CHEATING 9' Detective and the cheating knight

The princess had a birthday and all the kingdom celebrated. She
was now old enough to marry. So, her father the king announced
that a tournament would be held among the princes and knights of
the realm. The winner of the tournament would be allowed to
marry his daughter the princess.

The princess secretly preferred the White Knight. In fact, the
whole nation preferred the White Knight, not merely because he
was the tallest and the most handsome knight (he was both), but
because he was a war hero who had defended the kingdom several
times in battle.

But favorite or not, the rules of the tournament required that
the winner of the tournament would win the hand of the beautiful

And so, the day of the tournament arrived. There would be five
knights competing in five events over five days. The man
finishing in last place each day would be eliminated from the
tournament. In five days only one competitor would be left and
he would claim the beautiful princess as his bride.

The first event on the first day was the cross-country horse
race. The riders would guide their horses over a treacherous
course over steep hills and deep valleys, over creeks and
rivers, over rocks and sand, and finally through the forest,
where the riders zigzagged their horses between trees, under low
hanging branches, and over fallen trees.

As expected, the White Knight led the race the entire way. And
as expected, the slowest horse was ridden by a villain known as
the Black Knight. But mysteriously, on the last hazard (the jump
over the fallen tree) the second to last horse stumbled and
fell, throwing its rider to the ground. By the time he finally
picked himself off the ground and remounted his horse, the black
knight rode by and finished the race ahead of the fallen rider,
who was eliminated from the tournament.

On the second day of the tournament, there was a foot race where
all the remaining competitors were to run the same course as on
horseback. But at the end of the course there was a steep cliff
to climb just before the finish line.

As expected, the White Knight led the race the entire way. And
as usual, the slowest runner was the Black Knight. But
mysteriously, on the last hazard (the climb up the steep cliff)
a falling rock from above hit the second to last climber on the
head. He fell to the bottom of the cliff. By the time he picked
himself off the ground and resumed the climb, the Black Knight
had finished the race ahead of him. And he was eliminated from
the tournament.

The royal family was alarmed. Two accidents in two days? Was
this just a coincidence? What was even more suspicious was that
the Black Knight was saved from elimination because of the
accidents. Not wanting to take a chance, the king hired the
world's greatest detective, a seven-year-old girl named
Michaela, to investigate the accidents.

Michaela immediately went out to the woods to the sight of the
accident in the first race where the horse had stumbled over the
fallen tree. She looked through her magnifying glass at the
fallen tree and the trees on both sides of the fallen tree.

"Aha!" Michaela exclaimed. "The bark of the fallen tree has not
been damaged. The horse didn't stumble over this tree." Michaela
reported back to the royal family. She concluded, "This was no
accident. When the rider approached the fallen tree, someone
tightened a rope between the two other trees and tripped his
horse. The horse didn't stumble over the fallen tree, he
stumbled over the rope."

"Oh, dear," said the King, "perhaps the cliff climbing accident
may not have been an accident either. Can you investigate?"

"Of course." Michaela replied. And she went out to the cliff
where the accident occurred to investigate.

Meanwhile, the third day of competition had already started. The
event was spear throwing. As expected, the White Knight beat all
other competitors in the distance throw. But another knight, who
was well-known for his spear-throwing ability, finished in last

"I can't understand it!" The knight exclaimed. "I can throw
farther than that! It's as if somebody tampered with my spear."

The Black Knight was lucky to finish second to last.

The second half of the spear throwing competition was a throw
for accuracy. Each competitor was to have three tries at hitting
a watermelon on a fence post one hundred feet away. As expected
the white knight hit the watermelon on his first try and didn't
even have to throw the second and third spear. The next
competitor hit the watermelon on his third try.

Then, the Black Knight stepped up and missed the watermelon on
his first two throws. He wasn't even close. It looked like he
would be eliminated. But on his third try, he threw the spear
over the watermelon and it stuck into the ground beyond. But as
the spear was passing over the watermelon, the watermelon
mysteriously split in two and the two halves fell to the ground.

The Black Knight exclaimed, "It's a tie! I'm not eliminated from
the tournament."

The crowd watching the competition was amazed. They thought the
spear had missed the watermelon completely. But noone could
explain the two pieces of watermelon laying on the ground.

Reluctantly, the king announced that all three competitors would
continue in the tournament in the archery the next day.

Just then, Michaela, the world's greatest detective, returned
from the cliff with a rock and a magnifying glass in her hand.

"This is the rock that hit the climber in the head." She said
looking through the magnifying glass at the rock. "There are
traces of the climber's blood here on the edge of the rock where
it hit him in the head. Aha!" Michaela exclaimed.

"What is it?!" the king inquired.

Michaela replied, "This was no accident. There's a tool mark
here on the opposite side of the rock, where somebody pried it
loose from the cliff. Do you know who might have benefited from

The entire royal family spoke at once, "The Black Knight."

The king explained, "If it weren't for these accidents, the
black knight would have been eliminated from the tournament."

Michaela replied, "Then I'll keep an eye on him."

The king pointed to the watermelon. "You might also investigate

"Investigate a watermelon?!" Michaela asked.

The king replied, "We all think the Black Knight's spear missed
the watermelon completely, but the watermelon broke in half

Michaela took the watermelon pieces and compared them to the
spear that was thrown at it. She examined both carefully with
the magnifying glass.

"Aha!" She exclaimed.

"What is it?!" the king inquired.

"This watermelon was split by a small rock from a sling shot!"
Michaela concluded.

The next day, was the archery competition, where each shooter
would aim a bow and arrow at the watermelons on a fence post.
Michaela, the world's greatest detective, watched the black
knight closely to see if he cheated. The Black Knight finish

"I didn't see anything suspicious." Said Michaela.

But the king had an explanation. "As luck would have it, the
Black Knight was pretty good at archery. The only person who is
a better shot with a bow and arrow is the White Knight, who won
today's competition. I'm afraid that the Black Knight will cheat
again tomorrow and my daughter will have to marry a villain."

Michaela assured the king, "Don't worry, Your Majesty. If the
Black Knight cheats, I'll catch him red-handed."

The final day of competition was the joust. The two remaining
competitors were to mount their horses and ride toward each
other carrying a long stick, called a lance, which they will use
to try to knock the other rider off of his horse. The rider who
successfully knocks the other rider off of his horse will marry
the princess.

Michaela, the world's greatest detective arrived at the jousting
area before dawn, before anyone else arrived. As she arrived,
she saw a man dressed all in black sneaking away from the tent
where the lances were kept. So, she carefully inspected each
lance, and immediately noticed that one lance was much heavier
than the other.

Looking through her magnifying glass, Michaela exclaimed, "Aha.
Someone has filled this lance with lead, a metal that is very
heavy and will make the lance very difficult to move. If the
White Knight can't move his lance very well, he won't be able to
point the lance at the Black Knight in order to knock him off
his horse."

Michaela reported back to the king, "I know how the Black Knight
will win the joust."

"How?" Asked the king.

"He has made the White Knight's lance more than twice as heavy
as his own, so the White Knight won't be able to aim his lance
as easily." Said Michaela.

The king asked, "Why not switch lances, then, and give the black
knight a taste of his own medicine?"

Michaela wisely replied, "Because if it's wrong to cheat the
White Knight, it's wrong to cheat the Black Knight."

The king asked. "Then, what will you do?"

Michaela replied. "I've already done it. I removed the lead
weights from the lance and now the two knights will joust

And so it was. The trumpets blew. And when the princess stood
and dropped her handkerchief, the two knights lower the face
shields on their helmets and galloped their horses toward one
another. A few seconds later, the White Knight's lance hit the
Black Knight in the chest and knocked him off his horse. The
crowd went wild.

A while later, their hero the White Knight married the beautiful
princess and everyone except the Black Knight lived happily ever

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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