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Hello, folks. I love Gaia. My son used to get on Gaia, and my wife and I used to make fun of him for playing dress up. Then, he made my wife an account. I used to make fun of my wife for playing dress up. Now, I have six accounts of my own. This one used to be my mule, but I love him the most. Anyway, my daughter is also on this site. She is a wonderful artist. She can draw all kinds of styles and I really love her work. I tell her this all the time. Her username is Lucid Hallucinogen. Maybe some of you know her? Well, I have asked her to draw illustrations for my children's books because I want her to share in the profits which come along from this. Well, she says she can't. I think she won't. I have told her that I love her work and I would love my children's books to contain her art. She says she can't. It's been about two years that I've waited for her to finally draw something and I'm just sick of waiting. So, here it is: I will send my book to several publishers with your art and my writing if you are the lucky winner of this contest. You will receive half of the profits from this book. You will also receive credit for the illustrations on the book. I can't draw. I wish I could, but I can not. You guys can. I see a lot of great stuff on here and I think a lot of you need to be published artists. Here is your opportunity and mine to use our talents together. I will post my children's stories in this forum and I will award the best artist the opportunity to be published. If that's not what you want, then I am also offering the winner 2 million Gaia gold as well. I will wait up to one year for a winner unless somebody just really stands out to me. In that case, I will immediately announce a winner and close the contest. Here are my stories:
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Terry Rabbit And The Carrot Stew

One fine Saturday afternoon, Ricky the raccoon awoke from his nap to the smell of something cooking. Ricky peered into the kitchen window of Ms. Mirabelle’s house and noticed a pot on the stove. He also noticed a book on the table with a picture of a rabbit on it. Having himself a closer look, Ricky could make out the ingredients of Ms. Mirabelle’s stew. Ricky saw onions, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, salt, pepper, and butter. “Oh no!” Ricky exclaimed to himself. “Those are the ingredients for rabbit stew! I had better warn Terry about this!” Terry was one of Ricky’s friends. Other than that, Terry was the only rabbit Ricky knew who could possibly end up in Ms. Mirabelle’s rabbit stew. Ricky found Terry right away as Terry was often able to be found right next to the back door of Ms. Mirabelle’s house waiting for scraps and attention from Ms. Mirabelle. “Terry! Thank goodness I’ve found you!” said Ricky.
“Why, hello, Ricky. What do you look so frightened for?” Terry asked. His eyes were drooping and his ears hung low, so it seemed to Ricky that Terry was ready for one of his most numerous naps throughout the day.
Ricky said, “You must flee as soon as possible! Ms. Mirabelle is cooking up a rabbit stew and I believe she aims to make you the main ingredient!”
Eyes opened wide, and ears fully erect, Terry asked, “What?”
“It’s true.” Ricky said. “I was watching her through the window. She's got a book open on the table with a picture of a rabbit on it and she’s got a stew in there with onions, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, salt, pepper, and butter. Those are the ingredients for rabbit stew if I ever saw them!”
“That’s ridiculous.” said Terry. “Ms. Mirabelle loves me very much. She would never eat me. She treats me very well. She is always paying me a lot of attention. She keeps me clean and takes care of me when I’m sick. She also feeds me very well. Why, I do believe I’m the most well-fed of all the animals on this farm. Why would she ever try to eat me?”
“I don’t know why she’s going to do it,” Ricky explained. “I just know she’s going to do it, so you’d better run away while you still can!” Just then, the back door began to open. Ricky ran away and hid as quickly as he could. He stayed close enough, however, to listen.
Ms. Mirabelle brought out some scraps for Terry to eat. When she noticed Terry wasn’t eating the scraps, she asked, “Aren’t you hungry, Terry?”
“Ms. Mirabelle,” Terry said, “Ricky the raccoon told me you were making rabbit stew in there. It’s not true, is it?”
“Why Terry,” she said, “are you going to listen to that nasty old raccoon who’s always knocking over my trash cans in the middle of the night waking up all the critters and me? You know he can’t be anything but a lying fool. I’m making carrot stew, Terry. As a matter of fact, I’m going to invite you in to help me eat it after I’m done making it. How does that sound?”
“That sounds great!” Terry said.
“Okay then,” said Ms. Mirabelle, “I’ll call you in when it’s ready. Now you eat up and don’t worry about what that foolish raccoon tries to tell you.” Ms. Mirabelle went into the house. Ricky came out of his hiding place and told Terry, “I’m telling you, Terry, she’s making rabbit stew if she’s making anything.”
“Well, I don’t believe you.” huffed Terry. “She said it was carrot stew and she’s making it, not only for herself, but for me too.”
“Oh, Terry,” Ricky begged “Please believe me. She’s trying to trick you.”
“If anybody is trying to be tricky,” Terry retorted, “it’s you, Ricky. You are, after all, a raccoon.”
“Terry,” Ricky began to plead, “if you don’t believe me, just ask the other animals. They should know what she’s up to.”
“I’ll do just that!” Terry exclaimed. “But I don’t want you following me around trying to spread your lies. I’ll do this by myself.”
“Fine!” Ricky yelled, quite tired of being called a liar. He stomped away and climbed his tree to sulk while he waited for Terry to return.
The first animal Terry came up to was Christopher, the horse. “Well, hello, Terry.” said Christopher. “What brings you so far away from the house?”
“Well,” said Terry, “Ms. Mirabelle is making a stew. In this stew, she put onions, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, salt, pepper, and butter. Are those the ingredients for carrot stew?” “Why yes, Terry. Those are the ingredients for carrot stew.” said Christopher.
“Thank you, Christopher.” said Terry as he hopped away. The next animal Terry came to was Horace the pig. “Horace.” Terry said. Then he yelled, “Horace!” because Horace couldn’t hear Terry while he was eating his slop.
Finally, Horace looked up. “Hello, Terry. What brings you so far away from the house?” he asked.
“Ms. Mirabelle is making a stew. In this stew, she put onions, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, salt, pepper, and butter. Are those the ingredients for carrot stew?” Terry asked.
“Why yes,” Horace said, his mouth still dripping with his food, “those are the ingredients for carrot stew.”
“Thank you.” said Terry, as he hopped away. The next animal Terry came to was Benjamin the sheep. “Hello, Benjamin.” said Terry.
“Well hello, Terry. What brings you so far away from the house?” Benjamin asked.
“Ms. Mirabelle is making a stew. In this stew, she put onions, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, salt, pepper, and butter. Are those the ingredients for carrot stew?” asked Terry.
“Yes, Terry. Those are the ingredients to carrot stew if I’ve ever heard them.” replied Benjamin.
“Thank you.” Terry said, and hopped away. Terry continued almost throughout the entire farm asking every animal he came across the same exact question, “Ms. Mirabelle is making a stew. In this stew, she put onions, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, salt, pepper, and butter. Are those the ingredients for carrot stew?”, to which each animal replied, “Yes, those are the ingredients to carrot stew.” Finally exhausted after doing more hopping in one day then he could ever remember doing in his lifetime, Terry went back to his spot by the back door. “You see, Ricky,” he yelled up at the tree where the raccoon was still sulking, “Ms. Mirabelle is making carrot stew.” He then stuck his tongue out at Ricky and began chewing on the last bits of vegetables he left behind.
Ricky was climbing down from his tree to try to convince Terry he was still in danger when the back door swung open. “Terry, the stew is ready for you.” called Ms. Mirabelle. Terry hopped as quickly as he could inside the house.
His head hung low, Ricky walked out to the yard where he found the animals staring in horror through the window. Addressing all the animals with sadness in his eyes, Ricky cried, “Why didn’t you tell him those were the ingredients to rabbit stew? Why?”
Each of the animals told Ricky the same thing. “Terry didn’t ask if those were the ingredients to rabbit stew. He only asked us if those were the ingredients to carrot stew. As a matter of fact, those are the ingredients to carrot stew, but if you add rabbit, then those are the ingredients to rabbit stew. If he would have asked, we would have told him. We had no idea.”
The moral to this story is: If you are already determined to hear the answer you want to hear, you may never hear the truth.
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Duke The Dog Learns A Lesson

One day, Farmer Johnson decided he was getting a little too old to continue running his corn fields by himself. He needed some help training and managing the animals who did the work for him because he couldn't get out and survey the progress as often as he used to. The first animal he thought of for the job was his faithful hound, Duke. Duke was the best there was at every task it took to make sure the corn harvest was a success. Duke was the tidiest plower of the fields. Duke dug perfect holes for the seeds, and packed the seeds tightly enough in the ground so they would stay put. He watered the entire field perfectly making sure each seed got just enough, but none too much. Duke even made the nicest looking scarecrow Farmer Johnson had ever seen. Why, Duke was good at every single job Farmer Johnson gave him, so he figured Duke would be a very good choice for the job of managing the other animals. He gathered all the animals together and told them all the news. All of the animals were very proud of Duke, and they all patted him on the back and congratulated him for being named manager. Duke was very well-liked by all of the other animals because they had all seen how good he was at any job Farmer Johnson had given him. They all knew Duke was an honest, hard-working dog, and were happy to work with him on the corn fields.
Early the next morning, Duke called the animals over and assigned them each a task. Duke assigned the task of plowing the twenty acres of fields to Buford, the bull. He assigned the planting of the seeds to Chelsea, the chicken. He assigned the watering of the fields to Howard, the horse. Finally, he assigned the making of the scarecrow to Pinky, the pig. Each of the animals thought Duke made a wise decision because they each got the job they liked doing the best, and they all thought they were rather good at each of their jobs. Duke went inside the farmhouse to tell Farmer Johnson about the first decision he had made. "I'm very proud of you, Duke. Those were very wise decisions you made." Duke thanked Farmer Johnson for saying so, and walked back out to the corn fields with his head held high. He was very proud of himself.
Duke stopped suddenly when he saw how Buford was plowing the fields. Buford was plowing the fields north to south. "Stop!" Duke yelled. Buford stopped and looked around at Duke. "What's the matter, Duke?" Buford asked. "Why are you plowing the fields north to south? You're supposed to be plowing the fields east to west. If you plow them east to west then the sun won't scorch them as badly!" Duke explained. "Well," said Buford, "there is a canal on the north side of the field, and when I plow the fields I get mighty thirsty, so I drink from the canal before I go back down south. Then, I'm thirsty again, so I just go back up north to get another drink of water. The fields will still be in neat rows, but north to south instead of east to west." "You can't do it this way!" cried Duke. "It isn't the way I do it, and I'm afraid that the corn won't grow right in the fields if they're plowed north to south." Buford tried to reason with Duke, but Duke just wouldn't listen. "Listen, Buford." Duke started, "If you're not going to do it my way, then just stop doing it and I'll do it myself." Buford dropped the plow, and walked away from Duke.
Duke had plowed about five acres of the fields when he noticed Chelsea had started to dig holes for the seeds. "Stop!" Duke called. Chelsea stopped, and looked up at Duke. "What's the matter, Duke?" Chelsea asked. "Why are you using your beak to dig the holes?" Duke said. "Your beak isn't long enough to dig a hole deep enough for the seeds!" "Well, Duke," Chelsea replied, "I get pretty hungry working out here on these fields and when I use my beak to dig the holes, I can sometimes find worms to eat. If I don't get the worms to eat, I might just be tempted to eat the seeds, and I shouldn't do that at all." "No, you shouldn't eat the seeds, but you can't go along using your beak to dig the holes for them either." said Duke. "I don't see the problem with it, Duke. The holes are still getting dug, and the seeds are still getting planted." Chelsea tried to explain. "Just forget it, Chelsea." Duke sighed. "If you're not going to do it my way, then I will simply do it after I am done plowing." Chelsea dropped the bag of seeds, and walked away from Duke.
As Duke was still plowing the fields, he noticed Howard running around the fields where Chelsea had just planted the seeds with a water hose in his mouth spraying water up in the air and all over himself. "Stop!" Duke cried. "What's the matter, Duke?" asked Howard. "You can't water the fields like that!" answered Duke. "If you just run around getting water everywhere, the seeds will not get the proper amount of water! You need to spread the water evenly on each seed so that none of the seeds get too much water, and none of the seeds gets too little water." "Well," Howard began, "When I water the seeds like this, then I can keep cool while I'm doing it. It gets really hot working out in these fields, and this is a good way to keep myself cool. Besides, whatever water lands on me will fall off of me and onto the seeds." "Well, you are not allowed to water the seeds like this." Duke replied. "Water the seeds the right way, or don't water the seeds at all!" Howard dropped the hose at Duke's feet, and pranced away.
Just as Duke was getting ready to go back to plowing the fields, he noticed Pinky making the scarecrow. "Stop!" Duke yelled. "What's the matter, Duke?" asked Pinky. "Your scarecrow is all wrong!" Duke replied. "You're filling it full of rotten corn, and the clothes are dirty and all messed up!" "That's right, Duke." said Pinky. "When the crows smell this rotten corn, they will think the entire field is full of nothing but rotten corn. When they see how ugly the scarecrow is, the crows will be frightened that it's a monster. Yep, there will be no crows this year, for sure." "Well, it's just not right to put that scarecrow in our field." said Duke. "Our field is much too nice for that scarecrow." "Well, this scarecrow will work better." replied Pinky. "No it won't, Pinky!" shouted Duke. "Now you make a nice scarecrow, or don't make one at all!" So, Pinky dropped the scarecrow, and plodded away to his pigpen.
Duke worked very hard that day. He had to plow all of the fields by himself. He had to plant all of the seeds by himself. He had to water the fields by himself. He had to do so much work by himself, that he couldn't even finish the scarecrow until the next morning. He was very tired of doing everything by himself, but his corn field was the best looking corn field in all the county. When the time came to finally harvest the corn, Duke ended up doing that all by himself as well because he didn't think anybody else would do it right. When winter came, Duke spent the entire time resting from all of his hard work. Then, it came time to start doing it all again. This time, however, when Duke began plowing the fields, he heard something snap. It was his back! "Oh no!" Duke cried. He fell to the ground and cried for help. The rest of the animals quickly came to the aid of Duke. They took him into the farmhouse and told Farmer Johnson what had happened. Farmer Johnson examined Duke, and told him he would have to sit out this season and let the other animals take care of the corn fields this year. This made Duke very sad because he knew the other animals would not do things the way Duke did things. He was sure there would be no corn to grow this year.
When the time came to harvest the corn, Duke was finally well enough to help bring in the crop. Duke noticed that there was just as much, if not more, corn this year than there was the last year. Duke was very proud of all the animals. He gathered them together to tell them how proud he was. "I am happy that while I was away, all of you decided that my way of doing things was the best way after all. Since I taught you the right way of doing things, we have a healthier crop than last year." Duke had a big smile on his face and was waiting for the animals to thank him. Pinky stepped up to Duke and told him, "Duke, I don't know how to tell you this, but we did it the way we always do it." "That's not possible!" Duke screamed. "But it's true." said Farmer Johnson who was just walking in the door. "I watched them all work together and get it done the entire year." "But my way is the best way!" Duke said. "How could they do it their way?" "Duke," Farmer Johnson started, "your way may be the best way, and you may very well be the best there is at all of the jobs it takes to make the corn grow, however, the job got done just the same without you. All it takes to grow corn is to plow the fields, which Buford did his own way, plant the seeds, which Chelsea did her own way, water the fields, which Howard did his own way, and make a scarecrow, which Pinky did his own way. It's not that difficult to do these jobs. They did all of these jobs, and the result was just the same. They worked an honest day's worth of work every day, and they all worked together. You should be proud of the crew you picked to do the job because they did it well." Duke hung his head down and said, "I'm sorry for trying to make everybody do all the work my way. I know now that all of you know how to do the job right and you can get the same results your own way." He looked up at Farmer Johnson and said, "I don't think I should be the manager anymore, Farmer Johnson. I don't think I'm very good at it." "Nonsense." said Farmer Johnson. "This is the crew you picked, Duke. You picked a mighty fine crew and they did a mighty fine job. Just remember this: if you think you can do it better by yourself, you will soon be doing it all by yourself." Duke took Farmer Johnson's advice and every year after that Duke was proud of each harvest of corn that came in from the crew of animals he picked all by himself.
One day, Duke noticed how Pinky was making the scarecrow. "Stop!" Duke yelled. "What's the matter Duke?" asked Pinky. "You're not supposed to eat the rotten corn. You're supposed to put it in the scarecrow." Duke was a very good manager.
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Silly Woodchuck

Long ago, in the Arizona desert, there lived a wise old Hopi chief named Silver Horse. Silver Horse had only two sons. The oldest son was named Fighting Eagle and he wore a headband with two feathers. The youngest son was named Silly Woodchuck and he wore a headband with only one feather in it. They were both very strong and brave young men. However, only Fighting Eagle could be the next chief of the tribe. Silly Woodchuck was not happy for his brother’s good fortune. Instead, Silly Woodchuck was very jealous and hated his brother.
One day, after hunting, Silly Woodchuck watched his brother from behind a tree. He had seen Fighting Eagle making a pot to hold water. It was the most beautiful pot Silly Woodchuck had ever seen. It was painted with bright colors and the handle was shaped like a heart.
Fighting Eagle was finished making the pot and set it in the sun to dry. He then ran to the fields to do some more hunting before night could fall.
Silly Woodchuck came out from behind the tree to have a better look at the pot. It was even more beautiful up close. He became quite angry with his brother. “Why should Fighting Eagle always have nicer things than I? It’s just not fair!” he exclaimed to himself. “My pot is cracked and has no handle, while his is beautiful and unbroken. I’ll show him!” Silly Woodchuck picked up the pot and threw it on the ground breaking it into little peices. He ran home quickly before anybody could see what he had done.
The next day, Silly Woodchuck passed his brother again. This time, Fighting Eagle was weaving a rug. It was a strong, thick, and beautiful rug with a design of hearts and flowers.
Again, Silly Woodchuck hid behind that same tree and waited for his brother to leave. When Fighting Eagle left, Silly Woodchuck quickly ran to the rug and ripped it into tiny shreds. He ran home after he was done.
The next day Silly Woodchuck passed his brother, he had seen Fighting Eagle making a new pair of moccasins. Silly Woodchuck hid behind the tree again to spy on his brother. After Fighting Eagle finished making the moccasins, he painted a red heart on the top of each one. He then left the moccasins and ran to the fields to hunt.
Silly Woodchuck looked at the beautiful moccasins and then dug a hole to bury them in. After they were buried, he ran home.
The next day came and Silly Woodchuck walked towards his brother’s home again. This time, Fighting Eagle was waiting for his brother. “Good morning, Silly Woodchuck.” he said.
“Good morning, Fighting Eagle.” Silly Woodchuck replied. “How are you?”
“I am very sad.” Fighting Eagle said as he held his head low.
“What has made you so sad, my brother?” asked Silly Woodchuck.
Fighting Eagle forced himself to look at his brother in the eyes. “I know it is your birthday today, Silly Woodchuck, and I have nothing to give you to prove my love for you. I had made a pot for you, but it was shattered. I made a rug for you, but it was ripped to shreds. I made a pair of moccasins for you, but I can not find them. The only thing I have left to give you is my headband, which will make you the next chief of the tribe.” Fighting Eagle took off his headband and held it out to his brother.
Silly Woodchuck began to cry. “No, brother. I can not take your headband. It was I who destroyed your wonderful presents. I became a jealous and greedy coward who does not deserve to become the chief of our tribe.”
Fighting Eagle placed the headband back on his own head and said, “You may have been jealous and greedy, Silly Woodchuck, but you are no coward. It takes a brave man to admit to his wrongdoings. Let’s go. You and I can make more presents, together.”
Silly Woodchuck gave his brother a big hug and the two of them made presents which were even more beautiful than the ones before. From that day on, Silly Woodchuck was never jealous of his brother again. He learned how to share, and became a fine man who taught others to not be envious of what they don’t have, but to rejoice in the love they are able to share with others. That is, after all, the greatest gift of all.
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The Tale Of Jasper:

When Johnny was two years old, his parents took him to the store. Johnny loved to go to the store. He liked to look at all of the toys and games. As he was going through the aisles, something caught his eyes. There was a brown tuft of fur sticking out from under one of the toy shelves. Bending down to take a closer look, Johnny saw that it was a teddy bear. The teddy bear was coved in dust and was really quite ordinary, but Johnny thought it was the best looking teddy bear he had ever seen. Johnny showed the teddy bear to his mother and said, “Peeze, peeze, Mama! Peeze, peeze!”.
Johnny’s mother looked down at the teddy bear and wrinkled her nose. “Johnny, you don’t want that dirty old teddy bear. Let’s find you a shiny new car or robot instead.” She then tried to take the teddy bear out of Johnny’s hand.
Johnny held on tightly to the teddy bear and would not let go. “No, Mama! Peeze! Peeze!” he said, as tears began to well in his eyes. He would not let go of the teddy bear.
“Oh fine, then!” Johnny’s mother said, and let go of the teddy bear. “If you’re absolutely certain that’s what you want after looking at all the other toys, then that’s what you’ll get.” Johnny’s mother then took Johnny through the entire toy section trying to convince Johnny to pick another toy instead. However, all Johnny would do when his mother tried to show him the other toys was point at the toys and show them to the teddy bear as if though he were his best friend. Finally, Johnny’s mother rolled her eyes and decided that if that’s what Johnny wanted, then she would buy it for him.
When Johnny got home, it was time for dinner. Johnny tried to put his new teddy bear in one of his older brother’s chairs, but when his older brother saw it, he smacked it down to the ground. “Mama! Mama!” Johnny yelled out and pointed his finger at the teddy bear lying on the floor and then at his older brother.
“Well, Johnny, that’s what you get. Your teddy bear doesn’t belong in your brother’s chair.” Johnny looked sad but picked up his teddy bear and put him in his lap where he sat for the rest of dinner.
When it came time for Johnny to go to bed, he tried to take the teddy bear to bed with him. However, his mother came in, wrinkled her nose at the teddy bear, and said, “No, Johnny, the teddy bear can’t sleep with you. It’s too dirty and doesn’t belong in bed with you anyway. Here, I’ll put him up on the shelf over your bed, and you can get him again tomorrow when you wake up.” Johnny looked sad, but let his mother take the teddy bear and put it up on the shelf.
Johnny awoke the next morning with his mother raising her voice to him. “Johnny! What did I tell you? You are not going to have that teddy bear in the bed with you!”
Johnny looked down to find his teddy bear wrapped tightly in his arms. He did not know what to say to his mother. “Sowwy, Mama.” was all he could get out.
“Well, just don’t do it again.” his mother replied.
As his mother left, Johnny looked down at the teddy bear in his arms. It looked sad this morning. He did not remember it looking sad before. “I’m sorry, Johnny.” the teddy bear said. “I didn’t mean to get you in trouble.” Johnny opened his eyes wide and a huge smile spread across his face as he realized his teddy bear could talk.
“S’okay, Jasper.” Johnny said.
“Is that my name, Jasper? I like that name. Thank you for such a great name, Johnny.” Jasper’s face lit up and was no longer sad. It seemed he rather enjoyed his new name.
Johnny ran downstairs with Jasper in his hand and jumped up and down in front of his mother. “He tawts, Mama, he tawts! Tay tumptin, Jasper. Tay tumptin to Mama!” He held Jasper up in front of his mother and waited. Jasper never said anything to Johnny’s mother.
“Quit playing with that filthy bear for one second and go wash your hands, Johnny. It’s time for your breakfast.”
Johnny went down the hall and looked at Jasper. “Why you no tawt to Mama, Jasper?”
“She scares me, Johnny. I don’t think she likes me. I just want to talk to you because I can tell you really love me.” Johnny just shrugged, washed his hands, then went to the table to eat breakfast while Jasper sat in his lap.
The next morning, Johnny jumped out of bed and looked up at Jasper who was sitting on the shelf. “Tum on, Jasper! Wet’s pway!” Jasper jumped down from the shelf and into Johnny’s arms. The two friends played together all day that day. Whenever Johnny went to eat, Jasper was always there in his lap. Johnny and Jasper went everywhere together. They were the best of friends. If Johnny played in the mud, Jasper played in the mud. If Johnny played with cars, Jasper played with cars.
The days stretched into weeks, then months, then years and the two best friends remained inseparable. However, Johnny had grown so much that it was time for him to start going to school. He cried when he found out that he wasn’t allowed to take Jasper to school with him, but Jasper told him not to worry, because he would be there waiting when he came home. Sure enough, Jasper was there on his shelf when Johnny came home. Jasper jumped down from the shelf and into Johnny’s arms when he came into the bedroom. Johnny wanted to go outside right away and tell Jasper all the things he saw on his first day of school. However, Johnny’s mother came in and saw Johnny holding Jasper and wrinkled her nose at the two of them.
“Oh no you don’t, young man!” she said. “You better do your school work before you even think about playing!” So, Johnny looked down and began to frown as his mother walked away.
“That’s okay, Johnny. I’ll help you with your school work, and then we can go play.” Sure enough, that’s just what he did. With Jasper helping him out, Johnny finished his school work quite quickly. He took it to his mother who looked over the papers in disbelief.
“How did you finish this so quickly, Johnny?”
“Jasper helped me, Mama.”
Johnny’s mother wrinkled her nose at both of them and said, “Johnny, now that you’re going to school, and your becoming such a big boy, don’t you think it’s time you stopped playing with Jasper?”
“Nope!” Johnny replied, and skipped out the door to play outside with Jasper.
Throughout the entire year, Johnny was doing rather well in school since he had Jasper helping him out all the time. If there was something Johnny didn’t understand, Jasper was always there to make it clear. His mother and his teachers were very surprised at how well he was doing.
One day, Johnny’s teacher came over to Johnny’s house to discuss Johnny’s progress in class. She suggested that perhaps Johnny was gifted and should try something even a little bit harder. The teacher told Johnny’s mother that perhaps he should begin taking piano lessons to see if he could learn music as well as he learned his other lessons. Johnny’s mother agreed that it would be a good idea, and decided to enroll Johnny in piano lessons over the summer. At first, Johnny was reluctant to take classes during the summer because this meant there would be less time to play with Jasper, but he was alright with it when he found out that he could take Jasper along with him.
Johnny tried to learn to play the piano over the summer, but his teacher was always getting distracted while trying to give him lessons. She had children of her own, and they were always getting into trouble when Johnny was at her house trying to learn the piano. However, while the teacher was distracted, Jasper took over the lessons and helped Johnny learn how to read music and play the piano. Soon enough, Johnny could play the piano quite well.
The years continued like this for quite some time and Jasper and Johnny were becoming closer and closer. They shared everything with each other. Jasper was always there for Johnny when he had something to say that he couldn’t tell anybody else. Jasper always understood and gave good advice when he could. Jasper would never tell Johnny what to do, but gave Johnny good direction in making decisions. Johnny also kept Jasper’s secret too. He never told anybody else that Jasper could talk.
One day, Johnny’s mother asked Johnny to come to the kitchen table to have a talk. When Johnny walked in and sat down with Jasper in his lap, he thought it was quite odd that his older brother and father were also there with his mother and they seemed to all be looking down at Jasper while wrinkling their noses. “Johnny,” his mother said. “You’re going to be a teenager soon.” Johnny nodded at this. “Well, son, you’re becoming a young man and you’re not a little boy anymore.” Johnny nodded again as he didn’t know what else to do during this strange conversation. “Well, it’s just, I think, rather, we all think, it’s time you gave up some of your childish things so you will be more comfortable as you become older.”
“Okay.” Johnny said. “But I already gave my toys to my younger cousins. I also got rid of a lot of my games because they were too boring for me. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I have anything else to get rid of.” His entire family cocked their heads in disbelief and stared at Jasper who was still in his arms. “Jasper? You want me to get rid of Jasper? Well, he’s not a toy, he’s my best friend.” To this, all of his family rolled their eyes and gave Johnny a stern look. “Well, you can just forget that. You don’t understand. Besides, you haven’t liked him from the first day I had him. None of you will ever understand!” Johnny then stood up and stomped off to his room. He slammed his door behind him and flopped onto his bed. “What’s their problem anyway? What’s wrong with you? You don’t bother anybody. Besides, you’re not a child’s toy. You’re my best friend! I’ll never get rid of you! They’re acting like you’re just some silly thing that I could easily get rid of. Don’t worry, Jasper, it’ll never happen.”
“Thanks, Johnny. Just the same, should I perhaps just keep my distance for a while until they cool off?”
“No! The only thing that matters is that I love you and will never let you go! They’re the ones who have to change, not us!”
“Okay, Johnny.” And the two friends hugged and carried on like nothing happened.
The next day, Johnny woke up and got ready for breakfast. Jasper jumped down from the shelf to join him. The two of them went to the table where Johnny’s brother was already eating. “Well hewwo wittle baby John John. Did ums bwing his bestest fwend in da whole wide wuld wit ums today? Is ums gonna feed his wittle fwend some ceweal?” said Terry, Johnny’s older brother.
“Mom! Make Terry shut up. He’s teasing me.” Johnny said.
“Well, Honey,” said his mother, “if you’re going to continue carrying that baby toy around with you, you should expect to be teased like a baby.”
“Fine!” Johnny said, and he stomped out of the house. Later that day, as Johnny and Jasper were out hunting for bugs, Terry and a group of his friends came by. All of them started making fun of Johnny and would not stop. They talked to him in baby talk and grabbed Jasper away from him. They played a game of keep-away from Johnny with Jasper. They kept throwing him to each other while keeping him just out of Johnny’s reach. He screamed and cried and begged them to stop, but they just kept it up and laughed harder as Johnny cried harder.
Terry finally threw Jasper to the ground and said, “Let the little baby have his little teddy bear!” Then they all left laughing to each other and giving each other high fives.
Johnny was still sobbing as he picked up Jasper. “Are you okay?” He heard some giggling behind him and turned to see the neighbor, Brenda, standing there with four other girls who were all holding their mouths while smiling and giggling. They couldn’t help themselves but to burst into laughter after seeing the tears running down Johnny’s face. They turned and ran away laughing harder and harder as they left.
“I’m fine, Johnny.” said Jasper. “I’m made like a toy, so I can be tossed around a little without getting hurt.”
Johnny went back inside and placed Jasper back on his shelf. He walked out of the room, through the hall, and ended up at the kitchen table where he placed his head in his hands and began to sob. His mother came in and asked Johnny what had happened. Johnny told her all about the teasing everybody had given him that day. His mother held him, but offered no sympathy. “Well, Johnny, you have to understand that people are going to make fun of you if you keep playing with teddy bears at your age. It’s just something that happens.”
After thinking about it some more, Johnny decided it would be alright if his mother got rid of Jasper. He couldn’t do it himself because he was afraid of how he would feel if he had to face his best friend under such circumstances. His mother went to his room, took Jasper off the shelf and outside to the trash can. That was the first night Johnny slept without Jasper in the room. It was difficult to do, but he managed it by telling himself over and over, “He’s just a toy. He’s just a toy.”
The next night wasn’t as bad for Johnny, and the night after that was even easier. Then, one morning, Johnny was awoken by the sounds of the trash trucks coming down the road. Johnny thought about what was about to happen to Jasper. He thought about everything Jasper and he had gone through in the last ten years they had been together. He remembered that Jasper had always been there to help him. Jasper helped him in school. He helped Johnny learn how to play the piano. He listened to Johnny’s secrets and never made fun of him for anything. Jasper never even asked for anything in return for all of loyal friendship except to be loved by Johnny. He was a perfect friend. Johnny jumped out of bed and ran outside to the trash can. The garbage men were just getting ready to empty his family’s can when Johnny screamed, “Stop!”
Frantic, Johnny grabbed the can and started digging through it. The garbage men didn’t know what to think about this, but left Johnny alone while he threw pile after pile of garbage at their feet. Finally, reaching to the bottom of the can, Johnny pulled up a smelly, and dirty Jasper with a gleam in his eyes. “I found you! I found you!” Looking back at the garbage men, he knew he would have to help clean up the mess he made, so he did just that before heading into his house to clean up Jasper. He gave Jasper a bath and sprayed perfume on him so he didn’t smell like trash anymore. He took Jasper into his room and told him how sorry he was for putting him in the trash can. Jasper told Johnny that he was just glad to be back with him. That night, Johnny put Jasper back on his place on the shelf.
When the next morning came, Johnny woke up and got ready to go to breakfast. He looked up at Jasper and said, “Well, aren’t you coming?”
“Not today, Johnny.” he said. I’m still tired. You can go on without me.”
“Well, okay, Jasper.” replied Johnny.
“Uh, Johnny?” called Jasper. “I still love you.”
“I love you too, Jasper.” said Johnny
The next day came, and Jasper did not jump down from the shelf again. Nor did he jump down from the shelf the day after that or the day after that. The days turned into weeks, then months, then years, and Jasper never jumped down from the shelf. After a larger number of years than Jasper wanted to count, he was placed in a box and could occasionally feel the box being moved from place to place. One day, there was a light above Jasper and he could see the face of an older man who looked like he might be Johnny’s father. “There you are, old friend.” said the man. “Here you go, Tina. This is my old friend, Jasper. Jasper, you take good care of my little girl now, alright?” Jasper did not reply. He was placed in the small hands of a little girl who skipped away with him in her hands. He never said anything to her. Jasper never said anything to anybody ever again.
Darth Daddicus's avatar

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So, that's four stories. I'm certain at least one of the four will inspire your creative juices. I thank you in advance for your submissions.
Darth Daddicus's avatar

17,200 Points
  • Hunter 50
  • Survivor 150
  • Megathread 100
One last thing: I don't care if the art is considered traditional children's book art. That art had it's place in it's time. Manga is just fine by me. I am not looking for a particular style or feel. I believe the artist feels it when they create it. You see the picture in your head and can recreate it. I can not.

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