Many years ago, as our land was being settled, wagon trains were a common sight. They traveled many miles from home to settle in a new land -- hoping for a more prosperous future. They battled Indian attacks, weather elements and sickness coming to a new home. This is the story of one group.
A wagon train of around 40 wagons, carrying families and all that they could carry in one wagon began their journey. Some of the settlers brought cows or spare horses. The travel was slow -- managing just a few miles a day. By nightfall, there was light from campfires, the smell of food and children chattering excitedly. Because, after many miles of travelling, the settlers felt that they were near the land they would be calling home.
The first few years were rather difficult -- trying to build a town from scratch and not much money. But, eventually it all came together. They had finally managed to build a general store, a church and a school house. They decided to call the town "Friendly" -- because that's what the townspeople were.
At first, the children were taught by each mother, at one time or another. Eventually, a young woman arrived in Friendly. Her name was Miss Johnson and she just happened to be a teacher. The mothers eagerly relinquished their chores as teachers and Miss Johnson became the local "school marm."
Friendly became larger as people made their way to the town. The "founding fathers" decided, after a few years, that the town should elaborate their growth. So they began planning a "Founders' Day " celebration. The townspeople became excited; everyone was trying to do their shared to make it a special day. The school teacher and the children joined in. They decided, as their part of the celebration, they would make a special plaque to declare the "Founders' Day" celebration. This was a secret project -- known only to the students and Miss Johnson. At the proper time, it would be presented to the town officials.
The special plaque was put away in a special place until the day of the celebration.
One day, four mischievous boys decided to play a trick on Miss Johnson and "re-hide" the special plaque. Well, as Miss Johnson sometimes did, she went to check on it. To her amazement, it wasn't where she'd hidden it. She searched everywhere she could -- but found no sign of the plaque. The next morning, she frantically questioned each child. But, of course, none of them would admit to knowing anything.
It so happened that, out back of the school, there stood an ugly, gnarly old tree. Behind it was an old building. The children called the place "Spooky Hollow" and were afraid of the area. That is, except for the boys who took the plaque. Their plan was to become heroes, and at all the last minute, "find" the special gift. BUT -- Miss Johnson decided to check the building when nobody was around. She took the gift home and hit it there, but continued to act as if she was still worried about it's absence. A few days passed, when she felt the time was right, she openly proceeded to the "Spooky Hollow" area. Of course, the naughty boys held their breath and followed her, trying to hind as best they could. When Miss Johnson went in the building, the boys came out of hiding. They simply HAD to see how Miss Johnson would re-act to seeing the gift once again. Suddenly, they saw some movement and began to smile at one another. But, to their surprise, instead of Miss Johnson coming out, there stood the ugliest, scariest looking witch they'd ever seen. The boys looked at one another, gave a scream and away they went -- running as fast as their legs would carry them! The next few days, they waited -- just knowing they would be punished for their joke. To their amazement, not another word was mentioned about the incident.
The "Founders' Day" event arrived. The whole community turned out for the celebration. There were speeches by the town officials and the four boys waited for an announcement about the missing plaque. A few words were spoken about it and then, out came the wicked witch. She was holding the missing plaque and presented it to the officials.
Then, to the boys' amazement, Miss Johnson removed her mask, looked directly at them and winked at them.
The boys were properly ashamed, apologized and eventually became the best behaved children in the school.
One even eventually became the mayor of Friendly.