Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Tale of Sir Henry

This is for Brent and Emily,
who's precious preemie,
has won my heart forever. 


Sir Henry began life at an extraordinary pace, because he was after all, an extraordinary person. His title gave him away as remarkable; for few people gain the right to be called “Sir” in preamble style, as if greatness is expected before the fact. In this premonition and pre-queathing however, his admirers were justified, for, in fact, he racked up preposterous escapades at an astonishing rate.

For instance, no sooner did Sir Henry receive his Hero Certification, but he went face to face with a dragon.

Fire-breathing and smelly, no one had ever stood up to the creature that barricaded a village of poor peasants from reaching a cave made of solid gold rock. Once Henry had slayed said-dragon, the peasants honored his bravery with a heavy bag of gold coins mined and minted from the cavern, along with a flask of their most famous port: Rootbeeria (made from the roots of the beeria tree). Of course, Henry accepted these tokens, and then waved his sword so that it glistened in the sun, and while the village chanted his name: “Henry O Henry!” rode away to seek other adventures.

No sooner had he passed over the hill, but Sir Henry came upon his first damsel in distress. Her muffled squeal came from behind a suspiciously large tree trunk: the hiding place of an unruly band of gypsies. They had long taken refuge in that place; so sure of being undiscovered that they frequently stole girls and things from hard-working farmers. Henry determined to end the scourge right then and there, despite his lack of experience with women or organized crime.

Riding his stalwart stallion like an arrow, Henry darted through the forest toward the damsel's wailing; one hand on the reins, the other gripping his broadsword. He never had the chance to brandish it though, for as soon as he reached his target, he was surrounded by at least forty-six weapons just like his own, each one held by a dirty-faced tramp with ugly teeth. For any other hero, this kind of ambush spelled demise, but not for one as ingenious as Sir Henry.

Atop his restless steed, Henry purposefully let the bag of magic coins, which was tied to the belt at his waist, clink noisily.  All his captors instantly raised their brows, pricked up their ears, and then rushed upon him with the very greediness Henry had banked upon.

With an expert fling, Henry tossed the coins behind him so they scattered throughout thickets of blackberry and stinging nettle, and while the scroungers yelped their curses, Henry and his horse swept the poor maiden off her feet, saving her from fainting and hitting her head on a hard tree-root, or something far, far worse. After taking his prize home to her parents, and accepting their stinkiest brick of Limburger cheese for later nourishment, Henry set off once more to see how else he might serve man(or woman)kind.

No sooner had he galloped over the river which separated woods from plain, but Henry was accosted by his third and most lethal challenge: a gigantic gila monster that only came out at sunset, which it now was. His fangs had made short order of many a tall rider trying to cross the desert on the only road available between Twinkenbacon and Stainesabury. Hiding behind rocky cliffs, the creature waited patiently for unsuspecting victims with poor night vision, then launched his flicking tongue with a dead-reckoning made possible by an uncanny sense of smell.

Henry himself possessed exceptional senses, however, as do all born-heroes, and he heard the gila slithering through the sand before it could reach him. With the sort of lightning-fast strategic-thinking Sir Henry was celebrated for, he reached into his saddlebag and extricated a chunk of Limburger. Tying it up to the end of a rope, he signaled his horse to move forward at a slow trot, dragging the cheese behind them. (There was no real hurry since gilas are as sluggish as they are poisonous.) Even in the pitch black, Henry could sense that the monster was on their trail and he picked up the pace until he and his horse were well ahead of their predator.

With nowhere to hide, but with the few moments he had bought himself, Sir Henry buried the cheese in a shallow dune, along with the flask of Rootbeeria given him by the poor peasants. Tiptoeing to a safe distance, he and his horse had barely crouched in the darkness when Henry perceived that the gila was gliding right past them, heading straight into the trap. Seconds later, after a loud crunch and an even louder gulp, the monster roared and groaned and burped so big, a stinky cloud lit up the sky, revealing a prone gila monster, claws up. Sir Henry, the instinctive master of hard science as well as the defensive arts, knew that when combined with reptilian venom, Rootbeeria was toxic. 

Henry took a few moments to relish his victory and eat the rest of the Limburger before continuing down the road to Stainesabury. His reputation (which preceded his birth, remember) had already spread throughout the region and thus he was greeted the next morning as he rode into town with cheers and banners that read: “WE LOVE YOU SIR HENRY!”

After that, our gallant knight received requests aplenty from every corner of the land: ‘come stop the flood that is ruining our potato crops’; ‘come save our ranch from the evil gang who chased the sheriff out of town’; ‘come catch the runaway train with women and children that is about to plunge into the canyon because the old bridge washed out’ and so forth.

Of course, Henry did.

These accomplishments would be enough to assure any sort of hero veneration for generations but in Henry’s case, the compilation of exploits excelled all others in one rather significant way -- so significant in fact, that the people built the most splendid castle on the highest peak and named it “The Palace of Sir Henry”, and there, by the wish of Sir Henry himself, old heroes, when they had passed their prime and could no longer dash and lift and bound with abandon, were sympathetically housed and clothed and fed Limburger cheese and Rootbeeria.

So what, you ask, made Henry sooooo special?

Just this: all of his feats were done in two weeks.

Sir Henry
July 5, 2011 - July 20, 2011

Emily's sister has written an amazingly
beautiful explanation of loss at


Sarah said...

Dear Sir Henry,
What a NOBLE character you must be and such a VALIANT fighter! God bless you, sweet spirit. God bless you and your parents!

crumbcrunchersmom said...

In just two weeks, little Sir Henry has touched and changed many hearts forever! What a brave little guy! All our love and prayers to Mom and Dad.

Marissa said...

What a special boy. Love and prayers to you all.

Bhren said...

My warmest wishes of comfort and peace for your family. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and Spirit with my family. <3

Mama Smith said...

Sir Henry...has now been crowned a KING...who came through "royal parents"...

Bob said...

The most noble of Father's children only need the briefest of mortal experiences. What a marvelous eternal blessing for two wonderful parents to be chosen to help provide that momentary tabernacle of clay. How glorious will be the reunion when you finally and fully get to know your "Sir Henry."

Dr. Angie Panos said...

This is the hardest experience a parent can go through. May you have comfort and peace in your journey forward.

Judy said...

Oh, the impact of a single life! It crosses oceans and we too are blessed because of the life of your precious son. May God bless and comfort you.

Latter-dayVillage said...

Such an one as this is clearly about his sovreigns business in distant parts - how blessed are the beneficiaries of his brief appearance in this small locale along with those of us graced with the telling of his conquests . . . we shall all look forward to the ongoing saga, a record of which is being kept by faithful scribes in faraway lands.

Sara Lyn said...

Our prayers go out to Sir Henry's family.

Misti Atkinson said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! May the Lord bless you and keep you, and comfort you in His loving embrace, til you are reunited with your precious Sir Henry once more!

Kira said...

With roses like him, like you, Heaven will smell...well, heavenly. I am sorry for your pain, but not for the love that will forever grow in you.

Lilia H said...

May the love of our Savior fill the void left by your brave little Sir Henry. One day you will meet again and rejoice together.

Kelsey said...

O Sir Henry! How amazing that a marvelous spirit can affect so many people for good. Love to him and his sweet Mum and Dad.

Larsen's said...

My heart, my prayers, my thoughts go out to the valiant little spirit!! He and his parent "must" be choice children of our Father. I pray for all the family and friend through this difficult time, Until you meet again.

maritza said...

"Death is not an ending. Mortal death is no more an ending than birth was a beginning" quote, Boy K Packer (apostle) My warmest wishes of comfort of loss of Baby Henry Gray.To my dear friends Brent and Emily Gray Family`s you will see him again, family are forever. Thank you Ramona for sharing you notes " The Tale of Sir Henry" I love you all. God bless you and The Gray`s family!.xxx

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir Henry,
I know the blessings that many have received by your valiant time on earth. Your courage and spirit and direction to others will carry them on untl you meet them again. You may have already met Princesss Anna Christine. No greater understanding can man have than to believe that "Thy will be done." Thank you for your life Sir Henry and the legacy you leave behind.
Lady Martha

Diana said...

Sir Henry,
The story of your heroic deeds and your time here in this kingdom have touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes, and I only know of you through the stories told of your adventures; I have not had the pleasure of your acquaintanceship as have those who have witnessed your adventures personally and were benefited by their time with you. Thank you Sir Henry for teaching us poor peasants that there are still heroes around and that we all must be valiant and strive to be more like them. You will be missed! Thank you to the parents of Sir Henry for sharing his story with us and for being so valiant yourselves so as to have the joy of having such a soul in your lives so, that all might benefit. Thank you to Henry's aunt Camille for helping us realize the pleasure that can be ours as we return to that rose garden. I pray that we may all strive to be worthy to retire to that castle on the hill,(reserved for heroes), to feast on Limburger and Rootbeeria.
signed the lady Diana

Lois Brown said...

so sorry for Sir Henry's family's loss! What a Noble Knight he surely is!! Many prayers to his Mom & Dad!!