Looking back on it, I was amazed because it incorporated epic themes, and played off of Nintendo games, computer games, and cartoons...where I would've gotten stories at the time. It even had a coherent moral: That you can ask for people to help, but never trust blindly. It's only drawback was the 2nd grade grammar I used at the time.
Previous morals for these "books" included: "And that's why you never ask what pancakes are being made!" (On second thought, that could've been me being silly!) and "That's why there is a rainbow at the end of the rainbow." (That was definitely a mistake.) But, this one ended with "And Ted went home happily." (But, I forgot to mention about half the story until now.) Ending aside, it was my first coherent epic!
On the 19th anniversary of this little "book" which encapsulates my early love of adventure stories, cartoons, and videogames...particularly Legend of Zelda! I decided to edit it, expand it, and change the grammar to make it more accessible to others. But, I still wanted young children to be able to read it, and maybe better understand the moral. So, I kept it simple. If alien anthropologists discover my body thousands of years from now, I'd want them to discover Ted's Secret on me. It is one of the best I've ever written.
Without further ado, Through Alien Eyes presents: Ted's Secret!
One day, a man, Ted went hunting. “Eh?” He asked as he opened his secret chest. My secret isn’t where I put it! Maybe someone knows where it is.” He couldn’t hunt without it, so he went to the church to see if the nun could help.
"No, I'm sorry, but I cannot help you." said the nun. "But, my brother, the hermit collects such things. Perhaps he can help you. He lives in the Hills of High Fire." The nun bowed, leaving Ted.
So, Ted climbed to the Hills of High Fire, where flame surrounded the hermit. "Beg your pardon, sir. Are you the nun's brother?" asked Ted.
"Why yes! I am." said the squinty eyed old man, peaking through the fiery walls. "And what would you be seeking?"
"I'm looking for my secret." Ted explained. "The nun said you might collect such things."
"Why, yes, I might have that in my collection." The snaggle-toothed crone stepped out from the fire, and said. "Can you tell me what it looks like?"
Ted thought for a while, and whispered to the old man. “It is a treasure of unimaginable wealth. It took me sixty-one weeks to find it.”
“Ah!” said the hermit, digging around in his hovel. “A treasure, big with lamps and rubies on it!” cackled the nun’s brother.
Ted shot the old man a look. “Do you have it, old hermit?” Ted wondered how the nun’s brother could be so crazy.
“No, I don’t have anything like that!” shouted the hermit. “But, maybe the willows have such things as you seek, adventurer. Beware, the willows can be nasty, and will throw apples at you.”
“Then, give me what I need to go see the willows!” Ted protested.
The ancient hermit coughed and wheezed in insane laughter. “Here is a shield to block the apples. And a gas mask. The Willow Woods are smelly.” He smiled toothlessly, and handed Ted the things. “Now, leave me be! I have to call the firefighters!” Hermits collect such strange things! Ted thought, and put on the gas mask, bidding his friend good-bye.
Away Ted went to the Willow Woods. The tall dark trees made him look small. They hunched down to speak with hideous, crooked faces.
“Who are you, little man?” They demanded.
“I’m Ted, the hunter.” said Ted. “And I seek my secret that I lost this morning!” Yelled Ted back at the willows.
“Go away, we don’t have it!” Said the willows altogether, and threw apples with their hand-like branches.
“Amazing!” Thought Ted, blocking the apples. “A forest that attacks travelers! What are you, knaves?”
Suddenly, those trees sobbed and said, “You may pass! We are only slaves to the warlock in the Grey Tower.”
“Amazing!” said Ted. “Does the warlock know where my secret is?”
“A warlock knows many things.” said the eldest willow. “And if he did have a secret, he would keep it to
himself. Yes! He could have it, and if you face him, we could finally be a peaceful forest! Go, Ted!” The
trees cracked woody smiles, and made a road.
And Ted went down the road happily. Then, he went to the warlock’s tower, and knocked on the big door.
“Who are you?” asked the warlock.
“I’m Ted, and I came from the forest looking for my secret!” Exclaimed Ted to the warlock.
“Come in.” said the warlock. “I have many secrets.”
“Have you seen mine?” asked Ted.
“You defeated the willows. You must be a warlock too. Is it magic?” said the warlock
“No,” said Ted. “It’s a treasure of unimaginable wealth. It took me sixty-one weeks to find it.”
“Ah!” said the warlock. “Yes! I have magical treasures. What will you give me for it?”
Ted showed him the shield and gas mask.
“Wow!” shouted the warlock. “I have never seen things like that. Now, I will show you my mirror.” Then, Ted went to the mirror room, and saw himself in it.
He looked weird and strange. The mirror was shiny, but didn’t look like a treasure.
“Aha! A trick, old man!” Yelled Ted.
“It’s no trick, the mirror shows the truth.” said the warlock. “It knows where the secret is!”
“Where?” asked Ted, “But it only shows me, and I emptied my pockets!”
“Ah, look inside!” said the warlock. So, Ted jumped inside the mirror. The sky was green and the grass outside was blue and sunny. Of course, Ted thought. In the mirror world, it’s the opposite! He will find the secret instead of losing it! So, Ted went back to hunting, and remembered the secret.
On a white cliff, near a green lake, Ted found a chest. Ted opened the lock, but right there was a girl who snatched it away.
“There it is!” she said. “I found it!”
“Hey!” said Ted. “That’s my secret! Who are you?”
“I’m Theodora, the huntress.” She said. She looked just like him.
“Of course!” said Ted, “If I’m here, and I remember, then you forgot it.”
“It’s mine now!” said the girl.
“Yes, but you’re just a mirror illusion.” said Ted. “I’m going to leave now, and believe that I still have it.” And Ted walked out of the mirror with the secret chest, that he didn’t have before he entered.
“Amazing!” said Ted to the warlock. “I’ll go home now.”
“No! I’m a warlock! I keep all the world’s secrets!” said the warlock.
“Why, yes, you do.” said Ted. “But, only if you teach me your magic.”
“How dare you!” Yelled the warlock who raised his wand. But, Ted blocked it with the secret chest. The warlock sobbed. He was turned into a frog. “Okay, I’ll teach you my magic. Just turn me back.” And the wizard taught him all his magic, and Ted flew back to his house and put down the big chest. “What an adventure!” said Ted.
A little while later, Ted passed by a wandering merchant.
“Would you like to sell your secret?” asked the merchant.
“No.” said Ted, and smiled. “This secret is mine, and it has gotten me all the magic and collections of the land.”
“What is it worth to you?” asked the salesman.
“Everything.” said Ted. “It took me sixty-one weeks to find, and the nun couldn’t help me get it back. I freed the willows, and learned magic to get it back.”
“What about some gold?” The man asked.
Ted nodded finally. “I can use gold. You can have the chest, but not the secret.” Ted took the gold, and the merchant laughed.
“Deal!” But, he looked inside for the secret and saw nothing.
And Ted went home happily, with his secret inside his head.