Saturday, September 4, 2010
Here's another story I wrote for my daughter back when she was six years old. I had hoped it would be the initial offering in a series -- there are two sequels which I may post someday -- but the publishing world felt differently. At any rate, I'm proud of it, and it entertained her when she was younger, which is all I was really asking from it:
© 1999 by Tom Hayes
Olivia and her family had finally moved into their new house, and Olivia couldn’t wait to begin exploring it. She opened the closet in a little room that was all the way at the back of the house.
“What’s all this stuff?” Olivia called out. The closet was full -- of hats.
“They must have belonged to the man who used to live here,” said Olivia’s Dad. “I think that the lady who sold us this house told me that he was a magician. I guess he liked to collect hats!”
Olivia decided to take a closer look at all of the hats. There were hats in boxes. There were hats in bags. There were hats on hat racks. There were hats of every color and hats of every shape. There were old hats, and there were new hats. There were hats with feathers, and hats with ribbons. There were hats for boys, and hats for girls, and grown-up hats for men and for women. Olivia realized that the closet was actually quite large, almost as big as a whole room. A whole room filled with hats.
Well, of course, Olivia decided to do just what you or I would do: she decided to try on some hats! But which one should she choose first?
One special hat seemed to catch her eye. It was an explorer’s helmet, the kind that the dinosaur scientists wore on TV. Olivia decided that she wanted to try that one on first.
PHWOMP! As soon as Olivia placed the hat on her head, she found herself standing on a mountain, in a desert, near a pile of old bones! “Dinosaur bones!” she said to herself. “Wow!” She examined the bones. “These are the bones of a Tyrannosaurus Rex!” she said. “Now how exactly do I know that?” She took off the
explorer’s helmet so that she could scratch her head and think about things.
BAMPH! As soon as the hat came off her head, Olivia found herself back in the closet again. She was back among all of the hats.
“Everything O.K. in there?” her Dad called.
“Everything’s fine,” said Olivia. She wasn’t sure what else to say. She was fine, after all. After a moment, she decided to put the explorer’s helmet back on her head.
PHWOMP! Once again, she was back on the mountain, near the pile of bones. Suddenly, Olivia heard noises coming from behind one of the boulders that were nearby. Before she could even decide whether or not she should see what was making the noises or hide, a little old man came running around the boulder. He almost ran right into Olivia!
He was dressed just like Olivia, in a tan explorer’s shirt with lots of pockets, tan shorts, knee socks, a pair of sturdy hiking boots, and of course, a helmet.
“Thank Goodness I found you! “ he cried. “Something terrible has happened! One of the bones is MISSING!”
“Wha -- what?” asked Olivia. She wasn’t quite sure if the little man was actually talking to her.
“Oh, Doctor Olivia, I’m so sorry!” he said. “I’m sure it’s all my fault! One minute I was looking at the map of our dig, and the next I was looking for the Tyrannosaur’s last caudal vertebra, and it was GONE! It simply disappeared!”
Olivia was very confused. “The -- the Tyrannosaur’s what?” she asked.
“The last caudal vertebra -- the tail-tip bone!” the old man cried. “Oh, what are we going to do?”
Olivia hated to see anybody so unhappy. “There, there,” she said. “I’m sure we can figure out this mystery.” (Olivia loved figuring out mysteries.) “Let’s go take a look.”
The little man led Olivia around the boulder to a small tent. Inside the tent was a
table. On the table was a map. Olivia could see that once upon a time, the map had been all rolled up, because now the little man needed to set some things on its corners in order to hold the map down flat.
Olivia took a closer look. On the first corner there was a cup. On the second corner there was a rock. On the third corner there was a can of sardines. And on the fourth corner . . .
“Why, there it is!” cried Olivia. “It’s holding down the map! You must have forgotten about it!”
The old man blushed. “I can be quite absent-minded,” he said. “Thank you for finding it, Doctor Olivia. Now we can send the museum the first whole, entire T. Rex skeleton ever.”
“I was quite glad to help,” she said. “But now I’d better be getting back.”
Olivia left the tent and walked back to the pile of bones. She was very happy that she was able to help the man find his missing bone. When she was sure she was alone again, she took off the helmet.
BAMPH! Once again, she was back in the hat closet. Back in her regular clothes. Back in her regular house. Back in her regular life.
“Everything O.K. in here?” asked her Dad.
“Sure,” said Olivia.
“Well, what do you think?” asked her Dad. “Is all this stuff worth keeping? Or should we just throw it all away? I called the lady who sold us the house, and she has no idea what’s become of the old magician.”
“Oh, no,” said Olivia. “I don’t think we should throw it away. We should keep it.”
“I think it’s getting pretty close to suppertime,” said her Dad. “Let’s go get something to eat. We can always come back up here later.”
“Yes,” said Olivia. “I will definitely be coming back later.”
Because there were still a lot of hats for her to try.