Authors: Mary Pope Osborne
Tags: #Ages 5 & Up
Jack and Annie’s first four missions are to save stories from ancient libraries. This is their fourth mission …
“You awake?” Annie’s voice came out of the dark.
“Yep,” said Jack from his bed.
“Get up,” said Annie. “We have to get to the tree house before sunrise.”
“I’m ready,” said Jack.
He threw back his covers and jumped out of bed. He was wearing his jeans and T-shirt.
“You slept in your clothes?” asked Annie.
“I didn’t want to waste any time,” said Jack. He pulled on his backpack.
“You must really be excited about going to ancient Greece,” she said.
“Yep,” said Jack.
“Do you have your secret library card?” asked Annie.
“Yeah, do you?” said Jack.
“Sure. Put it in your backpack,” she said. She handed her card to him. “I’ll carry the flashlight.”
“All set,” said Jack.
They tiptoed downstairs and out the door.
Outside the air was fresh and cool.
“There’s no moon,” said Annie. “Just stars.”
She turned on her flashlight.
“Ta-da!” she said. “Let’s go.”
They followed the beam of light across their yard and up the street.
Jack was thrilled to be going to ancient Greece. But something worried him.
“What do you think will happen after we go to Greece?” he asked Annie. “Is this our last mission ever?”
“Oh, I hope not,” said Annie. “What do you think?”
“I don’t know. Let’s ask Morgan,” said Jack.
“Hurry!” said Annie.
They started running. The flashlight beam flew in front of them, lighting the way.
They slowed to a walk when they got to the Frog Creek woods. The thick woods were pitch-black.
Annie shined the flashlight upward as they walked between the trees. Finally, they found the magic tree house.
“We’re here!” Annie called.
“Go on up,” said Jack.
Annie grabbed the rope ladder and started up. Jack followed.
Annie shined the flashlight around the tree house.
Morgan le Fay was sitting at the window. She covered her eyes when the light hit her face.
“Turn off the light, please, Annie,” she said softly.
Annie turned it off.
“Welcome,” Morgan said in the dark. “Are you ready for your next mission?”
“Yes!” said Annie. Then her voice got quiet. “This isn’t our last one ever, is it?”
“Ask me that question
this mission,” said Morgan.
“We want to go on more,” said Jack.
“You’re very brave to say that,” said Morgan. “You’ve had three very hard journeys as Master Librarians.”
“Oh, they weren’t so hard,” said Jack.
“You risked your life to save the lost story of Hercules,” said Morgan.
“It was nothing,” said Annie.
the Chinese story of the silk weaver,” said Morgan. “And the Irish story of the serpent monster Sarph. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” said Jack and Annie.
“Now,” said Morgan, “for the last story … ”
Jack heard a rustling sound.
“Here is the title,” Morgan said. “You can shine your light on it, Annie.”
Annie turned the flashlight back on. She shined it on the paper.
“Wow, is that Greek?” asked Jack.
“It certainly is,” said Morgan.
She reached into her robe again and pulled out a book.
“For your research,” she said.
Jack took the book from her. Annie shined her flashlight on the cover. They read the title:
A Day in Ancient Greece
“Now, what must you always remember?” asked Morgan.
“Our research book will guide us,” said Jack.
“But in our darkest hour, only the lost story can save us,” said Annie.
Morgan nodded. “And you must show your secret library cards to the wisest person you meet,” she said.
“Don’t worry. We will. Bye!” said Annie.
Jack shivered with excitement as he pointed at the book’s cover.
“I wish we could go there,” he said.
“And I wish we could go on lots of other missions!” Annie added.
The wind began to blow.
The tree house started to spin.
It spun faster and faster.
Then everything was silent.
Jack opened his eyes. Warm sunshine streamed into the tree house.
“We sure don’t need the flashlight here,” he said.
“Look, Morgan gave us clothes like the ones we wore in Pompeii,” said Annie.
Jack looked down.
similar to the ones he’d worn in the Roman town of Pompeii: a tunic and sandals. He also had a leather bag in place of his backpack again.
Annie looked out the window.
“And we landed in an olive tree—just like Pompeii!” said Annie.
Jack looked out the window. He caught his breath.
“Are we in the wrong place?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” said Annie. “Look past the trees. Doesn’t it look like a big fair?”
Jack looked. Annie was right. Past the olive grove was a field filled with white tents. Beyond the field were red-brick buildings with columns and huge crowds of people.
“What’s going on?” Jack asked.
He pulled the research book out of his leather bag. He found a picture of the scene outside. Below the picture were these words:
The Olympic Games began in ancient Greece over 2,500 years ago. Every four years, more than 40,000 people traveled to Olympia, the town where the festival of athletic games took place.
“Oh, man,” Jack whispered. “We’re at the ancient Olympics!”
“Cool,” said Annie.
Jack wrote in his notebook:
“Come on, let’s go watch!” Annie said. She started down the rope ladder.
Jack threw his notebook and the research book into his leather bag.
“Don’t forget we have to get Morgan’s story, too,” he said as he followed Annie.
Annie waited as Jack stepped to the ground. Then they walked through the olive grove to where the tents were.
Jack heard pipe music and smelled food roasting over fires. Groups of men talked excitedly to one another.
“That’s funny,” said Annie. “I don’t see any girls here.”
“Oh, sure, there’re girls,” said Jack.
“Where?” said Annie. “Show me.”
Jack looked around. But he only saw men and boys—no women or girls at all.
Then he saw an outdoor theater. A woman was standing on the stage. She had yellow hair and a purple tunic.
“There,” said Jack, pointing.
“What’s she doing?” asked Annie.
A soldier was on the stage with her. He wore a long cape. A helmet with a red crest hid his face.
The woman and the soldier were waving their arms and talking loudly to each other.
“I think they’re doing a play,” said Jack. “I’ll look.”
He pulled out the Greek book and found a picture of the theater.
“Listen,” he said. He read aloud:
The Greeks were the first to write plays. Many English words for the theater come from Greek words, such as drama, scenery, and chorus. Many Greek plays are still performed today.
“Hey, Jack,” said Annie. “You’re wrong.”
When Jack looked up, he saw the woman had pulled off her wig. It was a boy dressed up as a woman!
a boy,” said Annie. “That’s weird.”
“Hmm,” said Jack. He went on reading:
A few actors would play many different parts in the same play. Women were not allowed to act, so men played the female roles, too.
“That’s not fair,” said Annie. “What if a woman
to be in a play?”
“Don’t worry about it,” said Jack. He put the book away. “Let’s just take a peek at the Olympics, then find our story.”
He nudged Annie to move along.
Just then he heard a voice.
They turned around. A man with a short white beard was walking toward them.
“Hello,” said the man. He was looking right at Annie. “Who are you?”
?” Annie asked boldly.
The bearded man smiled at Annie.