“Hush, now, Master Baker,” the Lady
stilled the rabbit's rush of words, “A human man, you say? Or,
perhaps, a frog? News indeed... they do not usually venture so far
into our forest. Let us go to him and see what there is to see.”
She scooped the rabbit up in her arms and stood again in the center
of the mushroom ring. She shimmered faintly in the starlight, then
sparkled as if fireflies were trapped beneath her skin, and then the
sparkling was outside of her, surrounding her like a swarm of stars
which twinkled and sparkled and faded away, leaving only the
stillness of the night, the quiet shadows beneath the trees and the
mushrooms bathed in starlight.
Sylvester found the shoes on the
beach, left behind by the tide with the driftwood. The white laces
were twisted together and tangled with seaweed, the red canvas
stained dark with the sea and spotted with the muck of the shore. He
slipped his flippers into them anyway. The soggy soles squelched
beneath his skin.
“Look at me!” He cried to the
other seals, “I'm a human!” He wobbled along the beach, trying
to prance as he'd seen the humans do, red sneakers flashing on the
sand. The other seals barked with laughter. Slipping his flippers
out of the soggy shoes, Sylvester sighed: the cool sand of the beach
felt so much nicer on his skin. What silly creatures humans are, he
thought, and abandoning the red shoes, he gave a happy bark and dove
into the sea.
There is a pocket in my purple jumper:
it's a magic door. Mother says I should stop telling lies. But it's
true, although I'm sure I don't know how. The other end must come
out near the ocean, for my handkerchiefs always smell of salt and
seaweed. And things I put in it for safekeeping often go missing,
only to reappear in my pocket sometime later, damp and sandy. Mother
says I need to learn to take better care of my things. This morning
a small crab, green as bottle, crawled out. It hid itself in the
potted begonia. Mother won't be happy.
Once upon a time there was a story. It was a little thing, small enough to hide under a chair or inside a tea cup, but it was powerful all the same. It could be warm and fuzzy with gray green fur or form into a dark blue blob and slide itself under doors.
"Once upon a time, the world was created with words."
And that was enough. It would curl up like a kitten at a child's feet and whisper, once upon a time, the world was created with words, and the child would start to dream of the words he knew and the world he could create and how things would be. And the child would grow up and change the world with his words, creating a new world with each syllable.
And so many such children grew up, and so many such children created worlds with their words, but, alas, they had forgotten what the story had whispered to them and they did not know their own power.