ABILITY1 8' A peasant girl has special abilities

Once upon a time a long time ago in a land far, far away lived a
peasant girl named Michelle. She had special abilities that
noone else understood. She could see things that other people
couldn't see and she could hear things that other people
couldn't hear.

As a result of her special abilities, she was very good at
playing games, so good, in fact, that noone wanted to play games
with her, because she always won.

During the game of hide and seek, for instance, she could tell
where people were hiding without going to look for them, because
she could see through walls and rocks and trees.

Noone in her village could keep a secret, because she could hear
what people were saying even from far away, even if they

Because Michelle was so different, people poked fun at her and
called her names like "witch" and "sorcerer". As a result, she
was always alone and lonely.

One day, however, Michelle's special abilities became useful.
Some thieves stole the mayor's signet ring which was the symbol
of his power as a mayor. The thieves demanded a ransom of one
hundred gold coins for the ring. But the mayor's village was
poor and there weren't one hundred gold coins in the entire
village. So, the thieves argued with the mayor over the amount
of the ransom.

50 gold coins.


40 gold coins.


30 gold coins.


While the mayor and the thieves argued about the ransom,
Michelle used her special ability to see into the pockets of the
thieves. But the ring wasn't in any of their pockets. So, she
went outside to look through the saddlebags on their horses.
There in one of the saddlebags was the mayor's ring!

Looking all around, Michelle saw that noone was watching. So,
she reached in and pulled out the ring as the arguing over the
ransom continued inside.

20 gold coins.


10 gold coins.

"I'm sorry," replied the mayor, "Our village is very poor. I
don't have even 5 gold coins."

"Then we'll sell the ring in the city!" replied the thieves as
they rode away from the village on their horses.

After they rode out of sight, Michelle held out her hand and
opened it in front of the mayor.

"My ring!" exclaimed the mayor, "How did you get it back?!"

"I found it." replied Michelle, "I'm good at hide and seek."

After that, the whole village changed their minds about her.
Whenever anything in the village was lost, Michelle's keen eyes
found it for them.

And soon, Michelle became known throughout the kingdom as the
one with the keen eyes. As a result, the king himself often sent
for Michelle to come to the capital city to help him find lost
things there. While in the city, Michelle became good friends
with the king's daughter who was very smart -- so smart, in fact
that she could beat Michelle at "hide and seek".

But Michelle was a smart girl too. When she discovered that the
princess could hide in places Michelle couldn't see through, she
used other special ability to listen for whispers when the
princess was hiding with her friends. So, again, it was Michelle
who began to win at hide and seek.

But soon the Princess learned that Michelle could hear as well
as she could see. So, she stopped whispering while hiding. And
again, the princess began to win at hide and seek. She and
her friends had great fun with Michelle.

One day a few weeks later, the royal coach approached Michelle's
village. She thought that the princess had come to give her
friend Michelle a ride to the capital city. But instead, it was
the King himself who stepped out of the royal coach.

"Michelle, you must help me!" exclaimed the king.

Michelle bowed to the king saying, "Yes, of course, Your
Majesty. What have you lost this time?"

The king exclaimed, "My daughter has been kidnapped!"

On the way to the capital city, the king explained that one of
the kidnappers was the king's cousin who kidnapped the princess
in order to force the king to give up his throne.

"What do you think?" asked the king, "Shall I give up my throne
to my cousin? Or can you help me find my daughter?!"

Michelle replied, "Let me try to find her first."

The king said, "But they have taken her far far away. I don't
know if your special abilities will work so far away."

Michelle replied, "Let me try."

By the time they got back to the capital city, it was dark.
Michelle waited until everyone else was fast asleep, then she
went up to the highest place on the royal palace and listened.
Noone in the city was talking or whispering, so it was very
quiet up there. Michelle closed her eyes and listened carefully
for a long time.

Suddenly she heard a little girls voice. She recognized it at
once. It was the princess. She was repeating over and over
again, "Hide and seek. Come and find me. The kidnappers
blindfolded me but I heard the wagon riding over a wooden
bridge. I could hear water flowing down below the bridge. Then I
felt the wagon climbing a hill for a long, long time. Then, I
felt the wagon going down a hill for a long long time. Hide and
seek. Come and find me."

Michelle woke up the king and told him what she heard. They
looked on a map and saw four roads going out of the city into
the countryside. Only three of those roads went over a bridge,
but only two of those bridges went over rivers. So, they studied
the map to see which of the two bridges over rivers had a big
hill on the other side. Only one of them did.

"That's the road!" exclaimed the king as he pointed to the hill
on the map, "That's where we're going!"

They galloped out of the city in the royal coach in the
middle of the night followed by the palace guards. 

After crossing the bridge, and going over the hill, the king
exclaimed,"There's nothing here! This can't be the place! Alas,
I will have to give up my throne afterall."

"No, please. Let me try again." replied Michelle as she got out
of the coach and walked away from the horses and soldiers.

She closed her eyes and listened carefully. But for a
long time, she heard nothing. But then suddenly, she heard a
little girl yawn and breathe deeply. Michelle could tell that
the princess had fallen asleep, but was now awake. She whispered
the hide and seek message that she had been repeating last
night, but at the end she added, "The wagon rolled over some
rocks in the road just before it stopped. Then, they carried me
down some stairs. Hide and Seek. Come and find me."

The king gave orders for the coachman to continue down the
road. A few minutes later, Michelle and the king heard and felt
the rocks under the coaches wheels. 

"Stop the coach!" shouted the king, "This is the place!"

The king and Michelle stepped out of the coach and looked
around. Nearby were two buildings.

"Which one is it?" asked the king, "Shall I ask the guards to
search both buildings?"

"No." replied Michelle, "If you search the wrong building, the
kidnappers might hear you and hurt the princess."

"I need everyone to be very quiet." said Michelle as she walked
away from the coach.

She closed her eyes and listened carefully, turning her head
toward one building, then the other.

"That building there!" exclaimed Michelle as she pointed, "I
hear men's voices in there and no voices in the other building."

As soon as the king's guards surrounded the building, other
guards, kicked down the door and ran down the stairs. They
arrested the kidnappers, including the king's cousin and carried
the princess to the king.

The princess hugged the king, then smiled at Michelle saying,
"You found me! I knew you would!"

Thanks to Michelle's special abilities, they all lived happily
ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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