Archive for August, 2013

‘Tickilng Butterflies’ – The Museum of History

August 29, 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 Museum of History

(Containing an historical meeting at the Museum of History.)

 

Once upon a time on the planet Earth, three strangers to the world walked into a human town the first time in their lives. These three were the celebrated King John the Cute, Minister Vazir who was also known as little Charley, and the seven-hundred-year-old Benjamin Miller.

Once inside the town, they came upon a statue of a soldier, standing in the middle of a busy square.

King John the Cute approached the statue and said, “Excuse me, sir. We are new to this world and would like some direction.”

The statue looked at the threesome and saluted. “King John the Cute,” he said. “I have been waiting for you for a long time. How may I assist you?”

“We seek knowledge about this world and those who live here. Where can we get a lesson in its history?”

“That is a fortuitous question, for a five minute walk in that direction,” the statue pointed to its right, “is an art museum. There is nowhere better to learn of the history of the world.”

“Thank you, my friend,” said King John the Cute. “We shall be on our way.”

“My pleasure. I hope that by the time you leave this world, more people will speak to me.”

The threesome continued in the direction of the museum. Behind them, the statue froze in place once more. But for the first time since it had been erected, the statue no longer saluted, but pointed in the direction of the museum.

The entrance to the museum was free. Along with many other people of the town, the threesome from another world entered the museum.

The museum had corridor upon corridor of important paintings from the civilized history of man. The threesome entered a huge hall with dozens of paintings. People stood around looking at the paintings, when King John the Cute suddenly declared in a loud voice. “Paintings! We are new to this world! Can you teach us about its history?”

People stopped and looked at the strange man wearing the crown. Then the paintings began to whisper to one another, “King John the Cute!” “It’s King John the Cute!” “King John the Cute has finally come!”

“You are welcome in our museum, King John the Cute,” said an old Renaissance painting.

The people in the room gasped. Two elderly gentlemen fainted.

“It is true that we have seen quite a lot through the centuries,” spoke an old painting of a young woman. “And we talk amongst ourselves at night, compare stories, especially stories about the painters that drew us. We have been doing so in preparation for your coming. And I believe that of all the things we have seen, one story will be of the utmost importance to you and your quest.”

“Did you hear the painting talk!” shouted a woman.

“Please be quiet, people,” King John the Cute hushed the crowd. “Let us listen to the tale of the paintings.” The room fell silent. Everyone listened.

Although we all have different stories to tell, began the old painting of a young woman, and although we were all created by different artists in different times at different places, there is one story that repeats again and again in all of our experiences. This is the story we wish to tell you.

This is the story of the land from which you come, King John the Cute, a land whose name we do not know, a land of man’s artistic creations. It is also the story of the artists. Each of us was drawn by an artist, a talented artist who felt big emotions, dreamed big dreams, and knew that there was something inside of him that was special.

When each of our artists had a particularly good day painting, he later looked at the perfection he had created and knew that it was better than anything he could ever have done. Some of the artists felt that the hand of God somehow rested on them and caused them to paint better than is humanly possible. Some artists believed that art was more important than life. But all artists believed that there is somehow a truth that exists outside this world, and when they paint perfection, they paint that truth. They believe in a world of art, a world of invention, where everything is truthful and beautiful. They believe that world exists outside of Earth. They believe that world exists regardless of Earth. That world cannot be tainted and cannot be touched, but when a painter paints perfection, that world touches him.

All of us paintings agree that this could not be a coincidence. Surely the artists agree for a reason. Surely a world of truth and beauty is the world from which you come. Surely this has been the story of your own world, the name of which we do not know.

With these words, the painting’s story was done. All people in the room turned their heads from the paintings to the king standing in the middle of the room.

“You tell a fascinating story,” said King John the Cute, carefully considering his words. “And surely it is not a coincidence, as you paintings say. However, a few people have come from your land to ours, and so our world can be touched. Our world suffers from an illness now, so surely it is not perfect and can be tainted. There is truth to your story and the story of your painters, but I am not sure what the lesson of your story is. Still, you have given me much to think about. I thank you for this history lesson. And I must depart, for I have great tasks ahead of me and very little time.”

“It has been our great pleasure to meet and assist you,” said the old painting of a young woman. “And I believe I speak for all the paintings.”

The threesome thanked the paintings and left the museum, deep in thought.

This has been the artful tale in which King John the Cute received a history lesson about the magical planet known as Earth.

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The King and the Butterfly

August 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:

 

The King and the Butterfly

(Containing a tickling tale of magic in a world you may find familiar.)

 

Once upon a time on the planet Earth, three people stood where none stood before. These three were King John the Cute, Benjamin Miller, and Minister Vazir.

The three stood in a small field of flowers next to a small road outside a small town and looked around.

Minister Vazir said, “Look at the city and all those people! There is no color in this world!” And he was right, for the Land of All Legends was much more colorful than the planet Earth.

Benjamin Miller said, “Look at the city and all those people! There is so much more detail in everything we see!” And he was right, for everything in the Land of All Legends had less detail than on the planet Earth.

King John the Cute, his lethal wound now only a dull pain, looked down and saw a butterfly resting on a flower. The king bent down and said, “Little butterfly, tell me your story.”

The butterfly fluttered and rose into the air. There it flew in circles and came to rest on the king’s outstretched finger.

“You must be King John the Cute,” said the butterfly.

“That is correct,” answered King John the Cute. “How do you know of me?”

“The planet Earth has been waiting for you for a very long time,” replied the butterfly. “Will you listen if I tell you my story?”

“Of course,” answered the king. “I will listen intently.”

“This is the story of the planet Earth,” the butterfly began to tell its tale. “Everything in this world has a story to tell. Every object can speak. Every animal can laugh. And yet the humans who have taken over the world, the humans do not know how to listen. And so they do not see the magic and they do not hear the language of magic.

“One day, almost a thousand human years ago, a being appeared out of thin air. He looked human, like you, but was not human. No one knew his name, not even to this day. He did not speak his name. In fact, he did not speak to anybody about anything. He left society, and went to live in a cave as soon as he appeared fully-formed in the world.

“Fifty years later, the stranger to this world had become an old man. He collapsed alone in a forest and was about to die. With his dying breath he spoke for the first and for the last time.

“Only a butterfly heard his words. But these were the words he spoke, ‘One day,’ he whispered. ‘A man called King John the Cute shall arrive from another land. He shall wear a crown that will not come off and a wound in his chest that will not heal. That man shall come equipped with a special talent. For the first time in history, someone will listen to the magic of the world, for this man will know how to listen. During his short stay, he will heal the planet Earth and restore its link to magic. Thanks to him, humans will know magic, and animals and humans shall speak once more.’

“Having whispered these words, the stranger died. The single butterfly that heard him flew above the trees and spread the word about a magical man who will come and will know how to listen, a man who will restore the world’s connection to magic.

“Since then, the rumor of King John the Cute has spread to every object and every creature in every corner of the planet. A thousand years have passed since the strange man appeared in our world, and nine hundred and fifty of those years we have waited for your arrival.”

“I fear will not fulfill what others have promised of me,” said King John the Cute. “But I do know how to listen. I have met creatures who have been here, and they all say the same thing: this world has no magic.”

“That is what they say,” answered the butterfly, “because they do not know how to listen. This world is full of magic, but humans do not see it. This world is filled with magical beings, such as myself, but humans do not talk to them. And when we talk, the humans refuse to hear.

“This world is filled with adventures, but people fear them. This world is teeming with the imagination of young children, but no one knows they imagine truths. This world is full of magical spells that everyone dismisses. All but you, King John the Cute. I know now that it truly is you, for you have spoken to me and you have heard me when I speak and you have listened to my words. I leave you now, to explore a world full of magic.”

“Thank you, my friend.” King John the Cute tickled the butterfly for a short while, then released him. “Go about your way. Tell everyone that the king has come.”

The butterfly, tickled and happy, flew above the king’s head and flew away to spread the word.

This has been the story of King John the Cute’s arrival to a magical planet called Earth. This has also been the second story (out of two) in this book of legends about the obscure man who saved two worlds, but was forgotten by history.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

 

Tickling Butterflies – ‘The Life Lesson of King John the Cute’

August 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:

PART 12

THE MAGICAL PLANET EARTH

The Life-lesson of King John the Cute

(Containing an important life-lesson learned by King John the Cute towards the end of his life.)

This is the story of what happened in-between.

This story happened not in the Land of All Legends and not on the planet Earth, but in-between. This is the story of what happened on a pathway that connects the two worlds.

There was a tunnel. A tunnel made of white, paved little bubbles. It was a sturdy tunnel, and it held four at the time: the Evil Witch of Panache, Benjamin Miller, Minister Vazir, and the fatally wounded King John the Cute.

The Evil Witch of Panache, holding on to the clothes of all three with one hand, flew slowly forward in the tunnel, led by her evil magic wand.

“Where are we?” said King John the Cute, looking around. “What is this place?”

“This is a tunnel,” answered the Evil Witch of Panache, her mind busy on advancing through the tunnel. “One of many. These tunnels connect our world to a world without magic, a world where we all are born in the minds of others.”

“How is it that there are tunnels between worlds?”

“I do not know. None of the witches know. The tunnels are made of a material,” she gestured to the white, bubbly substance, “that does not exist in our world. We do not know what it is.”

“Where can these tunnels be found in the Land of All Legends?” inquired the king. Already, his wound was beginning to hurt less and bleed less. His curiosity caused him to forget his pain completely. “And where can these tunnels be found in the world without magic?”

“I do not know about the world without magic, because I have never been there. Nor shall I be there now. I shall drop you off, but remain in the tunnel, and return home to my secret and hidden village. As to where these tunnels can be found in the Land of All Legends: the tunnels are everywhere, John the Cute. They are in the air above every tale and every creature and every story. The air is filled with tunnels.”

“Evil Witch of Panache, that cannot be so,” claimed the king. “I have wandered the land from its farthest corners to its nearest corners, and I have never seen such a tunnel.”

The Evil Witch of Panache was still maneuvering her way through the tunnel. Light now appeared at the farthest end of the tunnel. “The tunnels are visible,” she answered the king, her mind occupied, “to those who know how to look for them. The witches of Panache have made it their hobby to study the tunnels, to observe them, and to look through them. But it is true that their general invisibility causes quite a few mishaps. Sometimes a creature is accidentally sucked into a tunnel through a powerful wind, or falls into a tunnel and falls all the way through to the world without magic. Sometimes a person in the world without magic gets sucked in, as well. But I have never seen it, and so I do not know when and how such things occur.”

At this, Minister Vazir and Benjamin Miller looked at each other. Both had come from the world without magic. Both had accidentally found themselves in the Land of All Legends. Both were now giddy with thought of seeing their original world and returning to their homes.

“We are almost there,” said the Evil Witch of Panache. “When I leave you in the world without magic, you will be alone and without help. I shall give you only one piece of knowledge: Time works differently there and here. For every week that passes in the new world, two months pass in ours. If you will be gone six weeks, your return will be a year after you left.

“Since time passes differently, your wound, Cute King, shall bleed out more slowly. In our land, you would be dead within five minutes. In here, you may have up to six weeks or so, which are a year in the Land of All Legends. But the longer you remain here, the less time you will have alive before Death claims you.”

“Thank you, kind witch,” said the king.

Now that the light at the end of the tunnel was growing brighter and brighter, the hope inside his mind was growing greater and greater, as well. In the time that has passed since he had become king, he had gambled many times that his avenues of questing were correct. During that time, he has worried many times that he may be wrong, that he is helping to destroy the Land of All Legends by not being able to save it. During that time, doubt has plagued him time and time again. And yet, he had always woken up the next morning, believing that his path must be the correct one.

When he had been stabbed and fatally wounded, King John the Cute stopped believing in the prophecy that he will save the land.

But when the Evil Witch of Panache offered him a way to delay his death and to transport him to a place where no king had gone before, he knew the prophecy was correct. At that moment, he knew that every decision he had made had been the right one. At that moment, he knew that every decision he would make would be the right one. For the first time in his life, King John the Cute learned the difference between thinking he is right and knowing he is right. And that knowledge gave the king confidence.

The light was growing brighter. They were almost at the edge of the tunnel.

King John the Cute knew his first two tasks will be to return Minister Vazir to his mother and Benjamin Miller to whatever home still remained after his seven hundred year absence. Once these tasks were done, he would be stranded and alone in an unfamiliar world, a world without magic.

King John the Cute knew that his task ahead was still large beyond reason and unreasonable beyond measure. Stranded on a strange world, he would have to solve all the problems that yet lay unresolved before him. On this magicless world, he would have to find the secrets of his own magic-filled world.

The tunnel was at an end, and so was the foursome’s journey. The Evil Witch of Panache threw the king, his advisor, and the old man out of the tunnel and returned to her home.

This has been the telling of King John the Cute’s important life-lesson. It would give him the strength he would need to survive alone on the planet Earth.

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Convergence of Tales

August 22, 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:

PART 11

THE TRAGEDY BEGINS

The Convergence of Tales

(Containing a larger-than-life story, too big to be told.)

Dear readers, once every five hundred years a strange thing happens in the Land of All Legends. Once every five hundred years, nine separate stories merge and become one story, a tenth story, too big to be told by itself.

Once, when King John the Cute was king for only a year and a month and a day, such a convergence occurred. You are about to read an event that transpires only twice in a thousand years: a story of convergence. Please be seated, for frightening things are about to be told.

**********

This is the story of a dutiful soldier who was living happily ever after in the Happily Ever After Home for the Married. Once, when King John the Cute had arrived to the home, the soldier and his wife told him the tale of the gift the soldier had left to his wife during his service to his country.

When the story was done, the king asked the dutiful soldier about the whereabouts of the village of Panache. The soldier knew that once upon a time he had known the village’s whereabouts, but its coordinates escaped him. But, being a dutiful soldier, he promised that on the day the king will most need to find Panache, he will be at his palace with the coordinates.

Eleven months later, the coordinates came to him during sleep. The soldier, true to his word, woke up, dressed in his uniform for the first time in many years, bid his wife a short adieu, and left the Happily Ever After Home for the Married, hoping to return once his duty had been fulfilled.

The dutiful soldier walked for seven days and seven nights until he reached the palace. The night was dark. The moon was not shining and the sun was asleep over the horizon. In his rush, he slipped on a slippery rock and fell into a ditch under thorny bushes. Worse, his leg had broken, and he could not rise nor walk, but only lie there helplessly, waiting for Death.

Nearly an entire day passed before he was discovered by the king and his loyal bodyguard, Colonel Stone.

“I know this man!” cried the king.

And so it was that the dutiful soldier relayed the coordinates of the village of Panache to King John the Cute.

The king, surprised and thankful, ordered that the soldier’s wound be healed by the palace’s doctor, gave the dutiful soldier a medal, hugged him, and ordered him to return home once he was able to walk again.

“Thank you, dear dutiful soldier, for this piece of news,” said the king. “Please send regards to your wife. Tell her you have helped save the Land of All Legends. As for the rest of you, we will leave for Panache immediately.”

**********

This is the story of Prince Charming the Fifth.

For a year and five days, Prince Charming the Fifth plotted to kill the man he called King John the Ugly. When the prince’s father, King Charming the Fourth, had decided not to pass the throne to the prince, Prince Charming the Fifth had been but a spoiled child who liked to yell.

But during the last year and five days, the prince was so intent upon exacting his revenge on King John the Ugly, that he learned determination, leadership, and skill. With the help of his trusty but mysterious aide, Shadowy Secret, a cloud of fury and frustration with a strange object in his backpack, the prince had built the perfect army.

The army had been ready within six months. But Shadowy Secret had whispered in the prince’s ear that the time was not yet right to attack. And so the prince and the army waited impatiently.

Then, one day, Shadowy Secret, who knew everything there was to know about King John the Cute’s past, present, and future, whispered in the prince’s ear that it was time to go.

“The king and his party are leaving the palace for a village called Panache,” whispered Shadowy Secret.

“Where is Panache?” said the prince. “I have never heard of it.”

“I know it well,” said Shadowy Secret. “If we leave now, we will meet them there. It is time.”

Excited that the time has come to kill King John the Ugly and to regain the throne, Prince Charming the Fifth called forth his army. Together, they began to march.

**********

This is the story of Chariot, the king’s cloud.

Chariot had been worried about his good friend the king for quite a while.

At first he was worried when he heard there was a prophecy that said that after two years on the throne, the king would save the Land of All Legends, but die in the process at the hands and sword of Prince Charming the Fifth.

Six months later, Chariot’s worries doubled when Chariot had been kidnapped and imprisoned by the old man known as Farmer Moozik. From Farmer Moozik he had learned that the Foreseeing Propheseers said that to save the Land of All Legends, the prince will deliver the killing blow, but Chariot must help him die.

During Chariot’s imprisonment, the loyal cloud’s worries doubled even further, when Farmer Moozik had said, “The village of Panache is the place where Prince Charming the Fifth will strike the blow that will kill King John the Cute.”

Chariot’s worries doubled once more when, after a night of revelations about the secrets of magic, a dutiful soldier reported to the king of the whereabouts of the village of Panache.

“Please, your highness,” pleaded Chariot. “The Foreseeing Propheseers said that Panache is where Prince Charming the Fifth will strike his lethal blow! You must not go!”

“Nonesense,” said King John the Cute. “There is still an entire year left. We will leave now.”

“I will not carry you to the place where you will die,” said Chariot. “I will not help you die.”

“Then we will go on foot. Come! We leave now!”

**********

This is the story of Death.

Death had been robbed of his killing hand by the mysterious being known as Shadowy Secret. With Death’s arm ensconced safely within Shadowy Secret’s backpack, Death could kill no one, while Shadowy Secret could kill anyone with but a touch of the hand.

Death had come to his nemesis, King John the Cute, for help. Death hated King John the Cute, not only for defeating him in a race for King Charming the Fourth, but for another reason, a greater reason, a secret reason which he refused to reveal to a living creature.

As Death had been interrogated by the king, another name was added to Death’s list. It was the name of King John the Cute. Had Death had his hand at that time, he would have touched King John the Cute and claimed his soul. As Death told the king himself upon this occasion, Death’s first task upon retrieving his hand would be to touch King John the Cute and take his soul.

After being humiliated by the king and by Death’s first and only love, Sarah O’Connell, Death departed the palace angrily. Without his arm, he wandered the land aimlessly.

At the time of this story, Death came to the village of Panache. There, tired of his wanderings, he lay on a rock and rested.

**********

This is the story of Sarah O’Connell.

Sarah O’Connell, the blindfolded woman with the broken-but-almost-almost-almost-completely-mended heart, had been given an impossible task by King John the Cute: to discover the secrets of the Afterdeath.

She had discovered two clues – one with the help of the Chicken, the other she found from a kind stranger at Death’s Door. Now she desired a third clue before reporting back to the king she knew as John the No Longer Cute.

After her visit to Death’s Door, she returned to the palace. At this time, the king and his party had not yet returned from the River Red Continet, as Chariot had only just escaped. In the palace, Sarah O’Connell consulted with Minister Vazir’s writings. A servant girl read to Sarah O’Connell from Minister Vazir’s writings, which chronicled the adventures of the king. There, she found the man she believed would give her the next clue in her quest for the impossible. The king had met a man called Loyal Luke in the Happily Ever After Home for the Married. Loyal Luke told the king a story of masters that lived and were reborn, again and again and again for a thousand years.

Hoping Loyal Luke would be able to reveal secrets from a time in which people returned from the dead, Sarah O’Connell began a trek to the Happily Ever After Home for the Married. At the Happily Ever After Home for the Married, Loyal Luke no doubt still waited loyally till his masters, Perfect Paul and Flawless Farah, returned in their new incarnation.

Upon reaching the Happily Ever Home for the Married, Sarah O’Connell was given news by one of the guests that a dutiful soldier had left seven days ago to see the king, and that he carried with him the coordinates for the village of Panache.

For five and a half seconds Sarah O’Connell hesitated. Should she join the king in his quest, or should she continue in her own quest?

“John the No Longer Cute can take care of himself,” Sarah O’Connell said to herself. “I will give him the little help he needs by completing my own quest.”

And so Sarah O’Connell decided not to go to Panache and not to help King John the Cute with whatever may happen there.

**********

This is the story of Kate the Tigress.

Kate the Tigress was born Kate the Catty. Her name was changed by a decree of King Charming the Fourth, who had seen her fight like a tigress for the life of her son, John the Cute.

But for all her strength, Kate the Tigress knew that she could not fight the impending death of her son. She had known this from before he was born, when three strange men had appeared and given her a dark prophecy.

She had lost her husband, Frank the Frank, because of the prophecy. And she had unknowingly and accidentally borne Shadowy Secret because of the weight of the prophecy. But at the time of this story, only a few weeks after the village of Bambooville was ransacked by an unknown army, Kate the Tigress woke up in her ransacked bedroom in her ransacked house, and knew that her son was in grave danger.

**********

This is the story of King John the Cute.

King John the Cute had been born cuter than kittens and cuter than rabbits. But in his travels, he had lost his cuteness to the spell of a troll. And ever since, his face was marred and scarred by the worries of what he had learned and the weight of the tasks he must achieve.

He had learned much during the first year of his quest, and each of the things he had learned added lines to his face.

In his quest, he had learned of the village of Panache. He had learned how it was formed. He had learned that it was a village of evil witches. He had learned that Colonel Stone’s box with Colonel Stone’s emotions lay somewhere in the village of Panache. He had learned that a Seeing Propheseer, thousands of years ago, believed this would be the place that would help the king save the Land of All Legends.

The very last thing he learned was the coordinates of the village of Panache. To that very spot he traveled with the company of Colonel Stone (the soldier who had lost his emotions), Minister Vazir (the man from another world who wanted his mommy), Minister Azriel Jones (the man with less than zero friends), Chariot (who flew above), and Benjamin Miller (the seven-hundred-year-old man who came from another world). The king hoped to restore Colonel Stone’s emotions and to discover further secrets of the Land of All Legends, secrets that would help him save the land.

And so, on the day this story begins, the king and his party reached the coordinates of the village of Panache. But all they saw was an empty field, as far as the eye could see. Not a person, not a building, not even a creature were within view.

King John the Cute did not despair, for he had also learned that the village of Panache is magically hidden from view, so much so that even the Sun had not seen it for many centuries. The king in fact found hope, for he had learned during his year as king that doing nothing was doing something.

The king ordered his company to stand in place and do nothing, say nothing, and think nothing.

Shortly, doing nothing removed the magical field that protected the village. The field was now a village in a forest, and the king’s party was standing on a path leading to the village. The light of day was replaced by the darkness of night and the silver rays of the moon.

“This is the village I remember,” Colonel Stone whispered to King John the Cute.

“My king,” Chariot whispered from above. “Look over there!”

King John the Cute followed Chariot’s gaze and saw Death lying down on a rock. Death rose and looked at the king and his party.

“I do not come for you, Death,” said King John the Cute.

“I cannot come for you, King John the Cute,” answered Death.

“Let us explore the village,” King John the Cute told his party.

The party entered the village, five on foot and one from the sky. An evil witch came out from one of the huts.

“I know you,” King John the Cute said with surprise. “A long time ago you passed through Bambooville.”

The Evil Witch of Panache looked at King John the Cute long and hard. “Ah, yes. You are the supremely cute child who helped me recharge my wand. What happened to your face?”

“A spell from a troll. I am king now.”

“I care not that you are king,” said the Evil Witch of Panache. “But I do care that you helped me recharge my wand and stopped me from becoming truly, awfully evil. I promised then and I promise you now that one day I shall return the favor.”

“Then I ask you to return the favor now. A few years ago, this man, Colonel Stone, was taken prisoner by the evil witches of Panache. In his escape, he left behind a silver box containing his emotions. Return the favor owed me by returning the silver box and its contents to their rightful owner.”

The Evil Witch of Panache made a face. “That hardly seems like returning the favor, since it is a favor to someone else and not to you. Nonetheless, it is evil to give a soldier his emotions back, because it makes him a bad soldier.” She reached into her garments and pulled out a small, locked silver box. “Here is your box, soldier. Enjoy the emotions. They will hurt you.”

With trembling hands, Colonel Stone took the box. He opened it, and, with the king’s nod of approval, put his emotions back in his heart.

Suddenly, he grabbed his head and fell to his knees and cried. “Thankful,” he cried. “I am thankful to you, my king.”

“It is my pleasure, my friend. Thank you, Evil Witch of Panache.”

But before the witch could respond, her attention was caught by something happening behind the king. The king turned around and saw an entire army shimmer into existence behind him and enter the magical field of Panache. In front of the army stood Prince Charming the Fifth, a sword in his hand, now looking like an adult and not a child. Next to the prince stood a strange, shadowy creature made of clouds of fury and anger.

“This is a busy day,” said the Evil Witch of Panache.

Death quickly rose to his feet at the sight of the shadowy creature.

“King John the Ugly,” shouted Prince Charming the Fifth. “I have created an army to kill you. Once you are dead, I shall take back my rightful throne!”

King John the Cute approached Prince Charming the Fifth with his hand extended, “Prince Charming the Fifth,” he said. “I mean you no harm. I do not want the throne and I am proud of you for having created an army so successfully. All I seek is to save the Land of All Legends from its sickness. In less than a year I shall be done and I will die. Once I am dead, you may have the throne back.”

“Why don’t you die now?” growled the prince. With a quick movement of his arm, Prince Charming the Fifth ran his sword into King John the Cute’s chest.

King John the Cute gasped in pain and fell backwards on the ground.

Minister Vazir ran to his side and examined the wound of his bleeding king. “Your highness,” he said. “You have been struck lethally. There is nothing medical we can do to save you. There is no magical spell that will save a man so close to death. You have only minutes to live.”

“That is impossible,” King John the Cute tried to come to his feet, but fell backwards and into the arms of Minister Vazir. “I have almost a year left!”

“That is no longer true, your highness. You now only have minutes.”

Far away, in the farthest corner of the farthest shire in the farthest land of the Land of All Legends, Kate the Tigress gasped as she felt pain in her own chest. At that very moment, she knew that her son had been struck a deadly blow. Sitting on a bed upon which lay beautiful yellow flowers with orange streaks, Kate the Tigress wept.

**********

This is the story of the village of Panache.

The village of Panache was older than most cities and villages in the Land of All Legends. It had been a village of good witches, until a giantess who was in love with a dwarf came off her cloud and accidentally stepped on the son of a good witch and killed him. The good witch, overwhelmed with pain and grief, had become evil and would from that moment be known as the Evil Witch of Panache.

All the witches in the village shared their sister’s grief, and they also became evil with grief and pain. Once the Evil Witch of Panache had finished her curse on the giantess, all evil witches of the village put a powerful spell on the village of Panache and made it vanish from plain sight. So great was their need to escape the world.

Only a few, like Death and a few kings, knew the way in and out of Panache. Not even the Sun could see beyond the spell and into the village itself.

Over the years, a few evil witches had left the village occasionally to perform evil deeds upon good people. At times, kings were angered enough to send armies and try and battle the evil witches in their own village. But these efforts had always been unsuccessful, and the village stood for centuries, unseen by the sun’s light, not fallen by the might of other armies.

At the time of this story, there was much activity in the village of Panache. In the middle of the village stood the Evil Witch of Panache. A few yards down the path, stood Minister Azriel Jones, then Benjamin Miller, then Colonel Stone. A few yards beyond Colonel stone, King John the Cute lay on the ground in Minister Vazir’s hands, bleeding to death from a deadly wound. A few yards beyond that, stood Prince Charming the Fifth, holding the bloody sword that had cut the king. Next to Prince Charming the Fifth stood Shadowy Secret, who had a backpack on his shoulder, and Death’s hand was in his backpack.

A few yards further still down the path stood an entire army. It was Prince Charming the Fifth’s army, ready for action, ready to slay the king – a task no longer necessary.

A few yards to the side of the king stood Death without his killing arm.

Above the fray floated the cloud Chariot, the king’s close friend.

At the second it became clear that the king would die of his wound within minutes, Shadowy Secret stepped forward. Turning his back to King John the Cute, he faced Death for a second time. Standing between the king and Death, he said, “Death, I no longer require your arm. Would you like it back?”

Death was astounded. But immediately he said, “Yes.”

And Shadowy Secret took Death’s arm out of his backpack and returned it to its rightful owner. Death put his arm back in its place and was Death once more.

**********

This is the story of the Evil Witch of Panache.

More than a thousand years have passed since she had lost her child to a giantess and over the last century her pain and grief began to lessen. It had lessened so much so, that she stopped being a truly evil witch and was only an evil witch.

A few years before this story begins, the power in her wand ran out for five days and five nights, and she knew that if the wand’s magic was not replenished she would become truly evil once more. A small child who was cuter than the cutest kitten had helped her replenish her wand even though he knew it would help her perform evil deeds.

His kindness and logic touched her and she vowed to one day return the favor, even though he claimed it was unnecessary.

Now, years later, that same child stood in front of her, no longer a child and no longer cute. He was the king of the land and he had been struck a deadly blow by the son of the previous king. She then knew that the child-king only had moments to live. If she did not return the favor now, she never would. Out of the corner of her eye she saw that Death’s view of the child-king was blocked by a shadowy and mysterious being. She seized the moment when Death was not watching and approached the child-king.

“John the Cute,” she whispered to him. “No magic can save your life when you are so close to death. But I have a way of returning the favor I owe you.”

“I am listening,” said the child-king.

“In the village of Panache, we know of a world that has no magic, a world that works differently, a world where tales are told and shortly thereafter the creatures in the tales are born here. We witches frequently look in on that world, but we have also discovered a way to cross over. If you wish, I can cast a spell and put you in that other world.

“Wounds caused here are felt differently there. You will bleed much more slowly, and so you will be able to walk and talk. Time passes differently there. The five minutes you have to live will turn into a few weeks of life there. A few weeks in that world are a year in our world. But know that when you return, you will only have seconds to live. Shall I return the favor and transport you to that other world?”

“Yes, but wait!” gasped the child-king, for it was getting harder to breathe. “I will only go if Minister Vazir and Benjamin Miller travel with me.”

“That is too much! The spell will be too taxing!”

“I will not go without them!”

The Evil Witch of Panache growled and said, “Very well.”

“One last thing!” the child-king said and grabbed Colonel Stone’s collar. “Colonel Stone, in my absence Sarah O’Connell shall have the power of the king. For all intents and purposes, she shall be the queen until my return. When I die, Prince Charming the Fifth will become king in my place, for he is now worthy. But even though I disappear, I am not yet dead. I shall return to the Land of All Legends to die, and when I return, I shall heal the land.”

Colonel Stone cried out of love for his fallen king, “I will obey, your highness.”

“Then run! Run now and disappear from sight before the prince’s army realizes what has happened!”

Colonel Stone, tears running down his cheeks, nodded. The Evil Witch of Panache grabbed the king, “There is no more time! We must do it now!”

At that very moment, Death, no longer distracted by Shadowy Secret and having put his arm back on, approached the king, in order to touch him. But King John the Cute, the Evil Witch of Panache, Benjamin Miller, and Minister Vazir had all vanished from sight. And Death did not know where they were. He could not feel their presence anywhere in the Land of All Legends.

**********

This is the continued story of Kate the Tigress.

Sitting on top of her bed, surrounded by yellow flowers with orange streaks, Kate the Tigress could suddenly no longer feel her son’s presence. It was not as if he was dead. It was as if he was gone.

Kate the Tigress had no explanation for this strange feeling. She could not even guess what it meant. But she knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the end has begun.

**********

This is the continued story of Chariot.

When his king had been struck by the prince’s sword, he felt horror. He also felt that there was something he should do. But there was nothing to do.

Events moved quickly, and before Chariot understood what had occurred, King John the Cute had vanished from sight and from Death’s grasp.

Chariot watched silently, as Colonel Stone snuck through the bushes and escaped. Chariot continued to watch as the prince and his army looked around confused. Chariot watched helplessly as the prince took Minister Azriel Jones prisoner, and as Death left the village of Panache to go his own way. Chariot, unnoticed by anyone, continued to watch as the prince, his army, and his prisoner began to march towards the palace, and as Shadowy Secret began to move in a direction different from the one the prince and his army were taking.

Chariot remained alone above the village of Panache.

The king was gone. But what was Chariot’s prophesied part in all of this? What did the Foreseeing Propheseers see? What was he supposed to do? Chariot did not know.

**********

This has been the intricate and layered convergence of tales, the kind of which happens only once every five hundred years.

Now, if you want to read the stories of what happened to King John the Cute on the planet Earth, read on…

(To be continued on Sunday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – At Death’s Door

August 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:

 

At Death’s Door

(Containing the further adventures of Sarah O’Connell at Death’s Door.)

This story contains the exciting further adventures of the woman known as Sarah O’Connell, as they occurred a month before King John the Cute and his party returned to the palace from the River Red Continent.

Sarah O’Connell, the blindfolded woman with the broken-but-almost-entirely-mended heart, had been asked by King John the Cute to discover the secrets of the Afterdeath. And so she walked the Land of All Legends with the determination of one who must perform an impossible task.

After having spent months walking the land and learning very little, she decided to become more active. If no one knew what was on the other side of Death’s Door, then she shall go by herself, see for herself, and find out for herself.

It had taken her a month to reach Death’s Door, but reach it she did. Only yards away from the door itself, a flower three stories high attacked her viciously. At first, Sarah O’Connell was surprised and overwhelmed by the flower guarding Death’s Door, but once she had recovered her wits, she fought back. With the power of her hands alone, and without the aid of her eyes, she defeated the giant flower and broke its stem.

With her hands she felt her way to the root of the flower, then plucked it and killed it.

But during the fight, the flower had bitten Sarah O’Connell and inserted deadly poison into her body. Already weakness attacked her body. But, determined to continue in her quest and to help the man she called John the No Longer Cute in his quest, she approached Death’s Door.

It was at that moment that she realized the flaw of her plan. With her eyes blindfolded, she could not see Death’s Door or the secrets it would have to tell.

Overlooking these events from a hundred yards away stood Death himself. Still feeling the powerful pangs at the loss of his love, Sarah O’Connell, he had stayed away during the fight and watched. His arm missing thanks to the creature known only as Shadowy Secret and bereft of his power to claim others’ souls, he saw Sarah O’Connell defeat the powerful flower. With Death’s jaw still tingling at the sock to the mouth she had given him five months earlier, he wondered why her eyes were blindfolded.

Now that she had been bitten by poison, her life’s aura flickered. For the first time since he had met her, he looked closely at her life’s aura. It was then that he had seen what he should have seen from the very first moment he had set eyes on her, if those eyes had not been blinded by love. Just as he was able to determine who John the Cute really was, just as he was able to see the life’s aura of a stranger from the world without magic, so did he learn Sarah O’Connell’s secret at that second.

And it was at that exact moment on that exact day that he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sarah O’Connell could never have been his. And he knew, just as clearly, that Sarah O’Connell did not need Death’s help to die on this day, for the Afterdeath was not her destination after death. Lastly, he knew that if nothing was done to help her with the poison, Sarah O’Connell would indeed die and move on.

Walking silently, he approached her. Masking his voice, he said, “Woman! What are you doing there?”

Sarah O’Connell turned around at the new voice. “Stranger,” she said. “Could you tell a young and sassy lass what that door looks like, and what, if anything, you can see lies beyond it?”

“Why do you not take off the blindfold and see for yourself?”

Sarah O’Connell shook her head. “My eyes have led me to false love before, and my heart had been broken as a result. I shall only remove the blindfold when true and certain love awaits me. Until then, I shall keep the blindfold on, lest my eyes lead me falsely once more.”

“Strange story from a strange woman,” said Death, his voice masked. “But I see that you have been bitten. Surely poison runs through you. Shall I show you which direction to go to get help?”

“The poison does not matter, kind stranger. Please tell me what you see and what you know of this door.”

“That I shall,” said Death. And for reasons that will be revealed later in this story, he told her of Death’s Door. “This is Death’s Door,” said Death. “It is a square hole that only the souls of the dead can pass through. No living creature and not even Death himself can walk through that door from here to the Afterdeath. It appears like nothing special. But its true story lies in what can be seen through it.

“Once upon a time, the dead could simply walk through the door from the other side and return to the Land of All Legends, quite alive and refreshed. But now no one walks through that door and back here. I have seen the last time the door opened from the other side. And it revealed a tall, yellow-white monster with sharp teeth and a suit. That monster guards the door from the inside and does not allow anyone to cross. It is rumored that even Death himself is scared of the monster, and so, in his shame, he tells about it to no one.”

“A tall yellow-white monster with sharp teeth guarding the door?” Sarah O’Connell whispered to himself. “So scary that even Death is frightened of it? I have learned something.” She raised her voice so that the kind stranger may hear her. “One last question, kind stranger. I have heard from a reliable source that inside the Afterdeath, there is a second door. Do you know where that door leads?”

For a second, Death was shocked. “I have never seen or heard of another door. Nor do I know where it leads.”

Sarah O’Connell stood up, reinvigorated. “Thank you, kind stranger. You have helped me to a large degree. I believe my report for the king is two-thirds ready. Strangely, I feel much healthier, as if all the poison had been taken out.”

“That is strange,” said Death. But Death did not find that strange in the least. He knew quite well that learning something new is the perfect cure for anything that makes you feel bad.

“Go in peace,” he told her, his voice still masked. And go in peace she did.

This has been Sarah O’Connell’s exciting adventure at Death’s Door. This has also been the unexpected tale in which Death learned Sarah O’Connell’s real name.

 

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

 

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Sun’s Story

August 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 Sun’s Story

(Containing a brilliant tale told by the sun.)

 

Once upon one year, one week, and one day to King John the Cute’s reign over the Land of All Legends, King John the Cute ran out of his palace and looked at the Sun.

“Sun!” he shouted up at the yellow orb. “Speak to me, Sun!”

The Sun looked upon her king, and said nothing. Behind the king now gathered Benjamin Miller, Minister Vazir, Colonel Stone, and Minister Azriel Jones.

“I have heard your story,” King John the Cute continued. “I know the terrible things you have seen. And yet I beg you to open your mouth and speak to me!”

The Sun looked down at her king with pity, but did not speak.

“The Land of All Legends is dying,” King John the Cute continued. “I must find out why it is dying and how to fix it. I have a few clues, I know of many mysteries, but I do not have any solutions. Yet you, gentle sun, look at everything from above. You see everything. You know everyone. You look in upon every event that takes place during the day.”

The Sun looked upon her king and hesitated. But in the end, she said nothing.

“We need your help, gentle Sun. I understand that you are afraid to speak. And yet, I am sure, that so many years have passed, since the last sun has died, that if you opened your mouth now, you will find your grief has turned into distant pain. You will be able to speak without hurting anyone!”

The Sun looked upon her king, and shook her head back and forth.

“Please, gentle Sun,” the king said. “Help me save the Land of All Legends and all the creatures in it! Come on, try!”

The Sun slowly opened her mouth, and realized that no dangerous sunlight was coming out. Her tears have become a throbbing sadness inside her.

“I am at your service, King John the Cute,” said the Sun, her voice yellow and deep and caressing. “What would you like me to say?”

“Tell me the things you have seen, gentle Sun.”

“My story could fill a hundred books for a hundred years,” answered the Sun, “for I have truly seen everything. And yet, up here, I have been following your quest with interest. I do not know why the Land of All Legends is dying. Nothing I have seen gives me a clue as to its ailment.

“I do not know where the village of Panache is, for it is invisible to my eyes by dint of magic.

“I do not know why you dream and what those dreams means, for as far as I know no creature born in the Land of All Legends has been known to dream before. And yet I have seen you born in mid-day out of the womb of your mother, and you are no doubt a creature of the land.

“I do not know what happens after death, for my light does not reach the Afterdeath. But there is one thing I know, one story I can tell that no one else but me has witnessed. And it is a story about your very quest.”

“About my own quest? Please tell me this tale!”

“I have been alive for thousands of years,” the sun began to tell its tale. “I have seen things that no longer exist. I have heard sounds that can no longer be made. I have seen continents sink and oceans burst into life. I have seen creatures shimmer into creation at the Border of Nothing. I have seen Benjamin Miller appear out of mid-air in the land, when he was but a young boy of three. I have seen Minister Vazir, Sylvia Fo, Ochi Moeketsi appear out of thin air and fall to the grass, just as I have seen a handful more of visitors whose names no one but me is left to remember.

“I have seen the Original Monster disappear into thin air during his travels to another world, just as I have seen Al the Average rise into the air and disappear in front of my eyes three times during his lifetime. As they have disappeared, so have a handful of others over the years. My tale is about one of them, for it is also the tale of King John the Cute.

“This story takes place a long time ago, King John the Cute. Thirty three thousand years ago, a child was born in the Land of Fiduciary Responsibility. You’ve never heard of the Land of Fiduciary Responsibility, for the continent upon which it rested has long disappeared into the sea.

“Ever since he was a young child, this young man desired fame. He wanted nothing more than to be famous. He wanted everyone to know his name long after he was dead. He wanted his name spoken of in awe thousands of years after his death. But, alas, he was not the adventurer type, and so he knew that this was not his path to fame.

“When he was eleven, he was recruited to the ranks of the Foreseeing Propheseers, He gladly joined them, believing that as a Forseeing Propheseer he would influence the future, bring about a good ending with an enigmatic prophecy, and be remembered for all eternity.

“And so at the age of eleven, he was taken to the Island of Future Legends, the island where the Foreseeing Propheseers trained their young. That island has also long ago sunk into the sea, and the Foreseeing Propheseers’ basis of operations has since become as nomadic and as invisible as the village of Panache.

“In any case, the young Foreseeing Propheseer began his training in the Island of Future Legends. There, he quickly discovered the library of the Foreseeing Propheseers. This library contained all details of everything that will ever be in the Land of All Legends. All important occurrences of the future were written in those pages.

“The young Foreseeing Propheseer began to voraciously read these books. He began in the dark past, millions of years ago, and read and read and read. For years he continued to read the history books. The more he grew, the more he read. The more he grew, the more he knew. The more he grew, the further up history his knowledge advanced.

“At the age of eighteen he reached his present day. At this point he began to read of his own future. Now he began to look for a sign of himself. He read the future, searching for his own importance. I do not know what knowledge these books contained, for all library books were hidden in halls, far away from my silent gaze.

“But, as I understand from conversations he had with himself when he was outside, by the time he was twenty he had looked forward thirty thousand years into the future and no one has yet mentioned his name. He would not become famous. He would not become known.

“He turned to his teachers and complained that there was no trace of him anywhere in the books of the future. The teachers took him to a dark corner of the library and showed him a book that was different from all other books. It was not a book of the future of the Land of All Legends, it was a book of the future of another world, the world of those who read and imagine stories. The teachers opened the book and showed their frustrated disciple his own future: he was to leave the Land of All Legends forever, and he was to deliver a message on that world, a message that would save that world.

“But there would be a price. There would be no fame in his deed. There would be no glory. And his name would not be remembered by the creatures of the Land of All Legends, nor would it be remembered by the people of that other World of Imagination. He was to die alone on that world, his soul unclaimed by Death, for Death did not travel to that world.

“I felt for him, for he seemed wounded and hurt. He did not want to die in obscurity. Once, while outside under my bright light, he asked himself whether he wanted to save that other world, as the book said he would, if he did not get the credit?

“He thought about it at length and at breadth. And then, still deep in thought, he returned to the books of the Land of All Legends’ future and to the book of that other world’s future.

“One day, I saw him walk out of the library. He seemed more relaxed than I have ever seen him. He looked around himself and said, ‘I am content. I will do as the prophecy commands.’

“He looked up at me and smiled. He walked to his teachers and said, ‘I am ready. I understand my task now is to improve the world and not to earn fame. I will help save that world, but in doing so I will also help save this one. And even though I will never be known, never be remembered, and my name shall never be spoken again, I am content that I helped save two worlds.

“The teachers nodded at his wisdom and prepared him for departure. Three days later, he stood in the garden in the middle of Legend Island in the middle of the day and awaited something I could not see. Then, suddenly, something lifted him into the air, and he vanished from my sight immediately. He was never again seen in the Land of All Legends, certainly not by me. Ten years later, the Foreseeing Propheseers left Legend Island, only to have it immediately afterwards fall into the sea. The books of the future fell as well, and were destroyed, never to be seen again.

“This has been the lost tale of a man who thought his name would never be spoken again. But, you see, he was wrong. For I have seen his tale, and I know of his bravery. And I know his name well. His name was…” The Sun fell silent again for a second. “I forget his name. Hold on. His name rhymed roughly with the name of the land on which he was born. His name was… Oh, dear. I have seen so much, I have remembered so many details, that this one has slipped my mind. Not to worry, I will remember it soon and then I will tell you who it is that saved the two worlds.”

King John the Cute looked at the sun, confused. “But gentle Sun, what does any of that has to with my quest? If the books were destroyed and the island was destroyed and the man was never seen again, why did you say that tale was about me?”

“Ah, but King John the Cute,” answered the Sun with a smile, “it has been a long while since I have spoken, and I have told this tale badly. I now see that I neglected to mention the most important part.

“One minute, you see, before he was lifted in to the air, the young disciple raised his eyes to me, and said with a calm voice, ‘Gentle Sun, I know you do not speak. But in the far flung future, when you do speak to King John the Cute, tell him too look a hundred paces behind him. The future of his quest relies on something there that even you do not see. It is all right, gentle Sun, that you will not remember my name. It is not important.’

“Then he was raised in the air and disappeared. I vowed there and then to remember his name forever, but now I only remember what it rhymes with. It saddens me, but I believe that now I have told the story correctly,” spoke the sun.

King John the Cute turned around. “A hundred paces behind me?”

He was stopped by Colonel Stone. “Please, your highness. It may be dangerous. Allow me.”

The king nodded, and Colonel Stone ran ahead, counting a hundred paces. He left the palace and reached a ditch covered with bushes. Inside the ditch, under the bushes, was an old man with a broken leg. King John the Cute arrived a few seconds later.

“I know this man!” cried the king. “It is the dutiful soldier I have met in the Happily Ever After Home for the Married! What are you doing here?”

“It was my duty, your highness,” answered the dutiful soldier. “As you no doubt remember, I promised you to search my brain and rack my memories until I recalled where Panache is. And I promised to you that on the day you will most need to find Panache, I will be at your palace with the coordinates. I have remembered where the village of Panache resides. But, oh, king, I have stumbled here in the middle of the night, when the moon did not shine and sun was asleep, and I have broken my leg. If not for this fortunate circumstance, I would have died here and you would never have received the information!”

King John the Cute looked up. “Colonel Stone, help him up. We must attend to his leg and then visit Panache!”

This has been the second story (out of two), containing the bravery and valor of a dutiful soldier. This has also been the first story (out of two) containing the details of the life and death of an obscure man that helped save two worlds and did not desire fame.

 

(To be continued on Tuessday…)

 
You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – Why Is the Sun Silent?

August 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:

 

Why Is the Sun Silent?

(Containing an illuminating tale revealing why the sun never speaks.)

 

Now, began Minister Vazir, I shall tell you the illuminating story of why the sun is silent.

Once upon a time, thousands and thousands of years ago, when the continents had just formed and only a few hundred creatures walking the land, there were many suns in the sky. This was so long ago, that Death had not yet appeared, and none of the creatures had died.

There were many, many suns. Some, like our sun, moved across the sky from east to west. Some moved across the sky from west to east. Some moved from north to south, and some from south to north, and some changed their minds every other day.

Some suns were slightly more afraid, and so they moved from one side of the sky to another, but only close to the horizon. That way, if anything scared them, the suns would quickly sink and disappear over the horizon.

Some suns were yellow, like our own. Some suns were red. Some were orange. Some were white. Two were purple. And only one was green.

Our own sun was friendly with everyone. She loved all the others, and all the others loved her.

With every day that passed, the suns looked down at the creatures and saw new creatures being formed out of nothing at the Border of Nothing. During those times, the Land of All Legends was healthy, and new creatures were being created all the time.

Then, one day, Death arrived at the land, created at the Border of Nothing like all other creatures.

In the beginning, Death seemed to the sun just like any other strange creature that had appeared and populated the land. There was no way to tell that it was a different sort of being with different powers.

A few days later, our sun was in mid-sky, looking down, when she saw Death touch a woman. She saw Death take the woman’s soul. And she saw the woman die. With the knowledge brought to us by Death’s story, told by Death more than six months ago in this very palace, we now know this woman to have been Igda Bigda.

It was at that moment that our sun realized what had come to the Land of All Legends. It was at that moment that our sun realized that Death would take many creatures, that eventually Death would take the other suns: her friends. It was at that moment that our sun realized that Death would eventually come to her.

And so, the sun spent a hundred years fearful and frightful, as Death took creatures and people and animals. One day, Death climbed on top of the highest mountain on top of the highest cloud in Giant Country. From the top of the mountain, Death reached its deadly arm, and touched one of the suns.

When Death touched that sun, he gathered her soul. At that moment, that sun’s light went out. And when that sun, now black and cold, sunk beyond the horizon, she never rose again.

Our own sun was horrified at the loss of her friend, and she was greatly saddened. She began to cry. But suns do not cry tears of water, as we do. Suns cry tears of sunlight.

And the sun’s sunlight tears were so strong and powerful and painful, that people began to burn. The Sun quickly stopped itself, so as not to hurt any creatures. She held her mouth tight, and held her sadness within, and refused to cry.

The Sun was now in pain but could not cry.

A few more years passed, and Death touched another sun. Again, our sun, the Sun, was thunderstruck. It still felt it held back the tears of her last loss, when now she found she must hold back the tears for another friend.

The Sun held tight its mouth and would not release a whimper or a tear.

As the centuries rolled by, Death took out sun after sun after sun. And so, after many thousands of years, only our sun, the Sun, was left in the sky, alone, and proud, and silent, afraid that if she opened her mouth even once, she would burn people with her sadness.

And that is the illuminating story, said Minister Vazir, of why the sun is silent.

King John the Cute rose with a shout, “Thank you, Minister Vazir!” Without saying another word, he ran outside the room and out the palace.

This has been the illuminating story of how King John the Cute was enlightened with important knowledge.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

 
You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!
 

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Power of Nothing

August 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 Power of Nothing

(Containing exact instructions on how to get something out of nothing.)

 

Hundreds of years ago, Minister Vazir regaled another tale of science, scientists had three main fashions in Capital City. One: They all had to carry telescopes around their necks wherever they went. Two: their hair had to be white. Three: they refused to take a stand or make a decision regarding anything.

At the time, the most renowned scientist was called Squarefoot Squarehead Squarecheeks, or Scientist Squarefoot for short. The telescope around his head was the biggest, his hair was the whitest, and, more importantly, he took no decisions on anything in his life.

One time, the king asked for Scientist Squarefoot’s presence. Scientist Squarefoot did not decide to come and did not decide not to come. He simply did nothing.

A day later, guards appeared at his doorstep and carried him to the king. Scientist Squarefoot bowed before the king and explained the reason he had not come. After hearing Scientist Squarefoot’s explanation, the king’s cheeks burned in anger. Angry beyond reason, he threw the scientist into the castle prison for a week.

In prison, Scientist Squarefoot could not understand why he ended up in prison despite the fact that he had done nothing.

Then, in the middle of the night, Scientist Squarefoot understood that doing nothing was still doing something. Otherwise, he would never have ended up in jail. Something has been created out of doing nothing! This was a source of power!

This was a great scientific discovery.

Scientist Squarefoot devised a machine.

At its bottom were a hundred people doing nothing. At its top was a wheel that turned and created electricity. Scientist Squarefoot discovered that a hundred people doing nothing could supply enough power to light Capital City for an entire day!

At the same time, the second best scientist in Capital City made another discovery. His name was Roundfoot Roundhead Roundcheeks, or Scientist Roundfoot for short. Scientist Roundfoot had the second largest telescope around his neck and the second whitest hair of all scientists. Last but not least, even though he was good at doing nothing, he was even better at saying nothing.

One day, the wife of Scientist Roundfoot asked him if she was pretty. Scientist Roundfoot said nothing.

She asked him again. He said nothing again.

She asked him a third time. He said nothing a third time.

At that point, she threw a chair at his head.

Later that night, Scientist Roundfoot realized that saying nothing was still saying something. Something has been extracted out of saying nothing! Saying nothing was a source of power!

Within a week, he had created a massive machine.

At its bottom were a hundred people saying nothing. At its top was a large wheel that distributed water to Capital City. Scientist Roundfoot discovered that a hundred people saying nothing could supply enough power to bring water to Capital City for an entire day!

Meanwhile, another scientist in Capital City made another discovery. His name was Ovalfoot Ovalhead Ovalcheeks, or Scientist Ovalfoot for short. Scientist Ovalfoot was not the greatest of scientists. In fact, he was lazy. His greatest hope was to truly think of nothing.

For years, Scientist Ovalfoot tried to think of nothing. But every time he tried it, someone interrupted him.

Determined to finally achieve his lifelong ambition, Scientist Ovalfoot went to the desert, so that he could think of nothing without being disturbed. However, try as he might, something would still enter in his mind.

Then, in the middle of one night in the desert, Scientist Ovalfoot had a brilliant idea: thinking of nothing is still thinking of something! Something had come from thinking of nothing! This was a power source!

Within a week of returning to Capital City, he built a gigantic machine.

At its bottom were a hundred people thinking of nothing. At its top was a large wheel that created wind for all buildings in Capital City. Scientist Ovalfoot discovered that a hundred people thinking of nothing could power wind for Capital City for an entire day!

One day, Scientist Squarefoot Squarehead Squarecheeks and Scientist Roundfoot Roundhead Roundcheeks and Scientist Ovalfoot Ovalhead Ovalcheeks began a competition. Whose discovery was the strongest one? Which was doing more? Doing nothing? Saying nothing? Or thinking nothing?

And so, a hundred people doing nothing competed with a hundred people saying nothing, who competed with a hundred people thinking nothing.

The entire Capital City attended the event.

Families brought lunches and stared at the hundred people doing nothing, the hundred people saying nothing, and the hundred people thinking nothing. It was the most exciting event of the year!

Everyone saw clearly that thinking nothing was doing less than saying nothing, and that saying nothing was doing less than doing nothing. In fact, doing nothing proved to be the biggest ‘doing something’ besides actually doing something.

And so all machines in all the Land of All Legends began to run on the power of doing nothing. New jobs were posted, seeking people who were good at doing nothing. All over the land, young men and women received written recommendations from their parents, explaining how good they were at doing nothing.

This fad continued for twenty years. But eventually, everyone was paid for doing nothing, no one did anything, and the city was on the verge of collapse. The technology was abandoned, and Scientist Roundfoot was sent to jail for bringing society to the brink of destruction.

His last words at his trial were: “I shouldn’t have done it. I should have done nothing.”

From that point on, scientists made it a point to always do nothing. That is why we no longer have scientists today in the Land of All Legends.

This has been the story revealing how the power of nothing is a very powerful force of nature, said Minister Vazir.

King John the Cute nodded. “Interesting and instructive. I may use that some day.” he said. “Getting closer to what I seek… Tell me another secret of the land.”

 

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

 
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‘Tickling Butterfly’ – The Man with the Musical Body

August 8, 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 Man with the Musical Body

(Containing a sweet allegory of a brave man with a strange body.)

 

Now I shall tell you a tale, said Minister Vazir, of the magical properties of music.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, back before any of us were born, even back before Benjamin Miller was born… Back before our parents were born… Back before their parents were born… Back when the land was still young and smelled like babies, a special man was born.

His name was Harmony Tune, and his body was lined with pockets.

He had big pockets under his hands, big pockets under his chest, big pockets under his behind, big pockets under his legs, big pockets under his chin. Any place on his body that did not have big pockets had little pockets. Any place on his body that did not have big pockets or little pockets had tiny pockets.

His entire body was laced and lined with pockets. Each and every one of his pockets – big, little, or tiny – was laced and lined with teeny-tiny pockets. And the teeny-tiny pockets were laced and lined with petite pockets, which in turn were laced with minute pockets, which were also laced with diminutive pockets, which were lined with microscopic pockets.

The pockets did not store objects of any kind. No one knew what the pockets were for and no one knew exactly how many pockets were inside him .What everyone did know was that Harmony Tune was a great gifted musical baby, who grew into a brilliantly gifted musical kid, who grew into an exceptionally gifted musical man.

Harmony Tune loved music. He felt music and breathed music. He felt the music in the air. He felt the rhythms of the wind and the rhythms of the ground. He knew the rhythms of leaves falling down. He felt the rhythm of every person he came across. He felt the rhythm of the market, the different rhythms of people when they came together. He felt the rhythms of the waters in the rivers. Everything was music to him.

Then, one day, he began to sing. His voice was golden, but his singing was like rainbows. Whenever he opened his mouth to sing, a pocket or two would open, and musical rhythms he had stored during his life were released, and climbed up to blend with his voice and make it as true and perfect as a rainbow.

It was then discovered by the scientists of the day that musical rhythms can be stored in Harmony Tune’s body in the same way that other people store fat. Most people, it was discovered, have only microscopic pockets of music. Harmony Tune had millions and millions of pockets of all sizes.

It was also then discovered that beautiful music is the only thing that can make a dragon fall asleep. And it was providential that Harmony Tune was born when he was, because when he had turned twenty-five, an army of one thousand one hundred and fifteen dragons began to attack Capital City. The king’s army of knights was not enough to protect the city. The knights could slay all the dragons… only if all the dragons were asleep.

Harmony Tune was drafted by the king and was ordered to stand on top of the highest wall surrounding Capital City. There he stood alone, to thwart the dragon attack.

When he was prepared, the dragons began to come. There were ten at first. Harmony Tune began to sing, and as he began to sing, two of his pockets opened. His voice blended with the music in the pockets and the dragons fell in front of the wall, asleep. Ten more dragons came behind the first, and a dozen behind them, and a dozen behind them!

Wave upon wave they came, and Harmony Tune stood there and sang and sang and sang the most beautiful song. And when the dragons fell, they were slain by the king’s knights.

For five days and five nights, the dragons came. For five days and five nights, Harmony Tune sang his song, protecting his land from the danger. And the more he sang, the more tired he became. After the first day, all the music he had stored in the big pockets was spent. After the second day, all the music in the little pockets was spent and the pockets were emptied. After the third day, all the music in his teeny-tiny pockets was spent. After the fourth day, all the music in his diminutive and microscopic pockets was spent and there was no more music in his pockets. On the fifth day, as the final assault of dragons came, Harmony Tune sang from memory. He used every tiny speck of music that had been left anywhere on his body, every memory of any rhythm he had seen and heard.

The fifth day was the most awful for Harmony Tune, because he knew that any minute now his music would be spent, and there would be no more to protect the city.

But then the last dragon came, and Harmony Tune sang the last of his song.

When the dragon fell asleep, Harmony Tune fell to his knees and collapsed. He was exhausted. Every ounce of energy and music he had stored in his life had been spent during those five days. Every rhythm he had learned and known and memorized had been spent as well. There was nothing left within him. There was hardly enough rhythm in his body to breathe, there was hardly any rhythm in his body to allow his heart to beat regularly.

He was sent to sleep and lie down until he recovered. After a week of having no strength, he began to notice rhythms of the chirping of birds outside. The rhythm of the wind found its way to his diminutive pockets. The rhythm of the doctor taking care of him slowly filled his pockets as well.

Within a month, he had enough strength to walk again. After six months, he could smile and enjoy the world again. After a year, he was back to his old self, and all his pockets all over his body – even the diminutive and microscopic ones – were once more filled with music, but different music this time.

And that is the story, King John the Cute, of the magical properties of music and of the small magical pockets inside all of us.

“That is fascinating,” said King John the Cute. “And, who knows, it may or may not be useful some day. But I must learn more secrets of magic. Please, continue revealing the secrets of the land.”

“Yes, your highness.”

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

 
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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Also Truth

August 6, 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 Also Truth

(Containing the truthful tale of the Also Truth.)

 

Now I will teach you an important lesson about the lessons of stories, said Minister Vazir. King John the Cute, Benjamin Miller, Minister Azriel Jones, and Colonel Stone listened closely. Minister Vazir began,

As long as there have been stories to tell in the Land of All Legends, there have been the Also Trues. The Also Trues are three wise fairy judges. They cannot be seen and cannot be heard unless a special conflict arises and their services are needed.

As you know, whenever a story is told, or whenever something happens that could later be told a as a story, there appears in the mind of some a lesson that can be learned from the story. These lessons help tell deep truths about the world.

But sometimes a conflict appears between two lessons from two different stories. When that happens, the three Also Trues appear out of thin air and solve the conflict.

The most famous case happened three hundred and thirty three years and thirty three days ago. A young boy called Salvador the Painter painted the figure of the most beautiful woman in the world. After many adventures, the woman came to life and fell in love with Salvador the Painter. Salvador the Painter learned that beauty tells the truth, which is an important lesson.

But there was a problem. Three hundred and thirty three years and thirty three days before Salvador the Painter learned his lesson, another man called Shang Wei fell in love with the most beautiful woman in the world at the time: Jinjing Lee. However, later he discovered that she had been an ugly witch that had put a spell on herself to appear beautiful. Shang Wei learned a most important lesson: Beauty is only skin deep.

And so, at the very minute and the very second that, centuries later, Salvador the Painter learned that beauty tells the truth, three fairy Also Trues appeared out of thin air.

“We have a most important problem,” said one.

“On the one hand, we have learned the rule of nature that says that ‘beauty is only skin deep’. That is a truth of the land.”

“On the other hand,” continued the third. (The three were quite good at finishing each others’ sentences), “we have also learned the rule of nature that says that ‘beauty tells the truth’. That is also a truth of the land.”

“While we know that beauty tells the truth, it is also true that beauty lies,” said the first judge.

“We also know that beauty is only skin deep,” added the second judge. “But it is also true that beauty, created by an artist, is created by a deep soul and is not skin deep.”

“It is also true,” remarked the third judge, “that beauty does not use words, and so beauty can easily lie. But it is also true that beauty is beauty in the eyes of all for all times, and therefore it is truthful.”

“We are ready to rule,” said the first Also True.

The second Also True spoke, “It is true that beauty tells the truth… But beauty tells the truth about he who sees it and not he who wears it.”

“And therefore,” the third Also True closed, “it is also true that beauty is only skin deep, for the one who wears it does not need to be truthful.”

With that, the three Also Trues vanished into thin air and left behind a confused Salvador the Painter. No one knows who these Also Trues are. No one knows if the same judges remain to judge the lessons through the centuries, or perhaps they are replaced by other Also Trues. It is rumored that somewhere, deep in the heart of the land, there resides a library of knowledge, the library of the Also Trues. In that library, so it is rumored, each lesson that had ever been learned is stored, and each Also True judging that has ever been given is also stored. But, as I said, no one knows where this library, if it exists, exists.

This has been the story of how lessons work and of the Also Trues.

King John the Cute nodded. “This has also been the story in which we learned of the truth behind beauty,” he said solemnly.

All present looked at King John the Cute who was deep in thought, and all knew that he was thinking of his own lost beauty. He was thinking of the cuteness he had been born with, which had not been gained because he had done something worthy. And he was thinking about how he had lost his beauty, and how his heart had not changed as a result.

Presently, King John the Cute shook his head, shaking these disturbing thoughts away. “Thank you for this story, Minister Vazir. Our knowledge is growing. Please, continue. A clue for the sickness that plagues the land no doubt hides within the secrets of magic that you speak of. Please continue.”

“With pleasure, your highness.”

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

 
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