Authors: Jeff Brown
Tags: #Age 7 and up
The Seventeenth Samurai
The Ninja Way
Off Like a Speeding Bullet!
The Ninja Star
“I salute you, Master Oda Nobu, greatest of all Samurai warriors!”
Arthur Lambchop bowed deeply from the waist as he spoke these words to the large poster hanging in the bedroom he shared with his brother, Stanley. The poster was for a movie called
The Seventeenth Samurai
. It showed two
warriors—a tall samurai and a small ninja—looking very fierce. The tall samurai wore a long kimono and held a shining silver sword above his head. The small ninja was dressed exactly like Arthur, in black pajamas with a strip of white cloth knotted at his waist and another tied around his forehead. He held his hands high, like the blades of knives ready to strike. Both warriors looked as if they could leap right out of the poster.
And then the small ninja did just that! “Hiii-
” he shouted, as he flew off the wall. He bounced high on the bed and landed with a
in front of Arthur!
“Prepare to be defeated, Arthur-san!” the small ninja cried.
“Never!” Arthur leaped up, bounced high on the other bed, and landed with a
on the opposite side of the room. “It is you who will be defeated, Stanley-san!”
The small ninja was Arthur’s older brother, Stanley Lambchop. Not long before, he had awoken to find that a large bulletin board had fallen upon him in the night, leaving him unharmed, but as flat as a pancake. By now, Stanley’s family was used to his unusual shape, although Stanley wasn’t always so happy about it.
At the moment, however, he was
enjoying himself tremendously. He and his brother chased each other around their bedroom, leaping on and off their beds with
as they imitated the karate chops and kicks of their all-time favorite movie star, Oda Nobu.
“Boys!” Mrs. Lambchop called. “My teacups are rattling!”
“Is there nothing you fellows can do that doesn’t make a ruckus?” called Mr. Lambchop. “How about a little quiet time?”
“Quiet time,” Stanley grumbled. He pulled off the white cloth around his head. “Where’s the fun in that?”
But then he had an idea. “Arthur, let’s write a letter to Oda Nobu! Maybe he’ll write back and send us an autographed picture!”
“Or a ninja throwing star!” Arthur agreed, his grumpiness disappearing. He rummaged through his desk until he found a pad of paper and a ballpoint pen. “You’re good with words, Stanley. What should we say?”
“Hmmm,” Stanley said. “How about ‘Dear Master Oda Nobu, we are your biggest fans ever. We have seen every one of your movies…’” He sent Arthur a questioning look.
Arthur shrugged. “A hundred times?” he suggested.
Stanley smiled. “Yes, that’s good. Write ‘We have seen all of your movies at least a hundred times.’”
Arthur began to write. Then he stopped. “Stanley,” he said, “Oda Nobu might think we’re exaggerating.”
Stanley looked up at the poster, now with only one warrior on it, and bowed. “You’re right,” he said to Arthur. “Honesty is an important part
of the ninja code of honor. How about this: ‘We have seen every one of your movies several times.’”
Arthur nodded and Stanley continued to dictate: “‘Master Oda Nobu, it is too bad Japan is so far away. If you were closer, we would offer our services as your personal ninjas.’”
Stanley paused. “Wait a minute, Arthur!”
“‘Wait…a…minute,…Arthur,” Arthur repeated, as he wrote the words down.
“No, don’t write that!” Stanley said, and took the pad out of Arthur’s hands. “I have a better idea!” He dropped the pad on the desk and began to rummage
around through the drawers.
“Aha!” he said, and held up a large brown envelope.
“There!” he said, and held up a sheet of postage stamps.
“Got it!” he said, and held up a thick black marker.
“Stanley, what’s your idea?” Arthur asked.
Stanley placed many, many stamps in the corner of the big envelope. He uncapped the marker, printed something on the envelope in big block letters, and then held it up to show Arthur:
MASTER ODA NOBU
Stanley bowed deeply to his brother.
“I salute you, Arthur-san. Now fold me up!”
Stanley Lambchop was no stranger to traveling in an envelope. Since becoming flat, he had been airmailed to visit a friend in California and had even been posted to Egypt.
But Japan wasn’t California, or even Egypt. Japan was very, very far away.
Arthur had packed a good supply of rolled-up fruit snacks, of course—
so Stanley didn’t go hungry. But the trip was long and boring, and folded up as he was, he was almost always uncomfortable. Finally, he felt the airplane bump to a landing—and the next voices he heard were Japanese! After many more long, uncomfortable hours of travel, being flipped and rolled, sorted and stacked, Stanley felt himself come to a rest.
In his eagerness to be released, Stanley began to stretch. He rocked from side to side and bounced up and down. That didn’t get him out of the envelope, but it did get him some attention: Stanley heard footsteps, and then voices, coming closer. He could tell
by the tone of the voices that the people were at first surprised by, and then suspicious of, the jumping envelope.
He was about to call out when someone shouted—and suddenly, the envelope was jerked up from where it lay.
With a sharp
, light poured in from above his head. Without even thinking, Stanley flexed his cramped muscles and sprang from the envelope. He had only a moment to adjust his eyes to the scene before him when he realized he was surrounded by…
“Uh-oh,” Stanley thought, realizing he was still dressed in his own ninja uniform. “This isn’t good!” But before
he could say a word—or even think what he would say—the ninjas attacked!
One flew through the air, his heel aimed straight at Stanley’s head. Stanley quickly turned sideways, and because he was only half an inch thick, the ninja flew right past him and crashed into a wall! Another ninja threw a swift karate chop at Stanley, but Stanley folded himself in two, right at his waist, and the ninja’s powerful hand sliced through empty air.
the ninjas were on the attack! Stanley leaped and hovered and bent himself this way and that—and somehow managed to avoid every blow. Then something whistled by his ear,
and Stanley heard a loud
! A shiny ninja throwing star was embedded in the far wall. He looked back to see who had thrown it at him and saw…
“Wait!” Stanley shouted. “Oda Nobu! I am not a ninja! I am just a fan! I’ve seen every one of your movies…several times!”
But the ninjas kept coming. Stanley bobbed and weaved and rolled and folded. “It’s only me!” he tried again. “Stanley Lambchop, from America!”
Oda Nobu shouted a sharp command in Japanese, and the ninjas immediately stopped their attack. He stepped forward, his eyes very wide. “You…
?” he gasped.
Oda Nobu turned to the ninjas. He spoke sternly to them, the words rushing out like karate chops. Stanley understood only the last two:
The ninjas turned together to look at Stanley. They wore the same expression of awe as Oda Nobu, wide-eyed, their
mouths hanging open. And then all at once, they were laughing and bowing and shaking his hand.
“But,” Stanley said to Oda Nobu, “how do you know who I am?”
Oda Nobu put his arm around Stanley’s shoulder. “Everyone in the whole world knows of Flat Stanley!”