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´╗┐Title: Baartock
Author: Roth, Lewis
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Baartock" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Here is a short message from the author of Baartock:

This book is directed at children, up to about third grade, though it
should be read to them by an adult.

Baartock, by Lewis Roth  (C)1989


by Lewis Roth

Chapter 1

Baartock was sitting by the side of the old two lane country road,
crying.  Seven years old and all alone for hours, but that wasn't why
he was sobbing, tears running down his cheeks.  He had grown up in the
forest, he was used to being alone, except for his parents.  He wasn't
lost and he hadn't run away from home, though he felt so ashamed he
didn't want to go home.  It had been a bad day, a terrible day.
Baartock had been waiting all day to scare someone, but there hadn't
been anyone to scare.  It was such a bad thing to happen to a troll on
his first day.

Today was such an important day.  Today was the very first day that
Baartock was to go out scaring all by himself.  He had stayed up late
the night before and had gotten up early, so he would be all tired and
cranky.  He had gone out of the cave where he lived and rolled in the
smelliest, nastiest mud he could find, so he would look his scariest.
And he had practiced his screams and shrieks, until both his parents
yelled at him to shut-up and to go scare somebody.  He had set out,
going down the old dry stream-bed, just like his father had told him.
On the way, he fell down and cut his knee, which made him really angry.
He threw a rock at a bird that was singing in the trees, trying to make
fun of him.  He missed and that made him even angrier.  When he got to
the road and looked both ways, he crossed it and hid in the culvert.
Then he waited and listened.

The culvert wasn't much of a bridge. It was just a big, old concrete
pipe that went under the road for rain-water to go through. He wished
that it was a bridge, any kind of bridge at all.  Even a wooden bridge,
but a real bridge that he could hide under and come rushing out to
scare people. He crouched down to wait and listen.

He knew what he was listening for.  The sound of someone walking down
the road.  Baartock had practiced at home, just the way his father had
shown him.  He would stand waiting, just out of sight.
 Then, when he heard something, he would run up the hill, roaring and
screaming.  The practice had all gone so well.  When he did it at home,
he never had to wait long to hear something.  He had scared lots of
squirrels, a deer, two opossum, and a skunk. Baartock didn't like to
remember the skunk.  They had scared each other.

To help pass the time, Baartock remembered of some of the stories that
his father told.  Stories about the famous trolls in his family, and
how they had scared people.  How his Great-great-uncle Sssssgnaarll had
chased a whole village.  He had come running down the side of the
mountain and right into the village, yelling and screaming his loudest,
and everybody had run away.  And how wonderfully ugly his mother's
grandfather Munchch-Crunchch had been. So ugly, that just as soon as he
looked up over the side of a bridge, people would faint right where
they were standing. It was fun to think about things like that, while
he was waiting.

He thought about the name he was going to earn for himself. Something
really scary and wonderful.  Baartock wasn't his real name.
 That was just what his mother called him.  His father would just
yell 'kid', and Baartock knew that meant him.  That's the way it is
with trolls.  But he wouldn't get a name, a real troll name until he
was twelve years old, and had scared lots of people.  He wanted to earn
a really scary name like Arrrggrr-Munch Slinurp, which was his father's

He waited for a long time, but no one came. After a while, when he got
tired, he ate his sandwiches.  They were really good.  His mother had
put extra sand in them.  Just as he finished his lunch, a bee stung
him.  That got him angry again, and he felt that he could scare anybody
who came along.  He settled down again to wait and listen.  But he
didn't hear anything.  He kept waiting.  When he got tired of waiting
down under the road in the culvert, he climbed up and hid in a bush by
the side of the road. Baartock waited some more, but still nobody came
walking down the road.  The sun was right overhead.  He was hot and
tired and hungry and lots of things, but mostly unhappy. The longer he
waited, the unhappier he got.

He was sitting by the side of the road, crying, when the car drove up
and stopped near him.  He was sobbing so hard that he didn't hear it.
It wouldn't have mattered if he had heard it.  His father hadn't shown
him how to scare a car.  He did hear the car door slam, when Mr. Fennis
got out.

"What's the matter?"  Mr. Fennis didn't know anything about trolls, but
he knew about children.  And what he saw was a very dirty little child
sitting by the side of the road, crying.  Mr. Fennis taught third grade
and would have been at school, but this morning he had to go to the
dentist.  He was hurrying to get back to school.  He didn't want to
miss more than half the day.  The substitute teacher had been sick and
Mrs. Jackson, the principal, was teaching his class.  That was almost
as bad as the pain in his mouth.

As soon as Baartock saw Mr. Fennis, he knew what he was supposed to do.
If he hadn't been sobbing so hard, he might have been able to scare him.

"Ahgrr," Baartock started to yell, but it got all mixed up with his
crying and didn't come out scary at all.

"What's the matter?"  Mr. Fennis asked again.  "Are you hurt?"

Baartock could only shake his head.

"Are you lost?  What's wrong?"

Baartock tried to say, "I'm trying to scare you," but all that came out
was "scare."

"You don't have to be scared.  I'll try to help you. Do you know how to
get home?"

Baartock nodded his head and sobbed some more.  He hadn't been able to
scare this person.  Now they were even talking. Oh, this was awful.

"Let me take you home," said Mr. Fennis.  "Which way do you live?"

Baartock pointed up the hill.   "I don't think anyone lives up there.
You must live in the old Howard place."  Mr. Fennis seemed to be
talking mostly to himself.  Then he asked "How old are you?"

"Seven," answered Baartock.

"You should be in school today."

"No school."  Baartock didn't know what school was, but he didn't think
he should be there.  "Father said 'wait here'.  I came early today, but
nobody came."

"You've been waiting for a school bus all this time?" Mr. Fennis knew
what the trouble was now.  The poor kid. Missed the bus, and he's been
sitting here ever since.  No wonder he was crying. Though he could have
gone back home and gotten cleaned up.  I'd better take him home and
explain things to his mother.

"What's your name?"

"Don't have name,"  Baartock was feeling a little better. Just sobbing
every now and then.

"Well then, what can I call you?"  asked Mr. Fennis. After all, he was
a teacher and he knew how to get an answer.

"Baartock.  Mother calls me Baartock."

"All right, Baartock.  You can call me, Mr. Fennis.  I teach third
grade at the school where you should be today. I'm going to take you
home."  Then he had a thought.  No point in driving back to the old
Howard house if no one would be there.  So many mothers had jobs.
Besides, he was in a hurry to get back to school.  "Is your mother home
now?" he asked.

"No."  Baartock knew that his mother would be out gathering poison ivy
and catching lizards for dinner.

"Well, Baartock.  You should be in school and I'm going there.  You can
ride there with me and come home on the school bus." Taking Baartock's
hand, they walked to the car.

For some trollish reason, Baartock's mother hadn't told him not to talk
with strangers, or not to go anywhere  with them.  Maybe it was because
she didn't think that he would ever get the chance. But, Baartock knew
that he was supposed to be scaring someone, not talking to them.  Or
going in a car with them.

Because he had stayed up in the woods until today, Baartock had never
seen a car.  He didn't know a car was, or what it looked like.  He
certainly had never ridden in one, but he liked this thing they got
into.  Mr. Fennis was neat about most things, but his car was a mess.
The paint was scratched, one of the fenders was dented, and on the
floor were some paper coffee cups and soda cans.  On the back seat were
seven over-due library books, an overflowing litter bag, a couple of
cans of oil, which should have been in the trunk, and some plastic
tubing for a science project.  To Baartock, it looked just like home.
He was busy looking around when Mr. Fennis started the engine and began
to drive off.  Then Baartock went wild and really did scare Mr. Fennis.

Chapter 2

It was only a short drive, though it felt very long to both Baartock
and Mr. Fennis.  When Mr. Fennis finally parked the car at Marvis T.
Johnson Elementary School, he got out and helped Baartock out of the
back seat.

"I'm sorry I yelled at you, Baartock," apologized  Mr. Fennis, helping
him out.  "You almost made us crash when you grabbed the steering
wheel.  You don't do that in your folks car, do you?"

"Don't like!" said Baartock angrily, as he kicked at the side of the

"Don't do that!  It's my car.  It may not look pretty, but it's paid
for and takes me where I want to go."

"Go home," said Baartock and he started to walk off the way
 they had come.  Like all trolls, he had an almost perfect sense of
direction and couldn't get lost. This place wasn't at all like the
woods and he didn't like it.  It was all new and frightening to him.
Since he was a troll, he wasn't going to be scared, or not much anyway.
He was supposed to do the scaring.

"Come on, Baartock.  Let's go on into school."  Mr. Fennis grabbed
Baartock's hand.

"Don't want school!  Want to go home!"

So, with Mr. Fennis pulling one way and Baartock pulling the other,
they went into school.  As soon as they got inside, Baartock stopped
wanting to go home and started looking at this new kind of cave he was
in.  There were big boards fastened to the walls, covered with lots of
colored papers.  There were cases with glass frames with more colored
papers behind them.  The walls were a bright yellow, and there were
lights overhead.  Even the floor was smooth and shiny. There were a lot
of new things for him to see. He was still looking around when they got
to the school office.

"Ms. Laurence, Baartock seems to have missed the bus this morning,"
said Mr. Fennis to the woman sitting at a desk, behind the counter.
Ms. Laurence was the school secretary.  "I found him still waiting by
the road."

"Baartock? I don't know any Baartock."

"Well, he's seven, so he must be in Mrs. Stogbuchner's class.  Could
you get him down there?  I've really got to get back to my class.
Good-by, Baartock."  With that, Mr. Fennis hurried out of the office
and down the hall, leaving Baartock in the office.

Baartock looked at Ms. Laurence.  Then he looked all around the room.
When he had seen enough he said,  "Not Mississtog-Buchnersklass.  Go
home!  Now!"  Baartock thought it might be fun to meet someone with a
wonderfully scary name like Mississtog-Buchnersklass, but he was tired
and wanted to go home.  He was just out the door, leaving Ms. Laurence
calling "Baartock! Stop!" when he crashed right into Mrs. Jackson, the

Mr. Fennis told Mrs. Jackson about Baartock just as soon as he had
gotten into his classroom and she came running to the office. Mrs.
Jackson had been a school teacher for many years and principal for a
few more, but she wasn't sure that she had ever seen a child quite like
the dirty, wild, little one, who was trying to pull away from her.
"Stop right now!"  Mrs. Jackson's voice echoed up and down the hall.
Baartock stopped squirming and stood, wide-eyed, staring at her.  He
didn't know humans could sound like that.  Down the hall, classroom
doors opened and several teachers looked out.  Mrs. Jackson ignored
them as she pushed Baartock back into the office and closed the door.

"Please tell me your name."  Before he could say that he wasn't old
enough to have a name, Ms. Laurence answered "Baartock."

"Baartock," said Mrs. Jackson as she brought him over to a bench, "sit
down.  Tell me how you got so dirty."

"Rolled in mud.  Want to go home."

"You certainly must have rolled in the mud.  I understand you missed
your bus this morning."

"Mrs. Jackson," said Ms. Laurence, who had stopped watching them and
was busily looking through some papers, "We don't have any student
named Baartock."  School had just started the week before, but Ms.
Laurence was sure that she knew the names of all the new students.  And
where to find their records.

"Is today your first day?" asked Mrs. Jackson.  "Yes!  First day!
First day!" Baartock answered right away.  Finally he had found someone
who understood that today was his first day to go scare people by all

"But, Mrs. Jackson, I don't have his registration forms, medical
records, or anything."  Ms. Laurence was now going through file drawers.

"I'm sure you'll find them.  Baartock and I will just go down to Mrs.
Stogbuchner's class, then I'll be back to help you look," said Mrs.
Jackson as she opened the door. "Baartock, let's go meet your teacher.
I'm sure you'll be very happy in her class."

"Want to go home!" repeated Baartock rather loudly as they walked down
the hall.

"Please don't shout, Baartock.  We don't want to disturb the other
classes.  I'm sure you would like to go home.  I would like to go home,
too, but we're  supposed to be here.  And we'll get everything
straightened out about your bus schedule, so you won't miss your bus
tomorrow. I'll make sure that you get home after school is over. Just
behave yourself and do what Mrs. Stogbuchner tells you."

Chapter 3

"Now, let's get you into class," said Mrs. Jackson. They went to the
last door on the right side of the hall, and Mrs. Jackson looked
through a little window in the door.

"Is it recess time already?  The class must be outside." She opened the
door and they went into the classroom.  It was a bright cheerful room,
with windows all along one wall and chairs pulled up around low tables.

"This will be your classroom," Mrs. Jackson said.  They walked to a
door in the back of the classroom and went outside.

"Let's see if we can find them.  They should be on the playground.
That's around this way."  Hand in hand, they went around to the back of
the school building.

There was the playground.  And the class.  So many humans. Baartock had
never seen that many humans.  They were swinging, racing around,
climbing, playing, and just standing.  They were laughing and yelling
and screaming. They were all having fun.  Baartock was so interested,
that he didn't see the woman coming over to them.

"Baartock, this is your teacher, Mrs. Stogbuchner," said Mrs. Jackson.
"Mrs. Stogbuchner, this is Baartock. This is his first day, isn't it

"First day," said Baartock, still looking at the children.

"Nice to have you in my class, Baartock," said Mrs. Stogbuchner.  "I'm
sure you will enjoy it here."

"I'll come see that you get on the right bus to get home, Baartock,"
said Mrs. Jackson.  "Why don't you go play. But, please behave
yourself.  I want to talk to Mrs. Stogbuchner for a moment."

Baartock started walking over to where the children were playing.  He
was thinking so many different things. It was his first day and he
should be scaring people, and here were humans to scare. But there were
just so many of them, all running and laughing and playing.  Nobody was
paying any attention to him.  They weren't even looking at him.
Baartock couldn't think of any way to scare anybody. This was all so
new, and not the way it was supposed to be. He was suddenly scared.  He
didn't know what to do.

Baartock had been slowly walking by the fence that went around the
playground.  When he got to the jungle gym, he stopped and watched the
three boys who were climbing on it. He wasn't quite sure why they were
climbing and chasing each other, but they seemed to be having fun.
Suddenly, Baartock jumped up on the bars and climbed up to the top.  It
was like climbing a tree, but it was different, too. He was just
sitting there, looking around, when one of the boys, the one with red
hair, climbed up beside him.

"Hi.  I'm Jason.  Are you new?"

"No, I'm Baartock," he said.  He wouldn't want a dumb name like 'New'.

All the other children were about the same size as Baartock, but Jason
was even bigger.  He was trying to think what to say to this red haired

Then Jason started to climb down again.  When he was just a little way
down, he called, "Try to catch me, Baartock!"

Baartock knew what to do.  He started climbing down, chasing Jason as
fast as he could.  By now, Jason was on the ground, running past the
swings.  When Baartock got down, he started running.  He ran past the
swings, past the slide. He was catching up to Jason, he had almost
caught him, when a there was a whistle and Jason stopped. Baartock
crashed into him and they both fell down.  Jason got on his feet right

"We've got to go in now," he said as he pulled Baartock to his feet.
"We have to go line up.  Come on."

Baartock didn't understand what they were going to do, but he walked
along with Jason.  As they walked over to where Mrs. Stogbuchner was
standing, Baartock said, "I caught you."

"I can run faster," answered Jason.  "Next time you won't."

Mrs. Stogbuchner again blew her whistle.  "Recess is over. Time to go
inside," she called.  Then she saw Baartock and Jason. "Making friends
already, Baartock? Jason, please let Baartock sit next to you and help
him along today."

"Yes, Mrs. Stogbuchner," said Jason.

"Everybody settle down," called Mrs. Stogbuchner as she walked past the
children, who were lining up.

"I'm supposed to be first today, right, Mrs. Stogbuchner?" called a boy
from the front of the line.

"All right, Jimmy," she answered.

"There.  I told you so," Jimmy said loudly to the girl standing next to

"Don't start a fight about it, Jimmy," said Mrs. Stogbuchner, who was
now at the back of the line.  "Let's walk inside quietly.  No running!"
she called, as Jimmy started rushing off.

In just a few minutes, Baartock found himself sitting right next to
Jason, at one of the low tables in the classroom.  Mrs. Stogbuchner,
standing in front of the classroom was saying, "We have someone new in
class." Everybody was looking around.  "Baartock, please stand up. This
is his first day."

Baartock stood up, but he was embarrassed.  Now everybody knew this was
his first day, he'd never be able to scare anybody.  He was still
standing, when Mrs. Stogbuchner said, "You may sit down now, Baartock."

Jason reached up and pulled Baartock back onto his chair.  A couple of
children at the next table were giggling, and several others were
whispering something and pointing at him.  Baartock felt uncomfortable.
He wasn't really too interested in the papers that were passed around.
But he got interested in making the marks on the paper, when Jason
helped him color the worksheet.  There were so many bright colors.  He
got so interested in coloring that he didn't pay any attention to
anything else.  It didn't seem very long before Mrs. Stogbuchner said,
"It's time to get everything put away now."

Jason whispered to him, "Where do you live?"

"That way," said Baartock, pointing.  That was the way a troll would
give directions.  Just point in the direction you were supposed to go,
and then walk until you got there. In spite of everything that had
happened today, he knew just exactly where his home was.  He had been
so busy, he hadn't thought about it until now.
 "Want to go home," he said.

"We all get to go home in just a few minutes, Baartock," said Mrs.
Stogbuchner, who had been walking around making sure that everything
was put away.  "Everybody sits down quietly and waits for the bell."

Baartock started to ask Jason, "What's bell?"  But he only got to say
"What's . . .."

Mrs. Stogbuchner was still standing behind him. "Baartock, in this
classroom, 'wait quietly' means 'no talking'."

Mrs. Jackson came into the classroom and walked over to them.  "Mrs.
Stogbuchner, if you're finished with Baartock for today, I'd like him
to come to the office now."

"Yes.  We're all through.  Baartock, please go with Mrs. Jackson, and
we'll see you tomorrow."

When they got into the hall, Mrs. Jackson said, "Baartock, we couldn't
find your file, and I do need to talk to your mother. Instead of riding
on the school bus, I'm going to drive you home."

"Go home now?" asked Baartock quietly.  He remembered how angry this
person could sound.

"Yes.  I'm going to drive you home."    Just then the bell rang, and
Baartock jumped three feet in the air.

Chapter 4

When Baartock and Mrs. Jackson walked out to the parking lot, Mr.
Fennis was waiting beside his car.

"Ready to go home, Baartock?" asked Mr. Fennis.

"Go home now," answered Baartock, and he started to walk away.

"Baartock!  Come back here!"  Mrs. Jackson's voice stopped him and he
turned around.

"Not go home now?" asked Baartock.

"We're going to take you home, but we're not going to walk. We are
going to drive in the car."

Walking home was exactly what Baartock had planned to do. Then he had
an idea.  "Don't like car.  You drive.  I walk," he said.

"No.  Now please get in."

"You'd think he'd never ridden in car until today," commented Mr.
Fennis as he got in and closed the door.  "He became positively wild
when I drove him to school."

"Well, he'll behave this time, won't you Baartock.  You just sit
quietly while we take you home."

"Sit," said Baartock unhappily.

Mr. Fennis started the car, and Baartock started to jump, but he saw
Mrs. Jackson watching him.  So he just sat and looked even unhappier.

The ride this time seemed much quicker for Mr. Fennis, since Baartock
wasn't jumping around in the car.

"They must live in Donald and Phyllis Howard's old house," he said as
they drove down the country road.  "I found him just down the road from
their driveway."

"I didn't know anyone had moved in there," said Mrs. Jackson.

Just then Baartock exclaimed "Home!" pointing up the hill.

"Can we use the driveway instead, Baartock?" said Mr. Fennis.  "I don't
want to walk up the hill, even if you do have a shortcut."  He drove on
down the road a little further, then slowed even more as they came to a
mailbox and a dirt driveway.

"That's funny.  The 'For Sale' sign's still there," said Mrs. Jackson.
Out in the middle of the corn-stalk stubbled field was a weathered
sign, 'Farm For Sale - Crow Real Estate'.    "This is the only house up
here.  They must have just not taken the sign down yet."

Baartock sat in the back seat and didn't say anything. Mr. Fennis
turned the car onto the driveway and started up the hill. This dirt
road did go near his family's cave, but he never used it. Trolls almost
never use roads unless there are bridges, and the bridges are to live
under or hide under.

The driveway went up the hill, between the field and the woods.  It
didn't look as though a car had been on it for a long time.  The grass
growing in the middle was quite tall, and the bushes growing next to
the road needed to be cut back.  They scraped the side of the car as
they went up the driveway.  And there were a lot of holes that needed
filling.  Mr. Fennis was driving slowly, but the car still raised a
cloud of dust behind them.

Up near the top of the hill, the road turned away from the woods,
toward a grove of trees and the old frame house almost hidden in the

"Home over there," said Baartock, pointing back into the woods, as Mr.
Fennis was about to turn toward the house.

"But there aren't any houses in the woods," said Mrs. Jackson.

"Can we look at the house first, Baartock?" asked Mr. Fennis.

"Home over there!" said Baartock again, still pointing toward the
woods, but he sat quietly as they drove up to the house. There was a
smaller sign on the porch by the front door, 'House & Farm For Sale -
Crow Real Estate' with a phone number to call.

"It certainly doesn't look like anyone lives here," said Mr. Fennis, as
he turned the car around in the driveway.  "All right, Baartock.  Which
way is your home?"

"Home that way," said Baartock, still pointing into the woods.

"Mr. Fennis, do you think he's lost?" asked Mrs. Jackson quietly.

"Not lost.  Never get lost.  Home over there!" said Baartock firmly.
Trolls can also hear very well.

Mr. Fennis drove the car back to where the driveway turned down hill
and stopped it.  "Baartock, just how far is your home?"

"Home over there.  Not far.  Easy walk," said Baartock. If these humans
weren't with him, he could easily run home.

"Mrs. Jackson, if we are going to meet Baartock's parents, I guess we
have to walk through the woods. Baartock, will your mother or father be
home now?" asked Mr. Fennis.

"Mother home now," answered Baartock.  He was suddenly hungry, thinking
about the lizard and poison ivy dinner she said she would fix.

Mr. Fennis got out and went around and opened the door for Mrs. Jackson
and Baartock.  "Baartock, will you please show us the way to your home?"

They walked into the woods, Baartock in front, walking easily and
quietly between trees and bushes.  Next came Mr. Fennis, pushing his
way through, and holding branches out of the way for Mrs. Jackson.  She
came last, carrying her briefcase full of important school papers.

"Slow down, Baartock," called Mr. Fennis, when Baartock got too far
ahead of them.  "We can't go that fast.  How much further is it?"

"Home soon," answered Baartock.

"I really don't believe this," said Mrs. Jackson, more to herself than
to Mr. Fennis.  "Could he live out here in the woods?"

"He acts like he knows where he's going," was Mr. Fennis' reply.

Baartock was waiting for them at the dry stream bed. When they caught
up with him, he pointed up the hill.  "Home there," he said, starting

This was easier walking, without all of the branches. But there were a
lot of loose rocks underfoot, and a few pools of muddy water from the
last rain.  A little way further, Baartock turned into the woods and
stopped in a clearing by the mouth of a cave.

"Home!" he yelled, and went inside.

"But he can't live in a cave," said Mr. Fennis, panting.  It had been
more of a hike in the woods than he had been expecting.

Just then, Baartock came back out of the cave, followed by his mother.

"Oh!" gasped Mrs. Jackson.

Baartock's mother, Whinnurf Slinurp, was an adult troll. She was almost
seven feet tall, with a slightly gray-green skin, which is very
attractive for a troll.  She was dressed in something like a robe, made
of odd bits of cloth sewn patchwork fashion.  She was a gentle troll,
not mean or nasty like some trolls.  Of course, neither Mrs. Jackson
nor Mr. Fennis knew that she was a gentle troll. She had a basket of
acorns and toadstools in her hand, which she had been fixing for dinner.

"Who you?" she asked in a booming voice.

Trolls, being larger than most humans, have louder, deeper voices.
Compared to the way trolls normally are, she was being very polite.
These must be humans from the nearby village.  She hadn't seen humans
in quite a long time.  She had almost forgotten how little and ugly
humans were.

Mr. Fennis and Mrs. Jackson looked at Baartock's mother and then at
each other.  Mr. Fennis was ready to run away right now and forget the
whole thing.  He was wondering if Mrs. Jackson could run fast enough to
keep up.   For just a moment, Mrs. Jackson was wondering the same
thing.  Then something made her change her mind. She had come to meet
Baartock's mother or father and that was what she was going to do.  So,
while Mr. Fennis watched wide-eyed, she said, "I'm Mrs. Jackson, the
principal of the Marvis T. Johnson Elementary School.  This is Mr.
Fennis, who teaches third grade there."

"So," said Whinnurf Slinurp.  That was like saying 'okay', only no
troll, even a very polite troll, would say 'okay'.

"Are you Baartock's mother?" asked Mrs. Jackson.

"Yes," said Whinnurf Slinurp.  Proudly she added, "He good troll."

Chapter 5

"A troll!  I've been driving around all day with a troll!" thought Mr.
Fennis.  "I didn't even think there were trolls.  Aren't they supposed
to be mean?  Aren't they supposed to eat people?"  Mr. Fennis tried to
remember everything that he had ever read about trolls in stories and
fairy tales.  The only things he could remember were scary.

But, somehow, if Mrs. Jackson was having the same thoughts, they didn't
seem to bother her.  All she saw was a seven-year-old child who should
be in school.

"Have you enrolled Baartock in school?" she asked.

"What?  What school?" asked Whinnurf Slinurp.

Mrs. Jackson had it all figured out now.  Troll or not, this was
another parent who had to be told about the importance of education,
the state laws requiring school attendance, and all the other things
about school.  "All children are supposed to go to school," she said.
"Baartock is supposed to go to school."

"Go school today," Baartock told his mother.

"Baartock," said Mrs. Jackson, "why don't you show Mr. Fennis around?
I need to talk to your mother for a few minutes." Both Baartock and Mr.
Fennis started to say something, but she cut them both off.

"We'll only be a few minutes," she said again.  "We'll call you.

"Come on, Baartock.  Why don't you show me around?" Mr. Fennis decided
that one young troll was probably better than two trolls and a school

Baartock led the way back toward the dry stream bed. He wasn't sure
what he would be able to show.  All the noise this human, Mr. Fennis,
was making was scaring everything away.  Even the squirrels and mice
were all hiding.  He pointed through the trees at a head-knocking bird.

"It's a red-headed woodpecker," said Mr. Fennis, when he finally saw it.

Then Baartock got an idea.  He knew just what to show. He started up
the hill along the stream bed.

"We shouldn't go too far.  We have to be able to hear when they call."

"Can hear.  Not far," said Baartock as he kept scrambling up the hill.
This was something that no amount of noise could scare away.

"Please slow down," asked Mr. Fennis after a few minutes. He wasn't
used to racing up hills, and he was getting hot.

"Not far," repeated Baartock, but he did slow down to let Mr. Fennis
catch up.

At one time there must have been a lot of water coming down from a
spring, because the stream bed was wide in some places and deep in
others as it cut a path down the hill. But now it was dry most of the
time, except when it rained, when the water would come churning down
the hill, bubbling past the rocks and washing the leaves down hill.
Then after the rain ended, it would stop flowing, just leaving pools to
dry up in the sunlight.

Mr. Fennis caught up with Baartock at a bend in the stream bed, just
where it went around a clump of trees. Baartock just pointed up the

"Mine," he said.

Mr. Fennis stopped to see what he was pointing at. Just a little way up
the hill was a stone bridge over the stream bed.  Mr. Fennis stared at

The bridge looked just like a picture out of a story book. It was a
low, wide, stone arch crossing over the stream.  Big, heavy stones made
up the pillars on each end and the curved bottom of the bridge.  Lots
of smaller flat stones filled in the walls, and some bigger ones topped
off the walls.  There were trees and bushes going up to the bridge on
either side.  Under the arch, there was the glitter of sunlight on a
pool on the other side.  It was a very pretty sight, but Mr. Fennis
couldn't think why anyone would build a bridge here, so far away from

Baartock ran to the bridge and stood under it, and looked back at Mr.
Fennis with a big grin.  "Mine," he said again.

Mr. Fennis hurried to the bridge too.  He had never seen a real stone
bridge like this before.  "Baartock," he said, "you shouldn't stand
under there.  It might not be safe."

"Not safe?" asked Baartock.

"One of those stones might fall down."

"Not fall down," said Baartock, not grinning any more. "I make.  Good
bridge.  Trolls make good bridge.  I show you good bridge."

He came out from under the bridge, and went scrambling up the side of
the stream bed.  Mr. Fennis looked for a better place to climb up, but
finally climbed where Baartock had.  When he got up to the end of the
bridge, Baartock was in the middle.  And he wasn't just standing there.
He was jumping up and down.

"I make good bridge," he said again.  "Not fall down.

"Yes.  It's a good bridge," agreed Mr. Fennis.  He stopped watching
Baartock and examined the bridge.  It did seem safe.  It really did
look like someone had just built it.  The path on each side only went
about ten feet into the woods and stopped.  There didn't seem to be any
reason for anyone to build a bridge in the middle of the woods.  He
didn't even consider what Baartock had said, that he had built it.

Baartock stood watching Mr. Fennis for a minute, then he had an idea.
He went over and took his hand.  "Come," he said, leading him to the
end of the path.  "I call.  You come cross bridge." Baartock ran back
across the bridge and into the woods on the other side.

Mr. Fennis stood waiting for a minute, then he faintly heard Baartock
call "Now!"  It sounded like he had run way off in the woods.  Not sure
what the game was, Mr. Fennis walked back to the bridge and started to
cross it.

Just then there was the most awful noise he had ever heard. He stopped
to look around.  And Baartock came running and screaming up from under
the bridge.  Mr. Fennis stood there for a moment with his mouth wide
open, then he found himself running off the bridge, and running away
into the woods.  He was quite a long way into the woods when he
realized that the noise had been made by Baartock.  It had been
terrifying.  He stopped beside a big tree and leaned on it while he
caught his breath.  He wasn't used to running, or to being scared like
that.  He was still standing there panting, when Baartock came walking
up to him.  Mr. Fennis didn't know what to say.

"Good bridge," was what Baartock said, with a huge grin on his face. He
had done it.  On his first day.  He really had scared someone.

Mr. Fennis stood, leaning up against the tree, and thought of some
things he could say, but "Shouldn't we go back now?" was what he said.

With Baartock leading the way, they walked back toward the stream bed.
Not far below the bridge there was a place where they could get down
easily.  They were starting down when Baartock suddenly stopped.

"Mother call," he said and raced off down the hill.

 Mr. Fennis hadn't heard anything, but he was too out of
breath to call for Baartock to wait.  When he could have called,
Baartock was out of sight, so he just slowly walked down the hill after
him.  When he got to the clearing in front of the cave, Mrs. Jackson
and Baartock's mother were coming out of the cave.

"We were starting to wonder where you were," said Mrs. Jackson.

"Baartock was showing me his bridge," said Mr. Fennis. "Though he told
me he built it."

"Baartock good troll.  Build good bridge," said his mother.

"You mean he really did build it?"

"I'm sure he did," said Mrs. Jackson.  "I've been learning some amazing
things about trolls, but we must be going now. It was very nice talking
with you, Mrs. Slinurp. I'll see you both in the morning," she said,
seeing Baartock come back out of the cave.  With Mr. Fennis following,
she led the way back down the hill.

Baartock watched them leave and listened to them talk, or at least Mrs.
Jackson.  "I could hear that scream all the way down here," she said.
Then, "Well, he is a troll, you know."  He didn't hear anything else
after that, and went in the cave to help his mother fix dinner.  He was
very hungry.

When his father got home, Baartock had told him all about what had
happen to him, including riding in the car and about the school.  His
father hadn't said anything about that, but he didn't look too pleased.
Then Baartock told about showing Mr. Fennis his bridge and about how he
had scared him.  That had made his father laugh long and loud, and he'd
patted Baartock on the head and told him what a good troll he was.
After dinner, Baartock went to bed. Later, he heard his mother and
father talking quietly, or at least quietly for trolls who were quite
loud sometimes, but he was tired and happy and went back to sleep.

Chapter 6

The next morning, after his father had gone off, Baartock and his
mother left the cave.  They went through the woods toward the old empty
house, the one Mr. Fennis had called the 'old Howard house'.

They were crossing the stream bed when Baartock saw a muddy pool he
could splash in.  He was just about to dive into it when his mother
said "No!"  When he caught up with her all she said was "Not today."
It was puzzling to him. She always let him get muddy.

When they got to the empty house, there was a car in the driveway, and
Mrs. Jackson was standing beside it.

"Good morning," she said.  "Are you ready to go to school, Baartock?"

Baartock wasn't sure about that, so he didn't say anything. He had
almost forgotten about school.  That was part of his first day, but not
the important part.  He had forgotten about Mrs. Jackson saying she
would see them in the morning.

Mrs. Jackson opened the car doors, and when Baartock and his mother got
in, she showed them how to fasten their seat belts.  Mrs. Jackson
explained that while she was a good driver, some other drivers weren't,
and that they were probably safer wearing the seat belts.  His mother
listened carefully to what Mrs. Jackson was saying.  She didn't seem to
mind being in a car, until Mrs. Jackson started the engine.  Whinnurf
Slinurp was a troll, so she wasn't about to get scared, but she did
grip the edge of the seat very firmly.  When Mrs. Jackson asked if she
was all right, she just closed her eyes tightly and said "Go."  But as
they drove toward town, Baartock's mother finally opened her eyes to
see where they were going.

This time Baartock watched out the window as they drove into town.
There were lots of buildings like the old empty house that he knew.
There were humans walking and lots of cars, and some big cars called
trucks.  Some of them came right at them, but they always just missed
Mrs. Jackson's car.

He was learning a lot about humans.  Mrs. Jackson had been talking
almost all the time while she had been driving. He learned about
streets, and blocks, which were between streets, and about houses and
stores.  Only he hadn't seen a single bridge.  Suddenly he said,
"School that way," and pointed.

"Yes, you're right, Baartock.  The school is that way. You certainly do
know just where you are.  But we've got to go some place else first.
We're almost there."

In just a few blocks, Mrs. Jackson turned the car into a driveway and
parked in a space in front of a brick building.  She showed them how to
unbuckle the seat belts.  Baartock practiced putting his on and taking
it off, while she walked around to open the doors.  There was a sign on
the front of the building, 'Public Health Services', but that didn't
mean much to Baartock.  As they walked to the house, he asked about it.

"I'll tell you about it in just a minute," Mrs. Jackson said.

Baartock didn't know what a minute was, but he decided to wait and see
what this house was.  And if there were any children here.  He had been
thinking about Jason, and wanted to race him again.  He was sure that
he could run faster, even though Jason was a little bigger.

Inside there was a woman at a desk, who looked up as they came in.  She
seemed surprised when she looked up at Baartock's mother, but she
didn't look scared.  "Nurse Dodge is expecting you, Mrs. Jackson," she
said.  "You can go right in."

"Thank you," said Mrs. Jackson, and she led them down a hallway.  There
were several doors, and she knocked on one and was opening it when a
voice said, "Come in."

There were chairs and a desk in this room, as well as a woman dressed
all in white clothes, who stood up and came around her desk as they
went in. "Norma, thank you for seeing us so early," said Mrs. Jackson.
"Mrs. Slinurp, this is Nurse Norma Dodge.  And this is Baartock."

"I'm glad to meet you," said Nurse Dodge in a cheerful voice.  "Please
come in and sit down."  After she shut the door and went back behind
her desk, she said, "I understand Baartock is to start going to our

Baartock didn't know anything about that, but his mother said, "Yes."

"Let me tell you about what I do here," said Nurse Dodge.

"I explained about medical records and shots," said Mrs. Jackson.

"I'm sure that you did, but I would like telling about it anyway," said
Nurse Dodge.  To Baartock's mother she said, "I see most of the school
children here and many of the adults too, and I try to keep them
healthy.  I give the shots that will keep them from getting sick.  But
I understand that Baartock has never been sick." "Yes," said his mother
proudly.  "Baartock never sick. Little trolls never get sick.  Big
trolls not get sick, too."

That wasn't really quite true.  Many young trolls get sore throats when
they first start to practice their screaming.  That was because they
would shriek instead of yelling or screaming.  Their mothers would make
them gargle with warm salty water and that would usually make them
better right away.  But other than that, young trolls never got colds
or fevers or were ever sick.

"But if you never get sick," asked the nurse, "how do you know about
being sick?"

"I see humans sick before," answered his mother.  "Not same for trolls.
Maybe break arm, break leg same as humans. There are troll ways to fix
trolls.  Trolls never get human sick."

Baartock didn't like to remember about breaking things. During the
summer, when he was building his bridge, an arch stone had fallen on
his hand and it broke two of his fingers.  It had really hurt.  His
mother had put some salve on his fingers so they wouldn't hurt and
would heal faster, then she had straightened them and wrapped them.
When she unwrapped them two days later, they weren't broken any more,
and he went back and finished his bridge.  But he remembered how much
it hurt, and he was more careful after that.

He stopped listening to what the adults were saying. He was getting
tired of just sitting.  There wasn't anything in the room to interest
him, but there was an open door to another room, so he got up to look
at it.

There wasn't much in that room either.  Just a little bed and a lot of
little doors under a counter.  They were too small for an adult to go
through, but he thought that he might fit through some of them.  He was
just about to go look behind those doors when his mother said,
"Baartock sit!"

Baartock went back and sat down and waited some more. He waited for
what he thought was quite a long time.  The adults just kept talking.
Talking about him.  He knew that they would keep on talking and then
either he would have to do something now, or else he couldn't do
something until he was bigger.  And he was right.  After all the
talking, they agreed that he had to have a shot.  Nurse Dodge went in
the other room and came back with a tiny bottle and something she
called a 'needle'.  Baartock's mother did a lot of sewing, but this
wasn't like any needle that Baartock had ever seen before.  She put
something from the bottle into the needle, then came over to Baartock.
He was watching her carefully.

"This may hurt a little, Baartock," she said.  "You might want to look
over at your mother."  Then she wiped his arm with something that
smelled awful and made his arm wet, and she stuck the needle in his
arm.  It did hurt, a little like getting stuck by a thorn on a bush in
the woods.  Then she pulled the needle out and said, "That wasn't too
bad, was it?"

"Not hurt," said Baartock, though it did hurt some.

Nurse Dodge put the needle in a metal trash can and put the little
bottle back in the other room.  Then she went back behind her desk and
wrote something on a piece of paper.  "The school needs this to show
that Baartock has had his required shots," she said, "and I'll keep a
copy here."

"Well, Baartock," said Mrs. Jackson, "shall we go to school now?"

"Go see Mississtog-Buchnersklass?  Go see Jason?" asked Baartock.

"Yes.  We should hurry, so we'll be there before lunch."

They left the house and got back in the car.  Mrs. Jackson let Baartock
put on his seat belt himself, but she checked to make sure it was

Chapter 7

They got out of the car after the short drive to the school.

"Go home now," Baartock's mother announced, and started walking down
the sidewalk, leaving Baartock and Mrs. Jackson standing by the car.

"But," Mrs. Jackson called hurriedly, "I'll drive you home."

"No,"  was Whinnurf Slinurp's answer.  She didn't look back or even
slow down, but walked off quickly toward home. She had had enough of
humans and their strange ways for one day.

"How strange," Mrs. Jackson thought also.  "I certainly hope it wasn't
something that I said.  I wonder if that's just the way trolls are?"
They watched as Baartock's mother walking quickly down the sidewalk and
around the corner of the school building and out of sight.

She said, "All right, Baartock, let's get into school. Before you go to
your class, we have to stop by the office." The went in the front door
and down the hall to the office. Baartock knew this room now.  It was
near the front door and it was the only door with a big glass window in
it.  All the doors either had no window at all or only a little one, up
high, that he wasn't tall enough to look through.

"Mrs. Jackson, I'm glad you're here," Ms. Laurence said all in a rush.
"There were some wasps in Mrs. Breckenridge's class and they couldn't
get them out.  Some of the children got frightened.  She took her class
out to the playground and Mr. Blevis is trying to get rid of the wasps."

"Good.  For a moment I thought that I was supposed to catch the wasps,"
Mrs. Jackson said laughing.  "I'm sure that Mr. Blevis can take care of
it.  Would you get a new student kit for Baartock? There should still
be some left in the supply room."

Ms. Laurence came out from behind her desk and went out the door.  Mrs.
Jackson said, "She's getting some things you'll need for school;
tablets of paper, scissors, crayons, and pencils.  When they're used up
you can buy more from the school store.  Mrs. Stogbuchner can tell you
about it."

Baartock was about to ask what Mrs. Jackson was talking about, because
there were so many words she used that he didn't know.
 She had talked about stores when he was in her car.
Mississtog-Buchnersklass had let him have some crayons to use, those
little sticks that made wonderful, colorful marks on the paper.  He
wanted to know if some of the other things were just as great as
crayons, when Ms. Laurence came back in the office and gave him a box
and some pads of paper.

"These are for you, Baartock," she said.

"You give me?" he asked.  He hadn't expected someone to give him
anything.  He was embarrassed, because he didn't have anything to give

"Yes, I'm giving them to you.  These are yours."

"We usually say "thank you" when someone gives us something," said Mrs.

"Thank you," said Baartock.  He thought about it and then decided that
it was just the human way of giving things.

 "You're welcome, Baartock," said Ms. Laurence, as she went
back to her desk.

He opened the box and looked inside.  There were a lot of things in it.
Most of them he didn't understand, but there was a box full of crayons,
just like the ones he had used the day before.

"There's a place on the box for your name," said Mrs. Jackson.  "Why
don't I write Baartock on this one, so that we'll know that it's yours.
All the new students have a pencil box just like this.  We have to be
able to tell them apart."  She got a pen from the counter and wrote
'BAARTOCK' in big letters on the top of the box.

Baartock looked at the marks she had made on it.  "This say my box?" he

"Yes," said Mrs. Jackson.  "This word is 'Baartock'."

He looked at the marks some more, then got the pen from the counter.
On one end of the box, he made another mark. It was a mark his mother
had shown him how to make, his special mark.  He had practiced making
it and put it on all his things.  He even had cut it into one of the
stones of his bridge, working carefully, the way his father had shown

"This say my box, too," he said, holding it up for Mrs. Jackson to see.
"Now I know my box."

What Mrs. Jackson saw was not a scribbled mark that she might have
expected, but carefully printed letters.  They were letters of an
alphabet she didn't recognize, but still clearly letters.
 It was just one more new thing that she now knew about trolls.  She
already knew more about trolls than anyone else in town.  There were
only three people who even knew that there were trolls.

"Good.  We all know that it's Baartock's pencil box. Now, it's almost
lunch time," she said, looking up at the clock high up on the wall.
"We'd better be getting you to your class, before they go to lunch
without you.  Aren't you getting hungry?"

Baartock hadn't thought about food, until Mrs. Jackson mentioned it.
Suddenly he was hungry, very hungry.  It had been a long time since his
breakfast bowl of porridge and some left-over acorns and toadstools
from dinner.

"Yes.  Hungry," he said.

Chapter 8

It wasn't quite time for lunch, when Mrs. Jackson and Baartock got to
his classroom.  Mrs. Stogbuchner was in the back of the room, reading
to the class from a big storybook. The children had gathered their
chairs in a circle around her, and had been listening to the story,
until Baartock came in.  Then there was a flurry of activity.  Jason
jumped up and brought a chair over, right next to his, for Baartock to
sit on.  Several of the children started talking and some more had to
move their chairs around.  Jason had to ask Baartock where he had been
and then started to tell him about the story they were listening to.
It was a few minutes before the class was all settled again and ready
to get back to the story.

The rest of the story didn't make much sense to Baartock, and he was
tired of listening to grown-ups talk. He'd been listening to talking
all morning.  He was hungry and wanted something to eat. Finally the
story was over and Mrs. Stogbuchner had them put their chairs back at
the tables and then line up to go to lunch.  As soon as they were
waiting quietly, she opened the door and led her class down the hall to
the cafeteria.  This was a big room that Baartock hadn't seen before.
There were lots of tables and chairs and all along one side there were
humans fixing food. The smell of food made him even hungrier.  Baartock
wanted to rush over and get something, but he had to stay in line. He
had time to look around.  He saw Mrs. Jackson talking to some other
adults sitting at a table in the back of the room.

"All right, dear, here's your tray."

One of the women handed him a big flat thing.  Then Baartock saw that
all the children in front of him were sliding their trays along, and
adults were putting plates of food on the trays.  So he slid his along
too.  One woman handed him a plate of food.  Another gave him a little
dish with some yellow pieces that smelled a little like fruit. Jason
stopped him and gave him a funny shaped box with something cold inside.

"If you don't want your milk, I'll drink it," he said grinning.

As they got to the end of the line, Baartock was just about to take his
tray to a table just as everyone else had.

"Where's your lunch money, dear?" asked the woman at the end of the

"What's money?"

"Come on Baartock, give her your lunch money."  Jason reached over and
gave the woman some metal pieces. Then Baartock remembered.  His mother
had given him some metal pieces, telling him that humans used them.  He
reached in his pocket and gave some of them to the woman.  He picked up
his tray and followed Jason to a table.

"You're supposed to get a fork and spoon when you get your tray," Jason
said, looking at Baartock's tray as he opened his milk carton.  "You
can use my spoon."

He took the spoon from Jason, and started to eat.  The food was awful.

"What's this?" he asked Jason with his mouth full.  He pointed at the
brown stuff on his plate.

"Meatloaf," Jason answered, putting another forkful in his mouth.

Baartock tried the white lumpy stuff that had something brown poured
over it.  It tasted so bad that he wanted to spit it out, but he was so
hungry that he swallowed it instead.  The slice of bread he recognized,
and it wasn't too bad.  At least he could eat it, anyway.  He tried a
little bit of the yellow fruit.  It tasted as though it had been
soaking in honey, it was that sweet.  It didn't even really taste like
fruit.  Baartock looked over across the table.
 Jason's plate was empty already.  He looked around the cafeteria.
All the children were eating the food.  The others at their table were
eating it.

"Don't you like it?" Jason asked.

Baartock couldn't think of anything to say.  It was that awful.  He
just shook his head 'no'.  Didn't humans eat anything that he could
eat?  He was still very hungry.

"If you're not going to eat it, can I have it?"  Jason was just about
to take Baartock's plate, when he saw Mrs. Jackson walking right toward
their table.  Instead, he said, "I'll meet you out on the playground,"
and picked up his tray and got up.  Baartock saw the empty trays were
being taken over to a window in the wall, and were left there.  He was
about to get up and follow Jason, when Mrs. Jackson called to him.
"Baartock, did you give these to the cashier?"  She was holding the
metal pieces he had given the woman.

He nodded.  "Mother give me."

"Well, you can't pay for your lunch with them," she told him.  "They're
much too valuable.  These are gold coins."  She held out the smallest
yellow metal one.  "This is worth more than the price of a whole year
of school lunches.  Do your mother give you any other coins?"

He reached into his pocket and got out the rest of the coins and handed
them to Mrs. Jackson.

"These are all old coins," she said, examining them. "Most of these
coins are made of silver.  There isn't a new coin here." She reached
into her pocket and pulled out a coin to show him.

"These are the new coins," she said, showing him the ones she had.
"Yours might look the same, but they're much older and worth much more.
I'll have to talk to your mother about these.  You really shouldn't
bring something so valuable to school.  You might lose them."

Baartock didn't know what 'valuable' was, and was going to tell her
that his mother had a jar full of these coins, but Mrs. Jackson noticed
his plate still full of food.

"I thought you were hungry."    "Am hungry," he said, then pointed at
the plate.  He remembered the word that meant just how awful the food
was. "Terrible," he said.

"You don't like it?  I thought our lunch was pretty good today."

"Terrible," he said again.  "Can't eat."

Mrs. Jackson thought for a moment.  "There's no reason you can't bring
your lunch to school, instead of buying it," she said. "and I want to
talk to your mother about these coins.  I'll drive you home after
school, so I can talk to her.  May I keep these coins to give back to

"Yes," Baartock said

Mrs. Jackson walked away, thinking about how little she really knew
about trolls.

Baartock got up from the table and took his tray over to the window in
the wall.  Looking inside, he saw that there was someone to take the
trays and wash the plates and forks and spoons.  Leaving his tray, he
went out the door to the playground to find Jason.

Chapter 9

By the time Mrs. Stogbuchner came out to the playground to call her
class, Baartock had almost forgotten how hungry he was. He had found
Jason and they had raced four times, and Baartock had won three times.
Then several other boys had joined in, and they'd played tag.  That was
a whole new game for Baartock.  He liked being 'it', then he could do
the chasing.  When he was 'not it', he could run faster than any of the
other boys, so they didn't try to chase him at all.

They went back into the classroom, and all the children went to their
seats and got out their pencil boxes. Baartock was horrified to
discover that his pencil box was missing.  It wasn't on the table where
he'd left it.  It wasn't in the drawer at his place at the table.  It
was his brand-new pencil box and he hadn't even used the crayons yet,
and now it was gone.  He didn't see it anywhere.

"Hello.  You must be Baartock."

He looked around to see an adult standing right behind him.

"I'm Mrs. Pangle, Timmy's mother."  She pointed at one of the boys at
the next table.  "I come in two afternoons a week.  I'm the aide for
this class."

Baartock might have asked what an 'aide' was, but he was worried about
his pencil box.  "If you're looking for your box, I put it in your

"Where cubby?"  He didn't know that he had a cubby, but if that was
where his box was, he wanted to find it.

"It's right over here."  Mrs. Pangle led him to the back of the room,
and stopped near the door going outside. "Here you are," she said
pointing.  "This is your cubby."

There, just as she had said, was his missing pencil box.  He picked it
up and held it, almost afraid that he might lose it again.

"My cubby?" he asked.

"That's right.  See, right here, 'Baartock'."  At the top of his cubby
was a little card with marks on it.  He thought they looked like the
marks Mrs. Jackson had made on his pencil box.  He looked at his box.
The marks were just the same.  "I fixed it for you while you were at

He remembered what Mrs. Jackson said that humans say when only one
gives something.  "Thank you," he said.

"You're welcome, Baartock.  You shouldn't leave your things on the
table, unless Mrs. Stogbuchner tells you to. It makes the room messy
and you might lose something. Either put them in here, or in your
drawer in the table."

He didn't to tell her that he wasn't going to lose his box again.  He
held on to it tightly.    "And over here is where you can hang a coat,"
Mrs. Pangle said, pointing to some hooks in the wall. "This one is

There were cards over each hook, and there was a mark on one that he
recognized.  That must be his hook.

"You'd better get back to your seat now.  But I'll be here if you need

He went back to the table and found that someone had given him some
sheets of paper with marks all over them. They didn't look like the
ones he and Jason had used the crayons on before.  And they weren't.

"It's a writing worksheet," Jason said.  "You're supposed to make
letters on the lines that look just like the ones they've made."

Baartock looked at the papers, then opened his box and got out his

"No, you're supposed to use your pencil," Jason said, seeing what
Baartock was holding.

Baartock looked around and saw than none of them were using crayons.
He had wanted to make colored marks, but they were all using long
yellow sticks instead.  He hadn't used one of those before.  He put
away his box of crayons, and got out his yellow stick.  He tried to use
his the way all the children were, but it wouldn't make any marks on
the paper.  The girl sitting across the table started giggling. She had
been watching him.

"You have to sharpen it," she said.  "The pencil sharpener is on Mrs.
Stogbuchner's desk."

Baartock got up and walked up to the desk.  He looked all over the
desk, but he didn't see anything to sharpen the stick with. There
wasn't a knife, or any kind of blade. Mississtog-Buchner was helping a
girl at one table and Mississpangel was helping a boy in the back of
the classroom.  He just stood there looking at the desk and waited.

"Yes, Baartock, what do you need?"  Mrs. Stogbuchner had finished with
the girl and saw him just standing at her desk. Baartock wasn't sure
just what to say, so he held up the pencil instead.

"Do you need some help with the pencil sharpener?" she asked.  Several
children in the front of the class started snickering.  "All right, get
back to your work," she said to them as she came over to help him.

"This is the pencil sharpener," she said, and taking the pencil from
his hand, "and this is how to use it."  She put the pencil in a hole in
a little box and started working the little crank on the side.  She
pulled the pencil out of the box, and it had a point.  "That's how you
do it.  You don't want to sharpen it too much, or you'd grind it all
away.  Is that all you need?"

Baartock nodded and took the pencil from her and went back to his seat.
The pencil now made marks on the paper, but they weren't pretty, like
the marks the crayons made. Just little black lines.  He looked over at
Jason.  He had already done two pages and was just starting on the
third. The girl across the table was still working on the second page.
Baartock hurried to catch up.  The marks weren't hard to make.  Some of
them were very like the ones his mother had shown him.

He was working hard, and had just finished the first page, when the
bell rang.  He started to jump up, but the table was in the way, and he
fell over backwards.  The bell just went on ringing.

"Boys and girls.  Line up at the back door," Mrs. Stogbuchner called to
the laughing children.  Mrs. Pangle rushed over to help Baartock up off
the floor.  He wasn't hurt, only surprised. And the bell just kept on

"Children!" Mrs. Stogbuchner had to shout.  "Pay attention. This is a
fire drill.  Just leave everything and line up.  Now!  Mrs. Pangle, is
he all right?  Good.  Then will you lead the class out onto the
playground?  Over by the fence.  I'll be right along."  She went over
to turn off the lights and make sure that the door and windows were

The children were still laughing as they went out the door. Baartock
and Mrs. Stogbuchner were the last ones out.

"Are you all right, Baartock?  You didn't hurt yourself?" she asked.

"Not hurt," he said.  The bell was still ringing, even though all the
children in the school seemed to be lined up in the playground.  "What
you call this?"

"When the bell rings like that it is a fire alarm.  If someone
discovers a fire, they sound that bell.  Then you are supposed to get
out of the building as quickly and safely as possible.  You aren't
supposed to run or fall down.  Then the firemen would come to put out
the fire. It's called a fire drill."

It didn't seem like a fire drill to him.  "Where fire?" he asked.
Right then the school bell finally stopped ringing.

"There wasn't a real fire," she answered.  "It's so you would know what
to do if there were a real fire."

The whole thing seemed a little silly to Baartock.  He knew all about
fire.  His mother cooked over a fire.  He had to help bring in kindling
and small logs for the fire. There wasn't very much in the school to
burn.  It wasn't much of a fire drill.  There wasn't any fire.

Mrs. Stogbuchner had walked over to the middle of the class and held up
her hand.  When they were quiet she started talking.

"Children.  I'm very unhappy about what you did in there. What happened
to Baartock could have been very serious.  He could have been hurt
badly.  It wasn't funny. A fire alarm is very serious. Because you were
laughing, you couldn't hear me, and I had to shout. When there's a fire
alarm, I shouldn't have to shout, just as you shouldn't run.  We are
going to have to practice this again."

Chapter 10

When the 'all clear' bell sounded, which was just one very short ring
of the bell, Mrs. Pangle led the class back inside.  But they didn't
stay inside for long.  As soon as they had finished the worksheets,
Mrs. Stogbuchner stood at the front of the room and announced, "This is
a fire drill. Everyone line up quickly at the back door."

They all lined up and practiced the fire drill, and because Bobby
Miller was talking, they had to practice it another time.

This time, except for the noise the chairs made, scraping the floor as
the children got up, there wasn't a sound in the classroom.  Mrs.
Stogbuchner was finally satisfied.

"Now that's the way I want you to behave the next time we have a fire
drill," she said.

The class had a very short recess, because they had taken so long
practicing the fire drill.  They didn't get to play dodge ball, and
they mostly sat around talking.  Except no-one would talk to Bobby
Miller, and he sat by himself on a swing, not even swinging.

"What's dodge ball?" asked Baartock.  He wanted to know, even if they
weren't going to do it.

"You've never played dodge ball?" Jason exclaimed. "It's sort-of like
tag, except it takes a lot of kids.  Some kids make a circle and throw
the ball at the kids in the middle.  And if they hit you, you're out.
You're fast, so you should be good at it."

Jason's saying that made Baartock feel really good.  He had been
unhappy ever since he had fallen over when the fire drill bell sounded.
When he fell in the woods, there were always rocks or sharp sticks to
land on and that hurt.  He hadn't hurt himself, but the floor was hard.
He decided that he didn't like the school bell.  It always surprised
him and made him jump.

When recess was over, they all went back into the classroom and
Baartock finally got to use his crayons on the new worksheets. It
didn't seem very long before Mrs. Jackson was at the door.

"Mrs. Stogbuchner, can I have Baartock now?" she asked.

"Baartock, would you please put away your things and go with Mrs.

Jason helped him put his papers in the drawer of the table. But
Baartock didn't put his pencil box in with them. He held on to it
tightly as he and Mrs. Jackson walked out of the classroom.

"You're taking your pencil box home?" she asked.

"Show mother," was his answer.

"Just remember to bring it back tomorrow.  You'll be riding the school
bus tomorrow, so I want you to meet your school bus driver."

They went out to the parking lot and there were a lot of yellow school
busses waiting in a line.

"You'll be riding bus number 62," she said as they went down the
sidewalk.  They stopped at one of the busses. "This is the bus you'll
be riding.  See, number 62.  Mr. Barnes is the driver, and when you're
on his bus, you have to sit quietly and do just what he tells you."

They walked over to the door of the bus and the man sitting inside
pulled on a lever and the door opened.

"Hi," he said with a big grin.  "What can I do for you, Mrs. Jackson?"

"Mr. Barnes, this is Baartock."

"Hi Baartock.  Are you going to be on my bus?"

"Yes," Mrs. Jackson answered, before Baartock could say anything.  "I'm
taking him home today, because I need to talk to his mother.  He'll be
riding with you, starting tomorrow morning.  He'll be just down from
where the Howards used to live."

"OK.  That would put you between Bobby Gill and Laura Robinson.  No

"Thank you," said Mrs. Jackson.  Baartock hadn't seen Mr. Barnes give
her anything, and he wondered why she said 'thank you'.

"I have to gather up a few things before I take you home," said Mrs.
Jackson.  "Let's go back to the office."

"See you tomorrow," called Mr. Barnes, as they walked away. Baartock
had wanted to stay and look at the school bus, but he followed her back
inside the school.

"Please wait here," she said, when they were in the office, and she
went behind the counter and into another room.  Ms. Laurence was busy
at her desk.  He heard her say something, but she wasn't looking at him.

"What?" he asked.

"I'll be with you in a minute, Baartock," she said, looking over at
him.  "I'm talking on the phone."

He watched her carefully.  She was sitting in a chair and she kept
looking at some papers on the desk, and it seemed as though she was
talking to the thing she was holding in her hand.

Baartock walked over to the door and looked out.  There wasn't anyone
in the hall, and he could look out the open front doors at the line of
school busses.

"Now, what can I do for you?" asked Ms. Laurence.

Baartock turned around.  Ms. Laurence was standing at the counter.  He
was about to ask what a phone was, when the bell went off and Baartock
jumped.  Ms. Laurence smiled at him.  "I used to hate that bell," she
said, "but you do get used to it."

Suddenly, there was a lot of noise in the hall, and cries of 'No
running!'  The hall was rapidly filling with talking, pushing, hurrying
children.  Lots of them were bigger than Baartock.  Some were carrying
books.  And all of them were trying to get out the front doors.

Mrs. Jackson came rushing out of the other room.  "I'll be right with
you Baartock," she said as she hurried out of the office and down the
hall to the front of the building. He could hear her voice calling, "No
running, Carlos!" and "The bus won't leave without you, Helen."

Baartock watched some of the kids from his class go out the door.  Then
there was Jason, going right past the office door.

"Hey Baartock!  You'll miss the bus!" he said as he kept hurrying down
the hall.

"Bus tomorrow," Baartock said.  "Mrs. Jackson drive today."

"OK.  See you tomorrow," he yelled as he turned and ran out the door.

"Slow down, Jason," he heard Mrs. Jackson call.  Then he had to get out
of the doorway, because several teachers were pushing past him to get
into the office.  He went over to the bench and sat down to wait.

"Hello Baartock."  Mr. Fennis was standing just inside the doorway,
with an arm-load of books and papers.  "How do you like school?"  He
didn't wait for an answer, but went behind the counter, and started
getting more papers out of a cubby.

In a little while, Mrs. Jackson came back into the office. "We'll be
going in just a minute," she said, as she went back into the other
room.  Baartock sat and watched the teachers and Mrs. Jackson wasn't
gone very long this time. She came out with her briefcase in her hand.

"I'm ready to go now," she said.  They went out to the parking lot and
got into her car.  She checked to make sure he had fastened his
seat-belt properly, and then started the engine.

"Is there anything you'd like to see?" she asked, as she backed the car
out of the parking place.

Baartock didn't have to think about it.  "Bridge," he said.

"Of course you'd want to see a bridge."  She had almost forgotten that
he was a troll.  "We were almost there this morning."

"Where bridge?" Baartock asked excitedly.  He had decided there just
weren't any bridges near-by.

"There's one right her in the middle of town.  It's a little ways past
the clinic, on Main Street.  It's not too far.  Would you like to look
at it?"

"Yes."  Then he remembered.  "Thank you," he said.

"You're welcome, Baartock."

They drove along Main Street, and he recognized the little house where
they had been that morning and pointed to it.

"Yes," said Mrs. Jackson, "that's the clinic.  We're almost to the
bridge now."

After a few more blocks, she turned a corner onto a side street and
stopped the car.  "Well, we're here."

"Where bridge?" Baartock asked as he looked all around.

"It's right over there," she said pointing.  "Let's get out so you can
look at it."

They got out of the car and walked across at the corner. Then Baartock
saw the bridge.  It was a simple span going over a wide stream bed, but
there wasn't very much water in the stream bed below.
 And the bridge was built of concrete, just like the culvert he'd
hidden in on his first day.  Part of the town was on one side of the
bridge, and there was more of the town on the other side.  The road
crossed the bridge for cars and trucks, and busses.  And there was a
sidewalk on the bridge for people to go across. He didn't know just
what to say.  He was happy because there was a bridge, but it was a
human-made bridge and nothing like as good as a troll-built bridge. He
looked at it carefully.  After a while, he said, "Go home now." He'd
found a bridge.

Chapter 11

Mrs. Jackson had a lot to talk about with his mother, when they got to
his home.  They had talked all morning and now they were talking some
more.  He had wanted to tell his father about the bridge, but he wasn't
home yet.  So he had to sit and listen to Mrs. Jackson and his mother.
When they started talking about lunch money, he remembered how very
hungry he was, and went to get something to eat.  They were still
talking about money when he finished eating. They agreed on a price and
Mrs. Jackson got one of the small silver coins with some of her 'new'
coins, and he could use some of those 'new' coins to buy milk and fruit
at lunch time.  And he could bring his own lunch.  He was glad of that,
because he didn't like the humans' food.  Then they talked about the
school bus.  He wasn't very sure that he was going to like being on the
school bus.  Mrs. Jackson had explained the 'Rules for Riding the
School Bus', which was the name on a piece of paper she gave to his
mother.  There were so many things he couldn't do on the bus.  One of
the rules was 'No whistling'.  When he asked her what whistling was,
she puckered up her mouth and made a strange sound. 'No bird noises',
Baartock decided.

"Just behave like you did in my car today," she said, "and you won't
have any problem.  You'll like Mr. Barnes."

Very early next morning, Baartock was standing by the side of the road
when the yellow school bus drove up.  He was holding his pencil box and
a bag with his lunch.  Mrs. Jackson had shown him a place that she
thought would be a safe spot to stand and wait for the bus.  It wasn't
right by the driveway to the 'old Howard house', but it wasn't right by
the stream bed and the path he used to come down to the road, either.

The bus made a screeching noise as it came to a stop right in front of

"OK.  Come on up.  Thought I'd you'd be closer to the house," Mr.
Barnes said in a loud voice, when he opened the bus door.  Then he
shouted, "OK. New customer today.  Which seat can I sell him.  I think
this one," he said, pointing at a seat for just one person right in the
front of the bus. There was one very big boy sitting in the seat.
"Gabe, you've been pretty good this week.  Find yourself a new seat."

"Aw, Mr. Barnes, do I have to?"

"Go on now.  Find a seat, before we're late getting to school."  Gabe
gathered up his books and moved back to the middle of the bus and sat
next to another big boy, and Baartock sat on the empty front seat. He
looked around for the seat belt, as he started driving down the road.

"What's the matter?  Got ants in your pants?"  Mr. Barnes asked, when
he saw Baartock squirming.

"No," Baartock said.  He didn't have ants anywhere.  He asked, "No seat
belt?"  Mr. Barnes was using one.

"No," was the answer.  "They say that they're going to put seat belts
in the all the busses.  Maybe by the time you're in high school.  You
just stay in your seat, and I'll drive carefully."

The bus went on down the road, stopping to pick up children waiting by
the road.  Soon there were a lot of kids on the bus.  Mr. Barnes kept
talking to Baartock all the time he was driving.  In fact, he was
talking to everyone on the bus, he was talking so loudly.  Much of what
he said didn't make any sense to Baartock, but the kids laughed at some
of the things he said.  Soon, Mr. Barnes turned the bus onto another

"School that way," Baartock said loudly, pointing down the other road.
"Nice try, kid.  I know you're in a hurry to get to school, but we've
got to go to the high school first."

"We can go to the grade school first!" came a shout from the back of
the bus.

"The mall!  A field trip to the mall," someone else shouted.

"Some other day," Mr. Barnes shouted back.  They went on down this road
for quite a while.  They went right past some children standing by the
side of the road.

"They're waiting for a different bus," Mr. Barnes explained to
Baartock.  "It'll be along soon."

Very soon after that, the bus pulled off the road into a parking lot,
in front of a building much larger than the school Baartock was going
to.  The parking lot was filled with cars, and humans were walking to
the building.  There were six or seven big yellow school busses lined
up in front of the building and lots of big kids were getting off.

"OK, high school, you students of higher education. Off!" called Mr.
Barnes, as he pulled up really closely behind the last bus.  All the
big kids got out of their seats and came up to the front of the bus to
get off.  There were more busses lining up behind Mr. Barnes' bus, but
they weren't letting anyone off.

There were still a lot of smaller children on the bus, when Mr. Barnes
closed the door.

"Next stop, Marvis T. Johnson Elementary School," announced Mr. Barnes.
But they didn't go anywhere.  They had to wait for the bus in front of
them to pull off. Baartock could see inside the bus in front of them.
The big kids were getting off very slowly.  The woman driving that bus
seemed to be talking to each of them as they got off.

"She must have had some trouble with them," Mr. Barnes said.
 "We never have any trouble on this bus, do we?" he said very loudly.

 "No!" several kids shouted back.

 Most of the busses in the front of the school building had
driven off.  Several more busses from behind them pulled around, and
parked up ahead.  They waited a little longer, then finally the bus in
front drove off.  And they drove off too.

They didn't go back the way they had come.  They turned onto another
road, and drove for a long way, past a lot of houses, until they
finally turned toward the school. Baartock asked Mr. Barnes why they
were going such a long way.

"It's shorter this way," was his reply.  "I've been coming this way for

"No," said Baartock.  "Other way shorter.  We be school, go this far."

They drove for a little while longer, then they finally got to school.
There were other busses lined up in front when Mr. Barnes stopped the
bus and they got off.

"See you all this afternoon," Mr. Barnes said, as they were getting off.

This was the first time Baartock had gotten to school in the morning
before it started.  No-one seemed to be going inside.  Jerry, a
black-haired kid who had played tag, was getting off the next bus in
front.  He saw Baartock and came running over.

"Want to go to the playground?" he asked.

They went around the building to the playground.  Jason was already
there, and they raced a couple of times, then they went over and
climbed on the jungle gym.  They were just sitting at the top when the
bell rang.  A lot of the children ran to the building and went inside.

"That's only the first bell," said Jerry.  "We've got lots of time."
So they sat for a while longer, until Jason started to get down.

"I'm going in," he said.  And all three of them went into the
classroom, just as the bell rang again.

Chapter 12

School in the morning wasn't very different from school in the
afternoon, Baartock decided.  There were some of the work-sheets that
had to be colored, but these were of shapes of things and numbers.
They got to work with a lot of pieces of paper with numbers on both
sides that Jason said were called flash-cards.  He said that you were
to add the numbers on the front of a flash card, and your answer was
the same as the one on the back of the card.  The morning went by very
quickly for Baartock.

Then, right before lunch time, Mrs. Stogbuchner read another story.
This time, he understood most of the story. It was about a boy taking
care of sheep, and when he got lonely, he would yell 'Wolf!' and all
the villagers would come.  They got angry at the boy, when they didn't
find a wolf.  But the boy got lonely and did it again, and the
villagers got angry again.  Finally, when the wolf did come, and the
boy yelled 'Wolf!' the villagers didn't come.

When Mrs. Stogbuchner finished reading the story, Baartock asked, "Why
boy not scare wolf?"

"Well, wolves are big mean, animals," she said, "and the boy was
probably scared of this wolf."

"Wolf scare easy," said Baartock.

"You'd just yell at it and it would run away," said one of the girls.

"Wolf scare easy," said Baartock again.  He'd never seen a wolf,
because there weren't any around there.  But his father had talked
about them.  They were just like foxes, only bigger.  Most of the
animals in the woods were very scared of humans and of trolls, and
would usually run way.  There were two foxes that lived near Baartock's
home, and it had been very hard to watch them.  At first, they were
very scared of him.  It had taken a lot of food, and many nights of
quiet waiting, before the foxes would come near him.  Even now that
they were used to him, if he made any sudden movement or loud noise,
they would still run away.  Anyway, Baartock was sure that he could
scare a wolf.

"You couldn't scare anything," said the girl.

 Baartock was really insulted.  He was just about ready to
do some scaring right then, when Mrs. Stogbuchner said, "All right,
that's enough.  It's time to get ready for lunch."

Most of the children went to line up at the door and Baartock and a few
children went over to their cubbies to get their lunches.  Then they
went to line up also.  The girl was right in front of Baartock in the
line.  She looked back at him and said, "You couldn't scare anything."

 Baartock could see Mrs. Stogbuchner looking right at them,
but he said very quietly, "Can scare you."

"Janice, Baartock, stop it right now.  That's enough," Mrs. Stogbuchner
said, and the girl turned around.

The class went down the hall to the cafeteria and Baartock waited in
lunch line to get a container of milk and an apple.  When he got to the
end of the line, he held out some of the coins his mother had gotten
from Mrs. Jackson, and the woman took two of them. He went over to the
table where Jason was and sat down and started getting his lunch out.
Janice had been waiting to see where he would sit, and she came over
and sat at the same table.

"Baartock, you couldn't scare anything," she said. Baartock started to
say something, but Mrs. Stogbuchner was standing near the table and she
said something first.

"Janice.  I told you to stop it," she said.

"But he said," Janice started to say.

"He didn't say anything.  I've been standing right here. Now, just eat
your lunch quietly, or I'll move you to another table."

"Yes, Mrs. Stogbuchner," Janice said, and Mrs. Stogbuchner walked off
to another part of the cafeteria. Baartock had been listening, but he
was hungry and had started eating his lunch.  His mother had packed a
good lunch.

"Oh yuch!  What's that you're eating?" Janice shrieked. All the talking
in the cafeteria stopped and Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Stogbuchner came
hurrying over to the table. Baartock looked over and saw she was
pointing right at him.

"What are you eating?" she shrilled again.  Everybody in the cafeteria
was looking at their table.

Baartock kept on chewing, but he opened up his sandwich to show her.

"Snake," he said, "very good."  On the slice of bread was a row of
little green snakes.  Some were a little bigger than others and the
heads and tails were hanging down over the edge of the bread.
 It had been a good summer and there were lots of snakes and lizards.

"That looks really good," said Jason.  "Can I have a bite?" Jason
didn't really think it looked good, but he was enjoying teasing Janice.

"Oh!  Mrs. Stogbuchner, can I move?" Janice asked looking up at the

"I think you should," she answered, "and let Baartock eat his lunch in
peace."  She picked up Janice's lunch tray and she and Janice went over
to the other side of the cafeteria.  Mrs. Jackson walked off too, and
everyone started eating their lunches and talking again.

After they were gone, Jason asked, "You really eat that?"

"Good," said Baartock.  "You try."  He held out his sandwich to Jason.

Jason took the sandwich, and looked at it as if it were going to eat
him.  Then, carefully avoiding the snake heads, took a tiny bite and
started chewing.  "It's ok," he said as he handed it back to Baartock,
then he quickly took a drink of milk.

After finishing his lunch, Baartock took his lunch bag, which still had
some acorns left in it, and he and Jason went out to the playground.
They were standing near the door when Janice came out.

"You should have had some of Baartock's sandwich," Jason yelled to her.
"It was really yummy."

Janice hurried off toward the swings and Jason and Baartock went over
to the jungle gym and climbed to the top.

Soon, Mrs. Stogbuchner came out to get the class back inside.  The rest
of the afternoon went by quickly.  There weren't any fire drills, and
they got to play dodge ball at recess.  Baartock thought it was a fun
game.  He liked being in the middle.  The children in the circle had to
throw a big ball, and it was easy to keep away from it.  Even though
Baartock wasn't the last one left inside the circle any of the times,
he still had fun.

They went back to the classroom and did some more worksheets.  Baartock
was surprised when Mrs. Stogbuchner said that it was time to put
everything away.  "Now don't forget about show-and-tell on Monday," she

Baartock raised his hand, like he had seen the children do when they
wanted to ask something.

"Yes, Baartock?"

"What showandtell?" he asked.

"You can bring in something to show the rest of the class and tell
about it.  Something you like or you think is unusual.  I'm sure that
you have something you would like to share with the class."

Baartock had an idea right away about something to bring, but he didn't
say what it was.

"Now leave your tables straight and put your chairs in their places,
then line up at the door."

There was a lot of rushing around and putting things away, and soon
they were all lined up.

"All right.  I want you to have a nice weekend.  I'll see you on
Monday,"  Mrs. Stogbuchner said just as the bell rang. Baartock didn't
jump this time.  He had guessed that the bell was about to ring.  They
hurried down the hall to get to the school busses.

"See you Monday," Jason called as he ran off to his bus. Baartock
walked along the sidewalk until he came to bus 62.

"You were right," Mr. Barnes said as Baartock go on the bus.
 "The other road is shorter."  He kept on talking all the way to the
high school.  He kept talking all the time until he stopped to let
Baartock off the bus.  Baartock wasn't listening to him.  He was
thinking about showandtell.

Chapter 13

Monday morning, Baartock was down by the side of the road, waiting
anxiously for the school bus to arrive.  When he had asked his mother
what 'weekend' and 'Monday' were, she had explained that many people
didn't work everyday, and took two days every week to do other things.
While trolls like to work everyday until the job is done and then rest;
humans like to take little rests every week, she told him. He would
have to wait two extra days, until Monday, for school and showandtell.
She decided that he would need to know, so she taught him the human
names for the days of the week.

There were dark clouds overhead when Baartock went down the hill to
wait for the bus, but it wasn't raining yet.  It had gotten really
cloudy the day before.  Baartock remembered the human name for that day
was Sunday.  His father had said that they were going to have a lot of
rain. Baartock liked it when there was a lot of rain, like there had
been during the summer.  Then there were lots of pools and mud to go
splashing in, and there was water running down hill under his bridge.
He liked to hide under it then, because it was even more like a real
troll bridge.

He was happy to see the school bus drive up.  He wanted to get to
school for showandtell.  He climbed into the school bus and sat on the
front seat.

"Hey, Baartock.  Do you know where the high school is? From right
here?" Mr. Barnes asked, looking at him.

Baartock just pointed and said "That way."

Mr. Barnes stopped to think about it, then he said, "You're right.  How
about to your school?"

Baartock pointed again, in a different direction.
       "You know, you're a regular little compass," Mr. Barnes said as
he started to drive off.

Baartock didn't know what a compass was, but any troll could give
directions.  It was easy.

They got to school earlier than they had on Friday, and Baartock went
around to the playground.  Jason wasn't there, so Baartock went over to
the swings to wait for him.  Soon both Jason and Jerry were coming
around the corner of the school to the playground. They were talking
about what they had done over the weekend.  Jerry said that he had been
to see a movie.  That didn't sound very exciting to Baartock, though he
wasn't sure what a 'movie' was. Jason seemed interested though and
asked all about it.

Soon the first bell rang and Baartock went into the classroom.  He
wanted to get ready for showandtell.  Mrs. Stogbuchner was at her desk
and she called him over.

"I had a talk with Mrs. Jackson, and I think I should go talk to your
mother," she said.  "Maybe you could bring something a little less
trollish for lunch."

Baartock didn't understand what she wanted to talk to his mother about,
but he said, "Mother home now."

"I can't go right now," said Mrs. Stogbuchner, "but maybe sometime
later this week.  Did you bring something for show-and-tell?"

"Yes," said Baartock.

"Will you tell me what you brought?"

Baartock had wanted it to be a surprise, but he told her. Mrs.
Stogbuchner listened carefully as Baartock explained.  Finally she
asked, "Do you know how to use it?"

Baartock nodded.

Then she said, "I'll have to ask Mrs. Jackson if it's all right.  You
put your things away and I'll go talk to her about it now."  She got up
from her desk and went out the door.

All the children had come in when the second bell rang. Mrs.
Stogbuchner came hurrying into the classroom.

"All right.  Take your seats and settle down," she said to the class.
She came over to Baartock.  "Mrs. Jackson said that you could show it
to the class, but it has to be outside on the playground. And she wants
to be there."

The morning went by so slowly for Baartock.  He couldn't keep his
thoughts on what they were doing.  He wanted it to be time for
showandtell.  Finally, Mrs. Jackson came into the classroom.

"Class," Mrs. Stogbuchner said, "It's time for show-and-tell.  Baartock
has brought something that I think you'll all want to see, but he will
have to show you outside.  Since it looks like rain, I think he should
be first.  Everybody please line up by the door and we'll go out and
see what Baartock brought."

Mrs. Jackson came over to Baartock and said, "I've never seen this.
Can you really make it work?"

Baartock nodded, and went over to his cubby to get his bag with his
surprise for showandtell.

When they were all outside gathered around Mrs. Stogbuchner on part of
the playground where there wasn't any grass, she said, "Baartock, show
the class what you brought and tell them about it."

He came into the middle of the class.  "You show me fire drill," he
said.  "But no fire.  I show you fire drill that make fire."  He held
out a little bow, a straight stick, and two small blocks of wood.

"Will you show the class how it works?" asked Mrs. Jackson.

Baartock knelt down and put one of the blocks on the ground and put
some tree bark next to it.  Then he put the straight stick in a small
hole in that block, wrapped the bowstring around the stick, and holding
the second block in his hand put it on top of the stick. Then he
started to work the bow back and forth.

"This fire drill make fire," he said again.

"Does this really work?" somebody asked.

"We were supposed to learn how to use these in scouts," said Mrs.
Stogbuchner, as Baartock worked the bow back and forth.  "But none of
us could make them work."

Before she could say anything else, the bark that Baartock had put next
to the block was starting to smoke. Then it was smoking a lot, and
Baartock dropped the fire drill and picked up the bark and started to
blow on it.  And it burst into flame.

He dropped the burning bark on the ground, and picked up the bow and
stick.  "Fire drill," he said.

"But how does it work?" somebody wanted to know.

"Wood get hot.  Make fire," Baartock explained.  He held out the bottom
wood block, which was still hot.  The class gathered in closely to feel
how hot it was.  Mrs. Jackson was making sure that the burning bark was
all put out.

Just then it started to rain, big heavy drops.

"Everybody back inside," called Mrs. Stogbuchner. "Don't line up.  Just
get inside quickly."

Everybody ran for the classroom door.  Baartock quickly gathered up his
fire drill and he and Mrs. Jackson hurried after the class.

When they were all settled in the classroom again, Mrs. Stogbuchner
said, "Thank you Baartock, for showing us another kind of fire drill.
Now, does anyone else have anything for show-and-tell?"

Chapter 14

It was raining harder than ever when they went to lunch. Looking out
the classroom windows, Baartock couldn't see the trees or the houses
across the wide grass strip next to the school.  He couldn't see the
street.  He could just barely see the grass outside the window.  It was
a blowing, dark gray rainstorm.  At times, the wind would blow the
raindrops right at the windows.  Just a little while later, the rain
was pouring straight down.  Everybody seemed to be thinking of other
things.  Even Mrs. Stogbuchner kept losing her place in the story she
was reading, whenever the rain would come crashing against the windows.
Finally it was lunchtime.

Baartock bought milk in the lunch line, but the fruit they had were
some long yellow things that he hadn't seen before, so he didn't get
any.  When he sat at the table across from Jason, the red-haired boy
asked, "Why do you call that a fire drill?"
      "Drill.  Make holes same way," Baartock answered, and made a
back and forth motion with his hand.

"I guess you could get through wood.  But it must take a long time."

"Wood.  Stone too," replied Baartock.

"You can drill through stone like that?"

"Use many shafts," said Baartock, making an up and down motion, meaning
the straight stick he had used.  "Make hole."

Jason was about to say something when there was a sudden flash of light
and a tremendous thunderblast right outside the cafeteria.  The people
sitting by the windows jumped up, and someone knocked a lunch tray onto
the floor. One of the women who worked in the cafeteria brought over a
mop to clean up the spilled food, and everybody who had been sitting
next to the windows moved to different seats.  The rain was now
squirting against the windows, and some water was coming in under the
door to the playground.  The woman with the mop went over to clean that
up too.

Everybody ate very quietly, as if they were waiting for the next
thunderbolt to strike.  While they were eating a man came in with a mop
and a bucket and some tools to try to stop the leak around the door.
Baartock was watching the man working, when Jason said, "Let's go back
to the classroom."

"Not go outside?" asked Baartock.

"They wouldn't let us.  Not in this much rain.  Who'd want to go out in
this anyway?"

Baartock had been thinking about going out.  It was only rain.
Instead, when he finished his lunch, he went with Jason back to the

Some others were already back in the classroom, in groups talking, or
just staring out the windows at the rain. Mrs. Stogbuchner was sitting
at her desk, with a lunch tray from the cafeteria, eating, when they
got there.

"Mrs. Stogbuchner, can we get out the games?" asked Jason.

"All right.  But you'll have to put them away when lunch time is over."

"All right!" Jason whooped.  "Come on, Baartock."

"And please be quiet," she said, as she went back to her lunch.

"Yes, Mrs. Stogbuchner," Jason said.

They went into the back of the classroom, and near the cubbies was a
shelf with some large flat boxes and some smaller ones.

"You want to play checkers?" asked Jason.

"Don't know checkers.  Show me," said Baartock.

They sat in the back of the classroom, and Jason taught him how to play
checkers.  When some other children saw them playing, they got out
other games, and soon there were lots of people playing all kinds of

It kept on raining very hard, and there were occasional lightning
flashes and crashes of thunder.

Lunch time seemed to be going on longer than usual. Baartock had just
lost another game of checkers, and he let Jerry play.  He didn't like
checkers very much.  None of the other games seemed too interesting
either, so he walked over and looked out the window at the rain.  He
saw Ms. Laurence hurry in and go over to talk to Mrs. Stogbuchner.

"Children."  Ms. Laurence had hurried out again and Mrs. Stogbuchner
was walking to the middle of the classroom. "Quiet please."

There was a lot of stirring around by the children to listen to her.

"They are going to close school early today, because of all this rain."
She held up her hand for quiet.  Some children had started to cheer and
talk as soon as they heard the news.

"They say that this could be a bad storm, and there could be some
flooding.  Since so many of you live on small roads, they decided you
should go home very soon.  They're trying to reach the bus drivers now.
If it keeps raining like this, there might not be school tomorrow."

The children were still quiet, but they were all smiling and poking at
each other.

"You may go on with your recess now, and I'll have you straighten up
the games just before the busses get here. Now please be very quiet,
while I go to the office."  She turned and went out the door.

Suddenly, none of the children were interested in the games.
 They all wanted to talk about getting out of school early, and no
school tomorrow, and what they were going to do.  They started talking
quietly, but soon the talk got louder.  Then, one of the boys threw a
ball of paper at another boy.  There was a lot of loud talking, and
throwing things, and running around, when Mrs. Stogbuchner came back
into the room.

"Get in your seats!  Right now!"  She was standing just inside the
door, glaring at the class.

The children hurried to their chairs and sat down.

"I told you to be quiet while I went to the office."

The children looked at each other, as if to find out who had been
making all the noise. "Barbara, Norma, Robert, and Jason, go back and
straighten up the games and put them away.  Do it quietly and quickly.
Timmy, hand out these worksheets.  Since you don't want recess now, I
have some other work you can do, until the busses get here."

Timmy walked around the room with the stack of papers she gave him,
putting four worksheets on each table.

Mrs. Stogbuchner walked to the back of the classroom to watch the
straightening up.  The room was very quiet, except for the noises from
the back of the room.

Baartock started working, and soon Jason sat down and started working

Mrs. Stogbuchner walked around the room for a while, then she went over
and stood in the doorway, looking down the hall.  Soon she said, "Put
your things away now.  If you brought raincoats, or have anything else
to take home, get it, then line up."

Baartock hadn't brought a raincoat, but he went to his cubby to get the
fire drill and his lunchbag.  He decided to take his pencil box home,

The class was all lined up, waiting for the bell.  Mrs. Stogbuchner
said, "If it keeps raining like this, watch the news on TV to see if
we're having school tomorrow." Then the bell did ring, and they were
all hurrying to get to the school busses.

"See you," called Jason, as they went down the hall. They got to the
front door and the wind was blowing the rain right in at them.  The
floor was wet and someone had put down rubber mats so they wouldn't
slip or fall.

When they went outside, everybody ran to the busses. Baartock was
soaked as he got on Mr. Barnes's bus, from just that short run.  There
were lights on the front of each bus, and there were sticks wiping back
and forth to get the rain off the front windows.  But Mr. Barnes still
drove very slowly to the high school. He wasn't talking all the time,
this afternoon.

When Baartock got off the bus, he ran to his path to get home.  The
creekbed was filled with water rushing and splashing down hill.  There
was a lot of water going through the culvert.  Baartock hurried up the
hill, next to the stream.  He wanted to see what it was like at his

Chapter 15

It had rained all the rest of the day.  Baartock had a great time up at
his bridge.  The water was racing under the bridge, making a wonderful
gurgling sound.  It made hiding under the arch like being in one of the
stories his father told.  The only thing missing was someone walking
over the bridge.  He would come out from under the bridge screaming his
loudest and run up the side of the stream bed. He could just see them
running away.

Right then it really didn't matter that there wasn't anyone crossing
his bridge.  Baartock now knew so many humans and so much about them,
that was easy to pretend who was walking up to cross the bridge.  There
was Mr. Fennis, of course.  He had run away so wonderfully.  Then there
was Ms. Laurence.  Baartock could scare her easily.  He didn't pretend
to scare Mrs. Jackson or Mrs. Stogbuchner.
 Somehow they didn't seem like people to scare.  But that girl in his
class, Janice, Baartock scared her again and again.  And some of the
other children in the class.  They were all so easy to scare.  He was
having a great time.

He even pretended that Jason was helping him scare people. Not that
Jason was anything like a troll, but Baartock liked him and he thought
Jason would have fun scaring people.

After a while, when it started to get dark, Baartock went back home in
the rain.  He was glad that his father had known it was going to rain.
They had gathered in extra firewood.  Even though it wasn't cold, the
fire warmed the cave and helped him to dry off.

Though it had been raining all day, his mother had fixed an extra good
meal.  Baartock really liked the cricket and green bean salad.  Later
they all sat around the fire and his mother patched his pants and sewed
on the new winter coat she was making, and his father told stories.  He
stayed up late, and it was still raining hard when he finally went to

The next morning it was still raining, and his mother told him to go
wait for the bus, but if it didn't come when it should, to come back
home.  And his father surprised him by saying he would be staying home
if it kept on raining. The room he was working on in the cavern would
probably be flooded, and he wouldn't be able to work.

So, while it was still raining quite hard, Baartock went down to stand
by the side of the road and wait for the school bus. Actually, he
wasn't waiting right beside the road in the rain, but back a little
way, under some trees that still had lots of leaves. He thought he
could see the bus in time to come out and catch it.  He waited and
waited, but he didn't see a bus or a car or anything coming down the
road.  He went over to look at the culvert.  Rain water was coming
roaring down the stream bed right at the culvert, but there was so much
that it couldn't all get through.  There were branches and rocks that
had come down with the water that were blocking the opening.  It was
beginning to make a pool on that side of the road.  On the other side,
it was shooting out of the culvert, but it was beginning to make a pool
there too.

When Baartock felt he had waited long enough, he went back home.  His
father was carving out some extra shelves in the kitchen. He went to
watch his father work, and started handing him tools. They worked most
of the morning.  His mother came back home and saw the mess they were
making, and started making some sandwiches.  They all finished about
the same time, and his mother chased them both out of the cave so she
could clean up.  There were rock chips all over the kitchen.

Then Baartock and his father went up and sat under his bridge and ate
their sandwiches.  For a while, his father told stories, about when he
had been a young troll, before he'd earned his name.  Then they looked
at some places that Baartock had had trouble with building his bridge.
They stood in the stream and the pouring rain, and his father showed
him some better ways to do the stone-work.  They even took a few of the
stones out, and his father worked on them, then they put them back.
Baartock was much happier about the way the bridge looked now.  Then
his father showed him places where the water might weaken the bridge if
they weren't fixed, not today, but later when the rain stopped and the
water went down.

While they were working the rain eased up as if it were going to stop,
then it started coming down again as hard as before. They had quite a
busy afternoon, and his father said that it was time to go home, even
if there was still a mess in the kitchen for them to clean up.

It rained all the next day, too.  Not as hard as before, just a steady
rain that went on and on.  Baartock went down in the morning to see if
the bus would come, but it didn't.  He waited a long time, playing
beside the stream, but nothing came along the road.

The culvert that he had hidden in was completely blocked now, with
branches and rocks.  The water had made a big pool, and it was flowing
over the road.  He went up the hill a little way and sat there,
dropping small branches into the stream, and watching them float down,
across the pool and across the road.

After a while, he went back home.  It was such fun to splash his way up
the stream.  He got thoroughly soaked. When he got home and dry, he
helped his father make one of the closets larger.  His father chipped
and dug at the rock wall, and Baartock swept and picked-up, and carried
all of the trash outside in a bucket.  They worked most of the
afternoon.  Dinner was a simple meal.  It had been too wet to go get
anything, so it was mostly left-overs.

The rain stopped just after dinnertime, and Baartock went out to look
around.  It was getting dark, but he walked up to his bridge.  He was
worried about the spots his father had pointed out. When he got there,
his bridge was all right.  An opossum was hiding under the arch, trying
to stay dry, and it growled at him.  It wanted to be left alone and
Baartock was able to see what he wanted to, without chasing it off.

Going home in the dark, he slipped and fell into the stream a couple of
times.  He was glad to sit by the fire and get dry, now that he knew
that his bridge was safe.

The nest morning it wasn't raining, though there were still a lot of
clouds overhead.  But they were blowing away, and it might be sunny
later.  Baartock walked down to wait for the bus.  He went down the
path beside the stream.  Even though the rain had stopped the night
before, the stream was just as full as it had been when it was raining.
It was still rushing and splashing its way down the hill.

Baartock couldn't get all the way to the road.  The water had risen
even higher.  It wasn't a pool, it was a lake.  The road was completely
under water.  It was almost as deep as he was tall. During the night,
two of the trees beside the stream had fallen over, and were lying
across the road.  The holes, where the roots had been were filled with
water.  And there was still more water coming down the stream.  He
walked along the edge of water for a long way. Finally, near the
driveway to the 'old Howard house', there was no more water covering
the road.

Baartock played by the side of this new lake for a while, skipping
stones.  When he grew tired of that, he went up the driveway, and home.
He left his lunch bag, and went up to check on his bridge again.  The
opossum was gone, but there was still too much water for him to work on
his bridge, and he went back home.

His father had decided that he couldn't go to work again, so he was
sleeping late.  His mother was busy in the kitchen, so Baartock got out
his pencil box and some worksheets he had brought home from school and
sat near the mouth of the cave and did them again.

Chapter 16

The sun started to come through the clouds, and Baartock moved his
stool outside the cave.  He was just about to get back to work, when he
heard someone coming up the hill.  He put his pencil box and worksheets
on the stool and went inside to tell his mother. They were just coming
out of the cave when Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Stogbuchner came into the

"Hello, Mrs. Slinurp.  Hello, Baartock," called Mrs. Jackson.  To
Baartock's mother, she said, "This is Baartock's teacher, Mrs.

"I'm pleased to meet you," said Mrs. Stogbuchner.  "I told Baartock
that I wanted to meet you this week."

No-one asked if Baartock had remembered to tell his mother, but the way
she looked at him said that he had forgotten.

"I hope we're not coming at a bad time," Mrs. Jackson said.
   "No," said his mother.  "You want to talk?"

"Baartock, I see you've been doing some school work.  I think that's a
very good," said Mrs. Stogbuchner, looking at the worksheets.  Then she
followed his mother and Mrs. Jackson into the cave.

Baartock thought about checking his bridge again, but it was nearly
lunch time, and after lunch maybe his father could help him work on it.
So he sat back down in the sun, and kept working on the papers.  He
could hear the adults' voices, but he couldn't hear what they were

After a while he decided he was hungry and went to look for his lunch
bag.  He remembered putting it in the kitchen, so he went to get it.
The adults were still talking, and he didn't think they had even
noticed him, until Mrs. Jackson said, "Baartock, something happened to
the bridge we looked at."

Suddenly, there was a booming voice, coming from the back of the cave.
"What happen bridge?"  Baartock's father was awake, and coming out of
the bedroom.  The word 'bridge' would wake most trolls from a sound

Meeting just one adult troll for the first time had been a surprise for
Mrs. Stogbuchner, and even Mrs. Jackson hadn't met his father.  And
Baartock's father was bigger and angrier looking than most trolls, even
though he wasn't any meaner than Baartock's mother.
 But they didn't know whether to stay or run.  Before they could
decide, Baartock's father was in the living room saying, "What happen
bridge?" again.

His mother saw just how scared the humans were, and said, "Wait.  She

"There was just too much water," began Mrs. Jackson, not sure what he
wanted to know.  "It collapsed.  It fell down.  There's no more bridge
in town."

Baartock had told his father about the bridge, of course. And what he
had thought of a human-built bridge. He wasn't really surprised that it
had fallen down.

"Where bridge?" asked his father.

Baartock was just about to tell him, when Mrs. Jackson asked, "You want
to see the bridge?"

"You show me bridge," replied his father.  "You show me bridge now?"

Just as suddenly as his father had appeared, they were going out of the
cave.  Baartock grabbed his lunch bag and followed them out.  They went
down the hill toward the 'old Howard house'.

"We'll have to go the long way around," said Mrs. Jackson. "Your road
is flooded too."

That didn't matter to his father and they kept walking down the hill.
When they got to the car, there was a problem trying to figure out
where they were all to sit. Mrs. Jackson had to slide the front seat
up, so the three trolls could sit in the back.  If they hadn't been
trolls, they wouldn't have been able to squeeze in.  But trolls can
bend to fit into tight places.  Soon they were all inside and Mrs.
Jackson was driving.

Baartock opened his lunch bag to get something to eat. His father had
some too, but his mother said she wasn't hungry.  Neither Mrs. Jackson
or Mrs. Stogbuchner wanted any either.

Riding in a car for the first time didn't seem to bother Baartock's
father.  Maybe it was because he was going to see the bridge, or maybe
it just didn't bother him.

They did have to go the long way around, but eventually they got to
where the bridge had been.  There were lots of kids standing around and
some adults too.  There were big orange painted barrels blocking the
road, so people wouldn't drive their cars too close. Mrs. Jackson had
to park her car down the block.  They got out of the car and went over
to look.  Baartock thought he saw Jason, but he wasn't sure. Besides,
seeing the bridge was more important, right then.

The water hadn't really gotten that high, though the stream was moving
very quickly.  It was easy to see what had happened.  The water had
washed away the dirt around the supports, and then the supports had
started to move, and the span had fallen down.  It was lying, broken
and twisted, in the rushing water.

Baartock's mother was interested, but she could see what she wanted
from where she was standing.  Baartock and his father walked right to
the edge to examine the wreckage.

"Don't get so close to the edge!" a man in uniform shouted at them.  He
started to come over to tell them to move back.

"I look at bridge," Baartock's father growled at the man.

"Yes sir," said the man, backing away.  Most of the other humans nearby
backed away also.

His father looked at the way the bridge had been built from where he
was standing, then suddenly, he jumped into the stream.

"Hey!  Help him!  Get a rope, somebody!" the man in uniform was
shouting.  He came rushing to the edge to find Baartock's father
standing, quite calmly, waist deep in the rushing water, examining
where the supports had been.

"Hey! Catch this," the man shouted, starting to throw the rope.

"Stop!"  Baartock's mother had come over.  "He working. You stop or he
get angry."

"But he's going to . . ." the man started to say, looking up at her.

"You stop," his mother said again.

"Yes ma'am," the man said, and he took the rope and went back where he
had been standing.  He just stood there watching, and not knowing what
to do.

Mrs. Jackson went over to talk to him.  Soon the man walked over to his
car and got out a blanket and gave it to Mrs. Jackson.

When he had seen enough, Baartock's father climbed up on the broken
bridge span and calmly stepped up onto the road.  Several people in the
crowd cheered when he came up, but he didn't seem to notice.

"Where she?" he asked.

Baartock pointed out Mrs. Jackson, still standing next to the man in
uniform.  They all walked over to her.  Mrs. Jackson handed him the
blanket, and he used it to dry off.

"Can fix," his father said.  "Build right this time. Not fall down

"You can build a new bridge?" asked Mrs. Jackson.

Baartock thought that was a silly question.  He had been sure that he
could have built a better bridge, and he wasn't even old enough to have
a name.   "Hey!  Baartock!" came a shout from the crowd.  Jason was
standing there waving at him.

Baartock waved back.  The adults were talking about things that didn't
seem to have anything to do with building bridges, so he went over to
talk to Jason.

"Isn't this really something.  Are those your folks? Everybody was sure
surprised when your dad jumped in like that," Jason just went on in a
rush.  "Your dad knows about bridges?"

"Can build better bridge," Baartock answered.

Soon, Baartock's mother called him over and they got back in the car
and went home.

Chapter 17

The next day was Friday, but there wasn't any school. Mrs. Stogbuchner
had said that a lot of the roads were under water, just like the road
near Baartock's home.  But even though there wasn't any school, the
next morning Baartock was going to town.

Early in the morning, his father got him up, and they had something to
eat.  Baartock got the big lunch bag and his father picked up his bag
of tools and they left and walked down to the 'old Howard house' and
waited.  The sun wasn't up very high when Mrs. Jackson came driving up
the hill.

"Good morning," she called, as she stopped the car.

"Go bridge now," said his father.

Mrs. Jackson had decided that was just the way trolls were. With
bridges, they were all business.

"Good morning," said Baartock.  He thought any morning he could go help
work on a bridge was a good morning.

They got into the car.  Baartock sat in the front and put on the seat
belt.  His father stretched out along the back seat.  He wasn't
squeezed into the back, like he had been the day before.  They still
had to drive the long way around, but it wasn't too long before Mrs.
Jackson was parking the car.

There wasn't a crowd at the bridge, it was too early in the morning.
The man in uniform was there again.  He didn't say anything to
Baartock's father, but he did wave to Mrs. Jackson, and she waved back.

His father didn't want to waste any time getting started replacing the
old bridge.  As soon as they got there, he climbed out of the car and
carrying his bag of tools, went to the edge of the road.  He jumped
down into the water, and Baartock started handing him hammers and
chisels, as he called for them.  He would dry and put away the ones
that his father was finished with and threw back to him.

While they were working, people came to watch, but the man in uniform
kept them back.  Jason came down too, but the man wouldn't let him come

At lunch time, his father climbed back up and dried himself off with
the blanket, and they sat under a tree to eat.  Baartock was hungry,
but his father ate four sandwiches to his one.  Lunch was quickly over,
and they were ready to go back to work.

This time, after his father jumped down, he told Baartock to hand him
the bag of tools.  Then he walked carefully through the rushing stream,
across the wrecked bridge to the other side and tossed the bag up on
the road. Then he came back and told Baartock to climb onto his
shoulders.  He crossed the stream again, and Baartock scrambled up the
other side.  Then just as before, he handed down tools or put them away.

During the afternoon, a man came to talk to Baartock's father. He was
on the other side, and Baartock couldn't hear what they were talking
about.  After a while, the man left and his father came back to work.

"Stone," his father said.  That was enough. Baartock knew they had been
talking about how much stone would be needed to rebuild the bridge.
His father was going to rebuild the bridge the right way, the troll
way, with stone and not concrete.

It wasn't dark when Baartock was carried back across the stream.  They
were finished for the day.

The next day, Mrs. Jackson couldn't come to get them. When they got
down to the house, Mr. Fennis was waiting for them.  He didn't say a
word, but he stared at Baartock's father.  He looked as if his eyes
were going to pop out.

There were a few people already there, when they got to the bridge.
And the man in uniform was there too.

The water had gone down a lot, and they worked on something new.  This
time, they didn't work where the supports had been, but spent the day
breaking up the old bridge.  Some pieces his father piled up, to keep
the stream from washing away his new supports.  The rest of the pieces
he tossed up to Baartock, who piled them beside the road. It was a long
hard day, and Baartock fell asleep in the car on the way home.

The next day, both of Baartock's parents went off with Mrs. Jackson to
look at the stone they were going to build with.  Baartock didn't go
along.  He wanted to work on his bridge.  Now that the stream had gone
down, he could fix it the way he wanted to.  It was fun, but now that
he was working on a real bridge, his own seemed very small.

He went to school the next morning, but after school, instead of riding
home on Mr. Barnes' bus, he went to help his parents work on the new
bridge.  He spent the rest of the afternoon helping pile up the broken
pieces of the old bridge.

For the rest of that week and for several weeks after, Baartock spent
his days in school and his afternoons and weekends working on the
bridge.  For a while, trucks came, bringing blocks of stone, and big
timbers they would use for supports, building the bridge.  They brought
enough stone to make a hill of stone, until his father said that was

In those weeks, the crowd that came to watch the bridge being built
grew bigger, and there were more men in uniform to keep them back.  The
pile of stone got smaller and the bridge got closer to being finished.
Somehow, word had gotten out that trolls were building a bridge.  A lot
of people didn't believe it, and others didn't care.  Other people
heard that a man, a woman, and a boy were building a bridge by
themselves, and came to watch.  A few people tried to push their way
past the men in uniform to talk to Baartock's parents while they were

Then one afternoon, right after lunch, Mrs. Jackson came to get
Baartock from class.  He was surprised when she said that they were
going to the bridge.  He usually didn't go until school was over.  As
they went out to the parking lot, they went past several school busses
parked in front of the school.  He thought one of the busses was Mr.
Barnes's, but they didn't go to it.  They went to her car and drove to
the bridge.

When they got there, there was a big crowd just standing around one end
of the bridge.  Baartock's parents were standing in the middle of the
bridge, but they weren't working.  Baartock looked at the bridge.  It
looked finished, but as he walked over, he saw that there was one block
missing from one side, and that block was lying on the sidewalk.

He walked over to his parents to find out why they hadn't finished the
bridge.  His mother just said, "wait," and kept watching Mrs. Jackson.
Soon the school busses drove up and a lot of kids got out. There was
all of Mrs. Stogbuchner's class, and a lot of other kids besides. They
came over to the bridge, but they didn't come across it, they just
stood there with the rest of the crowd.  They were all talking quietly,
and watching Baartock and his parents.  After a while a man got up on a
little wooden platform and started talking.  He talked for a long time,
but Baartock wasn't listening to him.  He had gotten an idea.  A
wonderful idea.

Baartock's mother had been watching the man on the platform.  When he
finished taking, she said, "Put stone in."

Baartock went over and picked up the last stone to put in the wall.  He
slid it into place, and the crowd started to cheer.  When he stepped
back, he saw the writing on the block.  It was his special mark, and
the letters 'BAARTOCK'S BRIDGE'.

The crowd kept on cheering, and Baartock felt embarrassed. Then he
looked at his father.  And his father looked at him.  His father must
have had the same idea, for suddenly they both started yelling at the
top of their lungs, screaming, bellowing as loud as they could, as they
ran at the crowd standing at the end of the bridge.

 At the first sound, the crowd was frozen in place, and as
Baartock and his father kept yelling and running at them, the crowd
turned and ran away from the bridge as fast as they could.  All the
humans kept on running until they were out of sight. Baartock and his
father stopped at the end of the bridge and they turned and walked
back, laughing, to his mother in the middle of the bridge.  She looked
at them.

"Good bridge," she said.  "Good troll bridge."

Here is a short message from the author of Baartock:

This book is directed at children, up to about third grade, though it
should be read to them by an adult.

End of Baartock, by Lewis Roth  (C)1989

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