Thursday, September 22, 2005

Literary Break . . . The Children's Hour

About a year ago, my son wanted a story, so I made one up about . . . well, you'll see what it's about.

Why Wolves Howl at the Moon
by Horace Jeffery Hodges
(illustrated by En-Uk Sequoya Hwang)

Long, long ago, before there were any people, there were . . . Wolves! Like today's wolves, they ran in packs.

But unlike the wolves of today, these wolves had a ball.

No one knew where the ball had come from. For all the wolves knew, it had always been there. Because it was unique, the ball was very valuable. The wolves took very good care of it.

Once a month, they would take the ball out and play with it. Their games were simple -- throwing, catching, and chasing.

Simple though these games were, they required teamwork. Care was taken neither to damage nor dirty the ball. Because they cooperated, the wolves were happy.

In the course of time, however, there arose a selfish wolf as leader of the pack. He was strong and clever, but his selfishness marred his character.

He wanted the ball for himself.

One day, as the pack was playing its monthly game, their leader saw his chance. He grabbed the ball in his enormous jaws and darted away from the pack.

At first, the others thought his move was part of the game, but when they saw him run off for the hills . . . they burst after him, but he was very fast.

He was so fast that the pack at first could not keep up, but fell further behind.

Joyously free in his sole possession of the ball, the lone wolf tossed it into the air, catching it and tossing it again and again.

But his exertions wore him down, and the pack slowly gained on him.

He failed to notice this, and as the hills turned to mountains, his pace slowed even more.

At the highest mountain peak, the pack trapped him unawares, and advanced.

Noticing them at last, the leader panicked. Not wanting to share the ball again after having had it to himself . . . the head wolf hurled the ball skyward will all of his considerable might!

The ball soared high, higher, highest . . . and stayed.

Look up in the night sky, and you'll see it, too, a bit roughed up from the selfish wolf's teeth and slightly smudged with earth from having been dropped a few times.

The wolves see it every night, too, and they howl in despair at their loss.

The moon, however, belongs to no one now, and sheds its borrowed light on the just and the unjust, the wise and the foolish . . . the pack, and the lonely leader of the pack.

On us all . . .

But you're wondering about those illustrations.

My son En-Uk and I made a little children's book out of this story because he loves to make 'books' and illustrate them, so we have a small laminated text with En-Uk's own colorful crayon drawings to accompany the story. The pictures don't always exactly match -- my son was only five when he sketched them -- but they're always amusing to look at.

Especially for En-Uk, who laughs out loud in delightful peals at his own handiwork.


At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Horace Jeffery Hodges,

Your story "Why Wolves Howl" is beautiful. Do you have your son's illustrations available online too?

(a reader of Milton_L)

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Unfortunately not.

I have merely rudimentary skills at things technological and wouldn't know how to begin to get the illustrations online.

I'm glad that you liked the story. My son likes it, too.


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