Continuing the serialization of my epic fantasy novel, Tickling Butterflies, with a new fairy tale ‘episode’ every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Enjoy the latest fairy tale:
The Sick Blue Bird
(Containing the providential story in which John the Cute meets a noble bird.)
Once, when John the Cute was fifteen years old, he was sitting on the porch of his house when he heard a strange cough from above. Looking up, he saw on the roof a magnificent and noble blue bird.
“What is the matter, Blue Bird?” John the Cute asked.
“I am sick and old and dying, and the flight has been long.”
“Come here and rest on my shoulder, then. I will feed you and give you water.”
The Blue Bird came to rest on John the Cute’s shoulder. In-between coughs and wheezes, he ate John the Cute’s bread and drank water from a small saucer.
The Blue Bird thanked John the Cute for his kindness. Then he asked John the Cute what he wants to be when he grows up.
“It doesn’t matter what I want to be when I grow up,” John the Cute answered, and there was sadness in his voice. “When I grow up, I’m going to be king.”
When the Blue Bird was surprised, John the Cute told him the story of the prophecy, as he had heard it from his mother.
“And do you not want to be king? A king gets respect.”
“Respect needs to be earned,” John the Cute said ruefully. “I do not want people respecting me without having earned it.”
“A king gets many riches.”
“But none of these riches will I have earned. I do not need something I did not earn.”
“No one will tell a king he has done something badly.”
John the Cute shook his head. “I hope to be surrounded by friends. And a person who is not willing to tell you the truth is not your true friend.”
“A king is loved by all.”
“I would rather be loved by my family than be loved by all.”
The Blue Bird said nothing. But it did seem to smile out of the corner of its beak.
“John the Cute, if you did not become king, what would you do?”
“I would stay at the farm. That is my true wish. To help my mother. To live my life as I have lived it so far. I would much rather King Charming the Fourth, in his wisdom, let his son, Prince Charming the Fifth, rule the land. I do not need to be king.”
“Perhaps he who does not wish to rule is the best king of all,” the Blue Bird said with longing.
“I do not understand what that means.”
“It means that maybe the kingdom needs a king who would not wish to be its king.”
John the Cute shook his head. The conversation was making him sad.
“I have one last question, my friend, before I continue my journey to the north.”
John the Cute nodded.
“If you were to become king, what would you do?”
“I do not know.”
John the Cute shrugged. “I would tell the truth. I would find injustice wherever it may be, and I will do my best to fix it. I will try to earn the respect given to me, to earn the riches I will own, and to earn good thoughts from all good people. And I would always tell the truth.”
Once more, the Blue Bird seemed to smile out of the corner of his beak. “Perhaps the Land of All Legends needs truth these days.”
John the Cute looked at the sky. “I wouldn’t know. I know so little of the Land of All Legends.”
The Blue Bird coughed once more, less tired but still sick, and rose into the air. “A pleasure meeting you, my friend. I am certain we will meet again in a few years.”
John the Cute waved goodbye to his sick, blue friend, as the bird flew into the horizon. After the bird had disappeared, John the Cute discovered that he was feeling much better about his future.
This has been the providential story of John the Cute’s second meeting (out of four) with King Charming the Fourth.
(To be continued on Tuesday…
And if you’re enjoying the fairy tales, share with your friends.)