Once upon a time in the deep blue ocean, there lived a wise old whale named Wilbur. He had a magical power that allowed him to travel through time!
One sunny day, Wilbur decided to visit the beautiful state of Vermont. He swam up a magical river and found himself in Lake Champlain, right in the heart of Vermont.
As Wilbur swam through the lake, he came across a group of curious children playing by the shore. They were amazed to see a whale in their lake and asked him how he got there.
"I am a time-traveling whale," Wilbur explained. "I have come to share the history of Vermont with you. Would you like to join me on a journey through time?"
The children eagerly agreed, and with a flick of his tail, Wilbur sent them all back in time. They found themselves in the early days of Vermont, when the Native American tribes lived on the land.
They met the Abenaki tribe, who showed them how they fished in the rivers, hunted in the forests, and grew corn, beans, and squash. The children learned about the Abenaki's deep respect for the land and their connection to nature.
Next, Wilbur took the children to the 1600s, when European explorers began to arrive. They met Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer who was the first European to discover the lake that now bears his name.
Champlain and his crew were friendly with the Native Americans, and they traded goods like metal tools, cloth, and beads. The children saw how this exchange of goods and ideas helped shape the future of Vermont. What they didn't see was how the government and people lied to and evicted the Native Americans from their lands.
As the years went by, more and more Europeans began to settle in Vermont. Wilbur took the children to the 1700s, when people from England and other European countries built homes, farms, and towns.
They saw how these new settlers cleared the land to grow crops and raise animals, and how they built mills, schools, and churches. The children learned about the hard work and determination it took to create a new life in Vermont.
But not everyone was happy with the way things were going. In the 1770s, tensions between the American colonies and England began to grow, and Vermont found itself caught in the middle.
Wilbur showed the children the Green Mountain Boys, a group of brave men led by Ethan Allen and his brother Ira. They fought for Vermont's independence and played an important role in the American Revolution.
The children cheered as they watched the Green Mountain Boys capture Fort Ticonderoga, a key victory that helped secure Vermont's place in the new United States of America.
After the war, Vermont became the 14th state to join the Union. Wilbur took the children to the early 1800s, when Vermont's economy began to grow and change.
They saw the rise of the sheep farming industry, with thousands of sheep grazing on the green hills of Vermont. The children learned how the wool from these sheep was used to make warm clothing and blankets.
But as time went on, sheep farming began to decline, and a new industry took its place. Wilbur showed the children the booming dairy farms that began to cover the Vermont landscape.
They met the hardworking farmers who cared for the cows and learned how to make delicious cheese, butter, and ice cream. The children were amazed at how important the dairy industry was to Vermont.
As the 1800s continued, the children saw the invention of the steam engine and how it changed the way people traveled. They watched the first trains chug through the Vermont countryside, connecting towns and cities.
The children also saw the growth of the marble and granite industries in Vermont. They marveled at the beautiful stone sculptures and buildings that were created from these materials.
As they moved into the 1900s, the children saw how Vermont played a role in both World War I and World War II. They learned about the brave soldiers who fought for their country and the sacrifices made by the people back home.
After the wars, the children saw how Vermont's economy and way of life continued to evolve. They watched as the ski industry began to grow, with people flocking to the state's beautiful mountains to enjoy the snowy slopes.
They also saw the rise of the environmental movement, with Vermonters working to protect their land, water, and air. The children learned about the importance of conservation and caring for the Earth.
As they neared the end of their journey through time, the children saw how Vermont embraced the arts and culture. They visited the famous Bread and Puppet Theater, listened to the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and admired the paintings at the Shelburne Museum.
They also learned about famous Vermonters, like Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, and author Rudyard Kipling, who wrote "The Jungle Book" while living in Vermont.
Finally, Wilbur brought the children back to their own time, where they found themselves standing on the shores of Lake Champlain once again.
They thanked Wilbur for the incredible journey and promised to share the story of Vermont's history with their friends and family.
With a wink and a smile, Wilbur dove back into the lake, ready for his next time-traveling adventure. The children waved goodbye, their hearts filled with appreciation for the beautiful and historic state of Vermont.
Dan Mayer has been helping his kids write customized books inserting themselves into favorite stories.