Her attention remained on the edge of the water, waiting. Every day at dusk she did this, always with the faint concern her friend would not materialize; that maybe she’d dreamt her up after all. She spied a flash of pink climbing down the rocks and the mermaid child grinned. Her human friend was here.
He trotted through the flowers, hunting for understanding. Once in a while he would stop and inspect one of the other lions, but he still wasn’t sure what made them so much dandier than he.
The kingdom had long since fallen, but the castle still remained, towering from a bed of leaves. Salamander dragons roamed abandoned banquet halls and laid their eggs in the bedchambers of forgotten royalty. They raised a dozen generations of lizard princes and princesses before the castle finally fell.
He didn’t have any money with which to buy her flowers, so he cobbled one together out of wood. The other boys made fun of him, but she never did. His rose outlasted all the others, and they passed it down from mother to son for all the generations of their children.
They hung him up by the ears for all the trouble he’d caused, but he didn’t learn his lesson at all. Instead he discovered the wonder of soaring on the wind. Years later, when he became the first stuffed bunny to fly solo across the Atlantic, he would attribute this early misadventure as the catalyst to his mission.
There were better caves, cozier caves, and safer caves on mountaintops. Just the same, this one with the happy sound of a rollicking river always present, was the one the dragon chose for his den. One morning a chunk of the cliff calved away and littered his entryway. It was intended to oust the beast. Instead, the dragon admitted, in his easygoing way, the art of stone landscaping was better left to the cliff’s discretion and cheerfully stepped around it. The cliff was so impressed it changed its mind at once and soon grew proud to host such a fiery tenant.
There are few things as lovely as a fairy’s wedding dress.
He felt unsure of his new body. There were limbs sticking out every which way already and every day something new uncoiled he had no idea what to do with. He did his best not to panic but he was beginning to have grave concerns about who or what he was going to be at the end of all of this.
Was it a butterfly or a plant? The little girl was uncertain and it occurred to her perhaps the butterfly/plant didn’t know either. The leaves or wings fluttered a little. She crouched down to look closer. “Which are you?”
“I’m not sure,” it answered, “but I very much like being both!”
The boy grabbed his sister’s shoulder and held her back. “Be careful! It’ll chomp you if you get too close!”