The Traveling Letter Z
by Daniel Errico
Illustrated by Michiko Cayce
The Letter Z lived in the Land of Words.
He traveled all over the world.
He saw the Lava Pit of Punctuation.
He swam down the Waterfall of Words.
He even slid down the Ancient Syllable Slide.
One day he set off to travel farther than he ever had before.
He walked through the jungle and out past the plains.
He walked beyond the snowy mountains and through the green pasture.
Then he came upon a village.
A sign read:
The Land of Numbers
He had heard about the Land of Numbers, but never been there before.
As he walked through the streets, all the numbers closed their windows and doors.
They didn’t like letters and didn’t trust the Letter Z.
A group of dollar signs came by and told him that the king wanted to see him.
They brought him to the castle to see King Ten.
“What are you doing in my land?” asked King Ten.
“I am the Traveling Letter Z,” he said, “and I came upon your kingdom by accident.”
King Ten was not convinced.
“You are a spy from the Land of Words!” said King Ten. “You must be here to steal our large diamond from us so that the letters will have it!
The Letter Z had never heard of such a diamond before, and he was certainly not a thief.
“Throw him in the dungeon!” said King Ten.
The Traveling Letter Z had to think quickly.
“Wait! I wouldn’t steal your diamond. In our kingdom, we already have the most impressive diamond ever made.”
The king was very curious. He did not like the idea of the letters having a better diamond.
“How can you be sure that it is better, until you see ours?” said the King.
He brought the Letter Z into a special room with the large diamond inside.
King Ten was very proud of the diamond.
The Letter Z inspected it very carefully, and said, “Hmmm…”
“This is a fake diamond!”
King Ten could not believe his ears.
He ordered all of the dollar signs out of the room.
“How did you know that it was fake?” he asked the Letter Z.
“I didn’t know it before, but now I do. And if you don’t let me go, I will tell everyone in your kingdom.”
The king was very angry.
He had no choice but to let the letter go.
On his way back through the village, the Letter Z saw all of the other numbers outside their houses.
“We heard you were a spy!” they said.
“I am not a spy. I came here because I like to travel. Your king accused me for no reason,” he said back.
“I like to travel too!” said the Number Five.
“The King accuses everyone of being a spy,” said the Number 3.
They all talked for a long while.
The numbers even invited the Letter Z to stay for a feast, and everyone grew to like him.
By the time he left, they were quite good friends.
When it was time to go, he thanked them for their kindness and started the long road back home.
From that day on, he always told all of the other letters how nice the numbers of Number Land were.
In the Land of Words and the Land of Numbers, friends come in all shapes and sizes.