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Sketched Worldsa variety of

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Fabrice SchombergFabrice Schomberg
various writersvarious writers

by Fabrice Schomberg

In a small town lived a brave knight who protected the townsfolk.

  As brave as he was, the knight was merely a man and needed his sleep, hence he only protected the town during the day and slept after the evening till the following morning.

  Robbers, thieves and trouble-makers knew of this knight’s sleep and it was when he slept that they conducted their nocturnal wrongdoings within the town. At daybreak they would disperse just as the knight would awaken, and he would then patrol the streets and make it safe again.

  For the townsfolk it was not enough having their safes only safe during the knight’s waking hours - they wanted the knight to patrol the town whilst they slept too. So they gave him cakes and tea with dates to persuade him to give up his sleep, and this he did.

  For weeks and weeks the knight did not sleep. He ate and drank all that they gave him and the town was secure once more - no robber, thief or wrong-doer approached.

  Times were good, until one day, as he was patrolling the outskirts of the town, the knight began to feel lightheaded and unsteady on his feet. He collapsed from lack of sleep and exhaustion, rolling under a tree and falling into a deep sleep.

  Realising he was missing, the townsfolk went out to look for him, but he was nowhere to be found.

  Rumours about the knight's disappearance spread throughout the land, and once again the evil men returned to the town and ravaged it, leaving its folk poor. They even ate all the cakes and dates and drank all the tea.

  The knight slept and slept and slept for a long time and after many days of sleep under the tree, he awoke and drowsily wandered back into town.

  The townsfolk were very glad to see him. They had missed him since the day he fell asleep and they had feared that he left them, never to return.

  “Hurray for the knight. He’s come back to protect us!” they said.

  Yet the knight did not rejoice. He realised that he could no longer protect them as before without having any sleep and he needed more than dates and cakes and tea to keep him going.

  The knight thought for a while and then came up with a solution.

  ”From now on I will shift my sleep to the daytime, then protect you when you sleep. Please understand that I too need to rest, for without it I will collapse. This means that you will have to watch over my sleep. Then I will protect you when you sleep.”

  The people agreed and so it was.

  The knight slept by day whilst the villagers did their best to make sure that things were quiet while they worked, so as not to disturb his sleep. By doing this meticulously, they even learned to protect themselves. After dark, when the townsfolk fell asleep, the knight would wake up and protect them and their sleep also by making sure that everything in the town was safe and quiet.

  Since then, and in honour of the brave knight who slept by day, this dark time

has been known as night.

edited by Janet Cartlidge, copyright © 2013 Fabrice Schomberg

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