Once upon a time, Henry was inside a pretend rocket in a playground. It bumped you around and had a pretend steering wheel to make it seem more like a rocket. There were also pretend buttons. But on that very day, Morris, the town bully, came along. Henry, forgetting he was in a pretend rocket, pressed a button and somehow the rocket took off, while Morris watched, astonished!
In time, Henry found that the rocket stopped when the air began to thin. After that he managed to steer it down to the home of his friend Jim. Jim was building a sand castle when Henry arrived in the rocket. The rocket turned the sand below it to glass.
"What is the meaning of this?!?!?" cried Jim.
Henry came out of the rocket and explained what had happened. Jim said, "Wow, we could go exploring!"
"Well, why not?" asked Henry.
The two boys went into the rocket. 16-year-old Henry took the wheel. They landed on a mountain in the middle of a swamp. They had come to a magic mountain. The bucket Jim had used for his moat would now be never empty of water. When they reached the palace on top of the mountain, the King fell over laughing at how sandy Jim was. The King told them that there was a gold mine in this mountain -- that there was a cave-in, "... and we need your shovel. Without the gold we cannot buy shovels for ourselves."
When the shoveling was done, Jim and Henry were offered positions among the people in the palace, but they disagreed: "I have to go home," said Jim, "Mother must be worried sick about me."
"I have to see eight-year-old Benny," said Henry.
"All right, you can go home," said the King, "I wasn't trying to force you."
Copyright © 1995 Samuel Dashiell Shemitz
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