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Hot Off the Oxford Press
News Bytes 10/27/2016 540 Comments

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Oxford University Press' new edition of William Shakespeare's works will credit Christopher Marlowe as co-author of the three Henry VI plays. It’s further evidence that the playwright collaborated with others on some of his most famous works.

Marlowe was born in 1564, the same year as Shakespeare. He was a playwright, poet, and spy for Queen Elizabeth I. Now he’ll share billing in the latest version of the New Oxford Shakespeare being published this week.

Scholars have long suspected that Shakespeare's plays included the work of others. But new methods helped researchers conclude that sections bore Marlowe’s trademarks.

"Shakespeare, like other geniuses, recognized the value of other people," Gary Taylor, a professor at Florida State University and principal investigator of the new work, says. "What is Shakespeare famous for? Writing dialogue—interactions between two people. You would expect in his life there would be dialogue with other people."

In Shakespeare's time, there was great demand for new material for the first mass-entertainment industry. A relatively small group of authors worked feverishly to meet this demand.

A team of 23 scholars looked afresh at Shakespeare’s plays. They used computers to reveal language patterns, trends, and associations—analyzing not only Shakespeare's words, but also those of his fellow authors.

Oxford University Press editors concluded that 17 of 44 works associated with Shakespeare had input from others.

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Most recent comments

@ Scarlett

My family went to our church's Christmas Eve service (which is a very special and main event for our family), we had advent, and I just thanked God a lot for everything.

@Everone

Sorry for not replying soon, I've been quite busy.
@Riley, cool!! My mom is fully Korean and she knows calligraphy. I hope you have fun with your presents!! I gave my little sister the stuffed corgi she's wanted since my eleventh birthday. I gave my dad a video game and I put the lipstick my mom wanted in a huge box as a prank. It looked so big, but when she opened it it was funny. She was happy though :).
Are there any guitar players here? I got a Mitchell T331 TERRA S E R T331 mahogany acoustic guitar for Christmas and I'm learning to play it.

@ All Typelings\TypeWriters

Happy New Year!!!!!!

:)

@Riley, I didn't answer the question about Divergent yet... It's a story of a world where society is divided into five groups, "factions". Factions for the intelligent, honest, peaceful, selfless, and brave. It's about a girl named Beatrice Prior who is different, who doesn't fit in a specific faction. Who is Divergent.
She discovers that the government is corrupt, and has to fight against it. It's a really good Dystopian trilogy!!!

@ Caro

I know that was directed at me but:
Wow, that sounds very interesting! Is it a series? Who's the author?

@Above

@Caro: Neat!
@Scarlett: Cool! That is funny about the lipstick! XD I like doing that too sometimes! ;) I don't play guitar, but my Dad and sister are trying to learn. I play piano, trumpet, and flute, but am focusing on piano right now. I haven't played the other two in a while. I would like to, but just don't have the time. :(

@Above

Boy, this page has REALLY slowed down, hasn't it?

@ All/ This is Bella

Here's a short story I wrote for school based on Proverbs 6:6-11.
A Lesson From Proverbs 6:6-11
Josie lived in a big family. She had a mom, a dad, four sisters named Jane, Julia, Jasmine, and Jessie, and a soft, gray, silky cat named Lady Silk. There was always something going on or somewhere to go. Josie was a quiet girl and wasn’t involved in very many activities. That way, when school was over and all her sisters had gone to their basketball practices, or book clubs, or drama classes, Josie was at home curled up with Lady Silk and reading a book until supper.
Josie did the same thing every day after school. First, she always did her homework and ate a snack. Then, she cleaned everything up and cautiously looked on the fridge for a purple sticky note with her mom’s handwriting. Josie dreaded those purple sticky notes. With such a big, busy family there wasn’t always time for all the chores. So, Mom always left a small chore list for Josie to do before she read. It was always something small like sweep the floors, or wash the dishes, or take out the trash. But, they always annoyed Josie.
“Why couldn’t someone else do it?” she would think.
One cold, cloudy January day, Josie was feeling rather grumpy. She had forgotten to do part of her homework and the teacher had gotten mad at her in front of all her friends. Then, her friend, Lucy, wasn’t at school because she was sick. When a big boy made fun of her in the hall, there was no one to stand up for her. And, to top it all off, she had a lot of homework. She was very excited to curl up on her bed and forget about the day. She kicked open the door and dumped her teal backpack on table. She nearly dropped the glass of milk she has just poured. There on the purple sticky note were these four words, “Vacuum all the bedrooms.” Josie sat down at the kitchen table and opened her math book, but her mind wouldn’t stay on the problems. It kept wandering to that bothersome sticky note on the fridge.
“ Let’s see,” she thought, “there’s my room, Jessie and Jane’s room, Jasmine and Julia’s room, and Mom and Dad’s room! 4 rooms! Why couldn’t Mom have done it? She should have known I’d be tired after school! What should I do?”
Then she had it. She smiled and began working on her homework. When she finally finished, she walked right past the note and into her bedroom. Josie had made up her mind that from that day on, she would completely ignore those sticky notes.
Josie’s plan went very well for a while. For the next few days, Mom didn’t seem to notice the filthy dishes or the dirty floor. Josie enjoyed the extra time to read and relax everyday. Until one day, about a week later, Josie couldn’t find the bottle of her favorite juice.
“That’s funny,” she thought, “There was a lot left yesterday and I’m the only one who drinks it. Oh well.”
The next day, Josie couldn’t find any milk or cookies! She decided to find out what was going on. That evening, Josie wandered into the family room. Jessie was sitting on the couch reading a script for a play she was in. Jane was laying sprawled out on the floor texting a friend.
“Hey, Jane,” Josie walked over to her sister, “ Do you know who’s been eating all the snacks?”
“Huh?” Jane looked up, then back down at her phone, “No clue.”
“Jessie, do you know?” Josie turned to her oldest sister.
“You’re the only one who eats them,” Jessie replied without looking up, “I don’t know.”
The next day, Josie couldn’t find any snacks except a couple carrot sticks left over from yesterday’s lunch. She closed the fridge walked over to her backpack to get her book. She couldn’t find it! Then she remembered she had let Lucy borrow it. She sighed and flopped down on the couch. As she looked up, she saw no purple note. She tried to forget about it, but she couldn’t. That purple note had been her chance to help the family but she had been so lazy. Josie knew just what to do. She rolled off the couch and got to work. She vacuumed and swept the house. She took out the trash and washed all the dirty dishes she could find. It wasn’t fun, but Josie enjoyed the chance to make it up to her family for her laziness.
A couple days later, when Josie got home from school, she saw a familiar purple sticky note on the fridge. She ran over to it. It said, “Organize the coat closet.” Josie knew the closet was a mess. Usually, she would feel irritated with such a big job, but today it sounded kind of fun to make the closet clean and easy to use.
As she worked, Josie lost track of time. She suddenly realized she was very hungry. She finished her work and then headed to the kitchen. Josie opened the cupboard and couldn’t believe her eyes! There were all the snacks! As Josie stood there gaping, she heard a sound behind her. She turned to see her mom standing there, smiling.
“Mom! Mom!” Josie cried as she gave her a big hug, “Mom, the snacks are back! Do you know where they went?”
“Yes, I do,” smiled Mom, as they walked in to the family room and sat down on the couch together. “I took the snacks. I noticed you had become lazy and didn’t want to work. In the Bible, it tells us if we don’t work, we will become poor and hungry. I was just showing you what happens when we refuse to work.”
“Thanks, Mom!” Josie said as she hugged her, “You’ve taught me a valuable lesson!”
That evening, as everyone was gathering in the family room, Julia rushed in.
“Have you guys seen the coat closet? It’s so clean! Whoever did that rocks!”
“I did,” Josie smiled, “I learn that working can be more meaningful if I do it with a good attitude!” She laughed, “And, if I don’t want to work, I’ll starve!”

@Bella

That's great! I love how it's illustrating that Bible passage

@Bella

How is your Mandan Indian girl story coming along?

@ Amelia B

Um,......(nervous laugh) I haven't worked on it at all. I've kinda forgotten about it and lost my drive. (which is what happens with all my books. I get through 1 to 3 chapters in and then it sits somewhere for the rest of its life.) I've been wanting to write a Mary story still and a couple years ago I started (there's that word again) a book called "Wherever Home May Be" about a family of kids on the Orphan Train I might try to redo and keep writing. But Running Deer is......well.......gone for the moment. :) Maybe in a few years.....XD How bout you? Have you been writing anything lately? Oh, and thanks! I'm usually REALLY bad at writing short stories because they end up either SO long (like 10 pages) and really good or short and boring and badly written. So, I was pretty proud of it. It's a fun topic to write about :)
(This was a really long comment.......I had the time...... for once!)

@Bella

Lol, I'm the same way with all my ideas, except you might get farther than I do XD. I'll get one, work on it for a bit, then loose speed and come to a crashing halt on it then lo and behold a while later, a new idea to occupy my time that will then soon fizzle out. I'll get an idea for like one scene of a book, write around it, and then have no clue where to take it from there. I have a folder filled with either complete or sections of poems, songs, and stories that are getting nowhere

Riddle

I wrote this a few months ago, try to guess what it is:
It doth come and go,
Where to, no one can know,
It shall ebb and grow,
Stretching from head to toe,
Darkness tis its greatest foe,
With the dark it mightn’t show

@Above

If you want a less ye olde version here's the alternate (I can't decide which one I like better XD)
It comes and it goes,
Where to, no one knows,
It ebbs and it grows,
Stretching from your head to toes,
Sometimes it never shows,
And darkness is one of its greatest foes.

@ Amelia B

Um, no idea, like, at all. :)

@Amelia

I don't know!! I have thought and thought but can not figure it out. I would say the tide for the first part, but then the head to toe and darkness doesn't make sense with that. So yeah I don't know. When you say it I will probably be like "Oh duh!" XD

@Bella and Riley

Lol XD I put he answer on this older article just so if any other typewriter wants to guess they won’t accidentally read the answer on this page
https://teen.wng.org/node/7169#comment-90520

@Bella and Riley

Lol XD I put he answer on this older article just so if any other typewriter wants to guess they won’t accidentally read the answer on this page
https://teen.wng.org/node/7169#comment-90520

@Bella and Riley

Lol XD I put he answer on this older article just so if any other typewriter wants to guess they won’t accidentally read the answer on this page
https://teen.wng.org/node/7169#comment-90520

@above

Well, not sure why that happened

@Amelia

Ah ha! Now I get it! Nice! Good job!

Book

Well, I got an idea for yet another book that doesn't have a name yet, and I started it last night. This is the very beginning. Let me know what y'all think of it! Also please remember that while I have it all in neat paragraphs, WORLDteen doesn't keep it that way. :(
A cool breeze blew across the porch where seventeen year old Evelyn Clarke and her mother, Anna, were sitting crocheting. It was in the spring of 1861, and America was beginning to be in turmoil. Tensions were rising between the Northern states and the Southern states, due to the fact that South Carolina had seceded from the Union, and other states were following her. They were forming the Confederate States of America. The Clarkes lived in Virginia, and so the people there were not all one minded. Friends and families were being torn apart because of their differing beliefs.
“I fear these beautiful days won’t last,” sighed Anna, her dark brown eyes gazing off in the distance and two of her other children, Danny and Adela, aged seven and ten, were playing in the bright green grass. Large shade trees dotted the big yard, and the vibrant colors of flowers gave a cheery look to the gardens.
“Don’t fret, Mother,” Evelyn said. “Even if there is a war, we still have our family, and even if Henry is of a differing mind than the rest of us, that will not make us love him any less, and you know that he still loves us just as much.”
“Yes, you are right I suppose.” A lone bird sang sweetly in the trees. “Do you ever wonder if-” Anna was cut short by a serious coughing fit. She pulled a handkerchief out of her dress pocket to cover her mouth.
“Are you alright, Mother?” Evelyn asked anxiously.
“Yes, yes, I am fine. There is no need to worry about me,” she said a little hoarsely.
“But I am worried, Mother. You have been having there terrible coughing fits for almost a month now, and look!” she gasped. “You have coughed up blood onto your kerchief!” Evelyn was stunned by the sight. If her Mother was coughing that bad, then there must be something wrong. “Let me help you up to your bed,” Evelyn said.
“Really, there is no need.”
“Yes, there is,” Evelyn said firmly. She helped her mother stand, and was surprised by how weak she was. Usually her mother was full of strength that never seemed to have an end. Evelyn helped Anna up the stairs and into her bed, and then rang up the doctor.
Dr. William arrived within the hour, accompanied by Ben Clarke, and gave Anna a thorough examination. With a troubled frown, he sent Danny and Adela outside to “get some sunshine” and then spoke seriously with Ben, Evelyn, her older brother Henry, and her younger brother by one year, James. “Your wife and mother is not well,” he started, a little faultingly. Clearing his throat, he continued, “To get right to the point, she has tuberculosis. If we had caught this sooner, it would have been a lot better for Mrs. Clarke. But alas, there is little we can do now. I would give her a few weeks at the most.” Evelyn’s hand flew to her mouth and she slumped against Henry. Ben sat down on the closest shair and wrung his hands, while James just stood there, clenching and unclenching his fists.
“Let her have as much rest as possible, and plenty of fresh air,” Dr. William said. And be careful, it has been known to be contagious. If any one of you starts to cough, please send for me at once. There may be a way to stop it from getting bad if we catch it early enough.” With that, the doctor gave them a sympathizing look, tipped his hat, and went on his way.

@ Riley/ This is Bella

Very good! I like how historically correct it is. I've always planed on writing a Civil War story sometime. Your's sounds great so far! So much happens right at the beginning! Hurry and write more! I want to see what happens! :)

@ Amelia B/ This is Bella

Huh, interesting. It makes sense now! Good job on the riddle!

@Riley

Wow, just wow!! I'm pretty well speechless! I love civil war stories (well, any historic story actually XD) and the beginning of that one just drew me in. I want more!!! Oh, and which side is Henry on? I think it would be fun to write a historical story, but I need to find the guts to do it, I'm worried about getting details wrong, although I had an idea for a revolutionary war story the other day so, maybe. Or it might just sit untouched in my notebook, I never know lol. But keep writing this one!!

Riley

It has sure slowed. Glad it didn't end.
You excerpt so was cool! I've loved the names Adela, James, and Henry for awhile and like how you had it in your story. I want to know what happens next!
It was very easy to read, so good editing and excellent writing. It felt very realistic and like I was in the story. One thing for clarity: I was surprised when Ben and James were suddenly there. If there was a way you could bring them in earlier, that might be less confusing.
I liked the originality too, since I've read books of people in the North and deeper South, but I don't know if I've read one about a borderline state. Are we supposed to assume that Evelyn's family, except for possibly Henry, is anti-slavery?
Anyways, great job!

@ Bella

That was such a good idea! Very relatable also, and I liked how the snacks disappeared. You also put in really great details too about her life. Josie is just like a real person.
I can't really think of anything you could do to make it better. Thanks for sharing!

@ Amelia

Love the poem! I personally like the older-sounding one better. I have not read the answer yet, so my guess would be: Light??? Stars?
Now I'll go read the answer.

@ All Typelings\TypeWriters

Amelia: Ohhh! That was really good!
All: I'm leaving\packing for a trip tomorrow so I won't back on here till Sunday or Monday.

New Link

@Bethy, bye!! Have fun!!
Just a reminder everyone, we're going to this article when this one shuts down. (Just so that you guys have it.)
https://teen.wng.org/node/3998

@Bethy

Ok cool have fun!
You are correct in your assumption. The rest of the family is mildly for the North and Henry is for the South. I have read one book about a family in a border state, but they were still very Southern. I wanted to put it in Virginia, because I wanted the state to be divided about entering. I am eventually going to have the family be in the part that becomes West Virginia, that was they are still Northern.

@Bella

Thank you! I have been reading a lot of Civil war books lately, so that inspired me to write my own. I have had this idea for a while, but I finally had time to start it.
@Amelia: Thank you! I love them too! Henry is a Confederate. Yes, I wasn't sure about writing something historical, because I am always worried about getting the facts behind it wrong. But hopefully I am going to try to do this without having to include that many facts, as most of it is going to be centered at home where Evelyn is. But if you go back and read that short story I put on here about a civil war battle, that one did require a bit of research! I am hoping I know enough facts from school by now to get through this without that much research.

@ Bethy/ This is Bella

Aw, thanks! Hope you have a good time!
@ Riley: You're welcome! I love writing/reading Civil War stories too!

@ All/ This is Bella

Oh, and I started a book yesterday. I don't know where it will go (if it goes anywhere) but i'm on the second chapter which is pretty far compared to my other books. :) I'll try to post a summary later, but write now I have to do math so c u later. :)

@Bella

Cool! Would love to hear it! Yeah, I will try to put more up from my Civil War book, but I have to write more first, which means I have to find the time... and there seems to be a REALLY low supply of time at my house these days. :(

@ Riley/ This is Bella

Yeah, I get it! I haven't written in my book since Tuesday, so that goes to show how fast my books go. :D (It's also a really long scene I don't want to write....) Well, I'm looking forward to it. :-)

@ All/ This is Bella and I know it's random

Is the first rule about commenting (Keep comments on topic...) new? I just now noticed it. I wonder to what all that means. They were fine with 'voice of a storyteller' for so long....(I don't know why I wrote this....)

This is Wyn

I'm trying to wright a book but it's not coming along very quickly. This is a poem from the book,
Over the valley and through the glade,
Lies a sacred old treasure, the Rusbien blade.
To those who find it comes power and might,
But to those who seek it comes courage and sight.

This is Mylee

does anyone have any fundraising ideas ? Our Youth group is trying to find ideas.

@Bella @Mylee

@Bella, That IS a new rule. I didn't notice that before.
@Mylee, cool!! Maybe a bake sale or a maker's fair?

New Story!!

Hey guys!! I am writing a new "just for fun book". Here's the first chapter for you to check out. I appreciate your critiques.

Untitled Book
Chapter one: A Letter

Dear Blanche and Alice,
I would like to tell you that the usual family trip to the African Savana is rather boring and uneventful this year. You aren’t missing much.
Uncle Harvey only ran over one cobra on the open trail. He still sucks at driving, he almost killed Grandma once by running of the road where she was in the tall grass petting tarantulas and feeding them rainbow cupcakes. As punishment, Harvey had to sleep in a tent where Grandma had hung dead mambas all along the ceiling to scare him out of his wits at night. (She is him mom after all.)
Auntie Isabella only killed about thirty-six snakes in her annual Mamba Massacre. Grandma invited herself along, and got seventy-nine and a half. The African Society of the Prevention of Mamba Massacres was not thrilled, as usual. They chased Isabella and Grandma through three countries. The girls enjoyed the drive, and Grandma even began throwing the carcasses of deceased mambas at the perusing state officials and officers. It happens every year, except last year it was tarantulas.
Grandpa is still scared of virtually everything. He stays inside a tent all day and cries because he’s afraid of tents. When we take him outside to see the beautiful Savana with all the big ‘ol zebras, he complains that he’s scared of all the big ‘ol zebras. When we send Grandma inside to tell him what an aged cry-baby he is, he cries because he’s afraid of his wife.
Uncle Duff and Aunt Piper still haven’t struck gold. You know how those two go about it every year, wasting the whole vacation digging up the Savana and waving metal detectors around. They’re sure this is the year they’ll strike gold.
I’ll be home in two weeks so I’ll see you then. Alice, is there anything I can get you for your birthday? Ask anything. I am terribly sorry I couldn’t be there.
Blanche, thank you again for taking care of Alice. I appreciate it.
Sincerely,
Dad.

When Alice woke up on her ninth birthday, she did what she always did in the morning. She sat up in her grand canopy bed with the long tapestries drawn all around it. She pushed the tapestries aside and stared out into her room for a moment.
The bedroom was not like a regular children’s room at all. It was a large empty-looking room the size of a regular living room. The walls were painted light grey. Tapestries were everywhere. There were tapestries covering each side of the wall, and one particularly long one was covering the floor.
A small closet was full of the costumes Daddy sent her from all the countries he visited.
Daddy was always traveling the world with his family. Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Isabella, Uncle Duff, and Auntie Piper were his traveling companions.
Grandma had lived through the prime of her life as a snake wrangler. At sixty, she became a member of the National Guard. When Grandma retired, she was rich. No one knew where she had gotten all that money. Grandma used her retirement funds to take the family traveling all over the world. They always went somewhere different, except for their yearly trip to the Savana.
Daddy was always too busy enjoying himself to see Alice. When he was home, he brought home all the family with him. That was always chaos. The manor could hardly contain all of them at once, despite it’s size. That was because the family was so loud and adventurous that such a plain house couldn’t handle it all.
Alice was always bored and cross. She never had anything to play with in this big mansion with no one around to talk to besides Auntie Blanche. She was the only one in the family who was normal and despised adventure.
Alice didn’t both to brush her stick-straight black hair. She changed into a pale pink dress with a high collar. She crept out of her room into the long corridor. Every room and hallway in the mansion appeared the same. Only the bizarre paintings of animals and people were different on every turn. Sometimes she would peer into a room and look for something new to play with. But it was usually just more tapestries and pieces of antique furniture.
Alice started down the long corridor and down a flight of stairs. Down another identical corridor, and down another flight of stairs. She walked sourly into the “living room”. It wasn’t actually a living room, only one of the many sitting rooms. The actual living room was too grand and too large for anyone to use regularly.
On a pale yellow sofa sat Aunt Blanche, knitting a scarf that would probably fit a giraffe.
It was pink. Alice hated pink, even though her dress was pink. She also hated blue, green, yellow, purple, orange, and every other color on earth.
Smooth classical music was playing too. Alice hated music. All kinds.
Auntie Blanche looked up from her knitting and said something surprising. “Your Daddy sent you a letter.” She motioned primly toward a small table on her right.
Alice smiled a little after reading the letter. She knew her father wasn’t really sorry he wasn’t there for her birthday, but he had offered to buy her a present! And Alice knew exactly what she wanted.
“Daddy is going to buy me a birthday present,” Alice said to her aunt.
“Mmm...” Aunt Blanche murmered.
To Alice’s surprise, she added, “What are you doing for your birthday?”
Alice frowned her usual frown. “I don’t know. I have nothing to play with.”
“You may bake yourself a cake if you wish,” Aunt Blanche never took her eyes off the TV screen.
“But I don’t know how to cook.”
“Read the directions in the cookbook.”
Alice glared at her aunt’s serious, pointed face with the large sharpish-looking spectacles. Yes, Aunt Blanche still wore spectacles even though they were old fashioned.
Although she had never tasted cake, Alice decided that she hated cake. All kinds.
There was nothing to do inside, so she navigated her way through the halls and corridors until she reached the grand back door. Pushing it open with all her strength, Alice struggled to hold the door open as she walked out into the gardens. The door fell back when she let go of it, resulting in the loudest most-pleasing slam a child could wish to hear.
Satisfied with the tremendous ruckus she had caused, Alice almost-happily strolled along. Almost.
There was a mini fountain directly in front of her. Splashed by the spouts of water were three shiny dolphin statues, their noses pointed up to the sky. Two separate paths weaved their way around the fountain.
All along the left side, lavender bushes and lilacs drooped onto the path. The right side was complete with pink and white lilies. Alice, who had walked this way millions of times, was always quite bored with the garden. She knew that the two paths joined together behind the fountain.
Alice followed the left path until it met with the right one. She hated paths. And roads, and fences, and houses etc.
Alice walked past the same old yellow, pink, and white roses, ignoring the chubby naked cupid inside a second smaller fountain. He was pointing his silly arrow at her. She glowered at him and stamped her foot.
The back of the garden was grassy and had nothing growing but tall, bright, hideous sunflowers. There was nothing hideous about them, but to Alice they were hideous. Too long, too yellow, too cheerful.
Bored and hot from the sun, she plopped down under the one tree that grew in the garden.
It was a handsome oak with fair leaves and plenty of shade. It was hatable just the same. She was in a hating sort of mood, and as it was her birthday, Alice decided that she would feel this way for the rest of the year.
CRACK!
Alice hurriedly glanced up to find that the think branch directly above her head was breaking off! On it stood a young boy who was around Alice’s age. He looked more excited than frightened. “I’ve got it now!”
Alice screamed, just as the boy made a flying leap off the cracking branch into the sunflower garden.
The branch stopped shaking. It hung limply because it was still connected to the tree.
The stranger laughed heartily. “Now it’ll be easy!” He took out a very sharp pocket knife and cut off the branch with it. The branch fell with a thump, then rolled down until it ran into a sunflower patch. The sunflower which had been struck toppled over into the dirt.
“Oops.” The boy apologized after a pause.. “I’m very sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Alice said, forgetting about her boredom. “I hate sunflowers.”
“I love them!” Shrieked the mysterious kid. He was very excitable. He took out the pocket knife again and cut the stem away from the roots. He held it up to the sky like a wizard’s staff. “How lucky it was that the branch rolled into the patch! Now we can play with it.”
Promptly, the stranger picked up the fallen branch and rolled it into a second flower. This one was stronger than the other one, so it took a few tries to get it to fall down.
“Here you go.” He presented it to Alice grandly.
“Thank you,” she grinned. Then, she frowned, becoming the old Alice again. “Who are you? And why did that branch start cracking off?”
“My name is Kumar. I live in the house behind you. It’s much smaller than yours.”
“I should think so!” Scoffed Alice. “People who live on the block behind this house are just common folk. They live in plain houses. But my block is for rich folk.”
“Wow,” Kumar remarked. “I just moved in behind you recently. On my side of the fence, there’s a wonderful oak tree that’s perfect to climb. Today, I climbed up higher than ever before. When I got to the top, I noticed a strong branch leading out over the fence onto your side of the yard. Then, I realized that the branch wasn’t from my oak tree... it was from yours! If I climbed up that branch, I could go from my oak to yours. Our trees are connected!”
“Really?” Gasped Alice. His enthusiasm was engaging her.
“Yeah! But there was one problem.” Kumar face twisted up into a dark, dramatic expression. “That naughty branch was in my way, and it blocked my view your pretty garden. So I chopped it with my pocket knife!”
Kumar brandished his pocket knife and made a few quick slashes in the air with it. Alice found this amusing.
Kumar abruptly stopped, dropped the knife, and put on a frightened expression. “But then, oh no! I hadn’t realized that I was standing on the branch that was being cut!”
This was too much for Alice. It was such a silly mistake that he had made! She rolled over and over on the grass, not at all caring about ruining her dress.
When Kumar had finished his story, he said, “And who are you? I forgot to ask.”
“I’m Alice. Alice McChevron.”
“How old are you? I’m nine.”
“I turned nine today,” Alice answered.
Kumar brightened. “Are you having a birthday party?”
Alice frowned. “No. I never do. My Daddy usually sends me another silly costume from another silly country as a present. Auntie Blanche always tells me to make myself a birthday cake but I don’t know how.”
“Did you say costumes?” Kumar said in awe. “What kind?”
And so, the two children skipped back to the manor hand in hand to look at costumes. They brought the sunflower sticks along with them.
Kumar must have interjected “Wow!” half a billion times. He thought everything was interesting. The duo stopped frequently to look at the pictures in the hall or to peek into a room to admire a tapestry.
Suddenly, the intricate designs carefully woven together no longer seemed boring and commonplace to Alice. They were full of adventure and excitement. Some depicted battles with wounded men and weapons. Others showed peacocks, elephants, and leopards hunting savanna animals. Alice found it much more enjoyable to explore the endless rooms with another child.
When Kumar and Alice reached Alice’s room, they both grew silent.
“WOW! WOW! WOW!” Kumar shouted in delight.
Alice giggled.
“This is the coolest bedroom I ever saw,” Kumar went on.
Alice brought out her costumes to show him. A blue kimono with flowers on it from Japan. An intricate gold sari from India. A green plaid kilt from Scotland.
Kumar put the kilt on over his jeans. He took his sunflower and showed it off. “I’m the sottish sunflower warrior!”
When the two grew tired of the costumes, they sat down on the canopy.
“You have the coolest house ever,” Kumar said. “You must be happy here.”
“Not really,” Alice replied, turning back into her old cross self. “I have nothing to play with but the costumes, and until now I had no friends to play with. I want people to love me besides Auntie Blanche..”
“I’ll love you if you like,” Kumar offered sweetly.
“That would be nice,” Alice said. Then an idea struck her. “Kumar, do you want to cook a birthday cake?”
His eyes lit up. “What flavor?”
“I don’t know,” Alice confessed. “I’ve never eaten a cake before. Is it spicy?”
“No!” Kumar said incredulously. “Cake is sweet. It’s soft, warm, light, and buttery. To make it taste yummy, you’re supposed to make frosting.”
“Like the iced scones you eat for tea?” Asked Alice curiously. She had never tasted cake frosting either.
“No!” Kumar said again. “It’s fluffy. Let’s go make a cake.”
The two excited children walked to the second kitchen. It took ten minutes to get there. The real kitchen was far too grand, majestic, and huge to use every day. Full of stainless cooking equipment and empty pantries, it was never really used. The second was the size of a normal kitchen.
Giggling, they pulled the big cookbook off the spice shelf and flipped through it until they found a recipe for white cake. The kitchen was a disaster once the lumpy cake was in the oven. It was lumpy because Kumar had dropped raspberries and an entire chocolate bar into the batter for fun. Not knowing where to find a cake pan, Kumar and Alice had pulled out a huge soup pot. They filled up the pot with batter saying, “It’s cake soup!”
While the cake soup was baking, the duo talked.
Well, Kumar talked mostly. He told Alice about his two little brothers. About their beautiful kind mother. About his father who worked in construction and came home every night to play games with Kumar. About homeschool. His mother taught him, not some frightful tutor. About Kumar’s Border Collie who was named Ranger.
When the cake was done baking, Alice wanted to frost immediately. She placed all the ingredients in a bowl. Kumar did his best to combine them with a whisk. Neither child wanted the cake to be boring and ordinary, so they added a whole tube of green food coloring. They dumped all of it in the soup pot and spread it around like peanut butter on bread. Since the cake was still piping hot, the frosting all melted and soaked into the cake.
But no one cared. Alice and Kumar dug in with spoons, still chattering away about Kumar’s family.
“What’s this gooey stuff?” Alice asked. Her spoon had dug up a clump of brown goo.
“My chocolate bar!” Kumar exclaimed. “You’ve found it.”
“Didn’t you cut it up into pieces before putting it in?” Alice asked.
Kumar’s eyes rolled to the side as he chewed. “Um.....no? I just put it in whole.”
The two laughed and fell over on the floor rolling.
After eating the entire cake between the two of them, Alice exclaimed.
“What?” Asked Kumar.
“I almost forgot. Daddy said he would buy me a birthday present. Anything I want! What should I ask for?”
Kumar thought for a minute. “How about a fish? Fish are fun.”
“Don’t they die rather quickly?” Alice asked.
“That’s true,” Kumar agreed.
“I know what I want!” Alice decided. “A dog. A fluffy, tiny, white one with curly fur. You’ve been talking about your dog and I’m jealous.”
“Good idea,” Kumar said. His eyes drifted around the messy kitchen. “No! I have a better idea.”
The two sneaked into the sitting room. Aunt Blanche was still knitting the giraffe-worthy scarf. Kumar made a face. They sneaked Daddy’s letter off of the table and tip-toed to the office for some paper to write a letter back.
In the late afternoon, Kumar started home through the garden. 
“Alice?” He looked back one more time.
“Yes?”
“Let’s be friends! Best friends!”
“Yes, let’s!”
That night, Alice climbed into bed with a smile. The present would arrive soon!
And what a present it would be!

@ Scarlett/ this is Wyn

That's a fun story. Hopefully you can wright more!

:)

Hey guys! I've been disappearing a lot, I don't really know why, but I'll try to keep up! @Bethy, yes it's a series, and the author is Veronica Roth! So good!

@Scarlett

Lol XD the beginning was really funny!! Alice reminds me of Mary Lennox from the secret garden. I love her character change. What the present?? There were some things that I saw, I think some spelling errors and stuff, but I’m to tired to type more tonight. Great Work!

@Above

@Bella: Yeah that is fairly new. they put that up a month or so ago when some people were putting up comments that had nothing to do with the article, but more with Ferraris and riddle stuff, and then just other comments in general. And I also think we are still 'on topic' because the article is about writing and books and such, and that is what we are talking about.
@Wyn: That is a cool poem! And it is ok! Books don't have to come along quickly! Mine take forever. I go in and out of phases where I really want to write and where I really don't or i run out of ideas. I just wait for more inspiration and then start again. Sometimes it is months before I keep on writing.
@Mylee: Let me think on that. :)
@Scarlett: I don't have time to read that right now, but I will try to at some point!

This is Mylee

oh wow I didn't even notice that rule XD.

@Everyone

Thank you so much for your help!! Amelia, thanks!! I just finished reading The Secret Garden, maybe I was inspired. Do you think it sounds too much like Mary? I don't want people to think I copied.

@Scarlett

Hey I just got a chance to read it. It is really good, and I don't think it is too much like the Secret Garden. I thought that letter was really funny! XD Do they have cobras though in Africa? I know they are in India... And Kumar makes me laugh! Good job!

@ Scarlett/ this is Bella

Hey, awesome story! Alice does remind me of Mary, but not so much that I think you should change it. "Alice didn't both to brush her....hair" both instead of bother, that's all I saw. Great job! (P.S. Was it your first time reading Secret Garden? If so, what did you think?)

200th Comment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@ Riley: I see. I didn't mean to accuse any one, just wandering. Thanks for explaining. :) How's your Civil War story coming?

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