Archive for June, 2013

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Crops of Music

June 30, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:


The Crops of Music

(Containing a surprising life-lesson of an old man who has found his purpose.)


For an entire month, Chariot had been kept imprisoned by the old man, Farmer Moozik, in a house made of stone, surrounded by a farm, surrounded by tall mountains.

For an entire month, Chariot attempted time and time again to escape. For an entire month his efforts came to naught. The steel rod and the lightning from the ground kept Chariot at bay and unable to escape. For an entire month, King John the Cute’s voice would occasionally be heard echoing across the land, searching for his friend and chariot.

For an entire month, Farmer Moozik did not emerge from the stone house.

On the last day of the first month, Farmer Moozik came out of his house and said, “Now I will tell you the first story you must hear, my little boy cloud.”

Chariot glowered at Farmer Moozik. “I am not a boy,” he said. “I am a grown cloud.”

“I was born,” Farmer Moozik began his tale, “with a great talent for music. Everyone in my family also had a talent for music. Each one of my five brothers and my five sisters had a great talent for music. They could play with notes as no one else in the entire River Red Continent could. They could manipulate notes, and create chants and songs and short pieces of music that could immediately make anyone cry. My brothers and sisters were very talented.

“And so was I. I knew it. They knew it. I had a talent. But for some reason, I could never make it work as well as my brothers and sisters did. When listening to them, I could feel inside that I could do much better. And yet, whenever I tried, I fell short and my notes fell flat, and no one cried when I played my notes.

“Then, disgusted at myself and at my inability to create good music, I left home. I left home with a song on my lips, hope in my heart, and a big empty bag on my shoulders. I was off to seek my fortune elsewhere. The path led me here, to this farm. Here I built my house. And here I began to build a farm of notes.

“For years I raised small musical notes of all kinds. They were ripe and small and fell well upon the ears, but they were not the notes my brothers and sisters could raise.

“But still, I persevered. I worked the land and grew the notes for years and years. And still, they were not as pleasant as they could be. At the time, I had grown and was well past your age today. I considered myself to be an adult and I knew I liked growing music, and I knew that growing music was my destiny.

“After a few years of working the land, I began to take some of the notes I had grown and put them together. Yes, I decided that one part of this vast farm you have watered shall grow musical notes and another part of it shall grow musical tunes, created by mixing the musical notes I have grown.

“I grew musical tunes for years and years. They were nice to the ears. They were juicier than the notes. But they were still not the best. I was still not as good as my brothers and sisters. I still had something missing. And yet, I persevered and worked the land for years and years.

“Then, after many years, I began to take the musical tunes I had grown and mix them together, in order to grow longer musical pieces in another part of this big farm. The longer pieces were sometimes five, sometimes ten minutes long, and they were beautiful and sounded great to the ears, but something was still missing.

“Still, I persevered, for I knew it was my purpose to grow music. After ten years of growing longer musical pieces as well as notes and tunes, I had decided to breed the longer musical pieces together. There was one part of the farm left. There, I put all the longer musical pieces I had grown by my own hands together, and slowly let a symphony grow.

“It took an entire year for the symphony to grow. But when it was done, it was the most beautiful piece of music anyone in this land had ever heard. People came from near and far to hear my beautiful music. It was complex and beautiful. It consisted of every note I had grown, and of every delicate way I had put the notes together into tunes, and of every delicate way in which I had merged the tunes into longer pieces of music, and of every beautiful pattern with which I combined all of those into one piece of music that held all of my life’s efforts within it.

“You see, my little boy cloud, when I was young, I knew I was talented, but I did not know who or what I was. And only at the age of sixty all the elements of who-I-was and what-I-did, all the elements of my decades of work, all the elements of my personality, all the complexity created by sixty years of living, fell together into one symphony, and I knew who I was and what my destiny was.

“You see, my little boy cloud, I am a man that can only do complex symphonies well, but not small tunes or notes or even longer pieces of music. I had known and felt all my life that I was talented, but I had not lived enough to create the complexity that equaled what I knew I was.

“Ever since, then, my dear little boy cloud, with every year, I create more notes and more tunes, more longer pieces of music and even pieces of my earlier symphonies. And of all of those, I create a new and magnificent symphony every year. You have helped me water this year’s crop.”

“Why have you told me this story?” Chariot said angrily.

“Ah,” said Farmer Moozik. “You are young and you do not see the connection. The life-lesson of the story is that sometimes you are too young to know who you really are. Who you think you are when you are young is not who you learn you are when you are older. You have made a promise to the king, a promise to return a favor. But it was the promise of a child. Perhaps the adult way of returning the favor is to help him die, and thus help him fulfill his purpose in saving the Land of All Legends?”

Chariot said nothing to this.

“Think about that,” said Farmer Moozik. “In a while I shall tell you the second story.”

He turned around, entered his stone house, and shut the door behind him.

This has been yet another enlightening life-lesson from the River Red Continent.


(To be continued on Tuesday…)
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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – Return of the Foreseeing Propheseers

June 27, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:


Return of the Foreseeing Propheseers

(Containing a terrible telling of a terrifying truth.)


Chariot adored King John the Cute. He had felt so from the first time the two had met, back when both were young and innocent. John the Cute, at the time only a boy and not a king, had helped save the small, trapped cloud who had rained too much and could not rejoin his family.

“John the Cute,” the cloud had said at the time. “You have earned a friend for life. If ever I can repay you with a favor, if ever I can help you in any way, I will.”

Years later, when both had grown, John the Cute had become king. In one of his first acts, he had summoned the cloud and asked him for his help in the immense task of saving the Land of All Legends. The cloud agreed. In doing so, he became the king’s chariot, and the king decreed that the cloud’s name from now on would be Chariot.

Now Chariot served the king. It was his pleasure to do so, and so he claimed, “This is not the favor I owe you for rescuing me many years ago. That favor is yet to be repaid.”

As was told in the previous story in this book of legends, Chariot had completed a good deed for an old man in an empty crop field with a stone house and a steel rod. Now he turned and rose up, to return to his king.

At that same moment, the old man, known as Farmer Moozik, placed his hand on the steel rod. Lightning emerged from the ground, imprisoning Chariot and pulling him back to the ground.

“What is going on?” exclaimed Chariot. “What have you done?”

“That is a strange story,” said Farmer Moozik. “Will you stop fighting the lightning and listen?”

After a minute, Chariot stopped trying to rise. Lightning no longer appeared from the ground.

“Two days ago,” began Farmer Moozik, “I was visited by three strangers. They told me you will come. They told me you will carry King John the Cute and four more. They told me where to find you. And they told me what to do with you.”

“But how could they know?” Chariot wanted to know. “How could anyone know the future?”

“The three strangers were known as the Foreseeing Propheseers, little boy cloud. They told me of the future. And they gave me a clear task. It is my task, my dear little boy cloud, to tell you what you must do to save the Land of All Legends.”

Chariot had heard quite a lot about the Foreseeing Propheseers during his travels with King John the Cute. “What did they say?” he enquired.

“They said that to save the Land of All Legends,” Farmer Moozik said somberly, “you must help King John the Cute die.”

Chariot was astounded beyond words. In searching for them, he simply said, “That cannot be.”

“It is so, my dear boy cloud. Prince Charming the Fifth will deliver the killing blow. But you, Chariot, must keep him from continuing to live. You must help him die. Do this, and the Land of All Legends will be saved.”

“That is a lie,” cried Chariot. “I know from my travels with the king that the Foreseeing Propheseers only speak of happy futures. I know that the Foreseeing Propheseers have foretold that King John the Cute will save the Land of All Legends! I know that the Foreseeing Propheseers think King John the Cute is good for the land and not its enemy!”

“It seems, then, that you know very little,” said Farmer Moozik. He pointed at the steel stick in the ground. “They gave me this magic stick to help me imprison a cloud.”

“This is absurd! You will release me now!”

But even as Chariot began to protest, he heard the king’s voice resound through the land: “Chariot! Come! I need you!”

With all his strength and all his might, Chariot rose higher into the sky. Lightning lashed from the ground and brought Chariot lower to the ground. The more Chariot struggled, the more the lightning dragged him down.

“Chariot!” the king’s voice once more echoed everywhere on the continent. “I need you! Come!”

“My king needs me!” cried Chariot, struggling.

“Your king needs you to help him die,” answered Farmer Moozik.

“When I don’t come, they will search for me and they will find me.”

“The three men put a spell on the mountains surrounding my farm,” said Farmer Moozik. “Only you and I can see the mountains. Your friends cannot help you, for they see a sea and not a mountain. They will not step into the sea when searching to find a lost cloud.”

“Chariot!” the king’s voice echoed.

Chariot looked at Farmer Moozik in despair.

“You are stuck here with me for six months,” said the old farmer. “In six months I will tell you six stories. When I have told you all my stories, you will be ready to return to the king, because by that time you will be convinced that you must help him die.”

“That will never be!” cried Chariot. “I will never betray my king! Release me now!”

“Chariot!” the king’s voice rang once more through the River Red Continent.

“The king needs me!” Chariot pleaded.

“The king,” answered Farmer Moozik, “needs you to help him die. We have done enough for today, little boy cloud. Make yourself comfortable.”

Farmer Moozik entered his stone house and left Chariot to ponder his new situation, even as the king’s voice continued to echo through the land.

This has been the story that explains how King John the Cute came to be stranded in the River Red Continent and how Chariot learned that he must help his friend die.



(To be continued on Sunday…)
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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The House of Stone

June 25, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:



The House of Stone

(Containing an enlightening life-lesson of an old man and his house.)

This is the story of Chariot and an old man who would prove to be much trouble in the future.

At the time of this story, only a year and a half were left to King John the Cute to save the Land of All Legends. At the end of the year and a half King John the Cute would die at the hands of Prince Charming the Fifth. So, at least, was the claim, as foretold by the Foreseeing Propheseers.

Chariot, the king’s cloud and personal friend, had brought King John the Cute and his party to the River Red Continent, in a desperate attempt to learn secrets that would save the land, even as time was running out.

Chariot waited while the king and his party spoke to Magno the Magnificent and heard his secrets. Chariot waited until the king would need him again.

After a few hours, the king and his party emerged from Magno the Magnificent’s cave. But they did not need the services of Chariot yet. They headed to another cave, to speak to Otto the Outstanding.

Chariot waited once more until the king would require his services.

Thirty three minutes after the king and his party entered Otto the Outstanding’s cave, an old man came to stand near Chariot.

“I thought I saw a cloud,” he said. “Hello, my name is Farmer Moozik.”

“My name is Chariot,” said Chariot.

“Nice to meet you Chariot. May I ask you for a favor? My farm is right over that incredibly high mountain behind you. The River Red Continent has not seen a cloud in at least a year. As a result, there has been no rain and my crops are dying. I depend on those crops to earn money to feed myself and my entire family. May I ask you to take a small trip over that tall mountain, water my crops for a little while, and then return?”

Chariot wanted to help Farmer Moozik, but did not want to fail his king. “How long do you think it would take?” asked Chariot.

“No more than an hour for the whole thing,” said Farmer Moozik earnestly. “Please. It would help my family.”

“All right, then, I will water your crops,” said Chariot. “But if I hear my king calling, I shall abandon all that I am doing and return to him right away.”

“Of course,” smiled Farmer Moozik. “May I climb aboard you as we travel over the mountain?”

Farmer Moozik climbed aboard Chariot. Chariot carried Farmer Moozik above the tallest mountain of the River Red Continent. On the other side, Chariot found a vast farm with no crops. “I have had no crops this year because of the drought,” said Farmer Moozik.

In the middle of the vast farm was a house made completely of small stone pebbles, and next to the house stood a little steel pole.

“That is an impressive house,” said Chariot. “It seems to be made completely out of little stones.”

“That is true. And there is a story behind the house,” said Farmer Moozik, who stepped off Chariot and stood on the porch of his house. “I will tell it to you while you bring water to my land, if you so desire.”

“I would love to hear it.”

Chariot began to bring soft rain upon the small farm, and the farmer began to tell his tale.

“Once upon a time,” began Farmer Moozik, “I was a young man. I grew up on the side farthest from here on the continent, and one day I decided it was time to grow up, leave home, and find my destiny in the world.

“I left my house with a song on my lips, hope in my heart, and a big empty bag on my shoulders. Quite soon, I reached a fork in the path. I chose to take one road and not another. Before moving on, I took a stone from the road not taken, and put it in my empty bag.

“Soon, I came upon another path. Once more, I had to take a choice, knowing that choice would influence my future. For my future, I knew, lay at the end of the path I was taking. I chose a path, hoping it was a wise choice. And once more I took a stone from the path not taken and put it in my bag.

“And so I traveled from one corner of the continent to another. I had to face many paths and I had to make many choices. After each choice, I took a stone from the path not taken. After the first two days, my bag had grown heavy, and its weight burdened me. Already, it weighed more than I did.

“But I did not give up and I did not stop. I continued on the path, I continued choosing paths, and I continued to take stones from the paths not taken. Each of these stones I called a ‘No Stone’ because each stone represented a path I did not take.”

“After a few more days, I reached the tall mountains we had just crossed. The weight on my back was so large that I could hardly take another step. Taking the last path and the last choice, I took one more stone, put it in the bag, and went up the mountain, because that is where the path led. With this weight, it took me four days to climb up the mountain. Then it took me three more days to come down and stand where we are standing.

“At that point, I had no more strength in me. I threw the bag of No Stones down and the choices of the past no longer weighed heavily upon me. Here, I vowed, I would make my home and discover my future.

“And so I built my house where I had dropped the bag. And I had built the house from the stones I had collected. Here I lived to be an old man, I lived to have a family, a business, and a good life. Here I found myself and my future, in a house made of the choices I did not take.

“And that, my dear Chariot, is how I learned an important life-lesson, that one life can be built on many No’s.”

“That is a beautiful grownup tale of discovery,” said Chariot. “I hope one day to have one of my own. In the meantime, I have watered your crops. I hope it will help.”

“I know that it will, Chariot. It will take six months for my crops to grow fully. Thank you for your help.”

“It was my pleasure. Now, with your permission, I will leave and return to my king.”

“You can try,” said Farmer Moozik.

Less than two hours have passed since the king and his party had entered the cave of Otto the Outstanding. In his cave, Otto the Outstanding was telling his second tale. Over the mountains, Chariot was beginning to rise in an attempt to cross the mountains. But he would not reach his destination for a long time. But those events will be told in other stories. In the meantime, this has been the grownup story in which Chariot learned that many No’s make a life.

This has also been the story of Chariot and an old man, who would prove to be much trouble quite soon.

(To be continued on Thursday…)
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Turning Your Life into a Fairy Tale: Lisa McCurrach

June 24, 2013

As you  know, three people will get to have their lives turned into fairy tales in the Tickling Butterflies universe. Anyone can win a ‘ticket’. I was thinking, why not turn to people I find interesting and ask them about a day, a moment, an event in their lives that’s important to them, something that I could later turn into an interesting fairy tale? I approached  a few people, asked them to guest post and write a paragraph or two. Their names will be added to the tickets list. And we can share in their lives and the magic.

Each person contacted can invite three other people (and only three) to do the same. You just have to choose interesting people.

Our first guest post is from Lisa McCurrach from Over the Effing Rainbow. She writes:


I will admit, when Guy asked me if I’d like to write one of these posts (and after some much-needed clarification, blame my woolly-headedness there), one thing alone jumped right out at me. This isn’t so much an admission that I live a really quiet life (I do) as that the event in question is, in my mind, the most important one of my life so far. It wasn’t surviving the hell that was my time at school to walk out six years later and never look back, though that one came a close second. And I haven’t chosen to write about this to be bitter, though even now it’s a little bit tempting. The most important and memorable thing that’s happened to me was finally giving up and ending a relationship that spent about ten years being more or less entirely destructive.


Not abusive. I should make that clear. The key word is destructive, because we both made a mess of things and we were both too stubborn to clean it up, until we had absolutely no other choice. Oh, everything was fine at first. Good, in fact. These things usually are. But sell-by dates are a good thing for good reasons, and we both spent most of those years ignoring ours. It’s only now that I’m looking back and seeing all of this for what it was. No one was hurting me but me, because I believed that being single (read: being alone) was worse than not. Turns out, I was very, very wrong. The world didn’t end with that relationship. Far from it, thankfully.


So of course I feel better now that I don’t do that anymore, and I hope he does too. At the end of the day, I can’t be bitter. It was ten years I can’t take back, but I can make up for them now. And you know what? I’ll be damned if I spend the next ten (or twenty, or however many I have left) stopping myself. There’s too much awesomeness out here in the world.


Considering Guy’s goal in asking for this post, I don’t know if there’s a fairytale anywhere in here, but I leave that in his hands. I’ll continue kicking my fears in their tender places, I think. I’ve got a lot of lost time to make up for.

Thank you, Lisa. There are quite a few ideas for fairy tales there, but I’ll leave that to the readers for now.

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The First Fairy Tale

June 23, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:


The First Story

(Containing the exciting adventures of two reputable knowledge-seekers.)


This is the story of the Original Monster, as told by Otto the Outstanding, who heard it from the Original Monster.

Otto the Outstanding continued to tell his tale: When I heard the Original Monster’s tale about who I truly am and who my creator is, my knees became weak and my heart grew soft. I knew he did not trick me, and every fiber in my being desired to let him go. Since I am an honorable – though sometimes tricky – hero, I knew right there and then that no matter what happened, I would release him.

But I wanted to know more, and so I decided to trick him. Even though my heart had grown soft for the Original Monster, I tried to sound scary and authoritative, as I knew I could. “That was a great story, monster,” I told him. “But it is not enough for me to let you go.”

“That is truly sad,” said the Original Monster. And still there was no fear in his voice. “How can I convince you to let me go, for I can think of nothing else but what I have done.”

“Tell me who you are,” I said, still being tricky and deceptive. “Tell me what you have discovered about yourself during your travels.”

“That is my story, not yours,” said the monster. “What I have discovered is personal. Please let me go now.”

“I am a discoverer as well as an adventurer. This is knowledge I must gain. Tell me what you have discovered, and I will let you go. You have the word of a hero.”

The Original Monster thought about my offer long and hard. Then he said, “I have never told anyone what I have discovered. Perhaps it will be helpful for me to finally tell someone I consider a friend. You must give me your word as a hero that you will never tell what you are about to hear. It will be our secret, the secret of friends.”

“I vow the vow of a hero,” I said, “that I will keep this secret and tell it to no one, unless the telling of it would save the world.”

The Original Monster thought about this, then said, “That is fair. Please let me go, and I will tell you my story.”

I considered whether he was trying to trick me. “Please,” he said. “We are friends now.”

My heart had grown too soft, and I believed he was being honest. I let him go.

Then we sat together and ate dinner around the campfire. Over dinner, he told me his tale.

“My new life purpose,” began the Original Monster, “once I discovered the paths to this other world and that world’s connection to us, was to discover the connections between those who write the stories and the stories themselves. And yet, in the back of my mind, there was always the question: What is my story? Who are my creators? Who am I? What am I supposed to represent?

“I am so old, that those who told my tale have been dead, not for decades, not for centuries, not for thousands of years, not for tens of thousands of years, but for hundreds of thousands of years. My story has stopped being told hundreds of thousands of years ago. And yet always there are new stories and adventures for me. Always my name changes, always my personality changes a bit, but my essence remains the same, and my life remains untouched by Death.

“I do not know the entire story yet, but I have learned quite a lot. This is the story of how I learned most of it.

“In this other land of no magic, in this land in which children’s imagination creates life in this world, there is such a thing as academia. Smart men and women study different things, then they put it in words and store it in vast and deep chambers called ‘libraries’. There is one such person in academia, called Doctor Dave Daniels. Doctor Dave Daniels is a young discoverer of ancient stories, and he is still alive today,” said the Original Monster. “He researches the roots of all stories. And so, one day, I attempted to approach him in his office in his place of academia.

“ ‘Good evening, Doctor Dave Daniels’, I introduced myself. ‘My name is Orry Monsty’, for that is what I call myself in that other world. ‘And I have an offer to you. I would like to hear everything you have discovered about the earliest story that ever existed. In return, I will tell you something about that story that you do not now know.

“ ‘The earliest story?’ the doctor said.

“ ‘Yes. The earliest story that ever existed. The first story that ever was told by many. The first legend. The first fairy tale. I wish to know all that you know about the hero of that story,’ for that, Otto the Outstanding, was me, of course. I continued, ‘I wish to know what you know about those who invented that story. Please tell me all you know.’

“ ‘Listen, Mr. Monsty,’ he said. ‘Very little is known about the first legend that ever was told. It was told in ancient times and it was done at a time when men and women did not know how to read and write, and so the story cannot be found in writing. Nor was it written in history books.’

“ ‘Surely you have clues. I know you have researched this subject for many years.’

“ ‘Yes, yes, I do and I have,’ nodded Doctor Dave Daniels. ‘And I will gladly show you what I have discovered. I was making sure you were not just a kid off the street. And your offer intrigues me. How can I know that you know something I do not?’

“ ‘I will tell you the name of the hero of the first fairy tale,’ I said. ‘If you have no written record then you cannot know this. The name of the hero of the first fairy tale was Ookoo-Ah.’

“Doctor Dave Daniel’s jaw dropped in amazement. ‘I do not know how you know this,’ he said. ‘And I do not know it to be true, but it is probably true. There is a science in academia, a science of language, a science of all languages. And discoverers in that field have learned that no matter the language and no matter the time, names of heroes in legends have sounds in them that sound heroic to all men in all languages, and names of mythical villains in legends have sounds in them that sound evil to all men in all languages. The name Ookoo-Ah, though unknown to me, sounds ancient and heroic. Tell me, Mister Monsty, if I show you everything I know, will you tell me more?’

“ ‘I will,’ I promised.

“And then he showed me all that he knew.

“He took me down to the library. Once in the library, he took me to the stairs. And down we went to a deeper part of the library. Then we moved on to a deeper and darker part of the library. We went down seven floors. And each floor was darker than the last. Each floor was mustier than the last. Each floor had less people in it, poring over ancient texts. On the seventh floor down, there was almost no light. The manuscripts were yellow with age, and the mustiness reminded me of dark tunnels in the Land of All Legends. There was no one there to look over texts. No one was there to study the truly old texts.

“ ‘Come with me,’ said Doctor Dave Daniels.

“As we walked, he began to tell me the story of his discoveries. ‘There are rules to legends and fairy tales,’ he told me. ‘The characters must fall under a few categories: the adventurer, the explorer, the meek, the silly, the beautiful, and so on. No matter who writes the story, if the story survives enough to be told enough times to become a fairy tale, then the story’s heroes and villains fall into a few basic categories.’

“ ‘Are you telling me that Ookoo-Ah was a hero, an adventurer?’ I asked him.

“ ‘That is what almost everyone in my field believes. But not me. I think there are stories even earlier and more ancient than stories of adventurers. Follow me this way,’ he turned around a corner of shelves and continued to lead me through the maze of scripts. ‘You see, Mr. Monsty, learning about ancient stories is hard. Stories have existed for tens of thousands of years, as long as mankind has existed, from the moment our brain was developed enough to create language and to begin to understand the universe, back in the time mankind lived in caves.

“ ‘But the question in my field is, how can we tell? How can we know what stories the ancient humans told? And there, you see, is where my latest discovery comes in. Through here.’

“He led me to a locked door. He produced a key from his pocket, put it in the lock, and opened the door. The door opened to a tiny room that had more scattered paper in it than air to breathe. ‘This is my room,’ he said. ‘And only I have the key. Now look at this.’

“He rummaged through piles of papers, until he took out a photograph – they have the wondrous technology, Otto the Outstanding, to take any image they see and put it on a piece of paper; it is called a photograph – he took out a photograph. ‘Look at this, Mr. Monsty. This photograph was taken in a cave in the continent of Africa. It is the earliest cave of modern man that has ever been discovered, dating back two hundred and fifty thousand years. This is when language was at its most basic and writing did not exist. But, you see, this photograph was taken recently by us, depicting the wall of the cave.’

“He showed me the photograph, and this time my own jaw dropped. The photograph showed crude drawings on the cave wall, and one of these drawings was clearly a drawing of me, as I had been when the land was born and when I was young.

“ ‘Ancient man, prehistoric man, did not know how to write, Mr. Monsty. But even back then, when they were so young, they knew how to draw. And what they did was, they drew their stories so they could show their children and their tribes what happened in the stories.’

“ ‘That is amazing, Doctor Dave Daniels,’ I said, hardly able to breathe. ‘Tell me more.’

“ ‘Look at the story as told by the pictures,’ he said. ‘This hero, which looks like a hairy monster, or even an ape, sees a lion attack his family. This hero – I guess I should start to call him Ookoo-Ah – so Ookoo-Ah takes a big stick from a tree and fights the lion until the lion runs away. Then his family, see this picture?, his family celebrates and they are safe.’

“ ‘I looked at the pictures and saw the truth in Doctor Dave Daniels’ words. And as I saw them, I remembered such incidents. I had fought back killer lions and killer bears, I have fought back killer elephants and even killer rhinos. These were my earliest adventures. I protected everyone I knew back then.

“ ‘Then what you are saying, Doctor, is that the story of Ookoo-Ah is the story of a hero?’

“ ‘No, no, it is not. That is my point. There is something before hero. You see, Mr. Monsty, before the stories of heroes were the stories of men who were half animals. This is a story of ancient man, a story in which ancient man calls upon the beast within him in order to protect his family and survive. The stories of Ookoo-Ah are the stories of man’s beastliness, and what happens when it is released. The stories of heroes came afterwards. And heroes were less beastly.

“ ‘Over hundreds of thousands of years since, Mr. Monsty, there have always been tales of man’s beastly nature coming out. Sure, the hero no longer fought lions, but he protected his women, and fought back various monsters. Lately, the beast within is portrayed as a more intelligent person, who still possesses the rage of an animal and the instincts to protect and survive. These aspects of him come out when he or his loved ones or even his land and home are in danger. Stories of Ookoo-Ah have changed over thousands of years, but always the beast remains.’

“This is what Doctor Dave Daniels has revealed to me of myself and those who created me, Otto the Outstanding,” said the Original Monster. “And when he was done, I promised him that I would tell him all that I know about the first story that ever was. We set up a meeting. Before the meeting, I returned to the land to bring evidence of this land’s existence. And now I am headed to that meeting and I do not want to be late, for I promised him I would show him the secrets he has sought all his life. And that is my story, Otto the Outstanding. Now, with your permission, I will leave you and attend my meeting.”

“ ‘It has been a great honor meeting you and speaking to you, Ookoo-Ah,’ I said. ‘Go in peace.’ ”

That was six hundred years ago, King John the Cute. That other world is a world without magic, spells, or potions. Surely Doctor Dave Daniels is long dead. And surely the Original Monster has discovered quite a bit more since then about his own roots. Perhaps he has discovered everything and moved on to a new quest and a new discovery. Perhaps he is in the Land of All Legends now, perhaps he is in the other world. I do not know.

That is my story, and that is all I know, King John the Cute.

King John the Cute came to his feet after listening to the hero’s story. “Otto the Outstanding, that was a fascinating tale. You have done a great service for your land, and you did not break your promise, for the sake of the world is truly at peril and you may have helped us save it by telling this personal tale. Now we will leave you and continue on our quest to save the Land of All Legends.”

And so, King John the Cute, Benjamin Miller, Minister Vazir, Minister Azriel Jones, and Colonel Stone headed out to meet with Chariot, so that Chariot could carry them home and away from the River Red Continent. King John the Cute thought about the stories he had learned and about the secrets of this world as well as the world with no magic. He had much to digest and he knew that he would have to find the path to this other world without the Original Monster, who only a few years ago had said he would return in fifty years.

King John the Cute and his party came to the location where they had last seen Chariot and looked around. Chariot was gone.

King John the Cute raised his voice and called across the entire continent. “Chariot! Come! I need you!”

His voice echoed across the River Red Continent. And yet Chariot did not appear.

King John the Cute and his party looked at each other. “Something bad has happened to my friend Chariot,” the king said. “And we are stranded on the River Red Continent.”

This has been the true story of the first story that ever existed.

Now read on, to learn if the Land of All Legends will survive.


(To be continued on Tuesday…)
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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Athlete and the Author

June 20, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:


The Athlete and the Author

(Containing the second exciting story about a second pair of twins.)


This is the story of Otto the Outstanding, as told by Otto the Outstanding, and heard by King John the Cute and his party.

As the king and his party of trusted friends, ministers, and advisors left the cave of Magno the Magnificent, they headed to the other side of the mountain. On the way, they came across the cloud Chariot, who waited for them patiently. “If you need me, give me a shout,” Chariot told the king. “Until then, I am waiting here.”

“Very good, my friend,” said King John the Cute.

A few hours later, the party arrived at Otto the Outstanding’s camp. Otto the Outstanding was six hundred and fifty years old and did not look a day over fifty, and a muscular fifty at that. His hair was only marginally white, and his spirit was high.

Upon seeing the king and his party, the adventurer asked them to sit down and eat and drink.

The king accepted the offer. Then he said, “Otto the Outstanding, how is it that you look so young and yet you have lived for over six hundred years?”

“A while back I drank a powerful potion that prolonged my life and gave me great strength,” he confided. “But my sharp senses and keen eyes tell me that is not what you seek. Ask me any question, tell me to perform any task, and if it is honorable, I shall fulfill it gladly.”

“We come seeking information about the Original Monster. He possesses knowledge that will help us save the Land of All Legends from the illness that has befallen it.”

Otto the Outstanding whistled. “The Original Monster? I haven’t heard that name for a while. Yet I have thought of him each and every day for the last six hundred years. But what good will it do you to hear my story? I have not seen the Original Monster in six hundred years.”

“Perhaps you possess a clue that will aid us,” said King John the Cute. “Please, tell me your story.”

Otto the Outstanding bowed and began to tell his tale.

My name, he said, is Otto the Outstanding. And I am as my name implies. I am a great adventurer. I take risks and I don’t think twice. I leap into danger and always come out victorious. I quest and I complete my quests. Women fall in love with me, and then grow angry that they have fallen for a foul cad. I save the helpless and vanquish the evil. And always I treat my adventures with self-deprecating humor that everyone finds endearing.

One day, six hundred and forty years ago, I set on a quest to find the Original Monster. I tracked stories and rumors, I followed footsteps in the sand and the smell of ancient fur in the air. And thus, after years of questing, I found myself on the River Red Continent.

I am not used to waiting during my quests, but for the Original Monster I waited. I waited in a spot in the jungle where he is rumored to move every few years. I lay down a trap – a net that would grab anyone who walks on top of it. And then I waited. I waited for three years, three days, three minutes and thirty-three seconds. And at that precise time there was movement in the net. I ran out of the bushes, and saw the Original Monster there, hanging in my net. He looked as if he was half human, half monkey: hairy all over, but huge. And yet his eyes shone with wisdom.

“Please let me go,” the Original monster spoke, and his voice was soothing and relaxed. He did not fear being caught, for I can smell fear, and I did not smell it on him.”

“I am Otto the Outstanding,” I introduced myself. “And once I have caught my quarry, I never let him go. We shall go together to the mainland – you shall be my prisoner – and I will show you to the world. And everyone will know that I am truly outstanding.”

“I will give you something you want, Otto the Outstanding,” the Original Monster said. “I will tell you a story. It is a story about yourself.”

I shrugged. “Tell it to me or don’t tell it to me. I will not let you go.”

“I choose to tell you the story,” the Original Monster said. “Please sit down. It is not a short story.”

I sat down, certain that he would try to trap me. And yet, his suggestion to tell me a story about myself seemed strange and… special. I listened to his tale.

“This is the tale of Otto the Outstanding,” the Original Monster began. “But to understand it, you must understand where I have been over the last few centuries. I have found a path to another world. It is a path paved with the imagination of children, and it leads to a world of no magic but much imagination. It is a world with many people, but few creatures and no talking animals. It is a world of buildings as high as the clouds and of lights that burn on the ceiling of every room without fire and no magic. I have seen things in that world that shocked me… And I have also learned that stories told in that world create this world.

“Whenever a new story is written in something called a book, and when many people buy that book and read it or tell it, the stories told in that book become true in our world. That is how people and places come to existence at the Border of Nothing. That is the secret of almost everyone who lives here.”

“That is absurd,” I said. “Such a place cannot exist. You try to trap me with confusing words.”

“It seems absurd. And yet I have seen it. I have been there. And I have read stories that later came to be true here. Some of these are the stories of the great adventurer, Otto the Outstanding. Other stories are stories of others you and I know well. And so I made it my life’s new quest to find the story behind the stories, to discover the stories of the storytellers, those who write and tell the stories, and to learn how their minds could create living beings. During the last centuries I have spent most of my time in that other land, traversing the path paved with the imagination of children, to that other world. I spend years there, and then I return to breathe in the magic of my land and be refreshed.

“In my journeys, I have discovered the story of Wyatt Whalen, the author of Otto the Outstanding and his adventures. That is the story I would like to tell you.”

Then the Original Monster fell silent and did not talk again. After a minute, my appetite whetted, I said, “Go on, then.”

“This is the story of Wyatt Whalen, the man who invented Otto the Outstanding. This is also the story of William Whalen, Wyatt Whalen’s brother. Wyatt and William were born together, on the same day and to the same mother. They were identical twins, similar in looks but in nothing else.

“William was outgoing and was always among friends, while Wyatt was shy and kept to himself. William liked to play ball with friends. Wyatt liked to play with himself for hours: his imagination would conjure up characters, and he would play with them without ever growing bored. William was the adventuring type, always going off to climb trees and explore. Wyatt remained in his room always, dreaming up adventures in his mind.

“As the two grew older, William became an athlete, which is a man who competes in physical competitions, and Wyatt became an author, which is a man who writes books. William loved to run and to push his body to its limits. When people of that world without magic exert themselves physically to the fullest, they are suddenly washed with a feeling of accomplishment and joy, a feeling that they can do anything, that they are super-powerful. William felt super-powerful all the time, since he pushed his body to its limits all the time. Wyatt, meanwhile, never exercised, and his body was weak and could not exert itself even a little. Wyatt would sit all day in his room and write his books, while William would spend all his days outside, exercising his body.

“And this is where the odd piece of the story comes in,” the Original Monster continued. “Even though William spent all his days feeling super-powerful and even all-powerful, no one knew his limits better than him. He knew that he would never outrun a speeding bullet, or that he could never lift a house. The super-powerful brother knew his limits well, for he ran against them every day. Meanwhile, Wyatt Whalen, the weak brother, whose body had no strength, sat in his room alone and invented story after story of an adventurer who was super-powerful and had no limits. The weak brother believed that there are no limits to the body or to a man’s abilities, and so that is what he wrote when he wrote Otto the Outstanding’s adventures.

“And that is how I learned, Otto the Outstanding,” continued the Original Monster, “that the stronger a man is, the more he knows his limitations, of himself and the world, and the weaker a man is, the more he believes that anything is possible. And that is the story of Wyatt Whalen, William Whalen, and Otto the Outstanding.”

Otto the Outstanding rested from his story, then looked at King John the Cute and continued, “That is how I learned, King John the Cute, the truth about myself. It was so plain and felt so right that I knew it to be true right away. With the help of the Original Monster, I have seen the deepest truth about myself, and I have never been the same since. Sure, I have had more adventures. But I was more mature this time, I knew who I was. And even though I performed impossible task after impossible task, I knew my limitations well. And that is the story of my experience with the Original Monster.”

“But wait,” King John the Cute said. “Did you release the monster? What happened in the end?”

Otto the Outstanding hesitated and did not answer.

“Otto the Outstanding?”

Once more, Otto the Outstanding hesitated. Then, he spoke, “Is the Land of All Legends really sick and dying?”

“It is,” affirmed the king.

“And will learning the truth about the Original Monster really help you?”

“I believe it will. He knows deep secrets about how we are born and about the very fabric of this land. He knows secrets of the land that created us. The illness of the land lies in those secrets.”

Otto the Outstanding nodded. “I understand. Then, even though I had promised I would not, I am forced to tell you the other half of this story.”

“The other half?”

“Yes. The other half of the story is the story of the Original Monster himself.”

And so Otto the Outstanding began to tell the second half of the tale, the tale of the Original Monster himself.

This has been the beginning, middle, and ending of the first story (out of two) told by Otto the Outstanding to King John the Cute and his party.

This has also been the second story (out of four) about twins in this book of legends.

Next follows the second story told by Otto the Outstanding to the king.


(To be continued on Sunday…)
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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Hero and the Storyteller

June 18, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:




The Hero and the Storyteller

(Containing parallel parables of a hero and his creator.)


And so it was that during a time of hardship and death in the Land of All Legends, King John the Cute and his party set on a journey to the River Red Continent in an attempt to learn the secrets of the Original Monster and how he traveled to the land of no magic, the land of the storytellers.

Six were in the party: King John the Cute, Minister Vazir, Minister Azriel Jones, Colonel Stone, Benjamin Miller, and the cloud Chariot who carried all of them.

Within a few days, Chariot arrived at the River Red Continent, and Colonel Stone directed the cloud to the cave of Magno the Magnificent.

All alighted from Chariot. “I will be here when you return,” said Chariot.

“Thank you, my friend,” said King John the Cute.

The party headed into the cave. There, they met with Magno the Magnificent. The man was older than when King John the Cute had last seen him, but his hair was still wild, his muscles still rippled, and his heart was still the heart of a hero.

“Welcome, your highness,” Magno the Magnificent bowed before his king. “I have been waiting for you ever since the honorable Colonel Stone told me you would come.”

“Thank you, Magno the Magnificent,” said the king. “When we last met, I was but a child, and you told me of your hunt for the Original Monster. We need to find him and ask him his secrets in order to save the Land of All Legends. Colonel Stone assures me that you have succeeded in your quest to capture the Original Monster, and Death himself assures me that the monster is not dead. Another source assures me that the Original Monster knows a way to a land without magic. I must find the way to that land. The fate of the Land of All Legends depends on it.”

“All these things are true, your highness,” answered Magno the Magnificent. “The information you have gathered must have been at quite a cost, as it had come to me. Sit down, sit down all of you, drink and eat while I tell you the story of the Original Monster and myself. You may not like the story, but it is all that I have.”

“We thank you for your hospitality and for your information.”

The king and his party sat down. “Begin,” said the king.

My story begins, began Magno the Magnificent, before I was born. But I shall get to that later and begin when I was born.

I was born a hero. I had always felt I was a hero, but I had not known it. Back when I was young, I overheard a hunter’s party speak of their quest to hunt down the Original Monster. When I heard who he was and how impossible it was to catch him, I knew that that was what I was born to do. Every part of me needed to find the monster. Every iota of every atom in me needed to go on adventures and find the Original Monster.

Ever since, I have dedicated my life to questing after the Original Monster. Every time I felt I was close, every time I hunted down a clue or a witness, the Original Monster eluded me. Finally, after decades of searching and questing, I lay down a trap in the River Red Continent, and I waited. I waited for two years. Then, exactly five years ago, I captured the monster in my trap.

I ran out and saw the Original Monster hanging in my net. He was a massive man, as hairy as a troll. His muscles were huge and hairy and bulky like mine. And even though he was hanging upside down in a web, he seemed heroic.

“Please let me go,” said the Original Monster, his voice deep and relaxing. There was no fear to be heard in his voice and no fear reeked from his body, for I can smell fear.

“My name is Magno the Magnificent,” I said. “And my entire life has been dedicated to capturing you, the first true monster. There is no chance that I will ever let you go.”

“I will give you something you want, Magno the Magnificent,” said the Original Monster. “I will tell you a story. I will tell you a story about yourself.”

“I make no promises to release you, since I have given my life to capturing you,” I said. “But I will listen to your story, for you have intrigued me.”

“That is fair,” said the Original Monster. “I will tell you now the story of Magno the Magnificent. But first I will tell you how I came to know of it.

“I was, indeed, born before you, before any of the creatures you know, and any of the creatures that they know. I have lived longer than any of those who live now. I was here right after the land was born, perhaps even at the moment it was born. I had a different name then. I have had many different names. And yet I never died. You say you dedicated your life to finding me. I have dedicated my life to many things, and I have long achieved all those things. Now I dedicate my life to something else.

“I have found a path to another world, Magno the Magnificent. It is a path laden with imagination that leads to a world with much imagination but no magic. It is a world in which lights are caused not by fire but by something called ‘electricity’. It is a world of books and stories. I have learned things that have shocked me deeply. Not least of which is the fact that stories told in that world become true in this one.

“That world, that world without magic, creates this world. Whenever a new story appears in something called a book, when enough people buy that book and read it and tell it, the stories told in that book become true in our world. That is the secret of almost everyone who lives here.”

“You lie,” I told the Original Monster. “Such a world cannot exist.”

“I felt the same as you. And yet, I have seen it. I have seen it… and I have even seen the stories which included many of my own adventures. That is how I knew it was true. Because those stories were written before they had happened to me.

“Ever since that day, I have dedicated my life to discovering the secrets of those who make up the stories that come to life here. I go to that world, and I trace the steps of those who invent the legends of the creatures I meet here. I go to that world and learn its secrets. And then I return here, to my home, with greater knowledge.

“In my travels to that other world, Magno the Magnificent, I have read stories containing the adventures of Magno the Magnificent. I have read books and tales of adventures you have had in your life and of adventures you have yet to experience. And in my travels, Magno the Magnificent, I have met the man who invented Magno the Magnificent, the man who wrote all of his adventures. And in my travels, Magno the Magnificent, I have learned his story. Would you like to hear it?”

I was thunderstruck, King John the Cute. I could not believe the things I have heard, and yet they seemed real. I wanted with all my want to listen to the Original Monster. And yet, I did not want to be duped by the monster. I did not want him to trick me. So I said, “I am intrigued by your story, monster. But I cannot promise you that I will let you go because of it.”

“That is fair,” the monster said.

And thus, still imprisoned in my net, he began to tell me the story of my creator, “This is the story of Paul Perabo, the man who invented the famous stories of Magno the Magnificent.

“Paul Perabo was born Paul Obscuro. He was born in a country in which he and his family and each and every one of his people were living under a military rule of the government. No one liked Paul Obscuro’s people, and the military occasionally came in and did whatever they wanted with the people, threatening them with guns. Paul Obscuro’s father was in an army called ‘The Resistance’, and so Paul grew up learning from his father everything he needed to know about adventures, survival, violence, and self-protection.

“When Paul was six, the army killed the parents of everyone who lived in the his street, including Paul’s parents. Then the army took a few of the young children and made them part of the army, convincing the young children that the army was the one in the right. Paul continued to grow up under cruel soldiers who turned him into a cruel soldier.

“When Paul turned eighteen, he escaped from the army that had trained him, escaped the country he had grown in, and changed his name to Paul Perabo. He came to live in a country without wars. The country gave him asylum and protection. Paul grew to shed behind his education of violence and to live a life of leisure and luxury in a country that had no wars.

“When he was twenty-four, he began to write stories of adventures. The stories were loved by children and teens and adults. They told of a hero, Magno the Magnificent, who always won the day and was always a hero. But the violence and adventures in the stories, although they seemed great to those who read it, did not even begin to scratch the surface of Paul Perabo’s violent experiences. As great an adventurer as Magno the Magnificent was, he was but a shadow of what Paul Perabo had really seen. In addition, Magno the Magnificent’s adventures always ended up with happy endings, even though the only happy ending Paul Perabo knew was his own. His friends and family, even the soldiers who raised him, all suffered from sad endings.

“And this has been the story of how Magno the Magnificent came to be and how a single man’s imagination created you.”

I must tell you, King John the Cute, that I was astounded. I knew the story to be true at the moment I heard it. I knew that Paul Perabo had created me, and that my life has not been what I thought it had been. I knew that from that point on I will always be different and wiser.

That story changed me as soon as I heard it.

“Original Monster,” I told him. “You are a great creature, a great legend. You have given me the gift of true knowledge and you have changed my life. For this, I will release you as you asked. Perhaps you will do me the honor of staying and telling me more of that other land. Have you ever traced back the man who invented you?”

“I have traced back most of my own story,” said the Original Monster. “But I will not share that with you. I have offered you your own story, and that is what I have given you. You must find that enough, for I will share no more.”

“Thank you, thank you,” I said, as I lowered the net and cut it. “You are free to go and to continue with your life.”

The Original Monster then quickly disappeared into the woods, claiming that he was about to begin a long quest in that other world, and that he would not be back for at least fifty years.

Ever since, I have remained here, older and wiser, in the River Red Continent, the land of the older and the wiser. I have lived here a second life, a life of wisdom. And yet, I do come by the occasional adventures, but I deal with them differently and in a more mature way. I believe I was created for this moment, I was destined to meet the monster and learn my own truth. I was destined to live the life I am living. And I feel fortunate to have done so.

“And that,” continued Magno the Magnificent, “is the story of my encounter with the Original Monster. True to his word, I have never seen him since.”

King John the Cute and Benjamin Miller looked at each other. King John the Cute said, “Your story is an amazing one, and I have much to think about. And yet, I am more determined than before to find the Original Monster and to ask him a few questions, for he may hold the answers to Benjamin Miller’s and Minister Vazir’s way home, as well as the secret to the sickness that pervades the Land of All Legends. Can you direct us somewhere? Do you have a clue as to the Original Monster’s whereabouts?”

“I myself know nothing,” said Magno the Magnificent. “But perhaps you can ask Otto the Outstanding. He had hunted down the Original Monster, as well, years before I did. He has captured him, as well, and yet the monster was loose when I encountered him. Perhaps he has a clue that I do not.”

“Otto the Outstanding is still alive?” Benjamin Miller whispered. “As you no doubt recall, my king, I told you about him when we were in the Land of No Respect. He was the one who said the Original Monster had spoken of another world, of my world. Otto the Outstanding was the one who began my decades-long search for the Original Monster. But that was almost six hundred years ago. How could he still be alive?”

“Alive he is,” answered the hero, “and living but a few caves from here, also on the River Red Continent. I will tell you how to get there.”

This has been the magnificent story, containing parallel parables of a hero and his creator, in which King John the Cute and his party came one step closer to getting a look into a land of no magic.

This was also the story in which we learned that the Original Monster was not in the Land of All Legends, and would probably not return for years to come.


(To be continued on Thursday…)
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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Boy Who Wanted His Mommy

June 16, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:


The Boy Who Wanted His Mommy

(Containing a stray ending to a long story.)

Before you, dear readers, is not a whole story, but an ending of a story. The beginning and middle of the story happened a long time before the ending, and their details have been told elsewhere in this book of legends.

The ending of the story begins at the end of the last story:

“And near my lap was this book,” said Al the Average ,”a book that belonged to Charley, the book your Minister Vazir took from me.”

Minster Vazir looked down at the book in his own hands. As Al the Average finished his tale, the book in Minister Vazir’s hand became heavy with memories. The memories flowed from the book to Minister Vazir’s hands and into his blood. From there, they circulated throughout his entire body until they came to rest in his brain.

Suddenly, Minister Vazir, the man with no parents and no memory of his childhood, remembered everything he had forgotten.

“Al!” he shouted. “Al the Average! It’s you!” When Al the Average looked at him in surprise, Minister Vazir turned to King John the Cute. “King John the Cute, I’m Charley! I’m Charley! Gladys is my mother! I remember everything now!”

Silence engulfed Minister Vazir, as the meaning of his words sank into all who stood there.

“Al!” Minister Vazir continued. “I remember my Teddy Bear! I remember the dragons! I remember my mother! I remember I don’t have a father! I remember how I wanted to get ice cream and suddenly I was sliding down a white slide and landed in a green field with no memory of who or what I was!”

Everyone stared at Minister Vazir. King John the Cute realized this was why Death had looked at Minister Vazir when he mentioned creatures who come from other lands. Death had seen it in Minister Vazir’s aura!

Suddenly, Minister Vazir fell to his knees and screamed in passion, “I want my mommy! I want my mommy! I want my mommy!”

In exactly this way he kept screaming for five minutes, until King John the Cute calmed the minister down. “Minister Vazir,” he said. “Charley… It seems that the Fates had indeed brought Al the Average to us for a reason. It seems that Al the Average’s story does have a happy ending. I must tell you something now. Are you listening?”

Minister Vazir nodded.

“Benjamin Miller here also comes from your world,” said King John the Cute. “I have vowed before him that I will find him a way back home. Now I vow before you that I will find both your ways home. We will discover the path to this strange world Al the Average has visited, and we will reunite you two with your parents.”

“My parents are long dead,” said Benjamin Miller. “I am seven hundred years old.”

“I’m a grown man,” Minister Vazir said. “My mother must have forgotten about me.”

King John the Cute raised his hand. “If you recall Al the Average’s stories, time passes differently on that world. Years pass here while only a few months pass over there. I believe the Fates would not have brought us together if there was not to be a happy ending to the story. I believe your mother,” he gestured at Minister Vazir, “is still young. And I believe that your mother,” he gestured at Benjamin Miller, “is still alive.”

Benjamin Miller and Minister Vazir both began to cry.

This has been the happy tale of a happy ending to many stories, even though the story itself ended in tears.

Even as the two men were crying, Colonel Stone rushed into the court of the palace, having just rushed into the palace, having just rushed into the city.

“King John the Cute,” Colonel Stone exclaimed. “The mission you have given me has been successful! I have found the whereabouts of Magno the Magnificent. He has, as you suspected, captured the Original Monster and is now living on the River Red Continent.”

“Excellent work, Colonel Stone,” said King John the Cute. “Benjamin Miller assures us that the Original Monster knows the path to that other world we seek. Come, all! Come, Chariot! We leave immediately for the River Red Continent!”


(To be continued on Tuesday…)

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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Fates and the Nuclear Bombs

June 13, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:


The Fates and the Nuclear Bombs

(Containing a woeful tale of a world without the Fates.)


Before you is the last tale of Al the Average, a tragic tale of his tragic third journey to the mysterious planet Earth, a planet with no happy endings, no magic, and no Fates.

John the Cute, Al the Average began to tell the tale of his third journey, my third journey was nothing like the first two. It is a tale of woe.

More years passed for me in Bambooville, as I waited to be carried once more to the magical land with my friends Gladys and Charley. I am a big believer in the Fates, and so I did not worry that I did not know the way. I trusted the Fates to find a way to bring me back there.

And so, after five more years passed in my world, I once more found myself in that other strange world, not knowing how I got there.

In my wanderings, I found a man on the street, crying.

I asked him what was wrong.

“It’s a long story,” he said.

“I like long stories. Please tell me your story. Maybe I can make you feel better.”

And so the man told me his tale.

His name was Mister Jobs. Mister Jobs’ job was delivering something called ‘nuclear missiles’ to a place called a ‘military base’. A nuclear missile, John the Cute, is a special bomb they have in their world. One bomb has the power of hundreds of dragons breathing fire at the same time. It is a small missile but when it lands, it destroys a city as if a giant fell on it.

In this other world, when one country gets nuclear missiles, its enemy country also gets nuclear missiles. That way they can threaten each other with nuclear missiles, but they also know that if one will use the missiles they will both be destroyed. So they try to avoid using that weapon as much as they possibly can. Which is what they claim is the purpose of the weapon. I must say, I found it very strange, to build a kind of weapon that is meant not to be used.

In any case, Mister Jobs’ job was to deliver all the new nuclear missiles to the military base. Earlier that day, he had just delivered ten new nuclear missiles and was heading out when an alarm sounded and all the doors closed.

He looked around and saw everyone in panic. A machine called a ‘radar’ was showing that the enemy country has just launched their nuclear missiles, and those missiles were heading towards their capital city. Everyone was in panic, and the commanders ordered to launch the brand new nuclear missiles that Mister Jobs had just brought to the base.

The military officers began their thirty-second countdown. But then the commander noticed that the missiles about to be launched were still covered by nylon bags. The commander stopped the thirty-second countdown and began to yell at Mister Jobs. He yelled at him that he was not doing his job well, that he had not unwrapped the bombs’ nylon wrappings when it was clearly his job to do so. Only after the commander completely humiliated Mister Jobs for three complete minutes, did he order the thirty-second countdown to continue.

But by then the radar had shown that it had made a mistake, and that the missiles launched at us were actually a flock of birds. No one had launched any missiles. And so there was no reason to launch missiles in return.

And now Mister Jobs was crying and feeling sad because the commander, mean as he is, had a point and Mister Jobs and performed his job poorly.

I listened to his story, John the Cute, and when it was over I told him my opinion of it. “You should be happy, Mister Jobs,” I told Mister Jobs. “If it wasn’t for you not doing your job, nuclear missiles would have been launched. You saved your country. You saved your enemy’s country. You saved the world. Do you not see that the Fates made you do it?”

“The Fates?”

“Yes. I am a big believer in the Fates. The Fates directed you because the Fates wanted you to save the world. And today that is what you did. You saved the world.”

Mister Jobs thought about it and suddenly smiled. Now he felt a lot better.

At that second I thought the story was over, but the fact is, John the Cute, that what I have told you is just the beginning of another story.

“Another story, Al the Average?” King John the Cute asked.

Yes. Please listen.

Just as I left Mister Jobs, I ran into my old friend Gladys. I was very happy to see her. She looked like she hadn’t aged a bit, even though I have aged five years. And yet, her face was filled with sadness.

“Al! Al! I haven’t seen you in three months!” she said.

I chose not to mention the fact that it had been five years for me in my world. Instead, I asked her how she was.

At my question, she cried and could not stop.

“What happened?” I said, hugging her.

“Al, it’s awful. Charley is missing!”

“What?!” I was shocked. “What do you mean?”

Then, between cries, she told me the story of what had happened.

Two and a half months ago, she went out with Charley to get some ice cream. Charley was very happy then, and nothing seemed wrong. In fact, he was happy retelling her all about me and the night I killed five invisible dragons.

Gladys came back into the house with the ice cream and heard silence. When Gladys looked around, she discovered he was missing.

“He hadn’t been seen since, Al!” Gladys cried. “The police has searched for him everywhere! We don’t know if he was kidnapped or if he is lost or… I don’t know what happened to my son, Al! It’s been two and a half months!”

It was a terribly sad story, John the Cute, and all I could do was hug her. Then I said, “I understand that it’s very sad, Gladys. But if it happened to me, I wouldn’t worry.”

She wiped away her tears and looked at me. “Why not, Al?”

“I’m a big believer in the Fates, Gladys. If he has been kidnapped, then maybe he will save his kidnappers from a greater harm and save the world as well. If he has vanished, then he will probably return in a time that would save your life. The Fates always make sure that somehow, magically, there is a happy ending.”

Gladys broke down in tears again. “Al,” she said. “There is no fate, there is no magic, and there are no happy endings. Life is terrible!”

I knew that she was wrong, but I knew that she would not listen while her child was gone.

I wanted to vow right there and then to prove to her that there are Fates in her world and that things do turn out for the best. I even recalled the story I had heard only minutes before, about how the Fates had saved the world using forgetfulness and nylon bags.

But I did not have the heart to say such things to a friend in such sorrow. I did not have the strength to vow, because deep down I was afraid I was wrong and that something awful has happened to Charley.

And so I said nothing, John the Cute. I sat there and hugged her and said nothing. After a few hours, she fell asleep in my arms. I still held her. And then, between one blink and the next, I found myself suddenly sitting on another bench back in Bambooville, the bench the evil witch had sat on a few years previously.

And near my lap was this book, a book that belonged to Charley, the book your Minister Vazir took from me.

And that is the last story of my last journey to a land with no magic, no Fates, and no happy endings. This has also been the woeful story with no happy ending, John the Cute, about how my friend Charley vanished from his mother’s care.


(To be continued on Sunday…)

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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Teddy Bear and the Invisible Dragon

June 11, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:


The Teddy Bear and the Invisible Dragon

(Containing the turbulent tale of Al the Average’s battle with an invisible dragon.)


The following is the second story of the second trip of Al the Average to the planet Earth, the realistic world of those who read and imagine but do not believe in magic.

As you no doubt recall from my story which I had told but two seconds ago, John the Cute, I had traveled to the strange and mysterious land the name of which I do not know. There, I met my old friend Gladys and her seven-year-old child, Charley, who was now eight years old. When Gladys claimed that magic did not exist in her world, I vowed a deep and great vow that I would not stop and I would not rest until I proved to Gladys and to myself that her world does have magic.

I did not tell Gladys my vow, but I did accept her invitation to their apartment for dinner.

While Gladys prepared dinner, she said I could play with Charley, which I gladly did.

Charley ran to his room and brought back a small furry bear made of cloth that he called Teddy Bear. Teddy Bear looked at me with button eyes.

“Hello, Teddy Bear,” I said.

Teddy Bear said nothing.

I tried again, “Hello, Teddy Bear. My name is Al the Average.”

Again, Teddy Bear did not want to speak to me. “Is something wrong with him?” I asked.

“He’s shy,” said Charley. Then he put Teddy Bear next to his ear. “What’s that, Teddy Bear? What did you say?”

“What? What did he say?” I wanted to know.

“Teddy wants to know if you want to play Castle?”

“I don’t know the game,” I said, “but it sounds interesting. Is Teddy going to talk to me when we play?”

Charley put Teddy to his ear, and listened. Then he said, “Teddy only wants to talk to me.”

I felt bad at this, but Charley was such a nice kid that I agreed to play.

Charley put together a circle of pillows in the living room, and said, “This is our castle. Outside of it are all the dragons.”

“Where? Where? I can’t see them!” I was afraid suddenly. I knew some dragons could be very dangerous.

“Over there! Flying! Be careful!”

I ducked.

Charley gave me a sword. “You have to fight them and kill them,” he said.

“But I can’t see them! They’re invisible!” I looked around, trying to catch a glimpse.

“It’s okay. Teddy can see them. He’ll tell you where to go.”

I bravely stepped over the pillows, sword in hand. Teddy whispered instructions in Charley’s ears, and Charley told me where to go and when to use my sword.

I killed dragons until Gladys said that dinner was ready.

I was happy that I killed five invisible dragons! I was a hero and I didn’t even know it!

I looked around, exhausted. Charley was looking at me with shining eyes. Gladys was leaning on the wall, looking at Charley with shining eyes of her own.

“Now do you see, Gladys?” I said, panting. “I killed five invisible dragons before dinner! There is magic in the world!”

She looked at her son’s shiny eyes with her own shining eyes, and smiled. “Yes, Al. I see that you were right. There is lots of magic in the world. Thank you for showing that to me.”

I was glad that I had completed my vow so quickly and so effectively. This, on top of slaying five dragons, was a good night, and dinner was a good dinner.

Dinner was so good that I think I fell asleep in that chair, because I remember eating, and then I remember dreaming of home, then I remember opening my eyes, and finding myself in my bed again, back in my parents’ house in Bambooville.

There was no indication that anything had actually happened. No one had noticed that I had been missing for two days – in fact, only one hour had passed. I began to think that my memory did not take place and that it was some kind of fantasy, but then I found in my room a glider. It was one of the sporting accessories which I had seen in one of the many stores I had visited. It is a tool of that world that allows people to give themselves to the wind and fly.

And that is how I knew that my trip was real, and that my vow had been completed, and that I proved there is magic in the strange land with no name.

There was, however, one more vow to be taken, and one more trip to go. That trip, too, happened years later. Should I continue speaking, John the Cute?

“Continue, Al the Average. Your stories are fascinating.”


(To be continued on Tuesday…)

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