Wild and Woolly

story & illustration © 2001 Bruce Van Patter

O h all right, I'll admit it. I'm a monster.
A hairy, slobbering, smelly beast. I've even got fangs.

Got a problem with that?

I don't. I know I'm a monster. So I work hard to stay away from people.

I can count on one hand the six times I've seen humans in my whole life. Living high up the mountain woods, I stay out of trouble. But I guess trouble knew where I lived.

Somebody, or something, had been raiding farms in the valley. Taking sheep. What kind of monster eats sheep? Ptewee. Too furry for me. Whatever it was, I had to find it and stop it. Soon. I know what would happen if I didn't. Village people would get together in the square with torches and axes and other nasty, monster-whacking tools. Then they'd come tramping through the wood until they find me. And if I'm lucky, I'd get away to dark forest on a lonely mountain. Again.

So I thought of a plan. Thinking isn't my strong point. My head is only good for breaking logs over, which is what I do to think. This time, the thirteenth log rattled loose an idea: the stuff in milkweed pods looks a lot like wool.

It took a lot of hunting milkweed, but in the end I trotted out into the meadow one night looking a lot like a sheep -- a BIG sheep. A big sheep with fangs, that is. Good thing it was dark. Now I only had to keep low and wait for the killer with wool stuck in his teeth. It was a perfect plan.

If I only I had known about the shepherd girl.


It's Your Story - That's a new one... a monster as the detective! Now you take over...

What will the shepherd girl do? Will she try to stop or help our monster hero? Who is taking the sheep and why? Can you write an ending that solves the mystery? And... what do sheep do to fall asleep -- count people?

Have fun -- finish the story -- and be creative! Why not email me your ending?

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