Tired of being teased about his name and his stutter, twelve-year-old Hobart sets out to do a few heroic deeds and earn a place in Knight School. But the local damsels he hopes to save assure him that the last thing they need is rescuing. The runaway bull he tries to catch wears him like a hat. And don’t even ask about the ogre.
Finally, in desperation, Hobart sets out on the most daring quest he can think of–he will slay a dragon. Or that’s his plan anyway.
“I have one last gift to aid you on your journey,” Mildred said with great ceremony.
“I-I thought it was t-traditional to give a h-hero three g-gifts,” I said.
Mildred shrugged. “I’m a nonconformist, and you are no hero. Not yet anyway. You have quite a few things to learn first.”
“L-like what?” I asked, hoping for any clues this riddle of a wise woman might give me about how to slay a dragon.
“You will learn them when the time comes,” Mildred said. “But first, follow me.”
I was not interested in hauling any more useless stuff, but Mildred gave me a look, and I followed. We walked through the light rain to a small building behind the cottage. Inside stood a fine white horse. My spirits immediately rose. I no longer cared that Mildred had given me an almanac that didn’t predict the weather and an endless supply of turnips. This noble creature would make up for it all.
But then I had a terrible thought. What if she planned to give me a tired old donkey instead? I looked around, but the horse was the only creature in sight.
“Hobart, I would like to introduce you to Albert. Albert, this is your new master, Hobart. You will be accompanying him on his quest.”
“A quest, how exciting.”
I looked up at the horse, confused.
“I do hope that you are planning to wait until after the rain stops, though. I hate getting my hooves wet.” The horse looked at me with a worried expression. “Goodness knows we wouldn’t want me to catch cold.”
“Don’t be such a baby, Albert,” Mildred said to the horse. “A little damp won’t hurt you.”
I just stared at the two of them as I realized that this strange little sage was offering to give me a talking horse. I couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
By the end of the day, I was sure. It was a bad thing.
Thank you, Heather Mullaly and Lola’s Blog Tours
About the author
Heather Mullaly is a passionate believer in the power of story. When she isn’t writing them, reading them, or listening to them, she can usually be found baking something that involves chocolate, thinking up new story ideas before she’s finished the two she’s currently writing, or hanging out with her family, who happen to be even more fantastic than the characters in her head. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their three teenagers.
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