Children's eBooks:
Chukker and the Thunderstick
by
Paul Hope. 
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Children’s eBooks: Chukker and the Thunderstick

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The adventure starts in ancient Egypt. "Chukker" and his friends battle with "Joko" and the Jackals for control of the Thunderstick which brings the holder victory on the polo field. They are magically transported through different historical time zones into new adventures. A classic story of good versus evil. 

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Under the bright Florida sun sits the Polo Museum and Hall of Fame. Within its rooms and halls lie the most important pieces to those who love the sport of kings. Helmets and mallets. Uniforms and saddles. Photos of players and horses decorate the sunny rooms, telling the stories of the men and women who have kept the game great.

 

A sport that has survived over two thousand years of play, polo was the ultimate union of horse and rider. Some even thought that the game was played by the gods, thundering about heaven on giant steeds, chasing each other over the field in the clouds. Some say, the gods themselves even come down to earth once in a while to have a match with us.

 

Off in one corner, a little out of the way for some, there is a painting unlike any other. The painting is of a young Egyptian pony, complete with headdress and a polo mallet. A little golden plate below the picture tells the viewer that his name is Chukker, and his story began a long time ago, in a faraway land.

 

Chukker was like any of the other ponies in his town. He loved to run and play and jump and be with his friends. He liked swimming in the river and climbing the hills, but there was one thing Chukker loved more than anything else.


Chukker loved polo.

 

The ponies of Egypt had been playing polo long before Chukker. They would race up and down the hard packed ground, in sandy patches of grass, chasing the ball with their trusty mallets. From the first time Chukker saw a match, he knew that there was no other sport for him.

 

Right away he began to train to be a polo pony. Every day Chukker would run and stretch. He would eat his vegetables and was always careful to get a good night’s sleep. During the day he would race up and down the field chasing the ball with the other ponies, and every day he got a little better. One day, Chukker’s grandmother gave him a special gift. 

“It was your father’s mallet,” she told him.

“Papa played polo?” Chukker asked in wonder.

 

“He was the greatest ever,” the woman answered. “And now his mallet is yours.”


With his father’s mallet in hand, Chukker decided that someday, all of the ponies would call him the greatest ever as well.

One day Chukker and three best friends, Tack, Bump, and Hands, were practicing on the field. Up and down they ran, hitting and blocking and passing as they moved around the field. But then their game was interrupted by a nasty howl.

“Hey!” cried a mean voice.

The ponies turned and found Jocko the Jackal walking on to the field with his three friends.

“It’s our turn,” Jocko called, sneering at the ponies.

“We’ll be done soon,” Chukker said.

“You’ll be done now,” Jocko ordered. “We have a team,” he said to the ponies. “A real team. We’re the Bad Sports, and we are taking this field.”

“No!” Tack cried. “This is our time!”

“Get lost before we pound you!” Jocko warned.

“How about a game instead?” Chukker offered. “Winner takes the field.”

An evil smile grew on Jocko’s face. “You’re on.”

The match moved fast. Chukker and his friends were good, but Jocko and the other jackals were very fast. Everywhere the ponies ran, the Bad Sports were there, pulling on tails and shoving Chukker and his friends around the field. The one thing the jackals couldn’t beat though was Chukker’s mallet.

Every swing of the mallet sent the ball rocketing across the field. Chukker never missed the ball. Not once. He raced over the hard grass, leading the charge and calling out, “Let’s go Good Sports!”

Jocko hated that Chukker called his team the Good Sports, and played all the harder. He smacked the ball whenever he was close and crashed into anyone who got in his way. Jocko was the dirtiest player the field had ever seen, but that didn’t change Chukker. The pony kept cheering for his team, and at the end of the match it was his mallet that scored the winning goal.

“No!” Jocko screamed as time ran out. “That’s not fair!”

“We won!” Hands cried. “Now get lost, Jocko!”

“We’ll be back,” the jackal promised. “And as for you, Chukker,” he said, pointing his boney finger at the pony, “I’d hold on to that mallet if I were you. Hate to find out someone broke it.”

As the Bad Sports left the field, the ponies all gathered around Chukker.

“You think he’ll try and break your mallet, Chukker?” Bump asked.

“He’s a bad one,” Tack decided. “I bet he’ll try and take it.”

“And if he can’t take it,” Hands added, “he’ll break it for sure. You have to be very careful, Chukker.”

“It’s the best mallet I’ve ever seen,” Tack said.

“It is an amazing mallet,” Chukker agreed.

“It should have a name,” Bump shared. “Like how a famous sword has a name, or a famous ship? Your mallet needs a name.”

“How about the Boomer?” Hands suggested.

“Or the Mighty Mallet?” Tack offered.

“What about calling it Earthshaker?” Bump said.

“No!” Hands yelled. “Call it the Ball Destroyer!”

“I know what to call it,” Chukker said. “Its name is the Thunderstick.”

“The Thunderstick!” his three friends called. “We love it!”

“All hail Chukker and the Thunderstick!” hands cried.

The four friends laughed and played for the rest of the day, each of them promising to help Chukker keep the Thunderstick from Jocko and his jackals.

That night, as the ponies were walking home under the Egyptian stars, Jocko and the Bad Sports jumped out in front of them.

“Gimmie the mallet, pony!” Jocko yelled at Chukker.

“Run!” Tack screamed.

The Bad Sports chased the ponies down the streets and through the allies of their town. Over the sand and around palm trees, the Good Sports fled from the Bad Sports.

“In here!” Hands said, pointing at the Temple of the Gods.

The ponies ran into the temple and hid behind a statue. They could hear the Bad Sports outside searching around, calling for the ponies to come out. The Good Sports stayed quiet though, hidden in the temple.

“Hey,” Bump said suddenly. “That picture over there…”

“Shh!” Hands said.

“No really,” Bump replied. “It looks like…”

“Shh!” Hands said again.

“That looks like Chukker,” Tack said.

“I know!” Bump agreed.

“Shh!” Hands said a third time.

 

Chukker looked carefully at the picture and couldn’t believe what he saw. It was a very old painting of a pony playing polo, and that pony looked just like him. He was racing over a thick green field, the ball rolling out before him, and in his hand was a shining mallet.

“It’s the Thunderstick!” Bump said, pointing at the mallet in the picture.

The four looked carefully at the image and they all agreed. It was the Thunderstick.

 

“What is your papa’s mallet doing in that picture?” Hands wondered. “And why is it in the Temple of the Gods?”

“There’s writing!” Tack pointed out. “It says, ‘Chukkah, Son of the Gods’,” he read.

 

The thee ponies stared at Chukker.

“That isn’t me,” Chukker said. “That’s not my name, and that can’t be my mallet, and there is no way that picture is me.”

 

“It looks just like you,” Hands argued.

“And that is almost your name,” Tack said.

 

“And that looks just like the Thunderstick,” Bump added.

“But that means…” Chukker said.

“It means you’re dead!” Jocko cried.

The four ponies turned and hollered when they saw the Bad Sports standing around the statue. “You can’t take the Thunderstick!” they all cried.

 

“Then I’ll do the next best thing,” he said, and the evil Jocko raised his hands to the statue. “Oh great and wonderful gods of old! Hear me, and send these pesky ponies far from here, to another time and another place, where I will never see them again.”

 

Dark clouds formed over the ponies and Chukker screamed, “Hold on to me!” They all hugged Chukker, and as a group they spun up into the dark cloud, but not before Jocko saw the painting on the wall of the Thunderstick.

The four ponies flew through the fog and clouds, spinning and tumbling and falling so far they feared it would never end. Then the clouds grew bight and the four of them landed on a thick green field under a bright sun. They stood and looked around, and were amazed by what they saw.


Their home was gone, and so were the mountains of sand and the great river. Instead, there were palm trees growing from grass, and a wide blue sky met a wide blue ocean. “Where are we?” Chukker asked. The ponies turned a circle and then Chukker laughed.


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