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:
A Tale of Two Sons
(Containing the tragic tale of a son looking for his father and the happy tale of a father looking for his son.)
The path to the second door in the Afterdeath was a long one. King John the Cute and Queen Sarah O’Connell waded their way through the overcrowded corridor of the Afterdeath, when suddenly King John the Cute heard a familiar voice cry in desperation: “Father! Father! Where are you? Father!”
Upon placing the familiar voice, King John the Cute stopped, for he understood that he had one more unfinished task to complete.
With Queen Sarah O’Connell in hand, he followed the voice, and arrived at its source. “Prince Charming the Fifth!”
King Charming the Fifth, no longer a prince, turned around and faced his former enemy. “King John the Cute!”
“Why are you dead? It is time for you to be king!”
“There was a great battle,” said King Charming the Fifth. “In order to remove the curse from you and from Queen Sarah O’Connell, three armies were slaughtered: the king’s army, my own army, and an army of clouds. The Land of All Legends now lays almost barren of souls and nearly empty of creatures. I do not know if it was worth the price, simply to remove a curse.”
“I will allay your fears,” said King John the Cute. “At the end of this day, all the dead shall be alive again. And it is thanks to you and the efforts of the three armies, for I needed to come to the Afterdeath to heal the two lands. Still, this is not the outcome I desired. In a few moments, I shall open that door, and all those who are dead shall step forth into a new under world, which I now name ‘the Lost Land of Legends’. And yet the Land of All Legends is barren now. I say that all those who should not have died today will return to the Land of All Legends: You, the army of clouds, your own army, and the king’s army. The path back to life back home is no longer barred. And from this point forth, all those who die in the Land of All Legends shall step from the Afterdeath to the Lost Land of Legends. And all those who die in the Lost Land of Legends shall step from from the Afterdeath to the Land of All Legends. Thus it will be from now on, and the two lands shall be equal.”
King Charming the Fifth put a hearty hand on the King John the Cute’s shoulder. “That is great news. Thank you, dear king, for all that you have done for the Land of All Legends. I will soon gather all of today’s dead, and we shall walk out the door together. But I must stay here a bit longer, for I seek to find and speak to my father.”
King John the Cute held King Charming the Fifth’s hand. “Your father is gone, my prince.” And he was sorry to say this to the prince for the second time in two years. “He is not in the Afterdeath. He sacrificed his Afterdeath life with the aid of a wizard so that he may help me in his quest. And, indeed, without his help I could not have known how to complete my quest. But now he is gone… forever… I am sorry, my prince.”
The prince’s hands fell to his side. “I wanted to speak to him,” he said softly. “I just wanted to talk.”
Feeling saddened and uncertain, King Charming the Fifth walked away and in the direction of the door that leads back to the Land of All Legends. King John the Cute and Queen Sarah O’Connell were about to continue on their own way, when they heard a man’s voice cry: “Son! Son! Where are you? Son!”
Suddenly, a man in his forties, tall and with graying hair, stood in front of the king. “Son!” he cried.
“What?” King John the Cute looked at him without understanding.
“Son! I am your father!” the man spread his arms wide. “Frank the Frank!”
The man hugged King John the Cute. The king, astounded, said, “What?”
“I died on the day you were born. I named you ‘John the Cute’ for you were the cutest baby in all the land. But I was so distressed at the thought that you would die at twenty and rule the Underworld, that I wandered off and was eaten by a wolf. All these years, my son, ever since my death, I have regretted my reaction to the prophecy, a reaction that brought about my death. All these years I have regretted never being able to see you, never being able to raise you and teach you, never being able to laugh with you and cry with you. And so I have waited all these years, my son, for I knew that on your twentieth birthday you would arrive here. Here I waited for a man donning the crown of a king. Here I waited to join you in whatever quest or task you were still to perform, to talk to you, to share your stories and to share mine. And I see you have found a most beautiful woman.”
“That is enough of your cheek!” admonished Queen Sarah O’Connell. Then she added, “Thank you.”
“Father,” King John the Cute said the word in a tone he had never used in his life. “Father, father, I have heard much about you from my mother, who is now called Kate the Tigress. I have missed you in my life, and I have regretted your absence dearly. I have never thought this moment would come, and I would love to hear the stories of your life and to share the stories of my own life. But I believe we must forestall this meeting a few more years.
“From the Afterdeath, I will walk through that door, where I shall be Death, and live immortally in a land called the Lost Land of Legends. Meanwhile, in the Land of All Legends, my mother still lives, still loves you, still misses you, and no doubt worries about me. Please, let us not leave her alone. Walk through that faraway and unguarded door over there, back to the Land of All Legends. Join her in the decades she has left. And when the two of you die, many many years from now, come join me in the Lost Land of Legends, through that other door. I will be alive and waiting for my mother and to finally meet and know my father.”
Frank the Frank nodded and a weight lifted from his mind. “You have grown to be brave and bold, wise and warm. My son, I could not have wished for better. I shall see you again after our death. And for the meantime, I shall see your mother again, and convey to her that you are hale and hearty.”
“Thank you, father,” said King John the Cute.
Frank the Frank and King John the Cute hugged and wept. Frank the Frank shook Queen Sarah O’Connell’s hands, and then began to make his way back to the Land of All Legends.
“Come, Queen Sarah O’Connell,” King John the Cute hurried his love. “A land that has been dead for two hundred and fifty thousand Earth years and millions and millions of its own years waits to be awakened.”
Queen Sarah O’Connell and King John the Cute reached the door that has never been opened.
With a simple gesture, King John the Cute touched the middle of the door. A flicker of color passed through the door, and its color changed forever from Frightening Black to Powerful Black.
On the other side, the most powerful sigh was heard. The land itself had awakened for the first time in two hundred million years. The land had awakened and breathed a sigh of relief.
“Shall we walk through it?” asked Queen Sarah O’Connell.
“Soon. There are others who must walk in before us,” answered King John the Cute.
This has been the story in which the Lost Land of Legends awakened from its slumber of two hundred million years.
(To be continued on Tuesday…)
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