Knobcone Pine

Cobwort and Cow trundled through the woods, grabbing at whatever they could find with their grubby little hands.

“I found a fistful of berries!” Cobwort cried.

“I found a bunch of shiny green leaves!” Cow replied.

Neither was happy with what he had found, and both were continually trying to outdo the other. They continued to crash through the woods, grabbing and taking, shoving and squawking, until they at last came upon a great knobby pine.

The brothers stared up at it as their mouths hung open. Then Cobwort shoved Cow as he cried, “First!” and then put his hands to the knobby bark as he climbed the tree.

Cow stumbled and then grabbed Cobwort’s foot. He held on to his brother’s shoe, tightening his grip as Cobwort kicked and tried to wriggle himself free. Then a pinecone fell through the branches and landed on Cobwort’s head. The boy cried out and lost his grip, landing atop Cow in a heap of oomphs and ouches.

Cow pushed Cobwort off of him and got to his feet. Cobwort pushed him back, and then the boys tussled as their grunts and yelps echoed through the woods.

Another pinecone fell from the tree, narrowly missing Cow’s sweat-slicked head. The boys peered up, meeting the gaze of a sprite staring back at them. It was no bigger than a man’s hand, and wore a garment that looked of dried leaves.

“Greedy boys,” the sprite hissed. “Grabbing and taking and wrecking the woods. You’ll take one lump on the head, and then you’ll take no more.”

“Take what?” Cow said, his mouth hanging open. The sprite threw down another cone and it pelted Cow square on his pate.

Cobwort sniggered as Cow put a hand to his head. “Your head’s all red and bumpy.”

Cow pushed Cobwort. “So’s yours.”

The boys tussled again and carried on until the shadows grew long and the forest darkened with twilight. The headed home and, as they did, Cobwort grabbed a handful of moss from a nearby rock. He started to show his spoils to Cow when Cobwort then shriveled up into a pale and spindly weed.

Cow cried out and jumped back. Then, taking a breath, he examined the weed. His hand lingered on it, tempted to yank it up and out of the earth, but the lump on his head throbbed with pain, and he let it alone.

With his hands stuffed in his pockets, Cow returned home. He never took anything from the woods ever again.



  1. Ooh, nasty boys – although I think the punishment might have been a little harsh 😉
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    • Sara C. Snider

      Haha, probably. There was no avoiding it this time, though. 😉

  2. Hi Sara – love the names of the boys and their antics – they did get their wherewithal didn’t they .. well one of them – I wonder if Cow missed his brother .. or if he avoided that patch of grassy moss for ever.

    Fun .. but as Tasha says .. did the punishment fit the crime .. probably not .. cheers Hilary

    • Sara C. Snider

      No, probably not, but I like to think of this story as something mothers would tell their children to get them to behave. “…and that’s why little boys need to be good otherwise they’ll turn into weeds!” 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Hilary. 🙂

  3. No one ever said the woods were supposed to be nice to people 😀

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
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  4. poor boys.. a hard lesson. Great read though!

  5. In the American west they were called “spoilers & badmen.” And the only way to deal with them was the U.S. Marshall & the smell of “Gunsmoke!” A pinecone is so much nicer.

  6. Jennifer Tyron

    A classic cautionary fairy tale; and it’s not like the sprite didn’t warn them! At least Cobwort was able to live on, and as one of the being he was thoughtlessly unearthing before! Interesting that the only motivation to stop that got through to Cow was self-preservation, not compassion for his brother. Typical!

    • Sara C. Snider

      Yeah, I almost feel bad for them–they can’t help being nasty little scamps, it’s who they are.

  7. Good for the sprite! Nasty little boys. That learned them.

    • Sara C. Snider

      As a friend of mine once said: They got smacked around with the learning stick. 😉

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