Click on the cover of the book to see the pages within.
This is the story for slightly older readers such as sixth graders.
By Mandi Glauser
In the beautiful country side of England, there was a beautiful kingdom, small and resourceful ruled by the gentle and well loved King Henry. King Henry was a Kind man who spent most of his time in his village as if he were a commoner, wondering the streets talking with his subjects. He also would socialize with his neighboring kingdom’s royalty. One such kingdom was the slightly larger but less resourceful land ruled by King Peter. King Peter was a sociable also but he was a power hungry man. He would only march though his kingdom evoking his authority upon his people. There were many times when King Henry advised King Peter to respect, honor and take care of his people. He firmly believes King Peter will change.
Every few months, the King Henry would hold banquets in his humble abode to socialize with his fellow Kings man. During one such banquet King Henry’s best friend and most trusted knight, Sir Jacob, noticed two conspicuous knights of King Peter in a corner of the room. They were acting very suspicious, snickering and talking in low voices. Sir Jacob decided to listen in and see what the secrecy was about. He stood close to them with his back turned acting as if he were surveying a nearby tapestry. What he over heard was something of a most terrible nature.
“I hear the weapon will be terrifying.” The first knight said with anticipation of the other knight’s answer.
“It has the power to demolish his walls without even one man getting within arrow range. King Henry will never see what’s coming.” The second knight snickered.
The first knight replied, “Is it true it can hurl a three hundred pound bolder three hundred yards?”
“Yes, maybe even more I have seen it with my own eyes. It looks like a dragon and is just as fierce. It will be just tall enough to hide in the trees so they won’t see it unt-…” “Shh I think someone is listening.” The first knight had noticed Sir Jacob surveying one spot on the tapestry a little too long. Sir Jacob moved in to squint at it a little more to cover his reason to stare at it then looked at another spot then walked off to tell his King of what he had heard.
Sir Jacob found his King among the midst of King Peter’s presents and a few other Kings. “My lord there is a matter you need to attend to in the drawing room.” he lied. Once out of earshot Sir Jacob confessed his lie and led his King to the drawing room to keep up the act where he told him all that he had heard.
King Henry knew he had to take action. “This is a serious matter,” the King exclaimed. “I need to find a wizard! Only a wizard could devise a way to defeat such a threat.”
“I have heard of a wizard who lives in the forest not to far from this castle. I will leave as soon as possible and find out what he knows about this weapon.”
Sir Jacob left the very next morning to find someone who knew were the wizard could be found. He encountered many people who told him of his wisdom but none knew where to find him. Finally a child told him he had stumbled into a great mound of earth that contained a castle occupied by a lonely but very friendly old man who had the strangest toys everywhere. The Knight decided to take a chance and look into this place of mystery. If this man was not the wizard maybe he would know where to find him.
Following the treasure trail like directions that the boy gave him past the tree that looked like a piper to the bent stream followed it down three turns and found the great mound.
Sir Jacob called out to the old man in the ground, “I am Sir Jacob, a knight of King Henry. I have come seeking a wizard.” From behind Sir Jacob an old but strong looking man emerged from the trees.
“You are looking for a way to defeat King Peter’s weapon. I have seen his weapon and I despise his lordship King Peter. I will help you but you need to act fast his weapon is almost ready.” The wizard advised Sir Jacob to make his own weapon and hide it behind the castle wall. “When King Peter’s weapon is in place you will fire your weapon and destroy his before he does any damage to you.”
The wizard and Sir Jacob poured over plans and measurements taken from plans from a far away land called china. For King Henry’s own secret weapon they decided to call the design a trebuchet. Armed with the precious plans Sir Jacob rushed to take the plans back to his King.
King Henry, while Sir Jacob was away, was trying to keep King Peter and his knights busy with knight games at King Peter’s castle so that King Peter could not proceed with his building of his weapon. Upon receiving the plans from Sir Jacob he set him with a notice to the people of his kingdom with a plea for help to build this weapon.
The King needed stone masons to carve three hundred pound stone balls for missiles. He needed carpenters, and any strong young man who could help them, to make a chamber box that would hold six and a half tons of weight. They could use any material available for the weight. The carpenters and their helpers would also need to build a frame with wheels. Sir Jacob and the wizard had worked long and hard on making the blue prints for every aspect of the design. Lumber jacks were needed to cut a seventy- five year old tree, for the throwing arm. The lumber jacks would also need to remove the bark from the tree. And, Last but not least the women of the kingdom were needed to make a sling with thirty yards of twine and a pouch in the center of the sling strong enough to hold the missiles.
King Henry’s people were more than willing to help their beloved king. Under the supervision of Sir Jacob, the townsmen began working immediately. They worked day and night tirelessly to finish the Trebuchet as fast and as proficiently as they could. Sir Jacob knew there was not much time to spare. King Peter’s weapon was almost finished when he had only just begun his lord’s trebuchet. Time is not on Sir Jacob’s side, even with King Henry distracting King Peter with the knight games, soon there would not be any more games to play. When the games would stop King Peter’s men would get back to work on his weapon.
Still unfinished, but mostly done with the trebuchet, King Henry has finally ran out of games to keep King Peter’s men busy. Now it’s a race to finish first. Although, the construction will go faster now that King Henry has his knights back to help. The King Henry’s people still need to get the frame standing and put on the throwing arm before it is finished.
Continuing to work day and night, the trebuchet comes together. Within only two and a half weeks the trebuchet is finally finished. Sir Jacob decides to test the massive weapon. Warning the town of the dangers it might fire backwards or knock over the castle from the inside where the trebuchet is hiding. He calls upon the strongest men of the kingdom to pull the throwing arm down in the ready position while other men set the release hook. The men that were prepping the throwing arm move to the release pin. On Sir Jacob’s mark they all heave the pin out of the release hook. The throwing arm gowns as it swings around its axle dropping the counter weight. The whole trebuchet rocks backward and forward a few feet with the swing of the counter weight. The missile is launched over the wall in a beautiful arc to land two hundred fifty feet on the other side. A success! Everyone can finally rest tonight knowing that there were scouts looking for the advancing weapon of King Peter.
During the night scouts report King Peter and his weapon advancing slowly from the west. This gives King Henry just enough time to move his trebuchet into position. When the dawn breaks King Henry lays his eyes on King Peter’s threat. The Basic design of King Peter’s weapon is the same as King Henry’s own trebuchet. There is only one difference; King Peter used lead counter weight that was molded to be fixed to the throwing arm.
With out warning King Peter fires before King Henry has prepped his throwing arm. The missile falls just short of the wall. King Henry fires, his missile falls just left of King Peter’s trebuchet. King Peter is shocked at how King Henry could have anticipated his secret weapon and come up with an anti weapon so quickly. This has now become a race to destroy.
King Henry shifts his trebuchet to the left. King Peter fires again, but this time he hits the wall to the right of King Henry’s trebuchet. The wall is only half smashed so King Peter’s troops still can not get through.
King Henry quickly fires back this time he is dead on. The missile smashes King Peter’s trebuchet right trough the throwing arm axel. King Henry signals to his armed forces hiding in the trees to capture King Peter and his men. It is an easy battle as King Peter’s men are exhausted from working the weapon. King Peter is taken to King Henry. “To make sure you never try such a feat again,” King Henry threatens, “I will destroy your kingdom with my weapon unless you flee the land.” King Peter scorned by shame and defeat fled the land and was never seen again.