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The Story of a Little Girl Named Mary

In a far off kingdom, long ago, there was a young girl named Mary. Now Mary was a very special little girl because she was named after her great grandmothers, two wise and noble rulers of a distant kingdom to the north. And Mary was very much like them. But as beautiful and as sweet as Mary was, she was also clever.
One day, Mary was out in the field when she heard the sound of construction and building coming from the bamboo forest. She knew that the goblins had to be up to something and that it was never good. Curious and a little concerned, Mary came up to the river, closer then she normally would. It was then that she noticed the water level was lower than usual.
Mary knew something was wrong and that the noise coming from deep in the bamboo forest had something to do with it. For if the river dried up there would be nothing to stop the goblins from coming into the field whenever they wanted. Mary knew it was up to her to find out what was happening, and stop it.
Quickly, she ran back to the house where she packed her backpack with a compass, some rope, a map she made of the forest along the river and a canteen of water. With her supplies in tow, Mary headed out. She had to hurry. When she got back to the river she could already see it had dropped lower.
The sound of building still echoed out of the forest. Not wasting any time, Mary began heading up river. Whatever the problem was, she was sure she’d find it as long as she stayed along the water.
According to her map, Mary could see that the river twisted and turned and a part of it cut deep into the bamboo forest. That was where she’d find the goblins. So she continued on. The further she went, the louder the noise got. She was close now.
Then she saw it. Up ahead, there were six goblins and they were building a dam over the river. They were sealing up all the water with big rocks, fallen trees. A large lake was building up behind their structure.
It was worse then Mary imagined. If all of that water was kept locked up, it would flood half of the bamboo forest. She had to do something, and fast. But first, Mary had to get to the goblin’s side of the river. So, as quietly as she could, Mary made her way back down stream and crossed. By now, the river was so shallow that Mary could walk along the bottom of it.
As she stepped onto the shore, Mary looked around cautiously. She was now in goblin territory and had to be extremely careful. Suddenly, there was a sound in the underbrush that made Mary jump. She turned around, alarmed but it was only Strut the tom cat.
“Strut,” Mary sighed with relief. “You scared me.”
Strut stretched like cats does and looked up at her lazily. “You’re a lot deeper in the forest than usual Miss Mary.” It wasn’t unusual for Strut to be slinking around in the bamboo forest. He liked to explore and hunt there. He was also very good at eluding the goblins and could out run them if they ever saw him.
“It’s the goblins,” Mary explained. “They’re building a dam in the river. If I don’t hurry, there won’t be a river anymore.”
“So that’s what the noise is. Well, you best hurry.” Strut instructed her.
“Will you help me?” Mary asked. Under normal circumstances, Strut would usually decline, but this was a serious matter, and even Strut knew how dangerous it would be if the goblins ever got into the field.
“All right,” he agreed. He followed Mary as she started up river again.
“It’s this way,” Mary led him back to where she had seen the goblins. They were chopping down bamboo trees and letting them fall into the river. Then they were throwing rocks and sand over the bamboo to make it sink.
Mary and Strut hid in the underbrush while they thought up a plan.
“OK,” Mary whispered so the goblins wouldn’t hear her. “First we need to get the goblins away from that dam,” she said.
“I’m sure if you ask nicely,” Strut commented sarcastically.
“This is no time for jokes, Strut.” Mary watched the goblins work, looking for an idea. She knew she couldn’t scare them away and she knew she couldn’t wait until they left because the river would be dry by then. Whatever she was going to do, she had to do it now.
Suddenly a bird flapped through the trees and squawked as it flew into the sky. All of the goblins looked up and roared at it and looked as if they were going to chase it. But it was soon out of sight and they returned to work.
“That’s it,” Mary had an idea. She quickly took off her shoe. “Strut, we need to make a distraction. When I tell you too, run. OK?”
He looked at her hesitantly. “What?”
“Make as much noise as you can and get them to chase you back into the forest. While you keep them busy I’ll destroy the dam.”
Before Strut could object, Mary threw her shoe into the forest and ducked down. The goblins looked up but dismissed the thud it made. Mary took off her other shoe and tried again. A second thud grabbed their attention again and the goblins stared into the woods, intensely. Mary grabbed her canteen out of her sack and hurled that into the trees too. Now the goblins were alert and eager to attack whatever was making that noise.
“Now, Strut.” Mary nudged the cat and he darted out by the goblins and ran back into the underbrush, away from Mary.
Unable to pass up a good chase, the goblins dropped their tools and abandoned the dam to go after Strut. When the coast was clear, Mary ventured out. The water was so low now that Mary could see the bottom.
Not wasting any more time, Mary picked up a hammer and started breaking up the bamboo blocking the water. She chopped the thick trunks apart and kicked the rocks away. As she worked, Mary saw little trickles of water leaking through the dam. She worked harder, knowing Strut could only distract the goblins for so long. With one final shove, Mary forced the bamboo out of the way. Suddenly the water burst through and raced down the river. Mary was almost washed away. She had to leap to the shore quickly. Instantly, the water level went back up and Mary cheered.
But her job was not over. Quickly, she grabbed all the goblin’s abandoned tools and chucked them into the river, where the goblins wouldn’t be able to get to them. Mary had to make sure that the goblins would never try something like this again.
But suddenly, Mary heard a growl from behind her. She turned around and there were all six of the goblins staring at her.
“No!” One of the goblins screamed, “Our dam!” He was angry.
“The Goblin King will not be pleased,” another goblin mumbled. The six goblins surrounded Mary. She was trapped with the river to her back. Mary knew she had to think of something fast, but she didn’t panic. She looked over her shoulder and saw the water racing by. Because of the dam being released, the water was moving a lot faster than normal.
But then she saw it. Caught on the bank was the last bamboo trunk the goblins had cut down. Just as the goblins were about to pounce on her, Mary leapt at the bamboo and pushed it into the river with her in tow. The goblins barely missed her. She kicked her feet and with the bamboo’s help to stay afloat, she made it down river.
Behind her she could hear the goblins yelling. She washed up on the other side of the shore and climbed up onto the bank. She had done it, she saved the fields. Triumphantly, Mary started home, it was dinner time.
Along the way, Strut joined her. They reached the field just as the first star came out in the sky. Once again Mary had stopped the goblins’ evil plot and kept her friends safe, and all it had cost her was a pair of shoes and her canteen. All and all, it was not a bad day’s work.

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