Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Fairy Tale

The following fairy tale was written by two of my students, Katherine Krem and Hrisi Dimitrova. Not only does it exceed the requirements of the assignment (inlcuding descriptive language, figurative language, and all the literary elements of a fairy tale that we studied), but also it has a couple of...shall we say...compelling protagonists.

Potashius the Magnificent

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a powerful wizard. His name was Potashius. But all the people called him “Potashius the Magnificent” because of the many wonderful and magical things he could do. Potashius lived high on a hill in a huge castle made all of stone. The castle had been built by giants ten thousand years before Potashius was born. The giants had built the castle in only two days for Potashius’ grandfather, who was also a powerful wizard. In fact, everyone in Potashius’family was a wizard – as far back as the beginning of time. Still, it was a surprise when Potashius grew into the wisest, most clever and most powerful wizard that the family – or the castle – had ever seen.

Potashius lived one thousand years ago, in a time called the Dark Ages. The time was called the Dark Ages because most people could not read or write and only a few could even count to ten. Education had been forgotten. Only a very few wise people still cared about learning. Potashius the Magnificent was one who did. He was friends with other wise people, too. Although Potashius was 1 000 years old, he always looked young and handsome. This was of course very strange. It was also strange that everything Potahsius did turned out for the best. Once, he wanted to build a water slide, and created the Niagara Falls. He invented skiing, and created mountains so that people could slide down them. He made the sun smiling. He made sunsets red, so romantic people could enjoy waking in the early evenings. He even made the cheeks of little children red, just for fun. Everything he did was magnificent. That is how he got his name.

Potashius was fascinated by time. Time seemed to move forward only – never backward- and only one day at a time. It never jumped ahead a week or a month or a year when the sun rose the next morning.

“How can this be?” he wondered. “I can read a book in any direction I want, and I can skip to any page I want. I can go forward and backward in my books. Surely, time must be the same.” Still wondering about this mystery, he set out to build a Time Machine that would allow him to travel to the past or to the future. Potashius worked day and night on his idea. Years of hard work and some very dangerous experiments followed. Once he left his cat in a nest of dinosaur eggs by mistake and had to rush back and rescue it. Another time, he found himself in the Ice Age without a jacket or gloves. He finally managed to fulfill his dream. He could step into his Time Machine and visit any time he wanted into it. It was magnificent.

One day, Potashius decided to travel 1 000 years into the future. So, he dialed in the date he wanted and with a whoosh and a whistle, he found himself in the twentieth century, a time not so long ago – about the time today’s little children were being born to their happy mothers and overjoyed fathers.

When he opened the door of his Time Machine, Potashius the Magnificent was amazed by what he saw. He had never seen a car or a train or an airplane, an electric light or glass windows or tall buildings or elevators or radios, televisions or telephones.

“What wonderful wizards they must have here,” Potashius thought.

He marveled at everything. He also marveled at the litter that he saw. Huge fields filled with rusting automobiles. Rivers so dirty they caught on fire and could not be put out. Air so dirty that it made the sky brown and hid the mountains and made people cough to breath it. Litter was everywhere.

“What is this?” thought Potashius the Magnificent. “These people have so many wonderful things, yet they do not take care of the earth, the water or the air. They are very clever with little unimportant inventions like zippers or Velcro, but do not care for Mother Nature herself.”

He marveled that a people so clever could be so foolish.

As he wandered and wondered, Potashius saw a girl as pretty as a spring flower, sitting on a little green wooden bench in the park and looking very sad.

“Hello,” he said. “Why do you look so sad?”

“Hello,” answered the pretty girl. “I am sad because this beautiful park is filled with litter, the sky is brown not blue and the river is still on fire. I don’t know what to do about it.” They introduced themselves. Potashius found out that the pretty girl was named Betsy and she lived in a place called Oh-High-Oh. He explained who he was and how he had time traveled over one thousand years to come to Oh-High-Oh. She was as amazed by Potashius’ story as he was about her wonderful – and very dirty - world.

“I can help clean things up,” said Potashius. “I can make machines to clean the water and scrub the air, and clean the land. But, first, we need to make people aware of the beauty of nature, so they do not put garbage in the air and rivers and ground. It will be easy to explain this, and people will be happy to do good.”

But Potashius did not know about the Smoke Makers. These were the people who filled the air and rivers and ground with rubbish. The Smoke Makers were more interested in making money than keeping Mother Nature clean and beautiful. They would not be happy. But Potashius did not know this. Yet.

So, he and Betsy worked hard to clean up the world. Potashius used his Time Machine to travel to the future and find ways to make inventions that did not fill the air and water and ground with litter. Betsy wrote articles that people read.

“We can clean up our world!” the people said, and they began to complain to the Smoke Makers about their job. The people passed new laws that made the Smoke Makers do things in a good way. This made the Smoke Makers very angry.

High in their cold, tall buildings of steel and glass, sitting at large tables in air conditioned rooms where they could not feel the sun on their faces or the breeze in their hair, the Smoke Makers met together and growled, “Who is doing this to us? Who is waking up the people and reminding them of the beauties of Nature? Whoever he is, he is hurting us, and costing us big money. Find him!”

The Smoke Makers send out their dogs who sniffed the ground, and their weasels who sniffed the air, and their nosey friends who poked around and asked questions. Soon, they learned about Potashius and his Time Machine. They learned about Pretty Betsy and how she was talking to the people.

“Let’s hurt this man who likes a beautiful world and wants us to be good,” the Smoke Makers said.

They sent out their dogs and weasels and mean little Smoke Maker friends who searched until they found Potashius, and his wonderful Time Machine, and told their Smoke Maker Bosses in the High Buildings.

“Teach him a lesson. Break his Time Machine,” said the greedy Smoke Maker Bosses. And they did. They sent out their unkind and vicious friends to the place where Potashius and his Time Machine were. When Potashius was asleep, they snuck into his laboratory and broke his wonderful Time Machine into a million pieces.

Poor Potashius! Now there was no way for him to return home.

“What will I do now? How will I ever see my home again and my wonderful books.” He was very sad.

“Let’s fix it!” Betsy said cheerfully.

“Will you help me?” he asked.

“Of course,” said Betsy. “It sounds like fun”.

And so, together, they set out to repair the Time Machine. Potashius knew what he needed, but did not know the modern names for them. It took Betsy time to understand what he wanted and to find them. He was surprised that stores did not sell bats’ wings and wart hog hairs, blue mushroom roots and smoke filters. These were easy to find back at his castle. After much hard work and long searches, Betsy was able to find most of the items Potashius needed to fix his Time Machine. Using his clever mind, he was able to make the few things that could not be found. Instead of blue mushroom roots he used pink bubble gum. Instead of wart hog hairs, he used vanilla beans. Slowly, slowly, patiently, with much imagination, a few tears and lots of laughter, Potashius and Betsy managed to fix the wonderful Time Machine.

When the Time Machine was finally repaired, Potashius the Magnificent was so happy. Now, at last, he could go back one thousand years to his castle and to the long quiet nights with his books. Alone. All alone. In his study. Reading. Reading.

“All alone?” he thought. “What about Betsy? I don’t think I want to be all alone any more. I would rather be here, in these strange modern times, where wizards’ magic is everywhere and I can be close to Betsy. And Betsy needs help teaching the Smoke Makers to be good.”

So, to his surprise, Potashius discovered that he did not want to go home. He would rather stay with Betsy. He liked her. She liked him. Very much.

Soon, the Smoke Makers were doing better, and the air and water and earth in Oh-High-Oh were clean and beautiful again. In other places, people learned from Potashius and Betsy and they, too, cleaned up where they lived. Potashius and Betsy were very happy. One day, they realized that they actually loved one another. Soon, they married. Then, in the wink of a wizard’s eye, they had four daughters and three sons and lived happily ever after.

Now, to visit the Dark Ages, Pothashius simply took his family to Bulgaria where people still live in the Dark Ages, just the way he did before he time-travelled to the twentieth century. And the Time Machine? You will have to ask Potashius when you see him.


Enigma said...

It's wonderful!!! ^^

judy baker said...

What a GREAT story! I kind of rcognize some of the elements as well as the protagonists. mom