Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.
Here’s the story so far. The story continues:
The Woman Who Loved Her Son
(Containing a sad tale with a not-happy ending about a woman who loved her son.)
The following is Al the Average’s first tale of his first journey to the planet Earth.
John the Cute, you will not believe my tale. One instance I was in the wheat fields outside Bambooville, where all children play and laugh. A tornado was coming in my direction. I was so afraid for my life that I did not know what to do. I closed my eyes in panic. And when I opened them again, the tornado was gone, the wheat field was gone, and I found myself far away from the town of Bambooville.
I walked around, John the Cute. I saw buildings taller than the tallest buildings. I saw more people walk by than there are people in this world. I heard more noise and sound than my ears could hear. And even though it was nighttime, the streets were as bright as day.
It was a world with only people, John the Cute. It was a world with no monsters, no creatures, and no fairies. Clouds did not wink at you when they passed. Dogs did not speak and cats did not wear boots. It was a strange land, my king, a strange and mysterious land.
I walked around for fourteen hours and fourteen minutes, astounded by everything I saw. And then, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a street, in the middle of a thought, I heard a woman scream.
I ran in the direction of the scream, and found myself entering a darker-than-most street corner. There I saw a woman standing in front of two men. The woman was protecting her young child. Before I could do anything, one of the men pulled out a knife and took a step towards the woman.
The woman, who had no knife of her own, nor any weapon or magical spell to aid her, jumped at the man with the knife and screamed. She beat him with all her strength, she flailed her arms wildly and shouted till my ears almost popped. The man with the knife was so surprised, he did not cut her. The other man tried to help his friend and attack the woman as well. Without thinking, she lashed out at him and scratched his face.
“Too much trouble,” one of them said, then turned around and ran away.
“She’s crazy,” the other said, running right behind him.
I was astounded and shocked by what I had seen. I ran towards the woman, who was breathing hard, and I asked her if she was all right.
At first, she did not listen to me. She grabbed her son and touched him all over, just to make sure the knife had not cut him. Once she saw that he was unharmed, she breathed more easily. Then she looked at me.
“My,” I said, “what great strength you have.”
“It was an act of desperation,” she told me.
I considered this. “I don’t think it would matter how desperate I was, I cannot imagine jumping at two attackers when I have no knife, weapon, or even a magical spell to protect me.”
“Magical spell?” she said. “I learned a long time ago that there is no magic in this world, none at all. This isn’t a fairy tale world. This is real life. And in real life there are no happy endings.”
Hearing her words, I was even more shocked than before. “No happy endings?” I cried. “How can that be? The world is full of happy endings!”
“Son, son,” she told me. “Most things end badly, that is my experience. Most stories end tragically. In fact, most things end sadly. The best you can hope for is a not-sad ending. And if you want your story to end less than tragically, you have to grab your life by the bootstraps and make it happen. My son is the most precious thing in the world to me, and I love him more than I love anything else. He was in danger. I did everything humanly possible to make sure he wasn’t hurt. I made my own not-sad ending, that is all.”
I must tell you, John the Cute, that I was stricken to my very core by the notion that a world could exist without happy endings. And as I found it sad I realized that I was living a story right now, and that the story had just ended sadly rather than happily.
I decided right there and then that I would not let that rest. I vowed that I would not rest and I would not stop until I proved to the woman that her life does have happy endings and that her world is a world of happy endings.
This has been the sad story of a world without happy endings, John the Cute. But it was not the end of my journey.
“Continue, then,” said King John the Cute. “I must hear the rest.”
“And hear it you shall,” Al the Average bowed.
(To be continued on Thursday…)
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