Barbara Shook Hazen

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The Knight Who Was Afraid of the Dark

“Tony Ross’s illustrations are just right for this hilarious spoof, matching and substantially extending its wit. A treat for the sophisticated and for anyone tickled by such inspired fun as naming the resident bully ‘Melvin the Miffed.’”
-Kirkus Review

“Once long ago in a time known as the Dark Ages, there lived a bold and much loved knight. He was called Sir Fred.

He drove monsters out of the moat.

He chased the dishonest merchants out of town and saved the fair Lady Wendylyn from the hideous ten-headed dragon.

There was only one crack in Sir Fred’s armor. Sir Fred was afraid—knee-bumping, heart-thumping afraid of the dark.

He was afraid of the dark of the moon, the dark at the top of the steep stone stairs, the dark at the bottom of the big brass bed, and the dark between the head hole and the arm hole when he put on his armor.

Because he was afraid, Sir Fred kept his bedchmber bright with candles. He kept a bottle of fireflies on his knight table and slept with his pet electric eel, whom he took with him if and when he had to go to the bathroom.

Sir Fred was also afraid of being found out. Indeed there was one who suspected. That one was the castle bully, Melvin the Miffed.”

Melvin the Miffed couldn’t stand Sir Fred because he was better loved, especially by Lady Wendylyn.

Melvin the Miffed stalked the castle corridors, sneaking and peaking and trying to find the chink in Sir Fred’s armor.

Melvin the Miffed observed that Sir Fred did all his brave deeds in broad daylight. All the other knights liked the cover of darkness.

He also saw that Sir Fred was the only knight who did not cower under the Round Table during thunder and lightning storms. Indeed, the bolder the bolt, the better.

Moreover he observed that Sir Fred only met Lady Wendylyn on nights when the mood was full, which was why they seldom saw each other and why Lady Wendylyn began to wonder if she was truly Sir Fred’s True Love.

Selected Works

Fiction Picture Book
The Knight Who Was Afraid of the Dark
The zany, fun-filled adventures of fearful Sir Fred.

“A romp with wit!”

Historical Fiction
Katie’s Wish
The Irish Potato Famine seen through the eyes of a young girl.

“Skillful and moving”
-Publishers Weekly
Non-Fiction Poetry
Where Do Bears Sleep?
A warm going to bed book in rhyme.

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