Posts Tagged ‘magic’

Tickling Butterflies – The Story of True Beauty

December 12, 2013

And now the conclusion to the epic fairy tale Tickling Butterflies.

 

The Story of True Beauty

(Containing a blindingly radiant story about the removal of a blindfold.)

 

With the Land of All Legends saved and the Lost Land of Legends reborn, King John the Cute and the blindfolded queen with the heart bursting with love came to sit upon a green mound on a small hill in the Lost Land of Legends.

“It is time to finally remove the blindfold,” said Queen Sarah O’Connell. “I am ready to see the face of the man I have fallen in love with. In previous lives I have fallen in love with all your faces. Now it is time to see your true face, the face you will have for eternity.”

Queen Sarah O’Connell reached for her blindfold, but King John the Cute stopped her. “Wait, Queen Sarah O’Connell. Before you remove your blindfold, I must tell you the story of who I am and… of all that I have lost.”

“I am listening.”

“I was born John the Cute,” began King John the Cute. “And I was cute beyond measure. I was cuter than bunnies. I was even cuter than kittens. But I was born with a prophecy that my mother and I saw as a curse. We knew that at the age of eighteen I would become king and save the land, but at the age of twenty I would die. That knowledge has weighed heavily upon me all my life, ever since childhood. And so, despite my cuteness, thousands of worries and concerns circled in my mind.

“At the age of eighteen, when I finally left home for the palace, where the king would die and crown me king instead of his son, I encountered many creatures and had many adventures. One of those beings was the troll I had told you about. That troll forced me to choose between my cuteness and my freedom. I chose freedom, for my cuteness did not concern me. As the Also Trues have deemed: beauty tells the truth about he who sees it and not he who wears it.

“All at once, my face was full of frown lines and wrinkles, of worries and expressions that previously had place only within me. Ever since, with every adventure I have had and with every obstacle I have encountered, new wrinkles were added to the dreadfulness of my face. And I have had many adventures and many obstacles during my reign as king of the Land of All Legends.”

“Why are you telling me this?” enquired Queen Sarah O’Connell.

“Because you have fallen in love hearing my voice and knowing my deeds, but my looks may be too horrible for you, horrible enough to fall out of love with me. And that would break my own heart.”

“Still. It must be done,” said Queen Sarah O’Connell. “Do you agree?”

“I agree.”

Queen Sarah O’Connell smiled at her love’s bravery. Slowly, she removed her blindfold and then, aiming her face at her love, and opened her eyes.

“Oh my!” she gasped.

“What is it?” King John the Cute said with fear. “What do you see?”

“I can see everything about you in your face. I can see your bravery. I can see the hardships you have overcome. I can see your steel resolve. I can see the goodness of your heart. I can see the warm love you feel for me. I can see your caring. I can see the pain you have suffered. I can see the loneliness you have felt because of the prophecy. I can see all the adventures you have had in the Land of All Legends and in the land of the storytellers. And I can see your love for me. All these things are beautiful. And all these things I see when I look at your face. But one thing is true. You are no longer cute, John. You are beautiful. And your beauty shines from your face. From this point on you shall be John the Beautiful. When we shall marry I shall be queen of the land. And my first act will be to deem that your name henceforth shall be King John the Beautiful.”

King John the Beautiful wept.

And for the second time Sarah O’Connell fell in love with Death. But this time, it was the right Death, for this time she saw plainly.

This has been the story explaining the reason that Queen Sarah O’Connell, upon each time she died, returned time and time again to the Lost Land of Legends and to her immortal love, and would never see the Land of All Legends again. This has also been the tale about the Lost Land of Legends’ only case of Truly True Love.

This has been the book of legends that told the tales of many creatures, and how together they saved two worlds, and how knowledge of magic was finally restored to the planet Earth. This has also been the book of legends that taught the people of Earth that everything is magic.

 

 

 

— THE END

The entire book is online. Read it here.

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Tickling Butterflies: A Land Awakened

December 10, 2013

126 fairy tales have been told so far, leading to this point. And now the exciting conclusion (part 1):

 

 

A Land Awakened

(Containing the genesis of a new future.)

 

The following is a creation story, as told by an old man in a book of legends called ‘Tickling Butterflies’, and as read by tens of millions of people on the magical planet Earth.

The following is the creation story of the Lost Land of Legends.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, back when the human race was in its infancy, a group of men and women and children told a tale of a land of legends, a tale they told time and time again, until the power of their imagination created a world, a twin world to the Land of All Legends. Once upon a time, that tale was the most popular story in the world.

The Lost Land of Legends was small, still only a child, and only four creatures walked its surface and only one sun hung in the sky. Stories of Death had not yet been told, and so Death did not exist in the land. The ancient humans that have told the stories of this world died in a horrible sandstorm that lasted forty days and forty nights, and so no story of the land would be told for two hundred and fifty thousand Earth years. The tale of this world’s creation is a tale that has never been told since and will never be told again, for none who live will ever know what it was.

Meanwhile, the land itself did not know it existed in story. The land did not know that its creators have died. The land did not know that no more fairy tale creatures would ever appear.

The land was young and hopeful. Upon its small surface, creatures from two fairy tales walked and lived and played and were happy. But years passed, and no more creatures appeared. Years passed, and even the stories of the fairy tales grew old; even the handful of fairy tales creatures grew old and tired. And yet no one came, no one appeared, not even Death.

All this time, the land was attached to its twin sister, the Land of All Legends, through a long, thin corridor called the Afterdeath. All this time, the land felt its twin sister growing and growing, while it remained forever small.

The land grew older. Centuries passed. All fairy tale creatures died. Plants and trees dried up. The sun and sky fell asleep and nothing would wake them. Nothing moved. The air stood still. And eventually, after a thousand years in which nothing happened, in a fit of despair, the land itself fell into a slumber that would last two hundred and forty nine thousand Earth years, which were exactly two million years of the land itself, since time passes differently in lands of legends.

But then, one day, on the last second of the two hundred millionth year, something stirred. Death’s Door, which had always remained locked and closed and unmoving, suddenly opened from the outside.

The Lost Land of Legends was shaken to its core. The Lost Land of Legends opened its eyes and yawned, shaking everything within it. Suddenly, a spark of hope appeared deep in its heart, which lay deep under the soil and rocks. Brimming with expectation, the Lost Land of Legends waited for something or someone to walk through Death’s Door.

Within minutes, a creature appeared, walking through from the Afterdeath, reborn though he had not died. The creature’s name was Ookoo-Ah, known in the Land of All Legends as the Original Monster. As he was the original monster in the Land of All Legends, now again he was the original monster in the Lost Land of Legends. And where he walked, life sprang, for the Original Monster had recently gained the power of life. Flowers grew in his wake, animals were formed in his footsteps, magical fairies and baby dragons were created where his shadow rested.

The Original Monster entered the Lost Land of Legends with the power of life. And wherever he walked, life was renewed.

Behind the Original Monster came in thousands and thousands of flying white horses. Their sheer size at first caused them to appear like a single white cloud. They all flapped their wings as they emerged from Death’s Door and flew into the heavens of the Lost Land of Legends. There they frolicked and cavorted, swirled and twirled in the air, and played games with the virgin land and its virgin air.

A long time ago, the cloud of flying white horses appeared mistakenly in the Land of All Legends. A fairy tale had been told by a tribe of man that chose to live and die separately from all other humans, a fairy tale that did not belong in the Land of All Legends, a fairy tale that belonged in the dead world of the Lost Land of Legends. The Land of All Legends could not bear the happiness of the horses in light of the sickness of its sick twin land. And so it sent Death to slay the flying horses. It put the names of all the horses on Death’s list, hoping the flying horses will find their way to Lost Land of Legends from the Afterdeath, and will heal the sister land once and for all.

Now the Lost Land of Legends felt itself grow with life given to it by the Original Monster. And it felt joy and happiness at the cavorting flying horses.

Next, fifteen suns passed through Death’s Door. The suns, claimed a long time ago by the Death of the Land of All Legends, climbed up the sky and woke the sleeping sun and the sleeping sky. And now all suns smiled as thousands of creatures began to emerge from Death’s Door: trolls and elves, fairies and dragons, kings and princesses, witches and wizards, scarecrows and talking animals. Thousands upon thousands they came, with one purpose: to live happily ever after.

And for the first time in two hundred and forty nine thousand Earth years and two million Legend years, the Lost Land of Legends felt that it was truly a land of legends. The land felt good, new, sparkly, and magical.

And as magic once more coursed through it, the land itself distended, extended, and grew new land to fit all that have come in.

Thousands of creatures came in by noon, and the land grew and grew.

Thousands of creatures more came by the evening, and the land grew and grew.

Thousands of creatures more poured through Death’s Door all night long, and the land grew new seas and new continents, new lands and new rivers. And there was room for all. And the Original Monster walked the land to and fro, and flowers and trees and new creatures appeared in his wake.

Come morning, all of the dead in the Afterdeath had walked through Death’s Door. All but two.

The last two to walk through Death’s Door were the blindfolded woman with the loving heart, Queen Sarah O’Connell, and Death, known also as King John the Cute.

Death’s first task was to approach the four dead fairy tale creatures of the Lost Land of Legends. After two hundred million years, Death claimed their souls and put them in the Afterdeath. Shortly thereafter, the four emerged from Death’s Door, alive and refreshed, and were joyful to see their world so filled with magic.

Every fairy tale land has many True Loves, but every fairy tale land must have one true tale of Truly True Love, a tale of love that begins at the very inception of the land and ends only when the land itself dies. The story of King John the Cute and Queen Sarah O’Connell is the Lost Land of Legends’ story of Truly True Love. Their Truly True Love survived death a hundred times over in another land, adventures in different worlds, separation and heroism, curses and adversities, only to come to an ending which will be told in the next tale of this book of legends.

Meanwhile, things began to change on the planet Earth. Followed by an incident in which all the silent objects in the world began to speak in unison and tell the story of Shadowy Secret and King John the Cute, the book of legends known as ‘Tickling Butterflies’ was released into the world and read by millions and millions. Now the humans understood the true magical nature of the world, and all mankind began to rediscover the magic in ordinary objects.

That book of legends was, in its entirety, a creation story of the Lost Land of Legends, which had become real once more in the minds of the humans. After its release, further legends were to be told about the Lost Land of Legends, and new creatures would soon appear in the land from its own Border of Nothing. For the imagination of human children would now bring to the Lost Land of Legends fairy tales never before conceived and stories never before imagined.

From this point in time and onward, all magical creatures who died at the hands of Death in the Land of All Legends walked alive out of the Afterdeath into the Lost Land of Legends; and all magical creatures who died at the hands of Death in the Lost Land of Legends walked alive out of the Afterdeath into the Land of All Legends. And so and so on, forever.

All but one creature, who would always return to the Lost Land of Legends and never see the Land of All Legends again. But that story will be told elsewhere in this book of legends.

And so the creatures of the two lands of legends all lived and died and lived again and died again happily ever after – all but one: King Charming the Fifth wept for the man who would never return from the dead. He missed his father and was saddened to know that King Charming the Fourth would never be proud of the man his son had become. And yet King Charming the Fifth would live and die and live again and die again, bravely ever after.

This has been the creation story of the Lost Land of Legends. As with all stories, this, too, had a lesson to teach us. Its lesson was a simple one: Stories never die.

 

(To be concluded on Thursday.)

Tickling Butterflies – A Tale of Two Sons

December 8, 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 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…)

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

Tickling Butterflies – The Monster’s Lesson

December 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 Monster’s Lesson

(Featuring a single story that details the many identities of the one known as King John the Cute.)

 

King John the Cute woke up in a dark room.

Even before he opened his eyes, he knew that his body had re-formed within a new room in the Afterdeath. He did not know of the great battle that had taken place or of the great sacrifice by the thousands who now lay dead.

Memories flooded King John the Cute that he did not have during his life as John the Cute: memories of Perfect Paul and a love lost and regained and lost again; memories of a race against Death and battles with vicious, giant spiders; memories of quests and journeys; memories of escapades and voyages; memories of many lives and many deaths and too many True Loves lost.

Now King John the Cute knew who he truly was. But for the time being he put that aside. For it was time for him to complete the part of the prophecy that he himself had created.

King John the Cute opened his eyes and in front of him stood Shadowy Secret, a being born by the same mother, a being conceived by King John the Cute and an old man in a magical world.

“It is time?” asked the king.

“It is time,” answered Shadowy Secret.

King John the Cute touched Shadowy Secret’s cheek, and Shadowy Secret’s shadowy form began to evaporate and vanish. The vapors of the being that used to be Shadowy Secret now engulfed King John the Cute, surrounded him from all directions, then fused magically into his body to create a being much different than the one Kate the Catty had given birth to twenty years ago.

King John the Cute closed his eyes and felt the magic change his being.

Then, a new person and a new creature, he opened his eyes once more and prepared himself for his next task.

King John the Cute emerged from the dark room. Afterdeath’s corridor was filled with billions of creatures. The floor of the Afterdeath itself creaked with the weight of the creatures in was holding. There was no room to move without knocking down other creatures. Surely, the Afterdeath itself would be broken if more dead arrived and none of the dead left.

Far away and to one side of the corridor, King John the Cute could see a door no one was trying to open. It was no doubt the door to the lost land of legends, he knew. Far away and to the left, King John the Cute could see a dark creature guard a similar door.

King John the Cute turned left and away from the door to the lost land of legends.

“Who are you?” said a troll that had been accidentally bumped by King John the Cute. The troll had died a hundred years previous and had never heard of King John the Cute.

The king ignored him and continued on his path.

“Who are you?” barked a dog that had been accidentally stepped on by King John the Cute. The dog died recently in a faraway forest and did not know he was talking to the one who was born John the Cute.

The king ignored him and continued to pave a path towards the dark creature.

“Hey!” a familiar voice of a woman shouted as a result of having been pushed by the king. “Who is this?”

King John the Cute looked aside and saw the blindfolded Queen Sarah O’Connell and his heart filled with joy. “Queen Sarah O’Connell, it is me.” And at the sound of his voice, her heart was filled with joy as well. And even though her mind was filled with memories of dozens of past versions of the man in front of her, she felt that it was John the No Longer Cute that she loved the most.

“Why are you still wearing a blindfold?” he asked her.

“I shall take it off when we are alone and when this adventure is over,” said Queen Sarah O’Connell.

“Then come,” the king grabbed the queen’s hand. “We still have a few tasks ahead of us.”

Together, they continued to walk towards the door that led back to the Land of All Legends. As they did so, the king said, “I have gained my memory, as I’m sure you have, too.”

“Aye. I have gained my memory a year ago. The time has allowed me to circumvent the curse so that we may finally die.”

“That is fortunate. For my own task can only be completed here. Now we must stop,” he told his blindfolded love, and stop she did.

King John the Cute and Queen Sarah O’Connell now stood in front of the creature of the night that had blocked the path to the light of day for the last five hundred years. “Stand aside,” said the king.

“I do not think so,” the vampire showed his fangs.

“Stand aside or suffer the consequences,” said the king. “For I plan to kill you.”

“Kill me! I have bested trolls and dragons and fairies. I have blocked the path to all the creatures you see here. Who are you to say that to me?”

“I am Death,” said King John the Cute. “And this is Death’s hand.” He raised his left hand, the one that was not touching Sarah O’Connell. “Before I touch you, there is something I need you to know. Above you, and below you, behind the door you protect and behind the door that remains unopened – there you will find lands filled with magical creatures, each with his and her own stories to tell. And with each story there is a lesson to be learned and wisdom to be gained. But you have lived here, in the Afterdeath, all your life. And here there are no stories and no lessons to be learned. You have blocked Death and blocked the dead and blocked the living for five hundred years now, and I vow that this shall never be the case again. I shall soon touch you and take your soul with me into the Under World. And I will only truly release your soul and allow it to re-form when I know you have learned your lesson well. The lesson is one that I have learned a long time ago: No one stops Death.”

And with those words uttered, King John the Cute touched the vampire. The vampire collapsed, bereft of breath. King John the Cute claimed the vampire’s soul, and put it in a special pocket, where it would remain for the next two hundred and twenty two years.

“Come, Sarah O’Connell,” the king said. “Now we must take care of the other door.”

This has been the story in which King John the Cute finally learned how to deal with bullies.

 

(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 Battle for the King’s Soul

December 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 Battle for the King’s Soul

(Featuring five true tales of supreme sacrifice.)

 

The battle for King John the Cute’s soul was a battle that could not be won.

The Curse Creaure, born of an evil witch’s curse, was faster than the fastest runner in the land, quicker than the flight of fairies, and more powerful than Death.

Hundreds of times in the past one thousand years, the Curse Creature had stood against Death, and each and every time he has bested Death and stole the souls of Perfect Paul and Flawless Farrah. When Death, Prince Charming the Fifth, and Sarah O’Connell devised the plan to battle the Curse Creature, they knew they could not defeat the creature, nor could they best him. Their plan was to whisk away Death, the carrier of King John the Cute’s soul, on the fastest and most loyal cloud in the Land of All Legends: the king’s Chariot. From that point on, all their tactics would be tactics of delay: to delay the deadly Curse Creature from touching Death. They hoped to delay the Curse Creature long enough to allow Death to reach Death’s Door, and to allow Death to pass King John the Cute’s soul from this world to the next.

Death, Prince Charming the Fifth, and Sarah O’Connell knew that none of their soldiers could even hurt the Curse Creature. They devised a good plan and hoped for the best.

What they did not know was than the old man, on the magical planet Earth, had written in a fairy tale that a battle would take place. He had written that Shadowy Death would help win that battle. But not even Shadowy Secret had the power to hurt or stop the Curse Creature, because the old man never conceived facing an enemy more powerful than Death himself.

Now we see how the battle went.

Death gathered King John the Cute’s soul. Prince Charming the Fourth, standing only a few feet away, automatically became King Charming the Fifth, but the thought did not occur to him. King Charming the Fifth called forth for Chariot. And Chariot, the dead king’s chariot, descended from on high.

Far away, across the land, the Curse Creature woke from his slumber, for King John the Cute’s soul no longer resided in his body. With his sharp eyes he spotted Death from two continents away: Death was standing atop a cloud, rising from the palace in Capital City. In ten leaps and nine bounds, the Curse Creature crossed two continents and reached the woods outside the palace.

He looked up, expecting to see a cloud. Instead, he saw the bottom of ten thousand white clouds. Chariot, with a help of a decree from acting king, Prince Charming the Fifth, had gathered an army of ten thousand white clouds, all ready to help their friend’s good friend and king.

The Curse Creature looked at the sky and for five and a half seconds, he could not understand what he was seeing. For he was seeing the white bottom of clouds, and he could not tell which cloud bore Death upon it and which did not. All clouds were drifting quickly in the direction of Death’s Door.

The Curse Creature leapt up into the sky and landed atop the lowest cloud. The cloud bore only two soldiers, but not Death. The Curse Creature produced his toxic talons and killed the cloud, for the Curse Creature’s talons kill even clouds.

One by one, the Curse Creature leapt from cloud to cloud, until all clouds were dead and only one cloud was left in the air: Chariot. Ten thousand clouds minus one \and ten thousand soldiers minus one died during the two minutes it took Curse Creature to destroy the army of clouds. Death claimed all their souls as they fell from the sky.

Now Death stood upon Chariot, heading quickly in the direction of Death’s Door.

The Curse Creature leapt once more, and now stood atop Chariot, as well, facing Death.

“At least you tried this time,” said the Curse Creature. “Perhaps next time you will think of a better plan.”

“Perhaps,” said Death, his voice grave and his visage graver.

Suddenly, Colonel Stone stood between Death and the Curse Creature, emerging from the depths of the cloud. “Perhaps,” he cried, echoing the Curse Creature’s words, “you might want to turn back before something happens to you.”

You shall stop me?” asked the Curse Creature.

“I may have my emotions back, and fear may be pumping blood into my heart, but bravery is also being felt in my heart. And anger. And shame that a creature such as you exists. I am still a good soldier, Curse Creature. And I will defeat you!”

The Curse Creature and Colonel Stone quickly did battle.

Colonel Stone lasted fifteen seconds before he died. Other soldiers would have lasted less than two seconds.

Death claimed Colonel Stone’s soul. The Curse Creature looked on.

But now Little Soldier Blue was standing between the Curse Creature and Death. “Do your worst, monster! I will defeat you!”

“No!” Little Soldier Blue was pushed aside by King Charming the Fifth, his sword drawn. “I will not have someone die while I cowardly stand and watch! Come on, monster,” the king was standing between Death and the Curse Creature, “will you kill royalty?”

With one slash of his toxic talons, the Curse Creature killed King Charming the Fifth. Death collected his soul.

Once more, Little Soldier Blue stood between the two mythic creatures. “Let’s see you try that on me!” he cried.

Another quick slash, and Little Soldier Blue also lay dead on the cloud. And Death collected his soul.

“We are still two minutes from Death’s Door,” smiled the Curse Creature. “Who will protect you now?”

Death did not know the answer, but Shadowy Secret did. Smoke engulfed Chariot from all directions, blinding Death and the Curse Creature. Shadowy Secret, hidden like the others within the depths of Chariot, had shed his clothes, and let the smoke that was his body spread in all directions, effectively blinding the Curse Creature.

The Curse Creature leapt backwards and forwards, hither and thither, but jump as he did, the smoke would not leave him and his eyes could not see. Once more, the Curse Creature spread open his toxic talons and began to slash in every direction.

“That will not work on me,” the smoke whispered to the Curse Creature, “for I cannot die in this world, and not by your hands. Only one man can kill me, and his name is King John the Cute. You should feel lucky, Curse Creature, for you have heard my shadowy secret.”

The Curse Creature flailed in every direction, his talons threatening to hit Death by accident. Suddenly, two powerful hands grabbed the Curse Creature from behind, and a woman’s voice growled in his ear, “Powerful you may be, Curse Creature, but you cannot see. Me, I am much weaker than you, but I have learned to see in the darkness.” The powerful arms scratched at the Curse Creature’s face and brought him momentarily down to his knees on the cloud. “My name is Sarah O’Connell,” continued the voice. “And I vow that you will not claim the king’s soul again.”

The Curse Creature and Queen Sarah O’Connell fought for thirty seconds on the cloud. In the end, the Curse Creature stabbed Queen Sarah O’Connell with his toxic talons.

“Thank you for this,” gasped the queen in her last breath. “I will join my king now.”

Sarah O’Connell died atop Chariot and Death claimed her soul through the darkness. And as he did so, he heard a whisper on the wind that only Death could hear: “I found a seashell on the seashore, Death, and within it was a strange message. I destroyed that seashell and its secret with it. For Death should never die.”

And with that, the voice of Sarah O’Connell was lost to Death.

The Curse Creature stopped fighting the black smoke and listened. His hearing was superior to that of any creature, as well, and now he finally put it to use. With his hearing, he now heard Death’s breaths thirty feet ahead and to the left. His muscles tightened, and he was about to leap when the smoke dissipated.

The Curse Creature now saw that the cloud had come to rest on the ground, and that Death was no longer on the cloud. He had just put the souls of King John the Cute and Queen Sarah O’Connell through Death’s Door.

That instant, the evil witch’s curse was broken. The Curse Creature felt incredible pain, screamed and shouted, and then turned into a purple puff of smoke and was gone. Death claimed his soul.

Now three creatures stood near Death’s Door: Chariot, Shadowy Secret, and Death.

Death was passing on the souls of ten thousand minus one clouds, ten thousand soldiers, a new king, and all the others that had died on that day. That was a task that would take even Death a day and a night to complete.

Chariot cried. “Shadowy Secret, I owed John the Cute a favor. Now I helped him die, which was the hardest thing I have ever done. I hope my favor was repaid, but even if it was, I do not know if it was worth the price.”

“It was. You will see,” promised Shadowy Secret.

“Now I must mourn the death of all my friends,” said Chariot glumly, and rose into the air.

Death looked at Shadowy Secret. “I still do not know who you are,” said Death. “But after this day I no longer care. There has been too much death today. Not enough souls are left in the Land of All Legends. Surely, in a hundred years, I would be the only one walking the land. So tell me, mysterious creature, when do I become Life instead of Death?”

Shadowy Secret smiled and said, “I suggest you wait a few minutes.”

And with those words, he slipped through Death’s Door and entered the Afterlife.

 

 

(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 King’s New Ally

December 1, 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 King’s New Ally

(Containing a short but tragic tale in which two old enemies look at each other for the last time.)

 

King John the Cute glided through the white tunnel easily. The pangs and pains in his heart, already aching beyond measure, ached even more.

Soon, the white tunnel gave way to an opening. The king slipped through, and fell in the middle of his court in the palace in CapitalCity in the Land of All Legends.

The king fought through the pain and rose to his feet, looking around. The land was grayer than when he had left it. The Land of All Legends was almost as colorless as the planet Earth.

A crowd surrounded King John the Cute. Among them he quickly spotted the blindfolded Queen Sarah O’Connell, Prince Charming the Fifth, Minister Azriel Jones, Colonel Stone, the shadowy creature that had given Death back his arm, the king’s army, the prince’s army, and even Chariot waited above.

“My friends, it is good to see you all again,” said King John the Cute. “I believe I have found the cure to the sickness of the land. Now I must leave you all and die.”

Out of the crowd of people, Death stepped forward and faced the king.

“I am here to help you,” said Death and for the first and last time he shook the king’s hand.

The king’s body, bereft of its soul, fell to the ground, lifeless.

This has been the story of how the battle for King John the Cute’s soul began.

 

(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 Magic of Earth

November 26, 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 Magic of Earth

(Containing two inspirational stories about the magic of planet Earth.)

 

The old man wrote heatedly throughout the entire night.

Bubbles upon bubbles filled the café, until King John the Cute could no longer see the old man inside it. Bubbles passed through the walls of the café harmlessly, and as long as they did, King John the Cute knew the old man was still writing.

The sun rose on the planet Earth when the old man emerged from the café, notes in hand.

“I wrote it!” he exclaimed. “What an experience!”

King John the Cute offered his hand to look at the story the old man had written.

“There is something you must know,” said the old man while King John the Cute began to read the story. “If you had come to me only a few years ago, when I was a younger man, I would never have been able to write so well so quickly. Something in me had changed.”

King John the Cute looked at the old man. “Then the Fates have brought me to you at the right time. What change do you speak of?”

“Once upon a time, I looked at writing as magic, which it is. Writing wasn’t putting down words on a page or creating carefully constructed sentences. Writing was waiting for the inspiration to come and for a moment on the page to appear completely magical, better than anything I could have written. Ever since I could remember, there was this magical element to my writing, and I loved it.

“But since I did not control this magic, and since it did not come often, I was afraid that the magic was not my own, that I would lose it. I was afraid that everything I did may cause me to lose it: relationships, talking to people, hearing music, spending time outside my house. Anything may lead to a change in me, I believed, that would cause me to lose that magic.

“A sentence could only be magical once, and I would sit in my house for hours on end, waiting for the single inspiration of a single sentence. And eventually it would always come. And once it had come, I knew that if I did not write it down, I would never be able to duplicate the magic of that sentence, never be able to create another minute so magical in that instance in the story.

“But a few years ago, through events in my life which are too long to be told here, I learned that if I lose one magical moment, there is another around the corner. I learned that inspiration comes to me many, many times a day. I learned that my mind does magical things all the time, because it sees magical things around it all the time. I learned that there is no need to fear the loss of inspiration, because inspiration is endless and all around me. I learned that a magical sentence lost is quickly followed by a magical sentence gained. It will be a different magical sentence, brought about by an inspiration of another kind, but it will be magical nonetheless.

“You see, my dear King John, I learned that everything is magic. And ever since I have learned that life-lesson, I have been writing freely and openly and without fear, just as I have lived my life freely and openly and without fear.”

King John the Cute gently touched the shoulders of the old man. “Thank you for that story. It is a good last story to hear before my death.”

“What? You’re going to die now? How will we ever get the story published in the next few minutes?”

“Through magic,” answered King John the Cute, “through the magic in everything.”

The king handed the papers back to the author. “In a few minutes, you will have to read this to the world. Prepare yourself.”

King John the Cute turned around and faced the world. “Stones! Sand! Buildings! Roads! Glass! Winds! Everything and everyone around me! It is I, King John the Cute, and I have a task for every magical creature that lives on this magical planet! In a minute, my friend here will begin to read a story. You must convey this story aloud to all who would hear. And you must tell the magical objects near you to carry this story forth to all creatures around the world, who must in turn tell the story aloud to all humans present and then pass it on to the objects next to them. This story must be heard around the world within the next hour or all is lost!

“I know you have waited for me for many years. Now this is what you can do so I may fulfill the prophecy and my destiny and save my world, this world, and a third one. Do this for me! Do this for you! I decree it, for I am King John the Cute!”

“We obey!” “We obey!” “We obey!” these words echoed throughout the park, and quickly spread around the world. “We obey!” “We obey!” “We obey!”

“Now,” said King John the Cute.

The old man, astounded, looked down at the paper and began to read his story.

Around the world, high-rise buildings began to tell the tale of the birth of King John the Cute, and the prophecy hidden by him from his mother.

Around the world, the winds shrieked of Shadowy Secret’s birth.

Around the world, water gurgled of the frightening encounter between Death and John the Cute when the king’s name appeared on Death’s list.

Around the world, stones, radios, TV sets, books, flowers, dust specks, boulders, trees, roads, light bulbs, stamps, clouds, cars, airplanes, towels, glasses, shadows, scissors, raindrops, snowflakes, rainbows and all other objects in the world spoke the same story, aloud, and in unison, so that all humans could hear, and none could deny that around them everything was magic.

The story of King John the Cute and Shadowy Secret was heard not by dozens, not by thousands, not by millions, but by billions. The story was heard by all humans around the world, and the bubbles emerged from the humans’ minds, and united at a speed previously unseen on the planet Earth, to create a great tunnel that led to another world. So powerful was the creation of this tunnel, and so strong was it, supported by the imagination of billions, that it did not reach the Afterdeath, as all new tunnels do, but led to the Deepest Crevice, the spot where Shadowy Secret was born.

King John the Cute looked above him after the old man finished telling his tale. “I will not wait for the tunnel to form completely, for I do not know where it may lead. I will travel back through a tunnel I have seen before, a tunnel that will lead me back to my palace. It has been a pleasure, dear friend. Thank you for everything you have done. You have saved two worlds.”

“And you have saved me. Goodbye, and enjoy the Under World.”

For the last time, ten thousand butterflies minus one engulfed the king and carried him upwards. There, they thrust him into a tunnel the old man could not see, and the dying king vanished from sight. The butterflies flew on their ways, to busy themselves with other tasks.

This has been the last story of King John the Cute’s adventures on the planet Earth. This has also been the story in which mankind, in its entirety, learned that everything is magic.

 

(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 – A Secret Is Born

November 24, 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 Secret Is Born

(Containing the birth of a secret that is already born.)

 

“The first time we met,” King John the Cute began to tell the old man his idea to save the Land of All Legends, “I could see in the bubbles that came out of your mind that when you looked at the horrible lines that mar my face, you saw the stories behind them. You understood who I was. You knew where I came from. You instinctively felt the stories of my life. And that is important for my plan.”

“And what is your plan?” inquired the old man, his eyes still shining from the events of the last thirty hours.

“My plan is to open the second door,” answered King John the Cute. “My land is sick because the twin lands are uneven. I will soon die and be reborn in the Afterdeath. There, I must find a way to open the second door and to allow free passage back and forth. All those who had died must fill the old land and give it life. The lands must become even, and death must once again become a revolving door, but in a different fashion. The dead of my land must cross over to the lost land, and the dead of the lost land must cross over to my land. That is how evenness will be restored and how both lands will be healed.

“The problem is that only Death can open the second door, and Death cannot enter the Afterdeath, nor can he enter the lost land of legends. Therefore, once I am in the Afterdeath, I must become Death. I will be the other land’s Death. I shall open the door, and I shall let everyone live.”

“Ambitious plan,” said the old man. “I like it! How will you become Death?”

“I want you, who know my story so well, to change my story. In the same way that Doctor Dave Daniels had given the Original Monster powers he did not have, you must tell a fairy tale that will make me Death, but only once I am in the Afterdeath.”

“I am deeply sorry, King John,” said the old man, “but that is not a good idea.”

Desperation appeared in the king’s eyes. “Why do you say that?”

“I have read Daniels’ book, and he is not a writer, he simply put words on a page. This is why the Original Monster is now stuck in the Afterdeath.”

“What did he do wrong?”

“He forgot that stories have drama. You cannot simply ‘give’ a power to the story’s hero out of nowhere and expect the story to work out. That lacks story logic. Story logic clearly states that things will go wrong, imperfections will appear, enemies will surface, and previously unseen tunnels may bring you to the Afterdeath. In adding to a story, you must take into account that things will go wrong. Fortunately for you, I know how to follow and obey story logic.

“I will write a story about King John the Cute, but it will not be the story you asked for. It will be a better story, a story that will hopefully insure that when you die and will become Death.”

King John the Cute was about to thank the old man, when bubbles upon bubbles began to emerge from the old man’s head. The park was dark at night, and the king could not discern the content of the bubbles. As the bubbles emerged, the old man rambled on to himself, “The story has to be consistent with the rules of everything that has happened so far. I will not write a story that will contradict something you told me. No, I won’t do that. However, what I don’t know, I can invent and write about…

“The story can’t begin now… It has to begin long ago… It has to begin in the beginning of the story… I know! King John the Cute, I know how it will begin!”

“I am listening,” King John the Cute said, his own eyes sparkling brightly for the first time in a long while.

“The story will begin before you were born, when your mother, still Kate the Catty, had just found out that she was pregnant with a little boy. My story will begin with the prophecy of John the Cute. You have told me the prophecy, King John the Cute, all eight lines of it, and I cannot touch it. However, in my story it will turn out that there were two more lines to the prophecy. These two lines predicted the outcome we desire, but your mother never told you about them.

“Why did your mother never speak of those lines? Why…? Why…? I know! She was afraid! I will write the last two lines of the prophecy in such a way as to say that you will rule that other world… I will call it the Under World, because it lies underneath the Land of All Legends, just like half of Earth is underneath the other. I will have the prophecy say that you will rule the Under World, but your mother will think that you will rule the Underworld, which is the Afterdeath. That would be too horrifying for her and so she will never mention it to you.

“Good! Good! We are making progress!

“We have put a seed in the beginning of the story, a seed that contains the ending we desire. Now… We are not yet done… We must make sure that you will have any help you need to achieve that goal… Hmmm…

“All right, the next stage in the story will be immediately after you become king. Once you become king and your mother comes to visit you, she will be proud of you, as you told me she was. However, she will also become too horrified that your death is so near, and that you will become something worse after Death, that her secret of those two lines will burn inside her. It will torture her, and she will not be able to speak to anyone about it, for no one must know those awful two last lines of the prophecy except for her and your dead father…

“And so,” the old man continued, bubbles sprouting out of  his head like gushing water, “once she leaves you, she will go the deepest and darkest crevice in the land, and she will yell her secret into that crevice. Then, when she leaves, feeling slightly better, the secret itself, finally released but filled with clouds of frustration and swirling mists of fury, it will swirl closer and closer together, until it will bear the form of a human being. It will be a dark human being, a cloud of fury and frustration. That, my dear King John, that dark figure will be your secret helper.

“Let us name that figure Shadowy Secret, at least for now.” So many bubbles were coming out of the old man’s head as he spoke, that the park was filled with bubbles. King John the Cute could not see into the bubbles in the dark, nor could he see the park for all the bubbles.

The old man continued, unaware of the bubbles, “And since Shadowy Secret isn’t human at all and is not really alive, then Death cannot kill him. Yes, oh, yes! In my story, he will help protect you from Death, and so… Do you remember, King John, that a mysterious being that you know nothing about took Death’s hand, and thus Death was unable to touch you when your name appeared on Death’s list?” The king nodded. “You know nothing about that being, do you?”

“No.”

“Then I can write any story I wish about him. That being that stole Death’s hand, that was Shadowy Secret! Yes, I’ll write that he’ll steal Death’s hand, but he will never actually use it to kill anyone. Because he is a being of good, borne of your mother, and he is there to help you.

“Oh! I have it! And just as you are stabbed, Shadowy Secret will no longer need the hand. And so he will give it back to Death… But he will delay Death just enough to allow you to disappear from Death’s grasp and to reach Earth.”

King John the Cute looked at the old man and saw the story form in front of his eyes in a way he never conceived possible. The king realized that he comes from a land of stories, not a land of writers and imagination, and that there is a difference.

The old man continued, “Now, wait, something is missing. Shadowy Secret is there to make sure that the prophecy is fulfilled. To that end, he must raise the prince from the dumps, mold him into a man, and train him to kill you.”

“Why?” King John the Cute felt his chest, which had been burning with pain for days now.

“You are stabbed anyway, so what does it matter?” answered the old man. “This way it fits into my story, so that is how I will write it. Now hush and let me think.”

King John the Cute accepted the writer’s words reluctantly. The old man fell into silence. Bubbles geysered out of his head. By now, the bubbles filled the park to the treetops.

“Let’s work it out,” said the old man. “Shadowy Secret is stronger than Death and he is dark and shadowy. At the same time, he is there to help you with the prophecy, and yet… Ah! I know how you become Death!”

“How?”

“Shadowy Secret, you see, is Death. He is the other land’s Death. By which I mean that he is the power of Death. He will be able to cross over with you to the Afterdeath, for the ordinary rules of life and death do not matter to him. Once in the Afterdeath, he will blend with you and give you the shadowy and eternal qualities of Death. And thus, in the Afterdeath, you will become Death and open the door.”

“That is great!” King John the Cute leapt to his feet. “That is the story!”

“No, no, no,” the old man shook his head. “The ending is too simple. Stories do not work that way. I am sure that if I write the story in this way, then when you arrive in the Land of All Legends, something will prevent you from going through the door and entering the Afterdeath and dying as any other creature would. That is the nature of stories. Conflict comes and unexpected troubles arise. I have to write one more part to make sure that you succeed.

“I know! I will write that once you arrive there is a great battle. I won’t go into detail. I will write that all the forces of good in the land will fight by your side, including the strongest of them all: Shadowy Secret.”

“What or who will we be battling?”

“It doesn’t matter and I do not know. I will not go into detail. Something must have happened while you were away, I have no doubt, that will stop you from entering the Afterdeath. And the only way for me to make sure that you enter the Afterdeath is to say in the story that there is a battle, that Shadowy Secret used all his powers to protect you, and that the battle was won and you entered the Afterdeath. I assure you: this was Doctor Daniels’ chief mistake. I will not make the same one.

“Good! Now let’s have the ending: I will write that Death successfully delivers you to the Afterdeath. There you will be re-formed. You will touch Shadowy Secret, for you are the only thing that can make him disappear. Shadowy Secret will dissolve and re-form around you, giving the two of you together that which you did not have separately – the power of Death. You will touch the second door, and it will open before you. Then I will write that you will go through it, and that everyone in the Afterdeath comes out, and evenness ensues. There! Everyone else lives and dies and lives again and dies again happily ever after! The story will end and you will have your fairy tale!”

“Wait, wait, please,” said King John the Cute, his voice pleading. “The story cannot be over.”

“What is it, King John?” the old man put a hand on the tired king’s shoulder.

“Can you insert two more events into the middle of the story?”

“It depends. What do you find missing?”

“I want Shadowy Secret to go to my mother… I want him to tell her that she has misunderstood the prophecy, that I will be fine… that a great future awaits me… and that I will be happy… and that decades later, when she dies, we will see each other again…”

The old man thought about it, bubbles furiously forming from his head. “Yes. I can do that. A little scene in which Shadowy Secret hides behind a wall, pretends to be you? It’s been done before. I can do that. What is the other thing you need in the story?”

“I want Shadowy Secret to deliver a message to Queen Sarah O’Connell. I want him to tell her that when I return, I shall return to the palace. She must wait for me there.”

“Done,” said the old man. “I believe we have a story now that solves all of your problems.”

King John the Cute nodded with relief. “Indeed. I hope so. It fits my life’s story. Now you must write this story and finish it by the morning.”

“By the morning? Are you insane!”

“The story must be read or heard by millions of people across the world by tomorrow at noon, for I shall not survive a minute longer. Only when the story is heard by millions, will it become true in my land. It must become true before I cross over again.”

“King John, I believe I am eager and hot and excited enough now to actually finish it in time, but there is no chance the story can be published by that time, and certainly not read by millions.”

“Do not worry about that, for that is a problem I can solve easily. Please. Go and write. Will you be able to do it?”

“I will write a short story now, containing only these events. Once you are gone, I will write the entire saga, as you have told it to me. But for now: Yes, I will do it by morning!”

The old man produced a pen from his pocket and a small notebook from his back pocket. He walked quickly to a café at the edge of the park, and there he sat alone, and began to write.

King John the Cute sighed heavily. The burden felt heavier, and yet it was lighter. It would not be long now until the happy ending.

This has been the second story of the second meeting of the old man and the king, in which Shadowy Secret’s shadowy secrets were revealed plainly to the readers.

 

(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 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!