Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

Tickling Butterflies – The Story of the Old Man

November 21, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

PART 14

THE BATTLE OF GREAT SACRIFICES

 

The Story of the Old Man

(Containing many endings to a story that is not yet over.)

Once upon a time, on the magical planet Earth, lived an old man who wrote stories. The old man had met King John the Cute once before, in a tale told elsewhere in this book of legends. During their fateful meeting, the king saw bubbles of ideas and imagination spring from the head of the old man. This spring led King John the Cute on an avenue of discovery that led him to the discovery of many secrets regarding the magical planet Earth, the Land of All Legends, and the lost land of legends.

The story of their second meeting begins now.

The old man sat in a park, looking at trees, seeking ideas for stories. The king descended from on high, carried by a chariot of butterflies.

“You again?” whispered the old man. “Who are you?”

“I am a fairy tale,” said King John the Cute. And the old man believed him, for the king had come on a chariot of butterflies. Bubbles of imagination burst out of his head, containing various stories of how a king emerges from an imaginary land of fairy tales.

“What is your name?” asked the old man.

“My name is King John the Cute,” answered the fairy tale. “What is your name?”

The old man told the king his name. The king said, “I have heard that name before.” The king searched his memory until, presently, he recalled. “I know! I have heard it from the mouth of Benjamin Miller! You are the one who wrote his story!”

“I do not know a Benjamin Miller,” said the old man, “and I have never written a word about anyone of that name.”

“That is strange. Benjamin Miller saw you writing his tale in a book called ‘Tickling Butterflies’.”

Dozens of imagination bubbles emerged from the old man’s head, showing various scenarios of various characters tickling butterflies. He said, “I have never written such a book. Although that is a good name for a book.”

The king was puzzled by the old man’s statements. And so he searched his memory for the story told by Benjamin Miller. “Benjamin Miller saw you write the book, but he did not see it happen in front of him; he saw it in the magic mirror.” Dozens of imagination bubbles emerged from the old man, all of which contained a magic mirror. The king continued, “Perhaps the mirror showed him the future and not the past?”

The old man sighed and no imagination bubbles came from his mind. “Please sit down, King John.” King John the Cute sat next to the old man. The old man spoke slowly, “I believe you that you are a fairy tale, because thousands of butterflies carried you to me and because I remember our last encounter and I know you can see that which is imaginary. However, I spend all my days with stories and fairy tales. And so the fact that you are real interests me more than the fact that you are imaginary. There are some real things I do not know and must know. I do not know how fairy tales could exist. I do not know why you come to me. And I do not know your story.”

“My story is a long and harrowing one.”

“I have all the time in the world.”

“I do not. My lethal wound will soon finish me. I do not believe that I have more than two Earth days and two Earth nights before I must return to my land to die.”

“You can leave whenever you want,” said the old man. “But if you want to speak to me, you will tell me your story first.”

The king hesitated for a second. Then, trusting the Fates that they have brought him to the right person, he told the old man his tale.

The king told the old man of his childhood, as the sun set around the two.

The king told the old man of the death of a king, of new friends acquired, and of the Happily Ever After Home for the Married; and as he did so, the moon moved from one side of the sky to the other.

The king told the old man of his adventures to a funny and ridiculous land and then to a grown-up and serious land. And as he did so, the sun rose over the horizon and advanced to the middle of the sky.

The king told the old man ancient and secret tales of magic, as told to him by Minister Vazir; he told the old man of the battle at the village of Panache; and then he told the king of all his adventures while on the magical planet Earth; and as he told those tales, the sun came down and darkness once more settled on the land. And when the darkness was complete, the king’s tale was done, although its ending was not yet told, for the king did not yet live it.

The king did not tell the old man the tales of Shadowy Secret, of Sarah O’Connell’s adventures while not in the king’s presence, the past stories of Perfect Paul, or what had taken place in the land while he has been on Earth – for the king did not know those stories.

For thirty hours, the king had spoken. For thirty hours, the old man had listened. For thirty hours, the two had not moved, had not drank, and had not eaten.

By the end of thirty hours, the old man’s eyes shone with excitement, while the king was thirty hours closer to death.

“And now I have come to you, because with the little time I have, only you can save my land.”

The old man laughed happily.

“Why are you laughing so happily,” enquired the king.

“Because I now know the end of my story,” said the old man.

“The end of your story? Not the end of my story? Surely, the end of your story is far away.”

“Hopefully, it is. But you don’t understand, King John, who and what I am. I am a writer. Everything I see is a story. Every object and person I see has a story, a past, a future… a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Everything has a story… including me. We all have many stories, depending on where we choose to put the beginning of the tale, but… as a writer, you see, I have always wondered what is my story?

“I have written many books, and I have sent them to publishers. And many times I have wondered, which story is mine? Is my story the story of the man who sends and sends his books to no avail even when he is at the end of his days? Will I spend the end of my days bitter, thinking no one has discovered me? Is my story that of the man whose talent is recognized towards the end of his days? Is my story that of the man who worked for his art his entire life, was never accepted, but is happy because he believes his art to have been good? Is my story that of the artist who is discovered after his death?

“But now, you see, I know which story I am in. Because I will write down the tale you have told me. I will add and embellish, I will even add fairy tales where you are not present, and in the end, I will send it to publishers. Your story is so good that it will become a fairy tale, for I am sure that it will sell millions. My stories will be… No, my story is of the man who is discovered late in life. And now I am happy.”

“That is good to hear,” said King John the Cute. “I am glad I have made you happy.”

“And now you want to tell me the favor that only I can perform, in order to save your land?”

“How did you know?”

“You are a fairy tale, after all. Tell me what it is you need of me. I will do better than my best.”

And so ends the first story (out of three) of the old man and the king and how they saved the Land of All Legends, the magical planet Earth, and the lost land of lost fairy tales.

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – A Mother and Her Son

November 19, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

A Mother and Her Son

(Containing the story of a strange reunion between two that have never met.)

 

Once, in the Land of All Legends, Shadowy Secret roamed the land. Born of Kate the Tigress’ secrets and anger and despair, he had come into being in the Deepest Crevice. Ever since, he had brought Prince Charming the Fourth out of his despair, helped the prince raise an army, stolen Death’s arm, and given it back at the strangest times without ever having used it.

Ever since the events of a story too great to be told, detailed elsewhere in this book of legends, Shadowy Secret was not seen by anyone who knew him. Indeed, Once King John the Cute had vanished from the land in the village of Panache, Shadowy Secret left the prince and his army, and walked in various and varying paths.

For months, he had walked slowly, but with intention, towards the farthest corner of the farthest shire in the Land of All Legends. Unbeknownst to him, a cloud was following his moves from afar.

Finally, Shadowy Secret’s journey came to an end, as he stood outside the house of the woman whose scream of frustration had borne him.

Afraid for the first time in his life, he did not walk in, but walked around and looked at the windows. Kate the Tigress was lying down on her bed, surrounded by beautiful flowers, fully awake. Suddenly, she sat up, hearing a noise outside.

“Who is there?” she shouted.

For two and a half seconds, Shadowy Secret hesitated. Then, masking his voice, he told her the truth, “It is I… Your son.” And it was true, even though Kate the Tigress did not know she had given birth to Shadowy Secret.

“John the Cute?” Kate the Tigress whispered in hope and fear.

Once more, Shadowy Secret hesitated for two and a half seconds. Then, his voice masked, he spoke like the king, “Yes. It is I, John the Cute.”

“Come into the house, then! Why are you sneaking outside?”

“I cannot come in and I cannot stay… mother. I only wanted to convey a message to you.”

“I am listening, dear son. What is your message?”

“I just wanted to say, Mother, that I know of the prophecy. I know of the last two lines, the two you did not tell me about.”

Kate the Tigress began to cry. “I tried to keep them from you, because they are horrible.”

“Mother, I know more about the land and its secrets now than I did a year and a half ago, when you left the palace for home via the Deepest Crevice. All prophecies have happy endings, mother. As does this one.”

“But how can it have a happy ending? It says you shall rule the underworld forever and never return to the land of the living!”

“No, mother, you misunderstood the last two lines. Though I will die, death will not be my end. The last two lines promise me a happy ending and they promise me a happy life. And we will see each other again many times, and you will see that I am living happily ever after.”

Kate the Tigress cried softly. “I hope you are right, John the Cute.”

“I am, Mother. I wanted to comfort you and say goodbye, because the next time you will see me will be many decades from now.”

“But I will see you?”

“You will see that I am living happily ever after. I promise. But now I must return to the palace, for there is a battle ahead, a battle I must win.”

“Thank you, son, thank you for coming!”

Shadowy Secret, a tear in his eye, turned around and entered the woods. When he exited the woods, he saw the cloud Chariot float directly above him.

“I heard your conversation with Kate the Tigress,” said Chariot.

“Aren’t you the king’s chariot?” asked Shadowy Secret. “Shouldn’t you be at the palace?”

“I am King John the Cute’s chariot and no one else’s, and King John the Cute is not at the palace.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I was confused after the battle at the village of Panache. I did not know what to do or what the prophecy required of me. Confused, I followed you. I heard your conversation with Kate the Tigress. I know who you are now. I should have seen it before.”

“My name is Shadowy Secret,” said Shadowy Secret. “And I am a shadowy secret.”

“My name is Chariot,” said Chariot. “I have heard of you before I have seen you. I have heard Death describe to the king how you stole Death’s arm. Death stood in front of the king and told him the story, even as King John the Cute’s name appeared on Death’s list. Had he still had his arm, Death would have claimed King John the Cute long ago. During our visit to the village of Panache, I saw you give Death’s arm back. From above it was very clear to see that you were delaying Death from touching King John the Cute once he had been stabbed by the prince. You knew the witch would save him and you knew she would only need a minute.”

“I know many things, Chariot.”

“Intrigued and confused, I have been following you ever since. Your walk seemed familiar to me during the last few months, but I could not place it, for you are all smoke and shadows. But now that I have heard your conversation with Kate the Tigress, it is plain to me who you truly are.”

“I am a shadowy secret,” said Shadowy Secret.

“Indeed you are. Come, climb aboard me and let me carry you to the palace.”

“I thought you were the chariot of only the king.”

“I am. And you are my king.”

Shadow Secret considered the cloud’s words for fifteen seconds, then climbed aboard. “You will carry me to the palace?”

“I will. I have heard it from other clouds that Sarah O’Connell is now queen, and that Death is training two armies to ensure that once King John the Cute dies, his soul enters the Afterdeath. They are preparing to fight a monster more powerful than Death. They will need you, for you are more powerful than Death, as well. If I had not been kidnapped by Farmer Moozik, I would not have followed you, and I would not have learned that the prophecy guarantees a happy ending to my friend, and that for his happy ending he must die.”

“Thank you, dear Chariot. You are wise beyond your young years.”

And so it was that Chariot carried Shadowy Secret to the palace.

This has been the story in which a mother bade farewell to her son. This has also been the story in which Chariot became convinced that he, too, must help King John the Cute die. This has also been the story you will want to read again when you finish this hefty book of legends.

Now read on, as we follow the further adventures of King John the Cute in the magical world of Earth.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Pebble that Broke the World

November 17, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Pebble that Broke the Land

(Containing an alluring allegory of the pebble that changed the world.)

 

Once upon a time, in the Land of All Legends, during the time in which Death trained two armies to battle a curse creature more powerful than Death himself, Death felt a stirring in the air.

Death raised his hands, and the soldiers stopped their exercises.

Death looked around, for he thought he knew what was to come.

He looked aside. A pebble on the ground began to glow. The pebble’s glow radiated more powerfully until it blinded the soldiers. Then the glow broke apart into shimmering fairy dust, which danced in the air, in front of Death.

Death took out his list.

The fairy dust settled upon the list, and, with a last glow, became writing on the parchment.

Death looked at the new name silently. “I must leave the palace for a short while,” he whispered.

But when Death looked up, he saw that the Land of All Legends had lost much of its color. The sun, the sky, the woods, the stones, the creatures, and even Death – everyone and everything was now grayer and less colorful than before. Every Death was written on Death’s list with the stuff of the land itself. With each Death there was a bit less magic in the land. And since no new magical land and no new magical creatures were being formed at the Border of Nothing, this one pebble was too much for the land to bear.

The Land of All Legends had lost too much of itself, and now most of its color was gone. From this point forward, Death knew, with each new name on the list, the land itself would be closer to its own demise.

And so Death left the palace, and in his heart he wished that King John the Cute would not let him down this time as he had hundreds of years before. For even Death wanted the land to live.

 

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Prince’s Choice

November 14, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Prince’s Choice

(Containing a choice tale of a decision too great to make.)

 

This story takes place in the Land of All Legends, during the time in which Sarah O’Connell was temporary queen and Prince Charming the Fifth was temporary king. The time was the time in which the entire land waited for the return of King John the Cute, when Death worked in concert with temporary king and queen in order to kill the king when he returns.

Darkness was slowly settling upon the Land of All Legends. The Sun’s rays seemed less bright and the darkness of night seemed more powerful. The land was dying, and in the king’s palace in Capital City, two armies were being trained by Death to fight a monster more powerful than Death.

Minister Azriel Jones, the king’s Minister of Celebrations, stood in his chamber and looked through the window at Death training the two armies in the palace yard. When last we heard of him, Minister Azriel Jones had been taken prisoner by Prince Charming the Fifth and his army. But when Sarah O’Connell became queen and took her place on the throne, she convinced the prince to release the minister and to allow him to return to his work.

Prince Charming the Fifth entered the minister’s room, and Minister Azriel Jones stood upright. “Your highness!” he exclaimed. “I did not know you wanted to see me! I would have come!”

Prince Charming the Fifth waved his hand in dismissal. “I do not seek you.”

Somberly, the prince came to stand by the window and looked down. “In fact,” the prince said, “I do not know your name. Who are you and what do you do here?”

“My name is Minister Azriel Jones, your highness. I have been in this palace since before you were born, and I have served your father and King John the Cute in my capacity as Minister of Celebrations.”

Prince Charming the Fifth looked at him and said, “Ah. But what is your story?”

“I used to me the man with minus four friends, but now I just have no friends.”

“I do not understand.”

“I have always had problems making friends, and so my psychologist had me go through a process. He said I would have to gain four friends and lose them before I could have a real friend. King John the Cute was my good friend, but now he is gone, and soon he will be dead. Benjamin Miller was a very good friend, but now he is in another land, never to return. Minister Vazir had also become a great friend, and he is also in another land, never to return. Now, Queen Sarah O’Connell, though blindfolded and abrasive, has become my friend. But she, also, will soon die. And so I have gained four friends, lost three, and soon lose the fourth. I should be happy that I have climbed up the ladder to zero friends. However, I am sad, because I have zero friends.”

Prince Charming the Fourth nodded gravely. “As for me, Shadowy Secret was my only friend, but he has vanished and has not been seen in months. Besides, I am not sure we were ever friends, only loose allies. And now… after today… I am not sure I would want to be my own friend anymore.”

“Why, my prince? What happened?”

Prince Charming, who had long ago resigned himself to being called ‘prince’ until King John the Cute officially died, sighed heavily. He pointed to Death training the armies below, “Death spoke to me today. He and Queen Sarah O’Connell have come up with a plan to help bring King John the Cute’s soul to the Afterdeath and to protect him from the curse monster that is stronger and faster than Death. They are not sure it would work, but it is our best chance.”

“That is good.”

“Yes, that is good. Except… You see… Part of the plan is that there would have to be a soldier whose job it is to stand between Death, who has the soul, and the monster. There has to be one soldier who will act as a physical shield between the two and must protect Death with his life. But since that soldier is only human and the monster is stronger than Death, that soldier will only delay the monster and buy us a few more seconds at best. In the process, he will die. And when he dies, his dead body will keep on protecting Death and the king.

“So you see… Out of the two armies… It is up to me to choose who gets this job. It is up to me to choose who will surely die in the mission.”

“What did you do, my prince?”

The prince sighed again. “It was better to be a spoiled child in the bath than a prince who chooses who lives and who dies… What did I do, Azriel Jones? I chose a soldier. I chose my best and bravest soldier to protect the land… and to die. I chose Little Soldier Blue, because I know that he would survive the longest, and I know that he would give his life for me. So I chose him. Even though I would rather he live. I chose him. And now I am sad beyond measure.”

Minister Azriel Jones hugged Prince Charming the Fifth and comforted him while the prince cried. “I understand how tough this was for you. It is a choice no person should make,” said the minister. “All I can say is that I understand… and that I have seen such choices being made before by kings and generals during my stay at the palace. Shall I tell you about them?”

“Yes, please,” Prince Charming the Fifth cried.

And so Minister Azriel Jones spent three days and three nights comforting the prince and telling him about tough choices he had seen made before by kings and ministers and generals.

And at the end of three days and three nights, the minister and the prince were friends for life, and they remained so until the end of their lives.

This has been the story of how Little Soldier Blue was given the task to protect Death with his life.

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Imbalance

November 12, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Imbalance

(Containing a one-sided tale of a one-sided land.)

 

King John the Cute followed Doctor Dave Daniels with excitement, as the doctor led him to stand underneath the two, fused creation tunnels.

“Look above you, King John the Cute,” Doctor Dave Daniels pointed up at the tunnels his human eyes could not see.

King John the Cute looked up at the tunnels.

“You see two tunnels, King John the Cute. You see two tunnels, attached, bound together. Fused together, in fact. One is white, the other is pink. One is big, one is small. One leads to the Land of All Legends. Another leads to another, separate and lost land of legends. Both of the fused tunnels are stories of creation, stories of how the world was created. Both these stories created the worlds on the other side.

“Do you not see it, King John the Cute? Do you not comprehend what is above you?”

King John the Cute looked above and shook his head, for he did not understand. Doctor Dave Daniels continued with great excitement, “The two tunnels with creation stories – they should have been two separate tunnels, but they’re not! When the creation stories were told enough times, your world was born. But it was not born alone. Your world… was twins.”

“Twins?!”

“Twin worlds, King John the Cute! Twin worlds of legends! They were told together, and so they were born together! But there are many types of twins. On Earth, we have twins who are called Siamese twins. Siamese twins are two separate people bound together, fused together, by sharing an organ, like skin, a part of their stomach, or anything else.”

“This exists in my world, too,” said King John the Cute thoughtfully. “The first pair of twins I had met in my life also shared an organ. They were born with one shadow and had to share it during the daytime.”

“Well, I’m sure there’s at least one story there and I would love to hear it, but I will quench my curiosity for a while.” said Doctor Dave Daniels. “Now I see you understand me. These twin worlds are fused together by a single organ. My guess is that the organ that they are sharing is the Afterdeath.”

“The Afterdeath!”

“Yes! There are two worlds, but only one Afterdeath between them! Your Afterdeath should have only one door, but it has two. One door was touched by your Death, while the other wasn’t. Your Afterdeath has a second, closed door that Death has not touched. This other fairy world has a closed door that Death has not touched! The second door of your Afterdeath leads into the other fairy tale world!”

King John the Cute’s mouth opened with surprise. “Of course!”

“It makes perfect sense! Therefore it’s probably true!” exclaimed Doctor Dave Daniels.

“No,” countered King John the Cute, “it is quite beautiful, and therefore it is absolutely true!”

But the smile vanished from King John the Cute’s face. “But wait! How does this explain the illness that plagues my world? What is that illness?”

“Ah, but there is the true beauty of the story of the illness, King John the Cute. The two worlds were born together, small and healthy, with one Afterdeath.

“However, because of a sandstorm on the planet Earth, one world remained small and had no new creatures, while its twin grew larger and larger, with more stories, more creatures, more land, and even Death!

“An imbalance was created, King John the Cute. And the more time passed, the greater the imbalance grew. One world was heavy with continents and oceans and cloud worlds and creatures. The other remained as small as the Original Continent.

“The older the twin worlds grew, the more the imbalance grew.

“Soon, something changed, something moved, and your world could bear no more, carrying all the creatures and the continents alone. And so the tunnels that led to new creatures being created in the Border of Nothing, changed position. They twisted somehow, and began leading the newly born fairy tales immediately to the Afterdeath.

“And so new creatures were born… into the Afterdeath. They were never seen by the living and never claimed by Death. New creatures and new land were not being created on your world.

“By another circumstance of the times, the vampire which had seen only the Afterdeath and has never seen the sun, blocked the path so that none could leave the Afterdeath. Now the imbalance grew worse, for the Afterdeath began more and more populated. All the newly living came there, and all the newly dead did not leave. The Afterdeath must now be bursting at the seams from the lack of room. If something does not happen, surely something bad will happen to the Afterdeath!

“Do you see, King John the Cute?” shouted Doctor Dave Daniels. “It makes perfect sense! It has to be true!”

“No,” King John the Cute corrected him once more. “It has perfect beauty! It is true!”

The king looked at the doctor and said, “Come! We must leave the caves! I must breathe fresh air!”

Once the king and the doctor emerged into the clear air of the desert, as the sun was beginning to set, a dark thought settled on the king’s happiness.

“But Doctor Dave Daniels,” he said. “We now know what sickness plagues the land. But do we know how to fix it?”

Doctor Dave Daniels thought deeply and fixedly for fourteen minutes and fourteen seconds. “Perhaps we should start retelling the tales that were lost? Perhaps new stories could be created in that world. But, no, even if the idea works, it would not solve an imbalance of two hundred and fifty thousand years.”

“Indeed. Time works differently. Two hundred and fifty thousand years in your world is a few million years in mine. That is the size of the imbalance. It seems hopeless.”

Now it was the king’s turn to think. King John the Cute thought profoundly and meaningfully for fourteen minutes and fourteen seconds. At the end of that time, he looked up, and said, “I know how to heal the land!”

“You do?”

King John the Cute quickly explained his solution, and Doctor Dave Daniels listened, his eyes shining as if he was a child listening to his first fairy tale.

When the king was done, the doctor said, “I think that would work!”

“I must return, then, across the ocean, to meet the person I told you about! Doctor Dave Daniels, two worlds of creatures and fairy tales owe you a debt that can never be repaid.”

“It was my rare pleasure, King John the Cute. I wish you luck in all your endeavors. You have made my life more magical.”

“Chariot! We must leave for the ocean’s shore immediately!”

And thus it was that a chariot of ten thousand butterflies minus one carried King John the Cute away from Doctor Dave Daniels forever.

This has been the fourth story (out of four) about twins in this hefty book of legends.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Tale of the Searcher

November 10, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Tale of the Searcher

(Containing written evidence of a man with no home.)

 

“Here is evidence,” Doctor Dave Daniels pointed to the farthest rock in the farthest corner of the farthest cave in the excavated caves, “of the second fairy tale told and lost in a tragedy two hundred and fifty thousand years ago.”

King John the Cute peered at the pictures. “I do not understand the story.”

“This is perhaps where my expertise comes in,” said Doctor Dave Daniels. “I believe that despite the fact that you come from a land of fairy tales, I know thousands of stories more than you. I have read every children’s book in every language that exists. I have read bad books and good books, old books and new books. I have read thousands of grownup tales and thousands of lyrical tales. I have read every ancient manuscript that exists. And I have learned to map and understand a story even when seeing small pieces of it, as we are seeing with these drawings.

“But more than that, King John the Cute, in all my years and in all the stories I have read and heard, I can promise you that no variation of this story ever existed. This story was truly lost forever, and never recovered, when the people of these caves died in the sandstorm.

“I shall tell you the story now. This story was not told from one picture to the next, but in one, big picture. This picture, if you look at it from afar, is a map. It is a map of the area – I would say about a hundred miles in each direction. You see here there is a cave with a few people. You can actually count the men and women and children. Here is another cave. Here, too, you can count a different number of women and children. And here, too. And here is the river, where surely they drank. And here is a small forest. And here is a mountain. This is a map.”

“If this is a map, Doctor Dave Daniels,” asked King John the Cute, “then how is it a story?”

“Look carefully at the pictures of the caves. All the caves are different, except for one thing. There is a person standing there, facing the caves, in each of the caves. Next to him is a dog – actually, considering the time of the story, it was probably a wolf or some other kind of animal. This is always the same person. And he is at every cave. This is the hero of the story.

“And over here, in the farthest corner, above the forest, do you see? That is a small mound and next to it lies the hero again. And next to him sits the wolf. The hero here is dead and buried, while the wolf lived and mourned his master’s passing.

“This entire map is the story of his life. This man was a searcher. He went from cave to cave and met with people, and they liked him. But he never had a home of his own. He never has a cave that belonged to him. This is a searcher, an explorer. He went from place to place, then back again, and as he did so, he created a general map of the area, which he gave to the people. This gave knowledge to all people of all caves. And so he was revered and liked enough to be written about after his passing.

“But when he did pass, he was not buried in any of the caves, not next to any of the families. He was buried alone, next to the forest, because he belonged to no tribe, to no cave. He was a searcher, and that is his story.”

King John the Cute sat down. The grief he felt in his chest at the loss of the searcher and loss of the searcher’s story made the pain in his chest ache even more. “That is beautiful,” said King John the Cute, “and therefore it is sad that his story did not continue to live on in a world like mine. That is both sad and beautiful.”

“No, King John the Cute, you are wrong. The Searcher did get to live in a world like yours, but the world itself was limited. The Searcher found himself in this other fantasy land. There, he no doubt explored the cave of the family from the first fairy tale. But surely he continued to explore further. The land itself was small, and he did not have much to explore. He did, however, find Death’s Door. No doubt, until his death, he tried a thousand different ways to open Death’s Door. And he died outside it, without Death claiming him, simply because he had lived too long.”

“Yes, what you say is true. Now it is sad for a different reason.”

“What I don’t understand, though, was why he could not open Death’s Door? He was dying, after all. And it was only a door.”

“If that Death’s Door is like the one in my world,” King John the Cute explained reasonably, “then no one opens Death’s Door except Death. Death opened the door for the first time in the Land of All Legends, and ever since it has been open. Only souls that Death brings can enter, and it used to be that anyone who was in could walk out.”

Doctor Dave Daniels listened with a grave face. “That explains it,” he says. “And that was also the last piece of knowledge I required to put the pieces of the puzzle together. King John the Cute, with your help and with the help of this excavation, I believe I know now what sickness plagues your land.”

King John the Cute’s eyes lit up in excitement, his pain forgotten. “Please. Tell me.”

This has been the story of the Searcher, a story not heard on the planet Earth for two hundred and fifty thousand years, two hundred and fifty days, two hundred and fifty minutes, and two hundred and fifty seconds.

 

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Tale of the Ancient Superhero

November 7, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Tale of the Ancient Superhero

(Containing written evidence of an adventurer that never existed.)

 

“Walk with me further into the caves,” Doctor Dave Daniels led King John the Cute deeper into the excavated caves.

“I discovered a set of pictures behind these rocks,” Doctor Dave Daniels pointed at some rocks. He moved them, and underneath, pictures etched unto the stone of the cave were uncovered.

“A hidden story!” exclaimed King John the Cute.

“Indeed. I believe this story was invented and etched into stone by a kid. Look here,” he pointed at the first picture. “This is the first picture, on the right. Here is a person, possibly young, but you can’t be sure. He is holding a very large bird, three times bigger than him. At the time, there were no birds this big anywhere in the world. This is a fantasy tale.”

“I understand,” said the king, who was thankful, for he did not know such things about Earth’s history. “Continue.”

“To the left is the second picture. Here the hero of the story, the person from the first picture, is riding the big bird. I believe he has tamed the wild bird. In fact, I think they have become good friends. This is what usually happens in these kinds of stories.

“In this third picture, the hero is on top of the bird when it is flying. While the bird is flying, the hero is hitting many other people with his stick. The other people were probably some sort of bad guys, and the hero has used his bird to become a sort of hero, even a superhero of the time.

“This, no doubt, was a story of a young adventurer who has tamed a giant bird, learned to ride it, and fought bad guys with the aid of his bird. This must have been the first adventure story ever told by mankind!”

“Fascinating, indeed,” said King John the Cute. “So you believe this is the person Samuel the Brave found near that land’s Death’s Door.”

“No, I do not,” said Doctor Dave Daniels. “I believe the person near that land’s Death’s Door was the hero from the third story I found, the one I will show you next. This second story was not a fairy tale, but just a story. I believe it was invented by one of the children. Perhaps he told it only to himself, perhaps to the other children. But in any case, he drew it here, in a hidden place, like a diary. This was his story, and it was his secret story. The hero, the bird, the bad guys, they were never created in this other world and a tunnel was not formed because the story was never told enough times.”

“Perhaps that is also sad,” the king said thoughtfully. “There must be a reason for the existence of other worlds through stories. Surely you need us as much as we need you. A story that does not come alive in a land of legends is a hope unfulfilled.”

Doctor Dave Daniels thought about the king’s statement. “There is sense in what you say. I have never given the matter thought, but now I shall. But for the meantime, shall I show you the third and last story?”

“Please do, Doctor Dave Daniels.”

This has been the story containing written evidence of a lost adventure story that never became a lost fairy tale.

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

 

Tickling Butterflies – The Tale of Fire

November 5, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Tale of Fire

(Containing written evidence of a fiery tale that no longer exists.)

 

Doctor Dave Daniels led King John the Cute back into the ancient caves.

“I have examined the skeletons in the caves,” he began. “And I have examined the caves themselves. I have examined the stones, which were the tools used by the ancient humans. I have examined the cave walls. And just as, years before, I have uncovered the story of the Original Monster, now I believe I have uncovered four more stories that these ancient people told each other again and again.

“Observe this spot on the wall here,” Doctor Dave Daniel pointed. “The ancient humans did not yet invent writing, but they could certainly etch on stone. It is a story in pictures. This is the first picture. It shows a family, sitting around the campfire: a father, a mother, and a kid.

“In the second picture, to the left – for the first written languages wrote right to left and not left to right – in the second picture, there is wind outside and danger while the father protects them by huddling them together in the cave.

“In the third picture of this story, you can see the father standing on a rock outside the cave, and it looks as if he is talking to the lightning. Perhaps he stood there screaming at the rain and the thunder and the lightning, or perhaps he made some sort of deal with the gods. You may not know this, King John the Cute, but the ancient humans believed in gods.

“There, in the fourth picture of this story, the father is returning. There is no more storm and lightning. You can see the clouds are clear. And you see, he is holding something.”

“What is it?”

“It is a stick with fire. He has made some sort of deal with the forces of nature or with the gods, and in return he has received fire.

“Now, in this last frame, the family is sitting around the cave again. But this time… they have campfire. Do you see?

“This is a tale that was no doubt important to the ancient humans, because it told them how they received their most important technology: fire. Fire was used to survive the cold, to cook food, and to threaten enemies. Fire changed everything for the ancient humans, and improved their survival.”

“That is fascinating,” said King John the Cute. “And it sounds like a good story. The family that Samuel the Brave had seen sitting around the campfire, they were the family in the pictures. They came from this fairy tale. Once the sand blocked the caves, no new life came into the lost land of legends, and the land did not grow. The father, mother, and child must have lived through the same story again and again for thousands of times until they died. During those years, the lightning must have burned off everything in the small land.”

“That is indeed a sad fate for a fairy tale,” said Doctor Dave Daniels. “I never knew our stories had an effect on real creatures. Shall I show you the second story I have discovered?”

“Please do, Doctor Dave Daniels.”

This has been the story containing written evidence of a fiery tale that no longer exists.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Land of the Lost

November 3, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe 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…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Ancient Caves

October 29, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Ancient Caves

(Containing a daring chronicle of buried secrets.)

 

Doctor Dave Daniels and King John the Cute entered the ancient caves.

The smell of dust hung in the air, as the caves have been full of sand for two hundred and fifty thousand years. Doctor Dave Daniels and King John the Cute’s feet stepped on ground

“Look over there,” pointed Doctor Dave Daniels. “A skeleton! Perfectly preserved. And over there! Sitting in a circle… This was probably a family sitting around a fire! … The sand must have come in by surprise with the great sandstorm and buried everyone at the same time, as they were.”

“This is quite sad,” said King John the Cute.

“It happened two hundred and fifty thousand years ago, when mankind became what it is today: what science calls Homo Sapiens Sapiens. These people were ancient, but they were the same as you or me. Well… the same as me.”

The two wandered further into the caves. Doctor Dave Daniels looked around at the walls and at the skeletons. King John the Cute looked above, at the ceiling of the caves.

“I can see tunnels!” exclaimed King John the Cute.

“You mean caves?”

“I mean white tunnels that lead to stories!” Doctor Dave Daniels looked up, but saw nothing. The king peered as much as he could further in.

“I can see the Land of All Legends through this one,” continued the king. “I have seen this place in my travels as king… It is the Original Continent! Chariot showed it to me! Once upon a time, the Land of All Legends was only the Original Continent, and the Border of Nothing was on the Original Continent. Later on, more continents and oceans and countries were created at the Border of Nothing, making the Land of All Legends bigger and bigger.

“Chariot says that of all the creatures that had lived on the Original Continent, none remain but the Original Monster who is now in the Afterdeath. The Original Continent remains barren.”

“Tell me what you see!” Doctor Dave Daniels was excited, seeking clues to ancient stories. “Where does it lead?”

“This one leads to a path off a cave, leading to many dark caves.”

“Perhaps a story of a mystery that hides in the dark caves,” mused Doctor Dave Daniels. “Or a puzzle, or even a choice that must be made without knowing the consequences. Or maybe it is a story about a secret place that no one else knows about.”

“Perhaps. There is not enough information from what I see. Over here, Doctor Dave Daniels, further inside the cave, I see another tunnel.”

“I wish I could see what you see…”

“I remember this place. It is a waterfall, near the center of the Original Continent. It is a waterfall so high it almost touches the clouds.”

“Perhaps it is a story about bravery, about boys becoming men if they jump from the top of the waterfall? Perhaps it is a story about the strength of water and nature and that it cannot be overcome…”

“Perhaps. I do not know. Over here, I see a third tunnel,” King John the Cute stepped further into the cave, looking up. Doctor Dave Daniels followed him. “I remember seeing this place from afar, as well. From on high, it looked like a dot, but I recognized the trees. There is a cave here, and a place for a fire just like the one we had seen when entering the caves. The trees surround the entrance to the cave in such a way as to hide it from predators. That is good. And over there, hidden in the trees, I can see many carcasses of great big monsters. I have never seen such monsters.”

“These are probably prehistoric monsters,” said Doctor Dave Daniels, “before your time and before mine. But do you see? I believe this is the tunnel that originally belonged to the Original Monster! It is an ideal place for a family, and the Original Monster protected his family from the prehistoric predators of his time!”

“That certainly makes sense,” agreed King John the Cute, peering intently into the tunnel. “And everything I see agrees with you. The further into the cave we have gone, the more the tunnels led to a place closer to the center of the Original Continent. And this… This spot is exactly in the center. But, Doctor Dave Daniels, why do I see from here yet another tunnel, deeper into the cave?”

“Tell me!”

The two walked deeper into the cave, and King John the Cute stopped, looking straight up.

“What is it? What do you see?”

“I have never seen anything like this. These are… I do not know how to describe them… There are two tunnels, attached, bound together. One is white, one is pink. One side of them, the side where they touch, is not circular, but straight, for they seem fused together. The white one is quite big, and the pink one is very small.”

“King John the Cute, these two tunnels could be fairy tales more ancient than that of the Original Monster!”

King John the Cute peered into the white tunnel. “This one leads into the Land of All Legends, but not at the Original Continent. It looks into the sky. I can see the blue, and far away, the Sun, the sun of my world, is smiling. Hello, gentle Sun!”

But just as in all other attempts to communicate with his native land, King John the Cute could not make himself heard on the other side.

“And the other one, King John the Cute?”

King John the Cute peered into the other tunnel. “This tunnel is smaller, much smaller than the white one. I cannot look inside it. It bends more. I cannot see what is on the other side. Hello!” King John the Cute shouted. “Anyone there? Can anyone hear me?”

But an answer did not come.

“I am tempted to explore it,” said King John the Cute. “But the tunnel is so small, that I cannot fit. And if it leads back to my land, I shall die immediately.”

“We must gather more clues,” said Doctor Dave Daniels. “What else do you see?”

King John the Cute looked around. There were only a few more yards deeper into the cave until it ended.

“Over here,” King John the Cute pointed to the ceiling above the final yards. “There are two more tunnels, but they are pink tunnels. I am doing my best to look through them, but again, the tunnels are small and they bend and I cannot see.”

“Do you not understand what this means?” Doctor Dave Daniels was excited. “The further we went into the tunnel, the white tunnels, the ones that belong to your world, the earlier the fairy tales! There was the first story about a person, or a creature, the Original Monster. But these… fused tunnels… they were there before! They are… I am certain of it… They are creation stories! There are two creation stories, just as I had suspected. One leads to the sky and sun of your world! The other must lead to the sky and sun of another world of fairy tales!”

“What you say makes sense after all we have seen…” King John the Cute was in deep contemplation.

“White tunnels lead to Land of All Legends! Black tunnels lead to your Afterdeath! Pink tunnels must lead to that other world! And that one,” Doctor Dave Daniels excitedly pointed at the first pink tunnel that King John the Cute had peered through. “That first one must contain that other world’s Original Monster! And the other ones…”

“There is only one more,” King John the Cute added.

“Then that last one must have been a fairy tale told of that world and not of your! But that other fairy tale world, it did not have a chance to live long enough, to expand, to grow, as yours did the stories about the Original Continent. Stories about that other world were probably told a minimum number of times to create a world. There was a creation story and two more stories that were told enough times before the people who told these stories were all buried in the sandstorm and died.

“Since no one else knew of these stories, there are no stories and pink tunnels anywhere in the world that lead back to this world.”

“That is astounding,” said King John the Cute with awe.

“I was right! I can’t believe there is proof I was right!” exclaimed Doctor Dave Daniels. “We are standing in a place that birthed two worlds! Two fairy tale worlds!”

“I share your excitement,” said King John the Cute. But there was sadness in his voice, as well, for he still could not see how he could discover the illness that plagues his land and how to solve it.

“I wish there was a way to see what is on the other side of the tunnels!” said Doctor Dave Daniels, who did not hear the pang of sadness in the king’s voice.

“Ah, but there is,” said King John the Cute, his mood refreshed. “I know how we can explore that world!”

This has been the story in which the lost tunnels were discovered, and the remains of ancient, unknown fairy tales were uncovered. Now read on to discover the exploration of the other fairy tale world.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!