“I can give you a ride to the next island on my rowboat,” the lady said.
“You have a rowboat?” Isaac looked around.
The lady laughed. “Of course I do. I’m the Queen of Everything, remember?” She pointed at a scrap of notebook paper and it turned itself into a rowboat. “See?” She pointed at the rowboat, and once again it was a scrap of paper.
Isaac looked at the paper with surprise. “Wait, didn’t we need that?”
The lady raised an eyebrow. “Why carry that heavy old thing to the beach when I can change something into a boat there?”
“Right.” Isaac felt foolish. He followed the lady out the door, where she changed into a swan and launched herself into the air.
“I’ll meet you at the beach,” she said, and then flew away.
Isaac trudged across the bridge without looking down and picked his way through the swamp. Then he walked around the beach until he found the swan waiting for him, preening her wings.
“What took you so long?” she asked.
“I can’t fly.”
The swan fluffed up its wings. “Well, that’s no excuse. Hurry up then. The rowboat is waiting, just over there.”
Isaac walked over to the rowboat, and then turned to look at the swan. “Aren’t you coming?”
“No, I don’t want to leave my island. I want to watch the closet doors and be there when they open. But, once you’re rowing away, I’ll send some lucky feathers along to guide you. Just catch them before they hit the water, or they’re not lucky any more.”
Isaac looked at the little rowboat. “I don’t know how to row.”
“You can do it, I believe in you,” the swan said. “Did that help?”
“Not really, no.”
The swan sighed and turned into a sheep. “Hop in and I’ll give you a push to start.”
Isaac climbed into the rowboat and held tightly to the oars and the sheep shoved the rowboat into the waves. The sheep changed into a large white whale that gave the boat one large final push, and Isaac and the rowboat were out to sea.
Overhead, a dove flapped its wings and several feathers blew off to the left. Isaac tried to push the oars back through the water to pull the boat forward. It didn’t work very well. The water seemed heavy, like he was pushing through cement. The feathers floated down, just out of reach.
Isaac remembered what the lady said, and reached out, trying to catch the feathers before he hit the water. A small breeze caught the largest, prettiest feathers and flung them far away. But nearby, a little fluffy bit of down was tumbling through the air.
Reaching out as far as he dared, Isaac’s fingers just barely managed to close around the bit of fluff. It dissolved like a snowflake when it hit his palm. The other feathers disappeared into the water. Now what?
A dolphin popped its head out of the water. “Have we met before?” she asked. “You seem familiar somehow.”
“I think you escorted me to land once,” Isaac said. “Thank you for that.”
“I do try to help where I can,” the dolphin said. “Say, did you happen to need help again?”
“Yes please.” Isaac held up the oars. “I don’t know how to row.”
“Well, show me what you’ve done so far.”
Isaac tried scooping the water again. “It’s too heavy,” he said.
“Then scoop less water,” the dolphin suggested.
Isaac tried again. The boat inched forward. The dolphin followed, giving encouragement and advice, until an island appeared on the horizon. The dolphin whistled. “I need to go now. Good luck, friend.”
“Thank you, friend,” Isaac said. And he rested a moment, and then rowed his way to shore. Rowing was hard work, much harder than he’d thought.