Short Stories

Lessons Learned by Prince Garrett

JANUARY

page21.jpg“This is a travesty!” said Prince Garrett. This can set me up for an epic fail if I get this wrong.

“What are you going to do?” said Michael.

“Hmm,” said the Prince. “Well, let’s see… my dad decided to give me the job of organizing the Winter Festival. One more step in order to prepare me to become king one day.  I’m just a kid for goodness sake! What do I know about organizing the Festival?”

“King William did say this will make you wise and help benefit all your subjects. If he thinks you can do it, well… before Michael could finish his sentence, the Prince shouted out “That’s easy for you to say, you’re whole kingdom is not at stake.”

Unfortunately, my dad’s ideas in assisting me to becoming wise are different from my own.”

Maybe you should get some additional advice, said Michael.

That’s good advice. Com’on exclaimed the Prince, let’s ask Grace and Magus.

After spotting Grace and Magus on the Royal Playground, the Prince shouted, “We need your help!”

“What’s bugging you,” asked Grace. “Haven’t you heard?” I am in charge of the Winter Festival this year.  My dad, King James thinks it will help me one day in becoming king.”

“It sounds like you have a bit of a dilemma,” said Magus as he pulled cotton candy out of thin air.  “This is no time for magic tricks,” said the Prince.

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“Sorry, I can’t help it. All this talk about the Winter Festival has given me a craving for cotton candy.”  “Well stop it!  This is serious business” Prince Garrett replied, pulling a handful of candy off the paper cone and placing it in his mouth.

“What should I do?” He asked between bites of candy.

“The first thing you should do is make the festival free for the poor people,” Grace said, licking the pink cotton from her fingers.

“Free? That would be a grave mistake. The King will think you are weak.  You have to charge for the festival”, said Michael.  “I agree,” said Magus, in fact, whatever the price you are thinking, you should double it.”

“That’s just plain dumb.  You don’t even have a price in mind and you want to double it?” Grace began shaking her head in disagreement.

Not knowing what to do, Prince Garrett sat with his hands on his knees and his head in his hands.

“I know! Let’s ask Chef, he always gives you good advice,” said Michael. “Well that’s the best advice I heard all day,” said Grace.

“I’m not sure.” said Prince. “Suppose he thinks this job is too big for me?”

“Duh! The job is too big for you. That’s why you are going to speak with him,” said Grace.

“I wouldn’t want him to tell my father that I couldn’t handle…” before the Prince could complete the sentence, Grace grabbed him up and pulled him in the direction of the royal kitchen.

“Chef! Chef! We have a question we need to ask you,” Grace yelled as she came running from the pantry towards him, pulling the Prince close behind.

After reaching Chef, she pushed Prince directly in front of him. As soon as Prince Garrett opened his mouth, Grace blurted out:  “Prince Garrett doesn’t know what to do.  His dad, King James, gave him this mission of organizing the Winter Festival, and he does not know what to do or where to start.  We can’t even agree on if we should charge the poor or have them attend for free.  The boys want to charge double admission price to the festival and we have yet to even come up with an amount that should be charged. Can you help us Chef?”

Prince Garrett, the boys and Chef, took a second to process everything that Grace had said and Grace still had yet to catch her breath.

Chef paused after a deep sigh and said, “Prince is this accurate?” “Yes,” replied Prince.

“Everyone, have a seat. I want to tell you a story, said Chef and they all moved to be seated.

“I know a story about another young prince who had a similar problem,” “Well, actually, he was a king, but he was young. His name was Rehoboam.”

Re-a-what?” the kids asked. 

“Re-ho-bo-am,” replied Chef.  Rehoboam was  one of the kings of the promised land. His father was King Solomon, one of the wisest kings who ever lived, but Rehoboam unfortunately did not inherit his father’s wisdom.”

Why?” asked Prince Garrett.  “Please tell us the story,,” begged Grace and Magus.

“When Rehoboam first became king, his dad’s friend, Jero-bo-am, return to the Promised Land hoping that the new King, Rehoboam, would reduce the taxes.”Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 2.30.27 PM

“Taxes, that’s money owed to the government,”Michael shouted.  “Shhhh!” said Grace.

“Jero-bo-am asked King Rehoboam to lower the taxes and Rehoboam said he would think about it.  While thinking about the taxes, he was also asked to reduce the amount of work that the people had to do all week.   You see  Rehoboam’s father, King Solomon, had the people work very long and hard and the people wanted the new King to show some mercy on them and reduce their work load.

Rehoboam wanting to be a wise king, thought it over and decided he needed to seek advice.”

“Like you’re doing Prince Garrett!”   “Yes, Magus , like what Prince is doing.

So King Rehoboam sent for his father’s advisors to learn what they would say on the matter.

The advisors told him that if he was good to the people they would be loyal and serve him forever.  Rehoboam listened to the advisors and decided he wanted to get a second opinion.”

“Isn’t getting a second opinion good?” asked Grace. 

“Seeking advice is good, but you have to be careful about the advice to take and act upon,” Chef said and he continued the story.  “Rehoboam then went to his friends, that were about his age and asked them what he should do about the taxes and workload of the people.

“Did they give him the same advice as King Soloman’s advisors?” asked Michael.

“Let him finish the story, Magus said in an eager voice.”

“Not exactly.” said Chef.  “He decided to follow his friends’ advice.”

They all leaned in and said in unison, “What happened?”

“The people rebelled – They became angry, and went against the king.”

“Did people get hurt?” The Prince asked.  “In a rebellion, people always get hurt – it not usually peaceful.  But the lesson here is.”

Magus and Michael both yelled, “Oooh, oooh,  I know, I know!  You should listen to the advice of the wise.”  “Yeah, your friends may not always have the best answers,” said Grace, glaring at Magus and Michael.

“That’s right children.”  Then Chef looked Prince Garrett in the eyes and said, “Come with me, I will introduce you to the people who have organized the Winter Festival for many years under the leadership of your father. They will guide you through the process”. 

“What if Prince Garrett has ideas that are different from theirs? asked Grace.  “I’m sure, you’ll want to make some changes to the Festival and make it your own Prince Garrett.  That’s expected,” replied Chef. “They will guide you through it.”Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 2.34.15 PM

“Thank you Chef,” said the Prince.  “I’m starting to feel better about this whole Festival thing.”

Good, said Chef, I’m sure the King will be very proud of you.

The End

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What should my Excited kids do on Christmas Eve?

Are the kids all excited about opening their gifts in two days?  Here is a present that you can give them a little early. 

Now is a good time to let little ones hear a good story. The Beautiful Book of Possibilities is story for all seasons – and a message that lasts a lifetime. This book goes beyond the reason for the season and makes the thinkable possible.

See all five books in the Prince Garrett Series.  It’s not too late to get yours today!

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Prince Garrett and the Magic Thanksgiving Box

Prince Garrett and Chef were in the royal kitchen putting together a shopping list for Chef’s visit to the International French Town Market.

Milford Forest
Milford Forest

“Turkey, cranberries, shallots, sweet potato, wild turkey, greens, french bread, freshly churned butter…” said the Prince as he recited the shopping list.  After a pause, the Prince asked,  “Chef, would you reconsider me joining you on your shopping trip to French Town?”

“I’m sorry, but royalty does not patronize local shops,” said Chef.  “But why?” the Prince asked with a long face.  “It’s just not proper,” said Chef.

“There are local towns people at the shop, right Chef?”, asked the Prince.  Chef nodded his head in agreement and continued to review the shopping list.  “Well, one day I will be lord of the towns people…, shouldn’t I know who they are?  Shouldn’t I be among the people? If one day I am to be king – then the people should feel that I walk among them, and I should not be set apart from them.  Isn’t that correct?” asked Prince Garrett.

Chef, scratching his head said, “This is quite unprecedented.” “un·prec·e·dent·ed?” asked the Prince.  Yes, it’s never been done before.  “There is always the first time for everything,” said the Prince.

page13“Hmmm. Okay, just this one time we will make an exception.  We will have to take the royal solders in the event the crowds get overly active,” said Chef.  “Okay, but can they wear plain clothing so that it does not look like we are hanging with armed guards?” asked the Prince. 

That settles it, you may come with me to the royal market, the guards shall accompany us, and they ‘will’ be wearing their uniforms.

As Chef, Prince Garrett and the guards entered the International Market in French Town, the Prince’s eyes were wide with amazement. To see so many people dressed in their different native garb was exciting. The smells of different foods from around the world tickled the Prince’s nose, and made his taste buds water.  “Mmmmm, something sure smells good,” the prince shouted.  Chef was pleased by the Prince’s reaction.

In addition to food, there were all sorts of fair, hanging in the store windows. There was one store in particular that caught his attention.  As he looked closer, he saw two familiar faces. It was Grace and Michael.

Excited to see them, Prince Garrett jumped out of the royal cart to the window where his friends were standing.  “Prince Garrett, Grace shouted!”  Before they knew it all eyes were on them. Calmly, Chef began walking toward the children. By the time he reached them, all heads were bowed, and a chorus of salutations were greeting the young Prince.  Prince Garrett smiled and stood upright just as he had been taught. He smiled at the town’s people and said in his most royal voice  “Good afternoon.”  He then greeted a few boys and girls that were about his age.  He, Grace, Michael, and Chef entered the shop to provide some distance from the crowd that had gathered. The soldiers stood guard outside.

Once inside, the shop keeper pulled the shades so the children could have some privacy.  Immediately, Grace, Michael and Prince Garrett embraced and squealed with excitement.  “What are you doing here?” asked Grace.  “I begged Chef to allow me to come shopping with him, replied the Prince.  Just then, Michael walked up to Prince Garrett, looked around, and give him the secret handshake.  They both giggled of the silliness of it all.

After they stopped laughing, they looked around and saw many strange gadgets and objects.  Grace looked above their heads and read the sign aloud, “Marko’s Magic Emporium.”

Well that explains it said Michael. They continued to look around the quite dimly lit store. One item was more strange than the next. They saw magic wands of all shapes and sizes, crystal balls of all colors and spheres, and sharply pointed hats.

Beside them stood a large rectangular shaped crate labeled, Pandora’s Box.  Grace saidimages-1, “Do not open that one Prince!  Do you know the story of Pandora?  She opened up the box, and in turn released bad things into the land.”  “She also, released good things.” said Michael.  “Do you want to take that chance?” asked Grace.  The suspense was killing him…he had to open the box.  They all took a deep breath, closed their eyes, and watched as Prince Garrett opened the box. Dressed in full sorcerer’s regalia, out popped Magus, the Prince’s cousin.

After catching their breath, they all asked at once, “What were you doing in there?”  Hunched over in laughter, and still trying to catch his own breath, Magus exclaimed, “I saw you coming in from the store window and I hid.”  “You surprised us!” said Michael.  “Well… it seems, Pandora’s box does let evil into the world,” said Grace.  Grace, Michael and Prince Garrett, looked at each other and laughed at the thought of Magus being a mystical ‘bad creature’ from Pandora’s box.

“This place is Great,” said Magus.  “I come here to discover the latest in wizardry.  I plan on preforming a great act after Thanksgiving dinner.”  Under her breath, Grace said, “I don’t want to be anywhere near that.” In her mind, she remembered Magus’ last great act that turned her and the Prince into rolls of toilet paper.

Trying to hide the sad look on his face, Michael trailed off.  “What’s wrong Michael?” the Prince asked.  “Nothing really. When Magus mentioned Thanksgiving, I thought of my own father.  He’s out to sea with your dad, the King, and I have not heard from him in months.  I hope he’s okay,” Michael said.

“I can always send word to my father and ask him about the whereabouts of your dad.  “Would you?” Michael asked sounding slightly more cheerful.  “Sure I will…I’m sure he’s fine,” assured the Prince.

“He’s been away for a while – without any word.  My mom doesn’t say much, but I know she’s worried too,” Michael confided in the Prince.  “Sometimes it gets hard when we don’t hear from him, especially around the holidays and now Thanksgiving is coming up. This has been the longest stretch of time that we have not heard from him,” Michael mentioned with glassy eyes.

Interrupted with the question, “May I help you your highness?  The children turned around and Prince Garrett answered, “We are just browsing.”

The old man with long white hair and beard said, “Perhaps I can show you around.”

Hugo the shop owner  led the children to a locked glass cabinet containing a glowing crystal ball, some gold medallions with strange writing on them, and a plain wooden box with a slot in the top. Unlocking the cabinet, he reached inside and took out imagesthe box. Just as the children gathered around the box, Chef returned to the room with a book he had purchased.  The boxed had words on top that said Thanksgiving.

“What is it?” the children asked?

It’s a hollow box of Thanksgiving.  “How does it work?” asked  Michael.   The box has to be filled with the things you are thankful for. First you are thankful, then you receive, said the shop owner.   Write down what you are thankful for on a small piece of paper and deposit it in the slot—” said the shop keeper.

“How can being thankful for what I have not received, get me the things I want to receive?” asked Michael.

“Ah, that is a very good question,” said Chef. “You see, the key is to give thanks for all things.  The power of gratefulness is to be thankful in advance of receiving it.   Your gratitude will influence your attitude and provide a path to your hearts true desires.

“Is this some sort of trick?” asked Michael.  “Is it magic”, asked Magus?  It’s no trick and it’s not magic.  Then Chef said, “for where your thanks givings are, your heart will be also.”

The shop keeper added, “writing the thank you note is part of the process, what really matters is what’s in your heart.”

“There is not much to the box,” Grace said holding it in her hands for a closer look.

“How much is it?” asked Miguel. “Ten silver coins,” replied Grace, looking at the price tag on the bottom of the box.

“That’s a lot money.  “Can I try it out first?” asked Michael – knowing the price was out of his reach.

“Certainly,” said Marko. “Here is a pen and paper. Remember, don’t tell anyone what you desire or let them see what you write.”

Michael wrote on the note and placed it in the open slot of the box.  “Is there anymore I should do to make this work?” as Michael.

“No, just maintain your gratitude, that’s all”, said the shopkeeper.

“How long do I have to wait?” asked Michael.

“As long as it takes,” Marko remarked.  Instantly, Michael began to lose faith in the ability to gain his heart’s desire.  ‘As long as it takes,’ sounded like a lifetime of waiting.

Seeing Michael’s expression, Prince Garrett said, “Don’t worry Michael, we will all be thankful with you.  This will keep you grateful.”  Grace and Magus chimed in, “Yeah! If we are grateful together, your heart’s desire is bound to come true.”

“Thanks Guys” said Michael, trying to keep the smile on his face. 

Looking at the clock on the wall, Chef said,”We better get going.”  “Grace, Michael and Magus would you like a lift home?” asked Chef.  Grace and Michel graciously accepted the ride.  Magus already had a ride waiting for him back to Gigi’s court. 

On the ride home, Prince Garrett extended Thanksgiving dinner invitations to Michael, his mom and Grace.

On Thanksgiving day, the castle was filled with familiar smells fit for a king. Prince Garrett was excited about his friends joining him for Thanksgiving dinner.

Michael was quiet during dinner.  “Would you like some dessert,” asked The Prince.  “No thank you,” said Michael sadly.  Prince Garrett asked Chef could he and the other kids could be excused.

The children tried to play games that would cheer Michael up.  Finally, they decided to ask him what was wrong. Michael started telling them how he felt that the magic box did not work.  Just then, Chef entered the room with a package and a note.

Michael, this package came for you yesterday.  I asked the guard to hold it for you and wanted to give it to you after dinner.  “Open it!” shouted Magus.

Michael open the note:

“Dear Son, upon my travel in Spain, I entered a small shop where a woman provided me with a wooden box. She said the box had arrived from the region near Milford Forrest. When she told me that, it made me think of you…so I purchased it for you.  I hope you like it.

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P.S. I will be home for Christmas.”

Love Dad  

Michael quickly open the package with the present his dad described, and saw that it was distinctly similar to the box in French Town, north of Milford Forrest.

Magus said, “That’s impossible.”  “It is impossible” said Michael. “See, I didn’t believe the thankful box would work, so I stopped being thankful.  My note said, that I wanted a letter from my Dad, letting me know he was okay and wanted to know when he was coming home.”

“How could it have worked?” Michael asked.

Chef exclaimed, that day in the shop we all said we would be thankful for you Michael. With tears in his eyes Michael replied “But I was not thankful”.  Grace said, “I was thankful that your dad would send word to you and your mom.”  Magus, said, “I was thankful that you would get a letter from your father.”  Prince Garrett said, “I was thankful that we would soon know when you could see your dad.” And Chef said, “I was thankful that your heart would be put turkeyto rest about your dad.  Michael, although you were not thankful, others were and we continue to be thankful together so that you may have your heart’s desire.  Sometimes, others have to continue believing even when you don’t.  Now that’s something to be thankful for.”

The children, Chef and Michael all had dessert and were thankful together.

The End

Short Stories

Prince Garrett’s Halloween Bash

Prince Garrett invited all his friends to a Halloween masquerade party. The grand ballroom of the castle was decorated with orange and black crepe paper, balloons, and spider webs. The table was loaded with pumpkin pies, pumpkin dip, and all sorts of delicious and healthy treats that Chef created.

halloween“Chef, this looks awesome,” said Prince Garrett. “I especially like the giant pumpkin monster you carved in the center of the table.” “Thank you, Prince Garrett,” said Chef. “What do you think of my boonnana ghosts with dark chocolate eyes and marshmallow mouth?”

“I love them! ” replied the Prince. “This will be the best Halloween Party ever.”
“Speaking of the party, your guests should be arriving soon. You better get into your costume.”
As soon as the words left Chef’s month – the doorbell rang, and the first guests arrived.

The mummy entered the ghostly ball and began eating deviled eggs with olive eyes.
“Quickly, Chef, can you help me get into my costume?” The Prince looked around and could not find the elaborate outfit that the royal tailor had spun together. “Where’s my costume?” asked the Prince. “It was laying right here over the arm of the chair… hmmmm,” said Chef in a puzzled tone.

“I can’t join the ball without my costume,” cried Prince Garrett.
“It must be here somewhere,” Chef replied. Suddenly, both Chef and Prince Garrett heard a growling sound from under the bed. They knelt to see who or what was making that growling noise. To their surprise, Magus’ dog and Grace’s cat were pulling on what was left of the costume. “OH NO!” shouted Prince Garrett. “My costume is ruined.” “WHAT WILL I WEAR!” exclaimed the Prince.

“I have an idea,” said Chef. Then Chef took off Prince Garrett’s crown and placed it on the table. He grabbed a pair of scissors nearby, pulled a white sheet from the Prince’s bed and placed it over his head. Chef, then moved the sheet around so that the two holes he had cut near the center were now aligned with the Prince’s eyes.

“You look just like a ghost,” said Chef. “Can you tell that it is me?” said the Prince, I read that at a masquerade party you have to guess who is behind the mask or costume.”  “I don’t think anyone will guess that you are under the sheet. Now, I better answer the door. We do not want to keep our guests waiting,” said Chef, as he rushed toward the door. “Oh, I almost forgot…, I will ring the bell when it’s time for you to make your grand entrance.” Then Chef left the room to meet the new guests.

Prince Garrett eager to meet his guests, decided not to wait for Chef to ring the bell. He went down stairs to mingle with his friends. “Besides, no one will know who I am with this ghost costume,” he thought to himself.  The doorbell rang and the Prince hid behind the ballroom door so the new arrivals would not see him. The door creaked as he slowly opened it. Then he jumped out from behind the door and shouted “BOO!” It was Grace, dressed up as a witch, without her mask on. “Oh, hi Prince Garrett,” said Grace “I hope I am not too late. I wanted to come earlier to help set up, but I could not seem to find my cat. She disappeared and I guessed that she came by here without me to play with Zeus and Magus’ dog…”  Prince Garrett interrupted, “Were you not scared at all, how did you know it was me?”  “I was not scared because I knew it was you.

Prince Garrett began to ask again, how she knew it was him. Just then, one of his guests pulled Prince Garrett over to the pumpkin center piece.“Boy, Chef has certainly outdone himself this time – don’t you think PG?”
The doorbell rang again. This time, Grace put her mask on and both Prince Garrett and Grace went to answer the door. “P-Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 1.18.35 PMPrince Ga-garrett?” said Magus as he cautiously limped into the entryway.

“BOO!” shouted Grace as she jumped from behind the door.

“Ahiee!” screamed Magus. “You scared me!”

“Ha ha! We scare you?” asked the Prince.
“No, Grace scared me; she looks like a real witch,” said Magus. Before Prince Garrett could ask his cousin how he knew who he was, Grace asked Magus, “What are you dressed up as? You look like you died in an accident… last week.”  “I’m a zombie. What do you think?” asked Magus.
“Interesting,” said Grace, “Just do not sit across from me at the table. I do not want to lose my appetite.”

One by one, the rest of the guests arrived, and each time Prince Garrett tried to surprise them with his costume, no one was surprised. After everyone had eaten, they played fun games like bobbing for apples, pinning the wart on the witch, and dancing around the witches hat.

Then, Chef gathered everyone around the table so he could tell them a ghost story. There was only a single candle in the middle of the table lighting the room with an eerie glow.  “Prince Garrett asked me to tell you this story to make a memorable ending to this Halloween party. Did you know this castle is haunted by a ghost?” asked Chef. Everyone shook their heads and looked scared.
“It is the ghost of the goblin, Pumpkinhead. A long-time ago, Prince Garrett’s great-grandfather defeated Pumpkinhead in a great battle, but every Halloween, Pumpkinhead returns to the castle seeking revenge.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 1.13.23 PMJust then, a gust of wind blew into the room as the front door suddenly swung open, blowing the candle out. Everyone looked to the open door and saw a white ghost with the glowing head of a pumpkin, making a horrible frown with jagged teeth.  “Where is PRINCE GARRETT?” the ghost bellowed.  “It’s PUMPKINHEAD!” someone shouted and everyone screamed, turned, and pointed to Prince Garrett.

Prince Garrett quickly stood, facing Pumpkinhead. All eyes were on him, wondering what he would say. Prince Garrett slowwwly opened his mouth and said… “How does everyone know that it’s me?” The lights came on and everyone shouted… “You are wearing your crown!”

Pumpkinhead laughed so hard that his head fell off revealing that he was the town baker!

They all laughed at the prank and told Prince Garrett that “he had the best costume ever!”