by G.O. Doliber, age 10

One small robin sat atop a high branch upon a great old tree. The small robin whistled and chirped through its small beak, singing a loud, happy tune. The first rays of golden sunlight poured through the trees and hit a small cabin. She heaved a great sigh and stirred the pot with a hand-carved spoon. As the sun rose higher the golden rays of light hit the small cabin. Like most things in the woods, the cabin was old and worn-down, with moss and ivy growing on its walls. As the sunlight crept through the windows, the bird sang louder. It woke the elf, fast asleep in her cabin. She yawned and stretched, then got out of bed.

She opened the front door to her cabin and took a long, deep breath of morning air. She took a step outside and looked around for some berries. All of the sudden, all of the beautiful, warm light vanished and was replaced with shadow. She gasped with surprise and looked up and saw something that made her want to scream: the sun was black. Everything was as dark as night.

The wood elf jumped up and then the black sun slowly fell and was replaced once again by the normal sun. She heaved a sigh of relief.

“I must go see the father tree, he will know what to do,” she said to the robin that had been watching her.

The robin looked at her, then flew off. When it came back it brought her a big black wolf. It was the elf’s friend and companion and had been a present from her mother and father when she was young. They had grown up together and therefore were very close.

The elf jumped on her wolf and stroked his fur and said, “Take me to the oldest tree alive.”

The wolf nodded and began to run swiftly through the forest.

The leaves crunched beneath the wolf’s feet as he ran with her on his back. They ran deeper and deeper into the forest and finally to a parting in the trees, where stood a great old tree. It had wrinkles in its bark. The elf hopped off the back of her wolf. She sat at the edge of the tree and bowed. The tree opened its mouth and said in a weary old voice, “Hello child, why have you come?”

The elf kept her head bowed and said respectfully, “A few moments ago the sun set and was replaced by a black sun. What does it–”

The tree interrupted and mumbled, “No, no, this cannot be, not again.”

“What is it?” she asked.

“Ash, my child, when the black sun rises it shall bring a thousand years of darkness,” the tree said.

Ash gasped.

“What can we do to stop it?” Ash asked.

“We cannot. I have been feeling it in my roots. But there may be a way to slow it,” he said thoughtfully.

“How can I?” Ash asked desperately.

“Well, I am not sure, but I can help,” he said.

He held out a small but beautifully carved bow with arrows. Then he handed Ash three arrows that look different from the rest.

“These three arrows all have different powers. One is ice, the second is fire, and the third is ice,” he said.
“Wow, thank you, great old tree.“

“I have one more thing to give you,” the tree said. “You can now talk to all living things on this planet, including plants.”

“Wow, thank you so much,” Ash said. She could hear all of the plants and bugs and critters of the forest all speaking to her, telling her that she could do it. Ash bowed once more and walked away.

“Good luck my child,” the tree said.

Ash walked over to her wolf and rode back to her cabin. She knew how to shoot bows and arrows. She had learned as a young, small, elf. She hopped off of her wolf.

“I’m sorry but you cannot come. It’s too dangerous,” she told her wolf unhappily. “But if I call, please come.”

The wolf bowed its head sadly and slumped over to its bed and laid down.

Ash sighed and took all of her arrows and her bow and started to walk toward the place where a kind woodsman lived. She walked deeper and deeper, her feet crunching on the dry leaves below her. She jumped onto a tree, hopping from branch to branch, from tree to tree. Finally, she found a large cabin alone in the woods. This is where the human woodsman lived.

A gruff voice asked, “Who goes there?”

Ash said, “I come in peace.”

“What would I want with a wood elf?” asked the woodsman, stepping out of the shadows. He had a long beard and was tall and was wearing a cloak.

“I want to join forces,” said Ash. “The black sun will come and when it rises it will bring a thousand years of darkness.”

Ash’s short, red hair bounced up and down as she jumped down from the tree.

The woodsman looked at her and put away his hatchets.

“I was about to go up to the great old tree to ask him about that,” he said.

“I just came back from him. He gave me gifts and hope,” said Ash.

“I must visit the king,” said the woodsman.

“May I accompany you?” Ash asked.

“Yes, I suppose so,” said the woodsman. “But any funny business . . . ”

They traveled far and wide until finally reaching the kingdom. Ash walked up to the front gate. It was gold and it was so tall it seemed to touch the sky. There were two armed soldiers holding silver spears and wearing gold armor.

“What do you want with our kingdom?” one guard demanded.

“Me and this wood elf merely wish to speak to the king,” said the woodsman.

“The king is busy. I suggest you leave and come later or make an appointment, said the other guard.

“But . . .” Ash said, but one of the soldiers cut her off.

“No buts! Now be gone of this place, GO!” he said.

“Now what shall we do?” asked the woodsman angrily.

Ash smiled and jumped the castle wall with ease.

“Are you coming?” she asked with a smile.

After the woodsman had climbed the wall (with great difficulty), they snuck across the roof. They were surprised when they looked through the window and saw a dungeon that led right to the throne room. There was a hooded man sitting and looking at his gear.

“Thief,” grumbled the woodsman.

“Look at his lockpick,” said Ash. “He could help us.”

“Look at his sword. He could also hurt us” said the woodsman impatiently.

“Look at his heart. He could help. Just trust me. Please trust me and therefore, trust him,” said Ash desperately.

Looking at Ash’s desperate face, the woodsman said “Fine, fine, fine.”

Ash jumped silently to the dungeon floor.

“The Great Quest” was published in How to Feel Happy for Other People. Written by our Write Away Workshops and Write After School students, How to Feel Happy for Other People is a collection of stories, poems, letters, short plays, and more on how to celebrate our friends, stories, and ourselves. Click HERE to download your digital copy!

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