EIGHT: TROUBLE BREWING
everyone was required to take the new class, which was taught by Ms. Circe
Centaur, it had been split into several classes. The content each week was the
same in all of them.
this only added to the puzzle. Why was every student in the school—including
the juniors and seniors—required to take this special, new course, and why was
a new teacher put in charge of it?
we know is that she moved here from Salem,” Peter said. Salem was the nearest
turned out that Peter and Skip had been assigned to Centaur’s Monday class
while Larry attended it on Tuesday. So Peter and Skip were always a day ahead of
Larry in learning what was being taught that week.
Peter and Skip entered Larry’s room, they saw a squirrel jump out the window.
But they were getting used to this.
the first class has met; and all the teacher told us was a review of ancient
legends and folklore,” said Peter, puzzled. “This doesn’t sound like
students seem to like it,” noted Skip. “But it’s all sorta, well, uh,—wayout.
But there will be some who like that kinda thing.”
at least there’s no homework yet. That’s helpful,” added Peter. “We sure
have enough to do on literature, math, and science assignments.”
they brought in a new teacher because none of the current faculty were qualified
to teach whatever this new subject is,” suggested Larry.
be right,” said Skip thoughtfully.
odd thing about this,” Peter said, “is that the teacher says she wants to
present class lectures for a number of the initial classes, without being
interrupted by questions. So, for awhile, it’s just learn and take notes.”
strange,” Larry said, “Does she want to put things in our minds, without our
asking any questions about it?”
was getting more puzzling all the time. The three met outside the library. In
this morning’s class, Ms. Centaur had told the students they should be closer
to nature; and a good way to do this was to be more like the animals of the
Centaur said today we need to practice the ‘nature activities’ of the
ancients in order to feel better and do better,” said Skip.
ancients!” exclaimed Larry. “What kind of ancients?” he asked.
didn’t say,” replied Skip.
also said that the students at the school were very bright, and this class would
deepen their wisdom,” added Peter. “She always seems concerned that we read
those children’s stories about magical lands which are unreal; you know,
Wizard of Oz and the more recent fantasy books sold in Christian bookstores. She
especially recommended the Harry Potter books. She said they would really help
is building up here,” said Larry. “We need to be careful.”
Larry walking on campus, Peter and Skip ran across the lawn and stopped him.
“This time Ms. Centaur is saying that fairy tales open the imagination, so we
can enjoy new worlds; whatever that means.”
what does that mean?” responded Larry.
of the kids say this class looks like it’ll be real nice, with little
homework,” said Skip. “They think they’re going to enjoy it.”
it doesn’t seem like this will be a very difficult class,” added Peter.
“The teacher said the best preparation we can make is to borrow from a large
collection of fairy story books and children’s books about witches and
dragons. She said they will open the doorway for the deeper truths she will give
can fairy stories help teenagers prepare for the responsibilities of adult
life?” queried Larry.
the cafeteria and in the dorms, the new course was becoming a hot topic of
conversation. Some thought it was great; others shrugged and didn’t much care
as long as it didn’t involve homework. Many thought it a big joke. But a
small, but growing number were becoming concerned.
the window flew two black-capped chickadees, as Peter burst into the room,
“What is this all about!”
teacher is saying the students are going to learn how to cast spells. She says
it will really help us.”
added, “She said this will erase our gloomy moments.”
boys looked at Larry, who said nothing for a time. So the two boys sat down and
the three just looked at each other for a moment. Then Larry said slowly, “I
think this may be spiritualism.”
that?” asked Skip.
heard of it before,” added Peter.
is the worship of Satan.” Silence for several minutes as those words sank into
Peter and Skip.
you really—?” began Peter.
I’m afraid so.” Another pause and then Larry added, “I’ve got to study
for his well-worn Bible and pulling his large concordance off the shelf, he set
to work as the other two went next door.
no roommate had been assigned to Skip, he and Peter went over to his room to
study together, so Larry could have it quiet while he began researching into
this in the Bible.
NINE: COULD SHE BE A WITCH?
they opened the door, they knew they really had news for Larry. Trying to ignore
a cautious squirrel who munched on a seed while watching to see if they got too
close, Skip spoke in a tone indicating a solemn announcement was about to be
made. “The lesson today was the importance of repeating a word over and over
again. We were told it will help expand our minds and prepare us to receive new
slumped back in his chair. “I heard somewhere that repeating a single word or
saying a nonsensical sentence repeatedly is a way to be hypnotized,” he said
what Larry had just said, Peter decided he needed to sit down too. “Well,
I’ll have to say,” he said, it doesn’t really sound good.”
afternoon, Larry headed to the library and checked the inter-library loan data
on the library computer. Then he ordered several historical and technical books.
the first time, he met Miss Stevenson, the librarian. Although quiet as most
librarians are, she seemed to be a very capable person.
the end of the next class session, the objective was becoming more apparent.
to learn the latest, Larry stopped them outside Chaffee Hall. They had just
emerged from Ms. Centaur’s class.
this class session, something slipped out,” said Skip. “Ms. Centaur said
that ‘Wicca’ means the study of nature and how the things of nature can help
us. What did she mean by that? What’s Wicca?”
boys were stunned when Larry said, “Wicca is witchcraft. That’s the modern
name for it. I know that much, but I don’t know a lot more yet.”
mean we’ve got witchcraft on our hands?” Peter said in a shocked tone.
said it. So it must be part of what she has in mind,” replied Larry.
in mind for us?” wondered Peter.
the three walked back to the dorm, each lost in his own thoughts. Then they
entered their corner room and sat down.
sounds like trouble,” said Larry darkly. “Friends, we need to pray. Would
you pray with me?”
they arose, Larry sat down and he looked a little white under the gills.
you feel good, Larry?” asked Skip.
idea just flashed into my thinking. Could it be that Circe Centaur is a
the two boys said almost together.
do we know about her?” asked Larry.
about all is that she is a new teacher and that she moved here from Salem,
begun reading into this subject. Do you know what is in Salem?”
both boys chimed.
a nice little city; but it has, for its size, the largest collection of
professional witches in America.”
went to the library and ordered more books by inter-library loan.
TEN: TO SEE THE PRESIDENT
days had passed, and there was a growing pile of books stacked in an apple box
beside Larry’s desk.
more he studied, the more concerned he became. In the cafeteria, some other
students had told them they were worried about the class too.
what could be done? Larry knew where to find the answers.
down alone in the room, he pleaded for help. “Please, Father in heaven, please
give me guidance. What should I do? If this is wrong, how can I go about
well-knew the power of prayer. He had learned, from the experience of years,
that staying close to God and, by faith in Christ, living by the Bible, frequent
prayer would bring the help and guidance he needed.
to his feet, it was clear needed to be done next. Walking next door to where
Skip and Peter were studying, he popped his head in the door, “Hey, anyone
want to go with me to see Dr. Vandersleeve?”
president of the school!” exclaimed Peter.
do you want to see him for?” asked Skip.
thing seems to be developing into a real problem. His office is the first place
we should go,” responded Larry. “I really can’t say more. All I know is
that I should go.”
Vandersleeve’s private secretary looked up as the three boys entered the outer
office. “Well, boys, what can I do for you?”
need to see Dr. Vandersleeve.”
on the phone just now. Do you care to wait a few minutes or would you rather
wait. Thank you so much,” replied Larry.
down, all three silently prayed for success. Living with Larry was changing both
of them. They were learning the value of prayer.
right, Dr. Vandersleeve will see you now.”
up from the papers on his desk, the distinguished-appearing man looked at Larry.
“Gentlemen, what may I do for you today?”
do I say now?” Larry thought to himself. But, remembering how Nehemiah darted
a prayer to heaven before addressing the emperor of Persia [Nehemiah 2:4], with
but a moment’s hesitation, he was ready to speak to the most important person
Vandersleeve, a number of the students have expressed their concerns about the
new courses which are being held. I thought it well to speak to you about the
matter. Surely, we do not want to do anything to injure the reputation of the
school or its administration.”
president was expecting a comment like this, but the last sentence caught him
off guard. It hit him in a soft spot.
uh . . how concerned are they?”
are concerned. Some feel it is very serious. Some students are becoming a little
thank you for stopping by. I,—, uh, I can’t do anything about, uh, I mean I
will check into the matter. Thank you.”
this, the president arose from his chair, signaling that it was time for the
boys to leave.
president is usually so self-possessed in his talks to the assembly, when all
the students are gathered. But he sure wasn’t when you spoke with him,” said
Peter, wonderingly, as they left the administration building.
don’t know what to make of it,” muttered Skip.
seems afraid of something,” Larry said.
for a moment as they thought back over that conversation; then Larry spoke,
“Yes, he seems afraid to do anything about the situation.”
are you going to do next, Larry?” asked Peter.
seems I’m not going to be ready for action until I have a clearer
understanding of the problem. In a few days I may be ready.”
for what?” asked Skip.
don’t know. God will guide.”
with you, I’m learning that more and more,” said Peter thoughtfully.
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