Sunday, June 19, 2011

A FaBo Fairytale : Melinda Szymanik

Well it was an interesting bunch of stories submitted this week to start this year's Fabo story challenge.

Melinda certainly rose to the challenge of introducing imagination to the FaBo Planet...nostril hair tho?

Check out the winning students story on the Winner's page and Melinda's report to get some cool writing tips and join us for this weeks challenge, (see the sidebar....)

Take it away Melinda!

The Three Arty Faeries

Once upon a time, in a far away place, there lived a proud and important man. Lord of the Over Council Imagination Committee, Professor Nottin Spyre had been charged with the job of protecting his people from their own imaginations. He had a beautiful wife, a perfect baby daughter and more power than any ordinary man could ever wish for, although he lived in a dull, grey world without art or creativity. Not long after the birth of their first child, Enid, the couple planned a party to celebrate her arrival. They invited everyone they could think of but because they lacked any imagination they forgot to invite Gouache, Arpeggio and Grammar: the three faeries of the Arts from the abandoned Institute of Combined Arts and General Creativity. One of the Professor’s first tasks when appointed Lord of the Over Council Imagination Committee, had been to shut the institute down. Now parents kept their children away from the derelict building where strange coloured figures were seen flitting along empty corridors and weird noises were heard, with haunting tales of mysterious ghosts.

On the day of the party guests bestowed their best wishes on Enid as they arrived and passed their gifts (mostly nappies, socks and soap on a rope because they lacked any imagination), to Professor and Mrs Spyre. Everyone enjoyed their glasses of water (without flavouring or carbonation because of the absence of imagination) and bread without any spreads (you can guess why if you are getting the hang of this no imagination thing by now). The guests shared boring chitchat and admired the pale cream walls of the grand hall at Spyre Mansion. The Professor and his wife remained at the front door, their baby cradled in Mrs Spyre’s loving arms.

The sky darkened. In a flash of searing brightness three faeries suddenly stood on the doorstep.

In unison they spoke,

“Imagination cannot be denied…”

Then Gouache, dressed in a rainbow coloured gown said, “My birthday gift to your daughter is the gift of art. Her paintings will be beyond compare and will inspire anyone who looks on them.”

“My gift is the gift of poetry,” recited Grammar, clothed in sweetest pink. “She will combine words in a way that breathes new life into them.”

“And my gift,” sang Arpeggio, in a cloak of shimmering blue, “is the gift of melody. Your daughter will put her poetry to music. Her songs will delight and cheer everyone who hears them.”

The three cackled in chorus, waved their wands over Enid’s head, turned three times and were gone.

The professor turned to his wife. “We can’t allow this,” he said so only she could hear. “This would be the end of my job if word got out that our daughter is artistic.”

Meanwhile, ignored by all, a fourth faerie in a black cape bestowed a gift. “You cannot suppress the imagination forever. On her sixteenth birthday a dashing hero will come and unlock young Enid’s creativity.” The sprite breathed on Enid’s head and before anyone even noticed she was there, she had gone.

When the party was over and everyone had left, Nottin locked his daughter in the highest tower of his palatial home, paid a woman to take care of her and never spoke of Enid again. When she realised she could not persuade her husband to change his mind, and too afraid to have another gifted child, Mrs Spyre consoled herself with McRonald’s burgers until she eventually died of a broken heart. The years passed and Professor Spyre, satisfied that he had well and truly eradicated any sign of imagination, stepped down from his job with the Imagination Committee. Now deaf and more than a little vague he had forgotten all about Enid and the faeries and how many years were passing.

Young Dash drove his clapped out Fabota car through the dark forest. He’d left his home in New Yawn on the east coast of Allerica days before, bored with everything and sure there must be more to life than this. With no car radio or audio books to listen to he began feeling sleepy until suddenly a shadow stepped out of the shadows. It was an old woman, hunched over with age, swathed in a black cape. Dash slowed the car as he watched her raise a knobbly thumb in the classic hitch-hiker gesture. The Fabota slid to a halt and Dash wound down his window.

A vicious smell blew into the car. Filth crusted the old woman’s cape and Dash saw enough dirt under her fingernails to grow pomatoes in. But Dash didn’t mind. He covered his nose and said,

“Need a lift?”

The old woman shook her head.

“What a nice boy you are. You will find what you are seeking. Take this magic hamburger,” she said passing him a small round parcel wrapped in greaseproof paper. It felt warm in Dash’s hand. “And these three hairs,” she continued, pulling three long, dark, brown ones from her left nostril. “You will know what to do with them when the time comes.” Dash took the gifts and climbing back into his car, cranked the handle, pumped the gas pedal and took off into the gloom.

The trees closed in around him, growing taller and thicker and closer together with every passing mile. Again he felt sleepy. Dash wound the windows down to try and keep himself awake with the cold night air. Instead a strange noise came down the road towards him and like a magnet he felt drawn towards it. Soon he found himself parking in front of an old mansion house in the middle of the overgrown forest.

There was that noise again, a lilting sound floating down from above. Dash could not help but feel cheered. Looking up he saw a fair young woman peering from a window in the highest tower. The wonderful sound was coming from her and Dash was overwhelmed with the desire to meet her.

“Um,” he said, staring up at the smooth wall above him. He pulled the old woman’s gifts from his pocket. The package was mushed but he opened it up and the smell of the burger was so delicious he gobbled it up immediately. He felt strong but the window was too high to jump up to. Dash needed a ladder. As he looked at the three nostril hairs in his hand they thickened and lengthened until they were each like a rope.

“Hey that’s cool,” he said scratching his head but he still couldn’t figure out what to do. Someone tapped him on the shoulder.

“A bit of creative thinking would have been handy,” a voice said. Dash wheeled around. The beautiful young woman stood behind him, a bed-sheet rope dangling down the wall behind her.

“It’s alright,” she said. “I’ve been climbing down for years. My name’s Enid. I’m the singer in a band ‘The Faeries’ down at the Institute. Then I teach an art class at eight. Can you give me a lift there? Walking is such a drag.”

“Sure,” Dash said smiling and he unlocked his car and opened the passenger door for her.

The End


  1. Hi Melinda! What a great story. I love the twist at the end, too. But I was wondering how you came up with the idea? Sometimes the hardest part of writing a story is coming up with a great idea. It's especially hard when you have to come up with a particular type of story. How did YOU do it?

  2. I've read a lot of fairy tales which helped me. I know a lot about how fairy tales start and finish and that magic is involved along the way and a brave lad often rescues the princess. The idea for this story is a mixture of lots of different fairytales - can you recognize any of them? I started with Professor Spyre as the rescuing hero but realised he wasn't anything like any of the hero's I'd read about in fairytales so I had to change my story. I like to play with words too so my 'dashing hero' from the fourth faerie's spell became a hero named Dash, although in the end my-sort-of-princess, Enid, didn't really need rescuing which of course was the twist. Good luck with this week's challenge - I'm really thrilled about it :)