Playground Heroes


They are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually (Alma 57:27).

Brandon climbed to the top of the jungle gym and looked out over the playground. “Wow! I’m really high!” he said to himself. Looking down, he yelled, “Hey, Kurt! Come on up!”

Kurt scrambled up beside him. “Wow!” he echoed when he got to the top. “Look at all the little kids down there.”

“Yeah. Hey, let’s pretend that I’m King Benjamin and that those are all my subjects.”

Kurt frowned. “What can I be, the jester? Forget it!”

“Oh no.” Brandon hurried to explain. “You see, I’m very old and about to die, and I want to tell everyone that you will be the next king. You can be my son, Mosiah.”

“All right!” Kurt’s face brightened. “Now you rest your bones, old king, while I get everyone’s attention.” Kurt held up his arms and spoke loudly,

“Hear ye! Hear ye! Bow down before your king, unworthy subjects.”

“No, no!” Brandon interrupted. “King Benjamin wasn’t that kind of king.”

“He wasn’t?”

“No. He was good and kind. He let everyone sit with their families in tents so that they’d be comfortable while they listened.”

“Oh. Hey, Brandon, was—what’s my name again?”

“Mosiah.”

“Was Mosiah a good king too?”

“I think so, but I’m not sure.” Brandon confessed. “I’ll find out and let you know tomorrow,” he promised as the bell rang and they hurried to their class.

The next day Kurt could hardly wait for recess. When he got outside, he found Brandon by the drinking fountain. “Shall we climb the jungle gym again?”

Brandon nodded his head and grinned. “Look what I have!” He pulled two Popsicle sticks out of his pocket that he had taped together end to end.

Kurt’s eyes shone with excitement. “What’s that?”

“Ammon’s sword.”

“Who’s Ammon?” Kurt wanted to know.

“He was one of King Mosiah’s sons. I found out that King Mosiah was good, but his sons weren’t until they saw an angel.”

“What did Ammon do with his sword?” Kurt asked, taking the sword.

“He was taking care of a king’s flock, and some bad men ran up and scared the sheep away just to be mean.”

“Yeah? Then what?” Kurt held his sword tight with anticipation.

“Ammon got the sheep back, and when the bad men came again, he threw rocks at them with his sling.”

“But what about the sword?”

“Some of the bad men tried to kill Ammon by hitting him with big clubs. But when they lifted up their clubs, Ammon cut off their arms!”

“Wow! I want to be Ammon!” Kurt started swinging the sword back and forth and yelling, “Out of my way, sheep! Out of my way, everyone! Look out, or I’ll cut you up!”

Brandon shook his head. “No, Kurt—Ammon wasn’t a killer. He was just protecting the king’s sheep.”

“But he was so strong!” Kurt protested. “Wasn’t everybody afraid of him?”

“They were at first,” Brandon admitted. “But Ammon was good. He told them not to be afraid. He said that he was an ordinary man who got extra strength from the Lord to do good.”

“Oh. OK.” Kurt jumped up, laid the sword against his shoulder, and spoke in a deep voice: “I am Ammon. I am an ordinary man, but if you touch my sheep, I’ll disarm you!”

One afternoon Brandon’s mother answered the door to find Kurt’s mother standing on the front porch with a plate of cookies.

“Oh, Judy, how nice. Won’t you come in?” invited Brandon’s mother.

“I won’t stay long. I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am that our sons are such good friends. Kurt is always excited to come over here and play ‘Sons of Helaman’ with Brandon.”

“Oh, really?” Brandon’s mother was surprised.

“Yes,” continued Kurt’s mother. “Normally I don’t like it when they imitate those Saturday morning cartoons, but this one seems to be different from the others. Kurt even told me that the ‘Sons of Helaman’ were taught to be good by their mothers. Isn’t that great?”

“Yes, it is, Judy.” Brandon’s mother glanced at the Book of Mormon on the shelf. “But that story isn’t from a television show.”

“It isn’t?”

“Do you have a minute?” Brandon’s mother took the Book of Mormon down. “I’d like to tell you more about it.”

At recess on Friday, Kurt grabbed Brandon in the hall at school. “I can hardly wait until Sunday!” Kurt was jumping up and down.

“Do you mean it? Can you really go?” Brandon clapped his hands.

“Yes! My parents are taking me to your church, and I’ll learn more about Nephi and Captain Moroni and Alma the Younger!”

Both boys let out a whoop together, “Yippee!”

“What’s going on?” asked a new boy named Tom. “You sound like a bunch of Indians.”

“We are!” Kurt winked at Brandon. “I’m Lamoni and he’s Samuel, and you”—the two friends put their arms around Tom’s shoulders as they hurried outside—“you can be one of the Sons of Helaman.”

[illustrations] Illustrated by Davy Jones