(The following blog is actually a story written by me and my three great nieces and nephew. Our family had rented a VRBO for the holidays, and the house where we stayed contained many of the elements found in this story. The idea was also inspired by an article I shared with my high school students in the 1980s. In his satirical piece “Learn with BOOK” (Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge), R. J. Heathorn made fun of a society addicted to electronic gadgets. Yes, this non-fiction piece was written in the 1980s!)
THE SECRET SURPRISE INSIDE THE SECRET ROOM
In a castle deep in the woods, a secret door inside a secret room stood ready to be discovered by a prince, three princesses, and a royal unicorn.
Prince Patton guided Maddie as she carried Princess McCullough, Princess Catherine, and Baby Princess Sarah on her back. Maddie stopped in her tracks when she saw the glow of the fire from the castle tower window.
One hundred steps led to the top of the tower. Even though they were weary from traveling all day, Prince Patton encouraged the princesses to climb the tower steps. Ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred! Finally, they reached the top of the stairs.
The light from the end of Maddie’s horn pointed directly at a tiny key hole in the middle of a tiny door. As Maddie tilted her head and unlocked the door with her horn, another giant door appeared behind the tiny one.
Princess McCullough and Princess Catherine heaved together to push open the door.
“It’s too heavy,” cried McCullough.
“Maybe it’s locked,” suggested Catherine.
Baby Sarah gave Prince Patton one of her angry looks and simply said, “Help.”
Prince Patton just smiled quietly and pulled a giant key from the pocket of his tunic.
“The key!” cried the princesses. “Prince Patton has the key”!
As he turned the key in the lock, Prince Patton slowly pushed open the door to the secret room. Inside the room were walls and walls and walls of shelves that held mysterious-looking boxes. Princess McCullough and Princess Catherine had never seen anything like these boxes before.
“What are they?” asked McCullough.
“What do we do with them?” wondered Catherine.
When Baby Sarah touched a box, it fell open to reveal hundreds of words printed on hundreds of sheets of paper. She started swiping her finger across one of the pages, but nothing happened.
Even Maddie the unicorn wondered what to do with so many beautiful boxes.
Then Prince Patton removed a box from the nearest shelf and showed the princesses how to turn the pages inside the box.
He explained, “A wise old king told me this secret room beheld something wonderful. When he gave me this key, he said it would unlock a treasure that has been unused for years. He wanted us to bring the treasure back to life.”
“All of these boxes in this secret room are called books,” continued Patton. “McCullough, Catherine, and Sarah, you have been selected by the king as his special messengers to share these obsolete wonders with the rest of the world. It is your mission to take these treasures back to your kingdoms and show your people how to hold them, how to turn their pages, and how to read their words.”
“The king chose us?” asked Catherine.
“We will be his special messengers,” whispered McCullough as she stared in awe at the treasure-filled room.
Baby Sarah smiled as she discovered colorful pictures on top of many of the boxes.
“These books hold the real key to happiness,” explained Prince Patton. “This beautiful tome, the most important book of all, is the King James Bible. There are copies for each of you to share with the people in your kingdoms.”
“What are these books with the golden edges?” asked McCullough.
“Those books contain the words of William Shakespeare, a famous writer who knew King James.”
“These books have the ABC’s on the edges. What kinds of books are they?” asked Catherine.
“They are called encyclopedias,” answered Patton.
“What’s an encyclopedia?” chimed McCullough and Catherine together.
“It’s like Google,” explained Patton, “only better and more reliable.”
Just then Baby Sarah spotted a colorful book with lots of furry characters and the words Sesame Street written on the cover.
“Elmo!” Sarah cried as she pointed to the big guy in the furry red suit.
“Ha, ha!” laughed the others as they saw Sarah smile at Elmo.
“Yes,” Patton confirmed. “This secret room is certainly full of wonderful surprises. The king said the books are ours to share and enjoy.”
“Come on, Maddie. Let’s get you loaded up so you can help us carry these treasures back to our kingdoms.”
Maddie neighed as they began to strap the boxes to her back. The princesses marveled at the beauty of the boxes they held in their hands.
Seeing the furry red creature once again, Baby Sarah pointed and laughed as if she’d just been tickled.
“Knowing that I lov’d my books, he furnish’d me from mine own library with volumes that I prize above my dukedom.” –William Shakespeare
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”–Psalm 119:105
“Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.” –Proverbs 4:5