Bluebell and Buttercup

Not so far away, but very, very long ago, there lived two fairy sisters named Bluebell and Buttercup. In their day fairies looked the same as other people, only much more beautiful and with powers that could be felt though they couldn’t be seen. Bluebell and Buttercup, the only daughters of the fairy queen, were the most beautiful of all the fairies and the most powerful, too. But they were spoiled and selfish and didn’t realize that their power was given for the good of everyone. They thought their power was theirs to play with, and that is exactly what they did.

The sisters were always causing trouble. When they were just two years old, Bluebell caught three mice, turned them purple, and kept them as pets. Buttercup was jealous of those mice, so she grew them all three feet tall to scare her sister. They ate all the cats in the county before the fairy queen finally caught them and shrunk them down again.

When they were five, Bluebell discovered that she loved chocolate, so she turned all the fence posts in the neighborhood into chocolate bars. The sun came out and melted all those chocolate fences before she could eat them. The cows and sheep and horses and chickens all got free from their fields and ran loose everywhere. In the middle of the chaos, Buttercup decided to make the best of the melted chocolate situation and turned all the grass into vanilla ice cream to make some sundaes. The mess was unbelievable. It took all the fairies several days to pick up all the sticky chicken feathers and wash the chocolate clumps out of the sheep’s wool.

When the girls were seven, they needed more time to play outside with their new bouncy ball, so they stopped the sun in the sky. It burned and burned until some of the dry grass caught fire, and there was a big blaze, and everyone was so tired from being awake for so long that they couldn’t even lift the buckets of water to fight the fire. If the fairy queen hadn’t come just in time and made it rain all over the fire, who knows what would have happened?

On their tenth birthday, Buttercup turned all the trees purple because that was Bluebell’s favorite color, and Bluebell made hundreds of mushrooms grow everywhere because they were Buttercup’s favorite food. All of that was fine until their two spells collided and giant purple mushrooms the size of trees began to sprout up everywhere. One popped up right under the Buttercup’s feet and she was stuck on the top of a twelve foot tall mushroom until her mother came along and fixed things again.

But the worst catastrophe of all happened when Bluebell and Buttercup were thirteen. Bluebell had gotten a new dress. It was purple, of course, and sparkly and swishy. She was so proud of her dress that she couldn’t stop talking about how pretty she looked it in. Buttercup was annoyed. When she couldn’t take anymore of Bluebell’s bragging, she said, “Like a toad all green and spotty, make that purple dress turn dotty!”

Bluebell’s sparkly purple dress was suddenly covered with ugly green polka dots. She was so mad that she instantly said, “In any dress I’m prettier than you, especially when your skin is blue!”

Buttercup instantly turned bright blue. She was furious. She ran at Bluebell yelling, “Think you’re pretty when you’re tall? Let’s see what you look like small!”

Bluebell shrank down until she was only the size of a leaf. The flowers in their mother’s garden towered over her. She couldn’t see her sister. She couldn’t see anything but the stems of the flowers and a little patch of blue sky peeking through the roof of yellow tulips above her. She was so scared that she spoke without thinking, “I’m a fairy, I won’t cry, I just need some wings to fly.” Instantly, delicate wings sprouted from her back, and she fluttered up above the flowers. Elated, she looked around for her sister.

At first she didn’t see her. It wasn’t until she heard a voice calling her name that she turned and saw Buttercup, two inches tall, flying toward her on tiny fragile wings. Each sister stared at the other’s blue face. Every spell that they had spoken had worked on both of them, and they hadn’t even realized it. They began to feel a little afraid. Buttercup whispered, “Spell go back without a trace. Give me back my normal face.” Nothing happened.

Bluebell sniffled a little and said, “Even if my sister wins, magic make me big again.” Nothing happened. They couldn’t undo their own magic. More scared than ever, the sisters flew off to find their mother.

They looked in the queen’s palace, but they didn’t see anyone. They looked in the gardens and in the forest, and still they didn’t see anyone. Now they were absolutely terrified. Finally, they went to the queen’s fairy pool. There they saw all the fairies gathered around the water, looking at their reflections. Every single one of them was tiny and blue, and every single one of them had wings. Bluebell and Buttercup were horrified. Their mother flew over to them.

“Girls, I assume we have you to thank for our new appearance?”

The girls nodded miserably and waited for their mother to make everything right. She did nothing. “I’m sorry, girls, I already tried. There is nothing I can do either. Together your magic proved too strong to be undone.”

Buttercup and Bluebell felt so sorry for what they had done that they worked very hard from that day on. They helped everyone make new tiny houses to live in out of twigs and flower petals and hollowed out pumpkins. They learned how to make a tiny little oven for baking tiny loaves of bread. And they made friends with all the animals of the forest, so that none of them would eat the fairies as they went about their work. Eventually the fairies learned to enjoy their new wings and make the best of their new life. But Bluebell and Buttercup never used their magic again.

And so it is that to this day, all the fairies are very , very small, and they all fly on delicate wings.

Mush Mommy

Once upon a time there was a mommy who loved to tell stories to her children, Molly, Matt, and Maggie.  Every morning when they woke up, the children would say, “Please may we have a story?”  Then their mommy would tell them a story while they ate their breakfast.  She would tell them stories while they were doing their work, tell them stories while they were walking to school, and tell them a brand new story each night as she tucked them into bed.  The last thing they would hear before falling asleep was, “And they lived happily ever after.”

That falling asleep was where all the trouble began.  It started with Molly, who was eight.  Molly decided she was too old to go to bed at the same time as her baby brother and sister.  So she asked for extra stories, and when that didn’t work, she asked for a drink of water, and when that didn’t work, she asked for some toys to play with in bed, and when that didn’t work, she cried.  With all this asking and crying, it was much later than normal when Mommy was finally able to get Molly to sleep.  

Then is was Maggie’s turn.  Maggie had fallen asleep with no trouble at all, like the sweet little baby that she was.  But just when everyone else had begun to dream their happiest dreams, Baby Maggie woke up.  And she cried.  And she cried and cried and cried.  It was a very long time before Mommy could get her to go back to dreamland.  By that time, Mommy was very, very tired, and she sighed happily as she crawled back into bed.  

Just then, Matt woke up.  He didn’t mean to stay awake.  He just missed his Mommy.  So he got up and went to her bed and curled up against her.  He was a very sweet and snuggly boy…all except for his elbow.  His elbow was very sharp and pokey, and it was determined to have as much space as it needed to stick out.  Mostly the place where it decided to stick was in the Mommy’s back.  After a while of being poked by elbow, Mommy got up and carried sleeping Matt back to his own bed.  Then, just as she settled back into her pillows with a smile….it was morning, and Molly and Matt and Maggie were waking up and asking for a story with their breakfast.

The first morning after a night like that, Mommy’s head was a little mushy, but she shook herself and drank some coffee and made up a new story.  

The second morning, Mommy’s head was quite mushy, so she shook herself and drank some coffee, but she still couldn’t think of a new story, so she told everyone Molly’s favorite fairy tale.  

The third morning, Mommy’s head was nothing but mush.  She drank her coffee, but it just seeped right out of her mushy head.  She tried to remember Matt’s favorite story, but her mushy head could not do it.   Matt had to tell the story himself.  

The fourth morning, not only was Mommy’s head mushy, now her arms and hands had turned to mush, too.  Molly had to make breakfast for everyone, and she tried to think of a story, but Maggie cried because her breakfast was too hot, and Matt complained that Molly’s story wasn’t exciting enough.  

The fifth morning came, and now Mommy had turned entirely to mush.  She tried to get out of bed, but her mushy legs couldn’t stand up.  Molly, Matt, and Maggie didn’t know what to do.  They tried to make her sit up, but she was too mushy.  The tried to roll her out of the bed, but she just glooped right over the edge and landed in a pile of mush on the floor.  Molly called the doctor, who rushed right over.

“Yes,” said the doctor, “this is the worst case of Mommy Mush I’ve ever seen.  It’s a good thing you called me when you did.  Tell me, now, has she been getting any sleep at night?”

Molly, Matt, and Maggie just looked at the floor.

“That’s what I thought,” said the doctor.  “Well, fortunately, Mommy Mush is curable, but it’s going to take  some very fast music and then A LOT of sleep. ”

So Molly went on put on their very loudest dance music, and they all watched anxiously as Mush Mommy slowly turned back into their real Mommy.  Only when she was able to smile a very, very weak smile did the doctor lift her off the floor and back into her bed.  Then he turned off the light, and they all tiptoed out of the room and let her sleep.

It was a very long day for those children without any Mommy to tell them stories, but Matt and Molly tried to take turns telling all the stories they could remember.  And that night when it was time to go to bed, Molly went straight to sleep without any complaining.  In the night, Maggie woke up and wanted to cry, but then she thought of Mush Mommy and grabbed her blankie and went back to sleep.  A little later Matt woke up and wanted to curl up by Mommy again, but instead he cuddled down in his blankets and dreamed of having his Mommy back to normal again.

In the morning, Mommy was all better.  She got up and made breakfast with no signs of mushy hands.  At breakfast, she told them the best story ever.   And of course, they lived happily ever after, sleeping all night long every night.

The Importance of a Brick House

Once upon a time there was a mother pig who had three sons.  Her oldest son, Mikey, was a very responsible pig who always did everything anyone asked him to do.  Her middle son, Sam, was a very kind pig who loved his family and tried to help everyone out when he could.  Her youngest son, Steve, was a very handsome pig who loved to have a good time and make everyone laugh.  The four of them lived very happily together in their rented house until one day the owner, Mr. Big Bad Wolf came by to say he was selling the house and they had to be out by the end of the month.  It was very upsetting, but there was nothing to be done.  The mother pig decided to go and live with her sister, who had an extra room.  This meant that the three sons were on their own for the first time.  Their mother was very proud of them and knew they were ready for this challenge.  She only gave them one word of advice before sending them on their way.  “Always stick together,” she said.  “Family takes care of family.”

So out the three young pigs went into the wide, wide world.  They fully intended to keep their mother’s advice, so they looked for a place where they could build a house to live together.  They knew exactly what they wanted it to be like:  an open grassy space with plenty of trees to supply Mikey’s wood shop, lots of room for Sam to have a garden, and a stream nearby for Steve to fish in.

Everything was going well until they met a man who was selling straw houses.  “These are the finest straw houses you will ever see,” the man claimed.  “Everyone who is anyone is building their houses out of straw these days.  Straw is the latest fashion.”  And he showed the three pigs many pictures of rich and famous pigs posing outside of their straw houses.  Steve was very impressed by these pictures.  He imagined how cool he would look in a house of straw.  His brothers, however, did not agree.  They thought the houses looked silly and flimsy, but Steve could not be convinced.  Finally the brothers agreed, not because they liked the straw houses but because they saw that Steve was going to buy the house no matter what and they wanted to stick together as their mother had advised.  That was when the man told them the houses were only big enough for one pig each.  They would have to buy three houses to have room for all of them.  The older two brothers tried again to tell Steve what a bad idea this was, but Steve would not listen.  He bought that house and moved in at once.  And Mikey and Sam were left to look for a place to live as near to Steve as possible.

It didn’t take long for them to find another man.  This man was selling wood houses.  They were much sturdier than the straw houses and were very handsome to look at.  “This is a very wise purchase,” said the man.  “Properly taken care of, you will be able to sell this house for more than you bought it in only two years time.”  And he showed the two pigs all the numbers.  The houses were very expensive, and Sam did not want to borrow money from the man to buy their house.  Mikey did not agree.  He argued that they could make money by selling the house later and it was only being responsible to buy something that was such a good investment.  He insisted for so long that Sam finally agreed.  But when they went to buy the house, the man advised them not to live in it together.  “Two pigs means more wear and tear on the house.  I suggest that you each buy your own house and that you stay away from home as much as possible if you want to keep in nice for resale in the future.  Whatever you do, don’t use the kitchen.  That will only wear it out.  There are plenty of nice restaurants around here that can supply all you need to eat.”  Now Sam loved to cook.  That was why he wanted to have a garden.  Once again, he tried to talk Mikey out of buying the house, but Mikey just said, “You go on and look for a place that’s more like you want.  I’ll buy this and live here for a couple of years.  Then, when I’ve sold it and made some money, maybe we can talk about living together again.”

So Mikey bought his wood house and Sam went sadly on his way to look for a place of his own close to his brothers.  In no time at all, he came across an old man.  The old man was selling his large brick house.  “My health isn’t what it used to be, and I live here all alone now,” said the old man.  ‘It’s time I went to live with my daughter.  She’s been after me for years to do it.”  Sam had never seen anything more perfect than that house.  It sat in a wide open field with trees all around and a little stream running along one side.  Behind the house was a large garden.  The house had plenty of rooms and a large kitchen with an open fire for cooking.  Unfortunately, now that the other brothers had bought other houses, Sam did not have enough money to buy the brick house all by himself.  Instead, he made a deal with the man that he would work for him for a year to make up the difference in the price.

And so the year went by.  Sam lived in a little hut out behind the brick house and worked for the old man.  Mikey slept at the wood house and ate at restaurants every night to keep the kitchen fresh and new.  And Steve threw parties in the straw house and made friends who thought he was very funny.  At last the day came when Sam’s year was up and he was the owner of the brick house.  That night he invited his brothers to dinner and cooked a big meal over the open fire.  He showed his brothers how much room there was and invited them to come and live with him.  But Steve didn’t want to give up his exciting life in the straw house, and Mikey still had a year to go before he could turn a profit on the wood house, so they both said no.

The next day, the troubles started.  Mr. Big Bad Wolf had decided to build a highway right through that portion of the woods.  He got permission to knock down all the houses that were in his way.  Soon his agents came knocking on the door of the straw house.  They told Steve that his house was going to be knocked down unless he could pay the extra cost of running the road around it.  Steve had no money.  He had spent it all buying the straw house and throwing parties in it.  He begged and pleaded, but they did not listen.  They told him to get out before they brought it down while he was still inside.  Steve refused to leave…until he saw the bulldozers coming.  Then he ran out the door and straight down the road to Mikey’s house, where he told Mikey all his troubles.  Unfortunately, Mikey was having troubles of his own.   The same agents had been to his house.  They gave him one week to get out before it was torn down.  They had told him he would be paid for his house, but they were only offering half of what he had paid for it.  He wanted to see a lawyer and fight this, but he had no money.  All that eating out at restaurants was expensive.  For a week, the two pigs lived in the wood house and tried to figure out what to do.  They were too ashamed of all their troubles to go to Sam for help until  the week was gone and the bulldozers came and they had no choice but to head down the road to the brick house.

At the brick house, Sam had just learned of what was going on.  Just hours before his brothers arrived, the agents of Mr. Big Bad Wolf had come with their notice that he had two weeks before his house would be torn down.  Sam was just thinking about what he could do when he saw his brothers trudging up the lane.  He laughed with relief and ran to meet them.  Together they thought of a plan.  All they needed was enough money to pay for the road to run around the brick house.  So they got to work.  Mikey spent hours and hours in his wood shop carving wooden bowls and spoons and little toys for children.  Sam could be found all day long in his kitchen baking pies.  Steve went early every morning to the stream to catch as many fish as possible.  And every afternoon they would head to the market to sell the things they had made and caught.

Two weeks later when the bulldozers arrived, the three brothers were standing outside their house with no intention of leaving it.  The workers told them to get out of the way, but they wouldn’t.  They threatened to call Mr. Big Bad Wolf himself.  Sam said that sounded like a good idea.  Shortly, Mr. Big Bad Wolf arrived, quite put out that he had been interrupted in the middle of his busy day.  He had all his contracts in his hands.  “This house is coming down, boys,” he said in his booming voice.  “You might as well face the facts.  It’s all legal here as you can see.  Unless you can pay for us to go around (and I know you don’t have that kind of money) this is happening, and it’s happening now.”

Sam just smiled and nodded to Steve.  Steve came forward pushing a wheel barrow.  Inside the wheel barrow were piles and piles of money.  “I think that will do the trick,” said Mikey.

Mr. Big Bad Wolf couldn’t believe what he was seeing, but when they counted the money, it was indeed enough.  So the workers went to work building the road around the brick the house.  And the brothers went back inside, promising each other that they would always live together and work together from now on.

They kept that promise.  And they never saw Mr. Big Bad Wolf again.