Fifth Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest

Once upon a time, men and women throughout the land lived in fear. This caused them to do foolish things that made them feel better temporarily, but didn’t make them any safer. Gradually, some people became less fearful, and less tolerant of the foolish things they were told to submit to. The lords who ruled the land tried to revive the fear, but with less and less success. Sensible men and women from all over the land were peering behind the curtain, and seeing that the emperor had no clothes.

Thus it came to pass that the lords decided to appeal to the children. If the children could be made more fearful, then their fathers and mothers might also become more fearful, and the lords would remain lords, and all would be right with the order of things. The children would grow up in fear, and thus become accustomed to doing what the lords said, further allowing the lords to remain lords. But to do this, the lords realized they needed Frightful Fables and Fear-Mongering Fairytales to tell the children at bedtime.

Your task, ye Weavers of Tales, is to create a fable or fairytale suitable for instilling the appropriate level of fear in children so they grow up appreciating all the lords do to protect them.

That’s this year’s contest. Make your submissions short and sweet: 400 words or less. Imagine that someone will be illustrating this story for young children. Submit your entry in comments; deadline is May 1. I’ll choose several semifinalists, and then you all will vote for the winner. The prize is a signed copy of my latest book, Cryptography Engineering. And if anyone seriously wants to illustrate this, please contact me directly—or just go for it and post a link.

Thank you to loyal reader—and frequent reader of my draft essays—”grenouille,” who suggested this year’s contest.

And good luck!

The First Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner. The Second Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Third Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Fourth Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner.

EDITED TO ADD (4/1): I’m looking for entries in the form of a fairytale or fable. Plot summaries and descriptions won’t count as entries, although you are welcome to post them and comment on them—and use them if others post them.

EDITED TO ADD (5/15): Voting is now open here.

Posted on April 1, 2010 at 6:24 AM110 Comments


Nick Lancaster April 1, 2010 7:57 AM

See Dick. See Al.
Al is a terrorist.
See Dick run. Run, Dick, run.
See Al shoot Dick.
Poor Dick.

See Jane. See Al.
Al is a terrorist.
See Jane run. Run, Jane, run.
See Al blow Jane up.
Poor Jane.

See Tom. See Al.
Al is a terrorist.
See Tom hide. Hide, Tom, hide.
But Al is already inside.
See Al cut off Tom’s head.
Poor Tom.

See Al. See the soldiers.
Al is a terrorist.
See Al run. See Al hide.
See the troops capture Al.
See the troops torture Al.
See the troops hold Al indefinitely without charges.

We are safe now.

See Al. See the liberals.
See the liberals protest.
Protest, liberals, protest.
Al is too dangerous to put on trial.
Al is too dangerous to keep in prison.
Stupid liberals.

The End.

thinker April 1, 2010 8:41 AM

@Nick Lancaster:

the last two should read:

See Sam. See the soldiers.
Sam has a beard like Al
See Sams house burn. See Sam hide.
See the troops capture Sam.
See the troops torture Sam.
See the troops hold Sam indefinitely without charges.

We feel safe now.

See Sam. See the falcons.
See the falcons declare “Mission accomplished”
Declare, falcons, declare.
Al is still a terrorist. Sam is still tortured.
Sams brother revenges Sam by becoming terrorist.
Now we have Al and Sams brother.
Stupid falcons.

The End

AppSec April 1, 2010 9:14 AM

@thinker, Nick Lancaster
wow.. this could get fun.. drop the gloves!!

An attempt at this fairy tale was done in: M. Night Shamylan’s (sp?): “The Village”.

Peter Pearson April 1, 2010 9:26 AM

Since I don’t see any requirement that the fear-mongering be about terrorism, can I nominate An Inconvenient Truth?

Patrick G. April 1, 2010 9:42 AM

(After reading this year’s rules I instantly thought of the Gorillaz’ Fire Coming Out Of A Monkey’s Head lyrics.)

Nice twist this year, a bit more subtle and challenging than the last years IMO, especially since writing for children isn’t easy at all.

Won’t be easy to judge those stories for adults though…

peri April 1, 2010 10:47 AM

The Earth has been invaded and infiltrated by an alien race known as the Hulu! Their plan is to liquefy and consume human brains:

But the Hulu have an obvious weakness: they can’t stomach our brains in their natural Jell-O state! We obviously need to the DoD to invest billions to weaponize Jell-O and save America from the Hulu threat!

rbtroj April 1, 2010 11:07 AM

Once upon a time you will die.

Perhaps not today … then again, who knows?

The World is full of wonders, but dangers lurk EVERYWHERE. Such as the dreaded, Fire-Breathing, Sharp-Toothed, pissed-off-about-something Dragons of the Dormant-but-50,000-years-overdue-for-an-eruption Volcano of Swine Flu that will rain destruction upon your village, killing your family and forcing you to start smoking pot and masturbating.

The secret to avoiding such a horrible demise is to place all of your faith and capacity for rational thought into the hands of a semi-benevolent deity of indeterminate reality. Relinquish your intelligence to this invisible dude, for he shall guide you in all of the decisions in every aspect of your life, speaking to you through his finger-puppets in your government via that electronic gizmo in your living room that has tiny little people inside it who tell you where to spend all of your money.

Do this, and you shall be delivered from the evils of your mind, the terror of free-thinking, and the horrors brought on by tolerance and compassion. Do this not, and you will burn in Hell and very likely lose your XBOX Live Gold membership.

The End … of the World!!!!!


PS – Don’t forget to triple-check all your door and window locks. Did you leave the gas on? Are you sure?

PPS – Closet light! Closet light!

Edward Bryant April 1, 2010 11:28 AM

Let’s see. Back in the fifteenth century, the aristocrats and the clergy conspired to invent witchcraft as the threat only they could protect us from in order to stifle ordinary people’s desires for more freedom and power.

Since the Myth of Progress is the real religion of the West, perhaps the equivalent of witchcraft would be those Luddites who believe in Peak Oil; survivalists, gun nuts and “preppers”.

“Be afraid children, because unless the NSA and the FBI can catch the survivalist militia gun nuts in time, your bright future among the stars will never come to pass and you will have to wear skins and dig bitter tubers with a stick.”

Wait! I can make it work; just gimme a chance!

jason April 1, 2010 11:29 AM

this isn’t a fairy tale, but i was flying recently and a woman was carrying a small dog onto the plane. i asked her about getting it through security and it turns out that she just carried it through the metal detector. put the explosives or whatever in the dog. you could possibly even train the dog to run to a specific location on the plane, like next to the cockpit, before it explodes.

Daniel April 1, 2010 11:37 AM

What a delightful idea for a contest! I do seek clarification on one point of the rules: the format. Do you want the 400 words to read as a story or to be plot synopsis?

Christopher April 1, 2010 12:33 PM

I’ll work on the art soonest:

A Mother’s Tale

Once upon a time, in the grey, grey land of Noddingoff,
There lived a young boy, and his Mother, with whom he would oft,

Sit at night on the sofa, telling tales of daring-do,
Of times before The Time, when people like me and like you,

Would board planes that would fly them ‘cross the sea and o’er the land,
So that they could go see their friends, do business, or visit ‘Gram.’

And as the light through the high window marked the passing of day,
The Mother would hold him, and through tears of joy she would say,

“But those days are all gone, and now we’re safer by far.
“For we have elected those in power, that protect us, passing law.”

“Once back in the times, the times of fear and of dread,
“People used to care more ’bout freedom, than of getting killed oh so dead.”

“They were afraid so of flying, and driving, and of Dolly the clone,
“Of drownings, and of shootings, and radioactive cell phones.”

“They read the news-paper and watched their TV–
“With interest every night so that they could then see,”

“What to dread, what would hurt them. The talking heads they did know,
“All the things that cause danger, and that’s how they’d sow,”

“Fear into the people, to make their ratings to climb,
“But we have overcome that my son, now pay heed to my rhyme.”

“Put your faith in those in office, for surely they’re good,
“And they’ll protect us from dangers, as they promised they would.”

“They ask from us so little, but that we give them our trust,
“And our money, and your future; but that is only quite just,”

“Since The Time that they took us, in their firm and caring hand,
“They have made us safe from danger, both here and through the land.”

“There have been no more bombs, no more shootings, nor fear,
“No more bad shoe bombers, burning towers, or flaming underwear.”

“And in return they have asked us, and quite simply too,
“Respect all their rules, so that we only do,”

“That which they tell us, to stay close and not roam,
“Still with the bars and the guards, there’s no place like Home.”

Anne April 1, 2010 12:49 PM

The Story of How Amanda and Evan Were Careless and Thousands of People Died

Not too long ago, in a country not too far from here, there were two people, Amanda and Evan, who looked a lot like you and me, living happily in a very big city.

They were happy, but they were also stupid, because even though their leaders had told them that bad people wanted to kill them (each and every one of them), they didn’t listen.

Then one day very bad men snuck into that not-too-far-away country in secret, with a group of illegal aliens who wanted to take away jobs from the people of that country. The very bad men went through Amanda and Evan’s garbage and found enough information to “steal the identities” of Amanda and Evan, which means they were able to pretend to be Amanda and Evan to anyone who asked, and spend all of Amanda and Evan’s money without asking them!

They used these stolen identities to get permission to travel to another part of that not-too-far-away country! And while they were on the airplane, they opened their backpacks and took out knives that they had also stolen from Amanda and Evan, and they killed everyone on the plane before crashing it into a school that looked just like yours and had children just like you in it.

If Amanda and Evan had called the police when the bad men were rummaging in their trash can, the bad men would have been stopped and everyone would have been safe. If the people at the airport had been more suspicious about foreign-looking men who claimed to have local addresses, the bad men could have been stopped then too.

If you see anything suspicious going on, even if your parents tell you it’s okay, you should call the police! (Even if it’s your parents doing something that seems suspicious, call the police! Everyone will understand if you make a mistake, and you won’t get in any trouble for trying to keep everyone safe.)

Will K April 1, 2010 2:22 PM

You should be ashamed of yourself! This only gives the terrorists ideas! As proof, look at all of the successful attacks based on previous years’ Movie-Plot Threat Contests.

Additional outraged rhetoric!

Mike April 1, 2010 5:39 PM


There once was a wonderful place, called Town, everyone thought it was safe, and wonderful. Well, everyone but Jack and Jill that is.

Jack and Jill thought Town didn’t need to be so safe, they thought that made life pretty boring, and not very wonderful. They knew if they didn’t have to be so safe, things would be far more fun.

Well Town was safe because there was an enormous wall, made of fire, guarding everyone from the bad and dangerous things beyond. The wall was all that kept the people safe.

One day, Jack and Jill decided to leave the firewall and see how much fun they could have outside where it wasn’t so boringly safe. They thought the wall was a lie to keep children bored, after all how can anyone be sure if a wall is protecting you or guarding you?

So they approached the wall of fire, and looked up. Jack became scared as he could just barely see the through the fire to the chaos beyond, it didn’t look safe at all. But Jill was excited, she ran closer to the wall, attempting to peer through. Jill laughed and called to Jack to follow and with a great leap, was on the other side of the fiery wall. Jack was still scared, and unable to move. And then in an instant he knew he was right to stay, through the wall he could barley make out a great chaos, come roaring at Jill like a dark monster, and sweep her away. Jack knew that Jill was gone forever, terrified he ran to Town, knowing it was far better to be safe.

Years later Jack still wondered about Jill, but was very glad to be safe. One day as he worked near the wall, he heard a tremendous crack, and before him stood Jill looking at him through a hole in the fiery wall! She was a monster, covered in the chaos that had swept her away years earlier. Terrified Jack started to run; Jill spoke to him as he ran; her words, terrifying whispers in his head. As the wall pushed over Jill again, the whispers stopped.

Jack knew the Great Firewall had saved him, he knew that Jill was a monster and that it wasn’t possible “The wall is a lie…” The wall was all that made him safe, and it was good.

Daniel April 1, 2010 6:01 PM

Sorta Silly Sally and the 47 FBI Agents

Once upon a time there lived three preteens in a cul-de-sac. They were Keeping Kool Ken, Tiny Tinny Tina, and Sorta Silly Sally. It was winter and snowing and all three children wanted the same thing for Christmas: an Apple Macbook Air.

When Santa came Sorta Silly Sally, Keeping Kool Ken, and Tiny Tinny Tina were so excited. They rushed to their rooms to try out their iSight video cam on the internet. Ken posted a video of himself catching a football to his MySpace account, Tina placed a video call to her grandma, and Sally….Sally went to YouTube and posted a video of herself dancing without any clothes on. Sorta Silly.

When Sally told her parents what she had done they got angry. Sally’s mother said, “The world is filled with bad people who hurt children.” Shaking his finger Sally’s dad said, “This video will find its way to LimeWire.” Her mother shuddered at the sound of the word. LimeWire. The tone of her dad’s voice made Sally scared. “Are there bad people on LimeWire?” she asked, trembling. “Only bad people,” her dad said. “People who want to hurt you; people who will see you naked.” All the silliness went right out of Sally. She knew that strangers looking at her naked was the worst fate.

Sally’s dad picked up the phone and called the FBI. “The FBI will protect us and stop the bad men,” he told Sally. The call went to Special Agent Tom Dillon. Agent Dillon said in his gruff voice, “I’ll put my 47 men on the case right away.”

Sally didn’t sleep well that night. She had visions of vile men looking at her. She didn’t know why; she just knew it was bad. “I’ll never ever be silly again,” she thought to herself. “I’ll clean my room everyday and always brush my teeth.”

Two days later the family got an email from Special Agent Dillon. Using their supercomputer powers the FBI located all the bad men who saw Sally naked, went to their homes, and took them to jail. “They’ll stay locked up forever,” he wrote. Sally was so relieved when she heard the news. The FBI were heroes. She felt safe. And she would never ever be silly again. Not even sort of.

Matt April 1, 2010 6:57 PM

Once upon a time, in the village of Woodstock, there lived a wise old leader who warned everyone that wearing pants was evil. But no one would listen.

“We like wearing pants! They’re stylish and comfortable!” the people said. “Pants are evil. You can’t trust anyone wearing pants! Please listen!,” the leader cried, but only two people listened.

And then one day the terrorists came. They hid bombs in their pants and no one could tell the terrorists from the villagers, because everyone wore pants. So the villagers were all blown to bits except for the wise leader and the two who listened. Those two escaped safely, because they listened to the wise leader, went naked and stayed away from people wearing pants. They were saved by their fear.

They all left together to form a new town where their children would learn the dangers of pants. And that is how the village of New Woodstock came to be.

Jon April 1, 2010 10:49 PM

In a pleasant little kingdom long ago, ruled by a just and good king, was a small hut, well kept, and in this hut lived a family, Mr. Johnson, Mrs. Johnson, and their daughter, Betty.

They raised vegetables, and their cow Bessie gave milk.  Betty, when she did her chores, had plenty to eat and went to bed happy.

But a darkness came over the land.  It sneaked through cracks in the walls, and around the window.  It only came at night, but had a magic power like a disease.  It could infect people, and turn them all black inside.  They looked fine on the outside, but inside they would be dark and black and evil.

One summer night, the darkness came to the Johnson farm.  It crept over the corn.  It brushed past the carrots and the barn.  It was hot; Mrs. Johnson was careless, and it slipped through the window into their room.  There Mrs. Johnson lay, sleeping.

The dark trickled up her nose as she breathed, entering inside her.

Outside, Mrs. Johnson looked the same.  She would smile and wave, and give Betty treats and hugs, but inside she was growing darker.  At night, for even a little mistake, she would send her to bed without supper.

Mr. Johnson was a strong man, but he was not as strong as the darkness.  It grew and grew.  Betty worried, and asked her father to call the King’s Men, they could cast out the darkness from Mrs. Johnson, but Mr. Johnson said they were strong, and paid little Betty’s words no attention.

And every night, in the gloom of their room, Mr. Johnson lay down beside Mrs. Johnson, not knowing that each night, a little darkness would seep out of her pores and up into his nose.

Finally Betty cried to her parents that the darkness was in them!  Both of them!  It was invisible on the outside, but on the inside, Betty knew!

Her parents protested that they loved her, that they only wanted the best for her.

But Betty could tell, deep inside, her parents were very very bad.

Betty fled to the barn.  There she could hide in the hay beside Bessie, sharing warmth in the stall.  But the darkness had gotten to Bessie, too, and with a menacing look from the cow it was clear to Betty only the King’s Men could save her now.

Jon April 1, 2010 10:50 PM

(400 words bang on the snout, and o lord I had to edit it to get that far. Her brother got written out of the script entirely… 😉


Isti April 2, 2010 4:35 AM

Once upon a time, there lived a little girl. Red was her hair, red was her dress, red were her shoes, red was the ID-chip under her skin, so people called her Little Red.

One day, Little Red was walking in the forest to visit her Granny, when a Wolf appeared. In those dark days, large areas of our Land used to be covered by ‘forests’ that consisted of so-called ‘trees’. Trees were useless, inedible plants that provided hiding places for ‘wolfs’, nasty animals with sharp teeth, feeding on small children and their grandparents.

Had there been a registry for wolfs, Little Red would have received an early warning about the child predator around. But Little Red did not suspect anything.

–Where are you going, Little Red?
–To see my Granny.
–Why don’t you bring her some flowers? – asked the Wolf. ‘Flowers’ used to be plants causing severe allergic reactions to people.

While Little Red was picking those nasty flowers, the Wolf went to Granny’s house, and ate her up. In those dangerous times, there had been no security cameras in people’s homes, thus they regularly fell victim to robberies or murders, without anybody even noticing it. Often they were found three weeks later, eaten by wild wolves.

Little Red came to Granny’s house.

–Granny, what big ears you have! What big eyes you have! What big teeth you have!

That time, facial recognition technology was as not common as today, so people did not even know who they were talking to. Many fell victim to frauds, cons and sometimes even worse. Poor-poor Little Red! The Wolf grinned, and (don’t worry, my boy, this particular wolf was not pedophile, nothing that terrible happened, he just) ate her up.

Being fully satisfied, the Wolf fell asleep.

A huntsman came along. Today, law enforcement officers are equipped with portable full-body scanners, but in the past, they could rely on their instincts only. He drew a knife (these sharp, pointed weapons were still legal those days, and were responsible for many deaths every year), he opened the belly of the Wolf, freed Little Red and Granny, both of them were still alive.

Now our Valiant Leaders rule our Land, they rid us from those nasty plants and animals (only our friends, the benevolent cockroaches were allowed to remain), and made our life safer and comfortable.

We all live happily ever after.

Viktor April 2, 2010 6:08 AM

I put in instructions for the illustrator to help with the making of the book.
I used a few words that are unsuitable for young children, e.g. “terrorists”
should be “mean men” (or women? No, not in this tale), but I wanted to give
it that slightly incongruousness of propaganda.

    [Picture of Alice playing outside]

Once upon a time there was a wild young girl named Alice.

    [Three pictures on one page, all of Alice sliding]

Alice liked to run and play. She always slid down the handrails at the
subway station.
And at the mall.
And at the airport.

    [Picture of Alice's mom lecturing]

Alice’s mom always warned Alice:
“There are terrorists out there! They want to kill young girls very much,
because they hate freedom!” said Mom. “They hide anthrax covered razor
blades everywhere free people put their hands!”

    [Alice playing, but looking scared]

Alice was scared, but could not, would not stop her wild ways! It was just
too much fun.

    [Alice sliding, a razor visible below her, glistening with white powder]

But one day the horrible happened!

    [Alice in hospital, mother hovering over her, nurse in background]

“Please be strong Alice, everything will be okay”, her mother wept.
“I will. But.. what if some other little girls likes sliding like me?”
rasped Alice.
“Rest now, baby, mommy will stop the evil!”

    [Picketing outside of the capitol, signs reading "BAN HANDRAILS" and
     "No place for razors!", Alice's mom speaking from a podium.] 

“My little daughter was hurt because of them! My little daughter suffered for
her sliding. Bad handrails today! TODAY!”

    [Alice's mom shaking hands with the President.]

“Thank you, Mr President. Thank you so much for making us all safer,” said
Alice’s mom, “I just this would have been done sooner.”
“Of course! Anything to keep our children safe from terrorism! Anything to
protect our freedom!” replied the president.

Carl Berry April 2, 2010 9:00 AM

Once upon a time there was a village, the village was ruled over by a wise and powerful Baron who listened to the people and did whatever he thought the most of them wanted (because that is the way the wise rule). Beside the village was a wood but the Baron had ruled that the wood was off limits to the people as it was dangerous.

In the woods lived a witch, she wondered why there had been no people around for her to torment so she disguised herself as a little girl and went to the village to find out.

“Why do you not go into the woods ?” asked the witch.

“Because the Baron said it is dangerous.” replied the people.

“Nonsense, I have been in the woods many times, the Baron is oppressing you, to the castle.” retorted the witch.

At the castle the Baron met with the mob and asked what the problem was.

“You are oppressing us by not letting us into the woods.” they cried.

“But the woods are dangerous, they contain… lions” answered the Baron.

“Rubbish!” said the witch “There are no lions in the woods, lions live in Africa, on the plains, not in woods.”

So an “expert” on safety and security was called for and he explained that indeed it was unlikely that any lions lived in the woods.

“Stop oppressing us!” demanded the people.

“But the woods are dangerous.” insisted the Baron.

“May be we should look for a new Baron.” said the people.

“I hear revolution is quite popular in some parts” said the witch urging them on.

So it was that the Baron lifted the ban on entering the woods and a large number of villagers danced and sang as the picnicked in the woods.

Until they were eaten by a dragon.

The people returned to the Baron.

“Foolish villagers, did I not say that the woods were dangerous ?”

“Yes but you claimed it was lions and we knew there were no lions.”

“I knew the woods were dangerous (in some suspicious, can’t quite put my finger on it way) so I outlawed going there but by questioning those who knew better you have brought this on yourselves”.

The moral of the story is don’t question those in authority just because the laws and reasons don’t make sense, you might end up being eaten by a dragon.

MaoVador April 2, 2010 9:22 AM

I know this kinda sounds similar to other stories but I thought, why not post it anywhos.

In a land far away there once lived a rich and powerful King. But this King had a problem… trolls!

Every day the King noticed some of his gold was stolen, “The trolls stole my gold!” he yelled out.

So the King built a HUGE wall around the entire kingdom. “There, that should keep those nasty trolls out!” the King exclaimed.

The wall was grand but the King’s gold was still being stolen. “How could this be!” the King yelled out “I have built the finest wall in all the land.”

The King spent weeks wondering how he can stop the trolls until one day…”I’ve got it! Guards! Place guards all around the kingdom, the trolls can’t possibly get in!”

The guards were put in place and the King declared “My kingdom is now safe again!”

The next day more gold was missing! “HOW can this be? I built a wall, I placed guards everywhere, and I nearly spent all the gold to keep those trolls out. I give up…I have done everything I can think of and I can think of nothing more!” the King said exhaustedly.

Just then a young boy stepped from the crowd “King, I can help you!” the boy shouted out.

“How can a boy like you, help me?” the King queried.

The boy said “I watched you build a wall, place guards, and spend nearly all your gold to protect us from the trolls, but none of it has worked, and I know why.”

“Why, WHY!” the King screamed out.

The boy whispered “You love to play polo in the field out back and to get there you asked the wall maker to build a door. Then you then asked the guards to ignore the door because they are a hassle to deal with.”

The King was angry “No one would ever use that door, it is worthless, and besides no one but me knows of that door.”

The boy smiled and said “I know of your door, and the trolls do to!”

“Egad!” the King yelled out, “You are right!” and had a powerful lock built to keep the trolls out.

Years went by and the King never had problems with trolls again. So remember, you can spend all your gold building the world’s greatest defenses, but if you don’t lock your back door, the trolls are still going to get in.

durandal April 2, 2010 12:51 PM

Eric was a little white fluffy Rabbit. He lived with the Rodents in the biggest tunnels in the Middle of the large open Field. Eric’s grandparents had moved to this part of the Field many years ago, away from the woods in the East, where there lived the Hares, who hated the other Rodents.

For many years, the rest of the Field loved the Middle the Field, and everyone wanted to live there. The Middle of the Field became rich, and some Rodents started to build their dens above the ground. Two of the largest dens could be seen for miles around, and were the center of the whole Field. They were called the Pillars.

Then one day, when Eric was very little, the Eagles attacked the Pillars. The Eagles took many Rodents—including Eric’s mother, from the Pillars; and for good measure, smashed the Pillars to the ground. The Rodents all thought that this was just a scary attack, and, though saddened by the loss of so many Rodents, decided to move on.

However, the Rabbit President knew the truth. The Hares from the East had asked the Eagles to attack, because they were jealous of the Middle of the Field. He even had a video from the Hares saying that they did the attack. So the Rodents all wanted to go to war, and didn’t complain when the President took away some of their happiness

The Rodents went to war, and had been at war for many years. Eric was growing up, and starting to think for himself. He didn’t want to be at war. He wanted the happiness back. He thought the Hares were nice, and his best friend was a Hare.

One day, the Eagles came back. This scared the Rodents, and many of them hid in holes underground. Eric was hiding with his father, in his friend the Hare’s underground hole. But Eric was wrong about his friend. Eric’s friend got up and attacked Eric’s elderly father. He cut off his head, praying in the Hare language. Eric ran away into the tunnels.

Eric ran into the neighbor Voles’ house to ask for help, but he was too late. The whole family was dead, even the little baby. Eric could see more Hares down the tunnel, so he ran outside, was picked up by an Eagle, and never seen again.

Laura April 2, 2010 2:32 PM

This is probably more of a nursery rhyme than a fairy tale or fable, but I think it’s still within the spirit of this contest. It needs 26 illustrations in the style of Edward Gorey.

The Gashlycrumb Terrors

A is for anthrax, deadly and white.
B is for burglars who break in at night.
C is for cars that have minds of their own
    and accelerate rapidly in a school zone.
D is for dynamite lit with a fuse.
E is for everything we have to lose.
F is for foreigners, different and strange.
G is for gangs and the crimes they arrange.
H is for hand lotion, more than three ounces;
    let’s pray some brave agent soon sees it and pounces.
I is for implants (I’ll explain when you’re older).
J is for jokers who only grow bolder.
K is for kids who aren’t afraid
    to play in the park or drink lemonade.
L is for lead in our toys and our food.
M is for Mom’s cavalier attitude.
N is for neighbors — you never can tell:
    is that a book club or terrorist cell?
O is for ostrich, with head in the sand.
P is for plots to blow up Disneyland.
Q is for those who would question authorities.
R is for radical sects and minorities.
S is for satanists, who have been seen
    to give children razor blades on Halloween.
T is for terrorists, by definition.
U is for uncensored acts of sedition.
V is for vigilance, our leaders’ tool
    for keeping us safe, both at home and at school.
W is for warnings with colors and levels.
X is for xraying bags at all revels.
Y is for you! So don’t be a dope.
Z is for zero tolerance, our finest hope.

bob April 2, 2010 6:20 PM

“S is for satanists, who have been seen
to give children razor blades on Halloween.”

The first few times I read that, I thought it said “S is for satirists”. I’m not sure which one is scarier.

Laura April 2, 2010 7:16 PM

Haha — I probably should have capitalized “Satanists”. Here’s an easy way to tell them apart: satirists don’t need razor blades.

@AppSec: Thanks!

yt April 3, 2010 3:22 AM

@Daniel: I think the idea of the 400 word limit is to keep it short, as the intended audience is young children and other people with limited attention spans.

@Christopher: Excellent! I was actually thinking of writing something in the same style as this, but with the opposite message for my daughter. I want to write a cautionary tale to explain to her why she must never stop thinking.

@MaoVador “I know this kinda sounds similar to other stories” That’s OK. Most folk/fairy tales are object-oriented (see ): just create instances of the appropriate classes and mash them together the make a story of the appropriate class.

@Laura: brilliant! If you could find an illustrator, I would buy that book.

not logical April 3, 2010 7:58 AM

This is the story of little Logan, who always caused trouble by being logical and asking “Why?”

Logan wanted to board the plane in Cawford, Tx. The Guard at the checkpoint took away Logans nailclipper, and Logan did ask: “Why can’t I take my nailclipper with me on the plane?” Of course the guard would spank Logan for questioning authority. While he did this, a bearded terrorist sneaked aboard.

The the guard took away Logans water bottle. “Why? What trouble can I do with my water bottle?” Of course the guard would strip-search Logan, who knows what other horrors Logan wanted to bring aboard the plane. While he did this, a big bad bearded Terrorist sneaked aboard.

Then the guard told Logan to pass through the microwave-scanner. “Why should I do this? I have already been strip-searched!” Of course the guard would send Logan to Guantánamo for promoting the evil of free-thinking. While he did this, Osama Bin Laden sneaked aboard the plane.

And because Logan was so logical, the War On Terror was lost.

Dan April 4, 2010 12:59 AM

The Bears
By Dan King

The kingdom of Greenlove had a king who was loved and respected. The king had many government ministers who helped him rule. Not all the ministers were as trusted or respected as the king. So when one of the ministers announced one spring that there were many more bears than usual and they seemed to be braver than usual some of the people ignored the warning. The people of the village of Creekside got together and announced they had not seen any bears, and anyway they knew all about bears and they were not afraid at all! Even though the minister visited the village the people were unmoved. The all hated the minister and thought he was foolish.

The midsummer festival was fast approaching and there had not been any bear attacks. Then one morning while it was still dark the bears came to the village of Creekside. The doors were not locked, many of the windows were open, and because no one was on watch for the bears the people were all asleep.

We will not talk about what happened next, but the villagers who survived never again doubted the ministers.

Tim Stevens April 5, 2010 9:07 AM

Brucie Moosie and the Three Scares

Once upon a time, Janet Planet found a bottle containing more than three ounces of liquid in an airport. It scared her so much she trembled all over.
Janet Planet: “Help! Help! The sky is falling!”
Brucie Moosie: “I wrote about that in 2008…”
Janet Planet: “I’m not listening, I must tell the king!”

Just then MiddleEasternMan bought a first class ticket with cash and tried to enter the U.S.
First TSA built a scanner made of straw.
MiddleEasternMan: “Let me in, or I’ll huff and I’ll puff and blow your scanner in!”
TSA: “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.”
MiddleEasternMan snuck right by.
FBI: “Someone’s been drinking our water supply, and they’ve poisoned it all! One million people are dead, and all the candy in the land tastes like broccoli!”
Brucie Moosie: “I wrote about that in 2006…”
TSA: “I’m not listening, I have to build a scanner made of sticks!”
(“huff puff … chinny chin chin” … sneaks by)
FBI: “Someone’s been riding our trains, and rigged them all with explosives! Two million people are dead including SpongeBob SquarePants!”
Then TSA built a scanner made of bricks.
(“huff puff … chinny chin chin” … sneaks by)
FBI: “Someone’s been flying in our planes–and they’re still there!”
Before MiddleEasternMan could be arrested, he exploded a nuclear device using four ounces of toothpaste as a fuse and melted Manhattan, killing three million people and destroying all future episodes of Sesame Street.

Along the way to the king Janet Planet met others.
Janet Planet: “The sky is falling! I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and TSA detected it with a scanner!”
So they ran as fast as they could, then met Osama Llama and told him their tale.
Osama Llama: “Well then, follow me, and I’ll show you the way to the king.”
Brucie Moosie: “Actually, I wrote about precisely that exact thing in 2002…”
Osama Llama led Janet Planet and the others across a mountain range straight to his cave.
“Osama, my what a big cooking pot you have!”
“All the better to boil you alive and eat the flesh off your bones!”
Janet Planet tried to push Osama Llama into the cooking pot, shouting “the system worked!”, but missed.
So he ate them.

Andy April 7, 2010 10:20 AM

It was a dark night and the pilot was flying mid-atlantic on the way to New York. A small child was wandering down the aisles at the back of the aircraft, happy to be returning home. A bearded man was sitting in business class with a laptop, smiling to himself. As the hostess passed down the cabin with a jug of hot coffee he clicked a button marked “Turbu-Lance”. A long thin package in the hold below started to hum. Two eyes blinked and the giant skysnake awoke. Attracted by the magnetic fields of the Turbu-Lance it dashed at the plane causing it to fall through the sky, the hostess grabbed for the nearest chair but missed, the hostess tripped, the coffee went flying. The hostess screamed as the steaming hot coffee hit the childs face. The pain was too much for such a small body, quickly the child passed out.

It was a dark night and the pilot was flying mid-atlantic on the way to New York. A man sat in his seat, happy to be returning home, his face was scared with old burns; they still ached as he yawned. He pulled down the blinds and fastened his seatbelt and settled down the sleep. The hideous face of the sky snake at the window would haunt him forever.

Jon April 7, 2010 9:54 PM

@laura – I kicked off the ‘fairy tale’ postings with my little story, but to you I am going to go find a hat and put it on just so I can take it off to you.

That was marvellous.


DanT April 8, 2010 11:12 AM

Our people have herded goats for generations – even though their meat is stringy and their milk is poor.
Once upon a time, we herded cows with rich meat and great milk. We only kept a few goats to warn us of wolves.
Here is the story of how we lost our cows.

Dragons used to come at night to eat our cows. It got worse and worse. The Lords met to determine what to do. The Lords told everyone to keep a fire lit at every corner of our pasture all night long. The dragons stopped attacking.

The fires were hard to keep going. The laziest people loudly complained that it was not worth the effort. More and more people listened, and more and more people stopped keeping the fires burning.

Then one day, the dragon returned. Everyone relit the fires, but to no avail. The Lords met to determine what to do. The Lords told everyone to move the cows to a different pasture every night and keep the fires lit. Very soon, the dragons stopped attacking.

Doing moving the herd and having fires was very hard. A few doubters complained that the Lords just made it up and the dragons went away on their own. More and more people listened, and soon most people were not heeding the advice of the Lords.

Very soon, the largest group of dragons ever seen came. They ate all the cows from all the herds and only left the goats. If only everyone had listened to the Lords and kept proper protection of their herds, we would still have cows today!

The Moral: Those lazy folk and those who doubt; do not heed them, turn them out.

Mike Ferguson April 8, 2010 12:48 PM

Thumpsqueak, the baby polar bear was out one sunny morning for his second ever(!) solo swim when he found himself surrounded by strange creatures. He had never seen anything like them. They were dark and sleek with small eyes.

They poked and prodded Thumpsqueak with their noses. When he tried to speak to them he found that they uttered a sort of bark. “Why, it’s practically not a language at all,” thought Thumpsqueak.

Soon, Thumpsqueak got tired of the creatures poking him and swam ashore. He told his parents that strange animals from below the ocean had been prodding him as he swam. His parents became quite alarmed. “We must tell everyone!” they said. “Call 911. Call the newspapers.” And they did.

The police came. “Were these marine animals?” they asked.

“They were from below the water,” Thumpsqueak answered.

Soon, the police left, “To file a report,” they said.

The headline in the next day’s Polar News read, “Strange Sub-marines Ram Local Bear.” The accompanying article warned everyone to be cautious of the untrustworthy, dark creatures who spoke a strange language. “Do not swim alone,” it cautioned. “Post watch-bears.” “Notify the police of any sightings.” “Do not trust strangers!”

Thumpsqueak’s parents were very pleased. “I just know we’ll all be safer with this extra vigilance,” his father said.

Thumpsqueak agreed. “I will never swim alone again,” he promised.

His mother agreed. Then she asked, “Say, does the ice seem thinner than last year to you?”

“Don’t be an old silly,” said Thumpsqueak’s father.

Kim Z. April 9, 2010 12:44 PM

(Based on Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll)

‘Twas boardtime and the Ti Assay
Did screem the trafflers in the term:
All squeary were the wantawaze
And the payfriotic herm.

“Beware the Scaerrorwock, my son!
The booms that plode, the comps that hack!
Beware the Musrab world, and shun
The evil, streemist Sybattak!”

He took his magnetom in hand:
Long time the travlish mob he frist.
He eyed for contraliquibanned
And murdtyrers within our midst.

And as in searchity we wait
The Scaerrorwock with ‘spicious eyes
Came learking toward his signaged gate
But his plot was compromised.

Who? You! Let me through!
The magnetom went beepy-beeps.
Man pulled aside but ‘pologized:
He forgot about his keys.

“Thou hast not slain the Scaerrorwock.
Stay feargilent, my freelish boy!
Nyneelen will come again.
Our way of life they will destroy!”

‘Twas boardtime and the Ti Assay
Did screem the trafflers in the term:
All squeary were the wantawaze
And the payfriotic herm.

Laura April 9, 2010 8:08 PM

@Kim Z: That was great! Excellent choices for all your nonsense words.

@Jon: Thanks, and I liked your story’s slowly but steadily increasing sense of dread.

richard April 11, 2010 11:46 PM

The Lion, the Other Animals, and the Wolf Attack

In a land way back when, a great Lion was the king of all the Animals in the area. These Animals included a number of Wolves, who appeared to be good-natured. One day, however, a number of different Wolves entered the land from a neighboring land that was outside the Lion’s domain. These invading Wolves attacked and killed several Animals without any obvious provocation. The surviving Animals, including the Lion, were shocked and horrified by the unexpected killings. The Animals became reassured because the Lion immediately showed leadership and specified a plan for the Animals’ security. Under the plan, Wolves would need the consent of the Lion to enter the land, and Wolves within the Lion’s domain would have notify the Lion of their presence. The Animals were to build barriers with sticks and logs and stones to surround the entire land, in order to guard against invading Wolves. Some of the Animals expressed doubt about the likelihood of a subsequent attack, especially given that many Wolves seemed to be perfectly well-behaved, but they realized that the Lion was right when he explained, “The unjust killing of any Animal weakens all Animals as a collective whole, and for any Animal who is unjustly killed, the statistical likelihood of the killing means nothing. All of you, imagine yourself as an Animal who gets killed.” The Animals did so. The Lion continued, “Furthermore, dealing with an attack that was impossible to anticipate requires the judgment of an experienced leader.” So the Animals carried out the Lion’s plan, and there were no further attacks. Some of the Animals were irritated at the inconvenience that the plan imposed, but they realized that judgment was best left to those in charge, as the Lion explained, among other things, “That an attack happened before my plan was implemented, but that there were no attacks afterwards, proves the value of my judgment. For any Animal that is unjustly killed by an invader, all that freedom gives would mean nothing at all to that Animal, and so obedience to authority is never overruled by freedom.”

vedaal April 12, 2010 12:00 PM

Once upon a time in a small town in this great land, a father was telling two children a bedtime story. Kimberly, 7, and Timothy, 12, listened eagerly as their father spoke:

“Something very scary happened today. A very important Security Expert is making a contest on how to scare children with fairy tales about terrorists.”

“What?!” said Kimberly, That’s mean!. He’s even more evil than the Wicked Queen!”
Timothy, seeing a picture of the Security Expert, said, “ Yeah! And not nearly as fair to look upon.”

Father continued, “ But don’t worry, the people in charge of the security of our land aren’t taking him seriously.”

Kimberly and Timothy breathe a sigh of relief as they look at a picture of Janet Napolitano.

“She is one strict looking Mommy.” said Kimberly.

“She has a great new plan to keep us safe”, said Father.

“All the places where terrorists can enter our land, are being patrolled by strict Mommies and Daddies trained to target terrorists faces. The Mommies and Daddies are armed with a large supply of fully loaded diapers.”

“Whew” sighed Timothy in relief, “a terrorist would have to be crazy to try anything against them!”

And so it came to pass, that throughout all the dwellings of the land, the mean scare of the security Expert was forgotten, and people took comfort in the new security measures, and a deep quiet sleep descended upon the troubled Realm.

Jim Rodovich April 13, 2010 7:59 PM

(The made-up word is borrowed–nay, stolen–from Richard Feynman’s tirade about a shoddy high school physics textbook, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman,” p. 297…)

“The Ants and the Wakalixes”

One morning scouts from a colony of ants happened upon some wakalixes. The ants never before had seen a wakalix, and so upon discovering these wakalixes, they felt a variety of emotions (to the extent that ants can feel emotions): curiosity, awe, fear, disgust, inspiration, and so on.

They circled the wakalixes a few times, keeping their olfactories to the ground to detect any trails left by rival ants or by the wakalixes themselves. But they sensed no such signals, and so they next attempted to talk to the wakalixes.

“What are you?” the ants asked (to the extent that ants can ask questions).

“We are wakalixes,” replied the wakalixes.

“Are you food?” asked the ants.

“No, we are wakalixes.”

“Are you something we can use to build shelter?”

“No, simply wakalixes.”

“Are you magical?”

“Just wakalixes.”

“Are you dangerous? Are you an enemy?”

“Wakalixes! Wakalixes!”

Then without warning it began to rain, and the ants were drowned. But there was one brave ant who, upon first sighting the wakalixes from the tip of a blade of grass, had been so repulsed by them that he had turned right around and hurried home to warn the rest of his hivemates.

“Wakalixes!” he shouted (to the extent that ants can shout). “There are wakalixes to the east!”

The ants hurried into their defensive positions and when the rain came they were not killed.

In the afternoon, the sky cleared and the ground dried. The ants dispatched a group of marauders to attack and kill the wakalixes. But the rain had washed away the trails made by the scouts in the morning, and so the ants could not find the clearing where the wakalixes had been. The bravest ant, the one who had warned all the others, thought he found the clearing, but there was no trace, no evidence, of any wakalixes. Perhaps the rain had washed them away, too.

The ants agreed that they had been lucky (to the extent that ants can be lucky): were it but for one ant warning them of the wakalixes, they all would be dead. They agreed it would be only proper to thank their brave friend. So they built a chamber for him, a private chamber next to the queen’s, and he lived there happily and all the other ants brought him his food.

The End.

Kim Z April 14, 2010 11:22 AM

(NOTE: I didn’t see a rule about being limited to one submission. I already posted my “Scaerrorwocky” poem, but this story may do better to create the “appropriate level of fear in children” that Bruce desires.)

“Mommy, why do they make us take off our shoes before we go to the plane?”

“Because they are protecting us.”

“Mommy, what is ‘protecting?’”

“Making sure that we don’t die.”

“Oh.” The little boy put his shoes in the bin.

“Mommy, why are we only allowed tiny bottles of liquids that have to fit in a plastic bag?”

“Because they are protecting us.”

“And that’s why we can only have bottles with a 3 or 2 or 1 before the oz?”


“So if there is a 4 we are going to die?”

“No. It’s just a rule.”

“Good.” The little boy put his liquids in a little bag and in the bin.

A few days later mommy got very sick. She suffered a lot and eventually died. The little boy missed his mommy very much.

“It’s my fault mommy died,” said the boy.

“No,” said daddy,” it was cancer.”

But the little boy knew what made the cancer. He looked in the back of the drawer where he hid the little jar of bubble blowing liquid that he brought back from the beach. He looked with shame at the label that said “4 oz.” He was so happy when the TSA man didn’t notice. He was so happy to get to keep his bubbles. But now his mommy was dead, and he was sad. A mommy is better than 4 oz. of bubbles.

Moral: Follow the 3-1-1 rule, or your mommy will die.

Mister JTA April 15, 2010 4:45 AM

Wow. 400 words is not so many. Still, here goes:

Long ago, when the world was still green and young, lived in peace and happiness. In those days, there was still magic in the land, and wizards and knights fought together to defeat dragons for the honour of the King, and the best job in the kingdom was to be a soldier, standing proud in the shining uniform of the guard.

But from the dark caves of the mountains, the cruel and terrifying imps watched the happiness of the people, and hated it. Using their dark magic, they disguised themselves as everyday things and sneaked themselves into crowded places. At the last minute they would explode themselves in a plume of fire, and kill any innocent people standing nearby.

The next morning, everyone was crying, and the roads flowed wet with tears. All through the night, the terror-imps had been exploding, and the boxes and bags and crates that had been scattered through the town had all blown up at once, killing many people.

Everyone wished someone had done something about the evil imps, but there were no more wishes: in horror at the work of the terror-imps, all the magic had fled from the land, and world turned hard, and grey.

To comfort the children, the King ordered that any strange box that might be a terror-imp be locked away in the darkest dungeon of his lands, and many terror-imps were captured in their caves and thrown into prison. But a few of the wicked imps had managed to hide away, and they fled to the quiet corners of the earth. Long years they have waited, and their anger and their rage has only grown with time.

And I was told this story by my father, and he was told it by his, up through the long years, to our brave ancestor, who fought dragons for the King. And now you are old enough to be a knight I am telling it to you, and you must promise me that if you ever see anything that might be an imp, you will tell an adult right away. Because the world will never be safe again until all those imps are locked away the King’s dungeon.

So until then you must be watchful, like the noble knights before us, and keep a close watch through the dark days and nights ahead, until all the possibly-imps are gone, and the magic can return to the world.

Blade Canyon April 15, 2010 12:11 PM

Once upon a time, beautiful princess Tabitha lived in a castle in Europe. She had such fun dancing with her friends or rowing her boat. Her father, King Reinhart, loved her, and Reinhart was a good King for his country. King Reinhart gave Tabitha the cutest pony in the land, and they would ride together for hours, all through the wonderful Kingdom.

Good King Reinhart took care of his people, but Princess Tabitha was sad that some of the people did not like her father. Tabitha rode her pony up to one group and told them what a good man her father was, but these strange people did not agree with her. The people were selfish because they didn’t care about other people; they wanted to do whatever they wanted, all the time.

Tabitha talked to the Royal Doctor. “Why are these people so selfish?” she asked. The Royal Doctor told her, “These people have a disease in their brains. This sickness makes them believe they can control their own lives better than good King Reinhart.”

“Is there nothing we can do to cure this disease?” asked the Princess. “No, Tabitha, once this sickness starts, it can even spread to other people.”

“Oh, no!” cried Tabitha. “What should we do?”

“The only way for us to be safe is to send the sick people to another land,” said the Royal Doctor.

That night, Princess Tabitha begged her father to keep her safe. Good King Reinhart did not like the idea. “Tabitha,” he asked her, “who will take care of my people when they are across the sea?” Tabitha did not know, but she did not care. She was afraid that innocent people would catch the mental disease, so she begged and she begged, and Good King Reinhart sent out a decree: All of the sick people were to go across the sea to a place called “America”, which means land of the sick people.

The idea was so good that many other countries also sent their sick people to America. The sick Americans were able to live, but they were always fighting or doing bad things.

When Princess Tabitha grew up and became the Queen, she realized the wisdom of her father’s words. “Who would care for the sick people in America?” They could not care for themselves. As Queen, she talked to many other leaders in other countries, and they finally realized how they could care for the sick Americans.

Queen Tabitha created The United Nations, a kind and good group of people to take care of sick people everywhere. Because America was the sickest country, they put the United Nations headquarters right in America’s biggest and sickest city. Now the “UN” is working hard to make the millions of sick people better. But Queen Tabitha needs your help! If you want to help the UN care for sick Americans, you must clap your hands!

Clap your hands! Clap your hands! Clap your hands to help the UN care for sick people.

Robert Rota April 15, 2010 1:57 PM

There once was a drop of water.
This drop of water was very clear and pure.
It was transparent.
It thought clear compassionate thoughts.
It moved with grace.

One day a lord drop came to the pure drop.
“What is that black spot in your body?”
The lord drop asked the pure drop.
“Why I don’t see a black spot,” said the
pure drop.

“Surely you see that black spot, right there
in your body?” interrogated the lord drop.
“Look I have one also”.
The lord drop pointed to his body.
But the pure drop couldn’t see any black spot
in the lord’s body either.

Small wavelets of frustration moved through
the lord drop’s body.
Creative curiosity expanded the pure drop’s body.

“I have an idea”, said the pure drop.
“Please give me your black spot and then
We will see if we can see it in me?”
After much agitation, the lord drop gave the
pure drop his black spot.

After a few minutes, the lord drop was astonished.
Neither the pure drop nor the lord drop
could see any black spots in each other.

Both drops appeared pure and transparent.
Both drops thought clear compassionate
Both drops moved with grace.

Leo Fassbinder April 15, 2010 4:19 PM

There once was a very dark land,
With no rain forests,
Few glaciers,
And no healthcare for man.

The people were scary,
Both the rich and the bums,
They all wanted money,
Some even owned guns!

From the best country in Africa,
A father had come.
And in a tropical paradise,
His son was born.

The young man grew fast,
He was learned and smart,
And he lived in different countries,
Thus he made politics his art.

“I can fix your schools, your jails, and your
hospitals, too.
“I will fix the problems of the Middle East.
“I can stop the climate cycles of the Earth.
“And I can take care of you when you’re 62.”

“But, sir,” some asked, “You’ve managed nothing so grand
as a Dairy Queen. You cannot manage
our land.”

“Yes, we can.”
“Yes, we can.”
“Yes, we can.”

“Can you tell us some things you’ve done before?” they asked.
“Yes, we can.”
“Yes, we can.”
“Yes, we can.” was the whole of the answer.

The dark land was in turmoil,
Who was this tall stranger?
His cigarette voice and silky words,
Hinted at no danger.

“Yes, we can.”
“Yes, we can.”
“Yes, we can.”

So the people believed,
And they chose the stranger,
He went to the District,
To be the Hopeful Changer.

And ‘lo, the world was saved,
By this tall beacon of hope,
Who’s very best talent,
Speaking on a box of soap.

He charmed the world leaders,
Made peace throughout the land,
Brought equality and justice
To every boy, girl, and man.

He gave them doctors, and jobs,
and money, and safety.
He gave them bailouts, and cars,
and homes, and schools.
He gave them insurance, and free internet,
and he spread the wealth around.

Those who did not trust him,
Hung their heads in shame.
They were driven from the land,
As paranoid and insane.

So, listen close my children,
Don’t make the same mistake,
Remember to trust the District,
With every decision you must make.

Ken April 15, 2010 6:30 PM

(cover illustration of a trembling child huddled beneath a tree, with the wind blowing the leaves, and a house in the distance)

Once upon a time, there was a nice family. The nice family had a beautiful mother, a big and strong father, and a cute young child. They were all very happy together.

One day, a cold dusty and evil wind blew and the child’s father suddenly disappeared. He was gone, gone, gone. The child said, “What happened to my Daddy?” and the mother said “I don’t know.” The big, strong father never came back. The child was sad and afraid because the child loved the father and the father loved the child, and the child had always felt safe when the big and strong father was there. Now he was gone.

The next day, another cold dusty and evil wind blew and the mother suddenly disappeared, just like the father had done the day before. The child said, “Where is my Mommy? Now who will take care of me?” and there was no answer. Just silence. The child was sad and afraid because the child loved the mother and the mother loved the child. The mother took care of the child and she had always been there when the child needed her. The child was all alone and it was very scary.

With the beautiful mother and strong father gone, there was nobody to make breakfast for the child, nobody to play with the child, nobody to take the child to school, nobody to tuck the child into bed at night, nobody to read stories, nobody to help the child take a bath, nobody to help the child get dressed in the morning, nobody to love the child, nobody to give the child a kiss or a hug, and nobody to make the scary monsters and ghosts go away.

The poor little child was all alone. And every day the wind would blow…(cue the dramatic music: dun, dun, dun).

Dewey Kleft April 15, 2010 8:07 PM

Why not just get the materials they hand the kids in school from the DARE program? They make the kids sign pledges to keep the war on drugs, thus justifying the government searches, asset forfeitures, financial account tracking, etc. Total indoctrination with no mention of freedom.

Butterfly April 16, 2010 4:54 AM

Once upon a time, when the world was still new and crude and fierce, there was a tribe of nine. A father, a mother and seven children, new and crude and fierce, all but the smallest one.
One day, the parents stopped coming back home, leaving the children alone. Alone to face the hunger of the world.

The rudest child followed strangers. Only parts of his reaped clothes were found.
The fearless child stood outside during a great storm. A horrendous lightning struck him, leaving his body charred to the bones.
The hardiest child didn’t run for cover when the strange cloud went down on them. When they found what was left of him, it looks like he had been eaten from the inside by the tiniest of beasts.

Then, the smallest child raised his voice in despair, and pleaded. He pleaded to the sky, the sea and the forest. He pleaded to the spirits and ghosts. He pleaded with all his soul, as if so much fear and pain couldn’t be contained in his frail body anymore.
Somewhere, an almighty conscience saw, and heard, and was moved. It went and soothed first. Then, It summoned three protectors for the child. The Eye, to watch. The Ear, to detect. The Hand to shield.
Safe they were… for a while.

The reckless child grew wary of being watched. He found a place, dark and remote, where the Eye couldn’t see. He found a tortuous lightless cave, that swallowed him, forever.
The brashest child grew wary of being detected. He found a silent world, huge and calm, where the Ear couldn’t hear. He found a deep crepuscular lake, in which was swimming the unspeakable horror that dragged him into the abyss.
The boldest child grew wary of being shielded. He found the only place the Hand couldn’t reach. He found the tallest of all the mountains, from the top of which he fell for so long that the sky heard him shout and cry and plead, and sob.

The smallest and wisest child was left alone. As he grew older, more and more people followed him as their king, to flee the fierceness of the world.
He revealed the three Defenders and told the people not to be afraid. For the Three were there to serve and protect, so that the men could build a safer world.
And they did, until now…

Herb in Jacksonville April 16, 2010 2:39 PM


“Janet Planet tried to push Osama Llama into the cooking pot, shouting ‘the system worked!’, but missed.”


“Moral: Follow the 3-1-1 rule, or your mommy will die.”

That’s genius.

Kim Z. April 16, 2010 7:30 PM

@Laura Thanks! If Bruce doesn’t pick either of us maybe we should collaborate on a book of security poetry. I have some encryption couplets in a notebook somewhere…

@Herb I’m glad you liked the moral. I wasn’t sure if folks would think it was too twisted.

Matt 7615 April 19, 2010 12:55 AM

Once upon a time there was a boy named Pete.

He begged his parents to buy him a cellphone so that he could fit in with his friends at school.

His parents didn’t want to spoil him, so they made him clean up after the family dog every day after school for a month before they finally agreed to get Pete his own phone.

Pete’s parents thought it would be a good idea because they would be able to log on to their computer and locate him any time they wanted to.

Pete loved to go outside and play with the other neighborhood kids and soon became the coolest kid on the block with his new cell phone.

They would play street hockey and basketball, build forts in the woods, and during the summer nights they always played tag.

But one night while Pete and the other children on the block were playing flashlight tag, they lost track of their friend Cooper.

They searched all around the neighborhood and yelled out his name as loud as they could, but Cooper was nowhere to be found.

Pete began to worry and decided to run home and tell his parents what had happened. Cooper’s parents gathered everyone they knew to help search the neighborhood.

Pete remembered that Cooper had asked to check out his new phone and forgot to give it back in all the confusion of the flashlight tag game.

Pete’s parents quickly logged onto their computer and tracked the cell phone. They called the police and told them where Cooper was at, a house not far from the boy’s neighborhood.

The police broke down the door to the house and saved Cooper from the evil man who had taken him before he had the chance to hurt him.

It turned out that the evil man had been spying on the kids for months and was even using his computer to try and find other children in the area.

The evil man was sent to prison for many years and when he got out was ordered to tell his neighbors about him trying to take Cooper so that they could be warned that there was a dangerous man living near them.

Pete’s cellphone saved his friend from the bad people that live in each and every city that other children like Cooper live and play in every day and night across the country.

Sean Dillon April 19, 2010 12:00 PM

Once upon a there was a small town where children played and went to school.

The children loved to be outside playing in playgrounds and baseball fields.

All of a sudden several children started to dissapear without a trace.

Soon nearly all of the children in the town dissapeared and only one was left.
A small boy named Gabriel.

Gabriel’s father worked for Walmart and had knowledge of RIFD tagging technology. Thus Leonard placed a small tag on Gabriels ear so if he were to be abducted he could be found.

Sure enough two days later Gabriel went missing. The RIFD tag led Leonard and his policemen friends to Mexico where Gabriel was being sold for underground child slavery and would soon be working in a sweat shop making Nike shoes.

The man who had captured Gabriel was the next door neighbor Samuel.

Samuel had been convicted of child molestation before.

This caused the mayor of the town to force any man or woman who had been convicted of such a crime to paint their houses red and wear red facepaint everywhere they went so people knew to stay away from these sick individuals.

After all the children were rescued from the sweat shops Leonard, Gabriel, and the rest of the town lived happily ever after. Stanley however was placed in solitary confinement for 30-40 years and never harmed another child again.

Jason Turpyn April 19, 2010 9:50 PM

One early morning young Jonathan was out playing ball with his neighborhood friends. Jonathan at the age of 6 was very smart for his age. Through watching and studying his parents as he grew up he learned many things that little children wouldn’t have until they were young adults. Though this seems very great it ended up being a vice for little Jonathan. As Jonathan learned more about the government, policies, and the general idea of authority he began to demand more answers and ask why as if he fully understood all of these concepts. It soon began to be too much at times and would get himself into trouble at school with teachers and the principal as he would always talk say terrible things about the government and the president, though none of it ever made real sense was merely child blabber.
Jonathan’s parents began punishing him but he wouldn’t listen. He thought he was always right and could learn things on his own. What Jonathan didn’t know was that his principal had very close ties with the President of the United States, they were cousins. The President was very nervous about a child like this. If little Jonathan was already so against the political system of this country how would he be when he was a full grown adult. So the President decided to spread the word to the rest of his office and let them figure out a way to take care of this issue.
One day when Jonathan was being sent to the office for being troublesome at recess he realized that the he did not recognize the counselor. A minute later he found himself out front and forced into a black van as they were speeding off.
A year has passed now and the parents never did hear anything about their child. The boy vanished into thin air as far as they knew. What they didn’t know was that the government had taken him and shipped him off to guantanamo bay where he would serve as a cook for the remainder of his life, serving food to the scum of the earth who could care less what the kid said about politics.

Ryan O'Donnell April 19, 2010 9:57 PM

Once upon a time a young man by the name of Pablo went from the stable and developed country of the United States of America into a land that was backwards, spoke with funny accents and was constantly at war with roaming armies dedicated to smuggling for a profit, this land was Anadacay.

Pablo had a vision to see the wilderness, speak with local natives and have an adventure worth telling his grandchildren. As Pablo was walking through the forest, he eyed something nailed on the tree in the distance. It was a letter asking for his bank account number, in return it would send him a fortune to hold onto, signed an Anadacay native. Being naive and not entertained in the art of security risk analysis, he wrote down the information and the letter evaporated.

As quickly as it disappeared, a man came out of the woods. He slapped poor Pablo with a patch that read liability on his chest for all to see. The man said that he would be an outcast and that he is contagious. Every village and person that resided in those villages from then on ridiculed him and refused to help him for fear of catching the phishing virus; for they would also too be slapped with the same badge.

For years Pablo wandered aimlessly, not being able to apply for loans, purchase “big ticket items,” and was eventually arrested for not showing up to a court appearance that he did not know about.

After rotting 40 years in the dungeon of Castle Bank Fraud, Pablo passed away. Engraved on the wall of his cell was the quote “I should have signed for, now I’m in a dungeon with a couple of shackles on…”

The moral of the story is: monitor your credit, secure your information and be careful in the global market of the internet.

yt April 20, 2010 1:24 AM

The Boy who Didn’t Cry Wolf

There was a boy tending the sheep who saw a strange shadow at the edge of the woods. The boy thought it might be a wolf, but he was unsure of what he’d seen and didn’t want to cause unnecessary alarm, so he said nothing. The next day the shadow came closer. It really was a wolf, but the boy had kept quiet so there was no one to come to his aid. The whole flock and the boy were eaten by the wolf.

If you see something, say something.

ljj101 April 20, 2010 7:05 AM


“OK Sweetie. Time for bed. Have you done everything you need to do?”

“I’ve done my homework – so the ghost that haunts my room won’t be able to steal my soul because it’s too weighed down with knowledge too be carried off.

I’ve been to the toilet so I don’t need to get up in the night – so the scaly goblin with the teeth like a shark that lives under my bed won’t be able to chew off my toes.

I’ve brushed my teeth – so the hairy monster with the razor sharp claws that lives in my cupboard won’t be able to slice off my face while I sleep because monsters can’t stand minty breath.

But I heard a noise last night. It was really scary …”

“What sort of a noise?”

“Scratching and tapping … at the window.”

“Oh no! I haven’t heard of her for years, I thought she was gone for good.”


“The Green Witch. She’s uglier than the ugliest woman you’ve ever seen, with boils and warts all over her blotchy green skin. She lives on the guts of children. She roams the streets at night sniffing out children as they sleep. She’ll pry open your bedroom window, creep over the sill, then slit your tummy with a rusty butcher’s knife so your guts spill out. Then she’ll feast.”

“There must be some way to stop her … you do know how to stop her don’t you?”

“Well, the funny thing is, she’s very allergic to green vegetables. Last night you had pizza for dinner, and the night before you had a cheeseburger. I bet that by last night you didn’t have any greens left in you. If you eat your greens every night she won’t be able to come near you. You ate your greens tonight didn’t you?”

“Umm …”

“No matter, I’ll cook you some extra broccoli – just to be on the safe side.”

“Thanks Mum.”

Jim April 20, 2010 9:42 AM

Little Jimmy lived in a poor neighborhood in the suburbs in a modest 5-bedroom 4-bath house with cold tile and wood floors, slippery granite countertops, and a dangerous gas fireplace. Jimmy’s parents were always at odds on how to raise their 95th-percentile precious. Knowing how vulnerable he is, his mommy always told him the world is a very dangerous place. Knowing he couldn’t swim, his daddy always wanted to just throw him in a lake. You see, Jimmy’s mommy and daddy assess risks very differently.

Jimmy’s mommy thinks there are drug dealers on every corner trying to sell heroin to all the kids. The solution for her, of course, is to drive Jimmy and his classmates 0.25 miles to school every day until they graduate high school. Jimmy’s daddy knows this isn’t true and tries (but fails) to get the boy to walk to the corner store and fetch him a newspaper.

One spring day, Jimmy thought he could go to school with only a light jacket. Jimmy’s mommy insisted he bundle up in a parka, tuque, and gloves making him look like Kenny in South Park. Jimmy’s daddy, himself having walked two miles one way every day to middle school, seeing it was already 50 degrees at 8 o’clock in the morning and getting sunny, would let him go in short sleeves.

Jimmy’s daddy had a general sense that Jimmy was somewhere outside in the neighborhood on their street with any number of his friends. When the noise stopped, he knew that was the time to get concerned. Jimmy’s mommy insisted that Jimmy call from friend’s house whenever he went inside and make sure to call again when leaving.

As an obedient citizen, Jimmy’s mommy always tried to convince Jimmy that a water bottle at the airport is dangerous and that toothpaste is a liquid. This didn’t seem to make sense to Jimmy. Jimmy’s daddy told him about C-Y-A security and the government agency (TSA) in charge of it.

Jimmy’s mommy guaranteed Jimmy that the government was only trying to protect him as it listened to his phone calls without a warrant, installed video cameras at every intersection, and tracked his mouse clicks on the internet. Jimmy’s daddy left his firewalls open for plausible deniability.

So while Jimmy was about to crack a small nut with a huge claw hammer and his mommy told him to put on goggles, his daddy just shook his head and went to get an icepack.

Batter Batter Swing April 20, 2010 11:49 AM

Sorry, there is no time to cut this down to 400. Offered anyway.

Ol’ Gus, the Dog Catcher:

In the middle of a vast green prairie was the quiet village town of Townburg. The life in Townburg was peaceful. One day, however, a young boy was throwing sticks at a skinny stray dog. The dog bit the boy, and made him cry. The boy told his Mommy about the mean dog while she cleaned and bandaged the bite on the boy’s leg. The Mommy thought a long time about what happened.

“You know,” the Mommy said at the next town meeting in the village square, “we should pick somebody to be the town dog catcher.” Everyone thought that was a swell idea.

“I know,” said one man, “let’s pick Ol’ Gus to do it. He doesn’t work much anyhow.”

So they did. The townspeople picked Ol’ Gus to be the new dog catcher. He was a swell old guy, and everyone loved him. “I’m happy to be of service to Townburg,” said Ol’ Gus. And he put on some old gray coveralls, grabbed a leash, and started riding his bike around the town, looking for stray dogs.

The next day, Ol’ Gus showed up at the Mommy’s door. “Hey there, it’s our new dog catcher!” said the Mommy. “That’s right,” said Ol’ Gus. “I’m here to collect your pet registration fee.”

“What’s this?” asked the Mommy.

“To make sure we know where all the good pets are,” said Ol’ Gus, “I have to make a record of everybody’s pets. And you have to pay a small fee to cover the cost of the records and the time.”

“Okay,” said Mommy. And she paid $5 and registered the family’s dog and cat. “You’re doing a great job, Ol’ Gus!”

A few weeks later, Ol’ Gus showed up on his bicycle again. “There are too many pets in town for me to remember all of them, so now you have to buy these tags and put them around your pet’s neck,” he told Mommy. So Mommy paid Gus $25 and got tags for their pets. She put them on the dog and cat so Ol’ Gus would know they were good pets. As Ol’ Gus was leaving, Mommy asked him, “Gus, why are you wearing a pistol on your belt?” Ol’ Gus said, “In case I have to stop a really dangerous dog!” Mommy felt safe with Ol’ Gus to protect her.

One year later, Mommy got a notice in her mailbox that she had to send Ol’ Gus $100 as a “tax” on the house. The letter said everyone had to pay their “fair share” to keep Townburg free of dangerous animals. Mommy paid the $100, but their neighbor lost his notice and never paid it. A month later, Ol’ Gus went to the man’s bank and made the bankers give him the tax money from the man’s account. The village was now safer than ever.

One day Mommy and her family drove into the country for a picnic. When they got back to Townburg, Ol’ Gus was blocking the road with his new truck, and waving his pistol for the car to stop. “Sorry, folks,” he said, “but I have to search your car to make sure you’re not bringing any dangerous animals or anything bad into town.” He made the family sit down on the hot asphalt while he rummaged through their car. “By the way, you have to remove this window tint from now on so that I can see inside your car at all times to make sure I’m safe.” When he was finished with his search, Ol’ Gus said with a smile, “There you go, folks; I hope you had a nice trip today, and welcome home!”

As the family was leaving, Mommy said, “You look great in your new black uniform, Gus!” When they got home, they removed the tinted plastic from the windows. Though that made the car much hotter and uncomfortable, it made Ol’ Gus feel safer.

The next year, the tax bill from Ol’ Gus was over $500. Mommy asked Ol’ Gus why he needed so much money. Ol’ Gus said he had to hire some extra guys to make sure there were no dangerous dogs around. “Remember,” said Ol’ Gus, “not one person has been bitten since the day your son was attacked.” Mommy was really happy with the progress.

When Mommy next went to the market, she noticed a tall pole with camera’s on it. On the pole was a picture of Ol’ Gus, smiling. The sign said, “Watching to make sure you’re safe.” Mommy looked around, and sure enough there were no stray dogs anywhere. That made her happy, and she went into the market to buy food for her family. Mommy went to the cash register to pay for the food. The cashier asked her, “Do you have your Gus-card?” Mommy didn’t know what a Gus-card was. “We’re not allowed to sell you anything unless you have a Gus-card with your picture on it. You have to go to Gus’s office and get in line to get one.”

So Mommy did just that. She went to Ol’ Gus to get her Gus-card. “Yep,” said Ol’ Gus, “we’re really making sure we know who everyone is, and what they’re doing. You can’t buy products or even get a job unless you have the Gus-card.” Mommy thought that was a great way to make sure bad people didn’t try to bring in stray dogs. She got in the long line, had her picture and fingerprints taken, paid a very reasonable fee, and got her card.

The man across the street from Mommy didn’t like all of the new rules and taxes. The man put a sign in his yard that said, “We need a new dog catcher.” The next day, the man’s Gus-card was canceled. He could not get a job, and he could not buy food. His bank account was frozen. Because he had no money, he could not pay his taxes, and Ol’ Gus took his house away. In fact, Ol’ Gus moved right in to that house, across the street from Mommy.

Every morning, Mommy and Ol’ Gus would see each other when they picked up their morning paper. “Mommy,” asked her son, “who is that man you always wave to?” “Son, do you see that scar on your leg?” The boy looked down and saw where the dog had bitten him. “That happened many years ago,” said Mommy, “but thanks to Ol’ Gus, it has never happened again.”

AndrewC April 22, 2010 10:41 AM

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….

Turmoil has engulfed the United Republic of America.
Trade sanctions imposed on countries harboring terrorists are in dispute.

Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles,
the greedy North Korean Federation has stopped all shipping to the United Republic of America.

While NATO endlessly debates this alarming chain of events,
the President has secretly dispatched several Marine Corps battalions to settle the conflict.

Meanwhile, several planets have declared their intentions to leave NATO,
and have aligned themselves with the North Korean Federation.

War! The United Republic of America is crumbling under attacks by the ruthless General Kim Jong-Il.

In a stunning move, General Kim Jong-Il has swept into the Republic capital,
and kidnapped President Obama, leader of the United Republic of America.

As the Separatist Army attempts to flee the besieged capital with their valuable hostage,
Military leaders attempt to lead a desperate mission to rescue the captive President.

Thanks to a top-secret government initiative, they are able to call upon a clone army,
created at the farthest reaches of the universe, and modeled after Dog the Bounty Hunter.

However, it is a dark time for the Republic. Although victory has been declared in the Middle East,
the clone army is still far from the battlefield, and they remain unaccounted for.

The United Republic of America forces are thinning, and recruiting is at an all time low.
The Republic is quickly losing support from both friendly planets, and it’s own inhabitants.

Little did they know, they are suffering from insider attacks as well,
Senator Palin is stealing national secrets and selling them to the North Koreans!

Despite valiant attempts to hold off the North Korean federation invasion,
all is lost when the clone army arrives.

Unbeknownst to the United Republic of America, North Korea secretly controls the clone army,
thanks to the efforts of Senator Palin and other members of the Korean Intelligence community.

As quickly as they arrive, the clones turn on their Republic comrades,
and simultaneously destroy the Marine Corps and other Republic forces.

The people of the United Republic of America are then forced into slavery,
destined to work in American sweatshops and factories, producing consumer items for federation planets.

ams5530 April 22, 2010 11:06 AM

Once upon a time, in a land very similar to this one, there was a boy named Timmy who did not want to go to school. Timmy thought that school was “pointless” and he just wanted to go outside and play all day. Timmy’s parents warned him that the lords had created a magical barrier around the school to protect children from the evil monsters that come outside during the school day and gobble up children. Timmy did not believe, so he decided to skip school the next day. He played and played outside all day and nothing happened.

“You see! Nothing happened”, said the child.
“The monsters don’t come out every day, only once and a while, you have to go to school!”, replied the parents.

Timmy went to school the next day and told all his friends about how his parents lied about the monsters that come out during the day and eat children. Timmy’s friends were shocked and went to ask their parents too. All of the children’s parents told them the same thing. “You have to go to school or the monsters will gobble you up! The lords have placed a magical barrier around the school that protects you!” The children did not listen to their parents because they believed what Timmy had said.

The next day, Timmy and 20 of his friends didn’t go to school. They went outside and played games and had fun outside instead. Because they weren’t protected by the lord’s magical barrier in the school, the evil monsters came and gobbled up all the children. They were never seen or heard from again.

Go to school otherwise the lord’s magical barrier cannot protect you from being eaten from the monsters!

G. Robert F. April 22, 2010 6:46 PM

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Timmy and a little girl named Lucy. Their parents put a filter on their computer to keep them from going to web sites that could be potentially harmful. One day Timmy was at his friend Jake's house and they were playing fun games online. After doing this for some time Jack tells Timmy about this cool page that he goes to download free music and movies. 
Timmy goes home and is excited to try out the page that his friend Jake showed him. He gets home and finds his sister playing solitaire on the computer. Trying to get his sister of the computer he tells here about the site where they can download all the music and movies they want. Lucy gets excited about this site and lets Timmy on so he can go to the site. Timmy types in the URL but the filter block the site. Timmy is frustrated that he can't get on the site but Lucy tells him about a way to get around the filter. Timmy does this and is able to get on the site. Timmy finds a song he wants to download and  clicks on the link. When he does a window pops up asking for personal information. Not knowing any better and trying to avoid bothering their parents Timmy and Lucy go and find all the information they need in their fathers wallet and desk drawer. They go back to the computer and enter everything they need and then start downloading free stuff. They continue happily doing this for months without their parents knowing. 
Then one day Timmy and Lucy came home from school to find police cars outside their house and their dad being led out in handcuffs. Timmy runs to his mother to find out what is going on. Timmy's mom tell him how his fathers identify was stolen and he is now being accused of crimes he did not commit and will spend ten years in prison. 

Gordon Gartrell April 22, 2010 9:48 PM

With apologies to E.B. White:

Janet’s Web

Snowball and Niblet were piglets who lived in a barn. One day, boots came stomping into the barn and took their mother away. The piglets were so sad, they cried so hard they couldn’t sleep.

“Don’t be sad,” a tiny voice said. “Who said that?” asked Snowball.

“Look up here.” Snowball and Niblet looked around the barn. “Right above you,” said the little voice. There in the corner was a little spider web, and in it was a cute little spider.

“Who are you,” Niblet asked the spider. “My name is Janet, and I’ve been up here watching over you.”

“We miss our mama,” said Snowball. “Those boots might come back and get us,” cried Niblet.

“I can help you,” said Janet, in her cute little voice. “How?” asked Snowball.

“I can watch you while you’re sleeping, to keep you safe,” said Janet, “and I can spin a web over the door so the boots don’t come back.” And that’s what she did. Janet spun a beautiful web that blocked the door to the barn, and another web that blocked the window, and another web that blocked the gate to the pig pen.

“Thank you, Janet,” said Niblet. The piggies went to sleep. They felt safe with Janet over them.

Months later, Niblet said “I want to go outside.”

“No, Niblet,” said Janet, “you would be outside of my web where it’s dangerous.”

“Stay here where it’s safe,” begged Snowball. “No,” said Niblet, and he broke through Janet’s web and went out the door. Snowball stayed safe in his pen. He heard a big fuss outside, and Niblet never came back.

That night, Snowball cried harder than ever. “Don’t cry, Snowball,” Janet said, “I’ll stay right here watching over you. Look at the big new web over the door.” When he saw the web, Snowball knew he was safe, and he went to sleep.

Months later, Janet was moving slowly. “What’s wrong, Janet?” asked Snowball. “It’s time for me to go, Snowball. My babies will take care of you now.” And, with that, Janet died. But around the barn, over a hundred baby spiders were busy spinning new webs to keep him safe in his pen.

“Thank you, Janet,” whispered Snowball to the little dead spider.

Jason Falchek April 23, 2010 9:04 AM

Once upon a recent time,
In a land not far from Nod,
Some men with funny hats and guns
Were plotting with their God.

“Make haste” they told their children brown,
“And go unto the states:”
“We’ll hide among these devil kin
and there we’ll lie in wait.”

Among your friends they made their plans;
Among your parents too –
For when the bloody time was right
They’d start a bloody coup.

They’ll shoot your parents in the dark,
They’ll shoot your puppy too,
And though you’ll work your little heart,
They’ll come after you too.

But luckily for us, you see,
All hope should not be lost-
With legislation we can win,
Although there is a cost.

Our smartest politician men
Can save us from this brew.
And all you really have to do
Is let us surveil you.

Zac Seidel April 23, 2010 12:08 PM

Who will you turn to when the sky turns dark?
Cry, Cry, Cry, and look for relieve from the stars above,
The light dries the fear while the clouds protect your head
Work, Work, Work, or the clouds will vanish like a dove

As the stomach pains grow large with fierce pressure
Eat the food you are given from the high Gods
But do not attack the hand that feeds
For if you do, there will be nothing but a silent whisper

Matt Doban April 25, 2010 1:01 PM

Once upon a time in the land of freedom, King Nobama lived in fear of his people. Even though his predecessor King Kush, enacted the Patriot Act a few years back, after a false flag terrorist attack that struck a few years ago. King Nobama thought to himself, “How can I scare people in giving all power to me and my government?” The King thought to call in his friends in the court for some ideas. After some time throwing ideas around the court, his one friend, the head of the Intelligence Agency, Lord Manetta, blurted, “How about a string of false flag terrorist attacks!”.

“Why? King Kush tried this before my reign and was only able to pass a few laws?” General Gratraeus questioned.

King Nobama thinks this can work, and replied, “Yes Manetta, great idea we’ll take your men and plan out some attacks and incrementally add restrictive security measures on our people after the ‘terrorist’ attack to make them more ‘secure’. In reality we’re taking freedoms away.”

“How will we do this?”, Lord Manetta replied.

“Underwear and planes.”, said the King.

“Ridiculous! Why in the world would you use shoes and planes?” General Gratraeus interjected in confusion.

King Nobama simply put it, ”We’ll get a scapegoat to work with Lord Manetta and his double and triple agents to plan an underwear bombing attack on a plane. After the attack we’ll their privacy by enacting naked body scanners before they get on planes.”

After planning the underwear bombing, two of King Nobama’s financiers, Lord Heitner and Lord Ternake, storm into the court interjecting, “We want in on a part of this takeover of the people!”

“Go ahead let me hear your ideas.” said the king.

“Well we can only keep raising the debt ceiling so high, so I thought we could use economic terrorism to gain control of the people.”, Lord Ternake noted.

“Once we personally make the markets crash we can use Martial Law on the people to control them.” Hietner added.

“Ah yes pefect! And we can use General Gratraeus’ military forces to load people into FEMA Camps. We must enact these plans at once!” King Nobama said in excitement.
So the King and all of his men executed these plans and successfully enslaved the once free people of the Untied States of America. This is a great reason to let the government to control your life right?

Jesse Stewart April 26, 2010 1:58 AM

Technology in the hands of the lord:

Timmy was a typical second grade student; he enjoyed playing with silly-putty, eating candy, and playing with his pet dog, who he named T-Rex. Timmy sometimes acted up when his parents asked him to go to bed, did not like to eat vegetables, and always fought with his parents when he was told to do his homework. But Timmy changed and became a good kid who did his homework without complaining and always ate all his vegetables when he realized how much power the Lords have. Timmy learned that as long as you’re a good kid the lords can use the power of technology to reward you, but if you’re bad the lords will use technology to punish you.

One day when Timmy returned home from school he remembered that he forgot to close the gate after he let T-Rex out before school. Timmy ran out back to see if T-Rex was still there, but T-Rex was nowhere to be found. Timmy and his family searched everywhere for the dog, but by the time the streetlights came on T-Rex was still not found. Timmy’s mom and dad ensured him that they would find T-Rex, and they put Timmy to sleep.

The next day Timmy woke up only to find that T-Rex was still not home. Timmy’s mom told him that she would continue to look for his dog while he was at school, but Timmy refused to go to school if he didn’t know where T-Rex was. Timmy kicked, screamed, cried, and acted up in school all day. He refused to do any class work and he even spit on the teacher. When he got home T-Rex was still missing and his parents told him he needed to behave or T-Rex would never return.

The next morning Timmy got up and went to school like a good kid hoping that it would make T-Rex come back. When he got home, T-Rex was waiting for him at the doorstep. Timmy’s mom explained to him that T-Rex had an RFID computer-chip in him and when the lords saw that he was being good they were able to use satellites to locate T-Rex and returned him home to greet him as he got home from school.

The lords protected T-Rex, but if Timmy stayed bad the lords would have used technology to make any candy he ate taste like peas and brussels sprouts.

Justin Brown April 26, 2010 10:55 AM

Once upon a time there lived a family of with three children, two girls and a younger brother. There was also Dragon in the land who would terrorize the people at his whim. One day the three decided to visit their friend in the village down the road even though there parents had told them not to leave the yard. When they departed their dog followed them.
Before going far they were attacked by minions of the Dragon. Using some training they had received from there father they were able to narrowly defeat the two goblins and the minator. The Dragon however saw them and began to continue the attack hoping for some roasted children for breakfast. The brother saw the shadow of the Dragon however and pushed his sisters under a rocky overhang along the road and ducked under himself just in time to miss the claws of the Dragon. The dog at this point had sprinted back up the road to find the Father and the griffin named Rakon. Upon receiving the warning from the dog the father and the griffen were off in the air. Seeing the dragon ahead Rakon swooped into a nose dive, the father having his sword drawn. The blade finds its mark in one of the Dragons eyes. Reeling in pain Dragon retreated to its lair in the mountain.
When the father and the children had been reunited on the road the mother, who had followed the dog was there as well. They were all so happy that they were safe, aside from a few burns that the boy had from a poorly aimed fireball from the Dragon. The children had learned there lesson and there was no need of more punishment for there disobedience. From that day on the three Children learned to trust and obey there parents.

dfm5020 April 26, 2010 6:06 PM

A long time ago, the town of Happyville was the happiest place in all of the world. No one was poor, and everyone always had a good time. The adults didn’t have to pay any bills, and there was no fighting. The children were free to run and play whenever they pleased. Of course there were bad people in the world, but they were not allowed in Happyville. The Lords made sure that they didn’t come in. They protected everyone, and everyone looked up to them.

Although all the people could do almost whatever they wanted, the Lords had one rule. Do not go outside the gates of Happyville, where there was sadness. They adults would often sneak away and break this rule, but they never got caught. However, if a child were to leave, he would not be able to defend himself. He would get caught and inevitably bring the sadness back into Happyville.

Little Tommy always saw his dad sneak away at night and leave Happyville. He was never caught by the Lords and would always sneak back in by sunrise. Tommy really looked up to his dad. He wanted to be just like his dad when he got older. So one night, Tommy decided he was gonna sneak out after his dad, so they could hang out outside of Happyville.

Tommy was too little though, and as soon as he left Happyville, he was overcome by sadness. He was able to sneak back into town, but he could not get his sadness to go away. When he went to school the next day, all of his friends noticed that he wasn’t happy. They had never seen this before, so they got sad too. This happened over and over again, until everyone in Happyville was sad.

Happyville was never able to regain its happiness. Everyone went on to live their lives miserably, until eventually Happyville was taken over by the sad outside world, and no one was ever happy again. If only Tommy had listened…

Alex April 27, 2010 3:12 AM

Once upon a time, there was a country where the people were happy.
But as their king grew older, he started to have dreams in which he was killed by a woman.

The king didn’t like that very much, and ordered that every girl and woman were to be watched by their husbands and brothers, day and night.

And so it happened: all the men in the kingdom laid down their work and started watching and guarding the women.
But now the women had to do their men’s jobs as well: all the farming, mining and building houses now had to be done as well.

The women were working as hard as they could, but they couldn’t do everything. And so the country grew poor, and there was not enough food anymore.

Then, one sunny day, a man and his wife saw a woman on a big, white horse, royally clad, and followed by many knights onn horses.
The couple asked who she was.

“I am the queen of the country over the mountains in the East. My messengers tell me that you are being suppressed by an evil king, that you have become poor and that famine reigns.
And so I have come with my knights, to slay the mad king that let his people suffer.”
The man wanted to warn his king, but his wife didn’t. And as he he was told to watch and guard her, he stayed with his wife while the queen and her knights rode on.

And each and every couple, and each of every group the queen met could not warn the king. And so the queen rode into the castle and killed the evil king.
Then she ordered that all the men went back to their jobs.

The mad king was buried deeper than the deepest ravine ever seen, and the country was happy once more.

The End

Jim Fox April 27, 2010 9:18 AM

The Lambs

Albe the wolf cub lived with her older brother Cal and their mother
in a den at the edge of the deep woods.

“I need you two to take this basket of food to Grandma Wolf,” said Mother after lunch.
“And watch out for those lambs,” she added, “They’re just trouble.”

They had hardly started out when Cal spotted Comey and Aray Lamb playing
with butterflies in the valley.

Cal was an impetuous cub, “Leave the basket on the trail and follow me.”

Off he ran across the valley. “Baa,” cried the lambs.

Albe started after him, but stopped when she saw Comey running in to the dark woods.
She sat down by the basket and waited for Cal to return.

Cal chased the lambs across the valley and far into the deep woods,
far past anyplace he had been before.
“Woof,” barked Cal. “Baa,” cried Aray.

Finaly Cal got tired. He looked around.
The woods looked dark and strange. “Help,” he cried, “wooow, wooow.”

Albe heard Cal’s cries, but she couldn’t see him anywhare.
She ran home to tell her mother.

Mother called for help.
Soon Sheriff Barry and Deputy Joey arrived.
You stay with your cub,” said Sheriff Barry.
Off they went to find Cal.

“It’s so hard to keep track of cubs these days,
what with the lambs leading them all over the deep woods,”
lamented Mother.

Before she had too much time to worry,
Sheriff Barry and Deputy Joey returned with Cal.

“The lambs led me into the deep woods,” pleaded Cal.
He did not want to be sent to bed without his supper.

Sheriff Barry went out to his truck and brought back
a handful of necklaces with blinking lights.
“I have just the thing for the three of you,” he said.
“These will help us keep track of you.
The lambs never again make you lost in the deep woods.”

“Put this on.” He put a necklace on Cal.
“And this.” He put one on Albe.
“And you need one too.” He put on one on Mother.

“They don’t seem to come off,” worried Cal.
“Don’t worry. I’ve got the key,” smiled Sheriff Barry.

Cal and Albe dreamed that night
of chasing lambs without any fear at all of getting lost.
Sheriff Barry would always be watching them.

Ryan Catalano April 27, 2010 5:53 PM

Not good at fairy tales but made a little poem about “Security Technology”

S is for the Soldiers of all ages
E is for the Explosions at many stages
C is for the Cameras who never sleep
U is for the Uranium which makes us weep
R is for the Risk we all take
I is for the Integrity at stake
T is for the Terrorists who are a burden
Y is for the Years of war come so sudden

T is for the Terabytes of information
E is for the Energy conservation
C is for the Computer an everyday tool
H is for the Hard Disk so small to take to school
N is for the New gadgets oh so mesmerizing
O is for the Online social networking
L is for the Laptop as little as a book
O is for the Operating System, Windows or Linux, where should i look
G is for the Going Green to reduce pollution
Y is for the Youth who may be the solution

William Oberrender April 27, 2010 8:32 PM

Submitting for Prof McGill’s SRA 311 extra credit.

Once upon a time there was a boy who did not see why you had to activate his mighty Fire-Wall when exploring the far reaches of the internet. One day, when the little boy’s parents were not home, he began to browse the internet. The boy found pictures of puppies, kittens, fast racecars, and everything a little boy could ever hope to imagine. There was videos of people making funny faces, dancing, singing, and having a jolly good old time. There were even games for him to play!
After clicking on every pretty link and funny ad that the boy could find, his computer began to sniffle and cough. The boy could not control it anymore and it started to show him horrible and frightening images. It began to turn off and on by itself and began to sneeze repeatedly. The computer had become a Zombie-Bot!
Suddenly, the boy’s father came home and rushed over to the computer. The father yelled, “NO! ZOMBIES!” and rushed over to the boy’s side. He sat down and activated the mighty Fire-Wall which caused the computer to return to its normal state and cease to be sick.

James Scheuchenzuber April 27, 2010 9:53 PM

Once there was a little boy named Schwartzpeter. Little Schwartzpeter’s father came home from work with a shiny new computer. Schwartzpeter had never gotten to use a computer before. Little Schwartzpeter’s father had purchased a subscription to get access to something called the internet. Schwartzpeter had never seen the internet before. He and his father were so happy! They looked and looked at the endless information that was instantly available to them. Schwartzpeter wondered what kinds of wonderful things he would find on the internet!
The next day, Schwartzpeter’s father returned home from work, and little Schwartzpeter was already talking to a new friend that he had met online earlier that afternoon. His father became cross with little Schwartzpeter. He had warned Schwartzpeter not to talk to strangers before. Little Schwartzpeter did not understand. These strangers were on the other end of a computer connection. They could not see him or hurt him, and besides, they were ever so friendly.
The next day while his father was hard at work, little Schwartz peter went on the internet and began chatting with strangers once again. He met a little boy named Hans. Hans was Schwartzpeter’s same age. He and Hans talked for hours and hours, until his father got home. “Hello little Schwartzpeter” said his father. “Did you behave yourself today?” “Yes Father” said Schwartzpeter. But he had not behaved himself. He had talked on the internet all day with strangers.
The next day was the same way, and the day after that. For two weeks little Schwartzpeter talked to Hans every day. And everyday his father would return home and ask him the same thing. “Hello little Schwartzpeter” said his father. “Did you behave yourself today?” “Yes Father” said Schwartzpeter. But he had not behaved himself. He had talked on the internet all day with strangers. Finally, one day Hans said that he was coming to Schwartzpeter’s town on a trip with his family and asked Schwartzpeter where he lived. Schwartzpeter told him and a few hours later a van pulled into the driveway. A man got out and said his name was Hans. Schwartzpeter was confused. Hans was a little boy. He was so nice. Not this man that was putting Schwartzpeter into his van.
Schwartzpeter’s father returned home that day. “Hello little Schwartzpeter” said his father. “Did you behave yourself today?” But there was no answer from Schwartzpeter ever again…..

Grizzlly April 28, 2010 4:29 AM

The Tale of the Magic Garden

There once was glorious garden in the village of Lorderon. In that garden were bright and beautiful flowers, beaming with life and color! There were also hearty vegetables green and juicy. Herbs with all sorts of healing powers and spices grew there also. But this was no ordinary garden, This garden was a secret, magical garden where the plants talked, communicated and socialized together! They had families, children even rulers! The youngest of the garden were the seedlings. Seedlings were sent to school by their parents to learn to become whatever type of plant that they wanted to. The magic gardens teachers were of the best and brightest, and produced the ripest vegitables, and most beautiful flowers. They taught the seedlings everything they could, from how to use water, to properly rooting themselves in the ground. But in ever bunch, there were bad seedlings. Bad seedlings wound up turning into weeds. The seedlings were warned not to become weeds, even though it would seem like fun stealing other’s sunlight,water, or nutrients. Some seedlings grew and grew into great and leafy green plants. Some not so much, and some, some turned into weeds. What the elder plants didn’t tell the seedlings, was about the masters. The masters provided ample water, fertilizer and pruning if need be. They were the ultimate care givers, without them, the entire garden would wilt and die. But the seedlings were not told of the masters until they were adult plants. The garden knew that the masters were good to them, but would also punish those who miss behaved. The garden also knew that if there were ugly or unfruitful plants, they would be removed, especially weeds, the masters hated weeds. If a master saw a weed in the magic garden he would swiftly pluck the weed from the soil roots and all. This would leave the bad plants and weeds to die, alone. And so the magic garden would forever go through its cycle, of producing and beautifying, and the masters would continue to be grateful and give back to the garden and remove those who disobeyed happily ever after. The end.

Ryan Johnston April 28, 2010 11:24 AM

The Peasants without Guidance
Once upon a time, there was man and there were the lords. The people of the land were just average day folk. They all had jobs like farming, fishing, and metal working. As for the lords, well they had it all too easy. They sat up in the heavens and watched the peasants, as they called them, labor throughout the days. The Lords’ main job was to watch over the people and guide them along their journey. The people worshipped the lords, always praying for more crops and more fish. The lords could not always be there for the peasants. The people had to learn that with hard work comes reward.
Then one day, there was a great drought. This summer heat was terrorizing everything the people had. They could not grow crops because of the blistering heat, and the crops that they did have were starting to spoil. The fisherman could not get the fish to bite, plus most of the lakes were drying up. People began performing rituals with dance and chanting all day and all night, begging the lords to help them in their time of need. Of course, the Lords noticed this but decided they were there only to guide the people.
After months of rationing food supplies and growing weak, the people stopped believing in the Lords. They actually started defiling the statues that represented the Lords. They did not pray for help anymore, and began cursing the existence of the Lords. The Lords were very angry with the people of the land. They saw this rebellion as a problem and dealt with it in force.
The Lords sent a massive rainfall throughout the land and watched as everything, including the people wash away. The rain that was sent created a colossal flood that tore through the land. The people were terrified for their lives. The peasants began to realize that the Lords sent this for defying them.
As the day ended, the water went away and the remains of the land were in shambles. As the people began to pick themselves up, they realized that they were in the middle of a farm. They saw fresh crops growing everywhere. They also noticed a lake nearby where there was plenty of fish for the people to eat. The prayers of the people have been answered by the Lords. The respect is theirs again.

Ben Brandt April 28, 2010 6:44 PM

There once was a perfect, blissful little town nestled in a valley of bright green grass and shaggy pines. In this tiny town lived puppets that resembled miniature wooden people. Their days were spent much like our days. Everyone had a job to do and no strife could be found. If one were to gaze upon the town from a high place like that of a mountain top or a cloud, one would see that the children were the happiest of them all and the easiest to spot. Their tiny wooden bodies were still cheerfully colored for time had not taken its toll.

One little puppet that shined as bright as the other puppets of his age noticed that sometimes he did things that weren’t in his control and he wondered why. He asked his father one day, “Why do I do things sometimes that I don’t intend to do?” His father replied, “Sometimes it may feel like that. Just know that you do what they desire because they know what’s best for all. That is all you need to know to be happy. Stop asking questions and remember to never look up.” The little puppet boy had always been told the one and only rule of the town many times, “Never look up.” He had heard stories from the other children about the curious ones who looked up. They were never to be seen again. Stories were passed between them that talked of dingy cardboard boxes filled with dead dusty puppet remains but no one knew if these stories held any truth. Then again no one wanted to find out if those stories were true even in the slightest bit.

Despite it being told to him on countless occasions, curiosity got the better of the boy and he looked up. He saw strings attached to his little body and realized that he was in fact being controlled. Not more than a second later, he was lifted with such force that his tiny puppet body became entangled in the strings. He was then cast from the town. His tangled wooden body lay amongst other discarded puppets in a damp and dingy cardboard hell.

Brinkman April 29, 2010 10:10 AM

A long time ago in a small town outside of Philadelphia Pennsylvania, a young boy named Mark was playing basketball with his friends. The game had ended and all the other boys went their separate ways home. Mark walked the way that he normally walked home every day but today something was different. As Mark was walking down the alley he was stopped by middle aged man who told him to come with him. Mark always did what his mother said to do and not talk to strangers but he thought he would live on the edge and see what the guy wanted. Mark went with the man farther into the alley when the man stopped in his tracks. He then turned to Mark and said try this. The Man handed Mark a joint filled with marijuana. Mark standing there with a frighten look on his face. He then tried it and started choking immediately and put his hand on his chest to try and calm down. Mark took a step back closed his eyes and felt something he had never felt before. The man standing there in the dark looked at Mark with a disappointed look in his eyes. He looked at mark and said “you can have that my friend”. He then proceeded to walk away. The next day Mark went to play basketball with his friends and he took the joint along with him to try and convince his friends to try what the man had given him the day before. Mark’s friends gave him weird looks and declined his offer to try it. Mark felt betrayed by his buddies. He took his joint and left. Every since that day Mark was never heard from again. Some say he is running wild in the city of Philadelphia, some say he became very successful and lives at the beach with his super model wife, others say he is a bum living under the bridge in South Jersey. It is up to you to decide what god brings to one when you use drugs.

Jeremy Rupp April 29, 2010 9:59 PM

 Once upon a time, a local townsman named George was walking down the main street of Statia Collegia headed towards the market. George was very curious at everything. Like most days in the town, Statia Collegia’s streets were filled with belligerents and intoxicated townsmen and women. These days brought newer taxes and laws that put the townsfolk in disarray, and local parliament was on the verge of losing complete control. Every week, the same time, George went through town to the market to purchase his food for the week. That day was different, however. There were new, hooded scary people visiting the local parliament. Their presence let off a very strange vibe. The scary people left the parliament in a very strange way. They left the building and proceeded to leave the town right away! Gerry thought this was very strange. 
 On the return, from buying his weekly goods, George stood frightened by a flash that lit up the sky. He watched as the flash diminished along with all the light. It was mid-day, but now dark as night. The town was in panic, for killer monsters, who are hate light, lived outside the town’s borders. Every night at dusk, the town guards would secure the village, but it was only mid day and the guards were not ready! Many monsters got in.
 George and the rest of the villagers received word instantly that the parliament was handing out special lights to fend off the monsters away from the townsfolk’s homes. Gerry rushed to parliament to get this special light. However, when he was at the door picking one up, he noticed a hooded person sitting in a peculiar way inside.  
 The lights were working, but needed replaced every so often, so the townsfolk relied on parliament to distribute them. Yet no one knew where they were coming from. The image of the man and the wonderment of where the light came from made George curious. George snuck back to parliament and in through an open window.  What George saw was his last. This hooded person, was one of the scary people, who worked with parliament to capture the sun, and distribute it in these special lights. The rest of parliament, worked on raising monsters, to kill the rebel townsfolk that wouldn’t buy the lights. Parliament was once again in control. The window shut, and George was never seen again. 

George April 29, 2010 10:40 PM

Return to this earth

Not too long ago in a not too far away place, there lived a quaint little family of with 2 kids. The oldest Brian was near fearless because he had been living life to the fullest and trying everything once. The younger child Logan was a rather quiet and not very open with other people. One day the kids left the house to go play at their favorite fun-spot by the nearby woods. They noticed something odd when they arrived, for some reason there was bloody looking tree stump. Logan almost immediately noticed the incredibly bloody mess and was very intrigued so he led the rest to believe it was safe to investigate. As they drew closer they noticed a shinny object partially covered in blood; it was a silver pendant of a celtic knot. Being from a quaint family the boys have not seen such a well crafted and cool looking object so they decided to take it and clean it off. Upon cleaning it off, they noticed an inscription on the inside reading “Born from this earth, we all must return to earth”. The boys thought nothing of it at the time as they continued to play all day long till the sun went down. Later that night as the kids were going to sleep, Logan had noticed that Brain had started to wear the necklace they had found together. Apon going to sleep Logan had terrible visions of the stump and the bloody mess where upon the necklace was found. Logan had awoken the next morning to find that it was only a nightmare and was extremely relieved. He went to go find Brain to tell him of his weird scary dream but to his surprise, Brian was not in bed. Logan had checked all over the house for him and still could not find him. Logan figured that Brain went out to play already so he decided to just go about his day. Later in the day Logan went to go find Brian outside at the most likely spot he would be, the fun-spot by the woods. Upon arrival Logan was startled to find the pendant, covered in more blood than before, on the stump with Brian nowhere to be found. Brian was never seen again.

Kyle S. April 30, 2010 10:02 AM

Once upon a time in our familiar lands a great threat loomed on the outskirts of our humble homes. Our neighbors, our families and our friends all lived in peace and tranquility as our community worked hard to support one another. Our town has always been bright and colorful, with flowers and fresh fruit growing along all paths and places. While our self sustaining community supported one another as everybody lived happily amongst their friends and families, the creatures living on the outside of the village did not feel the same way. At the end of our cheery and colorful lands existed a surrounding deep and dark forest, where the color and warmth quickly fades to dark and grey shadows. 

    In these woods lived dark creatures, none of which can be described in great detail due to their ability to shapeshift into whatever form they please. Just as our community thrives off happiness and helping one another, these creatures thrive off misery and despair. We sustain our lives by spending times with our loved ones and helping our neighbors, while the creatures sustain their lives by doing whatever in their power to spread misery and darkness.. The creatures can locate and pinpoint fear, changing their shapes to a person’s most frightening nightmare. While the creatures thrive off fear and misery, they are also weak to warmth and happiness. They often change shapes into lost loved ones to lure townsfolk to the edge of the woods, where the creatures consume them whole and turn the person into another creature to help reign terror on other townsfolk. 

  As your reigning lords and protectors, we understand that the trickery and deception of these creatures cannot be fought by the strongest willed individuals. An image of a lost loved on cannot be withstood by the strongest hearted man in our lands, and that is why we have taken into our own hands as your protectors to keep you safe. We cannot afford any further lost townsfolk, so we are constructing a fifty foot wall surrounding all sides of our town. We do not want to cut ourselves off from the rest of the lands, but we must to ensure your own protection. This wall is being built to protect you, so you can grow up strong to start your own families. We are protecting you to ensure warmth and happiness flourishes throughout the land.

Elwin April 30, 2010 11:36 AM

Once upon a time, there were three ducks named Quack, Quack-Quack, and Quack-Quack-Quack. One day, they decided to go to the river and find little minnows to eat for lunch. But when they got to the riverbank, they saw a gruff-looking gaggle of guard geese and an old fat mallard called Dr. Quack.

“Stop,” said the guard geese. “We are looking for Big Bad Duck Eaters. Everyone get into line so we can check who is a real duck and who is a Big Bad Duck Eater in disguise.” So all the ducks lined up on the riverbank.

“Stop,” said the guard geese to Quack. “You look too tall for an ordinary duck.” So they took him out of line and showed him to Dr. Quack.

“QUACK!” said Dr. Quack, so loudly that something must be wrong. So they made Quack wait in the pond.

“Stop,” said the guard geese to Quack-Quack. “You look too short for an ordinary duck.” So they took her out of line and showed her to Dr. Quack.

“QUACK! QUACK!” said Dr. Quack, so excitedly that something must be wrong. So they made Quack-Quack wait in the pond.

“Stop,” said the guard geese to Quack-Quack-Quack. “You look too normal for an ordinary duck.” So they took him out of line and showed him to Dr. Quack.

“QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!” said Dr. Quack, so quickly that something must be wrong. So they made Quack-Quack-Quack wait in the pond.

“Stop,” said the guard geese to the next duck in line, who was called Mr. Quackers. “You look too rubbery for an ordinary duck.” So they took him out of line and showed him to Dr. Quack.

Mr. Quackers waddled around quacking. “See?” said Dr. Quack. “It is a duck.” So they let Mr. Quackers into the river.

Then Mr. Quackers took off some fake rubber feathers, and underneath, he really was a Big Bad Duck Eater! He breathed fire and ate up all the ducks in the river. “Oh no!” said Quack-Quack. “What can we do?”

“I know!” said Dr. Quack. “We must pull out everyone’s tail feathers to make sure they are real! Then we will catch the Big Bad Duck Eaters!”

After that, the guard geese always pulled out tail feathers, and no Big Bad Duck Eater ever snuck through again. Quack, Quack-Quack, and Quack-Quack-Quack lived safely and happily ever after.

The End

Josh Conviser April 30, 2010 11:39 AM

A bedtime story to my child:

I thought there were monsters in my closet. Just like you, when I was just your age. I heard the rustling and, from the unknown, I dreamed up horror. But your grandmother rushed in and opened my closet to the same old sneakers. The same dirty shirts.

That didn’t stop the fear though. The monsters of my imagination flickered under reality’s gale force. Teachers told me of the real dangers in the world. They used words like Soviet, nuclear winter and fallout. We saw pictures, grainy and yellow-black with age. Hiroshima. Nagasaki. Men become monsters.

I sat up nights. Each plane overhead heralded the mushroom heat that would burn my small world to slag. Then the rumble would fade and there was relief – until the next. And the next.

There is no control. Can be no control. That’s what my dad said – that I must count on the men who know to protect us – even as they level weapons on others. Because of it. Mutually Assured Terror.

There are no monsters in your closet. Look, I’ll open the door. See, it’s clear.

The monsters are beyond these walls. They surround you day and night – stalking for the silent kill. No longer will there be the roar of a rocket to warn you. There will be no suspense. There will be life – then the bite.

Tonight, you play with your sister and mom. Tonight, I’m here to hold you when you cry. But tomorrow, next week, next year… Blasted to ash.

There is nothing we can do. We can only close our eyes. Close them and trust that there are some who know, some who watch, some who track the monsters that stalk us. They will protect us.

With our eyes closed, we can only have faith.

ses5146 April 30, 2010 12:49 PM

The jaguars had always been kings of the jungle. When other animals had problems they consulted the jaguars for help and a resolution was likely found because of their might. The leader of the jags was Bushtu and he had been chosen by his people lead them safely into the future. All the while, an unseen enemy that had barely reared its head was growing dissatisfied with the jaguars in the western jungle. The boa constrictors had grown very upset with the way the jaguars were handling themselves in the boa’s middle eastern jungle. As this anger and rage grew the boas planned to carry out a surprise attack designed to strike fear into the hearts of the jags. Lashki, the leader of the boas, assembled a skilled group of his people and unleashed them on the jags western jungle. The boas hid themselves in jaguar territory and waited to pounce. At the right time the boas lashed out and began to attack jaguar homes and families, and as soon as the attack had started it was over and the boas had retreated back into the jungle. Upset by the madness that had happened at the hands of the boas Bushtu assembled his people together and encouraged them to rebuild. He promised that the boa attack would not go unpunished and that they would suffer at the hands of the jags. The following day Bushtu put together a group of his strongest jaguars to bring the fight to the doorstep of the boas. As the army of jaguars neared the middle eastern jungle they began to realize that not all boas were angered by the jags and that some actually welcomed their arrival. However the evil boas that had planned the attack on the jags easily hid themselves amongst the peaceful boas. The concealed boas somehow always managed to ambush the jags and cause them great harm. After a long time of trying to route out the enemy boas Bushtu finally decided that the jags had completed their task and the jags returned to the western jungle. However Lashki, the jags most wanted boas, was never captured or even seen during the expedition. As a result of the attack the jags now live in a changed and vigilant society.

mrj5024 April 30, 2010 2:37 PM

Once upon a time there existed a magical land of enlightenment parallel to our own. In this land of wisdom one could gain the knowledge to nearly any of life’s mysteries. People would flock to the magical land on a daily basis and reap the rewards of the magical land.

However with its bountiful gifts this land also contained many dangers that many of the kingdoms people knew not of. Diabolical individuals sought to use the magical lands power to wreak havoc, and gain fortunes through dastardly methods. Villains and monsters could corrupt and posses the people of the kingdom bending them to their will and transforming them into their personal slaves without them even knowing it.
Seeing the misfortune of the people the King of the land entrusted his mighty wizards with the task of making creating enchantments that would protect his citizens from the nefarious beings that took advantage of the magical land. Working night and day the wizards finally succeeded in their quest and many were saved.

Unfortunately for the king this victory was short lived. Soon the darkness that roamed the land of enlightenment learned of more powerful methods to ensnare the citizens.

This cycle continued on for centuries, and is still fought to this very day. With this tale in mind take heed O reader. Should you wander into the land of enlightenment remain vigilant, for the shadow of the wicked will follow you relentlessly waiting for the moment you drop your guard.

(SRA 311)

mro5028 April 30, 2010 3:11 PM

Once upon a time, our kingdom was fair and prosperous. Each commoner worked the earth at their own desire for their personal benefit.  But as there was no ruler in the land, the kingdom was left vulnerable.  One day, a terrible hoard of invaders arrived from the East.  Set upon horseback and armed with fearsome weapons, they laid waste to the kingdom.  Many of our cheery citizens were slaughtered and their lands burned as the merciless assailants pierced through the kingdom unchecked.  Finally, at the behest of the defenseless peasants, a group of valiant heroes were hailed from afar to intervene on our behalf.  With brutal tenacity, the heroes decimated the invaders at every turn.  Having met their match, the hoard retreated back across their borders.  Their job done, the overjoyed peasants bid their heroes farewell.  These noble champions offered to stay and protect the kingdom should it ever descend into darkness again.  However, this arrangement would require the heroes to establish themselves as lords over the commoners, and to receive tribute as they desired.  The peasants resisted these changes; instead opting to leave their kingdom was again defenseless as to preserve the freedom they had previously enjoyed.  The heroes departed and the peasants began rebuilding their kingdom.  
All was well until a renewed host of invaders once again emerged from the East.  A force ten times as strong flooded in to the kingdom, and the invaders fought with terrible zeal as to avenge their humiliating defeat years prior.  The simple peasants were no match for the unprecedented onslaught that was taking place.  They beseeched their fabled heroes to once again aid their dying kingdom.  But alas, the heroes were reluctant to comply.  The previous war had been long and devastating for them, and the rewards offered were not enough to convince the heroes to once again embark on such a long and bloody crusade.  Desperate, the peasants agreed to submit to the heroes as lords over their lands should they protect them from the cruel and bloodthirsty invaders from the East.  The heroes finally agreed, and through tremendous effort and a long campaign, they finally rid the kingdom of their evil threat.  They then took their rightful place as lords, ever vigilant to keep these lands safe and protect our kingdom from destruction evermore.

bjm5180 April 30, 2010 3:22 PM

Once upon a time all people on Earth lived above the ground. Everyone went about their daily lives, studying at school, working in offices, and buying things from stores. Most people were dutiful and heeded the warning of the Internet: “The World will end in 2012”. That is why we are safe today, bunkered down deep under the earth’s surface with supplies and connections to others who believed. We must always be grateful for what our Lords on the surface above us saved us from; a terrible death of the planets aligning.

I am going to tell the story of what happened to the people who didn’t listen to the protectors so that you will know never to venture to the surface and always obey the Lords. The Ones Who Died were happy people, but also they were ignorant and spent much of their time ranting about their intellectual ability called ‘rational thought’ and how it made them wise. They trusted science and things that they could prove or see and had no respect for the powers that really kept everyone safe.

The warnings came and we the Survivors listened. We gave all our money to the Lords that used to be galled ‘the Government’ and entered the safety chambers far underground where we live today. Those who complained and did not relinquish their freedom to be saved stayed above ground. At first we were so angry of their ignorance, but the Lords helped us redirect our anger and eventually we only pitied those fools who continued to live in freedom. On the day before the planets were set to align and the World would end, all who dwelled underground voted in pity of those who lived above to send them to the afterlife before they must suffer the real terrible fate. We watched on TV as they were killed, all over the world by our Lords, mercifully saving them from the terrible fate that waited.

So always remember to trust in the Lords who keep us safe from death and give us a reason to work. Or you can look through the TV and see the jungle of trees, water and fresh air that you will be expelled into if you ever break the law.

(SRA 311)

qma5001 April 30, 2010 7:52 PM

Fake an alien landing placing an “alien” body at the crash site and “parts” of the ship with hidden compartments sized big enough for thieves to hide in. Pose it outside of a R and D department section of a company and when they take it in to study it. After they leave the thieves exit, take pictures of the RnD stuff, and then sabotage it all.

Alexa April 30, 2010 10:48 PM

Little Anna was raised in a Christian home and has been well educated on the afterlife, Heaven and Hell in particular. Anna’s mother has told her that the devil disguises himself as a stranger that approaches children; many children had started to disappear in broad daylight, and Anna’s mother wanted her to be prepared. Anna’s mother said that the devil would often offer candy, or pretend to be a friend of the family, in order to get a child to let his or her guard down. Anna believed her mother, and she told all of her classmates at school that they should fear unknown people who may approach them, for they are the devil in disguise. They other children did not believe Anna and she felt very discouraged. She left school and walked home feeling disappointed and saddened.
Anna’s mother always had the kitchen TV on while she was cooking dinner, and Anna would watch the 5:00 news together. On this particular night there had been a kidnapping reported; Anna noticed that it was one of her friends from her second grade class that had dismissed her fears just earlier that day. Months had passed and there was still no sign of Anna’s classmate. Anna’s mom, along with all the other parents, had been especially careful in bringing their children to and from school; they would not allow for any time to be unaccounted for.
Anna’s classmates, from that moment on, fully believed in her fears. News reporting of missing children cases continued to surface all over the country, but not within Anna’s hometown. Anna believed that the kidnappings were not happening in the town she lived in because she told all the children of her mother’s teachings and they now feared the devil.
Twenty –five years had passed and Anna had children of her own; Todd, her six year old son, and Sara, her eight year old daughter. Anna passed the same teachings on to her children in hopes of protecting them from harm, but they were not as accepting of these beliefs as Anna had been as a child. Todd and Sara did not talk of these things at school to their classmates. One day when Anna came to pick up the children, Todd was there alone and said he thought Sarah had walked home—but when they got back to the place, she was not there either.

Dan P May 1, 2010 2:49 PM

Harassment in a Village

Once upon a time, in a small village, in a small house, lived a family plague with unfortunate luck. The family was constantly victims to many crimes such as theft and vandalism. The father was a scared, small, brittle old man who could never defend himself against the much bigger criminals he faced. His wife was similarly old, small, brittle, and absolutely defenseless against the gangster that constantly harassed her family. The couple had a young boy, who was to young to defend his family and constantly scared.

There was one significantly worse week that the family went through. On the first day, there garden was trampled, and all the crops they relied on were ruined.
The second day, all the windows in there house were broken by heavy rocks that were thrown at them. This was especially cruel, being how cold it happened to be that week.
The third day was not better, in fact it had been much worse. On this day the old man had gotten beat up on his way home from work. His hand had be broken in the struggle, and was now unable to work.
One the fourth day the young boy was chased home from school by a bunch of hoodlums, and cried himself to sleep that night.
On fifth day, the family hid inside their house, afraid of what might happen to them. This angered the hoodlums who decided that on this day they would harass them from outside there home from sun up to sun down.
On the sixth day the family small house was robbed in the middle of the night. All their food, all the boys toys, and all the old man’s tools were gone. This was particularly upsetting to the family.
On the last day of the week the family’s house was burned down to the ground. They were now homeless.
The village nobles caught world of this tragic story and decided enough was enough. They created the Village Pride Rule. With this rule, the nobles gave themselves more power to fight back against these criminals. All houses, inside and out would now be monitored. All conversations would now be listened in on by the nobles. And all even suspected of a crime would now be detained without reason.

The family lived happily ever after.

(SRA 311)

Alex Cala May 1, 2010 5:03 PM

Once upon a time there were two boys named Kyle. They were both named Kyle. It annoyed people. If their parents would have known that their future sons were gonna hang out together they definitely would have chosen different names. They could have been the same too though. Anyways, they liked playing with fireworks. This was dangerous. Kyle was always like “Yo, Kyle I wanna blow some crap up” and Kyle was like “Bro don’t do it that’s dangerous”. Kyle would play with them anyways. One day Kyle got some fireworks and Kyle told him, as usual, not to light them. Kyle did it anyways. This made Kyle angry. But not the Kyle that light the fireworks. The other Kyle. Anyways, Kyle blew his freakin arm off because he shouldn’t have been playing with fireworks, and Kyle was really sad. (The Kyle that didn’t blow his arm off). The moral of the story is to not play with fireworks, and not write stories with two man characters that have the same name because it will be really hard to understand.

ejb5050 May 1, 2010 5:40 PM

The story starts as Little Jimmy is talking to his parents about why certain things happen in life and why it seems to be a random collection of events. His parents, quickly thinking to the teachings that they have received over several years from their parents and the parents before them, reveal that everything is happening a certain way due to the desires of the Gods. He must obey all the teachings that are brought forth by not only his parents but those of his teachers and other authority figures in the community or else he will upset the Gods. They are very powerful and hold the ability to harm Little Jimmy and those that are close to him, even his little puppy Spot. Little Jimmy is an idle school student and listens to everything that those in the town say but eventually he starts to see that not everyone is being as lucky as him going through life. His friend’s father gets laid off from his job and another friend’s grandfather passes away but he seems to have a stable financial state from both of his parents being employed and all of his grandparents being around. He again tries to ask his parents why certain things are happening to friends of his but not to him. They again remind him that it is because of the Gods and that he better not ask any more questions or else the Gods will take their actions upon him…and yes even his dog Spot. So nervous of something that could happen to him or his family Little Jimmy starts to become a big follower of the words taught by the authority figures before him. All the students and citizens who start speaking out against what is being taught are eventually getting shipped off to jail and aren’t being seen again. Little Jimmy even helps point out who these naysayers are and gets them arrested and taken away. It is from this that Little Jimmy learns that as long as you do exactly what is taught by parents and teachers who are much wiser than you, you will live a happy life and won’t be sent away to prisons and you get to keep playing with your puppy dogs just like Spot. Otherwise, you can kiss the good life goodbye and live in jail forever.

cum158 May 1, 2010 9:50 PM

Once upon a time in a far away land, there was a town with no rules called Norulestopia. Anyone could do as they pleased. One day a little girl and a little boy heard of this distant land. The thought it would be cool to venture into this land. In the children’s minds, were images of a peaceful land and a land of paradise. These kids decided that they wanted to go to this place. So the begged their parents to take them. The parents, never hearing of this place decide it would be neat to see this place since they have travelled everywhere else. The parents made travel arrangements to visit this mysterious area.
The family went in by plane to this mysterious land planning their trip every mile along the way. As they got closer to Norulestopia, they noticed several broken down buildings and some even burning buildings. Once the family saw this they didn’t think Norulestopia is as wonderful as they thought. But as they were thinking this, the pilot announced that the runway was destroyed and they had low fuel. The pilot had to do an emergency landing. There was a nearby river that was perfect to land in. The plan was landed in the river with everybody alive! Everyone made their way out of the plane and were inflating rafts to get to land.
Once on land, the family noticed something in this dark night. They noticed that the city was lightened up, but with fire. There were gangs all over the city destroying anything they saw. The family instantly knew that this is a terrible land and needed to get out as fast as they can. The biggest problem the family encountered was that there were police to help them in this town. The family was on its own to get out of the city. As they were planning their escape they saw many people getting mugged and tortured. The family had to keep moving. Then suddenly they found a truck that was still useable. With luck they found the keys on top of the visor of the truck. The father turned the key and it worked! The family drove up to a bridge with a sign saying now exiting Norulestopia. Then the father hit the brakes very hard. The bridge was no longer there. How can get leave Norulestopia now?

sam :-) May 3, 2010 5:45 PM

Once upon a time, in the small village of Willatreewoo, there lived two children, Irksome Izzy and Dependable Danny. They liked their village, for everyone looked the same and dressed alike. They were all green. Green skin, green hair, green clothes.

But then one day a tall blue stranger came to town. Izzy and Danny had learned long ago to be afraid of the blue people, for adults said everywhere they travelled livestock exploded. Their parents had told them that good children throw stones to scare away the blue people, but Irksome Izzy didn’t see why she should do that. The stranger looked the same as Willatreewooians. Instead of throwing stones, she offered the man a pretty flower.

But Dependable Danny did what he had been told, not like that naughty Irksome Izzy. He picked up a stone and threw it at the man. As a crowd gathered around, the man yelped and jumped. They threw more and more stones until finally the man ran away, leaving the Willatreewooians in peace.

But, “what should be done with that naughty Irksome Izzy?” everyone asked. Well, Dependable Danny knew the answer. He did what the adults had told him to do. He did the right thing. He picked up a stone.

D.Joseph (SRA 311) May 3, 2010 10:46 PM

Once upon a time, there was a family that lived in a cute town called Kindasafe Town. It was the sort of place where everyone knew everyone else and there were rarely visitors. The family felt that they were well protected in their town and made their two children believe that nothing bad could ever happen to them. Each night, before they went to bed, they would each kiss their parents good night and have sweet dreams.
One day, a new couple moved in down the block who were slightly different from them. However, the family made every effort to be friendly toward their cul-de-sac companions and developed a relationship with them. The new neighbors always complimented them for their beautiful children and would often babysit without being asked. They were very nice, or so they thought….
One night, after the parents had kissed their children goodnight and went to bed, the lock to their front door was broken. Two people went upstairs and entered the children’s room. They then grabbed the children, held their mouths shut and taped their hands and feet together. The pair took the children and the parents woke up the next morning to two empty beds.
They never saw their children ever again….or the new neighbors.

Der Schnuffler May 4, 2010 9:12 PM

The Simpsons just did an episode about this very topic (security cameras all over Springfield).

Richard Pauli June 6, 2010 11:33 AM

Regarding #4 – Done.

I rewrote that fairy tale almost two years ago (july 08)

It is a vitally important message for children of all ages. I apply it to global warming – the most dangerous threat we face.

Feel free to link or repost. I encourage parents to read this aloud.

Richard Pauli


The Boy Who Denied Wolf

A Parable for the Age of Global Warming
by Richard Pauli

Once there was a village surrounded by farms and a deep forest. The farmers would clear the forest-land to plant crops and tend their sheep – pushing back the edge of the mysterious forest further and further. One day the farmers thought they heard the inhuman and plaintive sound of howling wolves. It was a very faint sound, and they were not sure; then most all the villagers started to hear them too.
They were pretty sure the sounds were nearing, louder and louder.

The villagers began to fear they were being slowly encircled by packs of wolves. Almost every night, the villagers could hear the howling, and sometimes in the daytime – far off in the hills surrounding the village.

Wolves are very dangerous and if ignored could destroy flocks and farms and even kill people. To defend themselves and their farms, the villagers needed to know whether wolves were nearby.

…in the wind, in every shawdow, and in every moving blade of grass…

One young man spoke up and boldly said, “There are no wolves, I have lived here for years and I have never seen even one wolf.” Most of the villagers had never seen wolves either, but they did hear them, and knew that wolves could kill. So surely they should keep watch for such a danger. Still the boy said, “There is no danger, because there are no wolves here.”

The village elders felt they knew better, but were not sure whether the young man was wrong about this. Surely they did not want to worry about wolf attacks or be awakened from sleep by false alarms about wolves. They did not want someone who feared wolves to stand guard and start imagining that behind every sound in the forest danger lay. Such a worried watchman would see wolves everywhere – in the wind, in every shadow and in every moving blade of grass. So they chose the young man to be the lookout for wolves. Since he did not believe in wolves, they were sure the young man would never give a false alarm. They were certain he would not imagine something that was not there.

So that night, just before darkness closed and the howling began, the young man carried the alarm bell and took watch. Darkness fell, and closer and closer the howls and shapes moved in the shadows, the wolves came and devoured a nearby farmer and his animals…leaving no trace.

The next day, when the villagers saw the farmer and his sheep were gone, they questioned the young man about wolves.

“Did you not see them?” “Why did you not sound the alarm?”

The young man denied there were any wolves. “None were there,” he said. “The farmer and his animals must have walked away. There were no wolves. I know that it is a natural cycle; on a full moon animals and farmers will just walk away.” Some villagers thought it possible, but some thought otherwise.

Did you not seeDid you not sound the alarm ?

A few days later the wolves began to howl again. And the young man volunteered to keep watch over the people. He demanded that he be the only one to watch and to ring the alarm bell.

Wolves came and attacked another farm. The farmer and his livestock disappeared. The wolves were never seen.

The villagers said, “There were wolves here! Did you not see them? ”
“I did not. They were not here. There are no wolves. Look around, do you see any wolves here?” he asked. Of course there were none to see in the daylight.

“But there are wolf footprints on the ground” said the village elders.

“Well you must look in the darkness… Since there are no wolves in the daylight, these tracks cannot be real – since we are in the daylight. You must look for footprints in the dark.” said the young watchman.

“Just in case, I will stand guard tonight again and tell you what I see.” added the boy. “There are no wolves, but if I see a wolf I will ring the alarm bell. But I have never seen a wolf yet. There may not even be wolf sounds. The howling you hear may be sick pigs or wind. As for the missing farmers and sheep – I have read accounts of farmers and animals that walk away sometimes…. a natural departure. Wolves had nothing to do with it.”

For the third night — when darkness came and the low howling started — the villagers worried that someone needed to take watch. Again the boy demanded that he be the only one to stand watch at the edge of town – because he thought only he could see the truth. He assured them that only he could see wolf danger. He promised to ring the alarm bell if ever a wolf should appear.

Night came. The villagers slept, the sheep slept, the birds slept. But the boy was very awake, to lookout for wolves.

And it was not very surprising that the wolves soon came. They circled the boy. He heard their footsteps and smelled them, but he thought these were just foxes. The wolves sniffed his legs, he felt their hot breathing and tough tongues licking his hands; since the boy was certain these were not wolves – he did not sound the alarm. He did not see them, he was sure they were not there, he was sure they would never come to his village; it had to be something else. Then the wolves nipped his hands and feet, and he felt the pain, but he did not actually see the wolves because it was dark. The pain had to be just natural foot pain, he thought. The wolves settled in, as did the increasing pain. Just before it was too late, the boy allowed that it may, indeed, be possible that wolves were real and attacking him now. But he had no free hands to sound the bell.

The villagers, hearing cries and howls in the night, could not tell if the cries of pain were human cries or wolf cries. They did not hear the alarm bell ring.

Villager, farmer, watchman, or sheep, in the end, the wolves found every prey died just as quickly. So that night the wolves again had a full meal. They went back into the deep forest to their growing pack.

Come morning, the villagers were now very sure the wolves were attacking. Now they built tall walls, sturdy doors and sought out another watchman. They found a man who could listen in the darkness, see the sounds, and feel the changes of the night. Someone who could warn them in time of approaching danger and save the village.

Sometimes when we deny, but eventually realize the truth, we learn it too late to say. We will deny once, deny twice — but then perish when we deny our own plight.

Richard Pauli
July 2008

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.