Only four days ago Sir Harold had been summoned by the King to go on a quest. His quest was one that others thought would be useless and demeaning. On an island just a mile or so from the shore there lived a small and very nasty little dog named Rubus. This dog was not just an ordinary dog owned by some poor peasant; but it was the dog of Lily who was the King's Nephew's BrotherinLaw's Youngest Daughter. The daughter loved Rubus very much and Rubus loved Lily too. But to everyone's surprise the dog was not as friendly to any one else. In fact if anyone came near Rubus he would fiercely attack them. And to make matters worse Lily was the King's favorite relative, although she was only of a very distant relation.
Sir Harold's job was to make Rubus a friendly and loving dog to all. Sir Rubus knew it would be a difficult job, he knew he must try.
Early Sunday morning Sir Harold awoke with a long groan, this was the day he must leave on his quest. He stalled over a small breakfast of porridge, then slowly strolled over to the stable to prepare his horse.
"Mornin' Reg!" Said Sir Harold to his small but sturdy horse, "are you ready for a little riding today?" Reg looked up from his bail of hay and snorted at Sir Harold. Sir Harold laughed and said, "come on Reg you need the exercise." Sir Harold walked up to a large cabinet, opened it and pulled out a shining saddle which he hauled over near Reg. He opened the gate to the stall and led Reg out, tying him to a pole just outside. Reg waited patiently for Sir Harold to set the saddle on his back and adjust the straps. Finally, after placing the bit in Reg's mouth, he loaded his equipment into a bag and hopped up on to his back. "Giddiup!" shouted Sir Harold and off they went on their quest."
As they raced over the rolling hills the sun was shining and the sky was clear. Sir Harold was beginning to change his mind about this quest of his. As he thought about it he figured that teaching a dog to be more polite to people would not be unreasonably difficult to achieve. "All I have to do is show Rubus that people are not bad," thought Sir Harold aloud to Reg, "and that most of them are very nice and he will probably turn right around and become a friendly dog." Sir Harold went on thinking this way until he came to the edge of the sea and was about to board the small ship leaving for the island. A thought suddenly struck him, "what if Rubus is worse than I have been told." He was perplexed. "Then what shall I do, I must do as the King requested!"
Sir Harold was distressed. He didn't know what to do. Just a few minutes ago he had been positive that his quest was an easy one; and now he wasn't sure of anything. The ship left the dock and Sir Harold sat down on a bench near the edge to think about his perilous duty. After a few minutes an old man came up to him and remarked. "You look distressed. What is your trouble?"
Sir Harold replied, "I have been sent by my good King on a difficult quest, which I fear I shall be unable to complete."
The old man spoke calmly. "Tell me of your quest and why it is sod distressful to you."
Sir Harold told the old man about the King and Rubus and Lily and all the difficulties that he thought he might incur.
The man responded in a calm voice, "do not let your spirits be dimmed by what you think may happen. Find out about Rubus before you try to query your self about his stance."
Sir Harold thanked the old man for his advice just as the ship came up to the dock on the island.
Sir Harold was confident again, he decided that he would ask the people who lived on the island about Rubus. He mounted Reg and they rode off towards a small town near the edge of the forest. As he came in to the town he noticed a friendly looking woman hanging some clothes on a line in front of her house, and he decided to approach her and ask for her opinion of Rubus. "Madam, may speak with you for a moment?"
"Are ya talkn' to me?" Spoke the woman in a loud and abrupt tone.
Sir Harold was startled by the woman's manner of speech, so he decided to find someone else more friendly to ask. "Never mind madam I must have mistaken you for someone else," Sir Harold quickly replied as he sped off down the road and out of view of the woman.
When he was out of the view of the woman he slowed down and proceeded to look for another person who might be more friendly. He saw several children run out of a shop followed by a man and a woman, presumably the parents, who looked like they were in a rush. He also saw a woman who he thought might be friendlier than the other people he had seen. She was also watching with a similarly startled look at the man, the woman and the children who rushed past her. Sir Harold decided that she might be someone who could answer his question. "Madam, may I speak with you for a moment?"
"Why sure! What would you like to talk about?" she said in a voice that told Sir Harold that she was not standing on the corner to just enjoy the sunny day.
Sir Harold once again used his mistaken person story to excuse himself, "I must have mistaken you for someone else. Good day." With that he rode away from thetown and decided that he would never come back there again.
As Sir Harold rode through the forest he observed a man who was pushing a cart slowly along the rode. "This," thought Sir Harold, "this is going to be the last person I will try before I must go to the castle of Lily and Rubus." Sir Harold gathered up his courage and maneuvered Reg up next to the man. "Sir may speak to you for a moment?"
"What have I done to you. Who are you. Why are you bothering me, can't you see that I am busy, I have work to do. Can't you see that I am poor? Just leave me alone!" said the man in a crude all in one breath.
This was it. Sir Harold could not stand it any longer. This time he just jabbed Reg in the side with his heels and they hurried off down the road to see what he could do about Rubus. He was so distressed that he was going even though he didn't know what Rubus was going to be like.
As he approached the small castle where Lily lived he noticed that there weren't any guards around and the drawbridge was down. When he neared the castle he heard a loud scream, it was a strange scream, it sounded like the scream of a man in pain. Sir Harold being a knight of the King knew his duty. So he sped up drawbridge and leapt through the gate into the court yard. Just as Sir Harold and Reg landed a halfdozen men in dark armor sprang from behind the pillars and surrounded him. Sir Harold whipped out his trusty sword and called out to them, "I am Sir Harold, a knight of the good King of this land. Why do you attack me?"
One of the men grunted, "We come have take this castle for our leader Maka the Marauder of..." Just before the man could finish a man ran out into the courtyard and dog jumped out from behind him onto the man who was speaking, knocking him onto the ground. He fell so that hard that though he was in full armor, he was unconscious. The other five men with their swords had pointed at Sir Harold and about to strike; but before any of them could, the dog who Sir Harold was sure must be the infamous Rubus had knocked them all down. The dog was about to attack Sir Harold when a voice said, "come here Rubus!" The dog who was definitely Rubus turned around and ran to meet a small girl as she entered the courtyard. "This," thought Sir Harold, "must be Lily!"
"Sir, " said Lily, "did my dog hurt you?"
"No," replied Sir Harold in a relieved voice.
"Who are all these men lying here," said Lily as she noticed the rather large pile of knocked out people in the center of the courtyard.
Sir Harold said, "these men claimed that they were trying to capture this castle."
While he was in the middle of sentence Lily's parents also entered the courtyard. When Sir Harold had finished his sentence Lily's fathers spoke, "thank you sir for saving our castle and our lives!"
"I did not do this, it was Rubus, Lily's dog."
"Rubus did this!" Lily's mother exclaimed.
"Rubus, you are a much better dog than we would ever have thought, " said Lily's father reverently. "Who would have ever thought that such a dog as Rubus could have been so useful!"
"Oh! I have forgotten to introduce my self," Sir Harold announced, "I am Sir Harold, and I have been sent by the King to work with Rubus to make him a friendlier and more pleasant dog."
"So you are the knight we were told would come, you are early. We didn't expect you for another day."
The three guards of the castle awoke and groggily entered the courtyard. They told how they were assaulted by several men in dark armor. They said that there were too many men for them to win and they were very sorry about the trouble that they might have caused. The guards hauled the men off to the nearby town, and then Sir Harold spoke up.
"It seems to me," Sir Harold reported, "that Rubus is still as fierce as I have been told."
"Yes, Sir Harold," Lily's father replied, "he has been this way ever since we first acquired him."
"Well," said Sir Harold, "I will try my best to tame this beast."
Lily's parents invited Sir Harold to dinner. The table was magnificent: There were fruits from all over the world scattered beautifully across the table. There was meat by the ton and drink by the barrel. This was the largest amount of food Sir Harold had ever seen. "Come sit with us and eat," Lily's father invited. Sir Harold sat at once and ate until he thought he would erupt. He thanked everyone and left to think about his quest.
A servant came up to him and uttered in a monotonous voice, "follow me, I will show you to your room."
Sir Harold replied, "thank you."
They went up a small flight of stairs to a long, dimly lit corridor lined with suits of armor and other medieval paraphernalia. They turned into a side corridor and ascended another stair case, this time it was long and spiral shaped. Sir Harold calculated that he was going to stay in the tower. The servant opened up a door and vocalized, "This will be your room, don't feel free to call upon me, if you need anything get it yourself." Sir Harold was again astonished by what he heard; but before he could say anything in rebuttal, the servant had disappeared. The room was small. In one corner was a large bed. In the other was a bureau with an old and almost completely melted candle sitting on top. There was one tall rounded window between the bed and the bureau.
Sir Harold walked up to it and looked out upon the land below. He saw the light of the small town where he had searched for details about Rubus. Then he suddenly pulled all the facts together. He realized that all the people who he saw form this island were rude, in a rush, overly interested in talking or to wrapped up in their problems to realize that some people are friendly. "Here must be my answer," he contemplated, "Rubus was probably raised down in that town which is full of people who are not easy to like. Rubus must have disliked people so much that he resolved to attack any person who came near him." This was what Sir Harold had been looking for, an answer that made sense. Sir Harold, now being satisfied with his deduction, undressed then climbed into bed and immediately went to sleep.
The sun was shinning through the window onto Sir Harold's face when he awoke and recalled what he had discovered. He rose from the bed, dressed and proceeded to follow the maze of passages down to the dinning hall. He opened his door, turned to the right, where he remember the stairs being, and they still were. He descended the curling stairs and walked out into the main corridor. It looked much different than it did the night before; the armored suits were reflecting the sunlight that came in from the enormous windows at either end of the corridor. Then just as he was being caught up in the splendor of the corridor he realized that he could not recall which passage was the one that went to the dinning hall. To add to his trouble Rubus was coming at him at a tremendous rate. Sir Harold leapt strait up just as Rubus lunged for his feet. With all the might he procure from his soul he yelled, "HELP!" Lily rushed out of her room and called to Rubus. Rubus barked sharply as he strolled past Sir Harold who was hanging from a beam extending across the corridor.
"Sorry about Rubus! I didn't think anyone was up yet so I let him out." Explained Lily, who was now holding Rubus in her arms.
Sir Harold almost forgot about his other predicament. "Which way is it to the dinning hall?" he inquired.
"It is the door behind you," Lily responded.
"Thank you for saving me from Rubus and helping me find my way out."
Said Sir Harold appreciatively. He turned around, opened the door and walked in to the dining hall. The servant was there so Sir Harold asked him, "when is breakfast served?"
"Whenever it pleases me to serve it," replied the servant snootily.
Sir Harold left through a side door, disgusted at the servant's personality. This door led out to the courtyard. Sir Harold found a chair and sat down. Lily's father soon appeared out of another door on the opposite side. He came and sat down beside Sir Harold and asked what he was planning to do aboutd Rubus. Sir Harold asked him what he knew about the town people's strange attitude. Lily's father replied, "they have been stubborn for as long as I can remember."
"I think the people of the town may be the reason for Rubus' dislike toward's people." proposed Sir Harold. Lily's father agreed. The servant came out and told them that breakfast was ready. Sir Harold and Lily's father stood up and traveled to the dinning hall.
The table was again lavishly spread with wondrous food and drink. Lily and her mother were already seated at the table as they joined them. Lily's mother asked about their conversation and Lily's father told her about Sir Harold's idea. She too agreed. Now the only problem was what exactly to do about Rubus. Lily's mother suggested that they take Rubus on a walk through the town; but Sir Harold told her that would not be a very good idea. Sir Harold suddenly became silent. Everyone looked at him. Then he looked up and spoke, "Rubus doesn't like the people of the town, but has Rubus ever seen anyone who wasn't from there."
The others looked at each other and all said, "no."
"Ah ha!" shouted Sir Harold, "that is the answer! We must find kind people and surround Rubus with them." That was the answer! No one stayed to finish their breakfast, they all rushed out to write messages to those people they knew were kind.
Later that day people started appearing. They were the nicest of the nice people to be found any where in the land. Some were so nice that after a snack was served they offered to help clean up, and others wanted to do anything they could to help somebody out. Rubus, who was laying in Lily's arms acquired many wonderful remarks and was petted and loved until he finally by supper time was allowing everyone to pet him, his tail would wag when he saw people who had already petted him and most of all, he looked happy. Sir Harold was pleased that Rubus responded to the people so well. Sir Harold left the next morning for home where he received praise and honor.
Do everything in the best way you know how and things will turn out better in the end.
Love can soften the hardest heart.