An Easy Pick

story & illustration © 2003 Bruce Van Patter

icking apples seemed to Prince Fane to be just too simple. Where was the challenge in that?
He saw up ahead a gleam of gold against a rocky hill. As he strolled over to pick the golden apple, he thought about the contest. The king had told him if he wanted to get his own ship to sail into adventure, he had to pick three golden apples in the forest. Prince Fane would have three hours to get them. When he laughed about how easy it would be, his father, the king, added one more problem to the contest.

He added a monster.

The monster would also be trying for the apples. If the monster got them first, then there would be no ship for Fane. That had troubled the prince, but only until he saw the monster. It shuffled into the throne room, and to Fane it looked like furry jester -- with three big floppy ears and bad teeth. It was strong, but was short. And to Fane it seemed very, very stupid.

Now here was Fane in the woods, about to pick his first apple. He came to the rocky wall, smiled, then reached for the apple. He plucked it from the branch. It was all so easy.

Then strong hands grabbed him around his waist. He was thrown to the ground. With a thud, he landed on his back and the apple flew from his hand up into the air. It came down into the hand of the furry monster. "Fanks," it said through its crooked smile. "I'm too wittle to weach."

Then before Fane could get up, the monster ran off into the woods with his three ears bouncing with every little step.

It's Your Story - hey, Fane, don't count your apples before they are picked!

Help me write the ending. Can you think of what will happen to the other two apples? Will Fane get his ship? Will he stop being so stuck up? Can you think of a surprise ending? And... will Fane be golden to get his ship?

Have fun -- finish the story -- and be creative! I'd love you to email me your ending!