Written by Nancy Jill Thames
Being an asthmatic as a child my husband was allergic to mold, mildew and pet dander. As an experiment to see if he still had pet allergies as an adult, for two weeks we tried adopting two kittens which proved disastrous, culminating in the use of flea bombs and taking the poor little things to the shelter.
After moving to a different local and our daughter begging for a pet of some kind, we allowed her to buy a rat, which she named Sandy, and we all absolutely fell in love. Sandy didn’t produce mold or mildew, instead, she produced something far worse – pet dander. As a result, our dad almost died from asthma until he told me the rat must go.
I wrote this story to help our children realize that our father was the most important person in our family and we needed to protect him from harm. And so Sandy left our family via the animal shelter where hopefully someone gave her a home, a home where her little life and antics would bring them all the fun and laughter and love she had given to us.
Maybe your family, too, at some time must make a sacrifice. Here’s the first story I ever wrote.
In olden times, when some people used magic spells to get what they wanted, there was a small kingdom called The Kingdom of Good. Birds flitted from tree to tree in this land, light was everywhere, and peace was in everyone. Across the river to the north lay the Kingdom of Evil, a place of darkness filled with spiders and evil vibrations. Although the two kingdoms existed side by side, the only thing bringing them together was the school.
The two most popular kids in the school happened to be two boys, a friendly, handsome lad named Ted from the Kingdom of Good, and a brooding, sinister, smart alec named Death from the Kingdom of Evil. Ted made high grades and was kind to everyone. Death often cheated and was mean to everyone, but since half of the students were from the dark land, they though Death was great.
One day, Ted caught Death cheating on an Old English test and the principal had to expel him from school because that was the rule. As he left the school, Death turned to Ted and vowed, “I will have my revenge someday, somehow, for what you have done to me.”
Ted grew up, fell in love, got married and had two children, a girl and a boy. Ted loved his family and was always giving them gifts to show just how much he loved them. They were all very happy. One day, as they were walking in their lovely garden, Ted told his wife, Honey, about Death’s vow for revenge and warned her she must guard the house from anything that likened itself to the Kingdom of Evil. Somehow Ted knew that if she allowed darkness to come in, he would go blind. If she allowed spiders and their webs into their home, he would go deaf. And if she allowed vibrations in, his heart would fail. So, dutifully, Honey cut vines from the house so no darkness would enter. She chased the spiders out, and swept away their webs with her broom.
The children, Girl and Boy, were allowed to have friends over to play after school, but Smell, Rot, Noise, and Dirt caused evil vibrations and made everyone upset. They were never invited back. Other children like Sweet, Kind, and Peace played happily with Girl and Boy and they were always welcome.
By this time, Death also had a child. His name was Sneak, and although he was handsome in an odd sort of way, he was evil and spied on Girl and Boy and kept his father informed of Ted’s activities as well. When Sneak told Death how happy Ted and his family were, Death became jealous and his anger was stirred up again with the memory of the humiliation he suffered because of Ted’s exposing him as a cheat.
Death cast a spell disguising Sneak as a good child and sent him to play with Ted’s children after school one day. Girl and Boy invited Sneak into their home and introduced him to Ted and Honey, not knowing he was the son of Death. Sneak made a good impression on everyone and by the end of the afternoon the whole family had accepted him as being wonderful, polite, and very entertaining. Ted thought something was vaguely familiar about Sneak but dismissed it from his mind as “fancy” and went about his work.
Honey became so busy making extra snacks for Sneak and spending time with him (because he was so much fun to be around) that she forgot to trim the vines and Ted began to lose his sight. Seeing Honey and the children so happy whenever Sneak was there, Ted decided not to say anything about his blindness.
Summer came and happily for everyone, school let out. Honey began inviting Sneak to stay for dinner and she often invited him to stay the night. It was a home filled with joy and laughter but everyone was so busy having fun that they forgot to kill the spiders and sweep away their webs. Ted began to lose his hearing as well as his sight, but he loved his family so much that he didn’t complain or say anything at all. He just kept it to himself and stayed in his garden so no one would notice he was almost blind, and no one would notice he was growing weaker.
Honey and the children enjoyed Sneak’s company so much that they asked him to come and live with them. It seemed that the more they were with Sneak, the more fun they had and they hungered for more. The family hardly paid any attention to their father unless it was to ask him for things they wanted. They didn’t realize that Ted was now totally blind and deaf because vines covered the house and the spiders roamed about, freely.
One day, Honey wanted to ask Ted to buy her some new clothes for a party she was giving to celebrate Sneak’s coming to live with them. She called for him, “Ted, Ted,” but no one answered. She asked Girl and Boy if they had seen their father but they were so busy having fun with Sneak that they said they hadn’t seen their father for days.
Honey looked all over the house frantically calling, “Ted! Ted!” but she couldn’t find him. Finally, Honey went into Ted’s garden. There he lay on the ground, dead. Honey cried, “Oh, Ted, Ted, what have I done? I forgot to trim the vines and I didn’t kill the spiders but why did you die? Where were the vibrations? I couldn’t feel them or see them. Oh, Ted, I loved you so much and I’m so sorry.”
Honey cried for hours and finally realized she must tell the children. When Girl and Boy were told their father was dead they were very, very sorry, but they, too couldn’t understand why he died.
Without their father to support them there was very little money left to live on. Sneak didn’t want to live with them anymore because they were poor so he deserted them and went home to his evil father, Death. Sadly, Honey took Girl and Boy and left their home, which they could no longer afford, and went into the forest seeking shelter. There, they found an old abandoned stone house and make it their home.
Girl and Boy collected firewood for fuel and Honey planted a garden of vegetables. With the last of the money she bought a few chickens to raise for meat and eggs and a cow for milk. That was all they had.
As their clothes turned to rags, laughter and fun disappeared from their lives. Soon, Honey died from hard work and Girl and Boy grew up orphaned and poor. Boy had to work as a laborer in a field and Girl did kitchen help because they couldn’t afford any more education to do anything else. Their beloved father, the one who had given them everything, was dead. Their mother was dead and Sneak was gone.
Death laughed when his son Sneak told him how he moved in and spread his vibrations unseen by anyone in the family. He laughed as he told his father about Honey having so much fun that she forgot to trim the vines and kill the spiders. Death said, “I now have my revenge. Ted is finally dead because he shamed me for cheating. Ted made the fatal mistake of loving his family more than they really needed. They were happy enough without my jovial son. They just didn’t realize it until it was too late.”
If only Ted had told his wife, “I’m going blind. You must cut the vines.” If only he had told her, “I’m going deaf. You must kill the spiders and destroy their webs.” If only he had told his family, “My heart hurts whenever I’m around Sneak. He must be the source of the evil vibrations.”
But Ted was fooled into thinking his family loved laughter and merriment more than they loved him. It wasn’t the lack of love that kept them from cutting the vines and killing the spiders and sweeping away their webs, and they didn’t realize evil vibrations were weakening Ted’s heart. He was wrong about their not loving him enough. Honey and the children just didn’t know how he felt, and now they were ruined.