….What impressed me in this little girl wasn’t its determination to find out whether I was haunted or not. What really impressed me was the strange charm that I obviously possessed when seen through her innocent eyes and I have to admit that I also had liked her since our first encounter to that day.
I could see a lot of Grandma Henrietta in that little girl. And I was under the impression that she could see things through her own pair of invisible glasses that made all things look exciting, even the scary or unpleasant ones.
That was perhaps the reason why I chose not to alert my monsters and not to inform them of the investigation that was afoot and of course I would never have ordered them to scare that sweet little girl. I was however curious to find out how she would react, if she discovered one of my monsters. And there was still another reason much more important that made me act the way I did.
Since I had decided that old Signora Henrietta would be my first permanent human tenant, I knew I had to accept her family too and, in order to do that, I needed the trust and help of an ally inside that family. That little girl could be that valuable ally since, even if she were to find out my secret, she couldn’t reveal it to anyone, as most grownups don’t believe their children, even when they say the absolute truth.
So, to make the long story short, when Bianca climbed the stairway to investigate the attic I hadn’t said a word about it to my monsters yet. Most of them were boogeymen that immediately knew someone was coming and ran to hide in their usual hiding places. Rot however was chewing beetles, spiders and other similar dainty little treats near the heater and was too busy enjoying her disgusting lunch to notice anything else.
Kruntch, kruntch her heavy jaws full of huge teeth were snapping grinding and chewing in the darkness.
‘Dr. Watson,’ said Bianca trembling with anticipation, ‘I think we’ve discovered our first monster. Walk carefully because the floor is squeaky and, most important of all, don’t you even think of barking!’
With slow, careful steps the two detectives started circling Rot depriving her, like brilliant generals, of any escape route. My monster was hiding behind old mattresses and all sort of junk like hangers, old shoes and everything else that gives to an attic its familiar abandoned look.
The girl approached without making a sound, so much so actually, that Rot didn’t suspect anything till it was too late.
‘Coo coo,’ screamed Bianca and jumped in front of her.
‘Mammy,’ shouted the Abomination and Piko started barking full of joy.
‘Busted!’ screamed the little girl. ‘You are a monster, a real monster! That’s so cool! No it’s more than cool, it’s awesome.’
I don’t need to tell you that Rot nearly had a heart attack. Not only she wasn’t feared by that little girl, but Bianca didn’t even seem the least bit appalled by her ghastly, nauseating look. She thought she was awesome! Who could have imagined something so unbelievable? Even most of the other monsters in the house found the Abomination revolting and now…
‘Where is this world coming to, when the most appalling monsters can’t scare a little child?’ she thought.
After the first shock though, something like a pink shade appeared on her scaly cheeks. It might be because she was ashamed that someone had discovered her hiding place, but it might also be that she felt a little flattered by the reaction of the little girl. It’s not every day that a monster so disgusting as her hears someone say that it is awesome.
‘I knew it, I knew it,’ screamed Bianca dancing around the Abomination, ‘it’s a real haunted house! But tell me, are you the only monster that lives here?’
‘I’m afraid not,’ said Rot gloomily, ‘things would be much simpler, if I were. That stupid skeleton, Bony, also lives here and that snobby Draculeta, the vampire, who has recently discovered love or something and won’t leave us a moment of peace and that big ne’er-do-well Slimetooth and the demon Redpaw. Then there is of course Gorge and a bunch of other rascals.’
‘Yippee!’ shouted exited the little girl.
‘Now, be honest! You must fear me a little,’ said Rot a bit offended. ‘Look how ugly and repulsive I am!’
The little girl didn’t say anything, she only looked at the Abomination once, before giving her a little peck on the chick.
Now Rot from green like poison became for a moment red like a lobster.
‘Now that we are friends,’ said the little girl ‘tell me! What is your name?’
‘I am Rot the Abomination.’
‘Great name,’ said impressed the little girl, ‘I wish I had an impressive name like that. Then children at school would come to me and say their name and I would say: I am Rot the Abomination. Yuck, they would say and they would run away and leave me alone but then of course I’d have also to look like you or it wouldn’t work.’
‘And why would a nice girl like you want other children to leave her alone?’ asked Rot.
‘Because they are stupid. The boys won’t play with me because I’m a girl and girls are just silly.’
‘Yes, but you don’t run away when you see me. Why is that?’ inquired the Abomination.
‘Because I’m crazy about monsters,’ explained the little girl. ‘The comics I read are full of monsters and my toys are also monsters. Everyone says my room doesn’t look like a girl’s room at all. Mom would like me to play with ballerinas and princesses but I don’t want to. And now that we’ve become friends, Mrs. Rot Abomination, tell me: When are you planning to eat me?
Excerpt from “Granny’s haunted house”
The knight hesitated. How could he, as fragile as he was, get out of his castle of rainbows? A single stone was enough to break him and now he was to face such a formidable foe. Impossible! On the other hand how could he leave without assistance his beloved butterfly?
Finally he reached a great decision. For the first time after centuries he would leave his castle and embark on a great adventure like a true warrior.
– But how can I reach the moon? He asked turning to the Soul. I don’t have wings like you.
After some thought she answered
– There is always the pearl road.
– What’s that? Asked the knight full of curiosity.
– Since the olden days it has been a well known fact that when the moon people are in danger the champion chosen for the purpose of saving them can travel from the earth to the moon and return from the moon back to the earth via a road of pearls. But as to when and where this road appears I cannot say. You have to look for it.
– I will, said the knight. I will save the moon people or break in the attempt. I swear.
And with those words the knight bid Soul farewell and went forth to seek the road of pearls.
He walked and he walked till he reached a river bank. There he filled his flask and continued on his path. Beyond the river there was a forest and from there forth came a terrible banging sound. It was like an avalanche or like a thousand rocks falling from the sky to the ground.
The knight was terrified. He had read about that place. From that very river bank the forest of the hammer-trees, feared by every warrior, stretched as far as the eye could see. There lived the dreaded tree giants with their enormous hammers. They pounded the ground all day and all night and crashed like a bug whoever dared try to pass through.
Our hero shook at the very idea that he was, whether he liked it or not, to pass through that horrible place. He sat at the shade of the harmless trees outside the horrible woods, to think matters through. He had not walked further than a mere few miles when he noticed a walnut tree that looked as if she hadn’t been watered for some time. Without much thought, the crystal knight opened his flask and emptied it to the roots of the thirsty tree. At that very moment an amazing transformation took place: the tree suddenly became green and lush and full of walnuts.
– It’s not the water that quenched my thirst but your kindness, said a strange voice, accept this gift in return! The knight felt something falling on his head. It was a walnut. The walnut had dropped one of her walnuts on his crystal helmet
Excerpt from “The Crystal knight”
Once upon a time near the caramel waterfall, far away in the otherworldly forest stood a magical hut. In this hut lived two sisters.
The first sister, Silena, was queen of all the fireflies and, extraordinarily enough, she herself was bright like a big firefly wearing a crown of pure silver. When she wanted to summon her subjects, she would go to a nearby clearing, she would start dancing and thousands of fireflies would fly to her and create a bright cloud of strange lights and shimmers.
The other sister was the ethereal, iridescent fairy Lilidrin. Her dress had all the colors of the spectrum and her wings were white as the snow. If she wanted, she could make rain fall, create a rainbow and slide on it as if it were an actual slide.
The two sisters envied one another and quarreled over nothing almost all the time. Their favorite toy was the wondertree, in the heart of the forest, only a few inches taller than an ordinary pear tree. Its fruits had tough skin like painted glass and in them danced an eternal flame. You had only to break one of those glass fruits and one of your heart’s deepest desires would come true.
Extract from the book “Searching for the Wondertree”
Somewhere in a remote galaxy, on the planet of the red jesters, in the colorful and picturesque city of Gibberia, where everybody speaks fluent gibberish, there were many strict laws that no one dared defy, unless he was ready to receive ten to a hundred whacks as a punishment.
The most important gibberian law had been enacted by Great Ridiculous himself, the city founder, and could be summarized in the following phrase:
Laugh at all costs!
That doesn’t sound so bad, will think many of you. After all, is there anything healthier than laughter? But, if you think carefully, you will soon find that things aren’t as harmless as they may seem at first glance. “Laugh at all costs” means you have to laugh even when you are not in the mood to do so, when you are sad or something awful has happened to you or to your friend or to your neighbor and certainly everybody can see that is not so nice.
Now some of you will think that great Ridiculous, who had come up with this law, must not have been right in the head, but then what successful jester is completely sane? None whatsoever. People don’t call them fools for nothing.
As if having to laugh all the time wasn’t enough, there was something even worse, something absolutely dreadful you had to endure if you wanted to continue living in Gibberia: crying was forbidden on pain of death. Even baby jesters weren’t allowed to cry and so, if they needed to be changed or fed, they had to giggle and they giggled in such an annoying nerve racking way that their parents ran as fast as they could to satisfy their every need, great or small.
In Gibberia there lived the hero of this tale, a jester who answered to the name of Giggles Ticklefoot. Giggles found it extremely hard to comply with gibberian laws and for that reason he had been punished numerous times with hundreds of whacks with the cane. He hadn’t received them all at once of course, but still it was not a pleasant business. Giggles never laughed as much as the authorities would find adequate, when a flower pot dropped on someone’s head, when someone fell down or generally when something unpleasant happened to another jester.
It’s no wonder that the most popular shops in Gibberia where those that sold pranks and all kinds of materials for practical jokes: chairs with nearly sawed off legs, so that whoever attempted to sit on them would fall clumsily down, candies and treats tasting like red hot chili pepper, exploding cigars, books titled ‘A hundred fun ways to make someone trip’ and other similarly ill tasted jokes. Such tricks were extremely popular in Gibberia and jesters used to buy cartloads of them to mess with their friends and laugh their hearts out.
A store such as this was owned by Giggles’s best friend Beansprout Eggpeeler. He always advised him to laugh all the time. Idiotic laughter, he used to say, is a matter of practice. The more one laughs without serious reason, the easier it becomes to laugh at each silly little thing and spare oneself unneeded beating with the cane.
Giggles did his best to follow his friend’s advice. He tried to giggle foolishly, even when nothing even remotely funny occurred, but such a thing proved impossible. The funny thing was that it was easier for Giggles to laugh when something bad happened to him, than it was when it happened to someone else. One of the rare moments he could laugh for real was when others pulled a prank on him and he fell for it. For that reason he sought to become an easy target for all sorts of tricks and jokes. Though laughing wasn’t as easy for Giggles as it was for other jesters, he had never reached the other extreme, I mean crying.
Crying was an unforgivable act of defiance that led to certain death. In fact, even when a jester was beaten with a stick, he was forced to laugh and that naturally made the punishment even more inhumane. It’s to be expected that, when something so natural is so strictly forbidden, one has a constant desire to do it, but since no one was eager to be punished in the severe way dictated by this cruel law, they suppressed this completely natural urge to cry and indulged in all sorts of sadistic pranks and practical jokes targeted at their fellow jesters.
Giggles would probably do the same, but unfortunately for him he had a gentle character, well disposed towards others, completely out of place in this harsh, unfriendly environment. So Giggles craved a good cleansing cry and I don’t mean a light drizzle of a cry, I mean a cataclysmic cry, full of sobs and a waterfall of tears. All this years of suppression had made him almost incapable of crying, as if the muscles of his very soul had atrophied. That’s not particularly strange, if one considers that, since he was only a defenseless baby he had had to giggle, chuckle and laugh when he needed something, instead of crying like those lucky earth children.
One day not different in any way than the others Giggles woke up by the characteristic shrieky voice of his landlady, Mrs. Jokerin Happyprankster.
‘Ticklefoot, wakey-wakey, he he he, it’s already eight o’ clock; come down – why don’t you? – and taste your yummy breakfast!’
Giggles opened his right eye, only to close it again right away. He was in no hurry to get up and that is quite normal, since life in Gibberia was such a nightmare. Anyway, in a few moments he opened his eyes for good and, still bleary, yawned and stretched; then he went over to the door to open it.
‘Be good now! Don’t forget to wash your face!’
‘Why doesn’t she mind her own business?’ said Giggles annoyed.
But, as he reached for the doorknob to open the door, a bucket full of cold water fell on his head from the top of the door covering him completely with its ice cold content. Mrs. Happyprankster had come during the night and had placed the bucket in such a way that her tenant would enjoy a refreshing shower gibberian style, when opening the door in the morning.
Hearing the cry Jokerin laughed her heart out.
‘Now wasn’t that refreshing?’ she screamed ecstatic. ‘I warned you that you should wash your face, didn’t I? Cleanliness is a virtue of kings.’
Excerpt from “On The Planet Of The Jesters”
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