Today I am asking for your help, my friends. I wrote this short story a few years ago and have decided to revisit, revise, and re-polish so that I can get it up and out on its own. I’m looking for opinions on the content and delivery and would love your input.
Ben the Mole
Elizabeth S. Tyree
Dedicated to my beloved cousin Ben,
Who left us to sing with the Angel;
And to my family, who always believes in me
A long time ago, when magic was still seen by all and animals lived as equals with man, there lived a mole family with a momma mole, daddy mole, and three brothers mole. Today we will learn of the great adventure the middle brother had. He was affectionately known in their community as Ben the Mole.
Ben lived a quiet life with his family and he loved them very much. But, like all families, they had their fights and after one particularly horrible fight Ben decided to leave home on a quest for adventure and honor (and to prove to his brothers that he wasn’t a chicken snot head…). So, with a little money he had saved, some fruit and crackers for food and a change of clothes, Ben the Mole left home to begin his great adventure.
After a few hours of walking, Ben stopped to rest by a babbling stream and took out some of his fruit and crackers to snack on as he leaned against a tree. Suddenly a little squirrel popped its head out of the branches over his head and greeted him. “Hello, what is a mole doing out here? Shouldn’t you be underground with your family?” the little squirrel squeaked at him.
“Oh, hello squirrel. I left my family to seek adventure and honor, and to prove to my brothers that I am not a chicken snot head. I am on my way to the great city of Qwanta, to seek out the King and Queen. If I can get a picture with them, it will prove my worth to my family.” Ben replied.
“I know how you feel,” said the little squirrel, “My name is Drat and my brothers and sisters think I’m a chicken snot head too, can I come with you on your quest? Maybe if I can get the King and Queen’s autograph they will see that I’m not a chicken snot head either.”
“Sure,” said Ben, “I would love some company.”
So, after Drat the little squirrel got some nuts and cheese for his snack and a change of clothes, the two friends set off on their adventure to Qwanta. They had a long walk ahead of them, because they were from the land of Circling Rocks which is many days from Qwanta on horseback, which was a walk of many weeks from the castle of the King and Queen.
As they journeyed they amused themselves by counting the people on the way and making up stories about them. A few days after Ben and Drat started their adventure, they came to a small town. The town sign proudly declared Bearville, Population 42 ½, while they were walking into town, and trying to figure out where that ½ came from, they ran into a boy walking his horse. The boy was surprised to see a little squirrel and a mole walking together and stopped to ask what they were doing.
“We are going to Qwanta, to see the King and Queen!” Drat proudly told him, “We are going to prove to our brothers and sisters that we are not chicken snot heads.”
“Well,” said the boy, “My name is Woodrow and my family lives down the road, would you like to come eat supper and stay the night with us? If you can, I will go on this great adventure with you too, so that I can see the King and Queen of Qwanta, maybe then my brothers will stop telling me that I am too small to play with them.”
Well, Ben the Mole and Drat the little squirrel thought this was a great idea, so they walked with Woodrow to his family’s house and had a nice dinner and slept in soft beds. The next day, Woodrow the boy, Drat the little squirrel, and Ben the Mole continued the walk to Qwanta.
Outside of the next town, the three friends were singing (for Ben loved to sing) when they were grabbed by an evil man, who wanted them to carry his belongings for him. As they were struggling to carry the heavy belongings down the long wooded road, a fairy hear their cries and POOF, she turned the man into a horse that could carry all of his own belongings.
Happy to be free from the evil man they stopped to rest next to a creek and talk to the fairy. When she heard of their plans for a great adventure to meet the King and Queen in Qwanta she was very excited. “I am Poppy and I would love to go on this GRAND adventure with you if you will let me. It sounds like fun.”
“Sure,” said Ben the Mole, “I am going to get a picture with them to prove to my brothers that I’m not a chicken snot head.”
“And I am going to get their autograph to prove to my brothers and sisters that I’m not a chicken snot head either,” squeaked Drat the little squirrel.
“And I am going to prove to my brothers that I’m not too little to play with them.” said Woodrow the boy.
“Then I will go with you to help and to prove to my family that I’m not too little for the fairy games and that I’m not a scaredy cat.” replied Poppy.
So off they went to seek adventure and the King and Queen of Qwanta. Ben the Mole, Drat the little squirrel, Woodrow the boy and Poppy the fairy had fun walking down the road and teaching each other new songs. Once, when they had stopped for a nap under a large tree, an alligator tried to eat them up, but Poppy, being a good fairy, turned him into a little frog before he could eat anyone at all and they taught him to play fetch with the reeds from a nearby pond.
After a few more days of walking, singing and playing, the friends came upon a beautiful city whose sign said Qwanta, Home of the King and Queen. Excited that they had finally reached the city, Ben the Mole, Drat the little squirrel, Woodrow the boy, and Poppy the fairy, hurried into town and down the main street to the wonderful castle they could see at the other end. Just as they reached the castle though, a large guard stopped them. “You can’t just go into the castle,” he growled, “This is for the King and Queen only. What do you want?”
“Sir,” said Ben, “we want to see the King and Queen.”
“That’s impossible,” the guard roared.
Another guard walked up to see what was going on and asked “What’s impossible Fred?”
“They want to see the King and Queen, Al” laughed Fred.
“Oh, that’s a good one, why would the King and Queen want to see them?” The friends were sadly turning to leave as the guards laughed harder and harder, when the doors to the castle suddenly opened and the King and Queen themselves walked out.
“What is all this noise?” asked King David.
“Sire, these children wanted to see you and Queen Mary” sputtered Fred.
“And why is that funny?” asked Queen Mary, “I think it’s sweet. And it is very mean of you to laugh at children.”
Queen Mary then turned to the friends and said, “Why do you want to see us?”
“Please ma’am, I came from the land of Circling Rocks and I just want to get a picture with you to prove to my brothers that I’m not a chicken snot head.” said Ben the Mole, turning red at finally meeting the Queen.
“And I also came from the land of Circling Rock to get your autographs to prove to my brothers and sisters that I’m not a chicken snot head.” squeaked Drat the little squirrel.
“And I came from Bearville (population 42 ½) to prove to my brothers that I’m not too little to play with them.” said Woodrow the boy.
“And I came from the woods in the area of Bearville to help them and to prove to my family that I’m not too little to play in the Fairy games and that I‘m not a scaredy cat.” said Poppy the fairy.
“Well,” said King David in is grandfatherly like voice, “Let’s go have some lunch and we’ll see about getting those pictures and autographs.”
So Ben the Mole, Drat the little squirrel, Woodrow the boy, Poppy the fairy, King David, and Queen Mary went to eat lunch have a picture taken together. King David and Queen Mary liked the friends very much and invited them to live in the castle.
The friends agreed and stayed there for a little while, but they began to miss their families and so they left to journey home. Each of them received an autographed copy of the picture they had taken that first day in Qwanta, and a nice letter from King David and Queen Mary telling their families that they were definitely big enough to play and that none of them were chicken snot heads or scaredy cats.
They had many adventures on the way home and eventually they all found their way to their families. Poppy was allowed to play in the fairy games that year, Woodrow’s brothers finally let him start playing ball with them, Drat’s brothers and sisters stopped calling him a chicken snot head and Ben’s family was so happy to have him home that they stopped calling him a chicken snot head and started letting him play with them (even though he sang all the time).
King David and Queen Mary made many trips to visit the friends, and each year Ben the Mole, Drat the little squirrel, Woodrow the boy, and Poppy the fairy, would all take their families to Qwanta and stay in the castle with the King and Queen.
The guards, Fred and Al, were each given an autographed picture of the friends with the King and Queen to remind them not to laugh at anyone because, even if they are small, everyone is special.