

“Bike thieves”, he whispered, “right here in the middle of the park, hidden up in a tree!”

The Story of Esther – Part 6 – Conclusion

King:                           Queen Esther we have eaten your excellent food for two days now, what is it that you request from me? I will give you anything that you request up to half of my kingdom!

Esther:                        (With her heart beating so loudly in her chest that she was afraid that the king might hear it.) If I have found favor with you, my king, and, if it pleases your majesty, please grant me my life. This is my request. Also, that you spare my people, this also is my request. For I and my people have been condemned to horrible punishment and…and…I can‘t even say it! If we had just been sold like fruits and vegetables in the market, I would have kept quiet and not disturbed the king. But, that is not the case . . .

King:                           Who is he, where is he that would do such a thing???

Esther:                        (Standing and pointing at Haman) Here he is, your majesty, the foul villain Haman!!

Esther accusing Haman

Mr. Mathisen:             Now Haman nearly choked on a bit of bread that he was eating and began to sputter food all over himself and the table. He was suddenly more frightened than he had ever been in his whole life. He did not know what to do. He did not know, nor would he have ever guessed that this lovely young queen was a Jew! How could he have known?

The king got up and walked quickly to a nearby garden to think. While he was gone, Haman went up to the queen and began groveling at her feet, pleading for his life. Just as he was doing that the king came back in and found him on the floor clutching at the queen’s feet whimpering for his life. The king thought that Haman was attacking the queen. The king called his servants and ordered Haman to be taken away. Another of the kings servants told the king that Haman had built a huge device in front of his home to punish Mordecai the Jew. The king then ordered that Haman be punished on the very device that he had prepared for Mordecai.

Haman being led to the gallows

Esther explained the whole story to the king. The king then sent for Mordecai and gave him his royal signet ring and appointed him to Haman’s old job. Esther and Mordecai then explained to the king about the proclamation and asked that the king issue a new proclamation saying that the Jews in the country could defend themselves from others that tried to harm them. He did so and on the day appointed the Jews all over the country assembled together to defend themselves. That day is remembered by Jews today as the feast of Purim.

So, always remember to be strong and very courageous and never be afraid to do the right thing.

Stanley:                       Boy! That was some story. Queen Esther sure was brave, even if she was a girl.

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, girls can be just as brave as boys. Remember it God who makes us really brave. We can’t be very brave at all without Him. Well, boys and girls, what do you think???