You’ll want to read this one. Let’s just get to it:
Return of the Original Monster
(Containing the newest fairy tale from the magical land of Earth.)
Once upon a time on the magical planet Earth, a wounded king walked the land. His name was King John the Cute, and his chest bled slowly and his crown would not come off and his time was running out.
The king had already discovered the bubbles that sprung out of the imagination of humans and the stories and worlds contained within them.
The king asked his chariot to follow him discretely for a while, as he walked the streets of a big city, deep in contemplation. A woman’s voice woke him out of his reverie, for he believed her to utter a name he did not believe he would hear.
King John the Cute looked around and saw a woman near a bench speaking to two baby strollers that seemed to be glued together. “Excuse me, gentle woman,” the king said “What did you say?”
“I said ‘Now the Original Monster was no longer lonely’,” answered the woman. “I apologize if the story was bothering you. I was telling this story to my children.”
King John the Cute looked in the strollers and saw two young twins around the age of three. For a brief moment he checked whether they shared a shadow and was relieved to discover that they did not. The king returned his attention to the gentle woman.
“Gentle woman,” said King John the Cute. “My name is King John the Cute.”
“Yes,” the woman answered with pity in her eyes as she glanced at the king’s crown, then at his broken and wrinkled face. “I see you have been through a lot. You may call yourself what you wish. I am Iris Osiris, and these are my twins, Ira and Rhea.”
“A pleasure to meet you, Ira, Rhea, and Iris Osiris,” the king bowed slightly. “May I ask you, Iris Osiris, how do you know of the Original Monster?”
“Why, everyone knows about the Original Monster,” answered Iris Osiris. “Where have you been?”
“I have been in another land most of my life,” answered King John the Cute plainly. “Please tell me how everyone knows about the Original Monster.”
“Because it’s a book, of course,” Iris Osiris showed the king the book she was holding. It was filled with pictures and large block letters. Its title was, ‘THE RETURN OF THE ORIGINAL MONSTER’.
“This is the hottest and best new book around,” said Iris Osiris. “It has a great story about the first fairy tale creature that ever lived. Everyone’s buying it! Everyone’s reading it! It’s written by a guy called…” she looked at the small lettering on the cover of the book, “Doctor Dave Daniels.”
“Doctor Dave Daniels?” King John the Cute remembered quite well the story told by Otto the Outstanding about the Original Monster and Doctor Dave Daniels. He also remembered that the Original Monster, which had found a way to Earth and back again, was last seen on his way from the Land of All Legends to see Doctor Dave Daniels again to bring proof of the Land of All Legends.
“Oh, he’s great!” exclaimed Iris Osiris. “He’s a man of academia, and all he studies is old fairy tales. I mean really old fairy tales. The beautiful thing is that he has these ideas about what the very first fairy tale was like and what stories were told thousands and thousands of years ago, when man just began to tell stories. But his ideas are just ideas, they cannot be proven by any facts, since we have no recordings of these stories. So he put it all down in a book for children, that way everyone can enjoy the adventures of the first stories. Isn’t that great?! My children love it!”
“That is quite fascinating,” said King John the Cute. “Can you tell me what happens in the story?”
“Actually, the story is quite long, and we’re almost at the end. I’m going to tell you the gist of what happened so far and then I’m going to continue reading. You’re welcome to listen in, if you want.”
“I would love to hear it.”
“So far,” began Iris Osiris, “we’ve come to know the Original Monster. He lived in the Land of Fairy Tales, and he was the first fairy tale that ever was. Because he was the first, at first he was alone, just him and the sun. Then more fairy tales appeared, and we learn all about them, don’t we, Ira and Rhea? Yes, we do!
“Then the years pass by and everyone dies except the Original Monster. He gets to live a very long life and see more fairy tales come to life. His adventures change a bit, but he always remains more or less the same.
“Then, after thousands and thousands of years, although he lives in a world populated by magic and beauty and fairies, he feels alone, because everyone dies except for him. Now, he is even lonelier than before, because he sees that the Land of Fairy Tales itself is dying. Nothing new is growing, no new life is coming in, and everyone keeps dying. He feels that if something is not done, he will remain alone in a dead land.
“He wants to do something about it.
“Finally, he finds a wizard that lives outside of his own world, a wizard known only as Triple Dee. Triple Dee casts a spell that cannot be cast in the Land of Fairy Tales. In that spell, he gives a magical power to the Original Monster, then transports him back into the Land of Fairy Tales. Now, the Original Monster has a new magical power. Wherever he walks, life is renewed: flowers grow in his wake, animals are formed in his footsteps, and magical fairies and baby dragons are created where his shadow rests.
“That is where I stopped the story. It’s almost at its ending. Now I’ll keep on reading.”
King John the Cute nodded in fascination, and so did Ira and Rhea.
Iris Osiris opened the book again, and continued to read, “ ‘Now the Original Monster was no longer lonely. He walked the Land of Fairy Tales and the land healed in his wake. And so he traveled backwards and forwards, this way and that, zigging and zagging, making sure to walk any path and to miss no spot in the entire land. For if it was one thing that the Original Monster had, it was time.’”
King John the Cute listened intently to the story, and as he listened he watched the two twins. They, too, listened intently, their eyes wide, their breath deep. Then, a bubble of imagination emerged from the head Ira, and another bubble emerged from the head of Rhea. Both bubbles had images of the Original Monster, a hairy and tall man, half monkey, half man. In Ira’s bubble, the Original Monster was walking outside Burial Hill outside of Bambooville, near the spot where John the Cute, not yet king and not yet not cute, had found the orange flowers with yellow streaks. In Rhea’s bubble, the Original Monster was walking a mountainous path the king had walked months before, a path in the middle of the River Red Continent.
“ ‘And now, with the Land of Fairy Tales completely healed,’” Iris Osiris continued to read the story, “ ‘the Original Monster was never lonely again. For he knew that he had brought life back to the land that had birthed him, and he was happy and he was joyful. And the Original Monster was never lonely again, for he was the father and mother of almost every creature he saw and surveyed. All were his children and all were his friends. And that is the story of the rebirth of the Land of Fairy Tales.’”
The two bubbles from Ira and Rhea slowly distanced themselves from the heads from which they had sprung, but they were coming towards each other. King John the Cute followed them with his gaze, wondering if the bubbles would burst upon impact.
The bubbles met. Rather than burst, they merged, creating a bigger bubble. In it, the Original Monster was walking the path in the River Red Continent, and plants were growing in his wake, and baby dragons were coming into existence in his shadow.
King John the Cute looked up. They were seated outside a book store. From inside the book store, five bubbles containing images of the Original Monster were coming out through the walls. In front of his eyes, the bubbles merged into bigger bubbles.
Now King John the Cute surveyed his surroundings. There were bubbles of the Original Monster everywhere. They were coming out of buildings and merging into each other. Now the twins’ single bubble rose up and met with bigger bubbles who met with bigger bubbles. Now the magical image of the Original Monster healing the Land of All Legends took up half of the sky.
King John the Cute rose from his place near Iris Osiris, and called upon his chariot. In front of the woman’s eyes, ten thousand butterflies minus one came out of every corner and lifted the king with the wrinkled face into the sky.
There, he could see from up close what no human could see: the bubble was growing greater and greater, becoming more and more lucid and less and less transparent.
The bubble was so close and the views were so real and colorful and lacking detail that it seemed to King John the Cute as if he was watching the world in which he grew.
Then, in an instant, three more bubbles merged with the big bubble. It was as if the bubble now had all it would need. The bubble shook and span. Its surface hardened. And, in front of the king’s face, it lost is bubbly shape, and lengthened into the sky and beyond. The surface of the bubble burst, but the long shape remained. A tunnel was left, paved with the imagination of children around the world. It was a tunnel much like the one in which the Evil Witch of Panache had led him from the Land of All Legends into the magical land of Earth.
The vision of the Original Monster was gone, and now only the tunnel remained.
Now King John the Cute knew the truth about the bubbles. A story by itself is simply imagination – a world in a bubble that bursts. But if a story is told enough times, perhaps a million, perhaps even more than a million, then enough bubbles meet, and a path is formed, and a truth is created in the Land of All Legends. And that, King John the Cute realized with certainty, was how fairy tales were born in the Land of All Legends.
King John the Cute led his chariot to hang in the air in front of the tunnel that humans could not see, so that he may peer inside it. He was careful not to come too close to the tunnel, for he knew that when he returned to the Land of All Legends, even for a few minutes, he would die.
The tunnel was black. And beyond it did not lie images of the Land of All Legends: no colors, no shapes, no magical land – only darkness. Then something peered back at him from the darkness: a powerful pair of eyes.
“Hello?” said the pair of eyes. “Is someone there?”
King John the Cute’s own eyes adjusted to the darkness, and now could make out the face that surrounded the eyes. It was the face he had seen in all of the bubbles, the face of the Original Monster as imagined by millions of children.
“The Original Monster?” shouted King John the Cute. “Is that you? My name is King John the Cute. I come from the Land of All Legends, although now I am on the planet Earth!”
“King John the Cute?” answered the face. “I have not been to the Land of All Legends in a few of its years, so I have not heard that you are now king. But I have heard of your coming centuries ago. I have heard a prophecy that you will save the Land of All Legends from its mysterious ailment. I have waited for your coming for centuries, but you did not come.”
“I have come now.”
“Sadly, it may be too late for me. For I chose not to wait for you. Shall I tell you the sad events that have led me here?”
“Please do. I am listening.”
“As I saw the land grow more feeble, as I saw that no new creatures were being born and all were dying, I decided to find a solution on my own. I contacted the one known as Doctor Dave Daniels, a man of academia who resides in a world without magic. On my behalf, he wrote a story about the truth of the past of our land, but also a story about myself, a story which gives me the power to heal the land.
“Once the story was out, once it was made a bestseller and liked by more than a million-or-so children, a path formed above me, a path which looked exactly like the paths that lead home.
“I saw it form in front of my eyes. And when it was formed, it was formed with great force, a great pulling force. The path sucked me inside it and I was unable to resist its power. I fell through the tunnel, but it did not lead me back home. I do not know where I am. I do not know what this place is. All I know is that there is no place like this in the Land of All Legends that I have ever seen. It is simply dark and quiet. With no sun, no creatures, and no magic that I can see. My own new powers, the power of life, should work in the Land of All Legends, for enough children have heard my new story, but here my footsteps do nothing and my shadow does not birth new life.”
“Perhaps the reason the path no longer leads to the Land of All Legends,” King John the Cute said, held in the air by his chariot of butterflies, “is part of the illness that besets the Land of All Legends.”
“That is quite possible. I tried to return through this tunnel. But it is too high above me and I do not have the strength. I am doomed to remain here.” The Original Monster sighed. “I am sorry, King John the Cute. I attempted to outsmart the prophecy and to solve the land’s illnesses on my own, and I seem to have doomed myself. Will you help me to find my way out of wherever I am?”
Despair struck King John the Cute for the very first time. “Original Monster,” he said with a sad voice, “my task is too big and it is getting bigger. My quest is impossible, for I must do what you could not, and I must know what you, who have seen everything, do not. My time is short, for I am dying. I have no friends here. I can no longer enter the land of All Legends without dying. I desire deeply to help you with your problem, but I fear that I cannot vow that I will solve your problem. For I grow weaker every day and every day I learn how much I do not know and how much more there is yet to accomplish.”
The Original Monster lowered his head. “I understand, my king. It is all right, I shall be fine. For I will not die, and I have all the time in the world. Someone else will come to save me… sometime in the future. Go about your quest and save the Land of All Legends and do not worry about me, for that is what I want most of all.”
King John the Cute nodded, a tear in his eye, for he learned that he was not perfect. “Thank you, Ookoo-Ah, you are a noble and brave creature. I will now return to my quest.”
“Goodbye,” said the Original Monster. “Be brave.”
The king’s chariot slowly led him back down to the street. Now King John the Cute saw that Iris Osiris and hundreds of others had been staring at him the entire time.
“Go about your ways,” King John the Cute ordered the people of the big city.
But the people of the big city did not go about their ways. For they told each other the very real tale of the man with the troubled face and the golden crown who was carried into the air by a chariot of butterflies. And so it was that the story of the magic of the planet Earth began to spread among humans.
This has been the third story (out of four) about twins in this book of legends.
Even more importantly, this was the story in which King John the Cute learned that he could not achieve perfection. As we shall see in the tales to come, this was the one life-lesson he needed to learn most of all.
(To be continued on Thursday…)
You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!