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 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!