It was October, the perfect month for pumpkin picking. Ellen and her classmates were going to Frank's Fields to harvest the pumpkins they had planted there in the spring. Ellen wondered how big her pumpkin would be. She was good at growing things, but she hadn't been there in a while and was eager to see how her pumpkin had turned out.
The tires on the bus made an EEEK sound as they skidded to a halt. Ellen jumped off the bus, barely able to contain herself. As her class ran towards the pumpkin patch, Ellen heard someone talking. "Ellen is such a mouse," said Mary, one of Ellen's classmates. "She is so quiet." This made Ellen sad, but she acted like she didn't hear. They were almost at the pumpkin patch.
When they got there, Ellen ran straight towards her pumpkin. She could tell which one was hers because there was a pole in the ground with her name on it. Ellen had put it there in the spring. Her pumpkin was huge. "It's as round as a basketball and twice as big," Ellen thought. She gently lifted up her pumpkin. "Weird," Ellen thought. "It's lighter than a feather."
"Hurry up, Ellen," her teacher called. "It's time to go." Ellen grabbed her pumpkin and quickly ran towards the bus.
As the bus chugged along, Ellen heard Mary and her friends singing Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Other kids were singing songs such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and 100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall. Ellen didn't want to sing. She was too busy thinking about her pumpkin.
The bus stopped at Ellen's house, and she quickly jumped off. As she entered her house, she saw a note taped to the table. It was from her mother. It said she had gone to the grocery store and would be back soon. Ellen liked the grocery store, but hated it when her mom made her stand in Sue's line. Ellen thought Sue was mean, but her mom kept insisting it was only her imagination. Sue is full of baloney, Ellen thought as she set her pumpkin on the counter.
"I'm so hungry, I could eat an elephant," Ellen thought. That's when Ellen knew what to do with her pumpkin. I'll make it into pumpkin bars, Ellen thought. Mom and Dad will be so surprised. Ellen grabbed a carving knife, but just as she turned around, the pumpkin began to glow. Just as she was about to scream, Ellen heard the door open. This scared her so much that she dropped the knife. The pumpkin stopped glowing.
"I'm back," Ellen's mother called. Just as she said this, Ellen's dad pulled in the driveway. "I'm home," he called as he walked through the door. "There was a lot to do at work today." Then they noticed the pumpkin. "Where did you get this, Ellen?" they asked.
"I got it at school," said Ellen. "We went to Frank's Fields."
"I see," her mom said. "Would you like me to help you cut it?"
"No!" Ellen shouted. Her parents looked at her, startled. "I mean, Halloween is in a few days," Ellen rushed on. "I want to wait awhile."
"Of course you can wait," said Ellen's dad. "Just put it in the garage. It will rot in here."
"That was close," said Ellen as she put her pumpkin in the garage. "I just hope I didn't upset Mom. But now I have to do something about this pumpkin."
When it came time for dinner, Ellen couldn't eat. She excused herself and went upstairs to figure out what she should do with the pumpkin. "I should get rid of it," she said. "But first I want to know why it was glowing and how it stopped so suddenly. I guess I'll check on it at night so nobody sees me."
That night Ellen crept into the garage. She went by the pumpkin, but nothing happened. Then she noticed her dad's pocketknife. I wonder what this is doing here, she thought. As she picked up the knife, the pumpkin began to glow. Then Ellen had an idea. Carefully, she set the knife down. The pumpkin stopped glowing. It only glows when I'm holding a knife, Ellen thought, but why? She picked up the knife and walked towards the pumpkin, which began to glow. She lowered the knife, and the pumpkin grew brighter. Just as she was about to cut it, she heard a voice scream "No!" The pumpkin burst into flames and disappeared.
In its place was a dragon. It was orange and no bigger than Ellen's hand. "Please don't hurt me," it said. "I lost my way while I was flying, and I don't know where I am."
"You're a dragon," Ellen gasped, "and you can talk!"
"Of course I can talk," said the dragon, "all dragons can."
"But what were you doing inside my pumpkin, and how did you make it glow?"
"I was flying when a thunderstorm hit, and I was forced to land in a pumpkin patch. I ate the inside of one and crawled inside to get out of the rain. I was waiting for it to stop, but I fell asleep. Then I got taken somewhere. You were going to cut me, so I breathed fire to scare you. I thought it worked, but then you looked like you were going to cut it anyway, so I flamed extra hard. Then the pumpkin disappeared, and now I'm here."
"I'm sorry," said Ellen. "I never would have tried to cut it if I knew you were in there. Do you know how to get home?"
"Take me back to the pumpkin patch and I can find my way home from there," the dragon said.
The next day Ellen took the dragon back to the pumpkin patch. They said their goodbyes, and the dragon flew away. Ellen would never forget the dragon for as long as she lived.
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