Puppy was sad. The sky was as blue as a sky-blue crayon, the sun was shining, and all of Puppy’s friends were playing a game of tag together.
But still, Puppy was sad.
You see, while everyone else seemed perfectly happy to play tag or catch or hide and seek every day (except on rainy days when they all went inside and watched television), Puppy was not. He wanted to do something different.
He wanted adventures, and he wanted a friend to go adventuring with him, because as you probably already know, an adventure that you go on by yourself is no fun at all.
In fact, it can actually be quite scary.
What if you meet a dragon?
Or a giant?
Or a lion?
Or an enormous spindleblarp, the kind with eight eyes and spiny purple tentacles?
If you go adventuring alone and you meet one of these creatures, you would be smart to do one thing every time.
But if you go adventuring with a friend—a true friend who will never let you down—then you feel much braver.
You might feel brave enough, together, to pet the lion, or shake the giant’s hand.
You might even distract the spindleblarp by doing a silly dance while your friend snuck up behind it and tickled it’s tentacles.
Then, because spindleblarps hate having their tentacles tickled, you would probably be smart to run away.
But at least you and your friend would be running away together.
Puppy had many friends, but none of them wanted to go on adventures with him.
“Would you go on an adventure with me, Squirrel?” Puppy asked.
“I’d rather play catch,” said Squirrel.
“Hey, Quacky,” Puppy said, “have you ever been on an adventure?”
“I’m not supposed to get my clothes dirty,” said Quacky.
“I don’t like adventures,” said Molly the cat. “I like to sit in boxes.”
“I can tell,” said Puppy. “But why does the box you are sitting in now say GRAPEFRUIT on the side? You’re not a grapefruit.. You’re a cat.”
“Go away, Puppy,” said Molly.
So Puppy went away, feeling sadder than ever.
But as he was walking home through the woods he heard something that made him forget about being sad. Instead he felt scared.
What he heard was a sound like this:
And it was coming from behind him.
Puppy knew that a sound like that was only made by a really big animal.
Like a dragon.
Or a spindleblarp.
Or maybe even an animal he’d never heard of before.
Without even meaning to be, he was on an adventure!
Puppy walked faster down the forest path, and the sound got louder behind him.
Puppy started to run.
He ran faster and faster and faster down the path until suddenly—WHAM.
He tripped over a tree root and fell down. And the sound behind him was so loud that it was almost on top of him, right there on the forest floor!
Puppy squeezed his eyes tightly shut and hoped that whatever it was wouldn’t hurt him when it stepped on his head.
And then he felt someone pulling at his hand.
“Come on, Puppy!” said a voice. “Get off the path before the spindleblarp gets here! Hurry!”
Puppy opened his eyes and saw who was holding his hand and tugging, hard. It was Little Rhino. Puppy got up and together they tumbled off the path and into some bushes. Then they crouched down and waited.
A few minutes later, the ground around them started to shake as if a giant was walking past, but it wasn’t a giant.
Like Little Rhino had said, it was a spindleblarp, and it came tearing down the path waving its tentacles and snarling,
Puppy and Little Rhino pressed up close to each other in the bushes and waited for the spindleblarp to pass. Then they crawled back onto the path and brushed leaves off themselves.
“Thanks!” Puppy said. “I almost got run over!”
Little Rhino blushed. “You’re welcome,” she said. “You were very brave, though. I wanted to run away.”
“Me too,” Puppy said. “It’s hard to have an adventure like that when you’re by yourself.”
Little Rhino’s eyes got very wide.
“Was that an adventure?” She asked. “I’ve always wanted one.”
“Really?” Puppy asked. “Me too.”
Puppy and Little Rhino smiled at each other.
“Maybe,” Little Rhino said, “we could go on some more adventures—together?”
“Like finding a dragon’s lair!” Puppy said, “Or a giant’s cave.”
Little Rhino was nodding her head, but then she stopped and her smile faded.
“There’s just one thing,” she whispered.
Puppy felt his heart sink. “Don’t you want to be my friend?” He asked.
“No!” Little Rhino cried. “I do! That’s not it. It’s just that, well, I might get scared sometimes and want to run away.”
“Oh!” Puppy said. “that’s okay.” He squeezed her hand. “We’ll run away together. That’s what friends are for.”
Puppy and Little Rhino walked home together and promised to meet at the entrance to the forest path the very next day.
An adventure was waiting.
Puppy and Little Rhino and the Thing that Was Not an Aspirin.
Posted by claycomb at December 21, 2003 10:34 PM
please, hurry! more puppy and little rhino! i laughed, i cried... i learned an important lesson that truly arrived at the perfect time (after all, many pre-holiday anxieties are often spilled all over one's special adventure partner, and said special adventure partners hardly ever like being spilled on.) thank you thank you thank you! and i do hope molly returns in the next adventure, appearing in a stylish box, of course.
Posted by: fritz at December 22, 2003 11:56 AM
You two always amaze me! Thanks for the joy.
Posted by: Aunt Betsy at December 22, 2003 12:11 PM
Great story ! Are you published yet??
Posted by: Betty Lou at January 28, 2004 11:31 PM