“Tristan, it’s almost your bedtime, and you are still eating,” said
“Eating takes so long,” said Tristan.
“If you don’t play with your food, eating doesn’t take that long.
Did I ever tell you about Manners Castle?”
“No!” answered Tristan.
“If you eat your food,” said Grandpa Jake, “I will tell it to you!”
Tristan took a big bite of his food.
“Excellent,” said Grandpa Jake. “If you take bites like that, you
will be done in no time.”
Suds had a difficult time sitting still and eating nicely at mealtimes. She would
wiggle in her chair, lean on her elbows, and eat with her mouth open.
If she didn’t like the food she would take a very long time to eat it. At almost
every meal Suds left a big mess all over the table, her clothes, and the floor.
“How exciting!” said Suds.
“It’s a special occasion, and those who attend have only the best table manners,”
said her mother.
“Then maybe I should not go,” said Suds. “I don’t have very good manners.”
“This is a wonderful chance to learn! You have two weeks before the banquet to
work on your manners,” said her mother.
“I will try!” exclaimed Suds.
Suds made an extra effort at every meal to work on her manners. By the day of the
banquet, Suds was ready.
Dear Lady Suds,
It would be our pleasure to
invite you to Manners Castle forthis year’s banquet. It will be heldtwo weeks from today, at 4 o’clockin the afternoon. We look forward toseeing you.
One evening before dinner, Suds’ mother gave her an envelope.
“What a beautiful dining room!” exclaimed Suds. “Oh! There’s Dixie. …” Suds started to
shout out to her friend, when she caught herself just in time. Mother told me that it’s not
polite to shout in company. Instead Suds walked over to Dixie.
“Hi, Dixie,” said Suds. “Have you been working on your manners too?”
“Yes,” replied Dixie. “I received the invitation two weeks ago, and I have been working
very hard since then. Do you know who Lord Manners is?”
“No, I don’t,” replied Suds. “I am looking forward to meeting him.”
“Dinner is served. Everyone, please be seated!” announced a waiter.
“Let’s eat!” exclaimed Crispin as he ran toward the tables.
He stopped himself and turned to the others. “Oops, after you!”
A long table was set with a name card at each setting. Suds saw her name,
but Dixie’s place setting was in Suds’ favorite color.
“I want to sit where you are sitting!” demanded Suds.
“But this is my seat,” said Dixie. “My name card is here!”
Just as Dixie was about to sit down, Suds pulled her chair out from under her.
“Ouch!” cried Dixie as she landed on the floor.
The whole room fell silent.
Oh, dear! What have I done? thought Suds.
“Please forgive me,” said Suds.
“Of course I will!” replied Dixie.
Just then Lord Manners entered the banquet hall.
The dinosaurs quickly sat down at the table.
“Welcome, dear friends!” said Lord Manners. “I am so happy that you could
come to this special dinner in recognition of your efforts.”
The meal began, with everyone using his or her best manners.
“Doesn’t Lord Manners look familiar?” asked Suds.
“Yes, he looks a lot like our teacher, Mr. Nuggin,” replied Dixie.
The next morning at school, Mr. Nuggin entered the classroom.
“Good morning, Lord Manners!” the students called out.
“Ah! I see you’ve found out! Did you all enjoy yourselves last night?”
“Yes, we did!” answered the students.
“It was a wonderful idea, Mr. Nuggin! I enjoyed having a meal where everyone
had good manners,” Suds said.
“Maybe we can have a manners banquet like they did and invite all my friends,”
“Good idea!” replied Grandpa Jake. “Let’s make a list of the friends you would
like to invite.”
When you have good manners it makes life more pleasant for everyone,
including you. Good manners are a way of showing kindness, love, and
“Almost done,” said Tristan, looking over the snowman. “Now, for the nose.”
“Hey, Tristan! Look what I found for the nose! A carrot!” Troy exclaimed.
“Fun! Give it to me,” said Tristan.
“No, I want to put the nose on!” Troy said.
Tristan grabbed the carrot. “You’re too short! It’s my snowman! I want this
“Boys!” called Grandpa Jake. “You need to try to work things out nicely.
Arguing doesn’t solve the problem. It just makes you more upset with each
“You’re right, Grandpa Jake,” Tristan said. “I’m sorry, Troy.”
“Me too.” added Troy. “Is that hot chocolate?”
“Yes, it is. How about we each have a cup while I tell you a story?”
Every Christmas season, Dixie and Crispin’s mother would pull out their family’s Christmas
chest. It was full of items she’d gathered for Dixie and Crispin to use for Christmas
decorations and projects. Today, Crispin and Dixie had invited their friends over.
“Look at all this stuff!” exclaimed Dixie. “I love Christmastime!”
“Everything is so sparkly and glittery,” added Suds.
Wesley reached for a star. “Hey, look what I found!”
“I found it first!” exclaimed Crispin, as he took the star before Wesley could.
Dixie grabbed the star from Crispin. “I saw it first!”
The friends argued over which one should have the star.
“Everybody, stop!” exclaimed Suds.
The friends went quiet.
“Christmas is a time when we’re all supposed to be extra loving and kind to
each other,” said Suds.
“Instead of fighting, why don’t we work together to use the things in the chest
to do nice things for other people?”
“We could use some of the stuff to decorate our classroom,” said Wesley.
“And we could also help decorate the village Christmas tree,” added Crispin.
“We could make a wreath for Mr. Nuggin,” said Dixie.
“Then we could use the wagons that Wesley and I have to take the gifts to
everyone,” said Crispin.
The friends decided that Crispin
would make the wreath for Mr.
Nuggin, while Dixie decorated the
classroom. Wesley and Suds would
team up to decorate the village
Dixie was busy at work. “I can use
this string of lights for the classroom.”
“Oh, but I’m planning on using it for
Mr. Nuggin’s wreath,” said Crispin.
“But they’re too long for the wreath,”
said Dixie. “And they’d look much
nicer in the classroom.”
“Dixie!” Crispin was irritated. “Oops!
I almost got angry at you again,
but that’s not good. Why don’t you
“Thank you,” said Dixie. “You can
have these little bells for the wreath
Crispin was happy. “They’re
In the weeks before Christmas, the friends busied themselves in their free time making
gifts and decorations. They happily worked on their projects until they had completed
all of them. The presents were loaded onto Wesley’s and Crispin’s wagons, and
distributed to their friends and family.
It was by far the happiest Christmas the friends had shared because they had all
thought about others instead of themselves.
“Grandpa, why do people always say that Christmas is about giving?” asked
“That’s because God gave us a very special Christmas gift many, many
Christmases ago. Do you know what it was?”
“Jesus!” replied Tristan.
“That’s right! He was God’s Christmas present to each one of us. When we
have Jesus in our lives, and live the way He taught by being kind and loving to
one another, we are so much happier and our lives are filled with more joy.”
“But why do we give presents?” asked Troy.
“When we give presents to other people, it makes them happy, and shows
them that we love and think about them,” explained Grandpa Jake.
Tristan smiled. “I like to make people happy by doing nice things for them.”
Take time to work out your differences with love and kindness.
You’ll get along better with others, and everyone will be happy.