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NCE UPON A TIME, near a small Minnesota town, there lived a farm lad named Richard. Richard was not sure what he wanted to be, but wished not to milk cows. Instead, he declared, "I will drive tractors!"

One day, while far out in the field, the old tractor broke down, and the young lad walked back to the barn to tell his father. Upon hearing the story, the boy's father promptly got up and took down the old tool box. He handed it to his son and said with wisdom, "If it's broke, go fix it."

Years passed, and there were many things to fix on the farm. The lad became quite good at it, and one day the Green Giant saw his handiwork, and wished to take him to Corporation Land where the Green Giant grew peas and corn. The lad left, and was immediately given a reaper and sent into the fields. The boy worked hard all summer, but since driving the reaper was rather grim, he went back home.

"I knoweth not what I want to be!" the lad cried, and his father and mother pondered this ("What did he say?"), then declared, "You shall be a preacher."

And so the lad went off to Preacher Land, where he learned he wasn't tall enough behind the pulpit.

In the meantime, up in Big City Land, lived a lass named Judi, who knew not what she wanted to be, either. Her only asset was her red tresses, which at once brought her joy and misery.

While she was staying in the brick castle called High School, the Evil Principal insisted her long locks must go. But being stubborn, the lass refused. Then one day, a Wicked Teacher gave her a pair of scissors and bade her go to the bathroom to cut off her tresses. But the lass snuck out and returned the next day wearing a wig. Thus, for four years she was exiled to the Kingdom of the Nerds because the wig was ugly as sin.

Time passed, and Judi became a quiet city lass who modeled sportswear during the summer. She couldn't do it full time because she had no legs, or at least not any that were long enough. But she still had her red tresses (and she could write a mean article, too).

One day she met the lad Richard and fell in love. And although she was small and had no legs, he was so taken by her red locks that he declared, "Come away with me and be my wife."

Finally, the two had found what they wanted, and they moved away into the deep forest of the North Woods, where they had kids, Sonya, Katie and Matt, and are living there still, happy and, well, most of the time.

In the castle they call Hionahil, they enjoy their woodstoves and books, and all their loyal subjects, such as deer, loons, coyotes and bear. But dragons still reside in this land also. One's trusty steed must travel 70 miles to the nearest K-Mart, and knights may have trouble finding profitable jobs. And everything costs more, except one's castle. Still, Richard and Judi would live nowhere else. Although they do wander often, "applying the seat of their pants to the seat of the chair," to travel the world by way of the Web.

Richard and Judi

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Copyright ©1996
Judi Schiller, Richard Schiller