This story was originally posted on September 12, 2018. I think the details of happily ever after are different for everybody. The trick is figuring out what it looks like for you. Don’t give up if it seems impossible for now. Help might be waiting just around the corner.
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.
Once upon a time, a king and queen were thrilled when they had a tiny new daughter. They invited the kingdom to celebrate, and gave special invitations to the resident fairies. The fairies made it a habit of attending baby blessings and using their magic powers to grant special powers and gifts to special babies.
Of course, a baby princess is a special baby indeed, and the fairies were delighted to come. All but one. Somehow, her invitation had been lost in the mail, and she felt snubbed.
“How dare they not invite me?” the fairy asked. “Inviting everyone except me is a deliberate insult.”
“I’m sure they meant to invite you,” the other fairies said. “Come anyway. I’m sure they’ll have great flower nectar and that spicy cracker mix you like.”
“Oh, I’ll come,” the fairy said. “I’ll give the baby a blessing they’ll never forget.”
“That’s the spirit,” the other fairies said, ignoring her dark tone.
And the day for the baby blessing came. The fairies hovered around the baby, giving her gifts of wisdom and beauty and other princessy things. The last fairy hovered over the princess and smiled much too widely.
“I bless you with the ability to go without sleep. In fact, you won’t ever sleep at all.” And then she swooped away cackling.
The crowd was confused. “Was that a good thing or a bad thing?” the queen asked her husband.
It didn’t take long for the answer to be clear. A baby that never sleeps at all is a very bad thing. Even with a rotating watch over her, the princess soon exhausted all her caregivers. She had so much extra time to figure out how to get into everything. She was always alert, never tired, and once she was a toddler she could soon outrun even the fastest runners in the kingdom.
“She will do great or terrible things,” the king said sadly one day, as he untied the laces of the shoes that had all been strung from the banisters of the spiral staircase.
“That’s fifty-fifty odds, right?” the queen said. She was still hunting for her shoes. “That’s not so bad.”
But the princess grew up to do both great and terrible things, as we all do. She just managed to do them on a bigger scale. She was, after all, a princess who never had to sleep. She had more time and resources than most.
By the time she was seventeen, her father sent her out on daily quests just to keep her out of trouble. She rescued kittens from trees and babies from dragons and ladies from lakes. She painted fences and helped build cathedrals. Her father started running out of quests.
And then he had the best idea yet. He sent her to go help out the fairy that had given her such a unique gift. The princess rode off on her horse and the kingdom breathed a sigh of relief for another day.
The fairy, on the other hand, found that her woes were just beginning. The princess had decided to build a gazebo in her yard at midnight. The fairy woke up to a terrible racket, and try as she might, none of her hexes could hit the princess. They just bounced off her polished shield like those fuzzy yellow balls bounce off tennis rackets.
The princess remodeled her kitchen and she couldn’t find anything. She dug up her potion ingredients and planted a bed of thorny roses. Then, when the fairy was hiding in the library, the princess came in and started indexing the books by the authors’ first names.
Enough was enough. The fairy stood and aimed her wand at the princess’s back. “You will be an ordinary princess who sleeps just as much as an ordinary princess does.”
The princess kept sorting books. “I am an ordinary princess,” she called over her shoulder. “I sleep an ordinary amount, for me.” And that night, she dug a wishing well that only worked if you threw in polished diamonds.
The fairy strode out, dark circles under her eyes. She pointed her wand at the princess. “I take it back. Whatever I said that made it so that you are here keeping me up at night, I take it back.”
The princess looked confused for a moment. “I think that maybe I’m sleepy?” And then she curled up next to the well and fell asleep for the first time in her life.
She rode home the next day, after the fairy urged her to go home and tell her parents the good news. Her parents were thrilled.
Of course, bad habits aren’t easily unlearned, and the princess never did sleep as much as everyone else. But, she did get into a little less trouble. And the entire kingdom rested easier.
Ethan was born into a noble family with a lot of money and plenty of time on their hands. His older brother was all grown up and married and moved away before Ethan started school, and his parents weren’t very interested in returning to child-raising. They’d found ways to fill their time that didn’t include a noisy child. So, Ethan spent a lot of time at home alone, reading.
Unfortunately, Ethan’s mother passed away in a boating accident one day while he was away at school. Almost immediately, the widow who lived nearby began to invite Ethan’s father to come and hunt in the woods on her land.
Ethan’s father loved hunting. Ethan could see the writing on the wall. The widow would become his stepmother, and her two terrible sons that were Ethan’s age would be his new stepbrothers.
Fortunately, this didn’t happen. Unfortunately, this was because Ethan’s father died in a hunting accident not long after his mother’s death. And he died without leaving a will. Read More
Once upon a time, there was a happy picnic table who lived in the shade of a tall oak tree on the bank of a small stream that murmured cheerfully as it flowed over its bed of river rock. The leaves of the tree whispered in reply, and the picnic table was content to listen to the conversation as it waited for happy people to come picnicking. And they did come.
The people brought their baskets and coolers and rested in the shade of the tree and waded in the stream and they were happy. The children shrieked with laughter as they splashed each other with water and hung from branches. Adults smiled and talked quietly and gazed around in wonder, as if they’d forgotten how lovely the world could be.
The picnic table absorbed the happiness around it until it felt like it surely must glow in the dark. Those were the happy times. But the happy times didn’t last.
One summer, the weather grew hotter and hotter. At first, this meant more families came to splash in the stream. But the stream slowly ran dry. There was no more water. The leaves of the tall oak tree turned brown and began to fall early. The people stopped coming.
There was a late summer storm. The wind blew the rain harshly against the table, scouring the paint that had begun to peel in the summer sun. There was a horrible cracking sound, and the oak tree lost several large branches. It didn’t live much longer after that.
The picnic table was all alone. It had no stream, no tree, and no people. Everything was too quiet. But the picnic table had absorbed too much happiness to give up. It knew that life could be better than this. It just needed to find out how to make that happen.
It gathered some acorns and planted them next to the old oak tree. Then it followed the bed of the dry stream back towards its source. If the stream was blocked somewhere, the picnic table would figure out how to fix it.
It waddled along on stumpy legs through briar patches and cockleburs until it came to a small bridge. An even smaller troll was sitting under the bridge, curled up into a ball and radiating misery. As the table shuffled closer, the troll straightened up. “A table?” The troll stood up and shuffled over. “With the stream dried up, I’m all alone. If you are traveling to a better place, please take me with you.”
The table paused and lowered one of its benches and the troll hopped on. The misery had changed to hope. The table felt a little bit stronger. The troll and table followed the stream together, moving at night, and finding shade for the troll during the day. The troll ate roots and bugs when they stopped, and sang odd warbling songs as they traveled. The picnic table almost felt at home.
One night, as they trundled along, they heard a loud cracking sound in the dry river bank. The troll stopped singing, and the table crept closer. A grumpy river fairy looked up at them from a pile of broken river rocks. “What are you doing here?” he asked.
“We’re on a quest,” the troll said.
“You and the table?” The fairy raised an eyebrow.
“We’re going to find a new home or save the river or something. I’m not really sure. But we’re going to do something,” the troll said.
The fairy nodded. “That sounds much better than staying here. I’ll come too.” The fairy jumped on the bench next to the troll. Anger shifted to hope. The table felt happy and strong. And now the fairy sang strange lilting tunes that wove around the troll’s songs on their journey.
And so they traveled on, picking up confused dryads and lonely wood elves and frightened water sprites. The benches were a full chorus of hope and happiness and determination to succeed. And the picnic bench strode forth, strong as a mountain and as bright with happiness as the sun.
And one day, they reached the source of the dried up river that fed the dried up little stream. It was a wide hollow area, with a large, round boulder where it was deepest. “The spring has dried up,” the grumpy fairy said sadly. “There’s nothing we can do.”
“What about the boulder? Maybe it’s blocking the water,” the troll said.
“I can take care of that,” the fairy said. He pointed at the rock and said something low and fierce. Nothing happened. “Why won’t my magic work?”
“Maybe the rock is too big,” the dryad said sadly.
One of the wood elves stood on the table. “Let’s move the boulder together! Together we can save the river.”
And they all jumped from the table and pushed with arms and legs and roots and magic. The picnic table shouldered its way in and pushed too. With a shudder, the boulder started to roll. And then a sound rang out like a clap of thunder, a crack appeared from top to bottom, and the boulder crumbled.
In the middle of the rubble, a baby dragon looked up at them with wide eyes. “Mom?” it asked, looking around. Just then, water gushed from the ground beneath the dragon. Everyone piled onto the table, dragging the dragon along with them. The picnic table waded to shore through the turbulent water of the rapidly filling spring.
The air almost seemed alive with happiness. Only the little dragon wasn’t happy. It was confused and sad and hungry. It cried louder and louder and louder. The dryads and sprites and elves all tried singing to the little dragon. The troll brought it some bugs and roots to eat, but that only helped for a moment or two. The little table, now stronger than a hundred mountains, scooped up the little dragon and flapped its benches.
The dragon egg could only have come from the highest peak, far overhead where the dragons nested during the hot, hot summers. Somewhere, high above them, a mother dragon must have lost an egg. The picnic table flew higher and higher, up through the clouds and higher still, until he reached the peaks where the dragons soared in the blistering sunlight.
The picnic table found a nest where there was only one baby dragon, instead of the usual two or three, and dropped off the little baby. A mother dragon swooped in to snuggle and feed the little dragon. A wave of happiness hit the little table, and it glided back down to the spring, strong enough to carry the earth on its back, bright enough to glow with happiness as long as there were people left to eat picnics.
Everyone climbed back on the table and rode downstream singing with happiness. They quickly returned home, the table last of all. A little sapling was waiting for it. The table had saved its home. And to its great joy, the people came back to picnic the very next day.