The Knights of Old | Teen Ink

The Knights of Old MAG

April 29, 2009
By shirl yang BRONZE, Hsinchu, Other
shirl yang BRONZE, Hsinchu, Other
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

While some are born heroes, he was not.

The knights of old braved cunning dragons and mysterious green giants.

He braved the snaggle-toothed cashier who worked Tuesday mornings in the grocery store down the street.

If life had been a fairy tale, he would have chosen to be the knight, the fearless warrior who galloped through the pages of his books. The gallant hero who, alone, clad in shimmering armor, defeats the evil sorcerer and saves the kingdom. But he was never meant for shimmering armor, never meant for magnificent conquests or the pages of glory. He was merely a footnote, a timid page or sword-polisher – a coward.

But even cowards must go grocery shopping.

Though he had never faced a cunning dragon or a mysterious green giant, he knew how it felt. He had experienced the insuppressible shivering, the paralyzing fear. He knew because that was how he felt when he peered down an aisle and caught sight of another pair of feet, or when he stepped before the counter and faced the sneering snaggle-toothed cashier.

To him, grocery shopping was a quest – a challenge that arose each week. He did not often venture beyond the mildewed walls of his one-room apartment, but spent his days gazing at the sidewalk below through his grimy window on the fifth floor. Through that window, the winding sidewalk seemed less threatening, the looming apartment building across the street seemed less imposing, the strangers below less strange. Only on Tuesday mornings did he face the world beyond the window.

Aisle four: canned soup and microwave dinners. His toes clenched in his worn sneakers as he surveyed the bright labels and bold, striking words, desperate to find the tomato soup before someone else wandered into the aisle.

There, the last can of tomato soup! Triumphantly he grasped the smooth, rounded container and placed it in his shopping cart, then turned to examine a display of mushroom soup.

A hand slithered into his cart. He whirled around, only to catch a glimpse of a huddled figure bustling away, clutching his can of tomato soup. Perhaps a knight would have charged with his lance. He simply turned away.

At last, he had gathered all the items scribbled on his crinkled napkin, except the tomato soup. He waited beside the racks of lollipops and multicolored mechanical pencils, heart thumping. The moment had arrived when he would face the dragon: the snaggle-toothed cashier. The woman in tweed before him gathered her bags, and then he stepped forward.

The cashier leered. “Hello.”

He could feel the ooze of fear creep into him slowly, insidiously. The world seemed to be cloaked in menace. He hated himself for his cowardice. Why could others venture into the world without fear? Why could others stand up for themselves without hesitation, uncertainty, or dread?

And then a line from his favorite tale, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” crept into his mind ….

“But Gawain glanced to one side on the gisarme as it came gliding down to slay him there in the glade, and shrank a little with the shoulders from the sharp iron.”

Perhaps everyone dealt with their fears in their own ways. Some cringed behind mildewed walls, peering fearfully at the world through a grimy window. Some bullied others, desperate to conceal their own weaknesses. And some stepped beyond their walls, faced their fears, and triumphed.

“That will be $5.25.”

He took out a ten. The cashier plopped $4 into his outstretched hand.

He took a deep breath. “That's 75 cents short,” he said.

The knights of old braved cunning dragons and mysterious green giants. He braved the snaggle-toothed cashier who worked Tuesday mornings in the grocery store down the street.

Even cowards have their moments of glory.

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This article has 18 comments.

on Jul. 17 2010 at 11:17 am
MairGwyn PLATINUM, Sterling, Virginia
23 articles 14 photos 35 comments
I think this is really funny ^_^

on Jul. 15 2010 at 12:53 pm
CrazyWriter GOLD, Lorton Station, Virginia
16 articles 2 photos 102 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Once you have given up on the most important thing in your life, you begin to die, because then, you gradually lose your true self"~Hana Kimi
"Someone who can lie to themself. . . is lonely, and in pain"~Hana Kimi

One word. Wow. i love it.  Very creative . i would 've never thought to make somthing from fariytales into something modern. :)

Please check out my work too...if you want..   . 

on Jun. 27 2010 at 8:41 pm
Maniacwriter SILVER, Haverhill, Massachusetts
9 articles 1 photo 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"it is the way you treat the ones you have never met that define who you are as a person"


on May. 28 2010 at 6:36 pm
DantesDilemma SILVER, Fort Myers, Florida
7 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Human beings are free, except when humanity needs them.

It's great! The mention of sir gawain got me!  Maybe the title, "knights of old" was used too much ib the text, but this is a wonderfully creative work.

on May. 25 2010 at 10:30 pm
penGTsword BRONZE, Sandy, Utah
2 articles 0 photos 3 comments
I love it! It's so creative and funny!

Muckkuckle said...
on May. 16 2010 at 9:41 pm
Muckkuckle, Seattle, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
ill find a quote and put it here soon.


on May. 15 2010 at 4:18 pm
HeraclitusDRM SILVER, Sewell, New Jersey
8 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories." -Plato

I love it! One of the few stories that has great mechanics and is also artfully done. Love the dialog, very concise, and the message about fear and courage is great. Keep it up!

Undread SILVER said...
on Apr. 11 2010 at 6:03 pm
Undread SILVER, Weir, Kansas
8 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Rise and rise again until lambs become lions."

I really like this story, I've never read anything like it.

on Mar. 30 2010 at 10:19 am
RosemarieCraig GOLD, Gloucestershire, Other
19 articles 0 photos 35 comments

Favorite Quote:
A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell."
"The world is not inherited from our ancestors. It is borrowed from our children"

 thats really cool! well done

on Feb. 26 2010 at 3:03 pm
fyreflies BRONZE, Randolph, Wisconsin
4 articles 0 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." Doctor Suess
"Oh, of course it doesn't hurt to slide in softball." (before I tore up both knees and before I slapped that person)
"Stay with me here now/And never surrender" Skillet

I like this a lot! It reminds me of myself some days.

on Feb. 4 2010 at 6:19 pm
AndrewSMacdonald BRONZE, Indian Trail, North Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man would lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Very well written and quite intertaining.

on Jan. 22 2010 at 3:42 pm
Alpha-Lyrae GOLD, Toronto, ON, Other
13 articles 3 photos 37 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I've loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night." -Galileo Galilei
"In the Beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." -Douglas Adams

Right, that is brilliant! I loved the character (reminds me of myself), and the "snaggle-toothed cashier". Wonderfully written.

Pillow BRONZE said...
on Jan. 16 2010 at 4:44 pm
Pillow BRONZE, Spokane, Washington
1 article 5 photos 300 comments

Favorite Quote:
Nothing says oops like a wall of flame.

That is really cool. I thought it was funny as well as written well. I was surprised by it but I ended up really liking it.

on Nov. 30 2009 at 11:12 pm
The_Reaper SILVER, Cupertino, California
5 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Knowledge is power. Power corrupts. Study hard, and be evil!"- Unknown

Good connection between Fantasy and Reality!

on Nov. 30 2009 at 5:20 pm
sophietle BRONZE, Houston, Texas
4 articles 3 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
"As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters." - Seneca

Wow! I have friends who ask me why I read these old stories that have nothing to do with modern life; now I have an answer. Really deftly written! :)

Sitav GOLD said...
on Nov. 8 2009 at 9:28 am
Sitav GOLD, Cedar Grove, New Jersey
17 articles 1 photo 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I studied every thing but never topped.... But today the toppers of the best universities are my employees" --Bill Gates

100% original....i loved it

on Nov. 6 2009 at 11:40 am
alchive PLATINUM, Fort Worth, Texas
38 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
The best cure for writer's block write

I love how eaily you blend fiction with real life and your character is so easy for me to relate with.

Lostinbooks said...
on Nov. 5 2009 at 12:11 am
Lostinbooks, Arcadia, California
0 articles 0 photos 63 comments
Can I just say I love this one?

Cool blend of fantasy and reality...

Very understandable and easy to read.

I love the end..."Even cowards have their moments of glory"

Good work!