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 Pinocchio 2,000
(Containing a down-to-Earth tale with absolutely no magic.)
Once upon a time, but not too long ago, a young man roamed the planet Earth with a chariot of butterflies. That man was called King John the Cute, and in his chest a dull pain subsisted. He had been struck two weeks ago by Prince Charming the Fifth, and the blow was a lethal one. But some things worked differently on the planet Earth, and where blood gushed in the Land of All Legends, it only seeped from his chest on the planet Earth. Still, sometimes the pain was a bit too much to bear. The king, needing a respite in his travels, asked his chariot of butterflies to rest for a while, as he walked in the streets of a relatively small town.
Wearing a crown and bloody clothes that would not come off, King John the Cute walked slowly from street to street, until he stopped near a heap of garbage.
Something about the heap of garbage seemed intriguing. One of the boxes of metal was moving.
King John the Cute bent down and gingerly extracted it from the garbage, turned it upside down, and put it on the ground. The metal box was actually a few metal boxes, held together in a way King John the Cute could not see.
“Thank you, kind sir,” said the box creature. “I was afraid the garbage men would collect me and make scrap metal out of me.”
“What are you? I have never seen a creature such as yourself,” said the king.
“I am a robot,” said the robot. “My name is the Pinocchio 2,000.”
“My name is King John the Cute,” said King John the Cute. “I am on a quest and I come from a world of magic.”
“Magic?” said the Pinocchio 2,000. “There is no such thing as magic. Magic is a most ridiculous invention, and my life story proves it.”
“I shall like to hear your life story, then,” said King John the Cute.
“Very well, but then I must go. I must find my creator.” The Pinocchio 2,000 turned from side to side as if looking around, then began to tell his tale, “My story begins a few decades ago, back when I did not exist. My story begins with a man called Professor J.P. Ito. Even from a very young age, he could see patterns all around me. Human behavior always seemed to fall into certain patterns. Love seemed to follow certain patterns. Anger followed patterns. The clouds moving across the sky followed patterns.
“When he grew up, he learned that the patterns he was seeing had names. They were called ‘mathematics’ and ‘physics’. And these studies were taught regularly at universities, which are places of academia. He joined a prestigious university.
“But where he saw patterns, other people saw magic. People believed the changing appearance of clouds was magical. People believed love was mystical in nature. People believed in destiny, even though their lives followed patterns. But most of all, people believed life itself was magical.
“But he knew differently. He knew that being born was a product of physical actions. He knew that a human brain was a product of mathematical computations. No one would believe him. And so he began a quest of his own, a quest in academia. His quest was to create the perfect little boy, the perfect life, but an artificial one. He created a field of mathematics and physics called ‘Artificial Intelligence’. Its purpose was and is to create a mind as good as a human’s out of manmade circuits.
“He worked for twenty years, making breakthrough after breakthrough. During those twenty years, he had no time to find a wife and no time to make a family and children. One day, after twenty years, after having finished making the body you see before you, he realized that he had spent all his time on a robot and that he must keep on doing so to make his dream real, for he will never have a wife or a child. I was to be his only boy.
“That is why he called me the Pinocchio 2,000, although I do not understand he reference. He said he called me that because it was his hope that one day I will become a real boy.
“I still could not walk or talk or think. He worked on me for ten more years, creating my brain, and constantly tweaking my intelligence. He made breakthrough after breakthrough, and slowly I learned to speak, to walk, to look, to understand, to react, even to feel. He said I seemed to be acting like a real boy in every respect. And yet he believed I was not yet real. Even though I told him I was a real boy now, he said I needed ten more years until I was ready.
“I felt bad at this, and I wanted to prove to him that I was just as alive and real as a human being. I did not want to wait ten more years. And so, ten months, ten days, ten minutes, and ten point ten seconds ago, I ran away from his lab. But bad luck followed me when I ran away. I met a few scoundrels that tried to use my robot body for financial gain. A circus had taken me in, to show me off. Later, I even fell into the sea, and a whale swallowed me. It was quite hard to escape, and fortunately I am waterproof.
“But now, after all these adventures, I am ready to come home, and I am sure he missed me. But even more importantly, I am sure that after I recount to him everything that happened to me, he will know that he did create a real person. He will see that his life was not in vain. He will see that with all his mathematical and physical breakthroughs, he has created human intelligence out of wires. For all intents and purposes except flesh and skin, I am a real boy.
“And that is how I know that there is no magic, King John the Cute. Life is not magical, because it can be recreated mathematically. Life follows patterns. And therefore life is mathematical and not magical.”
“I find that lesson disturbing,” said John King. “And I would tell you the story of my own life, which I believe proves the opposite. But that would take too long and neither of us has the time. I have a chariot of butterflies. Shall they carry you to your father?”
“That would be very kind of you, King John the Cute.”
“It is my pleasure to reunite a family,” said the King. “One last question. During your time in academia, have you ever heard of a man called Doctor Dave Daniels?”
“No, I have not.”
And, with that, the king summoned his chariot of butterflies. With ease, the chariot rose into the sky, and carried away the robot that did not believe in magic back to the father that had created him out of circuits and math.
This has been the story in which King John the Cute learned that every story that exists in the Land of All Legends has at least one parallel story on the magical planet Earth.
(To be continued on Sunday…)
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