Every night, the lion from the Kingdom of Sher sneaked into the Kingdom of Mir and ate sheep that belonged to families who lived there.
“This has to stop!” proclaimed the King. “I will have a contest. The solution must be fair! It must not start a war! The person who has the best solution will become my adviser. But if the solution fails, that person must give me their most precious possession.”
(Picture of King putting up a banner “Fairest One of All. Stop the Lion from eating our sheep)
Wynnie petted her pet sheep, Paley, and said, “I’d like to be the King’s Adviser.”
“You’ll never win,” her brother shook his head. “You ask too many questions.”
“Don’t do it!” said her best friend Bertha. “If you lose, the King will take Paley!”
The first contestant, a wiry old woman, arrived wearing her precious emerald necklace. It was her most prized possession. It had been in her family for three generations.
The wiry old woman told the King, “I am old and wise. I will solve your problem.”
“If you fail, I will take your emerald necklace,” said the King.
The wiry old woman squeezed her necklace. Then she said, “You must build a big beautiful wall. You must do it quickly before one more lamb is eaten.”
The next day, the King ordered: “Build the wall.”
The whole Kingdom worked. By nightfall the wall was finished. The lion was on one side of the wall, and the sheep were on the other.
That night, the lion dug a hole under the wall. It sneaked into the Kingdom of Mir, and it ate one of the King’s sheep. Then it sneaked away again.
The next morning the King took the wiry old woman’s emerald necklace.
(Illustrator note: He placed the emerald necklace on his crown.)
The next contestant was a strong young man. He wore a gold belt buckle. He was the best archer in the kingdom.
He patted his belt buckle before he spoke. “I will stand guard on the wall at night, and I will shoot the lion.”
That night the strong young man strode back and forth along the top of the wall, keeping watch for the lion.
The lion watched the strong young man. When the archer looked left, the lion ran to his right. When the archer looked right, the lion ran to his left. When the archer wasn’t looking, the lion slipped under the wall, and ate another lamb.
The next morning, the strong young man gave his gold belt buckle to the King.
(Illustrator note: The King mounted the gold belt buckle on his crown.)
Wynnie said, “Nobody else is solving this problem. That lion might eat Paley. I have to do something!”
“Do you know how to stop the lion?” asked Bertha.
“Are you going to ask questions?” asked her brother.
Wynnie brought Paley to the King’s Castle.
“You’re just a little girl,” said the King. “I don’t want to take your favorite thing.”
“I want a chance to save the kingdom,” said Wynnie.
The king nodded.
Wynnie asked, “Do you want the King of Sher to be your friend or your enemy?”
The King looked surprised, but he answered the question. “I want him to be my friend.”
Then Wynnie asked, “Does the King of Sher have children?”
The King scowled, but he answered her question: “Yes, the King of Sher has three children.”
Wynnie paused to think.
The King glared. “You are wasting my time! Give me your advice, or give me your most precious possession.”
Wynnie asked her final question: “Does the King of Sher like his children?”
The King growled, “He loves them. I often see him playing games with them when I look out my castle window.”
Wynnie paused to think some more. Then she said, “I think you should give a lamb to each of his children for a pet.”
“How will that stop the lion problem?” asked the King.
“You took the other contestants’ advice. You have to take mine,” said Wynnie.
The next day the King of Mir, gave baby lambs to all three of the King of Sher’s children. The children loved playing with their lambs.
The King of Sher liked to see his children happy. He decided to protect the lambs from the lion. The King of Sher had a pen built around the woods during the day, while the lion slept. He put food in the pen so the lion would have something to eat.
The lion never entered the Kingdom of Mir, again. The King of Mir and the King of Sher became friends.
“Your idea was the most fair way to handle our problem,” said the King. “It was even fair to the lion.”
Wynnie became the King’s Advisor. He gave her a badge that said, “Fairest One of All.”
Wynnie advised the King to take down the wall.