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A Continuing Fairy Story

By Graham Tritt, 22 April 2005

In this exercise you should write a short story, up to three paragraphs, in the style of a fable or a folk tale. Imagine writing, for instance, “one more episode in the life of Phi”

The story should be a folk tale or fairy story. Some of the basic rules for this genre are:

  1. It starts with something like “Once upon a time” and finishes “and they lived happily ever after” or an equivalent.
  2. It is simple, interesting, exciting. It contains fanciful or fantastic beings and events, a touch of magic.
  3. It has a moral, it teaches a lesson.

Note that a fairy story does not have to have fairies in it.

I suggest that in your story, you build on the previous one, introduce only one event and maximum one new character. Or you could rewrite the previous one in a different style, for example “politically correct”.

Your Contributions

Once upon a time there were two boys. One was the son pr a prince, and his name was Loran. The other, Gandelf, was the son of an alchemist. Both were ten years old.

The two boys met in a park. Loran was accompanied by a retinue of servants, some carrying toys and others with rugs and equipment and food for a picnic. Gandelf was hunting for herbs to add to a mixture which his father was brewing.

Please continue …

Gandelf hated hunting for herbs. He had no interest in creating potions. What he really longed to do was create real magic. Magic that will impress the new girl who moved in just down the street from him. He could not afford magician school, and his father expected him to follow in his footsteps and become an alchemist. Gandelf was lost in thought when he heard a loud commotion.

Gandelf turned and looked in the direction of the noise. There he saw a young lad who appeared to be about his age. He couldn’t see him to well through the enntourage of servants plus the boy’s back was to him. He must be someone famous, Gandelf thought to himself, to be worthy of so many servants. Suddenly the boy turned and looked straight at Gandelf, their eyes locked, and they stared at each other in shock….

One was the very image of the other!

This was all the more remarkable, children, since - as I may have neglected to tell you before - Loran the princeling was as black as jet; and Gandelf, while perhaps not as dramatically pale as nacre, certainly had about him the honeyed hue of ivory, once you got through the accumulated layers of laboratory-soot.

There was nothing particularly unusual about the young princeling’s colour: the kingdom, and the many other dominions dispersed through the lands around it, was so overwhelmingly peopled with those of a swarthy complexion that no-one even remarked upon it. People of Gandelf’s coloration were far more worthy of conversation, his kind having only come from barbaric regions in the preceding century. While there was yet much rumour, and not a little suspicion surrounding these exotic outsiders, their skills as technologers, alchemists and cartographers were greatly welcomed, and they had been, by and large, successfully integrated into society.

Still, one hardly expected to happen upon a specimen of these outlandish people, with their cold eyes and dead-looking skin, while taking the air. In truth, Loran was not a little put to fright by the encounter, and might easily have called to his retinue, among whom were bodyguards in disguise; but, momently hesitant, the resemblance to himself in the other boy’s face suddenly struck him with such force that it calmed him. As vain and proud as all princes are, he convinced himself he had been calm from the start. And, as if he had been paying attention at his Basic Strategy classes (which he hadn’t), he seized the initiative and addressed the pale stranger boldly and firmly.

Gandelf, with the disinterested boredom and lacklustre response typical of all laboratory underlings, ill-nourished by diet and stupefied with sleeplessness, regarded the person in front of him with the inscrutability of a chameleon confronted by its reflection. He slouched and sniffled and, shortly after the person had begun speaking, furrowed his brow with concentration as he tried to guess why this person was so vaguely familiar.

“Look here, fellow, I-”, Loran began.

“Toadflippers!” cried Gandelf, “You’s is the livin’ image of me’s!”

Loran blinked. He was already unnerved by the youth’s paleness, though of course he refused to admit it, and felt rather affronted by the lads strange and really rather crude language. There was something odd about this boy, he couldn’t quite put his (slightly) chubby finger on it. so similar, obviously, and yet so…different.

The servants chose this moment to jump in. The young prince was really not supposed to be associating with the common people, and especially not the likes of grubby foreigners. They pulled him away, despite his protests and desperate thrashing. Gandelf called after him, trying to catch up. “Wait!” he cried. “Come on feller you’s the most ‘ntresting thing’s happened ter me in weeks!” But Loran was already out of sight. Gandelf turned dutifully back to gathering, which was somehow duller than ever, if that was possible. He pondered a moment on his brief encounter with the dark boy before shrugging it off. The large marble eyes and thin lips so like his own… he really didn’t know what to think of it.

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