‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Race against Death

I’m serializing the fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. 128 separate fairy tales come together to create one epic fantasy fairy tale.

A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Enjoy the latest fairy tale:



The Race against Death

(Containing the chilling story of John the Cute’s encounter with Death.)


John the Cute journeyed towards the palace and Capital City, and in the first big city he entered, he met Death.

John the Cute entered the City of Rats and its streets were empty and there was no noise about. John the Cute had never seen a big city, and did not know what to expect. But he did not believe this was normal.

John the Cute walked in the empty streets for fifteen minutes, until he came across another person, dressed in black.

“Excuse me, sir,” John the Cute approached the stranger. “Why are the streets so empty?”

“There has been a plague,” the stranger said, his visage grim and gray, his voice deep and dark. “A plague the likes of which has never been seen in The Land of All Legends. All those who lived in the city two days ago are now dead.”

“That is terrible,” John the Cute was shocked.

The stranger shrugged. “That depends on your point of view.”

“I am John the Cute,” John the Cute offered his hand.

“I am Death,” the stranger said and did not offer his hand in return. “And when I shake your hand, I will take your soul. Your entire body still has a most powerful stink of life. I will not shake your hand for quite a while.”

“I vow now,” John the Cute said. “That you will not have my soul even after I die.”

Death made a face but did not answer. “Where are you headed, John the Cute?”

“I am going to Capital City.”

“Me, too.”

“To the palace.”

“Me, too.”

“To see King Charming the Fourth.”

“Me, too.”

John the Cute’s eyes widened and his voice began to quake. “I must speak to the king,” he said.

“I must shake his hand,” Death said.

“No! You cannot! It has been prophesied that I will meet him four times. I have only met him once. You will not be able to take him!”

Death was unimpressed. “You have met him twice, not once. And I have learned long ago that not all prophecies are true. The king is sick and has been so for a long time. The trouble he had taken three years ago to see you has taken an even greater toll on his sickness. When next I see him, I will shake his hand, and I will take him.”

“Then I must get to the palace before you and speak to him, as he has requested!”

“I am going from here to the palace in a straight line. While you,” said Death, “do not know the way.”

“You will stop in the middle to gather souls,” John the Cute said. “It will slow you down.”

“You have never seen the ways and the people of the big cities,” Death countered. “Everything and everyone will slow you down.”

“I will win this race against you!”

Death smiled. He said, “I have raced against you before.”

John the Cute froze in place. “When?”

Death turned his back to John the Cute. “If you do not remember, perhaps it was not important.”

Death began to walk in the direction of the palace.

“Wait!” John the Cute cried after him. Death stopped. “Who won?”

Death smiled at John the Cute, “I did.”

John the Cute’s brow furrowed, and he did his best to recall such an incident. But he could not remember any such race within his short lifetime.

When John the Cute looked up once more, Death was already gone from sight.

John the Cute clenched his teeth and continued on his way towards the palace and the king. He went forward with great haste, hoping to beat Death in this race.

This has been the chilling report of John the Cute’s encounter with Death and the beginning of the race for the king of the Land of All Legends.


(To be continued on Tuesday…)


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