was fifteen years old. She lived in a village at the top of a very
high mountain. The name of the village was Chumly.
village of Chumly was built around a lake that filled a crater at the
top of the mountain. The water in the lake was, always warm. The
unscientific guess was that the warmth came from a source under the
floor of the lake. The guess went unproved because nobody had ever
gone to the bottom of the lake to feel the bottom for themselves.
one end of the lake the water spilled over to make a river that
flowed down the side of the mountain.
were about two-hundred people in the village, adults, and children.
Life was peaceful and comfortable and happy.
village had never been involved in any of the many wars that were
fought among people far away from the mountains in the many cities of
the country. There always seemed to be a war going on somewhere in
the country. They heard the news from travelers who visited the
village from time to time.
war came to the village itself, but not a war from the far away
cities on Earth.
mighty creatures fell out of the sky one day from the stars, fighting
each other. Both creatures had bodies that were human. One had the
head of a donkey. The other the head of a monkey.
knew why they were fighting each other, nor where among the stars,
they came from. They had superhuman strength and speed. They fought
everywhere over the whole country.
people said those two creatures took their fighting all over the
world. Those mighty creatures didn't care what or who they destroyed
while they were fighting each other. When they were fighting, the
people ran for cover.
was worse than their fighting was that every time they grabbed
something to throw at each other, that thing itself would turn into
an ugly monster. If the creature at whom the monster was thrown,
grabbed the monster, the monster would explode into dust. Sometimes,
the monster would escape both creatures. Then people would have to be
on guard against that monster, too.
days and days of the fighting between the two creatures, lots of
stones and trees and animals and people had been turned into monsters
that escaped. There were so many monsters around that the people
became more scared of the monsters than of the two fighting
Minshee's village, children were not allowed to play out of sight of
the adults in the village.
liked to play at fighting a monster with her toy
her Dad had made for her. Her Mom had made a belt and scabbard for
her to sheathe her sword. Her parents had made the sword for her long
before the two creatures fell fighting out of the sky.
did not have siblings. Minshee became very adept at swinging the
sword in attack, and at blocking in defence.
day when she was playing at sword-fighting all by herself, the two
creatures suddenly appeared.
usual, they were battling each other. Monkey-head was kicked
ferociously by donkey-head. Monkey-head crashed against a boulder
near Minshee. Minshee tried to get out of the way. She wasn't fast
enough. Monkey-head grabbed her to throw at donkey-head.
monkey-head lifted Minshee above his head to fling her at
donkey-head, Minshee swung her toy sword and jabbed it twice. Once in
howled in pain. Minshee fell to the ground as monkey-head put its
hands to its eyes. For a few seconds, monkey-head couldn't see
anything. That was all the time donkey-head needed.
jumped on monkey-head and stomped it to death.
then flopped down and leaned its back against a boulder. It was so
tired. It panted vigorously as it sat. Its eyes fell on Minshee.
was still lying on the ground, terrified, where she fell when
monkey-head let her go. She lay very still, playing dead so that
donkey-head would not notice her. She still had her toy wood-sword in
her hand, its tip stained with the blood of monkey-head's eyes on it.
looked at her and snapped his fingers at her. Minshee had no control
over her movements. She found herself standing up and looking at
donkey-head, her eyes stuck wide-open in terror. She clutched her
made a short wave of its hand for her to come sit next to it. Minshee
didn't want to do it. She was too scared to trust a donkey-head
creature. Nonetheless, she found herself floating through the air
towards it, her feet off the ground.
was using its supernatural powers to bring her to its side, against
her will. When she was sitting next to donkey-head, it smiled and
looked at her toy sword.
it grunted. "So, that's the magic weapon that helped me defeat
my enemy, huh?" "It's not a magic weapon." Minshee
said softly. She didnít want to make donkey-head angry. So, she
told the truth. "It's just a toy wood-sword Mom made for me,"
toy, huh?", it said. "Uh-huh," said Minshee, her voice
trembling a little, in fear. "Not anymore," said
pointed to the sword. A stream of blue fire shot out from its finger
and enveloped the sword. Minshee tried to throw the sword out of her
hand. She didn't want to get burned. The sword stuck to her hand. The
fire did not burn her. She did not feel any pain.
fire went out and the sword looked just as it did before. Nothing
special at all.
said to Minshee, "As long as that sword touches any part of you,
it will be indestructible. As long as it is in touch with any part of
you, it will warn you when you're in danger. Whenever you use that
sword to defend yourself and anyone you care for, whatever and
whoever it touches will explode into dust. What you have to be
careful about, little girl, is that the dust does not blow into your
face. The dust will affect you in the same way that ordinary dust
does. For a few seconds you won't be in control like my enemy here
was not in control when you poked him in the eyes."
said Minshee, "I'm not an adult, yet. I don't have the strength
to use this sword in a real fight." "Don't worry,"
said donkey-head. "The sword will do all the fighting for you.
All you have to do is hold onto it, tightly, with one hand or with
both your hands. The sword will deflect and reduce to dust anything
that anyone throws or shoots at you."
going to be a lot of dust," said Minshee, softly to herself.
"Uh-huh," said donkey-head, smiling. "Sorry about
that, little girl."
if someone else holds my sword?", asked Minshee. Donkey-head
looked at her and laughed. "Clever girl. Excellent question. In
the hands of anyone else it will be only a toy wood-sword. No powers
stood. It picked up the corpse of monkey-head, and slung it over its
shoulder. "Now," donkey-head said, "I have to go
home." "Where do you live?", asked Minshee, before she
could stop the question coming out of her mouth.
there," donkey-head said.
the stars. The war is still going on up there. Monkey-head here and
I were fighting each other so furiously, we got lost. We fell onto
your world. Thank you for your help, little one," it said.
"You're welcome," said Minshee.
have a daughter the same age as you." "What's her name? My
name is Minshee." "Bowzhong," it said. "Minshee
is an unusual and pretty name." It flew up and away so fast it
disappeared from Minshee's sight, even though she stared hard after
it flying away with dead monkey-head on its shoulder.
thought to herself, "So is Bowzhong. An unusual and pretty name.
I think I will name this sword of mine, Bowzhong." She walked
home, practising swings and jabs and blocking with Bowzhong.
told her parents of donkey-head. The three of them decided to
celebrate that day, every year, forever.
months had passed since Minshee's toy wood-sword, Bowzhong, had been
given powers by the donkey-head creature.
Minshee had to use those powers to turn to dust three monsters. She
was beginning to think the reason that donkey-head had given her
sword the powers, was for her to get rid of some of the monsters,
donkey-head and monkey-head, had created in their fight against each
other reason could there be? The mountain village of Chumly where
Minshee lived had been peaceful for hundreds of years. Now, within a
few months, the two-hundred-or-so people who lived there had to fight
off three horrible monsters.
in the world knew the two animal-head creatures had created the
people of Chumly felt they were being especially cursed. No other
place in the world was being attacked by the monsters now that the
two animal-heads were not around anymore.
was working on the family garden. She heard the sword vibrating in
the scabbard at her side. That was one of its powers to warn her of
danger. Only she could hear the hum. She slowly drew Bowzhong out of
its scabbard. She looked around cautiously.
the danger another monster nearby? She saw a girl her age walking
towards her, carrying a bucket of water.
Minshee," said the girl. "Hi," replied Minshee.
She had never seen this girl before, but the girl looked like a
normal girl in Chumly.
had to be careful. Monsters could change their shapes. Minshee did
not sheathe Bowzhong.
the girl was near, she put down the bucket. From the look of the
girl's eyes Minshee knew the girl had been crying.
I help you?", asked Minshee. The girl began to cry, silently. She
nodded. "Tell me," said Minshee. "If I can help
you, I will."
girl found it difficult to speak because she was crying. "I am a
monster, Minshee. I am trying so hard to keep this shape of a girl. I
don't want to be a monster. That monkey-head creature changed me into
a monster. Please, Minshee, you have to use Bowzhong to turn me into
was finding it hard to believe such a pretty girl could be an ugly
not be a girl forever? Don't let yourself turn into a monster. Live
here with me. We'll be like sisters."
was the first time Minshee had spoken to a monster in the shape of a
person. The other monsters had appeared as monsters from the
girl said, "Minshee, I was this girl before the devil changed
me. All of us monsters can change back for a short while into what we
were. It is exhausting because it takes a great deal of effort. It's
hard work, Minshee. Very hard work. It's painful. I didn't want to
come to you as a monster because as a monster I have a chance to hurt
you and to kill you. I don't want to risk that, Minshee. You have to
live to protect Chumly from monsters. Without you and Bowzhong,
monsters will kill all the people here in Chumly first, and then all
over the world. Please, Minshee, touch me with Bowzhong so that I
will turn into dust and not be a monster any more. Please."
could not do it. She heard Bowzhong humming all the while. She knew
there was danger. She didn't know what the danger was. She could not
bring herself to believe the pretty girl in front of her was a
have to change into a monster if you want me to turn you into dust,"
Minshee said sadly. "I cannot bring myself to kill a little
girl. You're my age. I cannot kill you."
girl was now crying hysterically. "Minshee, if I change into a
monster I will be so much stronger and faster and bigger than you
know," said Minshee, "but we have to take the risk. I will
be able to swing Bowzhong at a monster. I cannot bring myself to
swing Bowzhong at a girl."
girl tightly shut her eyes. She spoke softly through her tears.
"Okay. I'm so sorry, Minshee." She turned into a monster.
monster that had a humungous mouth full of fangs and tongues. Long
sharp claws. Fiery eyes that bulged out of their sockets. Long
shaggy matted fur all over its body.
thought Minshee as she raised Bowzhong in front of her. "This
definitely is a monster."
ugly thing jumped at Minshee. Minshee swung Bowzhong. The monster was
faster. It easily evaded the sword. As it ducked Minshee's swing, it
bumped against her. Minshee tumbled backwards. She could have stayed
on her feet if she wanted. She had practised this maneuver many
times. She twisted to the side and let herself fall to the ground.
monster did not expect Minshee to be able to twist around like that
while she was stumbling backwards to fall to the ground.
monster jumped face down to where it thought Minshee would be on the
ground. The monster took a huge bite. Instead of into Minshee, the
monster bit into the ground. The mouthful of dirt made it cough. It
lost its bearings. For a second or two it did not know where Minshee
second or two was all Minshee needed. In a flash, she was on her
feet. She swung Bowzhong at the monster. Bowzhong made contact. A
second before the monster exploded into dust it turned back into the
little girl. The girl smiled at Minshee, and silently said "Thank
you, Minshee." Then, she was gone.
sat on the ground and watched sadly as the dust that had been the
good-monster girl whooshed away in the wind.
Kaykewvee was worried. He was the cruel king's medical doctor.
the cruel king was acting dangerously weird. There were four other
kings in neighboring countries.
five did not trust one another. Every now and then a war would break
out. The kings would take sides. This had been going on for many
this point in time Doctor Kaykewvee's cruel king was suspicious that
the four other kings were making plans to gang up against him.
became suspicious of everyone around him in the palace. He had two of
his army generals beheaded because he claimed they were making plans
to betray him. One of those army generals had been Doctor Kaykewvee's
Kaykewvee was afraid that any day now the cruel king might have him
beheaded because he had been a close friend of an executed general.
made matters worse was that the cruel king had heard of a magical
sword being used in a faraway village of Chumly. The cruel king
wanted that sword.
cruel king was preparing to send an army to kill everybody in Chumly
to get the sword. He was not going to waste time trying to ask the
people of Chumly to hand over the sword. It would be easier simply to
kill everyone in Chumly and take the sword.
Kaykewvee was not happy with this idea of killing a lot of innocent
people to get a sword, no matter how magical that sword was thought
Kaykewvee was hoping he could find a way to run away from the cruel
king. His only chance was to run to one of the other four kings.
Kaykewvee had no family. When he ran away, the cruel king would have
nobody to take revenge on.
Doctor Kaykewvee was standing at the kitchen sink washing the
breakfast dishes on a sunny day, he looked out the window. He saw a
pony standing in his backyard. For a second or two this meant nothing
to him. Then it struck him!
pony in his backyard? How did a pony get there? The
gate was locked with a big iron lock. He leaned over and he could see
the big iron lock. It was in place. A more surprising thought hit
had been dreaming of just such a pony in his backyard every night for
the last seven nights. In his dream he walked up to the pony to chase
it out of his yard. When he reached the pony in his dream, the pony
lowered itself as if inviting him to jump on for a ride. Before he
could climb on, in his dream, the pony would melt into the air and
Kaykewvee was a medical doctor. A scientist. Believing dreams show
the way real life must go, is not scientific. As a scientist, Doctor
Kaykewvee had no choice but to dismiss his pony dream as meaningless.
there was this pony in front of him in his backyard. And it looked
identical to the pony in his dream. As a scientist, he could not
ignore what was real, in front of him.
real flesh-and-blood pony munching on flowers in his backyard garden.
He was wide awake doing the breakfast dishes, on a sunny day. The
pony he was looking at was no dream. He had spent a lot of time
cultivating those flowers being devoured by a dream creature in his
Kaykewvee quickly went out into the backyard to chase the pony away.
When he approached the pony, it lowered itself to the ground.
next thing Doctor Kaykewvee knew, he was on the pony, riding it as it
galloped away from his home. He hung on tightly. This, definitely,
was not a dream creature.
Kaykewvee had many times ridden horses in battle at the king's side.
He was well aware of just how fast the best horses can run. This pony
was galloping many times faster than the fastest best horse in the
Kaykewvee wasn't sure how long they travelled. He found himself on
the pony's back in the village of Chumly. The pony stopped, and
lowered itself to the ground. Doctor Kaykewvee climbed off. He walked
slowly forwards to take a closer look at the village. He did not see
the pony behind him melt into the air, and disappear.
did not know where he was. The people he met told him he was in
Chumly. He now knew he had been brought here to warn the people of
the cruel king's preparations to launch a surprise attack on their
village, to get a magical sword.
people of Chumly asked Doctor Kaykewvee to show them how to prepare
to defend themselves against the army of the cruel king.
Kaykewvee accepted their request. He knew a lot about the tactics of
war. He asked the people if they would consider running away. If they
started now, they could run away in secret. The cruel king would
never find them. Doctor Kaykewvee said he knew how to lead them
safely to another kingdom where they would be allowed to live
people of Chumly did not want to leave their village. They and their
ancestors had lived here for centuries. They were going to stay and
fight the cruel king's army.
were only about two-hundred-or-so people living in Chumly. The cruel
king had thousands and thousands of soldiers. Doctor Kaykewvee
thought it would be better for them if they just ran away, but he
respected their wishes to stay and fight.
the next few days, he went all over the village inspecting places and
things to plan how best to defend the village against the cruel
king's army. After examining the whole village Doctor Kaykewvee came
to the conclusion the people had a good fighting chance mainly
because of how high up the mountain Chumly was.
he was a scientist, he did not believe in magic. That is why he did
not make any attempt to find out if there was a magical sword in
knew the cruel king's soldiers would not be able to ride up the
mountain on their horses. The soldiers would not be able to wear
their body armor or to carry their shields up the mountain side. The
climb was too steep and too long. By the time any soldier reached
Chumly at the top of the mountain, he would be so tired it would be
easy for a Chumly soldier to win the fight.
people of Chumly prepared. They practised with bows and arrows. They
practised sword fighting. They practised how to use long poles to
push the cruel king's soldiers down the mountain. They collected huge
boulders to roll down the mountain side to bash the soldiers back as
they climbed up.
all worked. When the cruel king's army attacked, not one soldier
lived long enough to enter the village.
the battle of Chumly, Minshee and Bowzhong turned dozens and dozens
of soldiers into dust. She and Bowzhong were making so much dust, she
had to be extra aware of which way the wind was blowing.
were so few defeated soldiers left to return to the cruel king, the
other four kings were able to defeat the cruel king himself in a
later war. The cruel king was beheaded. The people invited Doctor
Kaykewvee to become their king.
Kaykewvee accepted. He ruled the kingdom for a long time afterwards
in peace with the other four kings in neighboring countries.
majesty, King Kaykewvee ordered all the people to be especially kind
never found out about Minshee and Bowzhong.
before her parents and Minshee celebrated the hundredth anniversary
of Bowzhong's powers, they had become aware of one more of Bowzhong's
powers; a power that had nothing to do with Bowzhong as a weapon.
author's name in
of the message we
won't know where to send it.)