Pflugerville Public Library TeenSpace

The Hatter’s Hog

            A haggard, bearded man shuffled down the packed-earth street in the twilight toward his abode.  It was an old, but not too shabby, house in an unkempt yard inside the fence of which lived a single pig.  The man himself, a citizen by the name of John, had only been living for twenty-seven years, but none of them had been very kind.  As he slipped through the gate, he reflected on the events that had occurred today.

            Starting the day off on a low note, breakfast had consisted of a measly old loaf of bread.  It was the last thing remaining in his kitchen, so he left to go to town immediately after breakfast.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t find any money in the house and would have to find work.  This was no easy prospect as he was too lazy to find a job that was easy but payed well.  After saying goodbye to his pet pig, Bob, he put on his tallest hat and went off to find work.

            His hats were the result of a failed attempt at a hat making business.  It was the one thing he could do without getting bored, but no one wanted to buy any of them.  His tallest hat was an impressive two feet tall, made of light green fabric, and reinforced to make it stand up smartly in a perfect cylinder.  He was quite proud of it and always wore it whenever he went into town.

            Entering the town square, he began looking for “help wanted” posters.  First was a roofing job.  He didn’t even look at the roofs in the town before turning it down.  The rest of the  day continued in a similar fashion except when people occasionally asked him to watch something for them while they were busy somewhere else.  By the end of the day, he had acquired enough money to buy dinner for that night and nothing else.

            Sitting down at his table, he reflected on what he would do tomorrow.  The only foreseeable course of action was to eat Bob the pig for breakfast.  He didn’t want to, but that was the only food available to him.  With these thoughts filling his head he finished dinner and went to sleep.

            It was a dark and stormy night.  Late into the morning, John finally woke up.  The sun was shining and the grass was green.  Looking out at his yard he noted that the rain had brought the grass to a single, beautiful shade of green with not a blemish on it.  Not even a pink one.

            “Wait a second,” John, still half asleep, mumbled, “Pigs aren’t green.”

            It was true.  Normally, Bob the pig would be out rooting around or lounging in a self-made mudhole, but today,  he was nowhere to be seen.  When John checked the pighouse, he wasn’t there either.  Finally, John threw his head back in exasperation and found him.  Bob was sitting on the roof with what looked like a pig’s version of a grin on his face.  John’s eyes widened.

            “What are you doing up there?” he exclaimed.

            Bob just grunted, unfurled a pair of graceful, white, feathered wings, and glided down to the ground.  John’s jaw, meanwhile, was busy trying to lodge itself in the ground.  He could absolutely not believe what he was seeing.

            Bob on the other hand was quite happy about his gift.  Since he had been too fat to even jump before, the magic wings were a very welcome gift.  What he couldn’t tell John was how he got them.  During the storm last night, a lightning bolt had struck him.  Instead of turning him into a heap of overcooked bacon, however, it had given him a pair of beautiful wings.

            Suddenly, John had an incredible idea.  Instead of eating Bob, he could sell him to someone else.  A winged pig is sure to be valuable, he thought.  Reentering his house, he plucked his “going to town” hat off the rack.  The moment he picked it up, it flopped over halfway.  He stared at his floppy hat for a few seconds, then at the ceiling, then at his damp hat again.

            “A leak,” John groaned.  “My best hat ruined by a leak.”  He paused.  “I suppose I’ll have to use my other hat.”

            Next on the hat rack was a shorter, conical hat.  It was made of a thicker material but was slightly more floppy.  In contrast to the light green of his first hat, this one was a dark shade of blue.  Donning it, he grabbed a long rope to use as Bob’s leash, and they headed off to town.

            That morning a hungry bear was on the prowl.  It had raided one of the farms and was terrorizing the surrounding countryside.  The farmer who had seen it and tried, unsuccessfully of course, to stop it described it as an enormous monster.  Naturally, he had gone to the village to ask the villagers for help, who in turn called upon the local knight.

            Sir Lancelittle was an impatient man who had been assigned there against his will.  Although the pay was good and the town was peaceful, he hailed from the mountains of the north and found the weather too hot for his liking.  Nevertheless, since King Loganberry had ordered him to stay there, he lived in a small tower north of the city.

            Pleased to have some action at last, Sir Lancelittle grabbed his gear and headed to the east where the bear had last been spotted.  The bear was continuing its rampage through the outskirts of town.  Meanwhile, John, who was oblivious to these events, was taking the east road into town because he lived a few miles away.

            Because the bear had stopped to quietly take a nap by the roadside, Bob noticed it first.  Suddenly, it heard them and woke up.  Roaring from the bushes, it suddenly charged them.  Faced with a nine foot tall mass of fur and teeth, John dropped the rope and took off into the woods.  Bob also took off into the woods, but he had a plan.  Fortunately for him, John had not tied the loop around his head very tight, and Bob was able to get it off his head quickly.  Flying off after the bear, who was chasing John, Bob readied the loop.

            The bear was galloping after John when it felt something slip over its head.  It also smelled pig.  As pig tasted much better than human,  he stopped to look around for it.  After a few seconds, it finally dropped into view on a pair of wings.  Naturally, the hungry creature thought nothing of it and lunged angrily.  He began to wonder why the pig had wings when he was stopped short by a rope around his neck.

            John heard the bear stop.  He turned to see the bear tied to the tree with Bob’s leash.  Bob was sitting on the tree branch above the bear with that pig grin on his face again.  John realized that Bob must have tied the bear up himself.

            “Well, if he can fly, why shouldn’t he be able to string bears up?”  John muttered to himself.

            There was a flurry of noise and an armored man rode up.

            “Did you do this?” he asked, looking at the tied up bear.

            John looked at the bear first, then at his pig.  “I suppose.”

            “Perfect,” continued the knight, who John had recognized as Sir Lancelittle.  “I have grown weary of guarding this town and long for the hills of the north where I grew up.  If you agree to it, I can convince the king to make you the guardian of this place.”

            “That sounds like a lot of work,” faltered John.

            “Not at all.  Nothing more eventful than this has ever happened, and you handled it just fine on your own.  With the disparity between paycheck and workload, it’s a very undemanding job.”

            The last sentence intrigued John the most.  Without any more arguing, he accepted the proposition. 

            Two weeks later, John sat in his new house eating breakfast.  After meeting with the king,  Lancelittle was freed from guard duty of the town.  John, meanwhile, was knighted and took the job in his place; around town he was known now as Sir John of the Flying Pig.  Naturally, the better pay meant better food, and John was eating a lavish breakfast of egg with steak instead of bacon.  The house was equipped with everything John could imagine, plus some things he would have never thought of.  The main thing Bob cared about was that he could go everywhere he wanted to.  While John enjoyed the delicious foods and lavish amenities, Bob explored and protected the town as the free pig he always wanted to be.


Teen Short Story Contest Entry: Jack and Mrs. Giant

Jack had decided long ago that he would never grow another beanstalk in his life. Therefore he was distraught when he found one growing in the exact same spot as the other one had been.  He had nothing to cut it down with because the giant had landed on his saw when he had plummeted to the ground.  All that was left of it was some broken pieces of wood. He should know because he was the one with dirty task of dragging that awful giant out to the woods. Jack grabbed the little beanstalk that only came up waste high and pulled with all his might. To his surprise he felt it coming out of the earth, but when he stopped to look he thought he might be hallucinating.  The stalk was now a foot taller, but was still rooted into the ground. By now Jack was very confused. How could this be happening? No one had ever been a hero twice in one lifetime so this beanstalk must be pure evil. Jack shuddered at the thought of meeting another giant up in the clouds. While Jack had been lost in thought he had sat down on the beanstalk with out noticing.     

His thoughts were soon brought back to the present when he noticed that his feet could no longer feel the ground beneath him. When he looked down in a panic he realized that he was thirty something feet in the air and rising faster than the average plane. In the back of his mind Jack knew that he couldn’t climb down, he was going up way to fast to get anywhere. It was like going to the back of the train, but walking so slow that you were moving forward anyway. Jack decided that there was no possible way to stop this beanstalk from going were ever it was going so he just sat still staring at the hills and wishing he could say good bye to his family before he was rushed unceremoniously to his unknown death. They probably wouldn’t even know that he was dead. His family down there on the ground would just think that Jack had gone out to the pasture to milk the cows like he should have been doing when he had came across that beanstalk. They wouldn’t notice that he had gone missing for- he checked his watch- another five hours.

The beanstalk came jolting to a stop. It almost threw Jack off, it was so sudden.     “ C’mon!”  A voice whispered urgently from behind him. “ Trust me, you do not want to be out there on the Stalk when The Giant makes his rounds, and that will be in about forty five seconds.” Without waiting for an answer an arm shot out and grabbed him around the waste and before he knew what was happening he was thrown in to complete and utter darkness, but other people cushioned his landing. He heard many groans and muttered out a “Sorry.” Then he added “Thank your little friend over there for throwing me on top of you guys.”  He wasn’t expecting an answer, but one girl said, “Thank you very much Sam.” In the most sarcastic voice that Jack had ever heard, and that was saying something because Jack’s mother was the queen of sarcasm. But, Jack reasoned, she had just been bumped down to princess. Apparently those forty five seconds that Sam had been referring to had came and went because he soon heard footsteps that shook the walls and a sentence he was hoping he would never again hear anywhere except in his dreams.           

“FE FI FO FUM, I SMELL THE BLOOD OF AN ENGLISHMEN!

FE FI FO FUMEN I SMELL THE BLOOD OF AN ENGLISH WOMEN!

NOW THE ONLY THING LEFT IS WHICH ONE WILL BE MY LUNCH!                                             

Now the second two sentences were news to Jack, but he barely noticed. How could have forgotten all about The Giant’s wife? Of coarse she would still be here thriving on random kids. He wondered how all the others had gotten up here. Then he realized that everyone was gone. The queen of sarcasm was no longer underneath him. He turned around and found that every single last one of them were pressed up against the wall furthest away from the door to the cupboard and they were all staring at him. Suddenly Jack noticed that this was the same cupboard he had hidden in the last time he was here. He also knew something about this cupboard that most likely none of these other kids knew. The Giant can smell people inside the cupboard, but Jack had a solution to that problem.

Jack still couldn’t see to well in the pitch-black darkness, so when he scrambled to find the secret door he stomped on someone’s foot. Who ever it was wasn’t very tough because they cried out in pain. Everyone froze, including The Giant outside. Jack could tell by the sound of her footsteps that she was getting closer and closer. Now Jack was desperately searching for the door. He found it and flung it open. He motioned for everyone to follow him. The room on the other side of the door was brightly lit and light spilled into the cupboard.  This new light allowed Jack to see the struggle going on in everyone’s eyes. Do we trust this new guy and follow him somewhere we have never been before? Or do we stay here and get eaten by this giant? Soon everyone had made the obvious choice and the last little girl who couldn’t have been a day over seven closed the trap door firmly. Suddenly the door to the room flew open and The Giant stomped in. “I CAN’T FIND THOSE LITTLE BRATS ANYWHERE!’ she screamed. From where Jack was standing he could see the spit flying from her mouth.

 He quickly ushered everyone back through to the other side of the cupboard and down the beanstalk. Some how The Giant had noticed and was climbing down the Stalk really fast. Jack looked around wildly and spotted his father, who happened to be caring a brand new ax. Jack ran over and grabbed it from him and set to work. When he finally managed to cut down the beanstalk he didn’t have enough time to move the ax out of the way before The Giant came plummeting to the Earth.

            Jack’s father was glad to see him home safe and sound, but he decided that Jack needed punishment for destroying the ax. Jack went on and on about the fact that it was really The Giant who destroyed it, but his dad would hear none of it. Jack’s punishment was to drag The Giant out to the woods. After he finished that task he sent all the children home, except for the little seven year old whose name was Alyssa. She stayed and lived with Jack’s family because she was an orphan. Later that night Jack thought maybe now we can really live happily ever after now that there are truly no more giants living in the sky. Then he drifted off to sleep.