Knights of the Red Rose

Bang! Crash! The broomstick hit the garbage can lid such a blow that Steven fell to the ground. “You’re not supposed to hit so hard. I’m not a real dragon, you know.”

“Sorry, Steve,” Mike said. “I know you’re not, but I wish you were. I mean—I just wish there were still dragons around someplace.”

“Me too,” said Steven. “I’d slay them all and rescue people.”

“And when we got back to town they’d have a big parade for us,” suggested Mike.

“And root beer floats,” Steven added.

“But it’s no use,” Mike complained. “There’s nobody to rescue anymore. No dragons. No maidens in distress. Nothing exciting to do.”

“Steven! Are you out there?”

“Yes, Mom.”

“I need something at the store. Will you go for me please?”

“OK, Mom, in a minute.”

“That gives me an idea!” Mike said, jumping up from the grass. “There’re still people to rescue. Your mom needs to be rescued right now.”

“That’s not rescuing! I go to the store all the time.”

“Yes, but this is different. Now we’ll go looking for chances to help people just like knights did in the olden days!”

“OK,” said Steve, catching his friend’s enthusiasm. “And if it’s a lady, we can give her a red rose from one of our bushes. Knights love to do stuff like that.”

“Thanks, boys,” said Steven’s mother when they returned from the store. “I really needed these things in a hurry. You saved my day.”

“Well,” said Steven, “that’s our job.”

“Here you are, madam. This red rose is for you to remember us by,” Mike added. “Now we have more knight work to do.”

“Night work?” asked Steven’s mother incredulously, as she put the rose in some water. “But it’s only two o’clock in the afternoon! However, I’m grateful for your help whatever time you’re going by.”

“It was our pleasure, madam, and all in a day’s work,” Mike said, bowing extravagantly.

The boys were pleased as they ran outside. “Now what?” they said, laughing because it sounded like one voice. Looking around for something else to do, they noticed that Mrs. Thompson’s yard was covered with leaves. A half hour later there was not a single fallen leaf to be seen, and a red rose was tucked into Mrs. Thompson’s mailbox. “She’ll never know it was us, “Mike said, grinning with pleasure.

Just then the two knights saw something that alarmed them. Little Jimmy Black had wandered into the street, chasing a big beach ball. And a car was coming around the corner only a block away. “Mike! Quick!” shouted Steven. “You get the ball. But be careful!” The two boys ran at top speed down the sidewalk. Looking carefully, they walked quickly into the street.

Mike grabbed the ball, and Steven picked up Jimmy.

Just as the boys returned to the curb, the car whizzed past and Mrs. Black ran out of her house. “Boys,” she cried, “I can’t thank you enough! I saw Jimmy in the street, but by the time I got here, you already had him out of the path of that car. I’m so grateful to you.”

“That’s all right. You don’t have to thank us. We like doing this kind of work.” The two boys smiled.

Just then Mike’s mother called from his house, “Mike! Steven! Could you come here a minute?”

As the two boys climbed the porch steps, they saw a tray and began to smile. “I thought you might like a treat,” said Mike’s mother.

“Root beer floats!” said Steven. “My favorite!”

“Mine too!” Mike agreed. “Being a real, live knight is lots more fun than fighting pretend dragons.”

When Mike’s mother came out to pick up the tray and glasses, the boys were already gone. But their empty glasses were neatly placed on the table, and beside them lay a beautiful red rose.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Dale Kilbourn