ALBERT FINDS THE SOLUTION
Albert was bored. It was a Saturday afternoon and his chores were done and he could not think of anything he wanted to do. He could ask his mom for a suggestion but she would say “take your sister to the park.” Or some equally non-fun things,like that.
He wanted an adventure and all his friends wanted to do was go and burn old barns and buildings or scare the people. That was just as boring as doing nothing, as far as Albert was concerned. So before his mother asked him to do something for her, Albert went outside to do his thinking in a safe non-adult place.
He flew to the top of the mountain where there was a tree to sit under and just watch as the world goes by.
Oh!Did I forget to say that Albert is a dragon? Sorry about that, but he is. He is seven years old, goes to school everyday and helps out at home on Saturday and Sunday.
He likes the things he does with his friends but sometimes he just wants to do something different. He isn’t sure what, just something nobody has ever done before.
But dragons have been around forever so there wasn’t much left undone. There is his problem.
Albert is like any other seven year old and finds it hard to sit still for very long. He decided to just pick a direction and fly that way until something interesting showed up. But what would it be? To pick the direction he picked up a leaf and threw it into the air and it floated to the south, so off he flew.
He flew for about an hour and had gone really far. He was thirsty and below him there was a large lake so he landed on the shore to get a drink of water.
He was just dipping his head down to drink when he thought he heard something.
He wasn’t scared since there wasn’t much that could hurt a dragon, even a little dragon.
He looked over the bush and there was a little boy setting up a tent. He looked farther and there was not one boy but lots of boys setting up tents and starting fires and gathering wood and even filling pails with water from the lake.
Albert decided to stay where he was and get his drink. He didn’t want to leave as he had never seen boys up close before and he was curious.
What were they doing out here by themselves? What happened to their parents or teachers? Where were the adults?
Albert stayed hidden because he was curious. He watched everything the boys were doing and tried to figure out why they were there.
He had an idea that was building up and could become an adventure and something nobody had done before. As the idea grew so did the smile on his face.
He finally decided to do it. Now, he just had to get ready.
Albert flew really fast, back home and when he got there he asked his mom if he could go camping overnight, when she said yes he gave her a big hug and kiss. He went to the storeroom and picked out his sleeping bag, a tent, fishing gear and a backpack for the food he planned to bring with him
When he got back to the kitchen he discovered that his mom had put his meals on the table. All he had to do was pack them in the backpack. He got his clothes and a pair of pyjamas and stuck them into the backpack and was all set to go. He said goodnight to his sister and his mom, and left. He had to fly pretty fast because it was a long way to go and he didn’t want to miss anything.
Sometimes dragons can do really magical things. They don’t do them often but once in a while for a good cause they use the magic to help them have fun. That is what Albert did that day.
When he reached the lake, Albert stopped a bit before the boys campsite and changed into a boy. He checked to see that he was all-boy, since he didn’t want a tail or a claw to give him away.
He walked to the campsite and the boys looked up and said, “Hi, what are you doing here? We thought we were going to have the whole area to ourselves.”
Albert said “My dad dropped me off at the road and is going to pick me up tomorrow. But if you want me to go I can find another spot near the lake.”
“Oh no, don’t go we were just surprised that somebody else had the same idea we did. We had to do a lot of coaxing to get our moms to agree to this trip.”
The other boys had all come up by this time so they were introducing themselves and when that was done they showed Albert a good spot for his tent. They helped him set it up and get his stuff settled and then they decided to go for a swim.
They played in the water for about an hour having a great time playing underwater tag and diving off the raft that was quite a ways out from shore where the water was deep enough for diving.
Albert had never had so much fun. They got out to dry off and sat on the beach talking and getting to know each other.
Albert had lots of questions to ask and the boys were eager to answer them. He asked about their school and how they liked their teachers and was surprised to learn that they liked school but sometimes they really didn’t like their teacher and all the work they had to do. It was just the way he felt lots of times.
Then he asked if they had little sisters or brothers and if they had to look after them even when they had really important things to do, like going to have a ball game with their friends. All the boys said they did and really didn’t like to play children’s games when they were so much older than their brothers.
After all that exercise in the water the boys decided they were hungry so they went back to the camp and got dressed. Kevin started a campfire and Albert and the others went and got long sticks to roast the wieners they had brought. They sat around while they were roasting the wieners to just the way they liked them. George liked his almost raw so his was cooked first. He got up and brought over the buns and ketchup and mustard for everyone.
Some of the boys liked theirs almost burnt but Albert liked his just cooked enough to split and be a bit crispy. It was fun roasting the wieners that way and not holding them up in front of you and breathing fire on them.
As they were sitting at the fire the mosquitoes started to bite and sting the boys. Albert had never had to deal with this problem and he didn’t know what to do. Jack went to his tent and brought out some spray and started spraying all the boys and Albert as well. It was bug spray and kept the bugs from biting them. Albert was really glad that it worked. Bug bites were really itchy.
Then they got out marshmallows and toasted them over the fire while telling ghost stories to try and scare each other. Some of them were pretty funny but a couple sure did make the boys look behind them into the dark trees.
Finally they were getting tired and one by one they headed for their tents and bed.
Kevin and Albert were the last to go and they put the fire out and said good night.
Albert was really glad to stretch out in his sleeping bag because he had had a very busy and interesting day.
When Albert got up in the morning everyone else was still asleep. He decided that he would start breakfast for everyone. His mom had packed enough food for a dragon and since he wasn’t a dragon anymore there was plenty for everyone.
He went to the fire pit and laid out the wood for the fire but he didn’t have any matches or a lighter. He never needed either of those things. Even if he was a boy he could still breathe fire in little spurts. He looked around to see if anyone was watching and bent over the fire and sneezed. The fire was going and nobody was the wiser.
He got a frying pan and started the bacon cooking and got out bread and put it on the rocks to toast a bit. Not as good as a toaster but great for a camping trip. He put on a kettle of water and got out the mix to make hot chocolate. Then called the boys to get up and have some breakfast.
When the boys got to the fire they were really happy that breakfast was cooked since they had wondered how they were all going to cook with only the one fire. But Albert, who didn’t even know that there had been a problem, had solved it.
He had really just wanted to get the new day started so his adventure would continue.
After they cleaned up from breakfast they decided to go fishing. Albert was glad that he remembered his folding up fishing pole and the small tackle box, he was ready to try fishing.
They headed for the lake and walked a trail to a good fishing spot. It was far from where they had been swimming the day before so the fish wouldn’t be scared off and they should have good luck.
Now as you know you don’t talk a lot while you are fishing because the fish can hear you. So Albert didn’t have to answer questions but he also didn’t get to ask any. But he was still learning more about the boys just watching them fish.
Henry was always casting and reeling in while George and Kevin cast and let the line sit where it was for a while. Mark kept casting and reeling in and changing his lure thinking that the next one he put on would catch him the big fish. Albert was casting and slowly reeling in but he was not really thinking about fishing, he was watching and learning things about boys.
He was thinking that boys were not that much different from dragons. They went to school and helped out at home with chores and liked doing different things sometimes. Like the camping they were doing this weekend. That was just how Albert and his friends felt. It was not fun to always be doing the same stuff. Sometimes you needed an adventure.
While Albert had been thinking and watching the boys and just enjoying the day, the fish had been biting. As each boy brought in the fish they caught they compared the size and the colour and even the type of fish.
They caught a few pike, several pickerel, and even a couple of bass. They had enough for a really good fish fry. They decided to go back to camp after cleaning the fish and have some lunch.
Three of the boys stayed to clean the fish while the others headed back to camp to get the fire going and get set up to cook lunch.
They were just getting ready to go and see what was taking the fish cleaners so long, when they heard them running. They figured that the three must be really hungry if they were running like that.
When the running boys were fairly close they were shouting and calling for everyone to run and hide. The boys at the camp couldn’t figure out why, until they heard a big growling roar and saw the bear running behind the other boys.
They all ran and tried to find a place to hide. The bear was looking around trying to figure out where the fish were. He had smelled the fish when the boys were cleaning it and in the excitement the boys had grabbed the fish and were running with it.
The boys were all hidden, under blankets, behind trees, and even behind a couple of the tents. Nobody was in sight.
Albert was thinking that he should maybe turn back into a dragon and scare the bear, but that would spoil the fun of his adventure. So instead he peeked out from where he was hiding behind the bush and roared. He roared just as loud as if he was a dragon because just as he could start a fire as a boy, he could roar as a dragon, when he was a boy.
Well, that bear heard that dragon roar and ran into the woods as fast as he could. When the boys stopped shaking they came out of their hiding places and they were all talking at once, wondering what or who made that loud roaring noise that scared away the bear. They had never heard such a roar and they were kind of scared but curious too. Albert never said a word except to say that it was a pretty neat sound and whatever it was it sure happened at just the right time.
They talked about the bear for a while and then as they calmed down they found that they were really hungry so they straightened up the fire pit and the campsite and started getting the pan hot for the fish. John was doing the cooking and Mike was buttering the bread and Ken was passing out the drinks. When the fish was cooked they all had just enough to be full.
It was fairly late in the afternoon and Albert said he had to be going to meet his dad. The other boys had to get packed up because their parents were coming to get them just before suppertime.
They took down the tents, rolled up sleeping bags and put the stuff into backpacks and got ready to leave.
Albert picked up his stuff and said good-bye to everyone and said he might see them soon someplace. The boys said that would be great and they camped here once in a while during the summer. They said good-bye on the happy thought that they would get together soon.
Albert walked away towards where he said he was meeting his father, but really he was just getting away from the camp so he could change back into a dragon and fly home.
He was still trying to decide if he would tell his friends about his weekend, when he saw them at school, but he didn’t think so.
It was fun to have an adventure without them once in a while.