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 Land of the Lost
(Containing the lost story of a lost land of lost tales.)
King John the Cute called for his chariot.
Ten thousand butterflies minus one flew in and settled in all corners of the caves.
“You,” the king pointed to a single red and blue butterfly sitting atop a rock. “You seem the bravest. Come to me please.”
The little butterfly flew from its resting place and came to stand on King John the Cute’s finger. “Tell me, little butterfly, what is your name?”
“When I am born and finish the life cycle of a butterfly, my name will be Samuel,” said Samuel the Butterfly.
“Look up there,” King John the Cute pointed at the pink and white tunnels which were bound together. “Do you see tunnels?”
“I do, my king. Butterflies see all things magical.”
“Excellent,” said King John the Cute. “The big, white tunnels leads back to my own magical land, the Land of All Legends. The pink tunnels, however, probably lead to a world that has not been seen in two hundred and fifty thousand Earth years. We do not know what lies beyond it, but I would like to ask you to explore it. The fate of my entire world may rest on the answer. Will you do it, little Samuel? Will you explore the land? And then, when finished, will you return to the tunnel from which you came and report? I must warn you, that this may be a dangerous mission.”
“I am aware of the risks, my king. But I shall do as you bid, for I seek to save as many worlds as possible before I am born.”
“You are a brave butterfly,” said King John the Cute. “From this point forward, I decree that your name shall be Samuel the Brave.”
“It is my honor to be named so,” said Samuel the Brave. “And I shall begin my task now.”
The butterfly rose into the air, fluttering his little wings, and climbed up and into the fused pink tunnel, vanishing from the sight of all who were present.
“That little butterfly just disappeared in mid-air!” said Doctor Dave Daniels.
“He has entered the fused pink tunnel, the creation story,” said King John the Cute. “He shall return once he is done exploring the unknown land.”
“Astounding. I can’t wait. Is the butterfly from your land or from my land?”
“All these butterflies, Doctor Dave Daniels, were born on the magical planet Earth. Many things are magical here, and yet humans, apparently, are not aware of it. Humans tell stories about other magical places, with other magical beings and yet do not see their own surroundings. Mankind has forgotten that Earth is magical.”
“Even more astounding! I had no idea!” Doctor Dave Daniels looked up at the ceiling. “How long do you think it will take him to return?”
“A few days at least. And time may work differently in the other land, so it is hard to tell.”
“Well, then, I shall use the days to explore the caves, and during the nights I would love to speak to you and to learn about the magic of my own planet.”
“It would be my pleasure, Doctor Dave Daniels.”
And so it was that King John the Cute and Doctor Dave Daniels spent seven days and seven nights waiting for Samuel the Brave to return from the other land. At the very last second of the seventh night, just as the sun was about to rise above the horizon, the butterfly returned from the pink tunnel. He flew out of the tunnel and into the magical world of Earth. Then, seeing the ancient cave empty, he flew outside to find King John the Cute and Doctor Dave Daniels sitting around the fire. The butterflies, all around, slept soundly.
Samuel the Brave landed on the king’s knee. The king was happy to see Samuel the Brave hale and hearty. Then the butterfly said, “I have quite a story to tell you.”
“Please,” said King John the Cute. “We are listening.” And, indeed, during the seven days and seven nights that have passed, Doctor Dave Daniels has learned to talk, to hear, and to listen to butterflies of his own world.
Samuel the Brave began his tale,
“The tunnel itself was pink as pink can be. Quite soon, I could see a small light at the end of the tunnel. I flew towards the light and found myself in the sleepy skies of an abandoned land. The sky was blue, and the sun shone brightly. But the sun was asleep. I could not wake it. Everyone knows that a sun that sleeps for more than a thousand years will not be easily awakened.
“I looked down and saw a forest, but there were no creatures to be seen, no birds were flying, no insects were crawling, no fairies appearing. It was more silent than any silence I had ever heard.
“The land was dry, for no rain had fallen in thousands of years. No clouds were in the sky, as if no clouds had ever been to this land.
“I explored the land as best I could. No rivers were running, nothing seemed to be hiding under stones, no wind was in the air, and the leaves of the trees did not move. The trees themselves were old and rotten, for they did not have water to drink. All the trees were dead. All the bushes were dead. And the flowers had wilted long ago.
“I explored the land even further. I found caves, much like the caves you have excavated. There I found the remains of a fire. And around the fire were three skeletons – a mother, a father, and a son.
“I searched the land high and low, and discovered that the land was small, no bigger than three forests. Beyond that, there was no more, there was nothing to explore, not even emptiness.
“Still, I searched for any clues, for any piece of knowledge I may bring back. And then, hidden behind many rocks, I found a door. It is a black door through which nothing can pass, not even air. There was no way to open it, no way to hold it, no way for me to land on it. The very blackness of it shimmered.”
“That is Death’s Door,” King John the Cute explained. “There is one exactly like it in my own land. It leads to the dark Afterdeath. Please, continue, Samuel the Brave. What else did you find?”
“Between two rocks, next to Death’s Door, I found another skeleton, seated on the ground. It used to be a man, and he, too, had died long ago.
“The land itself was small and so I did my best to explore every piece of it at least once, that I may best serve you and help you save your land. But there was nothing else to find. No living beings were there, no creatures, magical or otherwise. And there were only four skeletons of human creatures. That is all I could find, your highness, during my short trip. Then, knowing you do not have much time, I quickly flew back to the tunnel that had brought me here.
“That is the story of all I have seen in this other land.”
King John the Cute nodded heavily. “That is a sad story. The land is dead, for no new creatures have come to live in it. The land did not grow and expand, for no new stories were told. Even Death was not born in this land, and so the door to the Afterdeath remains closed. The creatures who were there died without Death, their souls unclaimed. Like humans on this world, they turned to skeletons. A land in which only four creatures lived, for a long, long time before they died, with no one else to keep them company… It is sad, quite sad.”
Doctor Dave Daniels nodded, “And all because of a very big sandstorm.”
For a moment, silence hung in the air. “Thank you, Samuel the Brave,” King John the Cute said finally. “You have done well and have quested bravely. Join your friends now, and know that you have helped me and my world much.”
Samuel the Brave joined his brethren. As he did so, Doctor Dave Daniels spoke, “King John the Cute, I have explored the caves. I believe I know who these four skeletons were and what their stories were.”
King John the Cute’s back straightened. “Please, tell me what you have discovered.”
This has been the fleeting tale of a fluttering butterfly and what he saw in a lost land of lost stories and lost creatures.
(To be continued on Tuesday…)
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