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The King's Sheep
AJ, Age 12, Maryland, USA

Once, not long ago, there was a king. His name was King Roasty Marshmallow Jr. He was the son of King Ronny Marshmallow. He ruled the kingdom of Shepherdsville.

Every king in Shepherdsville was a shepherd of extraordinary talent; this is how kings were first decided. Then their sons were extraordinary shepherds as well. A king would own over 100 sheep. Handling them was not an easy job, but with their skill, they were able to do it. After many years they would become masters of herding sheep. Ronny was a grand king. Every one loved the way he ruled the land. He was fair and kind to everyone, but the best thing about him was that he charged no taxes. Everyone who lived in Shepherdsville was a genius, scientist, or exceptional athlete. But one Christmas Eve there was a new baby born, and this baby was a boy of no talent or skill. And you could guess who the father of this baby was: King Ronny Marshmallow.

When the news first came about his son, everyone was disappointed. This had never happened in the history. People would wait outside the king’s balcony and wave picket signs “ You are crazy, out with the baby, for he is lazy.” For days this went on, and the king was troubled much by this. One day he decided to end this madness. He called one of his attendants, “Miguel, I have decided to end this madness now.”

“But how will you do this? It seems almost impossible,” Miguel prompted him. “Do you have bright ideas? Maybe a vote of some kind?

“I was thinking you would have an idea. You are my smartest attendant,” the king said sheepishly. The king folded his hands together and was shaking them, as if he was begging one of his attendants.

“Actually, I do have an idea. I wasn’t going to tell, but now I can.” Miguel said proudly. “You convinced yourself that your son was not an untalented baby. So, you could do the same for the people, tell them some things and maybe they will think the same as you.”

“Well, what are you waiting for, get started on that grand idea of yours. I will need to present it tomorrow whenever one comes to insult my son.”

The next morning during Ronny’s breakfast, Miguel ran in with a scroll ten feet long. Ronny’s first thoughts were, how long did it take for him to write that? How am I going to read all of that? I will put every one to sleep. Miguel tripped on the rug around the grand- table and spilled all of the glasses of orange juice. Surprisingly, he did not care, and got right to the day’s schedule.

“You will read this at three o’clock, when every one gets off work and shouts at your balcony. Read fast, because people will start to leave after the first thirty minutes. And you will end with this quote, ‘I will train my son, I will teach my son, I will make him the best son ever.’ Or something like that,” Miguel said proudly, as if he were talking about his own son.

At 2:55 PM Ronny came out and sat on his golden chair on his balcony. Some people were already there, but they were just painting new picket signs. Five minutes later, some 200 people were yelling and chanting. This was the first time that Ronny had actually seen people there, and he was just stunned. It took some time just to calm everybody, and Ronny started his speech. The people started booing. Finally the king could not stand it and he shouted as loud as he could:

“QQQQQQQUUUUUUUUIIIIIIEEEETTTTT!!!!!!!!”

Everybody stopped and listened. Ronny coughed and started again. By the time he finished, like five o’clock, half the people were asleep. The few people, who were still asleep, applauded quietly. Soon every! one left and slumbered all the way home. The king thought the speech had no effect whatsoever, but he thought wrong.

He waited outside on his balcony the next day to see if people would come again. Looking down on the courtyard, he saw no one, not even far out into the distance! He waited so long, he ended up sleeping on his balcony. When he woke up the next morning he was happy as ever. He ran down to the dinning hall, Miguel was there waiting for him. “Sir, where have you been? It is almost midday. You even missed your bathing time.”

“It worked! It worked! Praise the Lord, for my son shall be free from mistreatment!” Ronny came in running down the stairs. “The speech that you wrote effected my people, and they have come to have faith in my son. Thank you sooooo much!” The king ran off yelling and cheering. Miguel was not happy about the news, and murmured under his breath, “I hate Ronny!!!!!!!”

The next day around four o’clock people were showing up with picket signs again, the king was very confused. Now the signs read ‘What shall we call your son? Does the baby have a name?’ The king understood, he had forgotten to name his baby! He went back inside and discussed this with Miguel. Then he came back outside and quieted the people.

“I will have a vote between two names I have come up with,” Ronny told his people. “The names are Joseph or Roasty!”

Now the people were not supporting him completely, so most of them were voting for Roasty. The vote was taken. First Ronny yelled out, “If my son shall be called Joseph, shout out as loud as you can.” No one shouted. The king didn’t look surprised. So he asked for Roasty, everyone shouted! The king again didn’t seem so surprised, and said “My son’s name shall be ROASTY!” He seemed happy, he must have been, he had never named a son before.

Roasty’s life wasn’t so great. People would push him around and tease him a lot. It turned out he wasn’t so smart. His father had to pay teachers to get him through school. But Roasty’s 18th birthday was coming up, and for royalty, this was extra special. His father would teach him how to keep sheep. Ronny had realized over the years that Roasty wasn’t smart, so he tried to make his life even more special. To do this Ronny invited the whole town of Shepherdsville; already knowing that only his best friend, Miguel would come. Over time they had become very close friends.

Roasty seemed to have a good time at the party, but the only people who showed came for the cake and left. After the party, the ceremony started, and Roasty was granted the power of a royal shepherd! The next day his father taught him how to be a great shepherd. For the next month he trained him well, and by the look of things he was going to be better than his father. Then he got his own flock of sheep and took just like his dad had taught him. It seemed too good to be true. And that it was too good to be true. As soon as Roasty was on his own, things started to get bad. He was not taking care of his sheep well. Ronny was shocked, his training was excellent, and he had passed with flying colors! There was no way something was wrong with Roasty. It had to be the sheep; maybe they were sick or something.

Ronny and his son made a plan. At night they would watch the sheep. If any one would come along and touch them or do anything, they would capture them. A net was waiting to drop if any one got near the sheep. After a few hours Ronny and Roasty had fallen asleep!

In the morning Ronny and Roasty woke to a big surprise, someone was in the net! But the most surprising thing was who was in the net. It was Ronny’s most faithful servant, MIGUEL!!! At first they thought it was a mistake, but then he admitted it, he had been poisoning the sheep’s food!

“I did it because I wanted to be the next king, and if Roasty wasn’t good enough, then maybe you would make me king!” Miguel said solemnly.

The next day Roasty was crowned king, and Miguel was banned from the kingdom forever.

 

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