The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Knight
Ever since the first jousting competition he went to, David dreamt of becoming a knight.
David was ten years old when he first saw a knight. There was a big festival passing through town and it was at the festival’s jousting competition in the town square that he saw him.
Jousting is when two people on horses charge at each other while holding out these long ten foot spears called jousts (although they’re not actually sharp spears; they’re designed to break apart). As the two riders go closely past each other they have to try and knock each other over with those jousts. It is exactly as dangerous as it sounds and David loved every second of it.
At the competition there was a knight named Oscar Lazard who all of the other jousters had to try and beat. Lazard wore shining metal armour and was the strongest man David had ever seen. He was a true warrior and took down all ten challengers one by one. Everyone looked at him with such respect and every time he won the whole crowd cheered ferociously.
David went home that day with a dream in his heart. One day he would be a knight.
From then on David would spend every spare moment training. He used a fallen branch as his sword and practised his moves in the woods, striking trees and battling shrubs.
David’s mum and dad didn’t mind that he was training all of the time. They were just happy to see how passionate he was.
For months and months, David trained every single day.
He used a carving knife to make himself a wooden sword. He would try to get his friends to train with him but David would just get angry about how none of them would take it as seriously as he did. Eventually, he felt like he couldn’t train with any of them. It was all just a joke to them. So he trained alone.
He would wake up early, just as the sun was coming up, and go for a run. He’d then get his sword and practise striking against any tree or post within reach. He had a long branch too that he would use as a joust. With that joust he would charge at tree trunks, and each time he charged he would shout as loudly as he could. He felt like he was more powerful that way.
David was obsessed. He didn’t see any of his friends anymore. He didn’t want to see them because he was so busy, and they didn’t want to see him because all he ever wanted to do was train. The vast majority of his time was spent alone in the woods, fighting the trees. When his parents wanted him to help out more around the house he would get frustrated.
“I can’t,” he would say. “I need to train.”
He pushed and pushed, working as hard as he possibly could. Eventually, he decided to get up even earlier, before the sun entirely. So, one night, he drank lots and lots of water so that he would have to wake up during the night to go to the bathroom. Sure enough, his plan worked. As he was putting on his boots, though, he heard a noise outside of his bedroom.
David went to his door and carefully opened it just enough to peep out. It was his dad in the other room putting on boots as well. David watched on as his dad walked across the room on tip-toes and left the house. Something made David feel like following him to work.
David waited a moment and then he left the house too. He got out onto the road and could just see him walking around the corner. He went on following for a few turns. They then got onto a road that led out of town. They walked on the road for a long while, with David sticking to the very edge of the woods to try and stay hidden. They were on their way to the mill where his dad worked, but David had not been there for a long time and it was a much longer walk than he remembered. Not to mention that it was freezing cold and almost pitch black. David’s whole body was shivering, his teeth chattering.
Finally, they got to the top of the hill where the mill was. Once his dad went inside, David crept around the side of the mill so that he could look in through one of the windows to see what was happening inside. Very carefully, David climbed on top of a bale of hay and looked into the mill.
Inside the mill he saw his dad working alone, lifting up sacks of grain onto his shoulder and moving them across the room. The thud those sacks made as they hit the ground shook the whole mill.
“David,” said his dad suddenly without even looking up.
David immediately ducked down from the window.
“I know you’re there, David. Come here.”
Defeated, David made his way around the mill to the door. He met his dad there and saw that his dad was already covered in sweat from moving the sacks of grain.
“What are you doing here?” his dad asked him.
“I was going to go train,” said David.
“Come here,” said his dad.
David walked inside the mill.
“Help me move these sacks of grain,” said his dad.
David reached for one of the sacks and tried to lift it but he couldn’t move it. He tried again as hard as he possibly could but the sack still didn’t budge an inch.
His dad heaved up one of the sacks and swung it over his shoulder.
“One day,” he said. “You’ll get there.”
David spent the whole day working with his dad at the mill. By the end of it David’s legs felt like porridge and his clothes and face were covered with dust.
As the sun was setting, the two of them started the walk home together. Beyond exhausted, David could barely keep his eyes open. His dad meanwhile conjured a big smile.
“Thanks for helping out, David.”
“I’ve never been so tired in my life,” said David.
“You get used to it,” said his dad.
Once he was home David went straight to bed.
From then on David started working with his dad everyday. There was a lot for him to learn about baking – more than he could have ever imagined. Each day he went home exhausted, and, eventually, over time, he became able to drag the sacks of grain across the mill.
He began to hang out with his friends again too.
One time one of his close friends asked him, “What happened to you training to be a knight?”
David’s answer: “I’m training every single day.”
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