I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Here’s the story so far.
Enjoy the latest fairy tale:
The Flying Horses
(Containing the sad and moving tale of the beginning of the end of the Land of All Legends.)
Once upon a time, hundreds of years ago, began once more the good witch Linda of Galinda, the Land of All Legends was a land of joy and happiness. It was a land of romance, of True Love, and of magic. Every day new creatures, great and small, appeared at the Border of Nothing, shimmering into life. Every few weeks a new land, a new island, a new ocean, or some piece of real estate shimmered into existence at the Border of Nothing. And all creatures, great and small, had their own stories.
That has not happened in six hundred years.
I will tell you now my own story of the time I realized that something had happened to the Land of All Legends, that the Land of All Legends was sick.
Back then, even though I was an evil witch, whenever I had some free time from doing evil deeds, I would come to the Border of Nothing and watch new creatures appear. It was a magnificent sight. I could watch it for hours and even for days, and never be bored. At the Border of Nothing, something always came from nothing, and that something was always different from that which had come before. I used to sit as closely as possible to the border itself, so that I could smell the newness of the creatures.
Then, one day, something that looked like a cloud shimmered into existence in the very air above me, smelling of hay and freshness. It was a massive white cloud that shimmered and glimmered, that flickered and glittered, and all the time grew greater and greater. It was a cloud unlike any cloud, and it was as big as a town.
Something about that cloud seemed not cloudy at all. I squinted, but it was too far above me.
I activated my wand and flew up to get a closer look. At the same time, the glittering cloud flew down towards me.
I was not afraid. But as the cloud approached, I could see that it was not a cloud at all. Just as a cloud is created magically out of thousands and thousands of tiny drops of water, this massive cloud was created out of thousands and thousands of normal-sized flying horses. The sheer number of them caused them to appear like a single cloud. The fact that they all flapped their wings gave a glimmering appearance to the cloud.
The flying horses flew in my direction, and passed me. More and more horses were to my left, to my right, beneath me and above me, flying in the same direction. Then they began to swirl and twirl around me, hundreds of flying horses playing with me, having fun. These horses had just been born, and it seemed that they were born for fun’s sakes.
We played for hours in the air. In fact, it was the first time I realized I might not be an evil witch. The few hours I had spent with the horses had caused me to turn from an evil witch to a not-so-evil witch.
After hours of fun, the cloud of flying horses began to fly in another direction, towards the main land. For a moment, I could see them come down behind a mountain. I waited for them to climb out, but for many minutes they did not.
Curious, I flew over the ridge and looked down.
The flying horses all lay on the ground, a field of flying horses lying down. And all of them were dead. In the middle, I saw the Death stand there, gray and grim.
I flew down and asked Death, “Why, Death, why did you kill them?”
“I do not know,” said Death. “They were all on my list.”
“But they had only just been born! They still had no story to tell! They had not lived their lives yet!”
“I do not have an answer,” said Death. “I have never had a creature on my list that had just been born. And now thousands lay dead. I do not know why they were on my list.”
At that moment, I could see that Death was as confused and shocked as I was. Something strange had happened, something that had appalled even Death himself.
Death left the scene without further word. And I remained there, among that which remained of my new friends, and I cried for two days and two nights. That event had turned me from being a not-so-evil witch to a slightly good witch. A hundred years later, I would be a pretty good witch. And a hundred years after that, I would become a good witch.
But as far as my experience is concerned that has been the first incident which marked the sickness that has grabbed hold of the Land of All Legends. Ever since that time, no new creatures had come into being from the Border of Nothing. No new continents had formed. No new oceans, no new rivers, no new creatures have shimmered into existence from the nothing.
And ever since that day, Death has been claiming more and more souls, and the land is so much emptier today than it had been six hundred years ago. Once, there were creatures everywhere you turned. Now, there are many creatures in the cities, and only a few creatures in-between.
This has been the sad and moving tale of the day I realized that the Land of All Legends was sick.
Linda of Galinda looked down, and saw that King John the Cute was crying. She let him cry for twenty more minutes. Then, he stopped.
“Thank you for sharing that tale with me,” said King John the Cute. “It is a sad story indeed.”
“These are the only stories I had to tell that have anything to do with your quest.”
“Do you not even know the village of Panache? It is a village of evil witches.”
Linda of Galinda shook her head. “I have never heard of it. I am sorry.”
“Thank you,” King John the Cute rose to his feet. “Thank you very much.”
With that, King John the Cute wiped away his tears and continued on his quest.
(To be continued on Tuesday…)