This story was originally posted on April 17, 2019. I think we all do great and terrible things now and then. And sometimes, the bad choices we make can cause us big problems down the road. In fairy tales, the effects are magnified, of course. I think that’s what makes them so much fun to read.
This story was originally posted on July 25, 2017. I like the idea of this story. I think it would be even better as a longer story with more explanation and such. (For example, how does the alligator talk to everyone? Is he a normal alligator?) Maybe someday I’ll sit down and write that story.
The alligator swam as quickly as he could. The rainbow was fading. “Wait,” he said. Instead of waiting, the rainbow started to fade a little faster. Fortunately, alligators are faster in water than on land, and this rainbow ended over water.
With a final burst of speed, he dove under the water and sat on the pot of gold. A few seconds later, a leprechaun popped into view. It flailed its arms and legs for a moment, and then surrounded itself and the alligator and the gold in a bubble of air.
“Give me back my gold, you big lizard,” the leprechaun said. “What would you do with gold anyway?”
“Maybe I’m turning into a dragon and need to build a hoard,” the alligator said.
The leprechaun’s mouth dropped open. “You can do that?” he asked in a squeaky voice.
The alligator snorted. “No, of course not. I just want a wish. Grant me a wish and you can have your gold back.”
The leprechaun shut his mouth and scowled. “I won’t be granting a wish to something with teeth like that. Keep the gold. It will do you no good.” The leprechaun folded its arms and disappeared with a crack. The bubble of air disappeared with him.
The alligator waited another half hour underwater and then gave in. Even he would need to go up to breathe eventually. Once he left, the leprechaun would come for the gold. He could take it with him, but what was the point? He didn’t want the gold. He wanted the wish. And the leprechaun made it clear how he felt about that.
This was not the first time or the second or third time the alligator had been denied a chance for a wish. He’d wished on the first star. He’d found a stray campfire to blow out on his birthday. He caught a leaf as it fell. He held his breath as he ran through a tunnel.
Every time, a fairy popped in front of him and told him that their wishes were not for alligators and to stop wasting their time. No one asked him what his wish was or told him how alligators could get wishes. It just wasn’t fair.
However, alligators are stubborn, and this one wasn’t any different. He had a wish, and he was going to find a way to get it. It wasn’t one he could work towards on his own, so he needed to find help. Well, he’d just keep looking.
He caught a fish and let it go. The fish laughed at him and swam away. He rubbed a camping lantern with his paws. The genie popped out, grabbed the lantern and vanished. He blew the seeds off a white puffy dandelion. A fairy appeared, gathered all the scattered seeds and blew a raspberry at him. “If you try this one more time, I’ll send the fairy princess to stop you. She’ll turn you into a beetle,” the fairy said.
The alligator did not give up. There had to be a way for alligators to get wishes. And then one morning, he heard a faint cry for help. He rushed towards the voice. He found a frog cornered by a snake. The alligator knocked the snake out of the way.
The snake looked up, and his expression went from angry and annoyed to terrified. The alligator grinned to show all his teeth, and the snake slithered away. “I’m doomed,” the frog said. “I’ve gone from the frying pan into the fire.”
“Nonsense,” the alligator said. “Did you know that you are speaking in English and not Frog?”
“I am?” the frog said. “That would have made things a little easier, I suppose. If I wasn’t about to be eaten.”
“You have a feel of magic around you, and you don’t talk Frog. I’m not going to eat you,” the alligator said. “So, tell me your story.”
“I’m an inventor. I invented a self-flying broom. It made the witches’ guild angry, and they turned me into a frog. I can only become human again if a princess kisses me. In this day and age, I think that’s a near impossibility.” The frog sighed.
“Does it have to be a human princess?” the alligator asked.
“They didn’t say,” the frog said.
“Then it doesn’t. Follow me,” the alligator said. He went to the meadow and picked a white, fluffy dandelion and blew. A majestic, angry looking fairy appeared.
She glared at the alligator. “You were warned,” she said. She lifted her arm.
“Wait,” the alligator said. “This human needs your help.”
The fairy princess turned and looked at the frog. Her eyes narrowed. “He looks like a frog, but there is magic surrounding him. Tell me, frog, how did this happen?”
“I was cursed by witches. I can turn back if a princess kisses me.” His voice shook.
“Oh, very well. I never did like witches, so I wouldn’t mind spoiling their plans,” the fairy princess said. She blew a kiss at the frog, and in a swirl of light he became human again. “There,” she said. “Now their spells won’t work on you.”
Then the fairy princess turned and glared at the alligator again. “As for you, knock it off.” She disappeared in a clap of thunder.
“What was that about?” the inventor asked.
“The fairies refuse to give wishes to alligators,” the alligator said. “It isn’t fair.”
“What is your wish?” the inventor asked.
“I want to fly,” the alligator said.
“So that it’s easier to catch and eat things?” the inventor asked.
“No. So I can fly. I mostly eat fish, and flying wouldn’t make it any easier to catch them,” the alligator said.
“Well then,” the inventor said. “I think I can help you.”
A few months later, the alligator was darting around in a rocket-propelled suit. It was as amazing as he’d always dreamed it would be.
I curse you to sleep for a thousand years!
Oh. That sounds wonderful.
Poor Sisyphus, condemned to be forever rolling a boulder uphill.
It could be worse. I could be doing laundry. –
The dragon flapped its wings a few times. Then it jumped up into the air and flew in wide circles, spiraling higher and higher. Isaac held up a hand to shade his eyes so he could watch the dragon fly.
The dragon paused, just for a moment, and then he tucked his wings into his sides and dove almost straight down. He opened his wings at the bottom of his dive and careened towards Isaac.
His talons locked around Isaac’s shoulders and upper arms, and the dragon beat his wings against the air as they climbed higher and higher. Isaac looked down. The island seemed empty, except for the low wall that was now a thin line, dividing the island in half.
Isaac reached up and clutched the dragon’s ankles. “Please don’t drop me!” He shouted.
“Let go!” the dragon shrieked and tightened its grip on Isaac’s shoulders.
“Only if you put me down somewhere safe.”
“Not on my island!”
“Somewhere else then.” Isaac winced as he looked down. The island looked so far away. If he fell from here, he’d never get back home.
“Fine.” The dragon dove once more, and Isaac held on tight, closing his eyes against the biting wind.
And then his feet were touching something just as the dragon released his shoulders. Isaac let go and opened his eyes. It looked like he was standing in a wooden basket with sky all around him. His knees felt weak and he sat down suddenly.
The dragon was already spiraling higher. “Never come back,” he shouted as he flew away.
Isaac watched him go, and then crawled to the edge of the basket and looked down. He was in the crows nest of a ship. He stepped onto the rope ladder hanging nearby and climbed down to the deck of the ship.
A tall thin man with big bushy eyebrows was waiting on the deck, arms folded. “A stowaway? I’d send you the way of the bat and the owl I found hiding aboard my ship, but I can see that it’s already too late for you.”
“What do you mean?” Isaac asked.
“You can stand on the deck of my ship, and you’re squinting in the sunlight. You don’t see mist or a ghost ship or a skeleton crew, do you?”
Isaac looked around. The sun was shining, and the ship looked solid and deserted. “No, I don’t see any of that.”
“Then you’re one of us, those cursed to play the terrible game. I’d tell you to quit and go home, but it’s too late for you.” He shook his head. “Too late!” He yelled and shook his fist at the sky.
“Do you know the way home?” Isaac asked. “I thought we could go home once we found the party.”
“Not every one can, and few like what they find when they get there. Spending time between worlds like we do changes us. There’s no preventing that.”
The man lifted a busy eyebrow. “Did you see more than a handful of people or animals on any of the islands?
Isaac shook his head.
“Of course not. You could only see the one between worlds like you are. People that didn’t quite belong in one place or another. And they were the only ones who could see you.”
The man held up a little pencil that was missing its eraser. “I found the party, a long, long time ago. They made me the king of wishes. I was so pleased. So foolish. They didn’t say that any of my wishes would come true in the way I expected them to.”
“What happened?” Isaac asked.
“I wrote all my wishes into a little book.” The man pulled a notebook out of his pocket. “And then I watched them all go wrong. I wished for a ship and crew. My crew fought constantly and couldn’t work together to sail the ship anywhere. I wished for my favorite meal. I now have an unlimited supply of roasted chicken that I’ve somehow become allergic to.”
“Did you wish to go home?” Isaac asked.
“I did, and now I’m half here and half there, on a ghost ship that is only real to those just as cursed as I am, forever between worlds.” The man put the notebook and pencil into his pockets.
“Can’t you wish you hadn’t come here?” Isaac asked.
“I can’t change the past. The words just vanish from the page.” The man looked sad. “The only thing that worked was to erase the wishes. But I lost the eraser somewhere, and I’ve spent so many years trying to retrace my steps.”
“But can’t you wish for the eraser?” Isaac asked.
“And risk destroying my only chance to fix this half-life?” The man glared at Isaac.
Isaac thought for a moment. “Have you met the queen of everything?” he asked.