‘Tickling Butterflies’ – Sylvia Fo and the Magic Mirror

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story. Here’s the story so far. We are about to go off the road:


Sylvia Fo and the Magic Mirror

(Containing the reflective tale of a magic mirror.)


I chased Sylvia around the mountain, Benjamin Miller explained to King John the Cute. As Benjamin Miller told his tale, the king noticed that Benjamin Miller’s face, already filled with seven hundred years of sadness, became sadder.

I found Sylvia standing outside a wagon. Near the wagon was a strange man.

“I am the guardian of the Fun House Mirror,” the strange man was telling Sylvia.

“Does the Fun House Mirror provide a way out of the island?” Sylvia asked him, even as I slowly approached them.

“That depends on how you look at it,” answered the guardian. “The mirror changes the way you look at things. It shows you who you are, as others see you. It shows you how different you are. If you have a long nose, then it shows your long nose in a way that allows you to see it as others do.”

“What good is it?” I asked. By now, I was standing near Sylvia.

“It allows you to laugh at yourself,” the guardian said simply.

“Can it get me out of here?”

“That depends on how you look at it,” replied the guardian.

“Let’s see how I look at it, then.” Sylvia’s temper ran so hot, that she had no patience and no cool judgment.

She disappeared inside the wagon before I could suggest anything else.

Within two seconds, I heard her scream in dread.

I leapt into the wagon, and saw her standing next to a large mirror, holding her face in terror. “What is it, Sylvia? What did you see?”

“I am three dimensional,” she shouted. “While everyone in this land is two dimensional! I have depth! I’m a real person! Everyone around me is a character made of cardboard! That is what I saw! And that is the truth!”

I did not understand what she was saying.

“I can’t stand this place!” Sylvia began to run in a small circle around me. “This entire land is awful! This is a prison! This entire land is a prison!”

Then, surprisingly, she jumped into the mirror, and ran and ran until she disappeared from sight.

I was afraid to jump in after her. Later, I told the guardian what had happened and asked him where Sylvia was. He said he did not know. He said the mirror shows everyone his and her own truth, and leads a path to the realization of that truth.

Nonetheless, in the roughly five hundred and fifty years that have passed since, King John the Cute, I have never seen Sylvia Fo again. Not in all that time. I believe she is dead.

But that is not the whole story, King John the Cute, for once Sylvia had vanished from sight inside the mirror, the view in the mirror changed, and I saw the image in the mirror change to reflect my truth.

But I have to stop for a moment and breathe. I have not spoken so much in five hundred and fifty years.

Benjamin Miller paused to take a breath, and King John the Cute waited, his eyes aglow, ready to hear the end of the story.


(To be continued on Sunday…)

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