Anders' New Cap
Once upon a time there was a little boy named Anders. He had a new cap. His mother had knitted it for him. And a prettier cap you could never see. There was no cap like it. Ander's mother used red yarn for most of the cap except a small part in the middle which was green, for the red yarn had given out. The tassel on the top of the cap was blue.
Anders put his cap on his head. He put his hands in his pockets. He held his head up high, and he went outside for a walk. He knew everyone was looking at him, and he knew why. Anders knew everyone was looking at his new cap.
The first person Anders met was a farmhand walking beside his horse. Anders smiled and nodded his head at the man. The farmhand took off his hat and made a deep bow to young Anders. "He must like my hat," thought Anders.
The next person Anders saw was Lars, the tanner's boy. Lars was helping his father turn cow hides into leather. Lars was a big boy, and he wore tall boots that made him look bigger. "Let's swap caps," said Lars, "And I will give you my jack-knife as part of the trade."
Anders thought hard. All the men carried jack-knives. They used them to cut string, to carve sticks and for other things. The jack-knife was almost new. It only had one broken blade and a little crack on the handle. But... no! He could not trade the cap his mother made him.
Soon Anders met an old woman. When Anders asked how she liked his hat she said, "You look so fine, you ought to go to the king's ball." Then she curtsied to him.
"The king's ball?" thought Anders. "Yes, my hat looks so good that the ball is exactly where I should go."
The palace guards saw Anders coming up the path. They stopped Anders as he tried to enter the palace. "I am going to the king's ball." he told the guards.
"You may not go to the ball without a uniform," said one of the guards.
Just at that moment the king's daughter came by. She was dressed in a white silk dress with bows and gold ribbon on it. She had heard Anders and the guards. "The boy has a fine cap on his head," the princess told the guards. "That is as good as a uniform." Then she took Anders by the hand and escorted him into the palace.
Anders walked with the princes through the palace, up wide marble stairs and past many guards. Every guard bowed as they walked by. "They must think I am a prince because of my nice hat," thought Anders.
The princess took Anders to a long table that was set with golden cups and golden dishes. Silver and gold plated were filled with meats and bread and tarts and cakes. The princess sat at her spot and let Anders sit in a golden chair by her side. "You must not eat with your cap on," and she started to take the cap off Anders' head.
"I can eat just as well with it on than off." said Anders. He put one hand on the cap and he began to fill his mouth with the other hand. He thought that if he took the cap off he might never see it again.
"Give me the cap, and I will give you a kiss." said the princess.
Oh, my... the princess was beautiful. Anders wanted that kiss. But his mother had made the cap. He would not give it up even for the princess. Anders put both hands on the cap and held it tightly to his head.
The princess filled Anders' pockets with cakes. She took off a heavy gold chain from around her neck and put it around his neck. Then she leanded over and kissed Anders on the cheek.
Anders pulled his hat tighter on his head. The king had entered the room with many gentlemen in uniforms covered in medals and wearing feathered hats. The king wore a large golden crown on his own head. He had seen the princess trying to get Anders to give up his hat.
The king smiled and said, "That is a very fine cap you have."
"Yes it is," answered Anders. My mother made it from her very best yarn. She knit it herself and filled it with love. Everyone wants to take my hat for themselves."
"Maybe you would like to trade hats with me," said the king. He lifted the heavy gold crown off his head and held it out towards Anders.
Anders jumped out of the chair at once. He ran through the halls of the palace and down the palace stairs. He ran so fast that the necklace fell off his neck, and the cakes fell out of his pockets. But, he did not lose his cap. He held onto the cap with both hands and ran home as fast as his legs would carry him. Anders ran into the house and jumped up on his Mother's lap. He told her about all of his adventures. As Anders talked, his brothers and sisters stood around with their mouths open.
His older brother told Anders he was foolish for not trading his cap for the king's golden crown. But, Anders said, "No cap can ever be as nice as the one my mother made for me. I would not even trade it for a crown. Anders' mother hugged him with joy, he knew that the cap his mother made him was the best cap in the world.
Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to Mike@mikelockett.com in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs.