Students' Fairy Tales & Short Stories
A mini-collection of fairy tales and short stories written by students in the 'English Literature for Children: The Beginnigs' seminar led by Mgr. Katarína Koreňová in winter semester 2012/2013.
Table of Contents
Kristína Pobjecká THE FORGOTTEN CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Stanislava Nichtová THE SPACE-SAVING SISTER
Eliška Ducárová COMPETING FOR THE SUN: AS TOLD BY MS. DANDELION
THE FORGOTTEN CHRISTMAS PRESENT
It was Christmas time. The time of year when everything is possible and wonderful things come true. Little Peter was also one of those who believed in wonders. When he went to bed the day before Christmas Day, when Mom kissed him good-night and switched off the light, he shut his eyes quickly. Under his breath muttering, he recounted all the presents he wished to get the next day to make sure Santa would get it right. Peter knew Santa had a lot of work to do just in one night. “It’s not easy to deliver all those gifts to children all around the world,” he thought just before falling asleep. Peter wanted something magical to happen and his wish was certainly about to come true.
The next morning Peter woke up late. The second he opened his eyes he felt butterflies in his stomach. Santa had already been there! Everything must be waiting under the Christmas tree for him. He threw off his blanket, put on his slippers and ran out of his room. As he rushed past his little brother’s room, Peter saw he was still asleep. Peter always liked to be the first.
When he reached the living room, he slowed down, both excited and nervous. His heart was beating like a drum. Carefully, he pushed the door open. And there it was! The twinkling red-golden decorated Christmas tree and underneath dozens of presents in shiny paper ready to be unwrapped. Peter’s eyes shone like those flickering lights on their Christmas tree. His heart leaped at this sight. In no time was he at the tree, grabbing the first packet with his name on it. He shut his eyes tightly, lifted the box to his ear and in a low voice he said: “Please, Desert Rider 3000, please, please, please.” He shook it carefully, but it was no help in identifying the gift. He couldn’t wait any longer and ripped the wrapping paper off. To his surprise it was the LEGO Super Heroes edition he wanted. A big smile spread across his face.
He was unwrapping his third present when his little brother Kevin appeared. Half asleep he joined Peter, clumsily ripping off the paper with his little fingers. Peter hadn’t given up hope yet. He was sure the Desert Rider 3000 would be there under the tree. Somewhere.
“Santa must have heard me,” he thought when he reached out for his very last present. Kevin was already playing with his new train station. Peter took a deep breath and with shaking hands unwrapped the box.
“Good morning, sweethearts!” Peter heard Mom greeting them from behind.
“Aww, you must have been good this year, boys,” remarked Dad and sat down in a big armchair.
Peter, however, focused on this last packet. He opened the lid only to find a pair of ice-skates.
“So do you like them?” Mom asked with a smile. He had wanted new ice-skates. But Santa forgot the Desert Rider he had wanted most… “How is it possible?” he pondered. Disappointment was visible in Peter’s face. Dad tried to cheer him up: ”We can go skating in the afternoon if you want.”
“Yeah, whatever,” and up he ran to brush his teeth.
Later on Christmas Day after they had tidied up all the wrapping paper that lay scattered around the living room, the boys were playing with their new toys. Suddenly, there was a loud cry. Their parents rushed into the living room.
“NO! It’s MY TURN!”
“What’s wrong?” Mom asked, worried.
“Nothing,” Peter snapped while Kevin continued to cry. Mom took Kevin in her arms to calm him down.
“Peter, what happened?” asked Dad.
“It’s my turn on the train now!” Peter demanded, smashing passengers angrily into the carriage.
“Can’t you play together with Kevin?”
Peter didn’t answer. He was still sad he hadn’t got the remote control car he had wished for.
Peter just shrugged and ignored everybody around.
“Okay now, up to your bedroom, young man! And think about what you did,” Dad required strictly. Reluctantly, Peter went up and shut the door behind him.
Peter had been lying all alone on his bed for some time when there was a knock on his door.
“Honey, come down. Dinner is ready,” Mom called. So he went downstairs where everyone was already waiting. The atmosphere was joyful and Peter did not seem to fit in well.
“Oh, no. I forgot the candles,” Mom shook her head. “Pete, sweetheart, can you get them from the cabinet in the living room, please?”
Silently, Peter stood up from the table and went to fetch them. He opened the cabinet, took the candles when something shiny caught his eye. He looked over his shoulder to make sure he was alone and then pulled it closer. His heart skipped a beat. It was a forgotten Christmas present! “It’s definitely the Desert Rider after all!” he thought happily. As quiet as possible he ripped off the wrapping paper and slowly lifted the lid. At first sight it was empty. There wasn’t anything visible or tangible.
Peter stared into the box for a while. He didn’t know why, but he had to smile. Suddenly, he was genuinely happy. He looked around and saw all his presents, the Christmas decoration, he smelt the delicious dinner and the fresh fir tree. He ran back to his family, squeezing the candles in his hand.
“Here they are, Mommy,” he said delightfully and hugged Mom tightly. He kissed Dad on the cheek and knew he wasn’t angry with him anymore. He patted Kevin on the head and was glad to have such a good little brother. He was happy to be around his family.
After dinner Peter took Kevin by hand and showed him all the gifts. They played together till Mom came and said it was bedtime.
Yes, Christmas is the time of wonders, joy, and love. And Santa made sure Peter got the most important gift of them all. Love, generosity, and gratefulness in his heart. Merry Christmas! Ho-ho-ho!
THE SPACE-SAVING SISTER
It was a sunny October afternoon. A cat was walking slowly down the street, placing its paws elegantly one in front of the other. Just like a supermodel - no wonder platforms are called catwalks. It seemed to be in a good mood with a mischievous grin on its face. Cats like to have fun, and this one was looking for something to stick its muzzle in. It stopped in front of a nice, homely looking, two-storey house at the end of the street. The reason was probably the shouting coming from the top windows.
“Why do you always have to take my stuff?” cried a thin voice definitely belonging to a young girl.
“I wanted to ask you, but you were nowhere around,“ replied another girl's voice in an equally angry manner.
The voices belonged to Hannah and Alice, two sisters that apparently couldn't solve their argument. Alice was 14, had short brown hair and gray eyes. She spent most of her time reading books or watching movies. Apart from her bad habit of answering questions with sarcastic comments, she tried to be nice and helpful to everybody. With one exception - her sister. Hannah was two years younger. She had long blond hair and green eyes. She looked like a sweet little princess, but when somebody disagreed with her, she turned into a wicked witch. Since the girls were so different, they rarely agreed on anything, and argued daily. Today they were fighting over Hannah's MP3 player.
“You weren't allowed to borrow it. It's mine. Why didn't you just listen to music on the computer?” Hannah was shouting from her side of the room with fists clenched in anger.
“’Cause I don't like sitting in front of the monitor all day. I wanted to go out,” replied Alice from the opposite side.
“Then you should have asked for your own MP3 player for your birthday instead of the stupid books,” continued Hannah.
“Aargh! Books aren't stupid!“ Alice fought back.
“Then go listen to a book!” snapped Hannah.
“You are such a selfish brat!” cried Alice. She sat on her bed and crossed her arms over her chest angrily.
“And you want all of my things. I hate you!” Hannah screamed.
“Well I hate you more!” shrieked Alice in return.
“I hate you times infinity,” yelled Hannah at the top of her voice and started throwing cushions and blankets from her bed at her sister.
“You are unbearable! I wish you weren’t so stupid,” shouted Alice's muffled voice from beneath the pile of blankets.
Hannah lost her nerves: “And I wish I wouldn't have you taking up space in my room...I wish you vanished from the face of the Earth!”
A loud popping sound echoed through the room, followed by deep silence.
There was no response.
“Alice, what are you doing?” Hannah tilted her head in annoyance. Still no reply. She came to Alice’s bed and snatched away the blankets.
But instead of her sister’s angry, red face, there were only sheets.
“What?” Hannah's eyes grew large in disbelief. She started to panic. Where could she be? What could have happened? Surely, she didn't disappear just like that. Just as if she got...wished away. But that's impossible.
Hannah walked around the room lifting things, thinking what could have possibly happened. She even ran outside, but the street was completely empty, except for a cat sitting next to the fence of their house.
“Alice!” she shouted her sister’s name.
“Well now you've done it,” answered Alice's voice. Hannah looked behind her, but she couldn't see her sister anywhere.
“Where are you?”
“I'm down here.”
Hannah turned around again. “Are you the cat? Did I somehow magically transform you into its body?”
“No. You did much more than that. I'm down here,” said Alice's somewhat tetchy voice.
Hannah looked carefully at the ground. It was completely empty. There was nothing. Not even a bug. Just a dried piece of mud sitting in the long shadow she was casting in the hot afternoon sun. Her shadow reached a foot in front of her and perfectly captured her...short-haired silhouette?
“Alice, how are you doing that? Are you invisible?” asked Hannah and her tone clearly showed she was terrified.
“No, you silly. I'm your shadow. Your wish somehow changed me into - this. That’s exactly what you wanted. I take up no space at all. It's so practical. Are you happy now?” Her sister was bursting with sarcasm.
“I didn't want to turn you into a shadow,” said Hannah apologetically.
“Then maybe you should have made that clear,” the irony in the shadow-girl's voice certainly was clear.
“What do we do now? Mum and dad are going to kill me.”
“Try thinking of someone else for a change. I don't want to be a shadow. Especially not your shadow. I'm going to be stuck with you forever.”
The cat watched the blond girl argue with her own shadow. She was standing there, waving her arms, gesturing, answering questions that nobody heard. It looked like some strange kind of a mental disorder. When the arm-waving stopped, the girl headed back to the house, thinking out loud, murmuring excuses she could make if her parents asked where her sister was. Then came the sound of doors slamming. The cat lost interest and started licking its paw.
Inside the house, the quarreling didn't stop. Hannah sat behind a table. There was a table lamp lighting her from the side, so she could be casting the shadow of her sister on the wall. They decided they had to take action, but couldn't agree on what they should do.
“Maybe we should go see a doctor.” Hannah pitched in her idea.
“Only if it were a witch doctor. I doubt a doctor could treat mishandled wishes.” Alice had no face in shadow form, but if it was visible, she would be frowning.
“Don’t be mean. I'm really trying to help. Why don't we google how to undo it?”
“It's worth a try.”
Hannah typed how to undo a wish into the search engine, but found nothing except for a few blogs and song names.
“Modern technology isn't the answer to everything. We will have to figure it out ourselves,” announced Alice.
“You are the one with all the books. Haven't you read anything about wishes or curses?” asked Hannah.
“Well, let's see. I read stories about genies in bottles and lamps who granted wishes. Then there was the golden fish and I'm sure fairies in some fairy tales could grant wishes too. But usually there were three wishes. Try wishing me back into my normal body as your second wish.”
“Okay, here it goes.” Hannah closed her eyes tight and wished in a low voice she thought would sound mysterious: “I wish my sister Alice would be back in her body in my room.” Silence filled the room again as both the real and the shadow sister waited with abated breath.
“Did it work?” asked Hannah who didn't dare open her eyes.
“No. I'm still here.” Alice the Shadow waved at her sister from the wall.
“So, what else happened in the stories?” asked Hannah, willing to try anything.
“The storyline is always the same. Somebody meets a magical being that grants three wishes. The person is happy and wishes for his first and second wish something he thinks he wanted since, like, forever, and it doesn't make him as happy as he thought it would, or it goes horribly wrong. So there is the third wish to make everything right.”
“Ours is the case where it goes wrong. But I didn't get any more wishes. What should we do now?”
“Maybe we need the magical being,” Alice started thinking, “You know, we learned that wishes do come true. And even though there are no golden fish or genies, we still have things that should grant wishes. Wishing wells for example. Or fountains. Even stars! We should go try that out.”
“That’s a great idea, Alice. Maybe those books of yours aren't that stupid after all,” admitted Hannah.
So Hannah got dressed while her shadow made fun of how long it took her, snatched her sister's purse on her command and ran outside as it was starting to get dark and their parents would be home soon. As she ran down the street, the cat's stare followed her.
Hannah ran and so did her shadow. It had a head start in the setting sun and was a great deal in front of her.
“Where should I go, Alice? I don't know about any wishing wells in our town and there is no fountain either.”
“There is a well in the garden of that abandoned old house on Maple Street,” answered her sprinting shadow in a muffled voice. Probably because of the running. Do shadows get tired?
“But the gates will be locked. How do we...I mean I get in?”
“We’ll climb. We are in this mess together. Even though it's still your fault.”
After a ten-minute run Hannah accompanied by her shadow came to a huge iron gate separating a wildly-looking, neglected garden from the perfectly maintained Maple Street. She pulled at it with both hands, but a giant chain lock prevented it from opening.
“Okay. I'm going to climb it. Is anybody watching?”
“Nobody's here. Climb already,” answered Alice's shadow cast upon a crumbling garden wall. Her voice seemed to be coming from far away.
“Why are you talking so quietly when nobody's here?”
“I can't help it. Maybe it's the sunset. I feel as if the coming dark was covering me.”
“What?” Hannah was alarmed, “You mean you are going to fade? Or merge with the darkness?”
“No! I mean I don't know. This is my first time being a shadow, ok?”
“Don't leave me now!”
“Make it quick and everything will be fine.”
Hannah climbed over the gate almost noiselessly and landed in the cold dark garden like a ninja. There were overgrown bushes and giant trees everywhere.
“Where is the well?”
“Somewhere in the back,” Alice's voice was fading even more and her silhouette was starting to blend with the darkness of the old garden. Hannah sighed that she could have taken a flashlight with her and started searching behind the bushes. She tripped and almost fell into the well she was looking for.
“Got it! Now what do I do?”
“Don't you know? You throw a coin inside and make a wish.” Even though her voice sounded urgent, the answer was silent like a whisper of the wind.
Hannah started rummaging through her purse in the dark and found a few coins. Better throw in more, just in case. She stretched her closed palm with the coins over the well, closed her eyes tight, counted to three and let the coins fall out of her hand into the dark depths of the old well.
“I wish my sister Alice was here beside me in her normal body.”
After a short while she opened her eyes and started to panic because she was standing there alone.
“Alice?” Nothing. No answer. It was so dark she couldn't see a thing, so she was casting no shadow.
It didn't work. What should she do? How is she going to explain all this? Hannah's thoughts were racing, and she started to breathe heavily. If only Alice was there. Oh, how she’d love to hear a sarcastic comment from her right now. What would she say if she was here? She would know what to do. What did she say about the stories? There are always three wishes. Hannah has already wished two times to undo this wish, so maybe she still had one undo-wish left. It would be stupid to give up now. Maybe she just has to try again. Or another hundred times. She would do it a thousand times if necessary.
She started rummaging through her purse again, searching for coins, but couldn't find any. It's not an option to return home for more money, she thought to herself. What now? As she was thinking, her hand grasped something familiar. It was the MP3 player they were fighting over. A wave of rage passed through her again. How could Alice take her things? They were hers and hers only. She wouldn't lend her valuable things to anybody, but...but were they more valuable than her sister?
Suddenly, she knew what had to be done. It wasn't about the coins, it was about sacrificing something valuable in exchange for her wish. She held the closed fist over the well, closed her eyes tight once again and let go.
A silent thud of the MP3 player hitting the bottom of the old dry well echoed in the night and Hannah made a wish.
“I wish my sister Alice was here beside me in her original body.”
And then, silence that seemed to take over the whole world filled her head. Silence so thick nothing could be heard, except maybe...
“Good job, wish-master! You did it! I'm myself again,” Alice was standing behind her. Hannah couldn't tell because it was so dark, but she must have been grinning.
“Oh thank God! I was starting to think I would even miss you or something.”
The girls tripped over stones and bushes all the way from the garden. They climbed over the fence and walked cheerfully, talking and making fun of each other all the way home. They were so happy in fact that they didn't notice the cat sitting beside the old iron gate. It was too dark to see, but the cat was smiling - if cats are in fact capable of such an expression at all. But why wouldn't it? It did a good job.
COMPETING FOR THE SUN, AS TOLD BY MS. DANDELION
Finally, I feel sunshine slowly creeping over me. Then I experience something new and exuberant, as if my tiny body that has never moved were suddenly vibrating and everything within me were running. And I know that this is the first blooming day, so I do it slowly, peeking into the world only with my golden locks. And I don’t see a thing, only feel the delicate warmth and feel myself bending and spinning in something swift and soothing which a red flower beside me calls wind.