Sample text for Sea star : Orphan of Chincoteague / by Marguerite Henry ; illustrated by Wesley Dennis.

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Mr. Van Meter was plainly disappointed. As he turned his head he caught a glimpse of a little herd of wild ponies frisking along the beach of neighboring Assateague Island. He gestured toward the wind-blown creatures. "I expected to find Misty with her mane and tail blowing in the wind," he said, talking more to himself than to the others. "And I hoped she'd have some of the mystery of the sea in her look."

"Oh, but she does!" exclaimed Paul and Maureen together. Quickly they lifted the wreath of flowers from her neck and began loosening her braids.

Maureen glanced up shyly as she worked, "We just wanted to see how she'd look if she won a big race over on the main."

"And how do you think she looks?" asked Mr. Jacobs.

The boy and girl were shaking out the strands of hair.

"You say, Maureen."

"No, you, Paul. Do you like Misty all prissied up with ribbons and things?"

Paul answered easily. "Even before we started, we knew we'd like her better with her mane and tail free."

"Good! So do I." Mr. Van Meter smiled with his eyes. "Now, will you take us to meet your Grandpa Beebe?"

"He's gone up the island to Watson Town. Grandma's been having trouble with her biddies, and he wanted to talk to Miss Vic about them."


"He sometimes gets hung up talking," explained Maureen, "but nearly always he comes back pretty quick."

"Perhaps," suggested Mr. Jacobs, "we could talk to Mrs. Beebe until he gets back."

Paul shook his head. "She's gone to Richmond with Clarence Lee."

"Yes," added Maureen proudly. "Our uncle, Clarence Lee, Jr., is going to go to college. He may learn so much he could be a preacher!"

The strangers seemed to be turning matters over in their minds. There was a little pause before they spoke. "Perhaps you would like to hear our mission," Mr. Van Meter finally said.

"Oh!" Maureen looked surprised. "Are you missionaries?"

Paul snorted. " 'Course not, Maureen. Whenever are you going to grow up? Mr. Van Meter means that maybe we'd like to know why they came to our island. And how they know all about us and Misty," he added.

Maureen blushed. "Please to come and sit down on the benches underneath the pine trees," she invited politely.

Together they walked over to the pine grove at the side of the house while Misty, free of her wreath and halter, kicked up her heels and trotted off to sniff and snort at the strange silver bird resting on her private exercise ground.

The two men watched her with a pleased expression. Then Mr. Van Meter took a snapshot out of his billfold and passed it to Paul and Maureen. "These are my two children," he said. "Last Christmas they were given a book that told the legend of a Spanish galleon wrecked long ago in a storm, and how her cargo of Moor ponies swam ashore to Assateague Island, and how descendants of those ponies are living wild and free on the island today."

Paul and Maureen looked up from the picture. "That's just how it happened," said Maureen.

"Don't talk, Maureen. Listen. Listen to what's coming. Maybe it's going to be something good."

"It is good," Mr. Van Meter went on. "My boy and girl kept telling me about the roundup of the wild ponies you people of Chincoteague have every year."

"It's this week!" Paul blurted out.

Mr. Van Meter nodded as if he knew all about it. "Finally I got as excited as my children, so excited that I talked it all over with Mr. Jacobs. We want to make a movie of it."

Paul and Maureen just stared. They could scarcely believe their ears. A movie made about the wild ponies of Assateague! Then Maureen became thoughtful. "Would Misty be in it?" she asked. "She was born on Assateague, but she's not wild any more."

"That's why we are here. We'd like to use the real Misty in the picture, the little colt that was in the book."

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Chincoteague pony -- Juvenile fiction.
Chincoteague pony -- Fiction.
Ponies -- Fiction.
Chincoteague Island (Va.) -- Fiction.