Speck of Wishing Powder
Written by Stuart Baum
For our new little baby, Camilla or Berek.
Hoping all your wishes come true.
Well, almost all of them.
Baum, born 9/3/98)
Shhh. Look over there. Behind that tree. The one to the
left. See that branch that looks like a long 'V'? Just behind
there, if you look a little to the side you can see it. It looks
like a humming bird. Just floating there. Quickly batting its
wings and staying in exactly the same place. But it's not a
hummingbird. Look! It's wearing a light green dress. A very,
very light green dress. Lighter than the leaves. Almost clear.
And see its long white hair and pale skin. And arms and legs.
It's a faery. Shhh. A real faery. No bigger than your hand.
And it's a child one, I think. A girl. Shhhh. Don't move. Here
comes a larger one. This one is an older faery. A woman faery.
Maybe the queen. She looks so lovely. Dressed in a long, flowing
light blue robe. With some sort of golden crown on her head.
I can't quite see what it is, but it might be a crown. She could
be the queen. Ohhh, how fancy she looks!
She's giving the smaller faery a pink . . . bag of .
. . something. It seems to be important, though. Because it
looks like she's telling the little faery to be careful. And
she's not smiling. She is very serious. Shhh. Listen. You can
hear her. What a deep voice she has for a tiny creature. She's
saying, ".. and don't even let the tiniest speck of this get
away from you. Bring it quick to the Queen. " So the older one
isn't the queen after all. But she must be important, because
that little faery looks nervous. I wonder what the powder is.
Shhh. The little faery is asking a question. She's bowing her
head, so you know the older faery is important. Shhh. "Myralline..."
That must be the woman faery's name. "Myralline. What's in the
bag?" The older faery is smiling softly now and she's saying,
"Wishing powder." She stopped smiling and is serious again.
"And if even the tiniest speck gets out, then you never know
what will happen. So be very careful!" Did you hear that ?!?
Wishing powder! Shhh. Let's see what happens next.
The older faery flits away and the younger faery (wonder
what her name is?) is slowly, gently floating . . . towards
. . . us! Quick move over a little so she doesn't see us. Behind
this tree here. Good. The faery is still floating closer to
us. Wait, she stopped. What's she doing? She's opening the bag.
I'm sure she isn't supposed to do that! She's going to get in
trouble. But I do wonder what wishing powder looks like.
Shhh. Isn't that amazing ? A little girl faery, floating
right in the open like that. Holding a bag of wishing powder.
I don't think we'll ever see anything like this again. What's
that? Oh no! There's a huge bird, a crow, coming right towards
her. The bird is bigger than she is! And she doesn't see it!
Wait, now she sees it. She quickly darts behind the tree, but
oh no! She dropped the bag. And the bag bounces off a branch
and hits the ground! And the wishing powder is spilling out
all over the place. The crow is gone, but I think this might
even be worse! The wishing powder is so beautiful though. Each
tiny speck looks like a miniature rainbow and all together they
look like a puddle full of rainbows. Now the little faery is
picking them up, one by one, very gently and putting them back
into the bag. I hope she gets them all. Wow! Look at how fast
she is working! I've never seen anything move so fast before.
Look at how fast her tiny wings are beating! Imagine if you
could clean up your room that fast! Now she's done. And it looks
like she got them all. Incredible. Now she's closing the bag.
And leaving. Now she's gone.
Wasn't that fun? I don't think we will ever see anything
like that again. Hey, wait a second! What's that little speck
floating over there. Way up in the air. Above the tree. It looks
like a tiny, tiny rainbow. Oh no! It's a speck of wishing powder.
She must have missed one. She's going to get - in big trouble
if anyone finds out.
Hey, I have an idea. Let's follow that speck of wishing
powder and see where it lands and then we can have a wish. Good
idea? Let's go.
Sent to bed without dessert
again. It's not my fault. It's not fair. A beautiful summer
night like this and it's a complete waste to be in bed while
the lightning bugs are in the backyard flying around just daring
me to catch them. Now who will catch them?
Shhhh. The wishing powder speck is floating down.
It's not my fault because Rhino was the one who broke the
swing. And I told them so, but Mother and Father don't believe
me. How could I, little Michael, smaller even than all of my
friends, break a tire swing like that one? With such a thick
rope? It would take a much heavier person. Or a much heavier
animal. A rhinoceros. And that was what did do it. Rhino did
it. Didn't you Rhino?
The speck is floating towards that white house over there.
Hurry, let's go see where it lands!
But Rhino is outside, telling the fireflies all my secrets.
How I pretend to be moving my hand one way then quickly move
it the other so I can catch them. They are always fooled by
that! Now I'll have to come up with a new trick.
It's going right into that window there. See? There's
a little boy sitting up in his bed talking to himself.
This night is a complete loss. No dessert. No after dinner
lightning bug hunt. And now tomorrow night's hunt will be even
harder. All because Rhino broke the swing and Mother and Father
refuse to believe that Rhino did it. Refuse to believe that
Rhino exists at all. And it might even rain tomorrow night so
there will be no bug hunt at all.
Now the speck is floating right towards the boy on his
Just because they couldn't see Rhino. Parents. They
only believe what they can see. And they call Rhino an 'imaginary
friend.' He's not really even my friend that much and he's not
imaginary. I can see him! Well, I can sort of see him. But Mother
and Father can't see him at all. And they blame me for everything
That speck landed right on that little boy's nose! How
Well, I wish . . . I wish... that my parents... no, that
everybody . . . could see that Rhino . . . and all the other
imaginary friends in the world . . . really exist! That they
all do . . . really . . . exist.
Did you hear that? A 'popping' sound. And now the speck
of wishing powder is gone. That little boy heard it, too. See?
He's looking around to see what made the 'pop' sound. And he's
touching his nose, so it must have felt funny when the wishing
powder went off. I hope he wished for something good.
up! We're still in the little boy's room. It's really late at
night. I'm not sure what time it is, but look! The faery is
gently opening the window a crack. She's pretty strong for something
so small. Must be magic. She looks really upset. Are those little
glittery things under her eyes tears? I bet she's in trouble
for losing a speck of wishing powder. I wonder if she knows
it's gone for good. That the boy's wish has gone off. I still
wonder what it is?
Michael woke up when he felt something tickling his nose.
He looked around his room, eyes still groggy from sleep. He
saw nothing. He figured the tickling must have been . . . well,
nothing important anyway . . . and he rolled over to go back
to sleep. The faery, whose name was Aemerilla, quickly darted
out of the way, nearly getting crushed by the boy when he rolled
Hee hee! Did you see that ? He almost squished the faery!
Sorry. You're right, I guess that's not very funny. You're right
that she could have been hurt. Shhhh. Let's keep watching.
Aemerilla flew back over to Michael's face. She made a tiny
fist and swatted at the boy's nose again as hard as she could.
It wasn't very hard, about as hard as getting hit in the nose
with a grape, but it was enough to startle Michael awake again.
Michael opened his eyes and looked around the room. For the
second time he saw nothing. But it seemed like there was something
that made looking around the room difficult. There was something
flittery right in front of his eyes. He tried to focus on it,
but it was too close, so he waved his hand in front of his face
to try to swat it away. But it was too fast and he missed it.
Again, he tried to focus on it, but it was still too close.
And it was buzzing loudly at him. A sort of squeaky, buzzy whisper.
Almost as if it were trying to tell him something. Something
important. But bugs couldn't talk.
Though Michael was still half asleep, he was awake enough
to try his bug-catching trick. He put his hand in front of his
face, just to the side of the little buzzing creature and he
slowly moved the hand away from the insect. Before the little
creature realized what was happening, Michael quickly moved
his hand towards the bug and snagged it in his hand.
Huh! See that? His bug catching trick even works on faeries!
Fortunately, Michael was very gentle when he caught bugs,
so Aemerilla wasn't hurt at all when Michael's hand closed around
her. She was caught, but not for long. She rubbed her hands
together, closed her eyes and chanted, "Queen of Faeries. Queen
of Faeries. Make me strong. Make me strong. For just five seconds.
Not for long."
Incredibly, to Michael anyway, the little bug he had captured
was bending his fingers back! He strengthened his grip; but
this bug was stronger! How can that be possible? It was so small!
Michael suddenly understood, or at least thought he did. He
He relaxed his grip and let the little creature pry his hand
open. And, for the first time, he got a good look at what he
thought was an insect. It was a faery! Now he was sure he was
dreaming. And the faery was looking at him, the little mouth
working just like a real-sized mouth. The little eyes blinking
and flashing, as if she were angry. Even the tiny little nose
was flaring at him. Well, thought Michael, if an insect could
be a faery and a faery could talk, then the least he could do
is to listen to what this pretty, but angry, little faery had
What are you doing? Shhhh. Listen to the faery. Oh, I
see! You're trying to repeat the faery's chant. I don't think
it will make you stronger. I think she also used some sort of
magic, or makes magic by rubbing her hands together. But I'm
not sure. Either way, shhhh, let's hear what the faery has to
"--heard a word I say?" Aemerilla finished her sentence,
truly agitated at this boy named Michael. The boy obviously
wasn't paying attention to what she was saying and time was
running out fast!
"I'm sorry, wha-" Michael started, but Aemerilla quickly
"Try to whisper. Do you want to wake the whole neighborhood?"
"I'm sorry," Michael said again. Then he rubbed his eyes
sleepily. "Am I dreaming? What time is it?"
The faery was impatient and spoke quickly and softly, making
it hard for Michael to hear what she had to say. "No, you're
not dreaming. It's about four in the morning, just two hours
before sunrise. I am-"
"Are you a faery?" asked Michael.
"Shhh!" The faery spoke more clearly, more slowly. And though
the words she said were somewhat mean-sounding, she spoke them
out of urgency and not out of anger. "If you would listen, I
can explain everything. But if you keep asking questions, then
we'll be here until sunrise and all will be ruined." Michael
said nothing. "Good. Here's the story. I was given a bag of
wishing powder by Myralline, my aunt, to deliver to the Queen's
tree and I accidentally spilled it. I tried to get every particle,
but I missed one. It floated here and must have landed on you,
because you made a wish and now it's gone. If I don't undo your
wish and get another particle then I'm going to be in big trouble,
bigger than you can imagine. But I need your help. Any questions,
"Yes," said Michael.
"Go ahead," said Aemerilla, "It's important you understand
everything before we get started. I can't do this alone."
Michael wondered what the faery meant when she said 'get
started,' but he asked his original question anyway, "What's
Do you know what a particle is? A speck. One tiny piece
of something. Wait a second, the little faery is pulling out
a small piece of paper. Let's edge a little closer and get a
better look. It's a map! She's showing it to the boy. And she's
drawing something on the map. A little 'x'.
"We're here," explained the faery. "And we have to meet in
front of this tree. There's an entrance to the cave there."
She drew a small 'x' on the tree. "You have to meet me there
as soon as possible. I have to get the key and I'll be there
in five minutes. Or sooner. But just so you're not afraid when
we meet him, let me tell you who we're going to see-"
We can't wait to hear who they're going to meet. I know
the tree she means. We have to hurry there and hide, so when
she opens the cave we can sneak in and follow, or else we'll
miss the rest of the adventure. Unless you're too tired. We
can stop here if you'd prefer. No? You sure you're not too tired
? It is very late. Good. Let's hurry.
You fell asleep again. The boy and the faery went through
that door there. Can you see it? Look closely at the trunk of
the tree. See how the bark draws a line across and down and
back across? And the knot right there where a door handle would
normally be? The little faery put an odd-shaped key into the
knot and then pulled that little brunch there and the door opened.
I'm going to try the door right now. Just wait here a second.
Shhh. And try not to full asleep if you can.
I'm pulling the branch and . ..the door is opening! How
funny to be able to open a small door in the side of a tree!
Wow, it's dark in here. I can't see anything at all. Did you
bring a flashlight? No? Me neither. Well, what do you think?
Do we wander through the dark here hoping we find them or at
least a light of some sort, or do we wait here until they --
Shhh. I can hear them! They're just a little up ahead. Hurry
and maybe we can catch them!
Aemerilla asked in a whisper, "Can you see yet? Have your
eyes grown used to the dark."
Michael started to say something, but his voice, even in
a whisper echoed too loudly, so he simply nodded his head.
"Good. Let's start moving forward now. You have to hold me
since I cannot fly in here. And if I walk it will take too long.
We've already taken too much time as it is. Your wish is going
to come true at sunrise. We'll never get what we need done by
then, but perhaps we can finish before too much damage is done."
Michael picked up the faery, gently. She felt funny, like
an overly-large bug that vibrated constantly. It was like holding
onto a tiny gyroscope. He had so many questions, but he was
too uncomfortable to ask them. He felt too big and too loud
in this tree-land -- or was it a tree? Maybe it was a path
underneath the tree. He couldn't tell if he were walking
down or up or just straight. He could only tell that the ground
was slightly squishy and sticky, and that the edges of the tree
or whatever it was, were brushing against his side as he walked.
Like he was barely thin enough to fit through this passage.
Everything smelled like wet leaves and old pumpkins. There was
a small reddish light far ahead and he could see the path well
enough to get there, but not well enough to see what the path
or the walls looked like.
"Turn right here," said the faery. Michael didn't see any
turn, but he turned to his right and continued forward and,
though he expected to smash into the wall, there was a new path
leading to another dim, this time greenish light. After a few
steps, he saw that the light wasn't as far away as he thought;
it was simply very small and stuck into the floor. He saw another
greenish light further ahead. And another one even further away.
"Follow the green path," whispered the faery, "to the end
and then we'll meet him. Try to walk more quietly, if you can.
I know it's hard, but try."
He tested his voice, "How long will it be?"
"Ten more lights," she answered. "Try not to talk. We don't
want to disturb him until we get to the end."
Michael was not afraid, though the picture he had in his
mind of the creature he was going to meet was terrible. It was
huge. As big, he thought, as Rhino. Half frog, half person.
Old and mean. The creature's name was Lotif. As he counted the
lights -- three . . . four . . . five -- he wondered why he
was so unafraid. He knew it wasn't a dream, but it felt more
like a dream than dreams usually do.
His fear rose as he got closer to the tenth light, especially
since the path got thinner and thinner until it felt more like
squeezing through the scratchy, drippy walls instead of walking
on a path.
Which way do you think we should go? The red path or
the green path? The green path? OK. It's looks pretty tight
up ahead, but for some reason I think you're right and that
the green path is what we need. Shhh. You are right. Look they're
just up ahead. They seem to have stopped.
Lotif was exactly as Michael had imagined, except that he
was much, much, much smaller. Then Michael realized that to
the faery, Lotif was very, very big. He was more than twice
as big as she was. But to Michael, Lotif was about as big as
a small hamburger or a large frog. In fact, Lotif was a large
frog. He was oddly colored, but it was probably because Lotif
was wearing clothes. Or something clothing-like. Michael couldn't
"Put me down and kneel Michael," whispered Aemerilla. "You
are in the presence of a great wizard." Michael did as he was
told and felt the soggy leaves seeping water though the knees
of his pajamas.
The frog's voice was startling, but not mean-sounding at
all, just gruff. "Hunnn- broooop- hungry!"
Michael did not know what to say so he said nothing. The
frog spoke again, "You have commme - brooop- for a wishing powder
speck and Iammm- ammm- brooop- hunngrrrry ."
Aemerilla spoke softly. "You are correct, we have come for
wishing powder specks-"
"Speckssss? Brooop." Now the frog sounded angry. "Do you
thinnn- brooop- think that it's soooo- brooop- easy to make
wishing powder that I would give you more than one ssss- ssss-
brooop- speck?!?" His gruff, now even more growly voice echoed
off the walls.
Can you hear? Good then we don't need to get any closer.
I don't like the sound of that new animal.
"And a boy!" growled the frog. "You have brrr- brooop- brought
a boy here?! Surely you knnn- brooop- know better than that,
"Aemerilla," whispered the faery as she bowed. "My name is
Aemerilla. I am Myralline's niece." The frog grunted once. "And
I have made a terrible mistake. As has this boy. And only you
can undo it." She bowed her head a little when she said this.
Then looked right into the frog's face. "But you must help us
fast. And if you do help, then this boy will bring you food
that you cannot imagine." She paused a second for effect. "People
"I have everrrr- errr- brooop- everything I need to eat here,"
growled the frog, but the drool that escaped from Lotif's lips
made it obvious to Michael that Aemerilla had found Lotif's
weakness. After a moment, Lotif growled, "How mmm- brooop-
"Just two," said Michael quickly and as softly as possible,
however, the loudness of his voice made both Aemerilla and Lotif
"Just two?!? You think wishing powww- brooop- powder
is easy to make. That I just unrolllll- brooop- my tongue and
wishing powder drops off?"
"I didn't mean that-" Michael started, but the faery shushed
"We know how hard it is to make wishing powder," said Aemerilla.
Michael thought about it and actually, had no idea how one would
make wishing powder, let alone how a frog would do it. Aemerilla
continued, "But it is urgent. We need to undo a wish. As soon
The frog seemed to think for a little while and then asked,
"Whennn- nnnn- brooop- does the wish take effect?"
"Sunrise," said Michael and the faery together.
Lotif made a sound like a short, sharp bark. The sound a
small dog might make. A sound Michael never expected to hear
from a frog. While Michael was surprised by this odd
sound, for some reason, he was not surprised that a frog could
talk. "It cannot be donnne- brooop- in time," said the frog.
Aemerilla quickly interjected, her voice firm as if she speaking
to a disobedient child, "But it must be done as
soon as possible."
The frog made that barking sound again. "What isss- brooop-
the wish?" asked the frog.
As Aemerilla told him, the frog started sucking in air in
loud, raspy breaths. When he had heard the entire wish, Lotif
had sucked in so much air, he was nearly twice as big as he
was earlier. Michael could tell that, though she pretended she
weren't, Aemerilla was terrified by this now, puffed up frog.
Lotif gave Michael such a look of hatred and fear that Michael
was frozen in place. He actually felt chills running through
his body and wondered whether it was always this cold in here.
The frog expelled the air inside him as he spoke, "That-is-the-most-horrible-and-awww-brooop-awful-wish-I-have-everrrr-brooop-heard!"
The frog was now back to his normal size, but his expression
was still one of hatred and fear aimed at Michael. "Do you know
what you have done, llll- brooop- little boy?" Michael tried
but couldn't speak. He saw that Aemerilla was trembling noticeably,
and that she was on the verge of tears.
Lotif continued, louder and angrier than before. Now Michael
knew why the faery was so scared of this frog. "You have unnn-
unnn- brooop- unleashed the most powerful and dangerous force
in the www- brooop- world. Stronger than all magic combined."
As if he were suddenly an older, smaller, very tired frog,
all the anger disappeared from Lotif and once again he made
that odd barking sound.
Aemerilla was crying now, but she found her voice, "So you
"I mmm- brooop- must help," said the frog sadly. Then all
the anger came back into his face as he spoke directly at Michael,
"and so mmm- mmm- brooop- must the boy. And, when all this is
over, should www- brooop- we all still be aaaa- brooop- alive,
I expect you to fill this rooommm- ooommm- brooop- with people
Michael, scared, nodded his head quickly.
"Now ," said the frog, "I'm going to nnnn- brooop- need a
few things. And make ssss- broop- sure-"
Wake up! Wake
up! You fell asleep again. And this time you've been asleep
for quite a while. It's a wonder they didn't see us as they
went by. The three of them left about two hours ago. Maybe more.
I might have nodded off a little myself. It's been a long night.
We've done a fair amount of hurrying around. So no one can blame
us for catching a few winks.
I hope the tree door is still open. Did you hear the
part about unleashing the most powerful force in the world?
Even stronger than all magic combined? Do you know what the
frog meant by that? I'm not completely sure either. But, well,
we're about to see, because it's almost sunrise. I also think
that this is going to be the scary part of our adventure. I
wouldn't blame you if you decided that it was time for you to
go to bed. If you like, I can bring you home and come and get
you again when it's all over.
Here's the door. Good, it's still unlocked. And I opened
Uh oh! Do you see that? Just above the tree there? It's
the sun. It's morning. Do you know what that means? It means
that all the imaginary friends have come to life. That can't
(A long, growly yawn.) I fele difrint. Sumthing verry difrint
wiff me. Wundr wut? I cuvrd in ferr. Bukz at end uv my arms.
Wingz stil wrk. Nos kold. And dripee. (Another long, growly
yawn.) Cuvrd in ferr. Wayt. Allretty did dat wun. Wundr wut
There they are. All three of them. In that clearing over
there. They're surrounded by books and bottles and blankets
and buckets and it looks like they're burning a small pile of
leaves. Michael and Aemerilla look happy, so I suppose, the
frog must have finished the wishing powder. Let's sneak a little
closer and maybe we'll be able to hear them.
(A short, growly yawn.) Yes. I am nue. Maybee my frend kan
help. I fli ovr too him. Hmmm. Wundr wut dat iz. Luks lik my
frend Georgie. Wiff a frog and a smal wingd creechr. Nup, not
Georgie. Difrint boee. Smallr. Mit be enmees uv my frend.
What's that above them? Some sort of flying, odd-shaped
bear. Look at that! Can you imagine anything so strange? A huge
bright blue bear! With even larger, even brighter pink wings.
And instead of hands he has huge books at the end of his arms.
And across his side is written, in white fur, the words "Story
Bear." Can you imagine anything even close to that? I see it,
but I can't imagine it ! I almost don't believe I'm seeing it!
But we've seen some amazing things tonight, so this is just
one more. I bet he's someone's imaginary friend. And now I know
what the frog meant by the most powerful force in the world.
It's a child's imagination! I could never think of such a thing
as a blue, pink-winged, flying story bear. Let's not get too
close, just in case he's not as nice as he looks. He does look
friendly. And 'Story Bear' sounds nice enough. But for some
reason I have a bad feeling about him.
If thay bad, I eet thay. Dat iz wut I sposd too doo. Eet
bad enmees uv Georgie. I fli doun and eet thay. Dat iz wut I
That Story Bear is getting closer. I really do have a
bad feeling about this. How about you? He's landing near them
and they have stopped what they are doing and are watching him.
No, wait, the frog is still working, but the boy and the faery
are moving towards the bear. The bear is sitting down. He's
opening one of his books. It looks like he's going to read them
a story after all. He's opening his mouth to speak-- Oh
my! Look at those teeth! The bear's teeth look like knives!
The boy has started to walk backwards. The bear stands up and
is running towards the boy, who is now fleeing for his life.
The faery flies in between the bear and the boy. The bear slams
his two bookhands together, trying to crush the faery between
them. Phew! He missed. The faery looks terrified! She tries
to fly away, but the bear smashes his bookshands together again
and- Oh no! That's terrible. You might want to look away. The
bear has crushed the faery. The boy is screaming now. The frog
hands the boy a small sack, but the boy doesn't seem to notice.
The frog starts to hop off quickly and now the bear is chasing
the frog, smashing his books against the ground, just missing
him every time. Oh no! That time the bear didn't miss. Now the
frog is crushed. The boy is just standing there screaming, unable
to move. He keeps looking back and forth between his two crushed
friends. Now the bear is moving towards him. This doesn't look
good, I think we should go home.
This can't be happening. I must be dreaming. Wake up, Michael.
Wake up, Michael. Bears can't fly. They can't have books for
hands. He can't have crushed Aemerilla and Lotif. Wake up, Michael!
Wake up! If I close my eyes and open them again, I'll wake up
and be in my bed and it will be morning and everything will
be okay. Close. Open. Crud! That blue bear is still coming towards
me. Aemerilla is dead. Lotif is dead. And I'm next.
Shhh. There's something else coming! Over there, through
the woods. It's loud. Sounds like it's knocking down trees and
bushes in its way. Must be really huge! I hope this one is friendlier
Close my eyes. Open my eyes. Close. Open. Come on, Michael.
Wake up! Close. Open. This can't be happening! It has to be
a dream. A faery? Wishing powder? A talking magician frog? And
now a bear with books for hands, pink wings, and giant teeth?
Close. Open. Pinching myself . . . oww! How can this not be
a dream? Close. Open. Please wake up. Please!
It's about to come through the woods. Right there. See?
It knocked a tree, a pretty big tree, right down into the clearing.
It's a big animal. It's greenish-grey. It's got a huge horn
on its head-.
It's Rhino! Rhino! Over here! Rhino! Quickly! Help me, Rhino!
The bear sees that rhinoceros and has stopped. Now it's
the bear that looks scared. It's turning away from the boy and
running, fast. But that rhinoceros is also moving really quickly.
The bear is flapping its huge pink wings, trying to get away.
The rhinoceros is closing fast. The bear is rising . . . off
the ground now, but the rhinoceros looks like it might . . .
just . . . get . . . nope. Oh well. The bear got away. Now the
rhinoceros has stopped and is moving towards the boy. This one
looks friendly. The boy has run over to the rhinoceros and is
hugging him and crying. That was close!
Rhino, you saved me! That bear killed my friends and almost
got me. Take me home now. Back to bed. I want Mother and Father
and I want this to be over. I want to wake up and have everything
back the way it was.
Now let's hurry. Back to the boy's house. I'm sure he'll
go home now. Then we'll see what happens next. Hurry, we have
to hurry. That rhinoceros moves really quickly and I'd like
to get there before they do.
Wow. They must
have moved fast. They're here already. There. By the swingset.
They're sitting on the ground in front of the broken swing.
Is that rhinoceros talking? Now I've seen everything!
In a very precise, gentle, deep, fatherly voice, Rhino said,
"Dear little Michael. You have a very big decision to make and
only you can make it."
"What's that?" asked Michael.
"The bag you are holding contains wishing powder," explained
Rhino. Michael looked down at the small, green velvet bag in
his hand. He didn't remember Lotif giving it to him. Rhino continued,
"And you must decide what your wishes will be."
"I have to wish Aemerilla back to life! And Lotif!" said
Michael. "And that Storybear dead."
"But you only have two specks of wishing powder. And that's
"And I have to wish all the imaginary friends back to the
way they were," added Michael. But then he noticed that Rhino
suddenly looked sad.
I didn't know that rhinoceroses could cry. See those
tears? They're really big tears. I wonder what made the rhinoceros
so sad all of a sudden?
"What's the matter?" Michael asked Rhino.
"If you wish us away, I'll really be gone," said Rhino sadly.
"Because to make a wish come true, you must really believe
it. And when you made that first wish, you believed - or more
likely - wanted to believe that we really exist. But
now you want to believe we do not. All the time you were being
chased by Storybear, you thought you must be dreaming. You thought
it couldn't possibly be true that there were such things as
a giant blue bear with books for hands, talking frogs or faeries.
And if those can't exist, then what hope do I have?"
"But you saved me! You must exist," pleaded Michael.
"I do exist," explained Rhino. "Only because you believe
I exist. But when you wish away all imaginary friends, I too
"You saved me," repeated Michael. "You knew that I'd stop
believing in you, but you saved me anyway." Rhino simply nodded.
Then Michael said forcefully, "I will not wish you away! I won't!"
Michael grabbed Rhino around the neck and gave him a big hug.
He repeated, "I will not stop believing in you, ever."
What do you think the boy should do? What would you do?
Wait! Where is he going? Into the house and up to his room?
The rhinoceros is still sitting by the swingset. He's still
sad, but it looks like he is no longer crying. Let's go up to
the boy's room and see what he does. Quick, quick! We don't
want to miss anything.
Okay, we're up in his room now. He's lying down on his
bed. He's getting under the covers and pulling the covers up
to his neck. Now he's opening the small sack and taking out
one of the specks of wishing powder. He places the speck onto
"I wish I never made that wish." *pop*
What just happened? It got dark out! Just like that.
It's night time. Hey, I know! It must be last night again, the
same time he made the wish before. The boy looks very sleepy
now. He's closing his eyes. Shhh. Now he's rolling over and
. . . falling asleep. Imagine being able to fall asleep after
all that excitement. I guess his wish must have undone everything
that happened this morning. No talking frog. No talking rhinoceros.
No flying bookhanded bear. I guess that's all. And it's time
we got you to bed. It looks like you're not going to miss any
sleep after all. You must be very tired. I know I am. But wait
a second . . . What's that sound? Shhhh. Listen closely.
There's a scratching at Michael's window, which is closed.
Then there's a gentle, soft voice, barely audible through the
windowpane. "Queen of Faeries. Queen of Faeries. Make me strong.
Make me strong. For just five seconds. Not for long." And then
the window is gently opened..
Look! It's the faery. She's alive again! That's so good
to see. I'm sure you were worried. She's flying over to where
Michael is sleeping. She's reaching down next to him and taking
the small sack. Remember how many specks there were in that
sack? There's one left. Just what she needs. Now she's flying
over to his face and she's leaning towards him and she kisses
him lightly on his cheek. She's whispering something to him,
but I can't hear what she's saying. Did you? I wonder if she
knows that he helped bring her back to life again.
Aemerilla looked back once at the human boy named Michael
before she left. She smiled at him. And then repeated what she
whispered in his ear, "Thank you for believing in us." And then
-zip!- she was out the window and gone.
Quick to the window! Look down, over there. There's the
faery flying towards the woods. She circling . . . circling
. . . down . . . down towards . . . towards . . . oh look! There's
the rhinoceros ! And sitting on his back is that frog again.
I guess all is well. The faery lands on the rhinoceros' back.
Now the rhinoceros is walking . . . slowly . . . away . . .
into the woods. And gone. I can't see them anymore. Well, I'm
glad that everything is all better again. And you really must
be getting to bed. So let's get you back to your room, and your
bed. You must be exhausted from all this hurrying around. Do
you think any of this really happened? Or do you think we imagined
it? Either way, good night and sweet dreams.
The following morning, Michael woke up and had breakfast
just like any other day. After breakfast, he went outside with
his Father and, together, they fixed the broken swing. Michael
told his Father he was sorry he broke the swing and that he'd
be more careful next time. After that, the two of them played
catch for a little while. Then his Father explained that he
had to run a few errands and left Michael in the back yard by
After he was sure his Father had left the house, and he saw
that his Mother was busy upstairs, Michael took a box out of
the storage shed and snuck into the kitchen. He opened up the
kitchen cabinet and filled the box with a little of everything
in the pantry. He took the now full box outside to edge of the
woods. He put the box down by a large tree and walked back into
Just before dinnertime, Michael went back to where he left
the box full of food and saw that it was gone. In his mind,
he pictured a small, talking frog in a soggy cave completely
filled with people food. He hoped that Lotif would share some
of the food with Rhino and Aemerilla.
©1998 Stuart B Baum