Tag: misunderstood

A Scrambled Conversation

The fairy tale village doctor hurried to Humpty Dumpty’s door. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men had failed out of medical school yet again, and the doctor was still the only one qualified to put everyone back together again. Unfortunately, there were a lot of emergencies in the fairy tale village, so the doctor was very busy.

He knocked on the door. The neighbors had called him about the emergency, and he hoped they’d be here to let him in. He was surprised when Humpty answered the door himself.

“Humpty Dumpty, I heard you had a great fall,” the doctor said.

Humpty smiled. “It was nice. The leaves were great colors, and I was invited over to eat tarts with the king and queen twice. The winter was terrible. The knave of hearts stole the tarts, and there was a long trial, and this giant girl knocked everyone over…”

“I thought that happened last summer.” The doctor was confused.

“Winter, summer, what’s the difference? It wasn’t fall, was it?”

The doctor opened his mouth to reply, and then closed it again. He narrowed his eyes. “Wait, I meant to say that I heard you’d been sitting on a wall and fell off.”

“Well it was more like a fence.” Humpty held his palms out, and mimed weighing things on scales. “I was trying to decide whether to wear a belt or a tie. I can’t wear both, you know.” He let one hand drop. “The tie won today.”

“I’m a doctor and don’t really care about fashion. I just need to know if you were injured.”

“I’m sad that you haven’t complimented the tie, but not offended.” Humpty smiled. “It is rather understated, so I suppose you hadn’t noticed it yet. Now that you have, you have to tell me your opinion.” The bow tie was plain and black.

“It’s lovely.” The doctor managed not to roll his eyes, but it was a close call. “So you haven’t broken anything?”

“Well, I promised myself that I’d be rich and famous by this age, but I’ve obviously broken that promise. I’ll probably never trust myself again. It’s a terrible thing. Why, just the other day, I said that the sky was blue, and I still had to go outside to check and see if it really was.”

The doctor sighed. “Your neighbors called and said that you’d fallen from a wall and broken into tiny pieces.”

Humpty frowned. “Which neighbors? The wooden puppet people with the long, long noses? Or that boy who watches the sheep and keeps being overrun by wolves?”

The doctor thought for a moment. “I think I see the problem. You need new neighbors.”

“They’re not so bad. They’re always complimenting my ties. And my belts. They say the nicest things.” Humpty smoothed his tie. “Would you like to come in? Someone left a basket of lemons on my front steps, so I made lemonade. Unfortunately, they didn’t leave sugar, so it’s a little sour.”

“No, I have to go visit the twins down the street. I received an urgent call that said that they’d fallen down and broken their crowns.” The doctor paused.

“Did my neighbors make the call?” Humpty asked, guessing his thoughts.

“Yes. They said Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water and then fell.”

“But there isn’t a hill anywhere near here,” Humpty said.

The doctor sighed. “I was afraid you’d say that. Still, I need to go check to be sure.”

“Tell them hi for me. Oh, and invite them over for lemonade. A basket of lemons makes rather a lot of lemonade. Maybe I should invite the neighbors. I’m sure they’d love it.”

“If they don’t, I’m sure they’re too polite to say so,” the doctor said. Humpty laughed.

The doctor drove to check on Jack and Jill. They were fine. He went back to his car, ready to visit Jack Sprat and his wife. They’d mixed up their meal plans and were suffering from a touch of indigestion.

Before he could drive away, his phone rang. He answered it. “Hello, this is the fairy tale village doctor. Do you have an emergency?”

“You have to help me, doctor,” a young voice said. “I was watching the sheep when a wolf came and…”

“Ate the sheep?” the doctor asked.

“No, it knocked me over and broke my arm. Then it ate my sheep. Can you help me?”

The doctor was tempted to ignore the call after the two false calls that had wasted his morning. But, as a doctor, he couldn’t ignore someone in need. “I’ll be right there,” he promised.

Maybe it was time to help tutor the king’s horses and the king’s men when he had some time off. The village really did need a few more doctors. Fairy tale people seemed to have lots of emergencies.

The Riddle Game

It was Grak’s turn to travel to the surface to check the position of the stars. He grumbled low in his throat at the thought. But, there was no sense in putting it off. He grabbed the bag with all the notebooks and started up the path.

Hours later, he had finally finished his observations. His eyes were watering and his head ached. Why did the stars have to be so bright? It was unnatural. He shoved the last notebook into the bag and scratched behind his horns, claws catching for a moment in his fur. It was time to go home.

He hurried back into the cave and slipped through the door at the back. He leaned against it for a moment and then slid down to sit back against it with a sigh. He kept his eyes closed for a long moment, until the headache was mostly eased.

When he opened his eyes again in the familiar darkness, he was face to face with a tiny human carrying a light brighter than the stars. Ouch. He growled in pain.

The human dropped the light, and it went out. How considerate. Humans really were delightful. The last human he’d met, centuries ago, had known so many interesting riddles. Perhaps it was a human custom?

“Do you know any riddles?” he asked.

“I…I think so,” the human said hesitantly.

“Excellent. Have you heard this one? There are three gems on a table. You take two away. How many gems do you have now?”

There was a long pause. “Two?”

Grak smiled. “That’s right! Your turn.”

“How far can a deer run into a forest?”

Grak thought for a moment. “Only halfway. Then he’s running out again. Clever. Here’s a classic. Poor people have it. Rich people need it. If you eat it you’ll die. What is it?”

The human began muttering quietly to himself. “Nothing. It’s nothing,” he finally said. “I guess it’s my turn again. What can you hold in your right hand, but not your left?”

Hmmmmm. Good one. “Your left hand. My turn. Many have heard me, but no one has seen me. I will not speak back until spoken to. Who am I?”

The human shuffled, then paced. He suddenly stopped and turned. “An echo.” He smiled. “I have the perfect riddle. Never resting, never still. Moving silently from hill to hill. It does not walk, run or trot. All is cool where it is not. What is it?”

Grak thought for a while. He considered all the riddles he’d ever heard or told. He thought about the world above and the world below. “I don’t know. What is it?”

“It’s the sun,” the human said.

The sun. He’d heard of its horrors. It was bright enough to strike anyone blind who dared to look upon it. He shivered.

“So, I win then?” the human asked. “You couldn’t answer it.”

“It wasn’t really a contest, but you did tell me a riddle I couldn’t answer.” Ah, humans. Apparently they were as competitive as ever.

“Then I can leave and you won’t eat me, right?”

“What?” Grak looked around. Oh. He was sitting in front of the door, wasn’t he? How embarrassing. “Yes, of course. You can go now.” He stood up and shuffled out of the way.

The human darted forward and tugged on the door. Grak reached around him and pulled it open. The human looked up warily. “Thank you,” he said.

“You are welcome to come again,” Grak said hopefully. “I’d love to trade more riddles.”

The human shook his head and gripped the straps of his pack tightly. He stepped quickly around the door and started running. Grak squinted and watched him go for a moment, before closing the door.

It was sad that he’d probably not see the interesting human again. But Grak cheered up when he thought about the new riddles he had to tell. He picked up his bag and hurried down the path towards home.