“Once upon a time, there was a hill. Through summer, winter, and spring, it was an ordinary hill, but in the fall, pumpkins dug themselves out of the dirt and lived on the sides. When they did this, it was called Pumpkin City.”
Once upon a time, there was a hill. Through summer, winter, and spring, it was an ordinary hill, but in the fall, pumpkins dug themselves out of the dirt and lived on the sides. When they did this, it was called Pumpkin City. A sport played by the pumpkins was to roll down the hill. However, the pumpkins could not roll from the top of the hill because there stood a great, big willow tree.
The willow tree loved to squeeze pumpkins to their deaths. So it was natural that the pumpkins would not go to the top of the hill. Until…
One fine morning, Joe Bob was looking at the top of the hill, longingly.
“I wish I could go up there and roll down that hill,” he whispered to Stan Fluff, his best friend.
“You can wish all you want,” replied Stan, “but that tree is not going anywhere.”
“IT IS SO INCONVENIENT!” yelled Joe. “Why does he have to guard the top of the hill 24/7 and whenever… ”
He did not have time to finish. For, at that moment:
“LEAVE THE HILL NOW, AND NO HARM WILL COME TO YOU!”
“What?” asked Joe.
He saw at the bottom of the hill stood millions of trees. The trees were assembled in straight lines. Each one of the trees had a shovel.
“I wonder what they are doing.” said Stan.
“I have no idea.”
“If you do not leave in five hours, we will plant ourselves”.
Joe and Stan ran to the bottom, where their friend, Twig, was planted. Twig was a sapling that had befriended Joe and Stan.
After they had explained their position to Twig, he talked to the trees.
“Fellow trees, this hill is no place to plant yourselves. No sunlight gets through here, and you will not grow.”
Finally, they agreed to go. However, the holes they had made remained. Joe and Stan argued with the leader of the trees, but they refused to put the dirt back in the hole. So, the two pumpkins were forced to do it.
As Joe and Stan finished putting the dirt back in the hole, a strange figure appeared.
“Allow me to introduce myself,” he said, fake purring. “My name is Evil Mister Fox, but some call me E.M.F. Now where is my house?”
“What house?” asked Joe.
“Look, I bought this city for a bag of gold,” he snickered. “And so now, I demand that you hand over your house and everyone else’s.”
“Ah, but have you seen the top of the hill?” asked Joe, coming up with a plan.
“No, I have never seen the top. Why?”
“It is beautiful up there. I’ll show you. Follow me.”
As they climbed up the hill, Joe said, “Phew, I need a rest. Why don’t you go on without me?”
A few minutes later, Mister Fox was in the air, flying the exact same way he came.
“He will not come back in a hurry,” murmured Stan. “Once you’ve been hit by willow, you have had it.”
“Speaking of Mister Willow…”
The two friends climbed up the hill. Joe was shaking as they approached the tree. Finally Joe spoke.
“Mister Willow, will you be our friend?”
Mister Willow looked down on them. At that minute, they heard a loud chop, and the tree gave a yowl of surprise. Out came Evil Mister Fox with an axe in his hand.
“You tried to kill me, and now it is time for revenge!” he cried as he ran for Pumpkin City.
Joe Bob looked at where the tree was but, to his surprise, he did not see a thing. Then he looked down the hill, and there was the old tree rolling down the hill.
“He will run over Mister Fox!” yowled Stan Fluff. “Then let us achieve your goal by rolling down the hill to watch.”
So they rolled down the hill, but to their surprise, the fox was rolling behind them.
“Thought you could fool me, eh?” he sneered, but it was the pumpkins who got the last laugh.
The next minute, the tree came crashing into him.
“Ouch!” he cried.
And for a little bit, all was well.
Joe Bob was bored. It had been weeks since there had been any action in Pumpkin City.
“Good gravy!” shouted Stan Fluff from his house. “You did what?”
“What’s the matter?” asked Joe as Stan ran by.
“My mother sold my encyclopedia to a traveling merchant for FIVE gold coins.”
“What is so important about an encyclopedia?”
“It had twenty gold coins in it… and I had been saving up to buy a ticket to the rolling championship game!”
Joe had been away from home for a day now. It was his first night on his mission to reclaim Stan’s encyclopedia.
“Should I go to sleep or just keep walking?” He wondered.
He decided to just keep walking.
“Why did I volunteer?” he wondered. “Because I am his friend, and Stan would have came if he hadn’t gotten sick.”
Joe spun around.
“Are you a tree?” He asked cautiously.
“Why, yers, I am.”
“Have you seen a traveling merchant?”
“Uh nope! Just a guy with an encyclopedia.”
“Which way did he go?”
“Thank you. I will be going now.”
As Joe ran along the forest, he saw a big house. He ran toward it, but as he got close, he heard a noise.
“Okay, Sam, ready to cut the pumpkin?”
Joe’s heart jumped. He was at the cutter man’s cottage!
As Joe approached the cutter man’s cottage, he saw a boy who was leaning over a table with a long knife. Joe did not need to see what was on the table. He already had heard stories about this house. Story had it that these cutters carved pumpkins’ faces with knives. So, obviously, he was very fearful of being caught, but he had to search for the traveling merchant.
At that moment, suddenly, he saw a tail. However, it went out of sight before he could speak to it, but he did get a glimpse of an encyclopedia.
“The merchant has evacuated.”
He ran, hoping that the cutters wouldn’t spot him. As he got out, he felt relief flow over him, but he kept running.
Joe walked up the stream. He spotted Evil Mister Fox’s lair. Maybe he would know the traveling merchant.
“Who is there?” asked Mister Fox when Joe knocked on the door. “Oh, it is you. Come in.”
As they walked through Mister Fox’s collection of books, Joe noticed that there was one book that didn’t belong. It looked just like… Joe couldn’t place it. All of a sudden it hit him: STAN’S ENCYCLOPEDIA.
“Did you buy that from the traveling merchant?”
“Oh no, I did not,” Mister Fox snickered. “I bought it from Stan’s mother.”
Joe gasped. “So you are the traveling merchant?”
“How right you are,” growled Mister Fox, pulling out a sword. “But you will never get to tell Stan.”
Joe grabbed a book from the shelf and whacked Mister Fox on the head. Mister Fox dropped the sword in his hand. Joe grabbed the sword, closed his eyes, and swung.
He opened his eyes just in time to see Mister Fox’s arm hit the floor. Mister Fox screamed in pain.
“You ruined my arm!” he yelled as he ran.
Joe took the encyclopedia off the shelf and headed home. Half of him was happy, for he had completed his quest, yet part of him knew that he had not killed Mister Fox and that he would be back for his revenge.
When Joe reached the hill, where Pumpkin City laid, he saw Stan running toward him.
“You are back with my encyclopedia. I’ve always believed in you.”
Joe gave the encyclopedia back to Stan, and the two pumpkins rolled down the hill over and over again.