Viking Ships at Sunrise, p.1
Here’s what kids have to say to
Mary Pope Osborne, author of
the Magic Tree House series:
WOW! You have an imagination like no other.—Adam W.
I love your books. If you stop writing books, it will be like losing a best friend.—Ben M.
I think you are the real Morgan le Fay. There is always magic in your books.—Erica Y.
One day I was really bored and I didn’t want to read.… I looked in your book. I read a sentence, and it was interesting. So I read some more, until the book was done. It was so good I read more and more. Then I had read all of your books, and now I hope you write lots more.—Danai K.
I always read [your books] over and over … 1 time, 2 times, 3 times, 4 times.… —Yuan C.
You are my best author in the world. I love your books. I read all the time. I read everywhere. My mom is like freaking out.—Ellen C.
I hope you make these books for all yours and mine’s life.—Riki H.
Teachers and librarians love
Magic Tree House® books, too!
Thank you for opening faraway places and times to my class through your books. They have given me the chance to bring in additional books, materials, and videos to share with the class.—J. Cameron
It excites me to see how involved [my fourth-grade reading class] is in your books.… I would do anything to get my students more involved, and this has done it.—C. Rutz
I discovered your books last year.… WOW! Our students have gone crazy over them. I can’t order enough copies! … Thanks for contributing so much to children’s literature!—C. Kendziora
I first came across your Magic Tree House series when my son brought one home.… I have since introduced this great series to my class. They have absolutely fallen in love with these books! … My students are now asking me for more independent reading time to read them. Your stories have inspired even my most struggling readers.—M. Payne
I love how I can go beyond the [Magic Tree House] books and use them as springboards for other learning.—R. Gale
We have enjoyed your books all year long. We check your Web site to find new information. We pull our map down to find the areas where the adventures take place. My class always chimes in at key parts of the story. It feels good to hear my students ask for a book and cheer when a new book comes out.—J. Korinek
Our students have “Magic Tree House fever.” I can’t keep your books on the library shelf.—J. Rafferty
Your books truly invite children into the pleasure of reading. Thanks for such terrific work.—S. Smith
The children in the fourth grade even hide the [Magic Tree House] books in the library so that they will be able to find them when they are ready to check them out.—K. Mortensen
My Magic Tree House books are never on the bookshelf because they are always being read by my students. Thank you for creating such a wonderful series.—K. Mahoney
Imagine a time in Europe over a thousand years ago, when every single book had to be written by hand on animal skins, and writers had to make their ink and paints from plants and minerals. In spite of these hardships, Christian monks in Europe—especially in Ireland—made decorated, or “illuminated” manuscripts, which are some of the most beautiful books the world has ever seen.
Now imagine a warship that can travel far across rough seas, weather terrible storms, and land on rocky coasts. The Vikings of Scandinavia made such ships completely by hand. They were the most elegant sailing vessels of all time.
In the last few years, I’ve seen illuminated manuscripts at the British Museum in London, and Viking warships at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway. Ever since, I have wanted to write about both of these wonders. Finally, this book has given me that opportunity.
I hope you find them as “wonder-full” as I do.
All my best,
Text copyright © 1998 by Mary Pope Osborne.
Illustrations copyright © 1998 by Sal Murdocca.
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Osborne, Mary Pope.
Viking ships at sunrise / by Mary Pope Osborne; illustrated by Sal Murdocca.
p. cm. — (Magic tree house; #15) “A Stepping Stone book.” Summary: Their magic tree house takes Jack and Annie back to a monastery in medieval Ireland, where they try to retrieve a lost book while being menaced by Viking raiders.
[1. Vikings—Fiction. 2. Monasteries—Fiction. 3. Ireland—Fiction. 4. Time travel—Fiction. 5. Magic—Fiction. 6. Tree houses—Fiction.]
I. Murdocca, Sal, ill. II. Title. III. Series: Osborne, Mary Pope. Magic tree house series; 15. PZ7.O81167Vh 1998 [Fic]—dc21 98-23602
Random House, Inc. New York, Toronto, London, Sydney, Auckland
A STEPPING STONE BOOK is a trademark of Random House, Inc.
1. Before Dawn
2. The Steep Climb
3. Brother Patrick
4. Books of Wonder
5. Warships on the Waves
6. The Vikings Are Coming!
8. Lost at Sea
9. Sea Monster!
Special Preview of Magic Tree House #16: Hour of the Olympics
For Benjamin Dicker
One summer day in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, a mysterious tree house appeared in the woods.
Eight-year-old Jack and his seven-year-old sister, Annie, climbed into the tree house. They found that it was filled with books.
Jack and Annie soon discovered that the tree house was magic. It could take them to the places in the books. All they had to do was to point to a picture and wish to go there.
Along the way, they discovered that the tree house belongs to Morgan le Fay. Morgan is a magical librarian from the time of King Arthur. She travels through time and space, gathering books.
In the Magic Tree House Books #8–12, Jack and Annie solved four ancient riddles and became Master Librarians. To help them in their future tasks, Morgan gave Jack and Annie secret library cards with the letters M L on them.
As Master Librarians, Jack and Annie must go on four missions to save stories from ancient libraries. They have already brought back a scroll from an ancient Roman town and a bamboo book from ancient China. Now, they are about to head out on their third mission …
Jack opened his eyes.
A thin gray light came through his window. His clock read 5 A.M. All was quiet.
Today we’re going to ancient Ireland, he thought, back more than a thousand years.
Morgan le Fay had told him that it was a very dangerous time, with Vikings raiding the coasts.
“You awake?” came a whisper.
Annie stood in his doorway. She was dressed and ready to go.
“Yeah, meet you outside,” said Jack as he climbed out of bed.
He pulled on his jeans, T-shirt, and sneakers. He put his secret library card into his backpack with his notebook and pencil. Then he hurried downstairs.
Annie was waiting for him in their yard.
The air was damp and misty.
“Ready?” she asked.
Jack took a deep breath.
“I guess,” he said. He was a little worried
They walked silently over the dewy grass. Then they ran up their street and into the Frog Creek woods.
Mist clung to the trees as they walked through the dark woods.
“It’s hard to see,” said Jack.
“Where’s the tree house?” asked Annie.
“I have no idea,” said Jack.
Just then something fell in front of them.
“Watch out!” shouted Jack. He covered his head.
“The ladder!” cried Annie.
Jack opened his eyes.
The rope ladder from the magic tree house dangled in front of them.
Jack looked up. The tree house was hidden in the mist.
“Come on, let’s go,” said Annie.
She grabbed the ladder and started up. Jack followed.
They climbed through the wet air and into the tree house.
“Hello,” said Morgan. “I’m glad to see you.”
She was sitting in the corner. At her feet were the scroll they’d brought back from Roman times and the bamboo book from ancient China.
“I’m so glad to see you,” said Jack.
“Me too,” said Annie.
“It’s good that you both came early,” said Morgan.
She reached into the folds of her robe and pulled out a piece of paper.
“Here’s the ancient story you must find today,” she said.
Morgan handed the paper to Jack. On it were the words:
The mysterious writing reminded Jack of the writing from their trip to the Roman town of Pompeii.
“That looks like Latin,” he said.
“Very good,” said Morgan. “It is Latin.”
“But I thought they spoke Latin in ancient Rome,” said Annie. “Aren’t we going to Ireland?”
“You are,” said Morgan. “But during the Dark Ages in Europe, educated people wrote in Latin.”
“The Dark Ages?” said Jack.
“Yes,” said Morgan. “The time after the fall of the Roman Empire.”
“Why is it called dark?” said Jack.
“It was a difficult time,” said Morgan. “People had to work very hard just to feed and clothe themselves. There was not a lot of time for playing, learning, or making art and music.”
Morgan pulled a book from her robe.
“Your research,” she said, handing it to Annie. The title read: Ireland Long Ago.
“Remember,” said Morgan. “Your research book will guide you. But in your darkest hour—”
“Only the ancient story can save us,” Jack and Annie said together.
“And remember this,” said Morgan. “It must be your darkest hour, when there is no hope left. If you ask for help too soon, it will not come.”
“And we have to find the story first,” said Annie.
“That is true,” said Morgan. “Do you have your secret library cards?”
Jack and Annie nodded.
“Show them to the wisest person you meet,” said Morgan.
“Don’t worry,” said Annie. “I think we’re ready now.”
Annie pointed at the cover of the Ireland book.
“I wish we could go there,” she said. She gave Morgan a little wave. “See you soon.”
“Good luck!” said Morgan.
The wind started to blow.
The tree house started to spin.
It spun faster and faster.
Then everything was still.
Jack opened his eyes.
The light was still gray, but the air was even damper and colder than in Frog Creek.
“Wow, I’m in a long dress,” said Annie. “It’s scratchy. Hey, I’ve got a little purse on my belt. It has my library card in it!”
Jack looked down at his own clothes.
He was wearing a shirt and trousers, made of heavy wool. He also wore leather slippers. And in place of his backpack was a leather bag.
“Wow,” said Annie, looking out the window. “This really looks like the Dark Ages.”
Jack looked out, too. He couldn’t see anything through the mist.
“It’s just because the sun’s not up yet,” he said. “I’d better check the book.”
Annie handed the Ireland book to Jack. He opened it and read aloud:
The early Middle Ages were once known as the “Dark Ages” because learning and culture nearly vanished throughout Europe. Scholars today praise the brave Irish monks who helped keep Western civilization alive.
“What do ‘civilization’ and ‘monks’ mean?” asked Annie.
“I think civilization is when people have books and art and good manners,” said Jack. “Monks are religious people who spend their time praying and reading and helping people.”
“Well, I don’t see any civilization or monks out there,” said Annie, pointing at the mist.
Jack pulled out his notebook. He wrote:
Then he looked at Annie. “If we find civilization, I think we’ll find the lost story,” he said.
“Let’s go,” said Annie. She lifted her skirt and climbed out the window.
Jack read more in the Ireland book.
The monks copied the ancient writings of the Western world. Before printing was invented, all books had to be written and copied by hand.
“Hey, we’re on a cliff!” Annie called from outside. “Above the ocean!”
“Be careful!” said Jack.
He stuffed the Ireland book and his notebook into his leather bag. Then he climbed out the window.
Annie was peering over the edge. Jack looked, too.
There was a rocky shore twenty feet below. Waves slapped against the rocks. Sea gulls swooped and glided above the sea.
“It doesn’t look like there’s any civilization down there,” said Jack.
“Maybe we should climb those,” said Annie. She pointed to steep steps cut into the cliff.
Jack looked up. The cliff also rose above them in the mist.
“We better wait till the sun comes up,” he said.
“Let’s just go super slow,” said Annie. She started up the stone steps.
“Wait, Annie!” said Jack. “They might be slippery.”
“Whoa!” she said, almost falling backward. “I tripped on my darn dress!”
“I told you to wait,” Jack said. “It’s too dangerous.”
Just then something fell from above.
“Watch it!” said Jack. He put his hands over his head.
“Hey, it’s a rope!” said Annie.
Jack saw a thick rope dangling down the stairs.
“Where’d this come from?” he asked.
“It’s like when Morgan dropped the ladder to us,” said Annie. “I bet someone’s trying to help us.”
“Yeah, but who?” said Jack.
“Let’s find out,” said Annie. She grabbed the rope. “I’ll use it first. Once I’m at the top, you can come after me.”
“Okay, but hurry,” he said. “And be very careful.” Jack waited as Annie started climbing up the steps.
Annie held on to the rope as she climbed slowly up the stairs. Soon she vanished over the top of the cliff.
“What’s up there?” Jack shouted. But his voice was lost in the sound of the waves.
He grabbed the rope and started up the steep steps. At the top of the cliff, he pulled himself over the edge.
“Aha!” boomed a deep, jolly voice. “It’s another little invader!”
Jack’s glasses were wet with mist. He quickly wiped them, then looked up.
A man in a brown robe stood before him. The man had a round red face. He was bald, except for a fringe of hair around his head.
Nearby the rope was tied around a tree.
“I—I’m not an invader,” said Jack.
“He’s Jack!” said Annie. She was standing behind the man. “I’m Annie. We’re from Frog Creek, Pennsylvania.”
“We—we come in peace,” stammered Jack.
The man’s blue eye
“Oh, do you now?” he said. “I wondered what was going on. I had dropped the rope so I could climb down the steps. But you two grabbed it instead. How in the world did you get on this island?”
Jack stared at the man. He didn’t know how to explain the magic tree house.
“In our boat,” Annie said quickly.
The man looked puzzled. “Not many boats can come ashore at this dark, early hour.”
“Well, we’re very good sailors,” said Annie.
Oh, brother, thought Jack. He hoped their sailing skills wouldn’t be tested.
“Where exactly are we?” asked Annie. “And who exactly are you?”
“You’re on an island off the coast of Ireland,” the man said. “And I am Brother Patrick.”
“Whose brother are you?” said Annie.
The monk smiled. “The ‘brother’ means I’m a Christian monk.”
“Oh, you’re one of the monks who saved civilization!” said Annie.
The man smiled again.
Annie turned to Jack and whispered, “Let’s show him our cards. I trust him.”
“Okay,” said Jack. He trusted the monk, too.
They both pulled out their secret library cards and showed them to Brother Patrick.
The M’s and L’s for Master Librarian shined in the gray light.
The monk looked at them and bowed his head.
“Welcome, my friends,” he said.
“Thank you,” said Jack and Annie.
“I did not truly think you were invaders,” said Brother Patrick. “But on our small island, we are careful of strangers.”
“Why?” said Annie.
“There are terrible stories about Viking raiders,” he said. “When we see their serpent ships, we must hide or be taken as slaves.”
“Serpent ships?” said Jack.
“The prows of their ships are often carved in the shape of a serpent’s head,” said Brother Patrick. “I am afraid it stands for their fierce, cold-blooded ways.”